My first trip to the Borough Market after moving house involved a very pleasant catch-up with my friend Jeanne to meet foodwriter David Lebovitz who'd come over from Paris for the weekend. As usual, we had a marvellous time browsing the stalls, sampling the food on offer, watching serrano ham being expertly hand-carved and just generally enjoying the delight that is a proper food market.
Since Jeanne and her husband were planning to come over for a walk in Richmond Park the day after, I was toying with some ideas for a cake I could make - when the first local rhubarb of the season caught my eye. I couldn't believe it when my friend told me she had never had rhubarb before in her life, as this is not something that's easily available in South Africa... whereas in Austria, rhubarb grows in our backgardens (if you're lucky enough to have one) and more often than not, it is almost considered a pest plant as it tends to multiply at the speed of lightning and before you know it, it has taken over your garden. It grew particularly well on my grandma's compost heap, so we basically fed on the stuff for as long as I can remember and I thought I had tried it in every possible combination.
Not so, as I learnt recently. When we lunched at the Fat Duck last week, I had a foie gras sitting on pickled rhubarb - divine! - and using it in a cheesecake is not something I'd ever have considered. The idea is nicked from Waitrose "Seasons" magazine, although I have played around with it a bit - the sesame seeds, for example, are my own addition, and they add a delightful crunch to the base. So if rhubarb is wreaking havoc in your garden, you're lucky because apart from being utterly delicious, this cake will help keep it at bay!