Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Rhubarb & co

I picked on Sunday morning with a great deal of faff & effort some Rhubarb & Sweet Cicely for a crumble. Why the faff & effort I hear you ask, well having a small plot & the need or is that the want to fill it to the gunnel's - some plant's are planted in the most inconvenient locations.

Picture the scene of my good self dressed in my normal early morning gardening attire of pyjamas & wellies. With the bottoms of my pyjama trousers tucked into my wellies for good measure as I didn't want spiders or bugs scrambling up my legs whilst clambering through the fruit bushes to gain access to the Rhubarb patch.

 There are two ways to access my Rhubarb patch, 1) Clamber through the fruit bushes & 2) Climb across the pond. I did the both of them with Mike snorting with laughter in the background as I gathered my Rhubarb with a bowl & camera for good measure. I also noticed my neighbours sitting room curtains were open so perhaps I gave them a show too.

Anyway I managed to gather just under 1 kg of Rhubarb stalks, I took the scales outside & weighed them as I trimmed the leaves & the bottom of the stalks away.

I had read in the past of a herb known as Sweet Cicely of which the leaves can be used to stew with the fruit to cut down on the amount of sugar used. Rhubarb is after all one of the sourest fruits known to man or rather one of the sourest vegetables. Anyway I added to my kg of chopped Rhubarb 6 sliced Sweet Cicely leaves.
Can you see that frondy plant with tiny white flowers, well that is my Sweet Cicely plant. Now I can't say it made a whole load of difference to remove the tartness of my stewed Rhubarb . It was still rather mouth puckering so I added some sugar. However I enjoyed using it & will certainly do so again next time I pick some Rhubarb to stew.

I forgot to take some photos of the finished crumble as the following three hours passed by in a blur. We were going to my sisters for lunch you see  & had arranged to pick my father up from his care home so he could spend a day with all of us.

Mike phoned the home just before 9am just to do a final confirmation that we were picking him up. We had arranged with my dad to pick him up at 11am earlier on in the week. Mike was told that my dad had been up since the crack of dawn & had made sure he was ready. Even though I was yet to have a shower & was in the middle of making my crumble & a cauliflower cheese to take for lunch I knew we had to pick him up then. So with my hair scraped back, I truly looked a holy sight! I did manage to pull a pair of jeans on though I may have had my pyjama top on underneath my coat we drove to the home to pick my dad up.

My dad can't walk properly now & Mike took charge of  helping him to & from the car all day. He had his wheelchair with him but didn't want the faff of bringing it out of the car for such short distances. It was so touching to see Mike escort my dad down our garden path, my sisters garden path & the pair of them pretending to do the waltz as my dad clung onto Mike for dear life. I was a mere blanket holding assistant!

Anyway I do hope you all had a lovely Easter & no matter what people say I am rather loving 'The Big Allotment Challenge'. I do think it's huge fun.  Enjoy your day xx




52 comments:

  1. I'm glad someone else thinks sweet cicely doesn't do much on the sweetening front. Not only that - it makes the colour worse too! Very pretty though and nice to nibble the green seed pods as aniseedy breath fresheners. Glad your Dad had a happy family day - Bernice x

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    1. The colour was fine but I really don't think it made any difference to the taste. I'm glad you posted I thought I had done something wrong. It is a lovely plant though & yes he did thank you.

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  2. Oh dear we just bought a packet of sweet cicely seeds!

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    1. It is still a pretty plant Sue & I believe it is good for the wildlife.

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  3. Goodness what a fun packed time you had then even giving the neighbours a free show to boot. Hope you all had a lovely day with your sister and your dad. Can't say I am a lover of rhubarb or gooseberries for that matter but they always look so yummie.

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    1. I do like to entertain :) I love both, particularly in the form of a fool or eton mess type thing. We all had a great day thank you.

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  4. I have never known about the cicely before. It looks so interesting. It's look like a carrot leaves. Would you like to tell me the taste and aroma?

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    1. It does look similar yes, it has a sort of aniseed taste. Next time I use it in an attempt to make something sweeter I shall try adding more leaves & some of the seeds.

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  5. The lengths we'll go to for a crumble eh! Sounds like a good day all round.

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    1. It was a great day yes, I think I will be entertaining the neighbours gain a couple of weeks as I want to make some Rhubarb compote. The sticks of Rhubarb at the farm shop are looking more appealing by the minute.

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  6. I definitely must get round to picking some of my rhubarb. It seems to have grown really well this year - but I'm the only one in the house who likes it. Happy gardening. x

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    1. My youngest doesn't like fruit puddings at all although he does adore fresh fruit. It must be a good year for it as mine has never looked so good.

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  7. I'm sure your rhubarb crumble will have been worth all the cavorting you did around the vegetable patch to harvest it. I bet your dad loved his day with the family.

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    1. It was Jo, it was rather tasty. Yes he did thank you it was nice to have him home for a few hours.

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  8. Maybe you just needed to use more of the Sweet Cicely...?
    I think you would need several plants-worth to make any impression on a kilogram of rhubarb though.

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    1. I did google a couple of recipes Mark with Sweet Cicely added. They were for 750g & 4 leaves so I though my six leaves would be fine. Next time I make it I'm going to add some more though & try the seeds too.

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  9. I'm sure the crumble was worth the effort!

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    1. It was in the end & everyone was amused at the story round the dinner table.

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  10. I haven't watched the big allotment challenge, honestly i forgot all about it!!

    Glad you enjoyed your easter.

    i think next time you go collecting rhubarb you should let Mike have the camera to take photos!! :-)

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    1. I enjoy watching it but you really have to take it at face value. I hope the chaps with beards win as they are my favourites their names escape me at the minute. We did thanks & no chance ever. He would have them on his facebook account like a shot.

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  11. As a kid I could eat rhubarb straight from the ground with no sugar. No I'm not all that fond of it, but I do love a rhubarb strawberry pie/tart. I too had to pick up my dad from the retirement home, although he was fast asleep in a chair when I arrived and didn't hear me banging on the door (although the rest of the residents in his hall peeked out their doorways to see what was all the hammering going on). Lots of slow walking, and putting a sturdy step stool down for him to get into the truck. I think he was grateful to go to my sister's house for Easter dinner, but he didn't remember any of us and thought I was a nurse come to fetch him and cart him home again at the end. Your husband waltzing with your dad in the garden sounds like one of those little golden moments you will always remember :) Wendy x

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    1. Wow you must have had lovely sweet Rhubarb over there or you have a taste for the sourness. Rhubarb & strawberry pie sounds wonderful I shall try that when my strawberries are ready. It's a very sad situation to be in when you see your parents decline so much & I really do feel for you. It will be one of those memories that will stay with me yes, I can picture it now ' Are we dancing Mike? We are doing the waltz Ern or do you fancy the quickstep'. & the they both laughed. Take care xx

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  12. I just sprinkle some demerara sugar on my rhubarb.
    Good to see that your dad was being well looked after.
    Flighty xx

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    1. That sounds nice Mike, does it give a toffee sort of taste. I will try it & find out. Yes he was very well looked after. xx

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  13. Lovely update and glad you all had a nice Easter and your Dad enjoyed his time with you and the family

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  14. I'm a big fan of rhubarb and adore it stewed with a bit of sugar and then poured warm over ice cream. Rhubarb crumble is good too.

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    1. I love Rhubarb too, I'm going to try some compote next to top some plain rice pudding or yoghurt. Pouring it over ice cream sounds lovely so I will be giving that a go too. xx

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  15. Mike sounds wonderful, how nice of him to be so helpful. Glad you're enjoying your rhubarb. I've had a couple of crumbles as well, delicious. Hope you're having a good week. CJ xx

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    1. He is lovely & enjoyed taking charge of the situation. I was particularly touched to see him helping put my dads jacket on & zipping it up for him. We have only had the one so far & it was glorious I need to make another soon. Yes & I hope you have been to. xx

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  16. A girl's got to do what a girl's got to do. Even in wellies and pyjamas.

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    1. I find it is the ideal gardening attire. Though my pyjamas didn't match my wellies this time round.

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  17. I can imagine the whole show happening, luckly, you didn't fell in the pond:)

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    1. I hope my description made you giggle & Mike was waiting for me to fall in. xx

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  18. I would love to see that crumble recipe!!! And ha! You harvesting sounds a bit like me around these parts! Your husband sounds like a wonderful person helping your dad...good stuff! Wishing you a fantastic week! Nicole xo

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    1. Just chopped Rhubarb, Sweet Cicely to taste or rather for me not to taste. A good sprinkle of ground ginger & then some sugar just to sweeten it. I though that in your last post. Yes Mike is rather lovely. Hope you are having a great week too. xx

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  19. I've never tried sweet cicely in this way although I have grown it, so it's interesting to see how you got on with it in the crumble. I must pick my rhubarb here for a crumble, too - I'm starting to feel guilty every time I walk by it.

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    1. I would try it again but add more of the leaves gradually. I am making full use of my Rhubarb this year. I moved it last year so couldn't pick any. It seems to have come though with a vengeance now though. xx

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  20. I really must look out for some sweet cicely.

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    1. I bought a little plant from a herb table at Shrewsbury flower show a few years back. You can buy seeds too. I think I shall look out for another plant as we are planning to go the the Tatton Park Flower show this year so am hoping they have some there.

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  21. Sounds wonderful! I'd grow the sweet cicely just for its looks - it's a real beauty, isn't it? If I keep reading your blog, I'm bound to get motivated to get out there and plant something soon!

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    1. It is a pretty plant isn't it. Bless you for your comment I'm rather pleased about the possibility of motivating someone to plant something. Take care xx

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    1. Great isn't it! A combination of three plants though I can't for the life of me remember the varieties.

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  23. Thank you for your kind words over at mine ... they mean so much to me xxx

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    1. I couldn't leave your post without posting something, take care xx

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  24. Home grown rhubarb is great isn't it. I made a load of compote and it's lovely on my morning porridge. xx

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    1. It's lovely stuff isn't it, I'm hoping to make a batch of compote next weekend. xx

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  25. Hi there, just catching up! I hope that Harry is feeling better and back to normal by now and that Mike is looking forward to growing his chillies!! Sounds as though you enjoyed having your Dad to visit, I hope that the rhubarb is just the first of many delicious dishes!! xx

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    1. He is much better now thank you. It was lovely to have dad home for a bit yes. xx

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  26. I'm definitely a rhubarb fun and especially love crumbles...Is it hard to grow I'm wondering? :-)
    I'm sure your dear dad.had such a wonderful day.x
    Hope you have a happy, new week!
    Susan x

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    1. I love rhubarb it is one of my favourites, it isn't hard to grow. You are not supposed to pick from it the first year you plant it but that's about it. He did have a lovely day yes. xx

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