Reminiscing with some guests in the restaurant the other day, I learnt something new. (I've said it before but it bears repeating - the education process never stops!)
Two delightful ladies - sisters - were recounting life on the farm, where they grew up.
Nearly all their food was grown, or lived on their land.
How different to today's sterile society, where most foodstuffs come packaged in half a rainforest!
They enjoyed milk direct from source, eggs freshly laid and wild herbs in abundance.
I was intrigued to learn about a dessert they both remembered well called stone cream.
It sounded like a pana cotta, although I'm not sure if the cream is cooked (cotta) as in the Italian version.
After considerable research, I have discovered very little, except a recipe which did not match the description afforded by the ladies.
I have come up with this recipe from my understanding of the dish, but if anybody knows better, I would be pleased to hear from you.
Stone cream with raspberries
Ingredients (Serves 4)
250ml double cream [
250ml semi-skimmed milk
100g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, split
2 tbsp mead (or sweet sherry)
3 leaves of gelatine (or 10g powdered gelatine)
2 tbsp raspberry jam
1) Simmer the milk and cream, together with the sugar and vanilla pod, over a low heat for about 10 minutes.
2) Soak the gelatine in cold water until soft, then add to the cream.
3) Stir in the mead, then strain into a mould, or individual moulds if you prefer.
4) Leave to set overnight in the fridge.
5) Spread the jam over the bottom of a serving dish or plates, turn the cream out from the mould, on to the jam base, and decorate with the raspberries. (Dip the mould briefly into a bowl of hot water in order to turn the cream out)
You could use any seasonal fruits for this - Victoria plums would be particularly good.