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  • LB

Recipe of the Month: March

Stewed rhubarb in creme de cassis, Tonka bean panna cotta, Blood orange curd, Chinese five spice cake


You may not have heard of Tonka bean, but it is a black bod produce from the Cumaru tree. Its flavour profile crosses between vanilla, almond and caramel, with a slight perfume taste. It is elegant in this dish and it is helped out by the sharp blood orange curd and beautifully topped off by the ruby rhubarb which is in season at the moment. A slightly different spring dish that is well worth the try.

Stewed rhubarb:

  • 250g rhubarb

  • Half-blood orange zest

  • 100ml crème de cassis

  • 50g caster sugar

Panna cotta:

  • 125ml milk

  • 125ml cream

  • 25g sugar

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • Half Tonka bean grated

  • 1 gelatine sheet

Blood orange curd:

  • 2 blood oranges, zest and juice

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • 65g caster sugar

  • 40g butter

  • Pinch of salt

  • Half lemon juice

Five spice cake:

  • 135g plain flour

  • 1 ¼ teaspoon of five spice

  • ¼ tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • Pinch of salt

  • 100g brown sugar

  • 85g caster sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 185g veg oil

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 1 gala apple grated.

Panna cotta:

To make the panna cotta, add the milk, cream, sugar and vanilla to a saucepan, bring to the boil and then remove from heat, grate the tonka bean into the dairy mix and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Bloom the gelatine in cold water till soft. Place the cream mix back on the heat and bring back to temperature. Remove the gelatine from the water and squeeze out any excess water, drop in the mix and whisk till smooth. Pour into the dariole moulds or some ramekins. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours

Blood orange curd:

Add all the ingredients to a heatproof bowl. Place on top of a pot of gently simmering water. (don't allow the bottom of the bowl to come into contact with water otherwise you'll end up with scrambled egg). Whisking frequently don’t allow the curd to scramble, this should take 5-10 minutes, once it has thickened and coats the back of a spoon, remove from the heat and cool in the fridge.

Five spice cake:

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, five spice powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt, and set these dry ingredients aside for a moment.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the brown and granulated sugars with the eggs, then add in the oil and vanilla, and whisk those in to combine; add the dry ingredients into those that are wet, and now using a spatula, gently mix and fold the ingredients together until mostly combined. Add in the grated apples, and fold those in.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean; allow to cool for 10 -15 minutes in the pan.

Stewed rhubarb:

Slice the rhubarb into 2-inch pieces. Put the rhubarb into a saucepan with the orange zest, crème de cassis, sugar and 2 tbsp water. Bring to the boil then simmer for 8 mins until the rhubarb is cooked but still holds its shape. Leave to cool in the liquor.


To serve remove the panna cotta from the mould by dipping it in the warm water to relieve it from the sides. Assemble the plate with the cake, dots of curd, the rhubarb and finish with some of the rhubarb liquor.


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