It’s a lovely time of the year, this, with daffodils and primroses, hyacinths and violets all flowering their hearts out and the usual mad gallop in the kitchen garden to get all the seeds sown and plantlets pricked out. Spring is officially here.
We’re still eating the leeks, carrots, cabbages and celeriac we planted last year. And although summer’s broad beans and peas, courgettes and tomatoes are still a twinkle in my husband’s eye, we have our first crops of purple sprouting broccoli and rhubarb.
Rhubarb is lovely simply oven-cooked with a little sugar. If you want to get a bit fancier, you might like to try my rhubarb fool, rhubarb parfait or rhubarb and ginger ice cream. You can find the recipes here.
Or sample a scrumple. It’s a bit like a crumble, but lighter and more scrumptious.
And yes, I made the name up.
6 largeish sticks of rhubarb, washed and trimmed
The zest and juice of 1 orange
80-100g granulated or caster sugar, to taste
For the topping:
8 Amaretti biscuits, roughly crushed
4 tbsp white breadcrumbs
20g of butter, melted
Heat the oven to 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6.
Cut the rhubarb into short chunks and place in a large shallow dish.
Strew it with sugar, pour over the orange juice and sprinkle with the orange zest. Give it all a quick stir.
Bake, uncovered, in the oven for 15 minutes or until the rhubarb can be easily pierced by the tip of a knife but still holds its shape.
Meanwhile make the scrumple.
In a bowl, mix the topping ingredients together, stirring to coat lightly with the melted butter. You shouldn’t need to add sugar as the granola and Amaretti biscuits are sweet already.
When the rhubarb is done, spoon it carefully into four individual ovenproof pots. Don’t overdo the liquid, rhubarb produces a lot and you won’t need it all.
Sprinkle each pot liberally with the topping but don’t press it down.
Bake in the oven for around 10 minutes or until heated through and turning golden brown on top.
Serve with your choice of cream, ice cream, creme fraiche or custard.