Rhubarb mania part 4: rhubarb and date chutney

rhubarb chutneyBy this time, I was nearly out of rhubarb so I ended up making only half of this recipe, still good for 3 jars of chutney. Just the right amount for a father’s day present! My dad is a big rhubarb fan and part of the reason why I didn’t like it much growing up: he doesn’t have a sweet tooth, so he would fill a tart case with as much rhubarb as possible and sprinkle very little sugar over it (or at least, that’s what it looked like as a child), so I always thought it was way too tart for me. But now I was ready to try it again, and I’m a big fan! So I might add some more recipes if I can get my hands on my dad’s rhubarb… Here’s how to make the GoodFood chutney:

Chop 500 g red onions and put them in a large pan with 50 g grated fresh ginger and 300 ml red wine vinegar. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 min. Add 500 g chopped apples, 200 g dates (pitted and chopped), 200 g dried cranberries (or use raisins instead), 1 tbsp mustard seeds, a pinch of curry powder (the recipe calls for a tbsp, but it gets very overpowering so a pinch is enough), 400 g sugar and 2 tsp salt to the pan and bring to the boil, stirring. Simmer, uncovered, for about 10 min until the apples are tender. Meanwhile, slice 700 g rhubarb into 2 cm chunks.

Stir in the rhubarb and cook, uncovered, until the chutney is thick and jammy, about 15-20 min. Leave the chutney to sit for about 10-15 min, then spoon into warm, clean jars, and seal. Label the jars when cool. Keep for at least a month before eating. Enjoy!

Tasty and sticky: sticky toffee pudding

Sticky toffee puddingThis is another family favourite, we all go completely crazy for it and my dad has even started “ordering” it for family occasions. After trying several recipes, we all agreed that the ideal combination was Rachel Allen‘s sticky toffee pudding (as it’s not too dry) with Gregg Wallace‘s warm toffee sauce. Rachel’s sauce is a bit too sweet for us and Greg’s cake is too dry, but the combination works a treat! Here’s how to make it:

Preheat the oven to 160 C (350°F). Butter and flour the sides of a 20 cm (8in) spring-form tin and line the base with greaseproof paper. Place 225 g chopped and stoned dates in a saucepan with 250 ml black tea and bring to the boil. Cook for a few minutes to soften the dates, then remove from the heat and set aside.

Beat 100 g softened butter in a large bowl or an electric food mixer until soft. Add 175 light brown sugar and beat until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Beat in 3 eggs, one at a time, then beat in 1 tsp mixed spice and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Fold in the date mixture. Sift in 225 g self-raising flour and 3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda and fold in gently until mixed.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is just firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to stand in the tin for about 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a serving plate.

While the cake is cooking, make the toffee sauce: pour 75 ml cream (you need 150 ml (double) cream in total), 75 g light brown sugar and 25 g butter into a small, heavy-bottomed pan. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, stirring often. Turn up the heat and bubble for 3-4 mins until the sauce is glossy and thick, then stir in the remaining 75 ml cream. Re-heat the sauce when you’re ready to serve. Enjoy!