When my girlfriend Sofie was growing up, her grandparents had one of the most amazing vegetable gardens in Sweden, with wild strawberries, and big, bushy apple trees. Huge rhubarb bushes still spring up every year and the last time we visited I made this creamy panna cotta, which is a wonderful way to enjoy some of the summer’s finest rhubarb.
Chocolate and chilli might sound like an odd combination but sweet and spicy do work together. I first tried the combination in hot chocolate. It’s a subtle heat that you can taste, but instead of dominating the dessert it’s an interesting extra note that adds to the flavour of the chocolate. However, do feel free to leave the chilli out if you prefer. These puds have an oozing liquid chocolate interior and can be made in advance and placed in the fridge until you are ready to bake them.
At one of my recent cookery demonstrations I got a great tip to make an all-in-one white sauce, which simplifies the process here. There are two things that are key to this method: the milk must be cold when you start, and remember to keep whisking vigorously until the sauce thickens. If you want to take this simple recipe one step further, add some fried smoked streaky bacon bits. This is a great dish for a leftovers lunchbox the next day.
Ribollita is an Italian soup that was traditionally seen as peasant food. The great thing about this soup is that it makes an ideal base for any additional ingredients that you might want to add. Think of it as an opportunity to give a last moment of glory to any miserable veggies left at the bottom of your fridge! I keep leftover Parmesan rinds in my freezer, which I add to sauces and soups like this to give a unique rich flavour. Add a couple while the soup is simmering and simply fish them out before serving.
This salad is a really bright and vibrant one for the summer months.