Sometimes, I just need to see my Mum. I need her around and to be reminded of her gentle, loving presence throughout my life. This has been a particularly strong feeling recently and the other day I shared this image of my Mum and I (me around 14 months old) as my facebook cover photo. But, of course, this need must be unfulfilled as my Mum passed away 4 years ago. All I have now are memories, photographs and the skills and attributes that she gave me.
One of these is baking and in particular the baking of comfort foods and cakes. As I passed the fruits in the Co-op yesterday my eye was instantly drawn to the stalks of rhubarb. Ruby coloured and, for me, brimming with nostalgia. When we lived in Edinburgh my Mum had an extensive kitchen and herb garden and we ate by the season. The first rhubarb was a real treat – to be munched on straight from the garden and dipped in sugar (so healthy!) or made into crumbles. Clutching my bundle of rhubarb stalks I could hardly wait to get home and start baking.
Here is my Mum’s recipe for Rhubarb crumble (with assistance from Tom and Kate who cannot resist chopping, stirring, crumbing and squishing) and with my apologies for the slightly vague and imperial measurements. This is a recipe to learn at the elbow of someone you love..please do pass it on and adapt it as you will.
Chop about 10 stalks of rhubarb into inch long chunks.
Place in ovenproof dish with some water and an obscene amount of sugar (the recipe calls for 10 tbsp – but we opted for a large sprinkle) and roast in oven at 180 for 10 minutes or so.
While the rhubarb is softening in the oven make the crumble topping. 4 oz of margarine, 4 oz of demerara sugar, 7 of of plain flour. Mix the dry ingredients together and then rub the margarine in until a small crumb is acheived. (Get a small child to help and make this part of the process REALLY messy). Sprinkle 1 tsp of ground ginger over the rhubarb and mix well. Add in one chunkily chopped (and peeled) apple. Then sprinkle crumble mix on top.
Press crumble topping firmly and return to oven for 35 – 40 minutes until topping is golden brown.
Finally, eat at the kitchen table, cuddling children, not caring for calories and counting all the good moments you have had and have.