Vanilla and turmeric-flavored pannacotta with hibiscus syrup. A) A rich, creamy, colorful dessert, or B) a murder victim on a teaplate? You be the judge! (Hint: It’s A.)
Every now and again with this blog, we create a recipe so unrepentantly weird that it seems a shame not to share it with the world. This week, we’d like to introduce to you a dish based on a gorse* pannacotta that we encountered a few years ago at one of our favorite restaurants, Llys Meddig in Newport, Wales.
Our vacation snapshot of the original dessert is too low-quality to share with you – suffice it to say that it was a delight and well worth trying to recreate. Pannacotta is pretty much a three-ingredient recipe (cream, sugar, gelatin) in its simplest form; all we would need, apparently, is some gorse.
So if you ever need to make a dessert suitable for a Murder Mystery night, we’ve got you covered.
The rosemary cocktail doesn’t come any more Hallowe’eny than this: “Rosemary, Baby!” – a little sweet, a little bitter, with just enough herbal and citrus flavor to balance it out. Oh, and it’s blood red. Good for individual cocktails or a party punch!
It should come as a shock to absolutely no one (who either knows me or has glanced at this blog) that I like cocktails. Whenever I go to a new restaurant, the first thing I check out is the cocktail list. And whenever we throw a party, we try to have at least one cool cocktail on offer as an option to beer and wine. Fun, right? But you know what’s not fun? Spending your entire party behind a bar, mixing individual cocktails for 30 people.
That, my lovelies, is why God invented the punch bowl.
Nerd Alert: Here is a short, mostly-accurate history of the term “punch”. Punches date back to the 1600s, when British sailors required something to drink that wouldn’t spoil in the tropical heat of India and Indonesia. (Unlike us modern dummies, British sailors were entitled to ten pints of beer a day. Yes, entitled). A true punch will always be a balance of five flavors (some kind of citrus, a sweetener, a base spirit, a weak portion like juice or wine and a seasoning portion, like herbs or spices). It’s meant to be less potent than a standard cocktail, allowing party-goers to gather around the bowl and socialize. Here endeth the lesson.
Since neither Matt nor I planned to dress as a bartender for Halloween, we decided to go the punch route. After many, many minutes of research, we settled on this recipe from Prime Meats. Now I know what you’re thinking and, no, we didn’t choose it just because we love that restaurant and used to go there all the time when we lived two blocks away. And we didn’t chose it simply due to its perfect Hallowe’en name, Rosemary, Baby!, an homage to one of my favorite horror films. We chose it because it sounded delicious. And it was. Delicious, that is.
Hallowe’en is a very exciting time over at the Nerds residence. You see, one of us (EMILY) not only grew up on horror movies but also, you know, HAS HER BIRTHDAY on October 31st, and the other one of us (MATT) has a fondness for Edward Gorey and M R James, and has spent whole months of his life subsiding entirely on candy bars. So it’s a propitious melding of minds, really.
Hallowe’en was not much of a thing for me, growing up in Britain in the 1970s – which is perhaps a little odd, considering that every other major holiday of the year is inextricably connected to the consumption of chocolate. The big event of the week was Guy Fawkes’ Night, which is fun and all, and has a bonfire and fireworks and the mocking of failed political plots, but unless the Guy was somehow fashioned out of sugar mice (IT WAS NOT), a distinct lack of sweet confections. So I thoroughly approve of the American version.