Lemon Posset with Raspberries & Shortbread
inspired by Clos Maggiore
This all started with a plate of kipper carbonara. Yup, you heard that right. Kipper Carbonara.
Aidan’s been wanted to make this dish for ages. It’s a Hugh Fearnley-Whitingstall recipe from his River Cottage Fish Book. But a mix of me very much hogging time in the kitchen, and the fact that I doubt I’ll find a restaurant to link a plate of kippers with pasta to, meant that Aidan has had to wait.
Now however, with the food blogging scaled back to a few times a week, he’s finally back in the kitchen and making me dinner.
Kipper carbonara, as it turns out, is delicious. If you like kippers, or any smoked fish, then definitely try it. It’s basically cream, egg yolk, kippers, butter and pasta. Gorgeous.
But it did leave me with two thirds of a carton of double cream in the fridge.
I know, I thought. I’ll make some lemon possets. Plus I could make some shortbread. A lovely dessert. Plus loads of places have a lemon posset on their menu. I can write about it too.
Making a lemon posset couldn’t be simpler. Heat cream and caster sugar together until gently bubbling. Let it cool slightly and then whisk in a mix of lemon juice and zest, pour into ramekins and pop them in the fridge to set. I’m struggling to think of an easier pudding.
I used this Happy Foodie recipe but scaled it down. Turns out the 225g of cream that I had, mixed with 65g caster sugar, the zest of 1 lemon and the juice of two was the perfect amount for two ramekins.
Shortbread was also a simple make. Using the principles of 3-2-1 ratios of flour, butter and sugar. After many batches over the years my biscuits are still no where near as good as my Aunt’s. But they’re getting better.
So last night we tucked into our lovely puddings. Served with loads of tart raspberries to balance the richness of the posset. Now all I had to do was write about it.
Making a posset might be simple. Finding a restaurant that has served one, surprisingly, is not.
“But I’ve eaten loads of possets in restaurants”, I wail, after nearly an hour of scouring restaurant menus and Instagram feeds. “I just can’t remember where….”
It seems that the posset, which I swear used to be on pretty much every British restaurant and gastropub menu, is now not quite so fashionable.
It’s easy to remember when a food trend starts. Like Heston creating triple cooked chips and every pub across the country following suit. Even better when they stacked them up to form a towering potato jenga. The chips might be a classic now, but the stacking of them is no more. But I couldn’t tell you when jenga chips stopped being fashionable. Chefs simply moved on.
But why has the posset gone out of favour? Every menu I look at is full of parfaits, pannacottas and fools. So cream based desserts are still on the menu. Just not a posset.
I wonder if it’s because people make them at home. Perhaps they are too simple for a restaurant? But that doesn’t stop nearly every menu I look at being full of crumbles, chocolate mousses and Eton mess. All very simple.
I’m totally baffled.
“The Pig and Butcher has a posset on their menu”, says Aidan
“How do you know that?”
“I’m on their website”
It turns out that for quite a while now, Aidan has been also looking for possets. We are sat in his pub, after a day of decorating and tidying for reopening next week, and he is writing drinks menus.
Or at least he was. Now he has volunteered to help with the quest for a posset. This is why I married him. He thinks I’m mad, he knows that this obsession with finding a lemon posset is ridiculous, but he is helping anyway.
Unfortunately I’ve already written about the Pig and Butcher. I cooked a pork chop and chimichurri dish of theirs back in April.
So the hunt continues.
Aidan eventually strikes gold.
A trip advisor picture from September 2018. A lemon posset served with raspberries and some shortbread.
Most importantly it was served in a restaurant.
And not just any restaurant.
Clos Maggiore has been voted the most romantic restaurant in the world. I haven’t eaten there, and the name doesn’t ring a bell, but as soon as a see a picture of their candle lit dining room under a canopy of flowers I recognise it. This restaurant is forever on lists for perfect date nights and Valentines dinners.
It also is a French restaurant (what else could the most romantic restaurant in the world be?) so I’m not entirely sure why of all places, this is where we’ve found a posset. But never mind.
Aidan and I are not what you would call romantic. We don’t bother with Valentines Day. Massive public displays of affection or soppy social media posts are not our thing. A date night could just as easily be a trip to a pub rather than a fancy restaurant.
I’m sure the atmosphere at Clos Maggiore is amazing. That’s why people go to restaurants really. Sure you go for the food. But as we’ve discovered the food can also come to us. It’s everything else that a restaurant provides that makes it unique. The mood lighting, the candles, the service, the background music. The ambience is what makes an evening special. They provide the perfect setting for romance.
We may not be sat in a fancy restaurant right now. We’re sat in a closed pub. I’m in my decorating clothes after a day of painting toilet doors. So definitely not an obvious romantic scenario.
But you know what? You can keep your flowers, tablecloths and candlelight. My kind of romance is something different. Small acts of kindness, and offering help, says more about how you feel than a fancy meal ever could.
Helping in a ridiculous quest for a restaurant that serves a lemon posset. Without being asked, without complaining, and without stating the obvious (why don’t you just write about it anyway?). That is a romantic gesture I can get on board with. No roses or candlelight required.