Oof! I don’t know what happened there, but one day it was May, and then suddenly it was July. What happened to June? I’ve gone straight from early rhubarb to elderflowers, without so much as a whiff of wild garlic and hardly an asparagus spear to be seen. My sister is becoming really quite concerned that I don’t seem to have eaten in a month. (I’m secretly hoping that she’ll take pity on me and come and live in our flat when her lease is up, and make me lots of her delicious food to fatten me back up).
In reality, though, I have been eating – mostly ice cream, I admit, but I have been eating – I just haven’t been writing any of it down. I blame John, who very unreasonably had a birthday only a week before our old housemate returned from 18 months on the other side of the world for four very short days before jetting off to Finland, only a week before my godfather flew across for a visit from Australia (although, in his case, not with a new Finnish girlfriend).
Obviously, it’s been a very hard month.
Incidentally, I’m not sure when we acquired the kind of friends who turn up for dinner with a bottle of half-price Pimms and an armful of rhubarb fresh from the garden, but I’d like to keep them, please. My plan is mostly to feed them this rhubarb sorbet, but that means that I will need to save some of it until they come over next, and that may prove difficult. It’s really, really, nice. I would try to be more eloquent, but that’s basically all you need to know, right there.
From four ingredients (rhubarb, sugar, lime juice and gin), what you end up with is so much more than the sum of its parts – it’s not as astringent as you’d expect a rhubarb sorbet to be, but without compensating by being overly sweet. The gin lowers the freezing temperature of the sorbet enough so that it’s at a perfect spoon-from-the-tub temperature even straight from the freezer (let’s not pretend, guys, we’re not so sophisticated over here), and somehow, in the churning process, the rhubarb acquires an amazing creamy taste and texture. We had seconds.
rhubarb and gin sorbet
from Apt. 2B Baking Co.. Makes around 1/2 a litre, or possibly more if you don’t have helpers eating it straight from the ice-cream maker ‘just to make sure’, which is of course a very important step for anything that looks like it might be delicious but won’t be ready for ages.
The original recipe includes two tablespoons of corn syrup, which I omitted as I a) thought it seemed such a small amount that it could easily be ignored, and b) couldn’t be bothered to try and find any. The sorbet is entirely delicious without it, but I’ve since noticed it appears on quite a lot of American ice-cream recipes. Does anybody have any idea why? Answers on a ten-pound note, please…
8 fl. oz water (240ml)
450g rhubarb stalks, the pinker the better
juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp gin
Chop the rhubarb into 2cm pieces. Put the sugar and water into a medium saucepan, and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved, then add the rhubarb. Simmer for around ten minutes until it’s starting to fall apart.
Blend until smooth. If you have one, use a stick blender for this step. It is achievable in a tiny mini-blender, but I made just a tiny mess of the kitchen doing it this way.
Add the lime juice and chill thoroughly, then add the gin and churn in an ice cream maker. Transfer to the freezer in an airtight container (I’m finding cleaned-out innocent veg pots quite handy for this).