Raw Coconut and Rhubarb Cake

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Virtually every cooking and recipe fan in Austria knows the country's top food magazine GUSTO. But now there's something new and super interesting out there for food aficionados: GUSTO's rebel child GUSTO Lola. 164 pages strong, the quarterly magazine first appeared in March 2016 and I've already had the pleasure of contributing a piece alongside some of my blogger colleagues - a vegan raw coconut and rhubarb cake.

Chief Editor Anna Wagner describes GUSTO Lola as a creative combination of the best of two worlds: quick, seasonal and simple recipes as well as a variety of lifestyle reportages dipping into DIY, interior decoration, restaurants and bars, food events, blogs, music suggestions and much more. GUSTO Lola brings inspiration, indulgence and joy de vivre to its foodie community. The magazine also supports young and creative Austrians and helps them realise new and innovative ideas.

Rhabarber Bilder2

Rhabarber Bilder

(c) Photos: LOLA

All of this is pretty much in line with my own blogger and foodie philosophy. There are lots of new things happening on my end at the moment as well: I'm working on a series of cookbooks, the first of which will be published in just a few months. It's an intense and busy phase in my life and fits right into the spring season. Everything new springs forth from April to June, and the vegetables and fruit of the new season are out to be harvested, the rhubarb being a particular favourite of mine. It's in season until the summer and can be turned into light, fresh and healthy dishes of a staggering variety. More info below:

Rhubarb, in season between April and June, is actually a vegetable, even though it's often put into the fruit category and is used as a fruit more often than not - in desserts, cakes and jams. The stalks aren't always pink or red but can be green even when ripe. Particularly interesting fact: the later you harvest your rhubarb, the tangier the taste.

You shouldn't eat rhubarb raw. Once you cook it, it unfolds its wonderfully fragrant aroma. Its tangy and tart taste is a great contrast to any sweet flavours.

Rhubarb supports your digestion and stimulates your appetite and it also has a cleansing and detoxifying effect. It contains vitamins A, B1, B2 and particularly vitamin C as well as minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron.

What's the best way to prepare rhubarb?

Only the stalks are edible. Stay away from the leaves, they contain oxalic acid which can lead to digestive trouble.
First, wash the stalks and remove the leaves. If you're making a compote or sauce, chop the stalks into small pieces and boil them with some sugar until al dente. Another delicious way to use rhubarb is a crumble: mix the rhubarb pieces with some sugar and put them in a casserole dish, topping them with a streusel made of flour, butter and sugar. Bake the crumble in the oven until golden brown.
If you'd rather use your rhubarb for savoury dishes, it's great with meat or as a chutney dip for cheese and meat.

How do you store rhubarb?

Rhubarb keeps in the fridge for about 2 days. If you peel and clean it and wrap it in a damp towel before putting it in the fridge, it'll keep for a few days longer. It's particularly suitable for freezing.