As the end of May and beginning of June approaches there’s only one thing on everyones mind at Cragside. Every year at this time a blanket of stunning rhododendrons cover the estate in a vibrant floral display. Its an annual highlight for many which always means a huge influx of visitors by coach load and car full. Often first stop for the visitors is our tearoom to grab a bite to eat before their tour of the ‘rhodies’. The kitchen team has been extremely busy cooking and baking; beginning each morning with our ‘sconathon’ and moving on to sandwiches, quiches, cakes and more until the last hungry customers trickle through the doors at 5pm. Front of house the continual whir and the hiss of the coffee machine has been resonating through the tearoom to keep the customers supplied with their all important brew.
During Rhodie season since time is of the essence we’ve developed a number of recipes that are quick and simple to make but that still deliver on flavour. Amongst this list of effortless dishes are our recipes for Northumbrian cheese rarebit, gooey chocolate brownie, spiced lentil soup and a deliciously zesty lemon posset.
Posset is an old fashioned pudding dating from medieval times. Its made a recent resurgence into foody fashion but ever the trend setters we’ve actually been making it at the Cragside for the last fifteen years. Tangy and melt in the mouth creamy, a posset can be eaten on its own, set over a refreshing fruit jelly or poured on top of a sponge and lemon curd base to make an alternative yet delicious trifle. Its a brilliant dinner party dish as it can be made the day ahead and left in the fridge to set and with only three ingredients it’s bound to please even the most frugal of cooks among us. What’s not to like!
Lemon Posset (Serves 4)
450ml Double Cream
125g Caster Sugar
Juice of 1 and a half lemons
- Put the double cream into a sauce pan and add the sugar, place over a medium heat and stir until the sugar has melted.
- Whilst the cream is heating juice the lemons and leave to one side.
- Give the cream an occasional stir and leave on the heat until it gets to simmering point. Then add the lemon juice and stir in thoroughly.
- Lift the pan from the heat, pour into a jug and leave the posset to cool a little for around 10 -15 mins until just warm. Once the posset has cooled, pour into glasses and put into the fridge to set.
- Leave to set for at least 4 hours, then decorate with cream, fruit and a sprig of mint to garnish.
- Serve with some buttery shortbread or a crunchy ginger biscuit to dunk or if you’d prefer to make the trifle, first pop a spoonful of lemon curd in the bottom of the glass followed by pieces of lemon sponge. Top with the posset mixture and pop into the fridge to set.