Thursday, April 4, 2013

My signs of spring

Spring has sprung!  I's hard to tell when this is my first spring in Sweden, but here's hoping.

Yesterday I walked in the sunshine, through our nearby park (ignoring the last signs of winter lurking under some trees & park benches).  I dawdled outside florists, their steps littered with pots of narcissus and primula.  I nearly fell over when I spotted the very first new buds on a tree in the very beautiful city graveyard.  Last week I was filled with grouchiness and misery, feeling that winter would never end and just a few days later I can see some
real signs of Spring.  I'm so relieved!

This morning I sat in the dining room, bathed in light, tucking into a bowl of home made granola, natural yoghurt, baked rhubarb and that delicious Super Life breakfast topping I mentioned on facebook recently.  Rhubarb is another sign of spring for me.  OK, it's been forced, but when it appears for sale I always feel happy that spring has arrived.  I discovered baked rhubarb in a lovely B&B in Wexford a few years ago.  It was part of the breakfast buffet and I almost died with pleasure when I tried it.  It's the easiest thing to reproduce too.  

First, turn on your oven to 180°C, then put the juice and zest of an orange in a saucepan with 2 teaspoons of honey, 1 or 2 pieces of star anise, a cinnamon stick and some grated nutmeg.  Heat it gently for a few minutes, until the honey has completely dissolved into the juice.  Chop up 4 or 5 washed stalks of rhubarb into 3cm lengths (you don't need to be precise) put the rhubarb pieces into a large, shallow ovenproof dish and cover with the fragrant juice.  Put the whole lot in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, until the rhubarb is still holding it's shape but is beginning to brown a tiny bit.  The juices will have thickened up too, providing luscious, tasty goo for drizzling.  

This rhubarb is wonderful with breakfast, but you can use it in a crumble or with ice-cream or yoghurt as dessert too.  I don't know why I don't make it more often!  It'll keep in a jar or bowl in the fridge for a week, easy...except it won't, because you'll eat it all within a few days!