My first encounter with rhubarb so happened to be during my stint in the kitchen at The Marriot in London. There’s no better time than now to confess (to a culinary crime of sorts – yikes!), when I began my culinary journey in the heat of the kitchen at The Marriott, I didn’t have a cooking clue about the fresh produce that England had to offer (nor did I attempt to find out before my first day – let’s not judge just yet). Somewhat unprepared, I was pleasantly surprised by what was on offer – for instance, have you heard of or seen a bright yellow watermelon? Speaking for myself, up until that point, I had not, nor had I anticipated that a bright yellow watermelon (having only ever enjoyed the juicy pink one’s available in South Africa) existed at all – I suppose that in hindsight, I was rather shortsighted. Well, save to say, the bright yellow watermelon only differs in aesthetics, with all else being equal. Well, with that being said… I had a similar and more familiar engagement with rhubarb… so much so that it sort of became my whole world – even though prior to this, I had never tasted this vegetable before (at least not in the way its made by top class chefs).
If you don’t know much about rhubarb, allow me to give you a brief introduction. It’s most certainly an English favourite – so if you find yourself in and around England, you’re sure to be exposed to a variety of rhubarb flavoured/ based concoctions (and don’t be afraid to indulge). Rhubarb looks similar to celery sticks (which was my initial guess. to be honest), with its tips bursting with a gorgeous fuchsia pink pops out. The upshot of this vegetable, is that its versatile in the kitchen… used in both a sweet or savoury dish.
Save to say, I’ve learned to use rhubard in sweet pastry dishes, much like this puff pastry rhubarb tart (Eid, being the obvious occasion). By now i’m sure you have come to know that I’m not a fan of the overly sweet and rich desserts/ pastries (despite my chosen profession), which is why this rhubarb tart was perfect – the first bite offers just enough of a ‘zing’ to counter the sweet pastry. Give this one a try, I’m pretty sure that you’ll be thanking the Brits for this (much like the scones and tea compliment).
How to poach this rhubarb recipe:
- 250g rhubarbs
- 1 orange squeezed
- 1 orange zest
- 40g castor sugar or less for a more sour taste
- Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C
- Cut up your rhubarbs into small batons
- Pour the above ingredients over it, making sure to coat al of them.
- Let is bake in the oven, and before placing them it on the pastry, be sure that the rhubarbs are cooled.