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Posts Tagged ‘lemon verbena

Elegant simplicity

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Rhubarb is rarely elegant. When growing it is generally rampant, with solid, ribbed stems and aggressively bushy heads. When cooked it disintegrates quickly into soft, stringy strands, of an unappealing green. Poached though, lightly cooked in a boiling syrup for a minute or two, it retains its shape, with just the tiniest bite to it. The colours are more nuanced too, with the pinker pieces standing out against the murkier green ones, adding a flash of colour. The result is almost dainty. Served with yoghurt or a tiny shortbread biscuit this makes an elegant dessert for those of you with rhubarb stashed in your freezer.

Poached rhubarb
From Chocolate and Zucchini

5 tablespoons sugar
250ml water
1 head lemon verbena
4 sticks rhubarb, chopped into 1-inch chunks

1. In a small saucepan dissolve the sugar in the water and bring to a boil. Add the lemon verbena and carefully spoon the rhubarb pieces into the syrup, about 6 at a time, and poach for 2-3 minutes (4 if frozen) or until they give under a spoon but are still in tact. Remove with a slotted spoon and repeat with the remaining rhubarb.

Serves 2. Serve with yoghurt or shortbread. The poaching syrup can be used in cocktails.


Written by guffblog

22nd August 2011 at 16:14

Posted in Desserts

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Wibble wobble

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When I think of milk I generally don’t think of jelly. Milk is meant to be liquid, and the only time it’s not is when it’s congealed in the bottom of the bottle after too long in the fridge. Obviously a winning introduction to a dessert. But the idea of milk jelly intrigued me – we have fruit jellies and they’re so commonplace you can even get ready-made (or at least, almost ready-made) cubes of the stuff to mix up at home, as if stirring gelatine into fruit juice was too complicated for the average person. And yet milk jellies have been consigned to the history books, along with junket and syllabub. I’m not really sure why, they’re ridiculously easy to make and for those of us in need of extra calcium, something different to do with milk. I think this method would work very well with cocoa and a bit of sugar added, to make a sort of chocolate milk jelly, but I’ve yet to try that variation.

Lemon verbena milk jellies with rhubarb compôte
Adapted from Food for Friends and Family

I forwent the honey and sugar in the jellies; it didn’t seem necessary since milk is hardly bitter. The result is a jelly that tastes more of the delicate lemon verbena and dairy than of sugar, which is how I like it. Make sure you use the freshest milk you have though; any hint of sourness will be noticeable.

400ml milk (I used semi-skimmed, it’s just what I had)
5-6 heads lemon verbena
1 sachet gelatine

100g rhubarb
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest

1. In a small saucepan bring the milk to a simmer. Turn off the heat and add the lemon verbena to the milk. Leave to sit and steep for an hour or until the milk is cool.

2. When the milk is cool remove the lemon verbena. Put the milk back on a medium heat and whisk in the gelatine until completely dissolved. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Once the gelatine has dissolved pour the milk into 2 large ramekins and leave in the fridge for at least 3 hours, or overnight, to set.

3. To make the compôte place the rhubarb, sugar and lemon zest in a saucepan. Cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft and yielding. To serve upend the ramekins on a plate and serve with a couple of spoonfuls of compôte.

Serves 2.

Written by guffblog

29th May 2011 at 20:05

Posted in Desserts

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