After eleven years of living in this beautiful corner of Sheffield, I have learnt the rhythm of spring in our woods. It goes like this: celandine, wild garlic, wood anemone, bluebell.
We’re into wood anemone time at the moment, and the wild garlic is also thick on the ground. Soon it will be time for a bit of foraging but first I need to pay homage to that other great harbinger of spring in Yorkshire: forced rhubarb.
I’ve written enthusiastically about this delicacy before, and a couple of years ago I posted this recipe for sharlotka, which I still rate highly. However, when we were in Edinburgh recently, some lovely friends produced a brilliantly simple rhubarb dessert that I just have to share here. Delicious results from very little time in the kitchen, and also including a hidden ginger nut – what could be better?
I’ve tweaked it a bit, drawing on a recipe for rhubarb syllabub from Sarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook, which is one of my go-to books when I’m trying to decide what to do with a vegbox, or a glut of vegetables from the garden. Highly recommended.
Sam and Claire’s rhubarb and ginger layer
To serve 6
- grated zest and juice of 1 orange
- 100g caster sugar
- 6 stems young pink rhubarb, about 500g
- 2 cardamom pods
- 2 star anise
- 6 gingernut biscuits
- Greek yoghurt
You will also need six ramekin dishes
Warm the orange juice and sugar in a pan until the sugar is dissolved. Cut the rhubarb into thumb-length segments and cook in the orange juice with the zest, cardamom and star anise for 8-10 minutes, then cool. Reduce the liquid by lifting out the rhubarb pieces and boiling the juice until it becomes syrupy.
Put a ginger biscuit in the bottom of each ramekin and spoon the rhubarb over the top. Finish with a dollop of Greek yoghurt and refrigerate before serving.
Tastes as though it took ages.