Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Valentines Day: Cardamon & Forced Rhubarb Panna Cotta

I want to make it clear from the outset that I don't have a problem with Valentines Day. I think it is rather lovely to have a whole day dedicated to the one you love, I just think that modern day commercialism has gone a step too far for a day that has stemmed from the feast of a Catholic martyr who was tortured to death. So, when Borough Market asked me to put together their Valentines Day menu this year, I decided to go for something that looks impressive but is actually really simple for a kitchen table supper. This way, your Valentines evening can be about enjoying each others company without all the superfluous hearts and flowers.
Cardamom Panna Cotta with Forced Rhubarb
Valentines Day Cardamom Panna Cotta with Forced Rhubarb Compote
To start, I've created a really simple version of classic Portuguese Clams. Something you can share and eat with your fingers. A good glass of chilled fizz would pair perfectly, along with a good few hunks of crusty bread. Bonus points if you bake your own. Set candles on the table to make things a bit more romantic, and you can even make your own finger bowls to clean off after all the shellfish. In two small dishes, cut a few slices of the lemon you'll have leftover from making the clams, and top it off just before you eat with boiling water. It will be at the right temperature for a finger bowl once you've made it though your mountain of clams and mopped up all the delicious cooking liquor. Proper linen napkins are also a must.
Forced Rhubarb Compote on Cardamom Panna Cotta Cardamom Panna Cotta with Forced Rhubarb Compote
To finish off, I've made a pair of striking, make ahead desserts, inspired by the Forced Rhubarb & Cardamom Breakfast Compote with Greek Yogurt I made during forced rhubarb season last year. This time I've infused the cardamom into a snowy white panna cotta (this pudding is seasonal in more ways than one!) and topped it off with a gorgeously bright pink forced rhubarb compote, made with just a little sugar and naval orange juice.

To read my full Valentines Day column, packed with entertaining tips, a few more thoughts on the holiday, photos of and the recipe for my Portuguese Clams, and of course the recipe and directions for these Valentines panna cottas, head over to the Borough Market blog


  1. Ohmigosh that sounds totally delicious. I wish my Valentine like seafood (or really, any of the same food as me!). I might just have to make those clams just for myself....

  2. I agree with you completely, Valentine's Day has just been completely distorted and has been reduced to a holiday of overpriced flowers and overbooked restaurants!

    So this year my partner and I are doing what we always do - staying at home, cooking some yummy food (panna cotta sounds good!), and probably building a fort.

    {Teffy's Perks} X

  3. That sounds amazing. Have you planned what you're cooking yet? x

  4. This looks and sounds lovely. Mark never go OTT on Valentine's Day but it's nice to have an excuse to get dressed up and have a nice meal! ;)

    Maria xxx

  5. Love pannacotta and yours looks so pretty, cardamom works a treat in sweet things but I've only used it in bakes before, great idea.

  6. hmmm probably lamb!! Not set in stone but that is where I'm headed! X