I had the weirdest day yesterday. In the middle of Balham, in broad daylight, a random stranger kicked me up the arse.
I was shocked too.
He kicked me hard too. Very aggressive and actually quite scary, he thought I had hit my shopping trolley off his car, started roaring at me. I explained that I hadn’t, that I had merely hit the kerb. He roared “HANG ON! WHERE ARE YOU FROM?!” and was suddenly further incensed.
At this point it was obvious that he was out of control and I said that I would call the police if he didn’t stop. So he went for me.
I am so thankful that someone intervened. It is all in the hands of the police now but WHAT A WEIRD DAY.
I am tired and sore and in need of nourishment. I am also startled. If it weren’t so in line with a Fr Ted episode (kicking Bishop Brennan up the arse), it might not be quite so bizarre. As awful as it was, the constant reminder of Fr Ted brings a chuckle. How can it not?
So I made this.
January is joyless in many regards. Grey, moody and lacking lustre. But Nature comes to our rescue via some clever Yorkshire Victorian farmers, who decided that they would force rhubarb. Force rhubarb to do what? Well grow in the dark under large terracotta forcing urns to be harvested by candle light. The lack of light forces the terracotta to grow long, lean and bright pink. Sweeter than normal rhubarb and so very tender. It is divine.
Rhubarb loves rose, rose loves pistachio, pistachio loves rhubarb too. The three together, and in my porridge mean everything is right with the world again.
Notes on the recipe: if you are planning this, soak the porridge in the milk overnight, it makes a difference. I prefer rose extract to rose water as it is punchier, if using rose water, use a tablespoon and adjust to taste. I use a lot of milk as I find these steel cut oats just drink it and I like my porridge to be soft and a little runny. I subscribe to the school that more-is-more when things are delicious so there is a lot of rhubarb and pistachio here. For extra luxury, add a little cream.
Update: if using normal rhubarb, use more honey as it is a lot more sour. It will still be lovely though.
Recipe: Rhubarb, Rose & Pistachio Porridge
Feeds: one hungry person / two normal not so hungry people
50g steel cut oats (I used Flahavan’s)
300ml full fat milk
150g rhubarb, cut into inch pieces – forced rhubarb if you can get it
25g pistachios, shelled and chopped
3 drops or so of rose extract – to taste (or 1 tbsp rosewater)
2 tbsp honey – to taste
Poach half of the rhubarb with 1 tbsp of the honey in just enough water to cover it. It will take only a few minutes. Take off the heat when soft, and before it surrenders and collapses.
Put the oats, milk, rosewater, the rest of the rhubarb and the other tbsp of honey in a pot over a low heat and allow to cook gently for about 10 minutes until the oats are tender and the rhubarb soft. Adjust the honey and rose to taste.
Serve immediately with poached rhubarb and pistachios on top. The poaching water is gorgeous – fragrant, delicious and bright pink, so I add some of this too.