Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Chopping Up Rhubarb And Other Stuff

I was thinking this morning as I chopped up some rhubarb that I might do a food post.

Not so much recipes and such but more of 'how to chop stuff up' kind of post ...

It probably wouldn't be a LONG post - after all, I expect most of you already know how to chop stuff up don't you?

I saw a video on FB book the other day - 'never peel potatoes again' or something - apparently you can just score around the potato, boil it and then slip the skins off.

I guess that would work if you had asbestos hands ...

My post wouldn't be like that.  I'd tell you stuff like how to peel an onion.  I watched a friend peel an onion a while ago, it was the most painful thing I've seen in ages.  I mean LITERALLY painful - his eyes were watering so much he could barely see!

I've never peeled an onion under water or tried that trick of putting a spoon in your mouth while you peel one (and seriously? Surely that's just someone taking the piss to make you look stupid isn't it?).

So I took pity on him.   Onions are SIMPLE!

All you do is top and tail them, cut them in half and then the skin comes off in two halves - couldn't be easier!

But I expect you already knew that ...

Did you know that rhubarb is easier to chop if you turn it on it's side?  It really is, try it.  I know it seems obvious to place it flat side down but then the outer layers tear and you get ribbons of rhubarb attached to your slices - turn it on it's side and that doesn't happen.

So, there you go, a master class in onion peeling and rhubarb chopping - next time we will do 'cutting up peppers' and how to skin a tomato (which is very similar to the potato peeling tip).

I can smell my rhubarb gently stewing.  My friend Nicolette brought it over last night, it's the first picking and the stems are slim and delicate with a slight pink blush, it should be sweet and juicy and soft after a few minute simmering.

I'm hoping it's sweet enough as it is without having to add sugar so that I can take some up to Mum who is in hospital at the moment with a broken ankle and knee.  She's diabetic so treats are difficult to find.  If it's still a little sharp I'll thrown some sweet eating apples into the mix which should take it down a level or two.

I've been spending a little of each day with Mum since she's been in hospital and it almost feels like we are building a new relationship.  Until recently she and my step father lived in Spain for many years and we went for long periods of time not seeing them.  It's good to have them close by.

Things have changed though.  Aside from recent events Mums health isn't so good and she struggles with short term memory loss but essentially she is still the same person although in some ways a softer version of her previous self.

It's her Birthday in a few weeks, she may still be in hospital as until her knee is recovered sufficiently she can't begin her rehabilitation.

I'm hoping they will keep her in Taunton.  The ward she is on is only supposed to be a short term solution and she is on the waiting list to be moved somewhere that is set up for more long term but that could mean it will be more difficult to see her.

The care she is getting is just amazing.  There was a shift change while I was there last night and one of the nurses made a point of stopping by to see Mum for a quick chat, not medically related, just to see how she was and to tell her she would see her tomorrow.  The nurses do 12 hour shifts - SUCH a long day!  Yet they still find time to care and show a genuine interest in their patients which goes beyond the nursing care they are paid for.

Anyway, Mum's birthday - how hard is it to find the perfect present for someone who really doesn't need or want anything?

Sweet treats are out as I said before and my step dad has always brought Mum flowers on a regular basis.  Mum likes to read but she has plenty of books thanks to a system the hospital has where people donate books and then they sell them for just £1 each to raise funds so my sister has bought Mum a few and we will donate them back as she finishes them and buy some more.

Well, I think I may have found it - the perfect gift!

A coupe of weeks ago I was thinking about the place that I grew up and googled something about it - to my huge surprise a photo came up:

This one!

That's my Mum on the right aged 11 in 1952 walking through the barley field from the church with a friend.

What an amazing find!  I don't think Mum has any photos of herself at this age - if she does then I've never seen them.

I love everything about this photo.  I love the fact that I recognise that field and the church.  I love that I used to walk that very same path at the same age through the barley.  I love the dress she is wearing and I love the way that she and her friend seem so intent on the book they are looking at that they seem completely unaware that their photo is being taken.

I would love to know who took this photo but it's just a stock photo with no credit.  It does give Mums name and age though but even if it hadn't, she looks so much like my 2nd eldest sister in this photo that there really is no mistaking the fact that it is her.

I'm going to order a copy of it and have it framed for her Birthday - I hope she loves it just as much as I do!


Debs said...

What a great photo. I'm sure your mum will love it. I hope she gets better soon. And thanks for the rhubarb tip :)

SARN said...

Thanks for the chopping tips!!!!

Sorry to hear your Mum is in hospital at the moment.
AMAZING photo find and a lovely idea to get it printed and framed.

Hugs, Sarn xxx

joeh said...

That is an amazing find!

Val said...

That IS the perfect gift! I hope your mom is on the mend, and that she continues to get the care she deserves.

That's how I peel my onions. I wouldn't know rhubarb if it bit me on the butt. But if it DID...well...then we'd be in a bit of a rhubarb!

Sarah said...

I think she will Debs, I'm not sure she has many photos of herself when she was young. I'm hoping she remembers her friend who is only named as Hannah in the photo. I only discovered the rhubarb thing yesterday, as tips go it's not really much of one but I have great hopes that my pepper chopping tip will transform lives ;-)

You are welcome Sarn ;-) Can't beat a good chopping tip I always say! Mum is doing ok and it's just a question of time as she heals but she seems quite content so we are lucky. I'm so pleased with the photo, I just have to get it ordered now and frame it xx

It's lovely isn't it Joe? What I really love it that nothing has changed, that view is exactly the same today as it was when Mum was 11.

Mum has been moved Val (post on that later). I think the photo is pretty perfect too. I expect lots of people know the onion trick but for those who don't it might be helpful. Do you REALLY not know rhubarb? Is it one of those things you don't see there or just not something you like? I love the stuff, it's like the first taste of Summer!

Polly said...

I’m very sorry to hear about your mum Sarah, I hope she gets well soon. That is such a beautiful photograph, memories of a carefree time for your mum and her friend, I’m sure she will love it.
What a coincidence about rhubarb, just the other day my neighbour said I could help myself to her rhubarb on her allotment, I will be making a crumble or a pie sometime next week. I will cut it on its side. I saw a video about potatoes, it looked pretty good, I haven’t tried it yet though x

Sarah said...

Thank you Polly, it's going to be a bit of a long haul mending that ankle and kee but medically she's doing well. They DO look care free don't they, I really hope she remembers her friend and having the photo taken.

I LOVE rhubarb and crumble and when I'd combined it with the apple there was enough to make a couple of crumbles for other people too. I saw that video, looks like the potato trick works but I'm still not convinced I could hadle a hot potato! x

Di said...

Hi Sarah! Wow that photo is such a find, well done! I bet your Mum will be delighted :) What a thing to happen though, both the ankle and knee - eeew, painful. Hope she progresses well.

The one thing that grows like wildfire here in our garden is the rhubarb patch. So much so that I have to freeze a lot of it - and your chopping tip is a great one as I do wash, dry and then chop the stuff before freezing it. The 'Timperley Early' is going berserk this year - I can see a machete being needed if it carries on. Rhubarb is fabulous lightly stewed and used in place of apple sauce with roast pork. Unless you're a vegetarian of course. Rhubarb and strawbery jam is yummy - a match made in heaven!

Di xx

Val said...

Rhubarb? I'm sure we have it here. But nobody in my family ever made it or talked about eating it. Not even my mom's mom, who canned her own pickles/green beans/tomatoes/corn, and dished up boiled turnips, and cut her greens right out of the yard then drizzled them with bacon grease, and refereed the fights between me and my cousin over who got to eat the cabbage core.

Sarah said...

You don't know what you're missing Val - rhubarb is great! I would struggle to believe that someone hasn't tried it but then I didn't try mayo until I was in my 20's.