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Rhubarb
 
We featured Rhubarb in the Calendar section of last month’s newsletter.
And this month’s Food and Health section reveals the health benefits of sour foods.
Rhubarb is definitely a sour vegetable (no it’s not a fruit), and normally  needs to be sweetened to be palatable.
In fact one of our health conscious clients wouldn’t plant rhubarb because she thought she would have to use so much sugar when cooking it.  Remember you can find lots of healthy alternatives to refined sugar, like honey, coconut sugar, dates, stevia and maple syrup.
 
Rhubarb partners particularly well with apples (they tone down the strong flavour), strawberries and raspberries (enhance the colour and tart flavour), vanilla and orange, so don’t be afraid to plant rhubarb (or buy some) just so you can enjoy our delicious recipes below.
 

Rhubarb and Coconut Cake
 
This first recipe uses sugar, but the cake is so delicious we had to include it!
In fact the team at Vital Veggies were treated to this cake at lunchtime today and I had to take the photo quickly before it all disappeared.
Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup (120g) self-raising flour
  • 3/4 cup (120g) ground almonds
  • 3/4 cup (150g) caster sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups (110g) desiccated coconut
  • 125g butter, melted
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) yoghurt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste 
  • grated rind of 1 orange
  • 1 cup (100g) finely chopped rhubarb
  • 2 stalks (125g) rhubarb, extra
  • 2 tbsp demerara sugar, or cinnamon sugar
 
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to moderate (180°C). Grease a deep, 20cm round or square cake pan. Line base with baking paper.
  2. Combine flour, almond meal and coconut in a medium bowl.
  3. Beat eggs with sugar until fluffy then stir in melted butter, yoghurt, orange rind and vanilla until combined.
  4. Stir the wet mixture into the flour mixture.
  5. Spread half the cake mixture into the prepared pan. Scatter chopped rhubarb evenly over cake mixture. Spread remaining batter over rhubarb.
  6. Cut extra rhubarb into 5cm lengths. Arrange pieces over top of cake, sprinkle with demerara sugar or cinnamon sugar.
  7. Bake in a moderate oven for about 1 hour. Stand cake in pan for 5 minutes, turn onto wire rack to cool.

Baked Corn Fritters with Rhubarb and Avocado Salsa
Ingredients:
 
Fritters
  • 2 cups fresh corn
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 bunch spring onions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno chili, chopped (optional)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
Rhubarb Avocado Salsa
  • 2 stalks rhubarb, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1-2 avocados, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 180C degrees.
  2. For the salsa, saute onion and rhubarb in olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan for about 8 minutes and then remove from heat.
  3. For the fritters, mix all ingredients together until a sticky batter is formed and scoop onto parchment paper (dust with cornmeal first to prevent sticking).
  4. Bake the fritters at 180C degrees for 25 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time.
  5. Once cooked, toss salsa with cilantro and avocado and pour over fritters.

Healthy Rhubarb Dessert Cake
 
Another cake you can eat for breakfast!
Ingredients:
 
Rhubarb topping
  • 5 cups rhubarb, chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 5 tablespoons honey or agave
Crust
  • 3/4 cup fine almond meal
  • 3/4 cup pecans
  • 3/4 cup dates
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Filling
  • 3 cups cashews, soaked overnight
  • 1/4- 1/2 cup lemon juice (start with 1/4 add more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Coconut whipped cream
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated for 24 hours
  • 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup, to taste
Method:
 
  1. Soak the cashews overnight or for at least 5 hours
  2. In a medium saucepan combine all of the ingredients for the rhubarb topping, and heat over low/medium until the rhubarb dissolves (you may need to help it along by smashing chunks with your spoon).  When completely cooked down scoop rhubarb topping into a bowl and refrigerate while you prepare the rest of cake.
  3. For the crust, combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until thoroughly combined.  If mixture is too dry, add a little bit of water.  It should be slightly sticky.
  4. Evenly spread mixture into a 23cm removable bottom tart pan (a traditional pie pan will work as well). Refrigerate while you prepare the cheesecake mixture.
  5. To make the cheesecake, combine all ingredients in a high powered blender until mixture is creamy.  Adjust lemon juice amount to taste.
  6. Spread cheesecake mixture over the crust and refrigerate at least 2 hours until set.  When ready to serve, spread the rhubarb mixture over top.
  7. To prepare coconut whipped cream, scoop out just the hardened coconut milk discarding the watery part underneath (or use in your next smoothie).  In a mixing bowl combine hardened coconut milk with 1 tbs maple syrup and beat with a hand blender on high until light and fluffy.  Add more syrup if you prefer a sweeter whipped cream.
  8. Serve the cake chilled, or freeze and serve slightly defrosted.  It’s a treat.  Enjoy!
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