Working as a yacht chef, you sometimes come across treasured ingredients you haven’t seen in years. I stumbled upon a very small stand in a local outdoor market near Antibes, France, and to my joy he had eight stalks of ruby red rhubarb. Immediately I paid the gentleman for all the rhubarb he had and rushed off to my galley to prepare lunch.
As often happens on yachts, the guests requested a slightly earlier lunch and I suddenly felt the pressure to crack on.
That morning on my return to the yacht, I'd already thinly sliced two of the stalks of rhubarb and poached them lightly in a sugar and vanilla syrup for a few minutes and left them to cool. I also made my cheese cake mix and baked ready for later, keeping back a little of the sugar and vanilla syrup to dress the plate just before serving.
I returned to my cheese cake to complete the dish, making a rough crumble topping with rolled oats, almonds, flour, butter, and brown sugar and baking it until golden brown. I cooked down 4 of the other stalks with just a little natural cane sugar, essence of orange blossom, a touch of honey and half a vanilla pod, as I wanted this half of the dish to be slightly tart and sour on the tongue.
My dish was almost complete.
Once I had wrapped my cheese cake quenelle in a slice of the cold sweet pouched rhubarb, I then mixed the warm sour rhubarb and the cold sweet strips of rhubarb together on the plate, topping with sprinkles of the crumble topping. Finally, I added a little of the vanilla and sugar syrup to dress the plate.
The whole experience is a sweet and sour dessert with a gentle reminder of home.
To see more of Spike's recipes, menus and local foodie experiences, visit www.spikesteele.com
About the chef:
I have cooked professionally for over 20 years, during which time I've developed a passion for British, Mediterranean and global fusion cuisine. Recently I have explored Thai and Japanese cooking and have a real love for seafood.
In the 2 years I have been working on superyachts I've developed a love of the lifestyle and career I have chosen; there is always fresh, exciting produce to be discovered in every port and of course the sun shines a little more than in the UK!