Tag Archives: crème fraîche

A hint of spring?… My rhubarb is in season

>Portobello market yesterday morning. I caught sight of the first “forced rhubarb” of the year… This signals in Britain that, against all evidence, spring is on its way… Albeit, this is not the greenish, leafy rhubarb we will get in April-May but its crimson sister, less fibrous and just as sweet. I’ve just learned that “‘forced rhubarb” is grown in dark sheds and almost by candle-light so that the stem shoots out looking for light and does not produce the large leaves you expect for the lack of light prevents the photosynthesis. Hence the harvest is of these long, crimson stalks that are as sweet as a fruit, although this is of course a vegetable.

Spring rhubarb and custard pie

Ingredients list:

  • A few fresh raspberries or strawberries
  • 1 roll of all butter puff pastry
  • 3 or 4 stalks of rhubarb, chopped finely
  • Sugar 150g
  • Egg 1
  • Crème fraîche 2 tablespoons
  • Vanilla sugar 1 tbsp or a few drops of essence

Lay the pastry into a quiche tin. Then beat the egg with the cream and vanilla sugar and spread on top.
Cook the rhubarb in a pan with the sugar and stir for 10mn on medium flame. Do not overcook so the stems don’t des-integrate too much or loose their blush.
Spread the fruit on top of the custard mix and bake in a very hot oven at 200 C. for 10 to 15 mn. You must make sure the bottom oven is very hot so the under-pastry cooks wells and does not get soggy.
You can decorate with fresh strawberries or raspberries when in season so the pink theme is nicely highlighted in the presentation!


This is one of my children’s favourite pies…
And because the custard is already inside the pie, you don’t need to do anymore then serve it.

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A recipe for the humble swede

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A nation who enjoys such a plain vegetable as the deservedly underrated swede
truly must have a sense of humour! At least that was my view, coming from a country where no-one has had the incongruous fantasy to grace their table with”rutabaga” since the war ended! But here, swede, or “nips” as the scots call it affectionately, is served as a distinguished companion to the prestigious Haggis. This national dish is presented during Burns night on every 25th of January or at any other time the scots designate as Burns celebration night…

We happen to love Haggis in this household and I have found a quick way to deal with swede without loosing a finger. Because that is the other point about swede : it is hard and usually big enough to look quite scary when approached with even your biggest knife! So I don’t even try. I peel it, then wrap it in foil and put in a hot oven for as long as it takes to get it soft. It is then easy to mash, add crème fraîche and cumin, salt and pepper and serve  along the “tatties, as “nips and tatties” for the spicy and irresistible Haggis. I always offer a small glass of peaty whisky along, to be poured on each serving. Sally my dear Yorkshire neighbour taught me this and it is an absolute “must” now!