17 February 09

rhubarb_tart2

Individual Square Rhubarb Tarts

Square is funky and fun. I love making these gorgeous looking rustic tarts. They always look attractive and catch the eye but I must confess the pretty pink forced rhubarb is one of the star ingredients.

Making fresh rough puff pastry is always a pleasure; I do find it’s therapeutic and stimulating. Funny how I am always overwhelmed when I rummage the freezer and find a block of home made rough puff, what a treat!

I love making these tarts when the forced rhubarb is in season. These individual square rhubarb tarts provide a lovely accompaniment to the Sunday roast and will make it even more special and spectacular. Serve with a home made stem ginger ice cream or simply with crème fraîche.

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16 February 09

soup_jerusalem_artichokes

Jerusalem Artichoke and Haricot Bean Soup

This Jerusalem artichoke and haricot bean soup is rich, velvety and highly perfumed. The distinctive perfume of the Jerusalem artichoke is not everyone’s cup of tea but it certainly makes me really excited. The smoked pancetta is a perfect aromatic that gets absorbed by the haricot beans. I get a warm fuzzy feeling when cooking this soup, it has that homely warmth and comfy feeling about it.

Around mid January I went to see Janie Turner from Thermomix UK. She has a fabulous vegetable garden with chickens and all. I got all excited when Janie started to talk about her successful crop of Jerusalem artichokes. Janie kindly gave me a bag filled to the brim with these beautiful knobbly tubers. They were so fresh that their skins were tender and  slightly  pink.

The blood in my veins started to flow a bit faster as my brain started to work

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16 February 09

rhubab_sous_vide

Vanilla Sous-Vide Rhubarb

Tender stem forced Yorkshire rhubarb is definitely recommended for this recipe. The soft pastel pink colour is trapped in the young skin of the forced rhubarb. If  the rhubarb is hard and you peel the skin, cooking it will only produce a browny-green mixture . Therefore select fresh, young and tender stems as they deliver the best results.

One family in particular has devoted their whole life to growing this mystical vegetable in a rather romantic way E Oldroyd and Sons in Yorkshire. They are reported to have hundreds of tourist every year flocking to their farm to witness the forced rhubarb being harvested in candlelight, how romantic is that?

Rhubarb is very much a seasonal ingredient and best enjoyed in Britain when in season and home grown. From January to late March is the time to enjoy the forced Rhubarb. Outdoor rhubarb can be enjoyed until late May.

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15 February 09

gingerbread_men

Gingerbread Men… the fella with the blue eyes.

There is a inner child hiding in every grown up, true! These gingerbread men bring that inner child out of me. This is truly a trip down memory lane, and I blame it all on the fella with the blue eyes.

In the late 1990’s the Blue Bird garage had been transformed into a wonderful market place with restaurants. Amongst the treasures was a bakery and at the helm was the talented chef patissier Claire Clarke.

I was working 16 hours a day Monday to Saturday at a Michelin restaurant but I did manage to drag myself out of bed nearly every Sunday to walk to The Blue Bird to buy a gingerbread man with blue eye’s. If they did not have one with blue eye’s I had to choose another but as it was rather special and a  token gesture, it was always better to buy the one with

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