Sunday, May 23, 2010

Rhubarb Crumble

My sister has been trying to get me to go to the Abbotsford Farmers' Market for about three years now. Or more, I'm not entirely sure. The whole purpose of the exercise (or at least how she sold it to me) was to check out the 'boys in hats and scarves'. Well, alluring as those wool-clad boys might have been, I just couldn't bring myself to get up before about 11am on a Saturday, and after showering, breakfast eating, transportation etc there is no way I could possibly make it to the market by 1pm, when it closes.

My sister went frequently though, and although singing its praises (and recounting sightings of 'boys with hats and scarves' - hello sister, I love you) I still never bothered to get around to it. Until a couple of weeks ago. My obsession with vegetables is getting increasingly all-pervasive and I jumped at the idea of riding our bikes along to Yarra to check out some organic or direct-from-farmer vegies and other produce. We only managed to get there by closing time, 1pm, but there was still plenty of stuff around. I'm not on the hunt for a boy-with-hat-and-scarf anymore, but even so it looked like most of the guys there were less 'pick-up-girls-in-dresses-on-bicycles' stage and more 'strap-a-baby-to-my-chest-and-pick-up-some-organic-milk' stage.

I bought some lovely saffron pine mushrooms, fresh and crunchy broccoli and a bunch of the wonderful, wonderful 'Di's Rhubarb'. Those who know this rhubarb will remember that it comes with a very strict warning that you are to cook it with NO WATER and RAW SUGAR ONLY. Seriously. You disobey Di at your own risk. She'll ask you about the next time you buy it (as she did yesterday, when I went to the market a second time) and I doubt she'd let you off easily if you lied to her about it. NO WATER.

I'm not sure what horrible fate would befall you if you did add water, but Di's Rhubarb Crumble recipe is so good I wouldn't bother giving it a go. Just follow the recipe and you will have the most delicious, comforting winter dessert ever. Best to use Di's Rhubarb from the Farmers' market though, I can't vouch for other rhubarb but the rhubarb I saw at the supermarket yesterday was a limp, shrivelled, sorry sight.

Di's Rhubarb Crumble

400g rhubarb, topped and tailed and cut into 2cm pieces
350g apples, peeled and chopped
125g raw sugar (Di suggests 250g but it's just way too much)

175g plain flour
100g sugar
125g butter, chopped
100g gingernut biscuits
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger powder

Place rhubarb, apples and raw sugar in a pot. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until all fruit has fallen apart and become syrupy. NO WATER, ALRIGHT?

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, butter, gingernut biscuits, cinnamon, ginger. Either combine in food processor or do what I did and bash the biscuits to crumbs using a the pestle from a mortar and pestle. Scrunch mixture with fingers until butter is combined and you have buttery crumbs.

Pour fruit mix into baking dish, cover with crumble mix and bake at 180 degrees C for roughly 40 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

Yumbo. Serves about 6 people.

Other market finds which have been turned into delicious, bursting-with-freshness dishes:

- Lightly steamed broccoli with homemade aioli

- Tomatoes sliced and served in alternating layers with creamy fior di latte cheese

- Pan fried black beans and kale

- Caramelised roasted butternut pumpkin

- Tiny kipfler potatoes as a salad with mayonnaise and loads of dill

The next Abbotsford Farmers' Market is on Saturday, 12th of June at the Collingwood Children's Farm, St. Heliers St Abbotsford. See you there! Does anyone know of any other wonderful Farmers' Markets in Melbourne?

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