Watching rhubarb emerge from the ground is such a tease, because you know what’s in store and it's been a year since you last had it. Taste buds kick into action when you start thinking about it, with the sour section at the back of the tongue going into overdrive.
Rhubarb is one of those great things that happen at this time of year when not too much else is new in the vegetable garden. The rich red stems and broad, green leaves are nothing short of fabulous to look at and almost a shame to think of cutting. But cut you should – and not too late, as the sweetness and flavour is best in the newer stems. Strangely the leaves are poisonous so be sure to leave no leaf attached. Taking your five or six stems, give them a rinse to remove any soil and then chop into bite-size pieces. Place in an ovenproof dish with some thin slices of fresh ginger, a couple of spoons of honey drizzled over and a couple of spoons of water. Cover in tinfoil and bake for 15 minutes at 180’ in a preheated oven.
Enjoy rhubarb room temperature as a compote for breakfast with granola … or hot straight out of the oven as a sweet treat dessert with almond macaroons.
Pictured: Rhubarb ready for the chefs, growing atMarlfield House, Gorey, Co Wexford. One of Ireland’s best-loved Relais et Chateau Hotels and a favourite stop-off point for us on our road trips.