Tag Archives: rhubarb

Sciroppo di Rabarbaro

8 May

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Here in Italy the sun is shining, the flowers are blooming and fragrant and I’m blissfully content to be able to get out in my garden and putter around.  I’ve been busy planting all sorts of new plants, trees and bushes.  I expect about 25% of them to survive as I have a pretty bad track record in the gardening department.  My heart is in the right place but I just don’t have that special touch needed to keep my garden alive and thriving.  I’ve been known to even kill lavender which is pretty much impossible in the Italian climate.

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One plant that seems resistant to me and my non existent green thumb is rabarbaro (rhubarb).  Due to the fact you can’t buy rhubarb in any of the grocery shops or vegetable stalls we planted it a few years ago and it is thriving.  I show it off to everyone who comes by our house and apparently it’s known to all to be the fool-proof plant (why didn’t I know this years ago?).  Just in the last three weeks our rhubarb has taken over an entire bed and is threatening our beloved strawberry patch.

So to give our strawberries some room to breathe and grow I decided to cut back the rhubarb a bit and make some of my favourite Rhubarb Syrup.  I’ve always loved the delicate spiciness it brings to cold summer beverages.

But what I love the most about this syrup is the dainty light peachy rose colour it has.  I could design whole summer cottages with that colour as my inspiration and theme.  So lovely and reminiscent of warm breezy summer days in Nova Scotia.

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Read on for the quick and very simple recipe for Rhubarb Syrup and these delicious cocktails above (which I’m contemplating naming “Jillinis“).

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Rhubarb Ginger Chutney

25 Oct

During the whole summer I proudly showed off my garden to anyone who dropped by the house and every single time I showed my overgrowing rhubarb plants I would say I was just about to make chutney with it.  I started saying this 5 months ago and yesterday I finally got around to actually making it.

I’ll be honest.  Rhubarb isn’t on my top 10 list of favorite fruits (is it even a fruit?).  It’s actually not even in my top 20.  The tartness of rhubarb usually makes my jaw ache and I personally find it tastes like what I think a mouthful of maple leaves would taste like.

But we planted it a few years ago and now we have a thriving supply of it all summer long.  I made a surprisingly lovely Cherry Rhubarb Lavender Jam (the jam that almost killed me!) and a few tarts as well.  But considering we live in Italy and down the street from an amazing fresh cheese farm I wanted to try making a chutney to accompany all that wonderful sheep and goat cheeses that we eat on a daily basis.

I first saw this recipe on Raincoast Cottage months ago and  it’s originally from Martha Stewart.  I had to change up the recipe slightly but in the end it turned out quite tasty and the perfect accompaniment with cheese, crusty ciabatta and assorted sliced meats for dinner.  Click for recipe…

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Cherry Rhubarb Lavender Jam (the jam that almost killed me)

7 Jun

Yesterday I picked up some ripe, beautiful cherries at the supermarket and decided I needed to continue my successful jam-making run that started a few months back (Blood Orange Marmalade, Strawberry Lime Vanilla Jam).

Many years ago I loved to sit down with a paper bag filled to the brim with fresh cherries and polish off the whole thing.  Unfortunately things have changed since then.  Since my last pregnancy I’ve acquired a fruit allergy and am unable to eat  most fruits raw.  It was a hard adjustment for this fruit-lover but the little boy I got in return was well worth it.

So now I have to enjoy apples, peaches, pears, plums, strawberries and cherries (to name a few) cooked.  Usually the thought of cooked fruit brings images of old people in hospital beds but I’ve found some great ways to enjoy my favorite fruits over the years.

So how did this jam almost kill me?  Well, I pitted all the cherries, washed my hands with hot water and soap 5 times and an hour later touched my eyes.  And this my friends turned me into a swollen-faced mess.  My face puffed up to double it’s normal size, my eyes were swollen shut and welts appeared.  My kids ran away screaming in terror.  I actually heard my son ask my husband in a traumatised voice “will mama ever go back to normal?”.  Luckily I had some antihistimines close by.  The jam ended up turning out so delicious that it was almost worth it.  Almost.


I browsed through the internet for a good cherry rhubarb recipe and came across this one on the apt 2b site (amazing recipes on this blog).  In the end I couldn’t really manage all the steps that the recipe calls for (due to suddenly being blind!) so I literally dumped approximately 300g of chopped rhubarb with 200g sugar into a large pot and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.  I then added about 600g chopped pitted cherries, another 2500g  sugar, a few tablespoons of lemon juice and a few apple quarters.  I let it simmer for another 15-20 minutes before adding some fresh lavender tied in cheesecloth (the recipe didn’t call for it but I thought it would be a nice addition) and a few tablespoons of powdered pectin.  I let it simmer a further 5-10 minutes and then removed the apple pieces and lavender bundle.

Then I went and soaked my head in cold water for half an hour to try and get the swelling down while the jam cooled.  The jam cooled but the swelling didn’t go down.

I think I lucked out because the jam turned out perfectly.  It’s sweet with a slight tart and perfumey aftertaste.  My family loves it and after breakfast one jar was almost finished.  I take that as a compliment.

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