Red roasted rhubarb and raspberries… rrrr… There, I couldn’t help myself.
Let’s start again. My new book, Will Write for Food, arrived on Friday. I have been flicking through it over the weekend, and became immersed in chapter 1 “What, exactly, is Food Writing” last night. As the name suggests, the first chapter examines the basics of what exactly is food writing, and its common traits through the eyes of various famous American food authors over the years, such as Julia Child and James Beard. It considers the role of food writing to stimulate the senses and make you hungry, make you want to either taste, cook or look at food or in the words of Judith Jones to “describe taste, textures, flavours, and smells and gives a food experience a larger context by writing about a more common experience, drawing on something universal that speaks to everyone.” For me, I would say food writing largely calls me to the kitchen to create recipes, combine ingredients and flavours and just cook.
The reader has been assigned a series of exercises in the book, and the first one is to write a paragraph about eating a favourite piece of fruit, using all the senses together with similes and metaphors. So in honour of the very simple rhubarb recipe I made over the weekend, here it goes… although I think rhubarb is technically a vegetable, lets overlook that for now.
Rhubarb. I see those firm crimson stalks, pieces of celery dipped in beetroot juice, everywhere lately, in the supermarket, farmers markets and popping up as it comes into season on my favourite blogs from writers in the northern hemisphere. Tart, tangy and refreshing, like sour green apples. Sweet and sticky once roasted with maple syrup, contrasting with the tartness of yoghurt and crunchy, toasted hazelnuts. The spoon glides again into the jammy mush. And scrapes along the bottom of the glass. All that ruby redness gone.
Hmm… not sure I’ll win any awards for that one, but it was fun! This roasted rhubarb and raspberries recipe can be used as a topping for yoghurt (as in the recipe), as part of a rhubarb crumble or on top of muesli. You will also see that roasted rhubarb is not stringy, unlike the stovetop compote. The recipe below serves 2, although you will have another cup or so of rhubarb leftover for breakfast the next morning.
ps: we tried out Barth’s ghetto studio lights for those photos, notice a difference?
- A bunch of rhubarb
- 1/2 orange, juiced and zested
- 3 tbs maple syrup
- 1 tps vanilla bean paste
- 2/3 cup of frozen raspberries
- 1.5 cups greek yoghurt
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 15 hazelnuts
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Wash the rhubarb, and remove the leaves and roots (the leaves are poisonous so do not eat them). Cut into 1.5cm pieces on baking paper on a tray. Defrost raspberries by running under cold water for a minute or two.
- In a cup, mix together orange juice, maple syrup and vanilla bean paste and pour over rhubarb. Add the raspberries to the baking tray and mix thoroughly with your hands.
- Roast in the oven for 15 minutes until the rhubarb is tender. In a separate baking tray, roast the hazelnuts in the oven for 5-10 minutes. Remove both trays and let cool.
- Scoop the yoghurt into two glasses, drizzle over some honey and spoon a couple of tablespoons of the roasted rhubarb and raspberries over the yoghurt. Top with the hazelnuts and orange zest and dig in.