Recipe: rhubarb parfait

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The base recipe for this parfait I’ve known since childhood, so full credit for it goes to mamma. It’s delicious on its own, and so much easier to make than ice cream. And it’s infinitely adaptable.

I’ve made it with elderflower before, and when I was at home in Sweden at the end of May mamma and I came up with this rhubarb version together. We wanted to keep the fresh acidity from the rhubarb while still keeping the sweetness of the custard-tasting parfait and I think we managed to do just that. It’s sweet but not too sweet with a hint of acidity for balance and freshness.

Rhubarb parfait, serves 4

3 egg yolks

80 g caster sugar

300 ml whipping or double cream

Rhubarb filling:

300-400 g rhubarb 

approx 2 tbsp caster sugar

Rinse and slice the rhubarb. Mix with sugar and place in a pyrex dish. Place in a 180C oven and bake for approx 20 minutes until the rhubarb has softened and most of the liquid has evaporated. Leave to cool completely.  

Beat egg yolkd and sugar until fluffy in a mixing bowl. Whip the cream in a separate bowl and add to the egg mixture.

Line a bread tin with cling film and place a 1 cm wide line of rhubarb compote in the middle of the tin lenghtways. Mix the rest of the rhubarb with the cream mixture and pour into the bread tin. Cover with cling and put in the freezer for at least 5 hours, but preferably over night. Serve with oat thins, berries, more rhubarb, whipped cream or as is.

 

 

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Dinner at Social Eating House, Soho

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Jason Atherton has been busy opening restaurants the last few years with the additions of City Social, Little Social and Social Eating House to his earlier established Pollen Street Social.

Out of the new editions I have only been to Little Social, but a few weeks ago I went to Social Eating House in Soho for dinner with a friend from home I haven’t seen in ages. It was so much fun and since we’re both foodies we thoroughly enjoyed the food as well!

Both starters were amazing! My smoked Angus steak tartare (above) was to die for. Lovely flavours, amazing meat and loved the toppings that added different textures. Oh and the egg cream was delicious too!

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Mattias basically had a cheese fondue on a plate with warm Vacherin Mont d’Or, croutons, ham, chicory and boiled new potatoes. Utterly delicious!

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The main courses were also really nice. This slowcooked venison with date jam, kale, brazil nuts and goat’s cheese was delicious but the lamb was even better. V

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The lamb loin from Kent with neck confit, miso caramel, aubergine and mint yoghurt was pure perfection! Especially the confit was to die for and the whole combination of flavours was spot on!

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We were too full for a proper pudding (the portions here were certainly substantial) but we couldn’t resist some sorbets and icecreams. Mattias had the coconut (which tasted a bit like Malibu) and mixed berry, which was really nice. The mango sorbet I had was really good and the yoghurt icecream was nice too.

I’m a big fan of chef Atherton and his restaurants. Both I’ve been too have a very high standard of both food, wine and service. The ambiance is nice and relaxed too which is a plus. It’s just very well done. All of it.

Social Eating House, 58 Poland Street, Soho, London W1F 7NR

Baked Alaska with oat crisps, raspberries and passion fruit

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Two New Year’s Eves in a row I’ve made the same fabulous dessert and even though i love it, it’s fun to change things up a little, so this New Year’s Eve I decided to make a Baked Alaska. The base is oat crisps, as well as the decoration and the centre is homemade vanilla ice cream topped with passion fruit and wrapped in Italian meringue. Raspberry coulis, fresh raspberries and half a passion fruit to serve. It was delicious and looked just as impressive as I had pictured in my head.

Baked Alaska with raspberries and passion fruit, serves 4

1 batch oat crisps 

1 batch vanilla ice cream 

Italian meringue:

4 egg whites

150 ml caster sugar

Syrup:

150 ml caster sugar

100 ml water

Raspberry coulis:

1 litre frozen raspberries 

a little sugar (to taste)

100 ml water

1 tbsp potato flour 

To decorate:

1 punnet fresh raspberries 

4 passion fruits

Make the oat crisps using the link above. These can be made a few day in advance, just store in an airtight container. Use a dessert spoon to measure the oat crisps for the base and half a teaspoon for the small decorative oat crisps. Still bake them for the same amount of time. 

Make the ice cream and divide between four ramekins lined with cling film, freeze until needed.  

Make the raspberry coulis: place all the ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, sieve to remove the kernels and leave to cool. Can also be made ahead of time. 

Montage:

Make the Italian meringue: Add the egg whites and sugar in a bowl and beat for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring the water and sugar for the syrup to the boil in a saucepan. Pour the (very) hot syrup into the meringue mixture and beat for another 15 minutes until you have a thick, glossy meringue.

Place a large oat crisp on each plate. Remove the ice cream from the ramekins and cling and place on top of the oat crisps. Scrape out the seeds from half a passion fruit on top of each ice cream block. Cover the whole lot (apart from the base) with the meringue using a spatula. Use a cream brulee torch to torch the meringue until golden brown. Decorate the plate with the raspberry coulis and fresh fruit. Top each dessert with a small oat crisp and maybe a sparkler. Serve immediately.

Heston’s salted caramel popcorn icecream

I am not one to buy ready made meals very often, and when I do, I usually get very disappointed with them. Even if they don’t taste bad, I knew that I could have done it better myself. And some really do taste awful.

And then we have the nutritional value of processed food and the additives, to put us off. But most important is the taste.

That is why I quite like the idea of the Heston Blumenthal for Waitrose range of ready meals. When looking at the ingredients most are non-processed ingredients that you would use yourself, and I do hope the taste is there.

So far I have only tried the icecream, which of course was delicious. I am a sucker for salted caramel, and this is a fun ‘very Heston’ flavour. Reading the ingredients list there are some things you wouldn’t find in homemade icecream, but I find it more important that say the Shepherd’s pie contains nothing processed than an icecream.

The Bull & Last, Kentish Town

This past weekend was absolutely glorious with the sun shining both days so to go for a for a nice long walk followed by a pub lunch was the perfect Sunday activity.

With sunglasses on I met Laura at Belsize Park around lunch time, where she showed me around her new neighbourhood. We then walked across Hampstead Heath and onto The Bull & Last for our 2.30 reservation.

We liked the pub immediately. The decor is traditionally pubby with some nice touches, like double doors to the loos, stuffed animals and hunting trophies.

The groundfloor was really busy and quite loud when we walked in, perfect for chatting with friends, but it was nicer to eat upstairs in the more quiet dining room, like we did.

Last year the pub won an Observer award for best Sunday lunch and as we walked through the pub we could see just how popular the roast beef with yorkshire pudding was. It looked delicious but after a walk in the sunshine we were up for something a bit lighter. All the maincourses were quite heavy so we had two starters each instead. Well I did anyway. 🙂

I chose a salad with beetroot, horseradish, smoked eel and cod’s cheeks and it was an absolute delight. It had different textures (smooth eel, crunchy beetroot crisps, creamy horseradish) and lots of nice flavours. Laura had some of it and we also had a side of triple cooked chips. I mean, how could we resist?

They were lovely and crisp on the outside and soft in the middle and served with homemade mayonnaise. Need I say more?!

Instead of the maincourses we chose a board each; fish for Laura and meat for me. They were huge and it would have been perfect to share one for two people as a starter. As a maincourse it was definitely enough and we were pretty full by the end of it.

The fish board consisted of a haddock croquette, sprats, mackerel paté, potted shrimps and beautiful gravadlax (with beetroot for the colour I presume) and soft soda bread.

My meat board was equally packed with goodies; the chicken liver parfait was velvety smooth and probably my favourite as well as celeriac slaw, thin slices of duck breast, duck rillette and a lovely ham hock terrine. The pig’s head was shredded pieces of meat in a croquette and the bread was toasted and brioche-like. I enjoyed it all, although some things could have done with a tad more seasoning.

As I said, the boards were quite filling, but not having icecream on a sunny day is almost a crime, so we had a scoop each after a little breather.

Laura’s prune and armagnac is above and my mint chocolate chip is pictured below.

We spent around two and a half hours in here and enjoyed every moment. The service was good and relaxed and you definitely didn’t feel rushed. And since we were part of the late lunch service they probably didn’t need our table until dinner service a bit later anyway.

As soon as we stood up it hit me how full I actually was, so we decided to walk some more to digest the food. After a stroll to Highgate and over the Heath we were back at Belsize Park and it was time to go home.

We had a lovely Sunday and to go for a nice long walk combined with nice food is just great. We will definitely be back to eat our way through the menu, which might prove a challange as we were told it changes every few days…

The Bull and Last
168 Highgate Road
London NW5 1QS 
020 726 73641