Rhubarb has an amazing flavour spectrum – one that floats, skips, jumps and crashes right over your tongue, from the front to the sides and back again. It’s incredibly tart and refreshing, so eating rhubarb is a great way to finish your meal, but it’s also just as brilliant as part of the main event – something that we don’t often think about. Here are three new ideas, from a punchy cocktail to an elegant ceviche and a showstopping pud, to give it a go.
A lively tart and fruity number, this recipe makes 200ml of the rhubarb syrup, enough for 8 margaritas. Just increase the measures of the cocktail as needed.
Makes 1 cocktail
- Sea salt and caster sugar, to garnish
- 50ml Cazadores tequila
- 25ml lime juice, plus 1 lime, cut into wedges
- 25ml rhubarb syrup
- 4 sticks of forced rhubarb, trimmed
- 2 eating apples, peeled and cored
- 100g caster sugar
- Make the syrup. Chop the rhubarb and apples into 2cm chunks, then pop in a pan with the sugar and 250ml of water. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, until the rhubarb has softened.
- Turn off the heat and allow the fruit to steep for an hour. Drain the syrup through a muslin cloth into a small saucepan. Bring the syrup to the boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer and let it reduce by a third, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool for 1 hour.
- To prepare your cocktail, mix equal parts salt and sugar on a saucer and set aside. Place ice in a glass to chill it.
- Combine the tequila, lime juice and 25ml of the rhubarb syrup in a shaker with lots of ice. Secure the lid and shake well for 30 seconds.
- Cut the last lime half into wedges. Run a wedge around the rim of the glass, dip it in the salt and sugar, then strain the cocktail into it and serve.
Per serving 196 cals, 0.1g fat (0g sat fats), 0.3g protein, 22g carbs, 22g sugars
This is a great twist on the classic Peruvian recipe, in which fish is ‘cooked’ by its spicy citrus marinade. Here rhubarb adds a lovely depth of flavour to punchy herring.
- 100g forced rhubarb
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 5cm piece of ginger, peeled
- 2 tbsp low-salt soy sauce
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 lemon
- 8 herring fillets, skinned, pin-boned
- 2 jalapeño chillies
- A few mixed coloured radishes
- 1 carrot, peeled
- 1 cucumber
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 punnets of cress
- Start by making the curing liquor for the herring. Place the rhubarb in the blender with the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, honey and lemon. Blitz until smooth and pour into a bowl.
- Slice the fish into 1–2cm pieces and toss in the curing liquor, then leave to sit for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, very finely slice the chillies into rounds and place to one side. Very finely slice the radishes (keep the leaves on if you fancy). Use a speed peeler to make long ribbons of the vegetables.
- Drain any excess liquid into a bowl. Add the radishes, carrot and cucumber with a little olive oil. Arrange the fish around the outside of a platter, place a little slice of chilli on top of each piece. Place the salad in the centre of the platter and snip and scatter over little clumps of cresses or micro herbs.
Per serving 188 cals, 12.1g fat (3.1g sat fats), 15.7g protein, 4.3g carbs, 3.6g sugars
Rhubarb & custard pavlova
- 6 large egg whites (save 4 egg yolks for the custard)
- 300g caster sugar
- 300ml double cream
- 1 tbsp icing sugar
- 500g forced rhubarb
- 150ml prosecco
- Seeds of 1 vanilla pod
- 2 pieces of stem ginger
- 250g golden caster sugar
- 250ml whole milk
- 75ml double cream
- 4 egg yolks
- 30g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- Preheat the oven to 120C/gas ¼–½. Line 2 baking sheets with greaseproof paper and draw a 20cm circle on each.
- Place the egg whites in the bowl of a free-standing mixer (or into a mixing bowl if using an electric hand whisk). Add a pinch of salt and whisk until they start to hold peaks. Keep the whisk running and add the caster sugar, one spoonful at a time. Keep whisking for another 5 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved and the meringue has formed stiff peaks.
- Spoon the meringue onto the baking sheets and bake in the oven for about 2 hours or until the meringue is firm and crisp on the outside and slightly chewy in the centre. Leave to cool – ideally in the oven, turned off.
- Meanwhile prepare the rhubarb. Cut it on the diagonal into 2cm pieces and put into a saucepan. Add the prosecco and vanilla seeds, then slice the stem ginger and add along with the sugar. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Poach the rhubarb on a low simmer until cooked but holding its shape. Leave to cool.
- To make the custard, pour the milk and cream into a medium pan and heat slowly on a low heat. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a large bowl until light and fluffy. When the milk is just bubbling, slowly pour it into the egg yolk, whisking constantly. Pour the custard back into the pan and place over a low heat, gently stirring the custard until thickened. Pour into a bowl, cover and leave to cool.
- Pour the cream into a mixing bowl, sift in the icing sugar and whisk well, until it forms soft peaks.
- When you’re ready to assemble the pavlova, blob spoonfuls of custard and cream over one of the meringues and spoon over the rhubarb pieces. Place the second meringue on top and repeat with the cream and custard and pieces of rhubarb, spooning over a little bit of the poaching syrup.
Per serving 420 cals, 20g fat (11.6g sat fats), 4.7g protein, 56.7g carbs, 56.1g sugars