Jim Tynan - Pink Rhubarb Season

I always say that we should try use what is in season and as local as possible. When you think about it, you will find that we do it quite often, maybe unknown to ourselves.

I always say that we should try use what is in season and as local as possible. When you think about it, you will find that we do it quite often, maybe unknown to ourselves.

The young pink rhubarb is on sale now in all the shops and if you are like me, I just want to cook it the moment I see it.

I will make as many things as I can from it, like crumble, tarts or simply poached and mixed with the beautiful glenisk yogurt or just baked with a sponge mixture on top.

At the same time I am thinking about hot cross buns, so we are eating and thinking all the time about food in season.

Here is a nice recipe for a rhubarb cake which can be served warm with custard as a pudding or just eaten as it is with a nice cup of tea.

Rhubarb cake

8oz Butter

8oz Castor sugar

4 Eggs

8oz Self raising flour

2oz Ground almonds

8oz Chopped pink rhubarb

1tbsp Brown sugar

Rind of an orange

Heat the oven to 170c, gas mark 4. Grease a deep 8inch tin or casserole and line the base with a disc of baking parchment. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add in the orange rind. Gradually add in the beaten eggs, followed by the flour and ground almonds. Fold in half of the chopped rhubarb and transfer the mixture to the prepared tin.

Then place the remaining rhubarb on top of the mixture in the tin and press down. Scatter the brown sugar over the top. Bake for about 40 minutes until cooked.

With Easter just around the corner it’s hard not to notice all the hot cross buns in the shops. I have to admit when I see them I fall straight to my knees.

But I have had to be firm and say no because I just keep eating them.

So what I have done is created a hot cross bun version of brown bread that seems to have in a way sorted my problem.

It’s brown bread with a little spice and some fruit.

Hot cross brown cake

8oz Coarse wholemeal

8oz Plain flour

2oz Porridge oats

1tsp Bread soda

1tsp Salt

2oz Brown sugar

8oz Mixed fruit

2tsp Mixed spice

14fl oz Buttermilk

Knob of butter about 1oz.

Pre heat the oven to 220c, gas mark 7.

Place the wholemeal in a large bowl. Sieve the flour, breadsoda, spice and salt in on top of the wholemeal. Rub in the knob of butter.

Then add in the brown sugar and mixed fruit give everything a good mix up. Wet with the buttermilk. Shape into a round, handling the mixture as little as possible.

You can use some flour or wholemeal to dust while you are shaping the bread. Place on a greased baking tray, cut a cross in the top of the bread and place in the pre heated oven.

Bake for about 45 minutes, if you wish you can bake the bread in an 8inch tin, as it stops the sides getting too hard.

I like to serve it warm with butter; it will stay fresh for a couple of days if stored in a plastic bag.