Remember when you were small and even just an afternoon felt like an impossibly long length of time? And when a whole week seemed like forever?
I wish time still felt like that.
Because this week has gone incredibly fast, almost uncomfortably so, as if a small snippet of my life has disappeared in a blurry void, moved so fast I barely noticed it happening and suddenly – BAM- it’s gone already. When my internship was coming to an end I couldn’t wait for a week of cooking and baking and catching up with all those various tasks that needed doing – you know…things like applying to study a journalism MA …which is totally not something I’m feeling all cool and casual about – it’s feeling like a major deal, HUGE!
And I know so by the way my lymph nodes have started swelling up and getting sore…exactly how they like to when I’m stressed!
I remember thinking quite clearly in my third year, crazy-stressed as I was, ‘I am never, ever going to do this to myself again, ever!’ And here I am now, with a great massive ache to go and study again. (I imagine this is a similar psychological process to the one attached to child birth.) The more I read the course descriptions, the more I realise just how badly I want to learn the skills.
And while I’m loving this sense of clarity, this week I’ve learnt – ok, re-learnt- just how incredibly stressful it can be applying for something you so badly want – because the more time you spend focusing on applying, the more aware/ afraid you become at how disappointed you’re going to be should you fail to get a place.
Along with the swollen lymph nodes, I can gauge certain stressful situations by my appetite. But rather than lose it – which I think is how it’s supposed to go – I become ravenous (I came dangerously close there to saying something about being able to eat a horse…haaaaa….ok, not funny) And so, on the morning I submitted my first application last week, I consumed three large bowlfuls of cereal in a row and not even the edge of my appetite was taken off…there’s stress eating for you.
With all the applications to submit, newsletter copy to write for work, a couple of jobs to apply for and a little speech to write for the food photography course I’m taking in London next week run by Meeta from What’s For Lunch Honey (I’m-so-ridiculously-excited-I-could-burst!) I really haven’t had as much (any) time to bake something for the blog.
So here’s my compromise – rhubarb crumble and custard porridge – inspired by Emily Cooks Vegan’s dessert for breakfast series. I’ve been meaning to try it out for a while only had to wait for rhubarb to come back into season first. When I got my hands on the last pack of rhubarb in the crate at Tescos I was one happy girl – and a very smug one, for getting the last pack (minor moment of personal triumph….maaaay have done a little happy dance in my head…)
Bear with me on this one if you think rhubarb crumble and custard porridge sounds too weird for comfort, because it’s brilliant…and let’s be serious here, how could anything involving rhubarb and custard not be brilliant? They’re such comforting, childhood flavours for me…exactly what I need right now. Aaaaaand, it’s all FODMAP friendly….and rhubarb is just such an awesome pretty colour…
So much to love!
I also have a brilliant way to cook rhubarb to share with you that pretty much guarantees tender-but-still-holding-its-shape-without-turning-to-moosh rhubarb – courtesy of the boyfriend’s parents (who, I have to add, were absolutely wonderful to me over the last month while I was staying with them during my internship – anyone who has to try and cater for a FODMAPer should get an award!)
Rhubarb crumble and custard porridge
For the rhubarb – makes enough for about 4 portions
- 4-5 sticks rhubarb, cut into 2-3cm pieces
- 1-3tbsp of caster sugar (to taste)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C (fan).
- Place the rhubarb in a lidded casserole dish (or use foil to cover tightly) and sprinkle over the sugar.
- Cover and place in the oven for 20 mins. Turn off the oven but leave the rhubarb in there to cool for at least an hour, or leave overnight – you should (fingers crossed!) end up with tender but still holding their shape nicely pieces of rhubarb…
For the ‘crumble’ – makes enough for four portions (or you could just use some granola if you have any to hand)
- 20g butter
- 60g oats
- 2 heaped tbsp pecans or hazelnuts, chopped
- 2 tbsp soft brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Melt the butter in a frying pan over a moderate heat.
- Add the oats and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes. Then add the nuts and carry on cooking and stirring until everything is nicely golden and toasty, watching closely that nothing starts to burn.
- Stir in the sugar and cinnamon and remove from the heat.
For the porridge (per portion)
- 40g porridge oats
- 125ml milk (or soy/almond milk if you struggle with lactose)
- 125ml water (plus extra to loosen porridge as needed)
- 1-2 tbsp custard powder, to taste
- caster sugar, to taste
- 2-3 heaped tbsp cooked rhubarb
- about 2 tbsp ‘crumble’/granola
- Place the oats, water and milk in a pan and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 4-5 minutes until the porridge is creamy and just about cooked.
- Add the custard powder and sugar to taste. I found about 1 generous tbsp of custard powder and a heaped tsp of sugar was about right for me.
- Add a little extra water or milk to the porridge if you like a slightly looser consistency and stir in about half of the rhubarb.
- Serve in warm bowls, topped with the remaining rhubarb and sprinkled with the granola.