Rhubarb Heaven

Over the few days, I'll be updating you all on my leave of absence from blogging, but for tonight this Rhubarb Bellini post could just not wait!!!  You'll find it below but also on www.goodfoodfinewineanddirtywellies.com

Rhubarb Heaven

I have and always will be a rhubarb fan.  Rhubarb and custard was always my choice of hard boiled sweets as a child and in its natural state is just the perfect combo.  Crumbles with ice cream, strawberries you name it have become my stable when having guests as I know what I am doing, I should after years of practice. 
Two years ago we started our veg patch and while we were planting I insisted that we get a rhubarb plant (we ended up with two! as you do, one for Jack and one for Bobby – and all the spoils for mammy!)  The lovely guy from Ballyseedy whose name escapes me warned me not to touch for the first twelve months and if I behaved I would reap the rewards the year after, and I did.  We’ve had a massive crop continuously over the past two summer/autumns. 
Last year I set about finding myself new things to make with my, I mean our rhubarb.  I tried the curd which was lovely but disappointingly vacant of that dusky pink colour that I love.  But then I happened upon Valerie O’Connor’s article in the Irish Examiner’s Weekender Magazine.  I am a regular reader and avid follower of Valerie’s recipes and advice and was delighted to find in an article called Free for all, a recipe not only for Rhubarb Cordial but also one for Elderflower Champagne.  An article summing up my taste buds to a tee, but the Champagne will have to wait (It deserves a Blog post all of its own).  Valerie’s method is what follows below.  I remember reading her honest words telling me that ‘it’s fiddly, but the results are worth it’ and it is most certainly both.  Straining the rhubarb is just that a strain and awkward, and you do need patience and a vision, my motivation was rhubarb Bellini and they really didn’t disappoint.

So what do you do?
First you’ll have to make sure you have the equipment necessary, I didn’t first time round and ended up improvising which was so bad.  (I used the boys’ muslin cloths (clean and boiled) instead of normal muslin which I didn’t have)


Two 500ml Sterilised bottles (wash and put them in a 160C oven for 10 minutes)
Muslin cloth
Fruit strainer
A stick or broom
A large bowl


1 1/2kg 3lb of rhubarb cleaned and chopped into chunks
1 kg sugar approx
2-3 lemons


Put the rhubarb in a pot with about 100 ml of water and bring to the boil, turn down and allow to simmer for about 40 minutes until the fruit is very soft.  Then transfer the contents to a muslin lined fruit strainer and allow it to drain over a large bowl.  When the dripping stop gather up the muslin and tie it with the string to the stick and allow it to be suspended over the bowl, make sure it is not touching the juice below though and leave over night.

The next day give the muslin bag one last squeeze and then pour the juice in the bowl into a measuring jug.  For every litre of juice add 700g of sugar and 50ml of lemon juice.  Add these all to a pot and reheat until all the sugar is dissolved. 

Bottle the cordial and drink it diluted with three parts water or if you’re me you put it in champagne flute and top it up with your favourite bubbles.

Rhubarb Bellinis

For the Rhubarb Bellinis I recommend that you don’t go very expensive with your bubbles, the rhubarb cordial does most of the work here so it seems a little wasteful to use an expensive bottle.  I recommend using a good dry prosecco, if you’d like lots of bubble and a crisp taste, the cordial has lots of sugar in it already so sweet proseccos can make it a little too sweet but that’s personal taste of course.  Cavas are also a good bet and ALDI happens to do two very good ones that would fit the bill perfectly, their Cava Brut and their Belletti Prosecco are great with it and both are in and around the €10 mark. The Belletti is an offer in small bottles at the moment, which would be perfect for summer picnic Bellinis!

So I’m off to have another Bellini, even if it is a school night, they’re just too good not to.  Looking forward to hearing how you all get on in rhubarb heaven and would love to hear your rhubarb recipes if you’re willing to share.

Love light and bubbles,

PS Lots of bubble and not so bubbly related posts to come over the next few weeks!  Guess who's on holidays????


Popular Posts