Friday, 25 February 2011

How to get what you want....

I once received a pearl of wisdom about life and love from a elderly lady who lived over the road from my parents when I was a kid. I would go and help the said lady with her weekly baking every Saturday afternoon.
Every Saturday afternoon, when I was a child I would alternate between my Grandad's Kitchen and an amazing lady called Dina's, who lived over the road from my parents. In was in these two kitchens on a Saturday afternoon I learnt how to bake.
I spent Saturday afternoons creaming sugar and butter for cake batters and learning how to make all different kinds of pastry. It was during one of these afternoons of baking pies, tarts and cakes that a valuable pearl of wisdom about love and life was uttered by an aunt. I must admit it somewhat went over my ten year old  head, having not at all been aware of boys at that age and far more interested in ponies and Cindy dolls at that point. The pearl of wisdom was uttered whilst rubbing butter into flour as I was learning to make rough puff pastry for the first time "if you ever want anything from a man then the best way to do it is to feed them first with the best home cooked food you can.  Then once they finished and have sat down and got comfortable, then you ask them for whatever it is that you want, mind you don't be unreasonable or greedy with your asking and no doubtably the answer will always be - Yes."
 So in the latest bid to find a venue for the Green Onions Supperclub I employed the very same tactic that Auntie Dina had passed on to me. I used the bribery of good old honest food to wheedle my way into a venue that I had an eye on for sometime - a very nice workshop that a couple of my lovely furniture maker friends have. Mind you it take a couple of weeks of going around with dishes of food to try and get my way, but in the end it was the Rhubarb and Blood Orange Crumble that worked the magic with the guys and we were given the green light to go head with the supperclub

Rhubarb and Blood Orange Crumble
8 Stalks of Forced Rhubarb
2 Blood Oranges
100g of Golden Caster Sugar
1 Vanilla Pod
200g Plain Flour with a pinch of salt
150g Chilled, Unsalted Butter, cut into cubes
50g Dark Brown Demerara Sugar
40g Golden Caster Sugar

Couple of handfuls of rolled oats 

1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
2. Cut the rhubarb into 5cm long sticks and place on an oven tray, zest the blood oranges over the rhubarb, pour juice of blood oranges over rhubarb, add split vanilla pod  and caster sugar and roast in the oven for 10 minutes.
3. Fill an ovenproof dish about 4cm/1½in deep with the rhubarb.
4. Rub the butter into the flour and sugar to make the crumble topping or blitz the flour, sugar and butter in a food processor. Once resembling bread-crumb like mix add the rolled oats.
5. Cover rhubarb with topping mix and add some dark brown sugar on the top and bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes, or until the crumble topping is crisp and golden-brown and the rhubarb filling has softened and is bubbling.
6. Serve with Clotted Cream or Ice Cream