I am waiting for there to be enough to make stewed rhubarb, a dish I've eaten every spring since I can remember. I don't use a recipe, just eyeball it, but you want about
3 cups of rhubarb (cut in 1/2" pieces)
1/4 cup of sugar (or more to taste
1/4 cup of water
You simmer it all (15-20 minutes until it is all soft but not sticking to the bottom of the pot) It is best eaten chilled. It can be added to yogurt, top pancakes or pork...but i like it best made slightly sour and eaten on its own for breakfast. I always think of my Grandma pulling one of the great stalks from her northern garden and giving it to me whole* with a little sugar in the bottom of a mug and leaving me to the chilly spring morning with my snack. I can almost feel the pain in base of my jaw from that sour taste of spring ( a tonic she called it.)
* make sure not to give children the leaves since they are poisonous. In fact, you can lay the cut off leaves around the base of plants where you wish to discourage weeds or boil the rhubarb leaves and mix with water and soap for a natural insecticide.
My son gave me a wonderful Christmas present. It has my favourite things all wrapped up in one: history, culture, cooking and keeping notebooks....curious?? It's a book, (a signed copy, bless his heart! ) called Bought, Borrowed and Stolen: Recipes from a Travelling Chef. The idea is wonderful; based on her diaries as a child travelling with her family (her father made historical atlases) and then on her exploration of the food of other cultures as a chef, Allegra McEvedy turns what were essentially her notebooks on travel and food into a gorgeous and inspiring conversation (with the occasional salty word, just so you know.) As if the personal experiences, photos, ephemeria and delicious menus weren't enticement enough, she also shares photos of the knife collection she has made on her journeys. She has sought out a handmade knife from each country she has visited.
So why this note under Book of Centuries? (I knew you would ask.) McEvedy's knife collection immediately made me think of the way Mason's students would pick one special thing to follow and draw throughout the centuries, often in the same position on each page. (I am sure had McEvedy kept a Book of Centuries, she would have been drawing knives.) Beyond that even, there is a map on the flyleaf which appears to be a map of the world with the countries she has visited circled in coloured pencil. I had already had in mind to make the last map page of my Book of Centuries my hand drawn map of the world with a list of the countries I have traveled to listed on the lined page opposite with the dates of my journeys. This cinched it! Now, what to cook first??
Blackberry Upside Down Cake
2 1/2 cups wild blackberries
a good yellow cake mix
1/3 cup oil
1 1/4cup buttermilk
1 T. lemon zest
1/4 white sugar
method: Make cake mix with the oil, eggs, buttermilk and lemon zest instead of as directed. Melt butter in the bottom of a bundt pan and line with berries and sugar. Pour cake batter on top and bake approx.45 minutes at 350 F or until golden. Cool, invert and serve with whipped cream.