Something with Rhubarb…..

“Make something with rhubarb for the station” – my mother said on Thursday.  I had been thinking of writing about rhubarb as it’s growing fast and looking very pretty & pink in the garden.  So a perfect opportunity to tell you about rhubarb and stations.

Rhubarb Alive

‘The Station’ is somewhat of a dying tradition in rural Ireland.  Each church parish is divided into ‘station areas’ where a number of houses are grouped together.  Each house takes turns in having the station at their home.  The priest comes and says mass in the sitting room and your neighbours come round and stay for tea and cakes after (maybe even a hot meal/buffet and/or booze depending on where you are).  When I was younger the stations would be in the morning and we might be allowed take a few hours off school.  Now infrequent stations are usually held in the evening.

My parents had their station at 7pm yesterday evening.  We spent the day making sandwiches, baking scones, buns and ‘something with rhubarb’.   On top of that good neighbours drop in biscuit tins filled with homemade cupcakes or madeira sponge.   Opening those biscuit tins releases memories through smells……Sights of neat, forked homemade butter icing.

The ‘something with rhubarb’  needed to be something neat like a slice rather than something slightly messy like a crumble or tart.  So here’s a ‘Rhubarb Crumble Slice’.  Very simple and produces a delicious byproduct of a rhubarb juice drink.

Prepare the rhubarb first to give it time to strain and cool.

8 stalks rhubarb sliced into 3cm chunks

dash water

enough sugar to sweeten

Place the rhubarb and water in a saucepan and cover over a medium heat.  Cook until the rhubarb pieces just soften – you want the majority of them to retain their shape so don’t stew.  Stir a few times while cooking and remove the lid half-way through.  Stir in enough sugar to sweeten when they are cooked and still hot.  Now strain the rhubarb and keep the juice to mix with natural yogurt or dilute for  a yummy drink.

Rhubarb straining

Make the crumble topping by rubbing 3oz / 85g butter into a mixture of 5oz/140g plain flour, 1oz/28g porridge oats, 2-3oz/55-85g brown sugar.  (The level of sweetness is really to your own taste here).

Preheat the oven to 180 C.  Grease an 8″/22cm round tin (or equivalent square tin) with butter (no need to line).

The base is a simple madeira sponge:

5oz / 140g soft butter

4-5oz / 110g-140g caster sugar

3 eggs

5oz/140g self-raising flour

zest of 1 lemon

Beat the butter & sugar together until well combined and add the eggs, one at a time – beating slowly between each one (throw in a pinch of flour with each egg to prevent curdling).  Sieve in the flour and fold gently until well combined.

To assemble:

Spread the madeira cake mix on the base of the greased cake tin.  Spread the cooled, strained rhubarb pieces generously all over.

Rhubarb & Madeira

Sprinkle the crumble on top.

Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the crumble is lovely golden colour and a skewer comes clean out of centre of cake.

Cooked

This is good for slicing into squares and passing around at the station.

The leftovers

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Valerie on March 26, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    Stations were a big highlight in our lives, I don’t think anyone on the east coast ever had them. They were great events and it’s great they are still around..
    My rhubarb is not ready to pick yet but I’ll be trying your receipe
    when it shows up.

    Reply

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