Saturday, March 6, 2010


WOOO. It worked! I think my guests were satisfactorily stuffed. A night filled with wine, chatter, heated debates - one too many glasses of cheap vino at this stage - and most importantly, good food. There was even mention of a Round Two.

STARTER: Grilled haloumi wrapped in pancetta, with a rocket salad and balsamic dressing.
(c/o mysterious flatmate - Rose Cottage's equivalent of the Stig).

"The starter was best", slipped politely into post-meal reflection by fellow Come Diner, Miss Mackenzie.

: Lemon marinated salmon with primavera risotto. A wee bit bony...but fresh and delicious.

and DESSERT: Rose-scented panna cotta with rhubarb compote.

Groans all round - and good ones, I think! Well worth re-creating this dreamy pud, so here's the recipe for your own indulgence:

The original recipe was taken from p. 36 of Stella mag last week, and adapted slightly for serving in wine glasses rather than from moulds.
For the panna cotta:
150ml (5fl oz) full-fat milk
600ml (1 pint) double cream
3 strips lemon rind
6 small sheets of gelatine (or 3 teaspoons of powdered gelatine)
1 tsp rosewater
150g (5 1/2 oz) caster sugar
several good squeezes of lemon
groundnut oil, for greasing (I went without this and made the recipe in wine glasses).

For the rhubarb:
900g (2lb) rhubarb
300ml (10fl oz) water
150g (5 1/2 oz) sugar
good squeeze of lemon

Gently heat the milk and cream with the lemon rind and simmer until the mixture has reduced by about a third. Be careful not to let it boil.
Put the gelatine in a bowl and cover with water. Leave to soak for about 15 minutes.
Add the rosewater and sugar to the cream with just enough lemon to cut through the richness and stop the flower water being cloying.
Lift the wet gelatine our of the water and squeeze out the excess liquid. Add to the cream and stir to help the sugar and gelatine dissolve (the cream need to be warm for this to happen).

Lightly oil six little pudding tins or dariole moulds (or use wine glasses like I did - no need to oil them), with a flavourless oil such as groundnut, then ladle in the cream. Leave to cool then put in the fridge to set.

Trim the rhubarb and cut it into 4cm (1 1/2 in) lengths. Mix the water and sugar and heat stirring from time to time, until the sugar has melted. Add the rhubarb and poach gently until just soft (the rhubarb must not collapse).
Remove the fruit carefully with a slotted spoon, add a good squeeze of lemon to the poaching liquid and boil to reduce. It should be slightly syrupy and will become more so as it cools. Leave to cool, then pour over the rhubarb.

To serve (if using the moulds), unmould the panna cotta by sliding a knife down the inside of the mould, invert onto a plate and shake well.

Spoon the rhubarb around or beside the panna cotta (or on top of the panna cotta if using a wine glass), and decorate with rose petals.

I prepared these the night before the dinner party, in true Blue Peter fashion, and they were perfectly set. Although easy on how many you least leave some the guests.

Definitely a wooer. And if you are on a budget - it cost around £25 to serve 7 diners. SUCCESS!


  1. That pudding sounds fooking ace. good work. probably a good thing that you disregarded my Moroccan suggestions.

  2. Not that they didn't look delicious! We had long deliberations over 'theme this theme that', but ultimately decided to choose something good and greedy. And good thing too. I almost passed out over the panna cotta - if I do say so myself..