The perfect jug and a helping of serendipity…

I’ve found the per­fect jug. Designed by Emma Lacey, it has a thumb-sized dimple in just the right place. Pick it up and it feels as sol­id, safe and simple as a pair of sturdy shoes, brown bread and but­ter, a pic­nic on the beach or rhu­barb and cus­tard.

Serendip­ity is both a fant­ast­ic word and a bril­liant concept. My new jug had already made me think of rhu­barb and cus­tard — serendip­ity sor­ted things out so that I got to eat it too. My very clev­er friend, the one who knows how to grow things and even bet­ter loves giv­ing them away, left a bas­ket of home-grown rhu­barb and a batch of her hens’ eggs on the door­step this morn­ing.

It’s vir­tu­ally a ready-meal from the super­mar­ket — the con­tents of the bas­ket are more than three quar­ters of the way to being a bowl of baked rhu­barb and vanilla cus­tard. And that is what they became.…

Rhubarb Baked With Cardamon and Kaffir Lime Leaf and Served With Vanilla Custard

Serves 3 or 4

Pre­heat the oven to 175 degrees C

600g rhu­barb cut into slices

2 table­spoons sug­ar

5 or 6 car­da­mon pods

1 kaf­fir lime leaf

Zest and juice of a tan­ger­ine

6 egg yolks

125g caster sug­ar

600 ml milk

One vanilla pod

Com­bine the rhu­barb with the tan­ger­ine zest and juice, 2 table­spoons of sug­ar, the car­da­mon pods and the kaf­fir lime leaf and spread out in a shal­low oven­proof dish. I had been plan­ning to add a star anise to the dish instead, but spot­ted the lime leaves and the car­da­mon pods in the cup­board first. I dis­covered that they brought a deli­cious zingy per­fume to the rhu­barb — anoth­er dose of serendip­ity as it turned out. Bake for 25 minutes until soft but not mushy.

To make the cus­tard, whisk the yolks with the sug­ar until pale and glossy. Warm the milk with the vanilla pod to boil­ing point. Add the milk to the egg mix­ture. Tip back into a clean pan and stir over a low heat until the cus­tard starts to thick­en slightly. Don’t stop stir­ring and don’t let the cus­tard over­heat.

Heap the rhu­barb on a plate, add a gen­er­ous puddle of cus­tard and you will be as far away from school din­ner rhu­barb and cus­tard as it is pos­sible to be. And that too is serendip­it­ous.

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6 thoughts on “The perfect jug and a helping of serendipity…

  1. Inter­est­ing to use car­da­mon pods with rhu­barb. I must use them more. Beau­ti­ful pic­tures and an inter­est­ing jug. The link was handy too.

  2. Hi Jakey
    The car­da­mon pods and lime leaves were an inter­est­ing exper­i­ment — worth a try I think. Oth­er­wise ginger is good, or star anise.

  3. The pitch­er is per­fect… and I like your table cloth, too. 🙂 Ah, I miss rhu­barb. (Now that I am in Hong Kong I must be on the look out for it.)

  4. Very good to hear from you Sarah. I envy you being in Hong Kong, although I can under­stand why you miss rhu­barb. I’m sure it must be there some­where. Hong Kong seemed to have everything any­one could ever want when I vis­ited.

  5. Charlie, you are prob­ably right. You can find everything here–all for a price, of course! I shall keep my eyes peeled.

  6. I love to think of a clump of rhu­barb grow­ing in a little corner of Hong Kong. Let me know if you find any…

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