What to do with my garden Rhubarb? Ginger pastry duck egg custard with Gin rhubarb compote

We love spice as a nation, where would we be without, fruity spiced mince pies, and hot cross buns or just think, no curry!

It’s not worth contemplating.

So I bet you are thinking how’s this linked to rhubarb, well so many spices bring a combination of flavours from rhubarb, especially after copious amounts of sugar to counteract the tartness of fresh rhubarb. 

I remember eating raw rhubarb as a kid and dipping it in the sugar caddy, personally I think it was an excuse to eat sugar, but once you have cooked rhubarb you elevate this humble vegetable to new heights, and the best bit is that it retains it flavours and one could say improve with the addition of some well-chosen spices, so many fruits and vegetables loose their flavours during the cooking process.

So through the store cupboard I go (it’s a bit like lion witch and the wardrobe), and here we are what I’m looking for, cardamom, ground ginger and vanilla, all the spices I need to make this dish.

Now for the rhubarb out of the garden, (did you know that rhubarb comes in to season on 25th December and is technically a vegetable) I grow my rhubarb under an old galvanised steel bath tub which protects these tender blanched stems from the cold nights.

So now down to the nitty gritty!

The age-old question: Is the fastest way to your partner’s heart through chocolate?

Even if it isn’t, it’s absolutely worth a try! And as it’s under the guise of romance you can justify sharing!Renowned for its aphrodisiac properties, as well as being a ‘bad day’ treat, we all have our go-to chocolate bar. But for the most intense chocolate hit, you really should try a rich, high cocoa, dark chocolate. Yes, I know what you’re thinking ‘that’s not going to hit the spot like a dairy milk!’; But please bear with me on this one and give this quick and simple hot chocolate a go. It’s a perfect alternative to your every-day treat and even better to complete your Valentine’s day dinner.This hot chocolate shot is a popular element of our Dessert Assiette and the recipe frequently requested. So, go on…. have a go! And then store this recipe in your repertoire (You’re welcome! 😉) 

The Perfect Hot Chocolate
600ml Jersey milk or full fat milk
60ml whipping cream
1/2 vanilla pod – cut in half length ways & scrape out the seeds to add too (the seeds hold the flavour).
A small piece of cinnamon stick
2 blades of mace or a good grate of fresh nut meg
A pinch of Maldon sea salt
The zest of half an orange
2 turns of a black pepper mill
150g of a dark chocolate (the highest cocoa percentage you can get)
Chef top tip
Don’t worry about the sweetness of the drink, as the milk contains sugar, and this is why Jersey milk is a great option.

  1. Place the everything except the chocolate, salt & pepper in a pan and scold the milk. When bubbles start to form on the top of the milk, its ready. Chocolate melts at 450C so the milk needs to be hot.
  2. Place your chocolate in a tall measuring jug and pour the milk mixture over it.
  3. Add the salt and pepper and whisk until chocolate has dissolved.
  4. Leave for around 10 minutes to infuse, sieve to remove the spices.
  5. Whizz up to a froth with hand blender or whisk.
  6. Serve and top as you wish.
  7. Drink while still warm, to get the best flavours

Happy Valentine’s Day!