I went down to the allotment yesterday, which although isn’t exactly a rare event is still infrequent enough to require giving myself a mental pat on the back for doing it. When I got there I noticed my neighbour’s very prolific rhubarb plant was flowering, now I didn’t even know rhubarb plants could flower (although thinking about it, duh), so you learn something new everyday, so I thought I’d better peer over the weeds at my rhubarb plant, just to check it wasn’t doing the same and yep it was. It was also looking sadly pathetic, which was a surprise as last year (the year where I couldn’t harvest from it as it was a new plant), then it was pretty prolific. Some of the stalks I’d had my eye on earlier had fused together to form the flower stalks, leaving just a few normal stalks left.
So first task of the allotment session, stand in the middle of my plot trying to get a good 3G signal and google what to do when your rhubarb plant flowers. Apparently twist the stalks bearing the flowers out to encourage further growth (one site I read reckoned they flowered when there wasn’t enough water, well it hasn’t stopped raining for over a month now, so I doubt it’s that unless it was the lack of rain over winter that caused it to flower now). So I twisted the flower bearing stems out and in the process managed to pull some of my few normal stalks out to, duh again. Cue me trying to get a good 3G signal again to find out when was the right time to harvest rhubarb and then googling was it ok to eat rhubarb when it was still green (answers 1. when the leaves are fully extended – tick 2. yep). So I took my two accidentally pulled up ok stalks home with me.
And today I actually used them, making the rhubarb rice pudding from Sophie Dahl’s latest book, that I’d been eyeing up when I had been cooking before from it but rhubarb wasn’t in season at the time.
The recipe used white basmati rice instead of pudding rice and the only sugar was from relatively small amounts of honey. I’m not sure about the use of basmati rice in rice pudding, useful enough I suppose if you’re out of pudding rice but it was a little odd. I did so like the fact that it wasn’t too sweet though, most rice puddings I’ve made feel like they could sink a battleship and it was just milk, no cream either, I do like how Sophie Dahl’s recipes are most of the time healthy(ish) without most of the time being too virtuous about it. The rhubarb (officially the first thing I’ve eaten from the allotment this year), was surprisingly lovely (surprising only because I can be way too negative about myself sometimes, despite all my googling to reassure myself that it was edible, I was convinced it was going to be uneatable) and I would definitely eat rhubarb this way again (as the only things I regularly eat rhubarb with is in apple and rhubarb pie and apple and rhubarb crumble, so it’s nice to get away from the whole appleness of it all). The recipe was easy enough to make, although it took a while or at least I thought it took a while, in truth it took about half an hour, during which time I sorted out some laundry and loaded the dishwasher between stirrings and so many rice puddings take a lot longer than that but I’ve got into such a time starved state that I’m obviously begrudging myself 30 minutes to go and cook myself something nice!
So, all in all I will probably make this again, complete with the basamati rice as well probably.