Dessert before Dinner….Yes Please

  • Recipe(s):Rhubarb and custard (page 404) & Real quick mussels spaghetti in a white wine and basil oil broth (page 62)
  • Prep: Moderate & Easy
  • Taste: Good & Good

Have you ever heard anyone say, ‘you can’t have your dinner until you’re finished your dessert?’

Tonight (August 14, 2014) we completed another two recipes from the challenge.   We changed it up a bit and had our dessert before dinner, partly because…well….it is fun to do every now and then and partly because we had last minute dinner guests which were pushing dinner later and we were hungry!

The dessert (rhubarb and custard) was a moderate dish to prep.   Anytime fresh custard is involved the scale goes up a touch.  It’s not that it is a hard thing to make, it is just time consuming and you really have to watch it or else you’ll ruin it.  Aside from making the custard, the rest of the dish is pretty simple.

The pasta was pretty easy to prep.   We don’t currently have a mortar and pestle so trying to turn a couple large bunches of basil into a paste was fun!  I improvised by using a wooden salad bowl, rock salt (for grit) and a muddler that we normally use for making mojitos.  Outside of not having the correct equipment, the prep is simple.   Even cooking the dish is easy and super quick.   It actually comes together in a few minutes (as long as it takes for your pasta to cook).

The rhubarb and custard was good.   The custard itself would rate very good.  Unfortunately it is still a bit early in the year for good rhubarb so some pieces were nice and ripe while others were still a bit woody.   Had the rhubarb been in season the entire dish would have ranked as very good.  Baring the rhubarb, the flavour profile of the dish was amazing.  The orange juice, sugar, ginger and orange zest provided a sweet and tangy taste, which combined with the sourness of the rhubarb was very interesting.   On the other end of the spectrum you have the creaminess of the custard, which mellows the other flavours just enough to create a very tasty dessert.

The spaghetti also ranks as good.  It is a very basic pasta with basic ingredients, which created a very nice tasting dish.   The basil oil and lemon are a great combination for any pasta and combining them with the somewhat brininess of the fresh mussels and the tanginess of white wine was a nice touch.   It created a nicely balanced dish.   Our dinner guests very much enjoyed their portions.   Do keep in mind that the recipe says it makes four portions but you could easily feed 5-6.  I would definitely serve this with a nice crusty bread to sop up some of the broth but other than that it is a very solid dish that is easy to make and doesn’t hurt the pocketbook that much.

I would rank the rhubarb and custard pretty high on the flavour to effort scale.   While making fresh custard is time consuming, it is amazing.   It can go on sooooooo many things.   We would definitely make this dessert again.   The spaghetti also ranks pretty high on the scale, mainly because it is super easy to make.


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