I have been looking for any excuse to cook and eat rhubarb. We have gone through many batches of compote already, a yogurt cake I adapted from Cannelle et Vanille, and popsicles. It is hard not to get excited when the first rhubarb pops up in the garden or at the farmer’s market. A welcome sign that winter is coming to an end and spring is on the way. I can’t seem to resist bringing home their crimson stalks week after week. I often get gifted some from my parents or friends too. Which leads me to this recipe.
My friend Michelle and I set aside time to play together in the kitchen last Thursday, something I always look forward to. Michelle is such a talent and the sweetest friend. I had some rhubarb in the fridge that needed using up and I had never made panna cotta, so we decided on a coconut panna cotta lightly sweetened with honey and vanilla to be paired with rhubarb.
I have vegetables on my brain even more than usual. I am helping organize a group art show that is opening this Thursday, April 7th. The theme for the exhibition is Eat Your Veggies. Also, it is really feeling like spring. We are starting to see the first signs of the season in nature and at the farmers markets. I cleaned up our little vegetable patch and planted some seeds on the weekend.
I love how vegetables and fruits follow the seasons. This rhythm is one of the defining influences of my cooking style and what I choose to eat. I find cooking seasonally keeps me inspired and challenges me to try new recipes and ingredients. The last month or so I have been cooking a lot with the spring shoots from kale, collards, and arugula as well as beautiful purple sprouting broccoli. Chives have come up and I cooked up the first rhubarb into a compote with honey and vanilla. This week I came home from market with gorgeous red radishes, stunning red veined sorrel and some green garlic. I also went foraging for nettles a few weeks ago with a dear friend of mine who lives on Bowen. The best!
After well over a year of quiet, spring seems like as good a time as any to come back to writing and posting on my website. It has been a long break and I feel ready to create and post on this space again. I had thought about a redesign of the site and other changes but in the end decided that what was most important was to simply get posting again and sharing some of my creative energy and inspiration.
The last year has been one of health challenges and many different dietary changes, which at times left me feeling unsure and uninspired in the kitchen. I was unable to use ingredients I had long relied on in my pantry and couldn’t make many of the staple recipes I cooked on a regular basis.
The positive side is that these changes opened up an opportunity to try new ingredients and ways of cooking I had not previously explored, to embrace fruits and vegetables to the fullest, and to find some new favourite foods. More than ever food and cooking have become about nourishing myself and those around me.