No Bake | Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Quark Mousse … delicious eggless dessert in season #vegetarian

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Quark Mousse Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Quark Mousse … yes, it’s that time of the year yet again. SPRING! I love it. It’s euphoria all around with new leaves unfurling everyday, flowering tomato plants that hold promise of a ‘good crop’, herbs that finally begin to expand like there’s no tomorrow. Also days when quark gets made beautifully and with ease!Spring And if there is homemade quark on hand, can dessert be far behind? I make huge amounts of quark, a curd cheese I love to love. Ever since I first discovered it 5 years ago, thanks to Hoglet K from Down Under, it has brought about a change in the way I think ‘desserts‘.Quark dessertsQuark isn’t just the sweet way home. I use it often to add wonderful tangy flavour to chicken like in theis Chicken Quark Cross Over Puff Pastry, as part of creamy dressings, in cold potato salads, in stir fries etc. A little goes a long way and once you start exploring, you will find a billion novel ways to include it in your everyday food. 

Chicken Quark Crossover Puff PastryI made Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Quark Mousse just before we left for a short vacation {which might explain why it’s been so quiet around PAB}. The mousse was addictive and a huge hit with everyone. It got added texture from some chocolate coated homemade granola which I was experimenting with.

Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Quark Mousse I love the way the colours, textures and flavours came together in this dessert which is a celebration of spring. These days we have a virtual flood of seasonal fruit in the market with cape gooseberries {locally called ‘rhasbhari’ meaning filled with juice} and strawberries ruling the roost. It’s a riot of colour with the fruit piled up high at local bazaars and on handcarts lining the roadside.

Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Quark Mousse With daytime highs already hitting the early 30’s, it’s just a matter of days before summer arrives. Then of course we’ll welcome days of luscious stone fruit; sizzling hot 45C+ temperatures will be part of the deal though! Until then, this is a great way to enjoy spring fruit.

Summer Salad with orange vinaigrette You can go the salad route too with them! Rocket or mixed salad greens, strawberries, cape gooseberries, feta or cottage cheese, grapes, walnuts, orange, red onion all tossed in a nice tangy orange vinaigrette!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

No Bake | Dark Chocolate Nutella Kumquat Pudding … indulgent, addictive and gluten free. Eggless too!

“I am starting to think that maybe memories are like this dessert. I eat it, and it becomes a part of me, whether I remember it later or not.”
Erica Bauermeister

Dark Chocolate Nutella Kumquat Pudding {GF Eggless} Dark Chocolate Nutella Kumquat Pudding turned out bowl scraping good. It was just an experiment. The result was deeply, soul satisfying, smooth and beautiful texture; quite delightful for an eggless chocolate pudding. Using oats meant that it was gluten free too! Did I mention I put in some whole kumquats too? They added delightful citrus undertones! Hazelnuts and kumquatsLife has been busy as usual with annual exams on and the kids hungry ALL THE TIME! It’s a wonder they ever get anything else done because IMHO they are always eating! It’s also a wonder I get anything done at all because I am always in the kitchen.

Dark Chocolate Nutella Kumquat Pudding {GF Eggless} Chocolate is one thing that needs to be on hand all the time. Chocolate everyday, and the savoury nibbles too. Store bought anything is a huge NO with the daughter, so I am BUSY!! It’s a double edged sword though. I love being in the kitchen, I get to experiment {read LOTS} …  yet on the other hand  I have time for nothing else!

Whole foodI’ve been diving into bags of oats of late. When it’s not oats, it’s amaranth flour, peanut flour, walnut meal and barley flour. Adds new dimensions to what you can do … and often what you cannot too! In a larger perspective, it helps you push your boundaries, something which I currently enjoy! The failures are there of course.

Hazelnuts & Vintage NutcrackerSo the pudding was meant to be just a chocolate pudding, but then along came Ruchira visiting from Islamabad. Among bagfuls of exciting stuff, she also brought hazelnuts. That was inspiration enough. Suddenly a Dark Chocolate Nutella Kumquat Pudding made more sense! Kumquats because they are in season and hanging heavy on the branches of my tiny tree!

HazelnutsThe rest of the day just went in trying to save the pudding from the ‘forever hungry for dessert at anytime of the day‘ kids, and attempting to shoot the brown in a nice way. Well, brown isn’t easy to shoot! I tried!

Dark Chocolate Nutella Kumquat Pudding {GF Eggless} The Dark Chocolate Nutella Kumquat Pudding turned out heavenly good. Fuss free to make and eggless. I used oats instead of cornflour to thicken it and that paid off well. The texture was smooth yet had some viscosity maybe from the kumquats or possibly cooked oats.

Dark Chocolate Nutella Kumquat Pudding {GF Eggless} Everything about it was delightful. Scraping the bowl {or rather pottery mug} the lad asked several times if he could have more. “I can eat this forever,” he declared … and I rolled up my eyes! Thats how good it was!

Don’t miss a post Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

No Bake | Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits … these had me smitten! #springlove #vegetarian #meatlessmonday #glutenfree

“Eating is really one of your indoor sports. You play three times a day, and it’s well worth while to make the game as pleasant as possible.”
Dorothy Draper
Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits
Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits … could there be a better way to welcome spring and summer in our part of the world? I think not! The day I saw these on Betacyanin via Foodgawker I was smitten. Sofias blog is a new discovery and matches very closely to what I like doing with food. I HAD to do the parfaits ASAP!

Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits Did I tell you I was absolutely smitten? I certainly was. I love the idea of a parfait going savoury. Make ahead, healthy, balanced, infinite options and a load of fun!

Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits
I soaked the chickpeas that very night and had them cooked the next morning. Warm freshly cooked chickpeas tossed in EVOO, some minced garlic, a squeeze of lime, some fresh herbs is like diving into a bowl of heaven! I have a love love relationship with chickpeas! What about you?Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits
 I also have a love love relationship with savoury food, bring on the garlic and life gets even better. It might surprise you as PAB is rather full of sweet stuff. That is what I like to make, but savoury is what I like to eat. I don’t have a sweet tooth at all! My family does!!
Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits
Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits The parfaits were fun. Layering and individual servings are something I adore doing. You can pretty much paint your own palette here. I made a few changes. Olives in brine for one because I like the saltiness they add. homegrown tomatoesCherry tomatoes because my few plants are now hanging with fruit which is slowly ripening. Those above were the very first three! Spring ♥!!Spring herbs veggies fruits
It’s a constant battle though as little Coco has taken a shine to tomatoes. Animal instinct kicks in here. She sniffs out the nice, ripe, juicy ones and devours them with great aplomb. Much to my horror, the first time she ‘discovered‘ them, the garden was strewn with half eaten green tomatoes; the ones she had obviously rejected!
Coco
This was not why I grew tomatoes. I waited impatiently for them to ripen. So had the lad. For the two of us, it’s an early morning ritual to ‘check them out‘!How would she know any better, the little thief. She isn’t as innocent as she looks; but she is so darned charming!

Playing with light 2The battle of tomatoes has begun! I quickly harvest the ripe fruit and she looks on, hoping old butterfingers will drop one!! I have a few yellow cherry tomatoes that I salvaged 3 days ago, and some deep red beefy ones. Tomato ♥!

Home grown tomatoes
I have plenty of photographs of these beauties but I like this one quite  abit. I love the play of light and all thanks goes to NeelLearn Food Photography for organising a 30 day challenge on his fabulous blog. Have you been to LFP yet? Playing with light You must stop by if you are struggling to improve your food photographs, or want to explore the technicalities at a comfortable level. We’re into week 3 of our challenge and it’s a great community of folk from across the globe. So far we’ve covered angles, DOF, light, playing with light, white balance, diffusers, bouncers, backgrounds and are currently on props.

Learning food photography... lightThese Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits were made the day I was experimenting with light.  It’s amazing how much you can learn if you join a challenge. Such fun! All the herbs, flowers and leaves I had gathered became an inspiration for my parfaits.

Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits The little jars are actually like an announcement of spring. Full of fresh herbs, fresh produce, light flavours and beautiful pairing. My herbs are flourishing too so I couldn’t have made this discovery at a better time.

Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits 6
Infinite possibilities are dancing merrily in my head. I am thinking fruit parfaits, watermelon feta and mint parfaits, mango pistachio parfaits! I think you can layer any salad you like in little mason jars, recycled jam/sauce jars, or serving glasses.
Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits
I now do these as a make ahead salad for Mr PABs lunchbox to take to work. The dieting diva enjoyed it as well. It’s nice coz the raisins at the bottom take all the released juices and plump up nicely. You could always use dried cranberries instead! And of course you could always toss everything together in one big bowl,  but it might not be that much fun!

Strawberry, Kiwi, Basil Parfaits

My post is a little delayed because all this parfait talk inspired me to make some fruit parfaits for the kids after school snack!  I made Strawberry, Kiwi, Basil Parfaits! Parfaits are always fun. They are a nice make ahead snack, salad or even a simple dessert. Refreshing, colourful, delicious & FUN!
 Strawberry, Kiwi, Basil Parfaits
Tell me dear reader what you would include in a parfait? What would your ultimate savoury parfait have? And a sweet version?  Try and cover as many food groups as you can … nuts, fruits, veggies, herbs, spices, beans, chickpeas, quark, ricotta, mascarpone, granola. Play with colours and seasonal produce. Just make sure you enjoy what you do because that is what matters most!

Recipe: Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits 
your picture

Summary: I love the idea of a parfait going savoury. Make ahead, healthy, balanced, infinite options and a load of fun!  This one covers all the food groups, and deliciously so – fruits, nuts, dairy, pulses, herbs … you get ‘em all in a jar!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 1- 1.5 cup cooked chickpeas tossed in evoo, garlic, fresh coriander
  • 2-3 small cucumbers, grated, squeezed
  • 2 cup homemade yogurt, hung for about 3-4 hours
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp ranch buttermilk dressing {or a dash of lime juice, garlic and finely chopped green chili}
  • handful chopped mint
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • olives, cherry tomatoes, pistachios
  • lightly toasted walnuts and more mint, for garnish

Method:

  1. Whisk the hung curd with buttermilk seasoning until smooth. Alternatively, add minced garlic, a dash of lime juice, green chilies and salt and mix until smooth.
  2. Begin layering…
  3. Starting with the raisins, followed by chickpeas, grated cucumbers, and yogurt, layer each of the ingredients, divided between jars. Top with olives and cherry tomatoes, chopped walnuts, slivered pistachios and a few mint leaves. Chill well until ready to serve.
  4. Alternatively, if you’re not into the layering thing, you can just mix it all together and store accordingly.
  5. Sofias note: It’s really important to draw most of the juice out of the cucumbers, otherwise the end result will be swimming in cucumber juice. Once the cukes are grated, use your hands to squeeze out as much juice as you can. Drink it, it’s really refreshing! Set aside in a strainer to let any remaining liquid drain.

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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