This can only serve to make my bee obsession worse – but the solitary bee house that I bought at the Harrogate Flower Show has a bee visiting it today. She (I’m hoping it’s a she) has been going into the same tube, staying for a short while and then flying off. About five minutes later she’s back again.
If anyone is a solitary bee expert and can identify my bee (species please, not first name… I say this because first names were all I got when I asked Twitter for help!), I’d love to know what she is. I did a quick search online to try to identify the bee without any success, but I did discover that the big, black bees I’ve seen visiting the pulmonaria in the garden are hairy footed flower bees – what a great name.
Between bee watching, I’ve been working on a rhubarby, gingery, creamy filling for a cake I’m making for our local bake off this weekend. I need something to sandwich together two lemon sponges. When I did a quick practice bake last week, I used a jar of rhubarb jam mixed with mascarpone, but this didn’t have the intensity of flavour that I wanted. Next attempt involved rhubarb picked fresh from the garden, some stem ginger from a jar and another pot of mascarpone – perfect!
Rhubarb & ginger mascarpone cream
125g rhubarb chopped into small pieces
3 tbsp syrup from stem ginger
2 tbsp finely chopped stem ginger
Put the rhubarb and ginger syrup in a small pan and leave to sit for a few hours. The cook the rhubarb gently over a lowish heat until it softens and loses its shape.
Remove from the heat and taste for sweetness, you could at this stage stir in a spoonful of sugar if you want a sweeter mixture. Add the chopped stem ginger to the rhubarb, stir and leave to cool to room temperature.
Stir the cooled rhubarb into the mascarpone – either mix it in evenly or, if you’re feeling artistic, ‘swirl’ it through to get a rhubarb ripple effect. This makes a great cake filling, but is also pretty good eaten straight from a bowl with a couple of your favourite biscuits…