When it comes to fruit and vegetable selection, I like to follow their seasonal habits so they are at their absolute best. This way you are getting them in their full glory, they taste better and are also cheaper. For instance, I wouldn’t attempt a Jamie Oliver Thai Mango Salad in the middle of winter, firstly because you won’t find a mango then (unless you’ve been diligent enough to freeze some pulp from the previous Summers’ abundant supply, who does that anyhow?) And secondly, it’s not really a Winter dish, it’s more appropriate to be slicing up mango and cucumber into slithers while wearing Havaianas in the kitchen rather than Ugg Boots – that just doesn’t seem right.
There are a few perennial vegetables and lucky for us, one of them is Rhubarb. While having a chat with my neighbour the other day about food, she mentioned Rhubarb and the fact that she had always thought it to be a fruit but had recently discovered it is actually a vegetable. This got me thinking about Rhubarb and the fact that I had never really considered making a dish with it. I’ve certainly sampled some lovely baked apple and rhubarb crumble with cream from country cafes during my travels but never thought to do something with it in my kitchen. That same day, I spotted a huge bunch of it in my local IGA and promptly purchased it. It was meant to be.
Now, what to make with it. After trimming the leaves and roots off as these contain poisonous oxalic acid and leaving only the edible stalks, I try a piece, raw. This is a mistake as Raw Rhubarb is definitely an acquired taste, not something I could get used to or have any desire to either. It won’t hurt you to eat it like this and is certainly loaded with many vitamins and minerals this way, but the good news is that apparently these are retained in cooked form, a much wiser choice 🙂
Stewing Rhubarb seems to be the tried and tested way of preparing this vegetable, so I cook it up with some apple, coconut sugar, a few spices and serve it on a bed of white Quinoa (the new black) with Greek Yoghurt, strawberries, toasted sesame seeds and a splash of Maple Syrup. Turns out to be a wonderful dessert, as well as a great alternative to rolled oats for breakfast if you are trying to take it easy on the grains. If you are also trying to take it easy on the sugar, leave it out along with the Maple syrup and use a bit more cinnamon instead, but it won’t be anywhere near as delectable 🙂
Quinoa with Stewed Apple and Rhubarb:
4 Rhubarb Stalks, washed, trimmed and cut into 2cm diagonal slices
1 Large Red Apple, peeled, cored and sliced (get yourself one of those super-duper apple-peeler corer machines – gets this job done in seconds)
1 Tbs Coconut Oil
1/4 Cup Coconut Sugar
1/4 Cup Water
1 Tsp of Cinnamon
1 Star Anise
Pinch of Nutmeg
Toasted Sesame Seeds
1) In a fry-pan over medium heat, melt coconut oil
2) Add rhubarb, apple, sugar, water and all spices.
3) Fry gently, stirring often till rhubarb breaks down and apples are softened. About 20 mins.
4) Top Quinoa with stewed rhubarb mixture, Greek Yoghurt, sliced strawberries, sesame seeds then drizzle the Maple Syrup over.
Oh yes, thank you Rhubarb.