May Foods in season
This month you can buy asparagus at a reasonable price, Irish broccoli
is becoming available , carrots are plentiful and looking lovely
with their long green fronds, cauliflower is available but small, cucumber,
jersey royal new potatoes, lettuces & salad leaves, new potatoes are
tempting us back to the salad table, onions, potatoes (maincrop), radishes
are hot & peppery and you can use the leaves in a mixed salad bowl
for a change in texture and flavours, whilst rhubarb, rocket, samphire,
spinach, spring onions, watercress, wild nettles are all plentiful.
There are plenty herbs, flowers, funghi and nuts around so look out for basil,
chervil, chives, coriander, elderflowers, mint, mushrooms (cultivated), mushrooms
(wild), parsley (curly), parsley (flat-leaf), sage, and sorrel if you fancy
a bit of red meat then beef, chicken, lamb, pork, rabbit,
turkey, wood pigeon are at their best or if fresh fish & seafood
is your "dish of the day" then you should see plenty cockles, cod,
coley, conger eel, crab, john dory, lemon sole, lobster, mackerel,
pollack, prawns, salmon, sea trout, shrimp, whelks, whitebait on the fishmongers
The humble rhubarb crumble gets a dinner party makeover. Serve in sturdy wine glasses or
individual serving bowls.
For the rhubarb
4 stalks rhubarb (approximately 400g/14oz)
35g/1¼oz caster sugar
For the custard
6 free-range egg yolks
50g/1¾oz caster sugar
200ml/7fl oz double cream
150ml/5fl oz full-fat milk
1 tsp cornflour, mixed with a little water to form a paste
1 vanilla pod, sliced lengthways and the seeds scraped out
For the crumble
100g/3½ oz plain flour
80g/3oz caster sugar
80g/3oz ground almonds
1. Preheat the oven to 160C/320F/Gas 3.
2. For the rhubarb, cut two rhubarb stalks into 1cm/½in pieces. Place in a saucepan with two thirds of the sugar and a few tablespoons water.
Melt the sugar over a gentle heat to form a syrup. Remove from the heat and set aside.
3. Cut another rhubarb stalk into 1cm/½in pieces and place in rows on a baking tray. Sprinkle over the remaining caster sugar.
4. Use a vegetable peeler to remove 8-12 strips from the final stem of rhubarb. Glaze with the syrup then place over the sugar coated rhubarb. Then cook in the oven for 6-7 minutes, or until the rhubarb is tender.
5. For the custard, in a large heatproof bowl beat the egg yolks and sugar together until well combined. Add the cream and milk to a saucepan and bring to the boil.
6. Sit the bowl of yolks and sugar over a separate pan of gently simmering water and whisk the cream mixture into it. Add the cornflour paste and stir continuously until the custard starts to thicken.
7. Add the vanilla seeds to the mixture and keep stirring until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the bowl from the heat.
8. In wine glasses, add a layer of the stewed rhubarb syrup and a layer of custard. Place in the fridge overnight to set.
9. For the crumble, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
10. Rub the flour, butter, sugar and almonds together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
11. Sprinkle the mixture onto the lined baking tray and bake for approximately 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally, until the crumble is crunchy and golden-brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely.
12. Once the rhubarb and custard has set, top with baked rhubarb pieces and some almond crumble. Decorate with the glazed rhubarb strips.