Sweet sweet Friday: Just Rhubarb

I’ve been perusing a lot of menus lately – I want to emphasise that this has been at my desk rather than at a damask-covered table – and chuckling to myself at the ridiculous labels some restaurants come up with for their dishes. There seem to be two major trends. One is to over-egg the pudding as much as possible, with lots of flowery language (and mention of froths and foams on the plate), while the other is to be as stark as possible. There’s almost as much artifice in the latter as the former, but it’s certainly more appetising.

Anyway, here are the two options for today’s pud, a deconstructed rhubarb fool:
‘Pretty in pink’: Evergreen Horowhenua rhubarb, oven-poached in the hand-squeezed juice of a Gisborne navel orange, served with a quenelle of Fonterra’s finest Greek-inspired yoghurt and a Meyer lemon-scented butter biscuit of Scottish heritage.
Or: Rhubarb, Greek yoghurt, lemon shortbread.
Rest assured it tastes pretty good either way…

Oven-poached Rhubarb
You could cook this on the stove if you wanted to, but sticking it in the oven is much less fuss.

500g rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 5cm lengths
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 large orange

Preheat the oven to 170C. Put the rhubarb into a large, ovenproof dish and sprinkle over the sugar. Pare the rind from the orange using a potato peeler. Tuck this into the rhubarb, then cut the orange in half and squeeze over the juice. Then cut the orange into chunks and add to the dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, until the rhubarb is tender. Let cool, discard the orange pieces and peel, then cover and put in the fridge until ready to use.
For a ‘deconstructed’ fool, put the rhubarb and a bowl of whipped cream or Greek yoghurt on the table and invite your guests to help themselves.
(If you don’t think your fellow diners are up to a bit of DIY, fold the rhubarb through about 500g Greek yoghurt until marbled. Dollop into glass bowls and take to the table with your most special silver spoons. Either way, thin, crisp shortbread is a great accompaniment.

Sweet sweet Friday: We Should Cocoa – Lime Twitter Bars

Did you know the white stuff doesn’t count if you are giving chocolate up for Lent? It’s true. I read it on the internet. Anyway, I needed to make something for the March We Should Cocoa challenge and I wasn’t going to be so irresponsible as to make something and not taste it. That would be an even greater sin!

In the spirit of killing two birds and all that, today’s post is also announcing that The Kitchenmaid has gotten out of the scullery long enough to get on Twitter. I don’t think I’ve nailed recipes in 140 characters or less yet, but it’s going to be fun to try.

Lime Twitter Bars
Even if you don’t like white chocolate – and I’m not usually a big fan – this is heavenly. It keeps well in the fridge (if you have good willpower).

Base:
125g butter
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 packet plain sweet biscuits
120g white chocolate, smashed into bits
1 cup desiccated coconut
grated rind of 3 limes

Icing
130g white chocolate
2Tbsp butter
3/4 cup icing sugar
juice of three limes (about 2-3Tbsp)

Melt the butter and condensed milk together over low heat in a large pot and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, reduce the biscuits to crumbs, either in a food processor or put them in a strong plastic bag and bash them with a rolling pin, pestle or wine bottle. This is good for relieving tension, but make sure the plastic bag is up to the task or you’ll find yourself retrieving biscuit crumbs from all over the kitchen, which is quite stressful.
Tip the crumbs, white chocolate bits, coconut and grated zest into the butter mixture and stir until well combined. Press this into a lined slice tin (27x18cm) and set aside.
For the icing, melt the white chocolate and butter together VERY gently. Sift in the icing sugar and lime juice and beat to form a smooth, shiny paste. Spread this over the crumb base and sprinkle on a little extra zest if you feel like it. Refrigerate until set (about 30 minutes), then cut into bars. Store it in the fridge. Don’t forget to tweet me what you think of it!