Spring is generally defined as March to May and will swiftly be upon us. We will all be looking forward to summer and feeling more optimistic as the days begin to get longer and wondering what dishes we can serve our families, making the best of the seasonal ingredients on offer. Two of the things that are coming into season right now are apples and rhubarb and although we are all used to thinking of them as traditional ingredients to make a good old British crumble, there are different ways of making the most of these fabulous fruits.
Have you ever thought of using rhubarb as an accompaniment to a savoury dish for example? We all know how nicely apple sauce goes with roast pork, but roast rhubarb is supremely easy to make and makes a super alternative to apple sauce. It also cuts through the rich, almost ‘creamy’ texture of the pork perfectly.
4-5 stalks of rhubarb
A good shake of light brown sugar
Preheat oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Cut rhubarb into 15cm/6in lengths, place in a roasting tin with half a cup of water and the sugar. Roast until just soft enough to yield to the point of a knife, which will be about 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool and drain, keeping back the cooking juices.
When your pork is cooked, drain the pan of excess fat, keeping the lovely sticky bits on the bottom and stir in a spoon of plain flour over a high heat on the hob. Cook out the flour and then add the reserved rhubarb juice, thinning with a little veg or chicken stock if required, (beef would overpower the delicate flavour.) Use as a sauce to pour over slices of roast pork, accompanied by the roast rhubarb.
This roast rhubarb is also a wonderful accompaniment to mackerel when it is in season.
Again, we tend to think of apples as being something we would use in a sweet dish but they also make a lovely addition to many savoury dishes, such as mash or stir fry.
Sausage with Apple mash
To make a change from traditional mashed potatoes, try adding a couple of chopped Bramley apples five minutes before potatoes have finished cooking and mash together; a fabulous accompaniment to some good quality pork sausages.
Bramley Bacon Buttie
A bacon buttie with a difference!
This is something you have probably never thought of and makes an ideal sandwich filling for the kids; it gets them eating fruit almost without them realising it! Simply fry some sliced Bramley apple in the same pan you have fried bacon in and then add to some good thick sliced white bread to make a delicious sandwich. For the adults, crumble some stilton cheese over and top with another well-buttered slice of bread…delish!
Fruity Stir Fry
If you have left-over pork from Sunday then transform it into a tasty stir fry on Monday with plenty of sliced fried onions and spring veg of your choice. Add some cubes of apple two minutes before the end of cooking time for a fruity kick.