Saturday, 8 June 2013

Of rhubarb & trifle

I'm not going to moan about the weather, honestly I'm not, but the cold spring has put a lot of things behind. Last year I'd made two batches of rhubarb jam by mid-May but  there has been such a severe shortage of rhubarb that none had been made. I mentioned this at our Sunday morning dog walking meet and the same afternoon Graham knocked on the door with two kilos, apparently no one in his family likes it (although they do like jam). So I have managed to make seven jars and have been promised more fruit.

Rhubarb jam -  2013 vintage

This week it has been sunny and warm and for some reason I had an overwhelming urge to make trifle. Now I know that every family has their own method for 'the best ever trifle' and that there are dozens of upmarket recipes out there, but mine has to be the same as the ones I had as a child.

There are few processed or ready made foods that I buy (Linda McCartney vegetarian sausages being one of the exceptions), preferring to make most things from scratch. But my trifle has me heading for the supermarket aisles. The sponge layer has to be a jam Swiss roll, laced with alcohol. Next is a tin of fruit cocktail and a layer of chopped bananas. At this point some of the jelly gets poured onto the sponge, the rest is reserved. Another tin of fruit, peaches, pears or apricots and the rest of the jelly. After it has set some strawberries go on before the custard (Bird's naturally) is added. Before it sets more strawberries are artistically arranged and it's left to cool. At this point Andrew tries to add his mother's finale of pouring the cream on top, but I usually win and the cream stays in the jug.

I know that this is a very unsophisticated trifle, for family and close friend only, but it is delicious!

Summer trifle


  1. I'm so excited that here in southern France I've been able to buy a big batch of rhubarb. This is rather unusual so far south. I'm still deciding how to use it. But trifle? No, it's not something I miss, but I do understand those nostalgia-trips back to childhood. Me? Soft boiled eggs and Marmite soldiers.

    1. OK you've now thrown a spanner in our plans! Where's the rhubarb line drawn in France? How far south can we go!

    2. Well, we bought a couple of rhubarb plants 5 years ago and enjoyed the four stalks a year that they gave us :) ... until last year, when they died.

      So I suspect we're the wrong side of the rhubarb line! Maybe it's the Loire?

    3. But I don't want to live in the Loire Kalba! First choice is Quercy but at this rate I'll be in second choice Bourgogne.More research needed.

  2. We always drive through the Quercy on our trips home to the UK, and love it, though in our case as a holiday rather than permanent destination. No rhubarb there, I'm sure.

  3. So you'll be able to hav an overnight stop. And if it's a return trip you may be able to smuggle a kilo of rhubarb back.