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Strawberry and rhubarb are a classic combination—sweet and tart come together for a mouthful of deliciousness—yet it’s not often that they are both really in season at the same time. Granted, you can still get rhubarb for quite a while after it is first available, but for me it’s more associated with spring. Strawberries belong to summer.

This year the strawberries are early and the rhubarb still plentiful, so I’m compelled to combine the two. Here are two recipes: one savoury, one sweet.

Recipe: Rhubarb-Goat Cheese and Strawberry Bruschetta

Rhubarb-goat cheese strawberry bruschetta

These bruschetta have bright, fresh and balanced flavours with a combination of textures. Have plates and napkins on hand. Eating them can get a bit messy—there’s the risk of strawberry pieces falling off and the balsamic vinegar dripping!

Makes  10-12 pieces

1 baguette
2 cups rhubarb, chopped
1 ½ tbsp sugar
1-2 tbsp water
125 g fresh goat cheese
1 tsp peppercorns, freshly cracked
2 cups strawberries (small/medium strawberries are preferable)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
8 basil leaves, coarsely chopped (I have several varieties in my garden and used osmin purple and spicy globe. Both have an aromatic fruity flavour.)

Measure goat cheese, crumble it into a bowl and let it come to room temperature; this step will make it easier to mix in the rhubarb at a later step.

Cut 12 1 cm-thick slices of baguette. Place them on a baking tray and toast at 350°F until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool.

Combine chopped rhubarb, sugar and water in a saucepan. Simmer 5-10 minutes until rhubarb breaks down. I wanted a relatively dry compote, so I started with 1 tbsp water (rhubarb will release water as it cooks), and added more when I noticed there was a risk of sticking/burning. Remove from heat and spread on a plate to speed up the cooling down process. The compote can be made in advance.

Stir the goat cheese until smooth. Once the rhubarb compote is cool, mix ½ cup into the goat cheese (you may have some compote left over) and season with the cracked peppercorns. The goat cheese mixture can be prepared in advance.

Shortly before serving, halve strawberries lengthwise, then slice. In a bowl, combine strawberries with balsamic vinegar and basil.

Just before serving, make the bruschetta by spreading some of the goat cheese mixture on the slices of toasted baguette. Top with the strawberry mixture. Serve immediately.

Recipe: Strawberry-Rhubarb Muffins

Strawberry-rhubarb muffins

YUM! Looking forward to lunches with strawberry-rhubarb muffins this week!

I made yummy rhubarb syrup yesterday, so I’m using the leftover rhubarb “mash” in these muffins. This mash is already sweetened, so I’m only adding ¼ cup sugar; adjust sugar according to your taste. To make rhubarb compote without making the syrup, place 2 cups chopped rhubarb, 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp water in a saucepan and simmer until rhubarb breaks down. If making muffins with the compote, increase sugar in recipe to ½ cup.

Wet:
1 egg
½ cup milk
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup rhubarb mash/compote
1 ½ cups quartered strawberries (preferably small ones, so the chunks don’t get too big and make the muffins soggy)

Dry:
1 ½ cups flour (I use spelt flour)
½ cup rolled oats
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp cardamom
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line/grease 10-12 muffin cups.

Combine all wet ingredients, adding strawberries last. Combine flour, rolled oats, baking powder and salt. Pour wet ingredients into dry, and blend gently until flour mixture is just moistened.

Fill muffin cups. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and tester comes out clean.

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