Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Rhubarb and Custard Eton Mess

Eton Mess is one of my favourite desserts. Its popularity on menus is often something of a saviour too, since coeliacs frequently struggle in the dessert department. One blogger has even started their own campaign comically titled 'fruit is not a pudding'. So often fruit, a miserly excuse for a dessert, is dished out to gluten free people up and down the country by those lacking the awareness or creativity to dish up a coeliac friendly pud. So back to Eton Mess, I love it, and like I said it's usually naturally gluten free.

This recipe is ridiculously simple, although the dedicated dessert king or queen can complicate it as much as they like by whisking up their own meringues or custard. The slightly tart rhubarb helps to offset the sweet components nicely. If you are gluten free, don't forget to double check any shop bought ingredients. Quantities are all fairly approximate as you can layer it up how you like it.

Ingredients (serves 6 - 8):
300ml double cream
500g ready to pour custard
6 meringue nests
800g rhubarb
Bar of white chocolate
A sprinkling of caster sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees, chop up your rhubarb into small, bite sized pieces and put in a single layer in a baking tray. Sprinkle over some sugar and place in the oven for 15 minutes. The rhubarb should be soft but not mushy, you want it to hold together. Set aside and leave to cool. Now whisk the double cream till thickened, then fold in 3/4 of your custard, to create a slightly marbled effect. Crumble up your meringue nests and coarsely grate the white chocolate. Now it's simply a case of assembling your mess and that's completely up to you! I started with a layer of rhubarb, followed by a layer of the cream and custard mix, a little more of the custard, crumbled meringue and then white chocolate. Just repeat until you reach the top. Best served in tall sundae glasses.
Rhubarb and Custard Eton Mess

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Relish, Newton Flotman, Norfolk

Going out for Sunday lunch often promises so much, but invariably fails to live up to expectations. Pubs and restaurants up and down the country suddenly decide to turn out over cooked meat and mushy vegetables. Thankfully, Relish at Newton Flotman in Norfolk is not one of those places.

On a Sunday they do 2 courses for £16 or 3 for £20 and for the quality of the food, it's great value. There was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing over whether to have a starter, dessert or both! In the end, the decision was made that you can always tag a dessert on the end but you can't really go back and have a starter - good logic! To start I had beautifully cooked pigeon, blushing and tender, served on a bed of lentils with celeriac purée. It was a well crafted dish that got the meal off to a great start. My dad had a mushroom and tarragon dish with a soft poached egg that also looked great.
Pigeon on a bed of lentils with celeriac purée and pea shoots
For main, I couldn't resist the haunch of deer with a port jus. When cooked well, venison is one of my favourite meats and this was cooked superbly, the meat tender and succulent. All the accompaniments were well cooked too, crisp and fluffy roast potatoes and vegetables cooked to retain their full flavour. It was a generous portion too, so much so that we decided we didn't quite have room for dessert - maybe the logic wasn't that great after all! There were no problems catering for my gluten free requirements either. Everything was cooked fresh so dishes could be easily adaptable. Inside, Relish has a modern feel while still retaining it's country feel and the service was spot on too. We'll definitely be going back, especially since they also do pizza Sundays and can do gluten free pizza. They also do an 'experience menu', which sounds rather tempting!
Sunday lunch - Haunch of deer with a port jus