This is a very Orkney-inspired update of a recipe that I wrote in 1995 for The Emmerdale Cookbook, celebrating the TV soap. I had to watch and learn about the characters to fit suitable recipes to them and this was in an allotment section celebrating Nick Bates, then the gardener at Frank Tate’s Home Farm. For all I know these characters were written out of the series a long time ago but, here in Orkney where rhubarb grows just as well as it does in Yorkshire, new rhubarb recipes are always welcomed. Rhubarb and lime go very well together and the addition of ground mace adds a hint more Caribbean flavour (on a sunny day our beaches are reminiscent in colour, if not temperature, of a tropical paradise). You could add rum – the J Gow spiced run produced on Lambs Holm, right next to the world-famous Italian Chapel, would be great but I added rhubarb gin. Mine was homemade but The Orkney Gin Company’s Rhubarb Old Tom would be perfect.
Print the recipe here
• 400g rhubarb
• Good pinch ground mace (optional)
• 100-150g granulated sugar, to taste
• 2 limes
• 1 tbsp rhubarb gin or spiced rum (optional)
• 12g packet powdered gelatine
• 250-300ml double or whipping cream
1. Wash then slice the rhubarb quite finely. Cook it in a saucepan with a good pinch of ground mace, the sugar and 100ml of water until soft. Grate in the zest of one and a half of the limes and reserve the remaining zest on a plate for decoration. Add the juice of the limes to the rhubarb and then beat it until smooth. Allow to cool then add the gin or rum.
2. Measure 150ml boiling water then stir or whisk the gelatine into it – keep whisking until the powder is dissolved. Add 2-3 spoonfuls of rhubarb to the gelatine, stir, then add the mix back into the rhubarb, stirring all the time. Chill until beginning to set.
3. Whisk the cream until thick and floppy but not stiff. Fold the cream into the rhubarb then turn into a serving bowl and chill until completely set.
4. Decorate with the reserved lime zest before serving.
• Remember that lime is quite sharp and so add a little more sugar to the rhubarb than you might think.
• You’ll get much more juice out of a lime if you cut two sides or cheeks off it and squeeze them by hand, then squeeze the juice from the centre. Cutting limes in half and using a reamer-style squeezer often yields a disappointing amount of juice.
• Always add gelatine to hot water – never the other way round. A 12g pack will set 500ml to a jelly – if you prefer to use leaf gelatine it is usually 4 sheets as an equivalent but check your pack and the directions on it before using. You need to soak leaf gelatine in cold water before dissolving it in hot water but it is very easy to use.
• Chopped fresh peaches are wonderful with this mousse.