Fear not, my loyal subscribers, I have not abandoned you, although I realise it might have felt like that these past few weeks. Upon returning from my adventures in Turkey we headed off to the English south west coast, or to be precise, the Jurassic coast on the border of Dorset and East Devon. The old cottage, that we made our home for the week, was fairly remote and had no Wifi so there was no chance of blogging and also if the truth be told I was far too busy rock pooling, exploring coastal and in land walks, swimming – most refreshing although a little chilly upon entry but perfect after 15 seconds, playing board games and eating Devonshire cream teas.
We stumbled across characterful villages where time seems to have stood still and the same families have holidayed at the same place for generations. The weather can be a bit unpredictable but you can guarantee there is always adventures to be had. One such intimate village was called ‘Beer’ – we had to visit it out of curiosity. I liked the fact that the village still has an active fishing community and that you can actually buy fish direct from the fisherman.
Striped deck chairs are quintessentially English and I particularly loved this little advertising board – good honest advertising. Refreshing!
Boats waiting to be hired on the beach in Beer.
Cream teas and crab sandwiches in Beer - things can’t get much better than this.
View from one of our many coastal walks
I gave swimming a pass on this day….
…………….but these guys just couldn’t resist a good storm
On our return journey we drove cross country in our bid to explore even more quaint, hidden away, little villages. Not far from Milton Abbas - which is seriously worth a detour when you are next in Dorset – there is a charming little farm shop at Steeptonbill Farm, where we decided to stock up on supplies. We were greeted warmly by Tess who talked us through all the produce and meats. Seeing the sign in the right of the photo for ‘freshly pulled rhubarb’ gave me my idea for my next blog post. I loved rhubarb crumble as a child but rarely eat rhubarb as an adult. It just so happens that I had stumbled across a recipe recently in House & Garden magazine for ‘Rhubarb and Rosewater tart’ and the combination intrigued me enough to try it out.
All the recipes on this blog, unless stated, are ones that I have cooked a number of times and work well. This recipe however was my first effort and I definitely think I could perfect the results further on my next try. The most important step with this recipe, which I found out a little too late, is to not overcook the rhubarb to begin with. The House & Gardens recipe states simmering the rhubarb in the dissolved sugar, water and rosewater for 8-12 minutes. I found that I cooked mine for less than 8 minutes and it was beginning to lose its shape. So my advice is to keep checking every 2 minutes when it is simmering; by 6 minutes it should almost be done.
You can see what I mean if you look at the bottom left hand side of the tart, which is more how I wanted the whole tart to look compared to the far right side which has rhubarb that has lost its shape.
What it lacked in presentation it certainly gained in taste. I hope you will think so too.
Don’t look too close at this photo, but you can see what I mean regarding the rhubarb loosing its shape on the middle to right of the tart.
You’ll find that you will end up with excess rhubarb and rosewater syrup so take a look at Heidi’s (from 101 Cookbooks) suggestions here on what to do with the leftover syrup.
Rhubarb and Rosewater Tart
Sourced from House & Garden July 2011 issue
150g caster sugar
250ml cold water
4 teaspoons rosewater (see another recipe on my blog using rosewater - here)
850g rhubarb, trimmed cut into 3cm pieces
250g ready-made puff pastry
handful of plain flour for rolling out the pastry
1 egg, whisked
300ml whipping cream
1. Wash, cut and trim the rhubarb into 3cm pieces.
2. Gently heat a deep pan with the cold water, sugar and rosewater so that the sugar completely dissolves; this will only take a couple of minutes.
3. Place the rhubarb into the dissolved sugar and water and simmer for 6 minutes, remembering to cover the pan. You want to make sure the rhubarb is soft BUT still holds its shape. If after 6 minutes the rhubarb is still firm, continue to heat for another couple of minutes until it has softened.
4. While the rhubarb is simmering, roll out the puff pastry so that it measures a rectangle of 35 x 25cm. Place onto a slightly larger piece of greaseproof paper.
5. Using a slotted spoon lift the rhubarb out of the syrup and place on a flat plate. With the remaining syrup continue to heat it on a high heat so that it is reduced, but that there is at least 6 tablespoons of rhubarb rosewater syrup.
6. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, if using a fan oven, 20 degrees hotter if not or mark 6.
7. Arrange the rhubarb on the puff pastry leaving a boarder of 2.5cm. I find it is easiest to make a slight mark with a knife all the way around so that it is fairly uniform.
8. Before placing in the oven brush with egg mixture around the boarder.
9. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes so that the pastry is puffed and golden. Leave to cool for five minutes.
10. When the tart is baking, pour the whipping cream into a large bowl and stir in 3 tablespoons of rhubarb rosewater syrup. Whisk until the cream thickens and peaks form. Chill until ready to serve.
11. Brush the tart with the rhubarb rosewater syrup and serve hot along with the whipped cream.