Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Honeyed rhubarb with blood orange

In this, my first week in Denmark, I've become a little obsessed with skyr. I first became aware of it when I saw it on the menu at Grød, a cafe on the street I'm staying in, where it was offered as an accompaniment for porridge. Intrigued, I returned to my apartment and did a little research. It turns out skyr is a cultured dairy product from Iceland, dating back to medieval times. If that wasn't enough to make me go out in search of some immediately, it's also made with skimmed milk, so has an extremely low fat content but somehow the same delicious tang and texture as Greek yoghurt. On the way back from the supermarket with my Icelandic treasure, I passed one of the Middle-eastern fruit and vegetable stands scattered all over this neighbourhood and spied quinces for sale. Poached in a sugar syrup til ruby red (if you want the recipe for that, click here), with the skyr they were incredible. So incredible they were gone all too quickly. And that's where rhubarb came in. 

Even though I'm bundled up in winter clothes, signs of spring are everywhere in Copenhagen: flowers pushing up through the frozen ground in the Assistens Cemetery, people sitting at sunny tables outside cafés, and at the farmers' markets at Torvehallerne, where I purchased the most stunning stalks of rhubarb I've ever seen: slender, pale pink, perfect. I wanted both a recipe that didn't mess with their natural beauty too much, and - of course - something that would go nicely with skyr. Nigel Slater had just the thing. The rhubarb is cut into short lengths, and roasted in a low oven with the honey, cinnamon, star anise, and the juice and squeezed halves of a blood orange. Thirty minutes later, dessert was ready. Or breakfast. Sweet and sharp, gently warm in spice and shade: the taste of spring.

Honeyed rhubarb with blood orange
Adapted from Nigel Slater's recipe in The Observer

If you aren't in a part of the world that make or sells skyr, plain or Greek yoghurt would be a great substitute. And if you can't lay your hands on a blood orange, a regular one would work just fine.

400g rhubarb
3 heaping tablespoons honey

1 small blood orange
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole star anise 

Preheat the oven to 160C. Trim the rhubarb and cut it into short lengths. Put the pieces into a baking dish, then trickle over the honey. Cut the orange in half, squeeze it over the rhubarb and add the orange shells to the dish. Add the cinnamon stick and the star anise. Cover with a piece of foil or a lid, then bake for 30 minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft but has kept its shape.

1 comment:

  1. Yum I love slow roasted rhubarb and the skyr sounds divine.