Monday, 11 April 2011

Sunday's Rhubarb Sundae (and a couple of Jerusalem Artichokes)

I sometimes wonder if this faffing around with food and cooking is a complete waste of time and whether I should devote my time to something more worthwhile - finding a job, improving my foreign language skills, voluntary work in the community (I could become part of 'The Big Society'), working on my six-pack etc. Yesterday I spent a not inconsiderable amount of time putting together a tasty Rhubarb and Ginger Sundae which got wolfed down in about 5 minutes. Afterwards I worked out that this was a work to consumption ratio of at least 12:1, and whilst I'm no mathematician (A level in Physics not withstanding), this doesn't seem like a good return to me! However, I think it depends on how you view the time spent in the kitchen: is it enjoyable and relaxing, or a pain in the ar*e and you'd rather be watching Bargain Hunt or Eastenders. Obviously I do find it enjoyable (most of the time), otherwise I wouldn't be wasting even more time geekily blogging about it. But I do understand why some find cooking a bit of a chore, and view other people's obsession with their daily fodder a little strange. An old housemate of mine always said that time I spent cooking was completely wasted and he would be rather be doing something else much more important, which was drinking red wine from what I could see.

All this leaves me with something of an uphill task in trying to persuade you that this Rhubarb and Ginger Sundae is worthy of your valuable time and attention. Well for a start, the recipe is of my own invention and so must be good; secondly, Rhubarb is bang in season and can be got hold of quite reasonably in the local greengrocer, supermarket etc; thirdly, it looks quite impressive and so you will be the toast of your friends (which is why we cook anyway - see previous blog entry) and finally it isn't very difficult and if you bought your custard (which obviously I wouldn't advocate) would require very little cooking.

Freshly pulled Rhubarb

I thought this recipe up the other day whilst contemplating the rhubarb plant in the garden. Rhubarb and ginger is a fairly well known combination, as is rhubarb and custard, and so it didn't take a very great intellectual leap to make the connection: rhubarb + ginger + custard =  rhubarb sundae. So here goes...

Rhubarb and Ginger Sundae:

I made four large helpings and these are the approximate quantities. Afraid I didn't weigh the amount of rhubarb I used, but there was quite a lot as you can see in the photo above.

Stem Ginger in Syrup
One Sticky Ginger Cake (afraid I did buy this - the McVitie's one is good)
3 Eggs
Vanilla Extract
600ml Double Cream
250ml Milk
1 teaspoon Cornflour

4 glasses to serve it in.

  • Firstly I picked the rhubarb from the garden and stewed it with some sugar for approximately 25-30 mins. After smugly saying in the earlier post on rhubarb that I'd got the amount of sugar spot on, I found this time that I'd added too little, so sprinkled on some more just after it came out of the oven and then left it to cool.
  • Whilst this was cooking I moved onto the custard. I made just over a pint, which was enough for four pretty mammoth helpings:
      1. Mix together 250ml of cream and 250ml of milk with a capful of vanilla essence and heat this gently in a saucepan until just below simmering point.
      2. Whilst this is heating whisk together 3 egg yolks, 25g sugar and 1 teaspoon of cornflour until well combined.
      3. Take the milk and cream off the heat and slowly pour onto the eggs and sugar, whisking pretty vigorously all the time. You need to be careful here not to scramble the eggs, hence the whisking
      4. When the two mixtures have been combined successfully, add the custard back into the pan and heat gently to just about simmering point, again stirring all the time. At this point the custard should have thickened up nicely and you can take it off the heat and leave to cool.
  • When the custard and rhubarb have chilled down you are ready to assemble the dish before leaving it in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.
      1. Whisk the remaining cream until it is soft and pillowy. You don't want to over whisk it so it ends up all stiff and halfway to becoming butter.
      2. Cut the ginger cake into small cubes.
      3. Do the same with the stem ginger (I chopped up a couple of pieces at the start and then did more as I needed it).
      4. Grab a suitable glass and add a layer of the ginger cake, chopped stem ginger and a spoonful or two of the syrup the stem ginger comes in.
      5. Then add a couple of dessert spoonfuls of the stewed rhubarb.
      6. On top of that pour in some of the custard, at least until the rhubarb is covered.
      7. Repeat this process a second time, but top it all off with a layer of the whipped cream.
      8. For decoration I chopped up some more of the stem ginger and sprinkled (or carefully placed!) this on the top. 
      9. Repeat for the other three glasses and chill the sundaes in the fridge before serving.

Sunday's Rhubarb and Ginger Sundae

So there it is. It looks slightly custard dominated in the middle, which was because the custard was still fairly fluid - unlike the gloopy stuff that comes from a tin. So next time I might experiment with more cornflour to thicken it up. Otherwise I was pleased with it and would make it again (possibly in more dainty portions though).

The observant will notice a reference to Jerusalem Artichoke in the title. This is because I also made a very nice dish of Roasted New Potatoes and Jerusalem Artichokes with Sage and Lemon from the Ottolenghi Cookbook (which I would urge any foodie to buy) yesterday. It was very easy to make and goes as follows:

  1. Peel and slice approx. 500g jerusalem artichokes and cut the same amount of new potatoes into halves or quarters.
  2. Crush 4 cloves of garlic and chop up a handful of sage.
  3. Combine all the ingredients in a roasting tin with a good splash of olive oil and roast at 200 degrees for half an hour.
  4. Meanwhile cut a lemon into thin slices and remove the seeds.
  5. When the potatoes etc. have had their 30 mins, add the lemon, mix thoroughly and put back in the oven for another 15 mins.
  6. After the 15 mins is up, add some olives and cherry tomatoes and roast for a final 15 mins.
  7. Take out of the oven, mix in a load of fresh parsley and serve!
No pictures this time I'm afraid, but it was delicious and would go very well alongside most simple meat or fish dishes.

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