Rosemary Pannacotta with Rhubarb

Rosemary Pannacotta

No secret that I love a pannacotta – all that silky wobbliness makes them irresistible to me. They are also on of the easiest puds to whip up and the fact they need to be made ahead of time only adds to their appeal.  I love knowing that pudding is already made and sitting patiently in the fridge, a tick on the to do list.

So far I’ve given you Vanilla Pannacotta with Blackcurrants (July 2014), a Summer regular for sure and possibly my children’s favourite incarnation.  Some good vanilla along with the slight tang of the yogurt is heaven and amazing with heady blackcurrants.  You can of course use which ever soft fruits are at the best or indeed the rhubarb that follows with this recipe.  The Cinnamon Pannacotta with Maple Syrup Apples (June 2015) makes me think of Autumn, crunchy leaves, mulled cider and bonfires.

Time for a new kid on the block and this is it.  For ages I have been tinkering with the idea of a rosemary scented pudding.  I couldn’t help but feel that the woody, herbaceous note would work well with a creamy base and in fact a rosemary ice cream is definitely on the agenda come the Summer.  More than that though, whilst I use piles of herbs in savoury dishes I thought I might be overlooking them in a sweet context.

Here we are then.  The rosemary adds a delicate flavour, one of those you can’t immediately place, and works a proper treat with the rhubarb.  I love rhubarb, am always looking for different ways to use it and this is my current favourite.  Heady with orange (actually tangerine) zest and juice it brings a wallop of flavour to the gently, soft pannacotta.

Rosemary Pannacotta with Rhubarb

200ml whole milk

100ml single cream

100ml Greek yogurt

60g caster sugar

A sprig of rosemary around the same size as the one in the photograph above

2 gelatine leaves

250g rhubarb, chopped into pieces

25-35g caster sugar

Zest and juice of an orange (or tangerine)

Put the gelatine in a bowl of cold water to soften.  Heat the milk, cream, sugar and rosemary until it just reaches boiling point.  Remove from the heat and add the squeezed out gelatine, whisk well and leave to cool and infuse, stirring occasionally.  Whisk in the yogurt and divide between 4 ramekins or small metal moulds.  Put into the fridge for at least 4 hours to set.   Meanwhile cook the rhubarb with the zest, juice and 25g sugar either in a pan or if the oven is on put it in there.  It doesn’t take very long but I wouldn’t put the oven on just for this.  When soft and juicy have a taste, you might need some or all of the extra 10g of sugar, then leave to cool.  To serve, dip each ramekin briefly into hot water before turning out onto a plate and serving with a spoonful of the rhubarb.  Serves 4.

Weekend Food

Marble Cake close 2

We had a houseful over the weekend with extras for lunch on Sunday and whilst I wanted everyone to be well fed of course, the last thing on the menu was for me to be stuck in the kitchen (hissing) all weekend.  With ages ranging from 18 months to grandparents and childrens’ teas to add to the mix I had much to do.  Nothing for it but a bit of organisation, a good list and setting Friday morning aside to get ahead.  I thought I’d let you know what we ate and what I was able to prepare beforehand in case any of these tips help.

Saturday lunch was a picnic with Cannellini Bean, Parsley and Lemon Dip (April 2015) with grissini (recipe coming soon) and Wild Garlic Focaccia (May 2014) alongside a big plate of salami, a bowl of tomatoes and a good chunk of cheddar.  For pudding we had meringues with vanilla bean cream and chocolate sauce (recipe coming soon).  I made the grissini, focaccia, meringues and dip on Friday so putting lunch together on Saturday only took a few minutes.  Incidentally the dough for the focaccia will happily sit in the fridge overnight so it can be baked just before lunch.

Wild Garlic Focaccia

At tea the children had orzo with bacon and tomato sauce (June 2015).  Pudding, and for us to tuck into with a cup of tea, was a Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Cake (October 2013) which I made on Friday.  For supper we had Chicken with Harissa (October 2012) with Little Rosemary Roasties (March 2015) and my favourite Green Salad (January 2014) – couldn’t have been easier.

On Sunday we had Lamb which had been marinading in garlic, lemon and rosemary.  With this Fresh Herb Sauce (July 2013) but I used half mint and half parsley which made a funky full of flavour modern take on old fashioned mint sauce.  It went down an absolute treat.

Asparagus with parmesan

We didn’t need much for supper so I roasted several bunches of fabulous in season asparagus (June 2014) followed by Vanilla Pannacotta (July 2014) with poached rhubarb, both of which I made on Friday.

At each sitting I was delighted that the children scoffed everything except one who found the colour of the fresh herb sauce too alarmingly green.  Admittedly I gave myself quite I lot to do on Friday but I have to tell you it was worth it and it helped to know anything left to prepare was easy and also that so much was already in the fridge or cake tin.

Finally please don’t think there is even one iota of smuggery here,  I am rarely this organised but have proved to myself this weekend the virtue of planning and preparing ahead.  You may always be this organised but if not, I hope some of these tips and recipes might help you breeze through it next time you have a houseful.

One more thing, I finished off the leftover poached rhubarb and vanilla bean cream with a last meringue and it was fabulous.  It reminded me of a rhubarb pavlova that I made a couple of times last year and I will post that recipe soon.