If you’d been a fly on the wall, or rather in the car, at the weekend, you’d have heard this passionate defense of my native county:
‘But, but, but… the rhubarb triangle of Yorkshire really does exist!’
Mr B. didn’t believe me. (In fact, he was laughing so hard at the idea of a triangle dedicated to rhubarb that he nearly crashed the car.) And even now, I think he’s humouring me the way you do with kids and Santa (‘Sure, honey, of course it exists… Whatever you say…’).
In the meantime, we can celebrate with these plain but rather tasty muffins – the sweet/sharp tang of the rhubarb plays nicely off the walnuts, and the handful of wheatgerm makes you feel a little bit virtuous and able to justify them as breakfast treats (although I very rarely need to justify eating delicious baked goods…).
Rhubarb muffins from It’s Raining Plums by Xanthe Clay
Makes 12 muffins
250g soft brown sugar
120ml vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
225ml buttermilk or plain yogurt
170g rhubarb, diced into 1cm pieces
80g walnuts, chopped (optional)
280g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/200C/400F. Grease or line a twelve-cup muffin tin.
2. In a large bowl, mix the sugar, oil, egg, vanilla extract and buttermilk or yogurt.
3. Stir in the rhubarb and nuts.
4. Sift over the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, and add the wheatgerm. Fold together until just blended but still rather lumpy and uneven looking. Spoon into the muffin tin and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
5. Leave for 5 minutes to cool before removing from the tin and scoffing.
I can’t find any forced rhubarb. I’ve had my eyes peeled for the last couple of months but I’ve seen nothing. Apparently, there’s no difference in taste between unforced and forced rhubarb, but the latter is much prettier for cooking with, being that much pinker. And it’s probably just my imagination but the unforced version tastes a bit more sour. Anyone else know where I can get some of the good stuff?