We live in one half of a semi-detached house out in the boonies in Shetland. The other half of the house belongs to my lovely-sister-in-law, and her lovely husband. It’s a really nice situation to have family in the other side of the house. It’s nice for us and for our boys to have that family presence and sense of security right here. But beyond this we also get the added bonus of my Sister-In-Law’s gardening expertise. The garden around our house is stunning with paths winding through colourful vegetation and a grassy lawn in front of our living room bordered by trees! (A rare thing in Shetland) And among it all there’s a vast amount of rhubarb that pops up every spring just feet from our kitchen window. So a few mornings ago when I glanced out and saw the rhubarbs frondy leaves poking up from behind the wall that borders them I was inspired.
I love rhubarb. I love its tart flavour and beautiful pink colour. I also love the memories that it evokes, hot summer days as a child with my sisters in swimsuits in the back yard, running through the sprinkler with giant rhubarb leaves as umbrellas. With memories like that, the very sight of those gorgeous leaves suspended over their sinuous red stalks brings with it the sunny care-free feel of that time, and of being with my sisters.
So with my pilfered rhubarb gathered and trimmed, I had to decide what to do with it. I thought of doing something classical like crumble or curd (one of my very favourites!), I also considered cheesecake, something that still may have to happen this rhubarb season. But in the end, prompted by a bit of a breakfast funk that I’d fallen into, I decided to make rhubarb quinoa baked oatmeal.
Baked oatmeal, or porridge is wonderful. It’s super versatile, in that you can make it with nearly any grain or fruit that you want, and is a magnificent nourishing and very satisfying way to start the day. It also makes for a really easy morning if you make several individual baked oatmeals at a time and keep them in the fridge, then all you have to do in the morning is put it in the oven for 10 or 15 minutes, top it with some fruit and or yogurt, and enjoy!
For this recipe I used mostly oats, but also some quinoa, and I stewed the rhubarb with some orange, and then layered it into the oatmeal. This quantity also left me plenty of the rhubarb to dollop on top afterward, and even some to have with yogurt. Delicious! For the liquid in the oatmeal I used buttermilk because… well…I love it, and it’s what I had, but you could substitute it for any dairy or plant based milk. You could also make this vegan by, again, using plant based milk and substituting maple syrup for the honey, and a flax egg (a great set of instructions for how to do that on this awesome website).
This recipe has rekindled my love of breakfast, and inspired me to start whipping up baked oatmeal again more often. It is magnificent. Did I eat this for breakfast four days in a row this last week? Why yes, yes I did. I think that my sister-in-laws beautiful rhubarb patch could be in danger!
- 350g or 2 cups chopped rhubarb
- The juice and zest of one orange
- 50g or 1/8 cup honey
- 3 Tbsp water
- 40g or 1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 65g or 3/4 cup oats
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 285 ml or 1 cup milk of your choice
- Place all of the ingredients for the stewed rhubarb into a small pot. Bring it to a simmer over medium heat, and leave it so simmer for about 10 minutes until the rhubarb is very soft and the liquid has reduced a bit. Remove it from the heat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and lightly grease 4 ramekins.
- In a large bowl mix together the quinoa, oats, baking powder, and ginger. In a separate bowl or jug mix together the liquid ingredients and beat until evenly combined.
- Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and stir well.
- Spoon about an 8th of the oatmeal into each ramekin, and then spoon on a layer of the rhubarb, followed by the remaining oatmeal. Top each oatmeal with a couple of blobs of rhubarb and, using the handle of a fork or spoon, gently swirl the rhubarb through the oatmeal making sure not to actually mix it up.
- Place the ramekins on a baking tray and then into the oven and leave them to cook about 25-35 minutes until the tops are golden and they feel fairly firm to the touch. Remove them from the oven and serve them hot with another dollop of the rhubarb and maybe some yogurt. If you’d prefer to store them, allow them to cool completely, and cover in cling film. They’ll keep in fridge for a couple of days. Store any left over rhubarb in a jar in the fridge and use it on the remaining baked porridge, or to top normal porridge, yogurt, or even ice cream!