In the pink

Make merry on languid summer days with easy fruity deserts and zingy old-fashioned homemade fizz. Add a dollop of special ice cream and a glass of bubbles for an instant celebration

From garden to glass

Growing your own rhubarb is easy and unlike most vegetables it is a perennial, so if left in the ground will return a crop for as many as 10 to 15 years. Give them plenty of water and fertiliser for a bumper crop. Harvest by holding each stalk down near the base and twisting it to break it off cleanly from the crown.

Use lemons and rhubarb from the garden to make quantities of delicious and thirst-quenching old style ginger beer and rhubarb fizz.

Collect a range of glass cider, soft drink, wine or tomato sauce bottles. Make sure you have a screw top or cork for each one, then wash them and soak off any labels.

Rhubarb fizz

  • 680g rhubarb stalks
  • 680g white sugar
  • 4½ liters water
  • 1 lemon
  • 1tsp white vinegar
  • Approximately half a dozen screw top bottles

Slice the lemon thinly and cut the rhubarb stalks into small pieces. Put them into a clean, lidded bucket or other large sealable plastic container. (Avoid using a metal container in case the fruit acid reacts). Add the remaining ingredients. Soak for 48 hours.

Strain the mixture using a sieve. (If you use a muslin cloth you’ll remove the sediment and some of the ginger).  Using a jug and funnel, fill your clean bottles, leaving an air space at the top of each.

Store at room temperature for at least 4-5 days before drinking. As with the ginger beer, the longer you leave your rhubarb fizz, the fizzier it will get. Every week you will need to loosen the tops to release the pressure.

Chill before serving.       

Ginger beer

  • 4 cups sugar
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp tartaric acid
  • juice of 3 lemons
  • 6 liters water
  • A handful of sultanas
  • Approximately half a dozen screw top bottles

Mix all ingredients in a large pot or clean bucket, then strain using a sieve. (If you use a muslin cloth you’ll remove the sediment and some of the ginger).  With a jug and funnel, fill your clean bottles, leaving an air space at the top of each. Drop several sultanas into each bottle before corking or screwing on the caps.

In 3-4 days the sultanas will swell and rise to the top. When this happens you know the ginger beer is ready to drink.

The longer you leave the ginger beer, the fizzier it will get. After a few weeks you’ll need to loosen the tops to release the pressure – otherwise the bottles could explode!

Chill before serving.       

Rhubarb fool  

A simple fruity cream of delicate pink hue.

  • 4 cups fresh rhubarb, chopped?
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar ?
  • 3 tsp gelatin or 3 sheets?
  • 1 cup cream
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • Juice of ½ lemon

Chop the rhubarb into small pieces and put it in a saucepan with the sugar, lemon juice and water. Simmer until the fruit is soft and the mixture has been reduced to about two cups of liquid. For a really smooth finish, push the mixture through a sieve.

Soften the gelatin in the boiling water and add it to the fruit mixture. Allow to cool but mot set.

Whip the cream till firm and gently fold into the cooled fruit mixture. Spoon into large wine or martini glasses, cover and leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set.

Serve with small scoops (or quenelles) of Kohu Road’s Raspberry Ice Cream and Blackcurrant Sorbet. Garnish and serve.

Rhubarb cocktail

Mix rhubarb syrup with a bubbly white wine for a light and whimsical cocktail.

  • 3 cups finely chopped rhubarb (about 5-6 stalks of rhubarb)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cup water
  • 1 bottle of bubbly wine, chilled

Put everything in a small pot and bring to the boil. Continue to boil mixture for approximately 10 minutes taking care it does not burn.   

While still warm, use a wooden spoon to push the liquid through a sieve. Pour the syrup you have collected into a small, sealable bottle. Chill before use.  

The leftover fruit pulp can be set aside for another day. It will be quite sweet, but added to other stewed fruit such as apples, will make a scrumptious filling for pies or crumbles.

To assemble your rhubarb cocktails, pour a generous dollop of chilled fruit syrup into the bottom of each cocktail glass and top up with chilled bubbly. We used Everwild Sparkling Reserve Brut NV for its crisp citrus notes.

Give each cocktail a gentle stir with a teaspoon or swizzle stick and server.

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