This is good enough to straddle. Sweet, succulent spoonfuls of rhubarb happily collapsing from the heat of the oven, and cavorting with a sticky orange and star anise nectar. I serve it with buckwheat cream, which probably sounds like taking it too far, so just swap it out for cold clouds of Greek yoghurt. Criminally tasty.
There are not enough days in the year that I can fill with rhubarb. It’s one of the few plants on Irish soil that remains seasonal — many are imported all year round, which significantly detracts from their excitement. But not rhubarb. It’s a May-to-August orgy, so get your fill.
I make a kickass rhubarb cordial to go with gin for long and lazy summer evenings. I’ve found two exceptional new gins on the Irish market, both hand-crafted with local botanicals: Bertha’s Revenge from Co Cork, and ShortCross from Northern Ireland. I’ve convinced my liver that the botanicals are likely medicinal in nature. And so long as I sip it in the sun, I’ll be getting a healthy dose of vitamin D3 as well. Right? Score.
Rhubarb cordial goes so well with sparkling water and freshly grated ginger, too. Here’s what to do. Roughly chop 1kg (2 ¼ lbs) of fresh, pink rhubarb and simmer it with 300ml (10floz) of water for 15 minutes. Strain it through a sieve to catch the rhubarb juice — refrigerate the cooked flesh from the sieve, as you won’t need it for the cordial.
Add 250g (9oz) of coconut sugar or rapadura sugar to the collected rhubarb juice and boil it for 10 minutes until it’s syrupy. Add a squeeze of citrus to lift the cordial while it’s cooling.
Once chilled, this rhubarb cordial can be stored for up to eight weeks, provided nobody knows about it.