We'll have houseguests for a couple of nights this week, so I have been quietly mulling over the perfect meal for them (I think I'll cook one night and we'll take them to the pub one night). It's a bit tricky, because he doesn't eat red meat (and reluctantly chicken) and they have been staying with his family (epic pastry cooks) for 2 weeks, so they may be about to OD on richness.
I started from a position of conviction that I would do the St Clement's Creams again for pudding. But then I conceived of a fish pie on a base of confit fennel. And then I realised that with the orangey fennel, I shouldn't really back up with an orange dessert, so I thought of pannacotta. And I was thinking of a bar of chocolate that a friend bought me in Venice last year, which was white with vanilla and saffron. So I thought white chocolate pannacotta infused with cardamom and saffron would be the goods.
I googled "white chocolate pannacotta" and lo! Not only did I discover that Alan Coxon got there before me, but also that there are about a million really fantastic, funny, informative food blogs out there that have recipes for a white chocolate pannacotta on them. I will particularly be bookmarking Anne's Food, A cat in the kitchen and the Sceptical Cook.
I still think a cardamom and saffron infused white chocolate pannacotta is a good idea, but I have decided that the saffron in this meal would make a much better appearance in a veloute sauce for my fish pie filling. It'll give colour and an edge. And using a veloute instead of a bechamel should leave some room for pudding. Haven't quite decided on the pudding, but I am edging towards a ginger syllabub.