Thursday, January 12, 2012

Rhubarb, More Reminiscing, Military thefts.

I heard an interesting snippet on the radio and checked it out that rhubarb plantthe firs time rhubarb came to this side of the world was in 1770 and it was shipped by Benjamin Franklin to a friend, John Bartram. Having read that you might well say, so….? It goes back to an internet cookery group to which I belong and which was once rhubarbvery active. When we first started getting together we found most of us like rhubarb which we thought was something of a coincidence, we had many other things in common too of course, not least of which was cooking and preparing food. The leaves, as shown here, are not edible and in fact are poisonous. The part which is so good to eat are the red stems with which you can do so many things – all kinds of desserts, jams, jellies, marmalades, drinks to name a few and all thanks to Benjamin Franklin.

In our home we have the local radio on all the time, unless we have the TV or CDs playing. The other morning I heard Andy Williams singing Happy Heart and Barry White with a song I didn’t know, this started making me think. When Matt and I were ‘courting’, foBarry Whiter want of a better word, we used to dance to Andy Williams music a lot. Then after we were married we used to visit my parents in Alicante, Spain where they were living at the time; They often took us to a bar called the Don Quixote which was run by a couple of gays. It was a great place to hang out. They played Love’s Theme by Barry White and Matt was nuts about it, consequently we ended up with several LPs by his Love Unlimited Orchestra. One of my favourites was Baby Blues. I liked his music intros, but I didn’t enjoy it when he sang all the way through. He had a very sexy voice. CDs hadn’t been invented at that time of course. Sadly the Don Quixote fizzled out due to aids – people were scared to death to go there any more, it was when we first knew about it and no-one understood how it was transmitted or really anything about the illness. Pity, we spent many happy hours there, they served good food as well.

Another snippet on the news, the Canadian Military have lost a afghan-milserious amount of equipment from that which was being shipped home from Afghanistan. They have opened 10 containers which were full of rocks and sand to emulate the weight of the missing equipment. Security has fallen down badly here. We are assured there were no munitions, only things like tires, tools and tents.

I have always loved Goulash (gulyás) and often used to make it with venison when we were lucky enough to get some. However, I haven’t made it in a while and when I saw this healthier version it appealed to me. We used to call caraway seeds bird toenails.

Hungarian Beef Goulash

From EatingWell: January/February 2008

This streamlined goulash skips the step of browning the beef, and instead coats it in a spice crust to give it a rich mahogany hue. This Hungarian Goulashsaucy dish is a natural served over whole-wheat egg noodles. Or, for something different, try prepared potato gnocchi or spaetzle.

8 servings, about 1 cup each


2 pounds beef stew meat, (such as chuck), trimmed and cubed

2 teaspoons caraway seeds

1 1/2-2 tablespoons sweet or hot paprika, (or a mixture of the two), preferably Hungarian (see Ingredient Note)

1/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped

1 small red bell pepper, chopped

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium beef broth

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

  1. Place beef in a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Crush caraway seeds with the bottom of a saucepan. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in paprika, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the beef with the spice mixture and toss to coat well. Top with onion and bell pepper.
  2. Combine tomatoes, broth, Worcestershire sauce and garlic in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer. Pour over the beef and vegetables. Place bay leaves on top. Cover and cook until the beef is very tender, 4 to 4 1/2 hours on high or 7 to 7 1/2 hours on low.
  3. Discard the bay leaves; skim or blot any visible fat from the surface of the stew. Add the cornstarch mixture to the stew and cook on high, stirring 2 or 3 times, until slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

Per serving :180 Calories; 5 g Fat; 2 g Sat; 2 g Mono; 48 mg Cholesterol; 6 g Carbohydrates; 25 g Protein; 1 g Fiber; 250 mg Sodium; 298 mg Potassium

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 4 months. | Prep ahead: Trim beef and coat with spice mixture. Prepare vegetables. Combine tomatoes, broth, Worcestershire sauce and garlic. Refrigerate in separate covered containers for up to 1 day.

Ingredient Note: Paprika specifically labeled as “Hungarian” is worth seeking out for this dish because it delivers a fuller, richer flavor than regular or Spanish paprika. Find it at specialty-foods store or online at and

Have a great day



  1. the cookery group was the reason I got some rhubarb seeds and now, after a few years, have a big plant of rhubarb in my garden. And I love it!

  2. Yes I remember that Lurdes. We used to have rhubarb in our garden too when we first came to Canada. I now have to buy it but get it fresh from the same place I get asparagus.