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: