when the off licence gives you rhubarb …

We have a wonderful off licence in our village – we go in there and order wine, they deliver it, we give them a cheque. Works beautifully. I popped in there last week, and they asked where P was – “planting a rhubarb crown”, I said. Which he was. At which point, they invited us to pop over and collect some of their rhubarb crop the following day. P did so, and came home with many sticks.

We made half into a crumble – standard sort of thing, with grated fresh ginger and honey (rather than sugar) in the filling, and a topping substituting 2 oz of hazelnuts for 2 oz flour. Lovely.

With the rest, I made a steamed sponge pudding – very nearly, but not quite, one of my rare slow cooker miscalculations.

I cooked the rhubarb with a couple of tablespoons of caster sugar and a teaspoon or so of ground ginger a gentle heat for 2-3 mins until it was just starting to soften. Put that in the bottom of a greased 2 pint pudding bowl.

In the food mixer, creamed 125g each of butter andcaster sugar. Added 2 eggs, a teaspoon of vanilla essence, 175g plain flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder (I never bother with self raising flour).

Put this mixture on top of the rhubarb, then covered it with a double thickness of greased tin foil (mind those alien rays!) and secured it with a red rubber band, courtesy of the Royal Mail.

Put it in the slow cooker, topped up with boiling water from the kettle and left it for about 3 hours. Which wasn’t quite enough.  It was lovely, but could have done with a bit longer – probably another 45 minutes or so.  If you were cooking it on the hob I think it would want about 90 minutes.

Turned it out carefully, onto a place on a baking tray, for fear of hot rhubarb spillage.  Which there was.