Last weekend, the gorgeous Rosie Birkett, food writer and stylist extraordinaire, wrote a lovely piece on the best seasonal recipes to enjoy in February for her feature in The Telegraph magazine. "Folding linen, wearing linen", she looked beautiful in my signature Petticoat Lane dress in one of my upcoming new colours, an airy duck egg blue. I'm currently working on final tweaks for my spring collection launching in March, but it's no surprise that I've used lots of linen in the collection with it's fresh, natural charm. I love Irish linen; the texture and drape is divine. I work with two small mills, one in the Republic and one in Northern Ireland, who create, dye and wash bespoke colours and weave tailor made checks. Irish linen doesn't come cheap but really is the crown of linens with its rich weightiness and drape, a luxurious fabric to wear yet tough enough to be washed and worn everyday. Perfect for cooking up a storm in the kitchen!
So here is one of Rosie's delicious recipes. As a lover of baking, I've chosen to feature her rhubarb and white chocolate blondies - I love the combination of the sharp twang of rhubarb with gooey sweet white chocolate!
Rhubarb and white chocolate blondies
- 250g rhubarb, chopped into 4cm lengths
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod, split
- juice and zest of ½ lemon
- ½ tsp ground ginger (optional)
- 100g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
- 120g plain flour
- 200g light muscovado sugar
- 1 large egg
- 100g white chocolate, roughly chopped
- 60g flaked almonds
- Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Place the rhubarb on the tray in a single layer and scatter over the caster sugar. Scrape out the vanilla seeds over the rhubarb and throw on the pod along with the lemon juice, zest and ground ginger (if using). Cover tightly with tinfoil. Bake for 30 minutes, until the rhubarb is just soft. Set aside to cool. Once cool, drain the rhubarb from its syrup, reserving the syrup for another dish
- Grease and line a rectangular baking tin, approximately 21cm x 18cm.
- Mix the flour with a quarter of a teaspoon of salt in a bowl.
- Place the muscovado sugar in a different bowl and stir in the butter until well combined and not lumpy. Add the egg and stir vigorously, until smooth. Add the flour and fold in lightly, until no streaks remain. Add the chocolate and half the almonds and stir to combine.
- Spoon three quarters of the batter into your tin, smooth it out using the back of a spoon, then top with the rhubarb. Spoon the remaining batter over so it’s part-covering the rhubarb and scatter on the rest of the almonds.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a skewer comes out with some crumbs that are a little moist, but not raw. Cool completely in the tin, then cut into squares.
To read the full article, including recipes for roast rolled pork belly stuffed with leeks, sourdough and preserved lemon, and blood-orange-baked hake with caramelised chicory and paprika potatoes, please follow the link below to the telegraph's website:
Rosie has written two recipe books which I'd thoroughly recommend, East London Food and A Lot on her Plate, both widely available online and here at https://www.hoxtonminipress.com/collections/books/products/east-london-food
You can follow Rosie Birkett on social media to keep up with her at @rosiefoodie on instagram.