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signs of spring 1

March 15, 2010

Since we moved to Sheffield, an early sign of spring for me has been the first, forced rhubarb with its glorious vermilion hue. Sheffield is privileged to lie near the Rhubarb Triangle, an area of farms in West Yorkshire that stretches between Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield. There, the rhubarb is forced in pitch dark, silent sheds and harvested by candle light to ensure that younger stems are not damaged. It is a fabulous ingredient, not just for its colour, which softens, once cooked, to the rose madder I remember from a childhood paintbox, but also for the taste and texture, both of which are much more delicate than that of the greener, outdoor variety that appears later in the season.

The Queen of Rhubarb is surely Nigella Lawson, whose excellent How to Eat offers at least nine different ways of preparing it, including a recipe entitled ‘Pig’s Bum’. Personally, though, I love it just baked in the oven with a little water, some Demerara sugar and, importantly, half a fresh vanilla pod.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 16, 2010 6:58 pm

    Welcome back, with the rhubarb.

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