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Four rhubarb recipes for delicious, rosy desserts


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Rhubarb is really a vegetable, but most rhubarb recipes treat it as a fruit. As a child I  loved the beautiful rose-pink colour of rhubarb, its sharp and surprising flavour, and the way I could trail a spoonful of proper custard through my bowl  and admire the patterns I made. Rhubarb mixes very well with other fruits. In summer, mix it with strawberries or raspberries; in Autumn with apples and figs; and in winter with oranges and dried fruits. It combines well with custards and cream to make delicious and very pretty ice-creams and fools.

Australian rhubarb is available all year round. It rarely requires stringing and is very tender. In winter here it grows more slowly, resulting in thinner, redder stalks. In warm weather the stalks grow thicker and tend to be greenish-red.   At the greengrocer, look for bunches that are crisp and upright, and have well-coloured stalks. If you grow your own rhubarb, the best habit is to only pick it when you plan to use it immediately.

Remove the leaves, as they are poisonous. Then cut off the flat brown part of from the bottom of each stalk.  Then you are ready to go ahead and prepare one of these delicious rhubarb recipes!

Puree for rhubarb recipes

Most of my favourite rhubarb dishes start with a puree. Cut into 3cm lengths & put into a heavy based, enamelled cast-iron saucepan, add a couple of spoonfuls of water and cover tightly. Stand the saucepan over a medium heat for 5 mins, lift lid and stir. In a few more minutes it will have cooked to a soft puree. An addition of a rose-scented geranium leaf to the pan adds an intriguing perfume to rhubarb recipes.


Four things to do with a bumper broad bean crop

Broad bean recipes by Stephanie Alexander

Broad beans are one of the delights of spring. Enjoy them while they last!

They should look moist and crisp, never collapsed and flabby. If you can, select smaller pods. 1kg of fresh beans in the pod will yield about 350g of beans when podded (2/3 cups) and approximately 225g (1 1/2 cups) after double peeling. To do this, the beans are first peeled from the shells, immersed in boiling water for 30 seconds, then quickly run under a cold tap to cool. You nick the outer skins with a fingernail and flip out the green bean within. It is a very time-consuming task, but the beans are virtually cooked by the time the skins are off.

Here are four delicious broad bean recipes perfect for making use of a bumper crop.


Nine delicious savoury tarts & pies

Savoury Pie Recipes by Stephanie AlexanderPies and tarts are the ultimate in comfort food:  nothing quite beats a buttery, flaky pastry with a tasty filling. Conveniently served warm or cold, pies and tarts are easily transported and therefore work well as picnic offerings or take-along meals. Serve a wedge with salad for a light lunch, or make individual pies for passing around at a party: fabulous one-handed food!

Turning leftovers into a pie or tart is also a wonderful way to give last night’s dinner a new life. Learn a basic pastry recipe (see Pastry – Shortcrust in the Cook’s Companion) and suddenly the possibilities are endless.

Here are nine recipes and ideas for delicious savoury tarts and pies.



The Cook’s Companion App and book.
The Cook’s Table

Six lemon recipes for a laden lemon tree

Ideas for using lemonsWith a lemon tree taking pride of place in so many Australian gardens, it is often a question of how to use the fruit. On backyard trees the fruit hang obligingly for weeks, with the heaviest crops occurring in late winter and spring.  Lemon has so many uses: as a tenderiser, flavour enhancer, and preserver of colour in other fruit and vegetables. It is a refreshing source of acidity in drinks and a major ingredient in cakes, tarts, biscuits and creams. Lemon is mandatory with seafood, either squeezed on top or as the basis of a sauce. The zest can be used to make syrups in which to poach other fruit, and lemon peel can also be candied for a delicious after-dinner treat.

If your backyard lemon tree is heaving with fruit, here are six lemon recipes for making the most of your citrus bounty!



The Cook’s Companion App and book.
The Cook’s Table
Kitchen Garden Companion: Cooking