It has been some time, I could not find the time and energy to write anything here mostly due to my daily (and nowadays nightly for the sake of a new project) job sucking my energy like an odd looking vampire coming out of horrible Twilight series without any romance attached to it (no offense, if this is the movie of your life). I had to recharge my batteries within a short break so that I could come up with brand new delicious stories for your pleasure and your taste buds (I really care about you, don’t I). Some of you may wonder what I have done during this break; soon I will tell you the delicious details of it, especially about my trip to the capital of culinary. But before that, I wanted to talk about a surprising coincidence happened recently.
Personally I find it very interesting the sweet-sorrow taste of rhubarb but I have never came across with rhubarb in Istanbul since it is not known and consumed at all here. I was always looking for this strange looking fruit (I doubt whether it is a fruit or vegetable but anyhow) in different market places but even farmers were not familiar with it. So I lost all my hopes on pairing up the strawberry-rhubarb couple in my kitchen.
I was out of the office in the afternoon and suddenly realized a man behind a portable stall across the street which is not common since it is the busiest street in Istanbul. Guess what? His stall was full of rhubarb stalks made my eyes popped, I said “I must have been dreaming or he must be selling some magically grown gigantic asparagus” but no, they were all real, fresh rhubarbs lying in front of me. I rushed to buy my stalks and could not be happier that day with my bag full of them. The seller guy could not understand my overreaction and even surprised that I was familiar with the plant since It is only known in some eastern areas. There, mothers dip this fresh stalk in sugar and give it to their kids like a pacifier which is a good idea considering the rich amount of water it contains.
Rhubarb is an interesting plant with toxic leaves and conversely a stalk that is used for medical purposes (especially in traditional Chinese medicine). Its color changes from leafy green to rose-red. Generally it has a quite sorrow taste so most of the cases it is cooked with sugar or some other sweet fruits. Rhubarb is also known as “pie plant” since it is widely used in pies, tarts and crumbles. If not produced in a greenhouse, rhubarb is available for a short period of time before summer. In some areas rhubarb is accepted as the forerunner of spring. Stalks are ready to be consumed as soon as they are harvested and they should be firm and crunchy when they are fresh.
No need to mention that I run into the kitchen to prepare a strawberry-rhubarb crumble like the one I ate long before. This was a meant-to-be-together couple and I felt really lucky to bring them together for such a sweet purpose. I realized one more time that life is full of surprises each and every day. Sometimes we find the most unexpected things right by our side and our eyes should be wide open not to miss them when we are close.
Ingredients (makes 8 servings)
For the topping
- 100 g (3,5 oz) melted butter
- 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 90 g (3,2 oz) brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
For the filling
- 4 cups strawberries (hulled and quartered)
- 1 ½ cups trimmed rhubarb, sliced into ¾ inch pieces
- 60 g (2 oz) sugar
- 3 tablespoon cornstarch
- Juice of one lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
|1.||Preheat the oven to 190C (375F), place the rack in the middle.|
|2.||Combine melted butter, flour, baking powder and brown sugar. Mix with a spatula until lumps with various sizes are formed. Keep it refrigerated (at least for 15 minutes before using)|
|3.||Toss all the filling ingredients in 23cm (9 inch) oval ovenware make sure that all of the strawberries and rhubarbs are well coated.|
|4.||Take the refrigerated topping out of the freezer and spread equally on top of the fruit mix.|
|5.||Bake until the topping turn into golden brown and the fruit juices are bubbling which should take around 45 minutes.|
|6.||Let it cool down for half an hour on the counter and then serve.|