Friday, 28 July 2017

Random Rhubarb Ramifications...and Roger

It all started when my boss walked into the office saying "Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb".  As he used to work as a sound editor for the BBC, I just thought he was making some random reference to what film extras say to each other repeatedly to look like they are having a conversation in the background.  Random references and comments are far from uncommon among my colleagues, so the actual realisation that he had a large bag of home grown rhubarb for me was the less obvious but very welcome thing he was referring to.

That evening, wanting to take an offering back to work as a way of sharing the generous rhubarb donation (that is how much we love each other), I searched for recipes beyond the usual and 'not so easy to slice up like a cake' rhubarb crumble.  I found some likely candidates and settled on one for rhubarb cake slices (handy that), with the plan to make them the following evening.  The ingredients were regular stock cupboard supplies so I was all set and didn't think anymore about it.  

The following evening I spoke to my mum on the phone and she asked me what I was up to. When I told her about my rhubarb cooking plans, she requested I make her a crumble to take up to her on our next visit.  There was more than enough rhubarb so I happily added it to the list.   Phil then piped up and said what about a crumble for him, and another small one was added to the list for pudding.  The 'rhubarb dessert train' was starting to gain more passengers.  So after a pleasant catch up with a colleague who had dropped around to pick up a spare car key attached to a brick that my boss wanted me to pass on (I'm not joking by the way.  This is exhibit B in the randomness of my work colleagues), I got going with juggling dinner and getting the rhubarb dessert/cake train on track.

Dinner progressed in a whirlwind of smoky aubergine dip, falafels, roasted baby potato salad, cashew celery and apple salad, tahini beetroot salad and various green salad offerings on the side.  I got the rhubarb stewing in preparation for the crumbles and all was going well in an adrenaline (okay alright, and beer) fuelled cooking frenzy; until the rhubarb train got derailed as I started to get the ingredients together for the cake slices and crumble toppings.  It seemed those regular stock cupboard supplies that are always regularly in supply in our regular stock cupboard were no longer in our regular stock cupboard supplies. That never happens and any of my work colleagues reading this right now will confirm my organisational (bordering on the anal/autistic at times) ability to have everything I need when I need it.  The 'Stock Cupboard Supply' pixie (aka me, Scooby) normally has a total handle on such things.  Nope, not this time.  If there had been a crowd witnessing this they would have been saying 'rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb' in whispered shock in the background.  The cake slices were off the menu for my work colleagues.  I could hear my colleague Roger laughing in the background.   When I had originally mentioned about my rhubarb cooking plans, he had said he would prefer doughnuts.

The rhubarb that was stewing on the stove top spluttered and spitted away reminding me that the cake slices were half the issue right now.  Crumble needed other ingredients beside just the rhubarb.  The 'Stock Cupboard Supply' pixie had left me a pittance of plain flour to work with, along with some homemade vegan margarine; but it wasn't enough for the promised maternal crumble let alone the one that Phil had conned me out of in the latter stages of planning.  Before anyone else says, "just bloody go down the shops", let me remind you that a) we live in Cornwall and the shops are not open 24 hours; b) It is summer season and it is quite frankly an ordeal to perform such a simple errand if you have to run the gauntlet of tourist traffic (particularly those who don't want to get within 5 metres of the hedges that line our road out of the village) and c) I really couldn't be arsed.

The bloody pixie hadn't left many porridge oats to save the day either.  However by now the pixie was quite tipsy so seeds, nuts, and the rest of our supply of muesli went into the mix.  I was quite pleased about the latter actually as, to be fair, muesli is pretty boring stuff anyway and it had been hanging around for a while.  Somehow the crumbles made it through and got made.  

The next morning the rhubarb hangover hit as I did my early morning swimming spin before work.  The crumbles may have survived but I simply couldn't turn up empty handed after my rhubarb cake slice promise to my colleagues.  I cut my swim slightly short and headed to the nearest Co-op with a view to their vegan doughnuts being my saviour.  Truro Co-op is an interesting place at 7.30am; far busier than you would expect.  Interesting characters too. One elderly male customer commented to me that he would like to "do his hair like you next time".  I have long hair down to my waist. He was bald.  I laughed and he said "what's so funny?" (with a pure Cornish glint in his eye) before moving on to his next victim.  To most this might appear random.  In Cornwall, this is a lovely wholesome verbal breakfast.

In the end Roger got his doughnuts and everybody else said they had actually forgotten about my rhubarb cake promise anyway.  

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