eat in my kitchen

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Tag: rhubarb

15 Recipes for your Easter Brunch Table

Tsoureki Easter Bread

Hunting Easter eggs in the woods was one of my childhood’s spring highlights. The sweet smell of blossoms and sunlight in the air, the trees’ leaves presenting their most fragile green, and – in a lucky year – I could even replace boots and jacket for shirt and jeans while searching for golden wrapped chocolate eggs and bunnies. I always loved the sprouting energy that comes with the change of season, when winter’s shades of grey and brown give way to vibrant colours. Easter is a changing point in the year, there’s the promise of summer in the air.

Is there a better way to celebrate this day than gathering your loved ones around the table and treating them to a luscious brunch? Here’s some inspiration (click the titles for the recipes):

Tsoureki – Greek Easter Bread with Aniseed and Orange Blossom Water

greekeasterbread18

 

Traditional Maltese Figolli

figolli20

 

Eggnog Sponge Cake with Whipped Cream

eggnogeastercake19

 

Poppy Seed and White Chocolate Babka

Poppy Seed and White Chocolate Babka

 

Green Shakshuka Crêpes

Green Shakshuka Crêpes

 

Rhubarb Tartlets with Cinnamon Oat Crumble

rhubarbtartletcinnamonoatcrumble16

 

Gruyère and Red Onion Focaccia

Gruyere Onion Focaccia

 

Pistachio Orange Blossom Muffins

Pistachio Orange Blossom Muffins

 

Crescent Milk Rolls with Poppy Seeds

Poppy Seed Crescent Milk Rolls

 

Bean and Ramp Quiche

Bean and Ramp Quiche

 

Rhubarb Chocolate Cake

Rhubarb Chocolate Cake

 

Marzipan-Ribboned Challah Knots

Marzipan-Ribboned Challah Knots

 

Cheesecake Swiss Roll with Mascarpone and Blackberries

Cheesecake Swiss Roll

 

Roast Rosemary Lamb with Garlic and Tomatoes

Roast Rosemary Lamb

 

 Spinach Ricotta stuffed Conchiglioni on Grilled Cherry Tomatoes

Spinach Ricotta Conchiglioni

 

Spring Timpana – Maltese Pasta Pie with Asparagus, Peas, and Leeks

Spring Timpana

 

There will be two new Easter recipes coming up this Sunday and next Wednesday!

 

Eggnog Easter Cake

The juiciest Rhubarb Chocolate Cake

Rhubarb Chocolate Cake

The amount of recipes I’ve been creating by request in the past few months could almost fill another book. My mind had to come up with all sorts of sandwiches, roasts, seafood dishes, salads, and cakes, which to be honest, is one of the most satisfying things I do amongst all the fields that I’ve worked in since I started my blog. I love to write and take food photos, but there’s something very calming and, at the same time, very exciting about creating recipes. Re-thinking culinary traditions, playing with old and new combinations and various ingredients in my head until a whole dish finally comes to the table is my true passion. It’s one of the few things that never pressures me, it comes out so easily that I wouldn’t dare to call it work.

Working on so many new creations at the same time has one side effect: I have to remind myself to keep it simple – my personal kitchen mantra. I tend to go further and further, adding more and more ingredients, and forgetting that kitchen magic often lies in the little details. A small change can add a completely new quality to a dish, like to my chocolate cake – or the darkest Gâteau au Chocolat. It’s a good cake, with chocolaty depth and a moist texture. As in all of my baked treats, I prefer chocolate over cocoa powder, taste and texture is what I’m after when I want to satisfy my chocolate cravings. Back to my cake, there was no need to improve on this formula, it’s just right, but I’ve been wanting to bake a rhubarb cake for days so I just combined the two. I added so much rhubarb to my dark loaf cake that it ended up being the juiciest and fruitiest chocolate cake I ever baked – with a slightly sweet-sour note.

A short note: I let the loaf cool for just a few minutes before I cut it – I was too impatient – but I recommend letting it cool completely, otherwise it’s a little too fudgy. So be patient, let it cool, and enjoy! For my Gâteau au Chocolat, I used very dark chocolate (99%), however, for this rhubarb chocolate cake I would go for a lighter one, 55% was my chocolate of choice.

Rhubarb Chocolate Cake

 

Rhubarb Chocolate Cake

Rhubarb Chocolate Cake

Serves 6

trimmed rhubarb 450g / 1 pound
dark chocolate (about 55%) 150g / 5 ounces
butter 150g / 2/3 cup
organic eggs 4
a pinch of salt
plain flour 130g / 1 cup
ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon
ground cardamom 1/2 teaspoon
granulated sugar 180g / 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons

For the top of the cake, cut 5 thin long pieces of rhubarb, about 25cm / 10″ long. Cut the remaining rhubarb into 2cm / 3/4″ long pieces.

Set the oven to 180°C / 360°F (preferably convection setting) and butter a 11 x 25cm / 4 1/2 x 10″ loaf pan.

In a medium saucepan, melt the chocolate and butter over low heat, whisk well, and let cool for a few minutes.

Whisk the egg whites and salt until stiff.

Combine the flour, cinnamon, and cardamom.

Mix the egg yolks and sugar until light yellow and thick, then whisk in the chocolate-butter mixture. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture and mix until well combined, then gently fold in the beaten egg whites. Fold in the shorter rhubarb pieces and scrape the batter into the buttered pan. Arrange the long rhubarb pieces on top of the cake and bake for about 75 minutes (slightly longer if using a conventional oven) or until the cake is golden brown and firm on top. If the top of the cake gets too dark, cover it loosely with aluminium foil. Check with a skewer, it should come out almost clean. Let the cake cool completely for a couple hours before you take it out of the pan.

Rhubarb Chocolate Cake

 

Rhubarb Chocolate Cake

 

Rhubarb Chocolate Cake

 

Rhubarb Chocolate Cake

 

rhubarbchocolatecake13

 

rhubarbchocolatecake11

 

rhubarbchocolatecake12

Rhubarb Tartlets with Cinnamon Oat Crumble

Rhubarb Cinnamon-Oat Crumble Tarts

The combination of rhubarb and cinnamon crumble is so perfect that I dare to call it one of my favourite baked sweets. It’s sweet, fruity-sour, and buttery, what more could I ask for? I could add oats, which I’ve never done before for some reason, so I gave it a try and the result was extremely pleasing. The first bite through the crunchy aromatic crust and soft fruit gave me the feeling that home-baked sweets are simply the best.

The past few days were a little rough and rocky and I often wished I had two Meikes to sort out all the tasks and problems piled up on my desk. Late night work led to sleep deprivation and a paranoid me, worrying that I wouldn’t manage to finish everything in time. I call myself quite disciplined, I can work hard, but luckily, I also know when to pull the brake. It was a bright and sunny afternoon and I started to feel like I could see the light at the end of the tunnel – although not all problems were solved yet – but I decided to close my laptop. Trying not to think too much, I grabbed my bag and jumped on my bike. Cycling through springy Berlin and enjoying the bumpy ride over cobbled roads put a smile on my face as I saw nature’s leaves and blossoms taking over the city again. I stopped at a café for a creamy cappuccino that felt like the best coffee I had in a while, and leafed through a cheesy magazine. Life can be perfect and sometimes it’s so easy to get there, all you have to do is forget about your duties for a little while and follow whatever you’re mood calls for.

Rhubarb Cinnamon-Oat Crumble Tarts

 

Rhubarb Cinnamon-Oat Crumble Tarts

Rhubarb Tartlets with Cinnamon Oat Crumbles

Makes 10 tartlets

For the filling

trimmed rhubarb, cut into 5cm / 2″ pieces, 600g / 1 1/3 pounds
granulated sugar, 100g / 1/2 cup

For the pastry

plain flour 260g / 2 cups
sugar 80g / 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon
a pinch of salt
unsalted butter, cold, 160g / 2/3 cup
organic egg yolks 2

For the oat crumble

rolled oats 100g / 3 1/2 ounces / 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon
plain flour 65g / 1/2 cup
granulated sugar 90g / 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons
ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon
unsalted butter, melted, 80g / 1/3 cup

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F (preferably convection setting).

For the filling, add the rhubarb and sugar to a large baking dish and toss to combine. Bake for about 25 minutes or until soft but still in shape. Set the rhubarb aside and let it cool completely.

For the pastry, in a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut the butter with a knife into the flour until there are just little pieces of butter left. Continue with your fingers and rub the butter into the flour until combined. Add the egg yolks and continue mixing with the dough hooks of an electric mixer until you have a crumbly mixture. Form a thick disc, wrap in cling film, and put in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Butter 10 (10cm / 4″) tartlet pans and dust with flour. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Divide the dough into 10 equal parts. Roll out the 10 pieces of dough between cling film into 12 cm / 4 1/2″ circles. Line the tartlet pans with the pastry, push the dough into the pans, and prick with a fork. Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until golden, bush the dough down with a fork if it bubbles up. Take the tartlet pans out of the oven and let them cool for a few minutes. Using a metal skewer, loosen the pastry shell gently along the rim and turn the tartlets out onto the lined baking sheet.

Turn the oven down to 180°C / 350°F.

For the crumble, combine the oats, flour, sugar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Stir in the melted butter and mix until combined and crumbly.

Divide the rhubarb among the tartlet shells, sprinkle with the oat crumble, and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Rhubarb Cinnamon-Oat Crumble Tarts

 

Rhubarb Cinnamon-Oat Crumble Tarts

 

Rhubarb Cinnamon-Oat Crumble Tarts

 

rhubarbtartletcinnamonoatcrumble8

 

rhubarbtartletcinnamonoatcrumble7

 

rhubarbtartletcinnamonoatcrumble15

Cinnamony Rhubarb Meringue Pie

Rhubarb Meringue Pie

This has been my rhubarb week! I bought too many stalks for my rhubarb and leek gratin on Monday, their colourful beauty was just too tempting and I ended up grabbing (and buying) as much as I could fit in my hands. So the green and red pile on my marble top called for a compote, or even better, a pie!

I felt inspired by Jenny’s fabulous lemon meringue pie, the recipe is from my sweet Maltese mama. I often praised the addictive qualities of my boyfriend’s mother’s sweet creation. This lady is also one of the biggest rhubarb fans I know, every time we visit her in Malta we have to take a few jars of compote to stock up her pantry. She just loves it! So I dedicate this dish to her: a wonderful pie made of a crumbly short crust, topped with the fruitiest, cinnamony rhubarb curd you can imagine, finished with a voluptuous layer of sweet meringue. I like her lemony pie a lot but I learned that rhubarb lifts it onto another level, at least for my taste. It’s such a fruity, sour and slightly sweet and buttery composition. Next time we go to Malta, which will be soon, I decided that I have to make it for Jenny. She’ll be over the moon!

A short note: The curd in the cool pie will be a bit more set than you see in the pictures, I cut it too early – guided by my impatient appetite!

Rhubarb Meringue Pie

 

Rhubarb Meringue Pie

 Rhubarb Meringue Pie

For a 23cm / 9″ pie(in a shallow pie plate) you need

For the pastry

plain flour 160g / 1 1/4 cups / 5 1/2oz
sugar 1 tablespoon
salt 1/4 teaspoon
butter 90g / 3/4 stick / 3 1/4oz
water (cold) 3 tablespoons

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Cut the butter with a knife into the flour until there are just little pieces of butter left. Continue with your fingers and rub the butter quickly into the flour until combined. Add the water and continue mixing with the hooks of an electric mixer until you have a crumbly mixture. Form a thick disc, wrap in cling film and put in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Set the oven to 210°C / 410°F (top/ bottom heat).

Roll out the dough between cling film and line your baking dish with the flat pastry. Prick it with a fork and blind-bake in the hot oven for 15 minutes or until golden. Let it cool completely.

 

For the rhubarb curd

First you make a rhubarb compote which you then turn into a curd.

rhubarb, cut into 1/2cm / 1/4″ slices, 650g / 5 cups / 1 1/2 pounds
sugar 150g / 3/4 cup / 5 1/4oz for the compote, plus 2 tablespoons for the curd
cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon
water 75ml / 1/3 cup for the curd, plus 1 tablespoon for the compote
butter 1 tablespoon
cornstarch 30g / 1/4 cup / 1oz
pinch of salt
organic egg yolks, beaten, 3

For the compote, heat the rhubarb, 150g (3/4cups) of sugar, cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of water in a large pot on medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Turn up the heat to medium-high and cook for 10 minutes (open, without a lid). Take off the heat and stir in the butter.

For the curd, whisk 75ml (1/3 cup) water, the cornstarch, 2 tablespoons of sugar and salt and add to the hot rhubarb. Bring to the boil and cook for 3 minutes on medium-high heat, stir once in a while. Take 1 tablespoon of this mixture and whisk into the beaten egg yolks, pour the egg-compote mixture back into the pot with the rhubarb. Bring to the boil, stir constantly and cook for half a minute. Take the pot off the heat, pour the curd into a bowl and let it cool completely. You could place the bowl on cooling pads to speed up the process.

 

For the meringue

egg whites 3
sugar 80g / 1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon / 2 3/4oz
pinch of salt

Beat the egg whites with the salt, adding the sugar gradually while beating, until the white is stiff.

 

The pie

Set the oven to  210°C / 410°F (top/ bottom heat).

Pour the cool rhubarb curd on top of the pastry and finish it off with the stiff egg whites, you can form little peaks with a knife to create an uneven surface. Bake for 7 minutes or until the top is golden brown and crisp. Let it sit for about 30 minutes before cutting for the curd to set. The pie still tastes great the next day (after keeping it in the fridge) but it won’t look as pretty.

Rhubarb Meringue Pie

 

Rhubarb Meringue Pie

 

Rhubarb Meringue Pie

 

rhubarbmeringuepie11

Rhubarb and Leek Gratin with Rosemary

Rhubarb and Leek Gratin

For weeks I have been thinking about combining leek and rhubarb in a gratin, the sourness of the fruity stalk and the onion’s distinct spiciness seemed like a special match. Weeks and many other recipes have past, but I finally found the time to sit down and think about the right composition to make this duo work.

At first, I started off with a pinch of cardamom, this spice adds a nice warming touch, but something was still missing. I took a quick look at my herb garden in front of my bedroom window, that’s the place where I keep all my little pots at the moment. The plants spread a mesmerizing smell in the afternoon sun and filled the air with the nicest aroma of rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, marjoram, tarragon, chervil and lovage. I started to pick some thyme leaves but realised it would be too strong for my gratin, rosemary and its woody taste was the missing link in my composition, it made it complete!

Rhubarb and Leek Gratin

 

Rhubarb and Leek Gratin

 Rhubarb and Leek Gratin with Rosemary

For 2 as a snack or 4 as a side dish you need

leek, cut in half lengthwise and cut into 6cm / 2 1/2″ pieces, 250g / 1/2 pound
rhubarb, cut in half lengthwise and cut into 6cm / 2 1/2″ pieces, 250g / 1/2 pound
olive oil
a pinch of ground cardamom
flaky sea salt
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar
sugar
fresh rosemary needles, chopped, for the topping

Set the oven to 200°C / 390°F (top / bottom heat) and oil the bottom of a baking dish.

Arrange the leek and rhubarb in circles in the baking dish and coat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, cardamom and a little sugar. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden and soft. Sprinkle with fresh rosemary and season to taste.

Rhubarb and Leek Gratin

 

Rhubarb and Leek Gratin

 

rhubarbleekgratincardamom6

Rhubarb Cardamom Clafoutis

Rhubarb Cardamom Clafoutis

In the past few weeks, my kitchen (and sometimes our living room and balcony) has looked like a farmer’s market. I use every corner, kitchen counter, shelf and cupboard to store piles of fruit and vegetables. Tomatoes, squash and beans sit next to colourful cabbages, lettuce, the whole range of citrus fruits and more pots of herbs than I’ve ever had in my kitchen before. Plums, strawberries, pears and apples share space with all sorts of roots and greens. Since I started working on my cookbook, my kitchen became a beautiful mess, completely stuffed and almost bursting. My fridge is always so full that I have problems fitting in the butter tin and milk after breakfast.

In the past 3 days, I cooked and baked 12 dishes, so whenever my boyfriend and I meet in the kitchen to have dinner, it feels like choosing from a scrumptious buffet at a hotel. It’s quite a treat and we can’t complain as the results are very satisfying but we are a little bit worried that we’ll look like whales when we go to the beach in Malta this summer. So far, the scales have been fair and forgiving, nothing has changed. I blame it on all the vegetables, the good olive oil and the crazy activities which has also taken over our lives. If you move constantly, you can’t really gain weight. Hopefully it will stay this way, as I still have a few weeks of excessive cooking and baking ahead of me!

If there are no book recipes on my schedule, I only need to look around me and I can pick all the fruit and veg I could possibly ask for. There’s everything at hand, whatever my taste desires. Be it spring, summer, autumn or winter, all the seasons are represented in my kitchen, which also means that there is always something that has to be prepared as I don’t want to waste. I ended up with too many eggs, too much milk and too much rhubarb, this called for a clafoutis! I refined the golden French pan dish with cardamom, you could also add cinnamon but cardamom is my favourite baking spice at the moment. The result was very fluffy, I was impressed how much it rose this time! You never really know what this dessert is going to do when you take it out of the oven. The pleasure didn’t last very long, a clafoutis can rise like a soufflé and deflate almost as quickly. But it tasted fantastic, warm and fragrant, slightly sweet and sour, just right for a late Sunday breakfast with your mama – Happy Mother’s Day to all the great mamas in the world!

You can find the recipe for my apricot clafoutis here!

Rhubarb Cardamom Clafoutis

Rhubarb Cardamom Clafoutis

For a 23cm /9″ heavy, ovenproof pan or baking dish you need

rhubarb, cut into 3cm / 1 1/4″ pieces, 300g / 10 1/2oz
ground cardamom
flour 80g / 3 ounces
sugar 4 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons for the rhubarb
a pinch of salt
butter, melted, 30g / 1 ounce plus 2 tablespoons for the rhubarb
organic eggs 4
milk 200ml/ 7 ounces
freshly squeezed orange juice 3 tablespoons

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom in a heavy pan, add the rhubarb and cook for 3 minutes until it becomes soft, stir once in a while. Set the pan aside.

Set the oven to 180°C / 355°F (top / bottom heat) and butter a 23cm /9″ heavy, ovenproof pan or baking dish generously.

Combine the flour, 4 tablespoons of sugar and a pinch of salt. Whisk 1 teaspoon of cardamom into the warm melted butter and mix with the eggs, milk and orange juice, pour into the dry mixture and mix with an electric mixer until well combined.

Spread the rhubarb in the buttered pan and pour the batter on top. Bake for about 50 minutes or until the clafoutis is golden and set. Sprinkle the warm clafoutis with sugar and ground cardamom to taste.

Rhubarb Cardamom Clafoutis

 

Rhubarb Cardamom Clafoutis

 

Rhubarb Cardamom Clafoutis

 

rhubarbcardamomclafoutis10

An Upside Down Cake with Rhubarb, Cinnamon and Strawberries

Rhubarb + Strawberry Upside Down Cake

An upside down cake is the easiest and most convenient way to put juicy fruits into a quick cake. They just sit on the bottom, soften slowly in their juices and spread their aroma into the dough baking on top. The pastry can grow spongy with a thin crisp layer and the fruits turn into a thick compote. Juiciness where juiciness belongs! Technically the cake should be flipped upside down when it’s done, I just skipped this part. I liked the rustic look of its golden top, like a pie that you scoop out of the pan with a spoon, and to be honest, the bottom doesn’t look as pretty!

In the past few weeks I’ve been using lots of rhubarb in my recipes, I love its fresh, sour taste but its season is quickly coming to an end. No reason to be sad as I’m slowly changing over to what nature offers next, like strawberries! Much sweeter, yet no less versatile in the kitchen. My upside down cake combines the qualities of both fruits, sweet and and sour with a pinch of cinnamon. Not to forget the pastry, it is so good that the cake only lasted a few hours! While I was taking the photos my kitchen was filled with the sweet smell of cinnamon, fruit and fresh pastry, I could barely stop myself from taking the first bite!

Rhubarb + Strawberry Upside Down Cake

 Rhubarb and Strawberry Upside Down Cake

For an oval baking dish (around 25cm / 10″) you need

flour 210g / 7.5 ounces
sugar 150g / 5.5 ounces plus 6 tablespoons for the fruit
baking powder 1 1/2 teaspoons
a pinch of salt
butter, melted, 60g / 2 ounces
organic eggs 2
milk 100ml / 3.5 ounces
a pinch of fresh vanilla
rhubarb, sliced thickly, 650g / 1.5 pounds
strawberries, cut in half, 200g / 7 ounces
cinnamon 1 teaspoon

Set the oven to 190°C / 375°F.

Spread the fruits in a baking dish and sprinkle with 6 tablespoons of sugar mixed with a teaspoon of cinnamon.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, mix the butter, eggs, milk and vanilla with a mixer and fold into the dry mixture, stir with a wooden spoon until you have a lumpy dough. Don’t over mix! With a big spoon dollop the dough on top of the fruits and spread gently until roughly covered. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Check with a skewer, it should come out clean.

Rhubarb + Strawberry Upside Down Cake

 

Rhubarb + Strawberry Upside Down Cake

Rabbit wrapped in Sage and Bacon roast on Rhubarb

Rabbit wrapped in Sage + Bacon on Rhubarb

Sweet and sour rhubarb, salty bacon and aromatic sage wrap my juicy pieces of rabbit in a delicious composition of spring flavours. You could use pork fillet in this recipe as well but I like rabbit meat, it’s tenderness and unique taste. We often eat it when we’re in Malta where rabbit is so popular that it became the national dish. Be it as a Mediterranean stew with olives, tomatoes and wine, often cooked together with pork for a stronger aroma, or in a pie, I’ve enjoyed some of the best rabbit meals on this island!

Rabbit meat isn’t very challenging to cook as long as it’s kept moist and not overcooked. The little packages of sage and bacon in my recipe infuse the meat with their flavours but also keep it juicy. The steaming rhubarb roasting under the meat has the same effect. Its juices add a fruity taste to the meat and make sure that it doesn’t dry out while it’s cooking.

Rabbit wrapped in Sage + Bacon on Rhubarb

 

Rabbit wrapped in Sage + Bacon on Rhubarb

Rabbit wrapped in Sage and Bacon roast on Rhubarb

For 4 people you need

rabbit, without bones, 500g / 1 pound for 8 portions
(I bought rabbit back and legs, the fillets from the back were the easiest to prepare)
rhubarb, cut into 5cm / 2″ pieces, 500g / 1 pound
sugar 3 tablespoons
garlic, thinly sliced, 3 cloves
fresh sage 16 leaves
bacon 8 slices
white wine 75ml / 2.5 ounces
olive oil 2 tablespoons
salt and pepper

Set the oven to 210°C / 410°F. My oven has a Rotitherm roasting setting which works perfectly for this recipe.

Cover the bottom of a baking dish with the rhubarb mixed with sugar. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide the rabbit in 8 portions, season with salt and pepper and wrap each portion in a slice of bacon together with 2 leaves of sage and 3 slices of garlic. Place on top of the rhubarb and pour the wine and olive oil over it.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, pouring some of the juices over it from time to time. For the last 3 minutes sprinkle the bacon with some sugar.

Rabbit wrapped in Sage + Bacon on Rhubarb

 

Rabbit wrapped in Sage + Bacon on Rhubarb

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