Rhubarb, Chocolate and Ginger Vegan Spread

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Mood: COVID19 has completely turned the world upside down. Infection rates and vaccines aside, the virus has altered the way we live, eat, sleep work, learn, study and interact, and the ripple effects of such changes will be seen for years to come! However, change can also be a good thing and some of these lifestyle shifts have actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  Before the pandemic, I was a usual Londoner, with my pantry staples and supplies coming from supermarkets, and I also picked up some fresh produce and food products from small gourmet shops and local farmers’ markets every week. Once the lockdown hit, I went into strict social distancing mode and actively avoided going to crowded places like outdoor and indoor food markets and I turned towards the options for grocery home delivery instead. But alas, all the delivery slots from the supermarkets were booked up for the next three or four months (!) and I was running out of options! And that’s when I discovered the wonderful weekly produce boxes from Oddbox London🙂 This local sustainable food startup rescues fruits and vegetables that are oddly shaped or look slightly weird (but taste perfectly fresh and delicious!) and prevents them from getting wasted by creating affordable fruit and vegetable boxes that are delivered right to the doorstep of their customers! Luckily, Oddbox still had a few slots for new customers when the lockdown began and I jumped at the opportunity to have a guaranteed source of fresh produce that will reach me every week amidst the chaos of the pandemic! 4 months later and I’m such a believer! Every Monday morning, I gleefully wait to open the Oddbox at my doorstep and discover the weird and wonderful surprises in store for that week! From giant mutant Zucchinis to beautifully asymmetrical apples, each piece of fruit or vegetable is delightfully fresh, incredibly unique and delivered straight from local farms! I know one thing for sure – even when the pandemic settles down and life goes back to normal, I doubt I’ll ever go back to strolling down the supermarket aisles looking for the usual suspects. Why would I? Through these weekly Oddboxes, I get to cook with ingredients that I’ve never cooked or eaten before, I play my part in preventing food wastage, I receive incredibly fresh produce within minimal to zero plastic packaging and I support local farmers and a local small social business in the process! It’s a win-win-win in my books:)


PS: This not a sponsored post for Oddbox London – I’m just a huge fan of the startup:)


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Creative Inspiration: This recipe was actually an adventure that was born out of my Oddbox last week! One of the rescued fruits in the box was Rhubarb and while I was thrilled to see it, I had no idea what to do with it! I had never cooked with or eaten it before! It’s a common fruit that is grown locally in the UK, but not really available or grown in India where I grew up. While I admired the colour of the fruit, I remembered that it is usually used in desserts or jams (thank you Masterchef Australia!), so I thought I would wander down the sweet tooth lane and see what I come up with. And I literally just made up the recipe for this spread on the spot and ‘winged it’ as I went along, with no idea of how it would taste or turn out! But I’m happy to report that it was a huge success! The Rhubarb was incredibly tangy so I had to add a few magic ingredients to tie the whole dish together! The tartness of the Rhubarb was beautifully balanced with the zing of the fresh ginger, the sweetness of the coconut sugar, the fudgy-ness of the raisins and the rich velvety texture of the chocolate. I stored this vegan spread in an airtight jar in the fridge for over a week and ate it with everything – coconut yoghurt, porridge, toast, crackers, the works! Sweet. Tangy. Fudgy. Velvety. Delicious. 100% Kitchen Experiment Win! I really loved the unique taste of this Rhubarb, Ginger and Chocolate Vegan Spread and so I decided that I had to share it with all of you! Trust me when I say that this simple fruity-licous recipe will really take your daily breakfast to the next level! I hope you enjoy it! Happy Eating and most importantly, stay safe and wear a mask! Lots of love to everyone:)


Appreciation: Please admire the beautiful wooden backdrop in the photos! That wonderful artsy wooden tray has been handcrafted from reclaimed wood (and painted by hand) for me by my super talented father in law:) #Blessed


Recipe YouTube Video: Check out my YouTube video to see how to make the recipe:)


Time: 20 Minutes
Serving Size: 1 Medium Sized Jar (as pictured)
Category: Dessert; Spread
Author: Animagus Eats


Ingredients:
• 2-3 cups Rhubarb (chopped)
• 3/4 cup Coconut Sugar* (to taste)

1 tsp Fresh Ginger (grated)
• 2 tbsp Semi-Sweet Vegan Chocolate Chips (or chunks) (plus more for topping)
• 2 tbsp Raisins (optional)
• 1 tbsp Water


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Method:
1. Chop the Rhubarb into small or medium sized pieces. You can peel off the skin or leave it on (depending on your preference). I personally did not peel off the skin and chose to leave it on because I like the texture:)

2. Add the chopped Rhubarb to a large saucepan and turn the gas on at medium heat. Add a little bit of water and stir well to make sure that the Rhubarb does not stick to the hot saucepan.

3. Add the coconut sugar to the rhubarb and combine well. Cover the saucepan with a lid and let it cook away! After the mixture cooks for a while, do a taste test and if you want the spread to be a bit sweeter, add a bit more coconut sugar (to taste).

4. Stir the Rhubarb mixture every few minutes. The Rhubarb pieces will start to soften (and will continue to break down) during the cooking process. Keep smashing the fruit pieces with your spatula every time you stir the mixture. After about 15-20 minutes, the Rhubarb mixture should be fully cooked and the texture should be like a jam or a spread.

5. Switch off the gas & let the mixture cool down slightly. Stir in the raisins and the chocolate chips and fold them in gently (the chocolate will melt automatically with the heat of the Rhubarb mixture).

6. Transfer the mixture to a jar and top with some more chocolate chips. And voila! Your Rhubarb, Ginger and Chocolate Vegan Spread is ready to be served! You can enjoy the warm spread immediately with some toast or crackers or you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge (it should last for about a week) and scoop up a dollop or two with your morning breakfast (like I did with some vegan coconut yoghurt as you can see below). Bon Appétit:)



Notes:
*I used Coconut Sugar but feel free to use any kind of vegan sugar or sweetener of your choice – unrefined cane sugar, jaggery powder, maple/agave/date syrup, etc. Please adjust the quantity of the sweetener according to your preference:)

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