From Yorkshire . . . with love

Lee Bye - Rhubarb Cranachan
Lee Bye - Rhubarb Cranachan
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Our goose has well and truly been cooked, well the turkeys to be more precise. The chefs probably feel a little cooked too with the onslaught they soaked up over the last month. Who said it gets easier hey... another feather in their caps, another year ahead of us and another opportunity to push on.

The chefs probably feel a little cooked too with the onslaught they soaked up over the last month. Who said it gets easier hey... another feather in their caps, another year ahead of us and another opportunity to push on.

Lee Bye visits a rhubarb shed

Lee Bye visits a rhubarb shed

January has lift off...

In cathedral lit sheds across Yorkshire, bulbs pop under candles acting for photosynthesis and stems tower and creak with forced growing pains, it is such an unusual almost mythical way to grow something which is used to the rough and tough of its Siberian beginnings. Love and labour play a huge part in fulfilling its growth potential but surely that is the cost to anything worth its rewards and results.

Yesterday we got our hands on those results and tasted those rewards... the first of the season, out came the new Japanese steel and we went to work.

Forced Yorkshire rhubarb. Slender and tender it needs no introduction back on the menu here at the Mill. Served up with Breckland mallard, chard and walnuts or simply as a fool with local honey, whisky and toasted oats.

Yorkshire rhubarb

Yorkshire rhubarb

Marco said: “It may look like a stick of rock but it has far more uses than just in puddings.”

It definitely does but this cranachan dish is simple and delicious and will give the wonderful rhubarb a chance to showcase itself in a new glory.

RHUBARB CRANACHAN

INGREDIENTS

300g forced rhubarb (washed and trimmed)

60g caster sugar

400ml double cream

2-3 tablespoons Glenlivet Scottish whisky

60 grams toasted porridge oats

3 tablespoons wild honey (I use the honey here in Tuddenham)

THE RHUBARB COMPOTE

Slice the rhubarb as thin as possible with a sharp knife. Place in a heavy bottomed pan with the sugar and mix well. Place on a medium to high heat until the sugar dissolves stirring well. Once the sugar has dissolved, place a lid on the pan so it is air tight and cook quickly until the rhubarb has all broken down. Be careful not to catch the rhubarb on the bottom of the pan. We are not looking to caramelize the rhubarb, just soften it and retain all the flavour by cooking it fast. Once cooked spread over a chilled tray and place in the fridge straight away to enable the cooking process to slow right down. This will be ready after about an hour.

THE ‘FOOL’

While this is cooling it gives you time to make the fool part of the cranachan. Whip the cream in a chilled mixing bowl just so it starts to fall off the whisk. Be careful not to over work the cream as it will be too stiff and any ingredients that are folded in will cause the mixture to become grainy. Once the cream is the correct consistency fold in the whisky, the honey and two thirds of the toasted oats. Taste and texture are huge players in this elegant, timely dessert.

When the rhubarb is ready, gently spoon a healthy amount over the cream mixture and finish with the remaining toasted oats. Taste throughout the whole process for sweetness – rhubarb can catch you off guard sometimes so it’s really important you taste, taste, taste.

-- Lee Bye is hed chef at Tuddenham Mill. Follow him on Twitter - @leebyechef