Baking |Kumquat Quark Cheesecake with a Date Almond Kumquat Base … gluten free, healthy and delicious

“The only way cheese is dessert is when it’s followed by the word cake.”
Michele Gorman

Kumquat Quark Cheesecake 1Kumquat Quark Cheesecake with a Date Almond Kumquat Base... a cheesecake that happened because I had a good batch of homemade quark even though I had Quark Mousse with Balsamic Roasted Strawberries in mind. Also because I still had the large bag of sweet moist dates that I had brought back from a recent trip to Mumbai. They needed to go somewhere, preferably someplace exciting.

KumquatsKumquatsDid I need any more reasons? Well no, but inspiration leaps out of the most colourful places! So the not so heavily laden anymore kumquat shrub had a last few kumquats that were turning a brilliant orange and had got Coco’s glad eye! How could I not play spoil sport?

Kumquats and CocoThe base of the cheesecake is inspired from one of my favourite hang outs, The Kitchn, that had shared a beautiful and ever so simple kumquat tart a while ago. Interestingly the base was made up of almonds, dates and oats.

Kumquat Quark Cheesecake 3I’ve been on a whole grain oaty sort of a drive of late, so the idea held instant appeal. The base is super simple as promised … so I had to veer off course! That is inherently me! I decided to flavour the base with some part kumquat and threw in 2 deseeded whole orange babies!

Kumquat Quark CheesecakeThen ‘the panic of the kids‘ kicked in, them who might reject any overpowering taste of dates in the cheesecake base. It was some good quality cocoa powder, a precious stash of delightful Russian cocoa that a good friend once brought, that would add taste!

Kumquats and CocoNot one to leave good enough alone, my obsession worked. I loved the way the base came together in seconds. Cheesecake filling is always fun. Now always quark, full fat home made quark, and never cream cheese. I love the way it works in cheesecake.

Kumquat Quark Cheesecake You need to plan in advance if you want to bake the cheesecake {and a few days more if you want to make quark}. Let the cake chill in the fridge overnight, slowly  and happily! The flavours mature, the texture becomes smooth and beautiful. Of course you are rewarded with a dessert the minute you open the fridge.

Kumquat Quark Cheesecake This in turns leaves enough time and inspiration for topping it in a fun and colourful way. I opted for a candied kumquat vanilla with a bitter orange thai red chili marmalade. You can always skip the marmalade and use a berry conserve. Alternatively, make a plain vanilla cheesecake and top it with a berry glaze or compote.

Kumquat Quark Cheesecake Endless possibilities. Strawberries and pistachios. Salted butter caramel. Honeyed figs should be fun too! Maybe a Nutella topping with a smattering of hazelnuts? Or flavour the cheesecake with coffee and a coffee liqueur and drizzle a bittersweet runny ganache over it. Even better, an Irish cream sauce! Think out of the box and inside your pantry; amaze yourself! 

fruit of the seasonThat’s what I love about desserts like this. So versatile and such fun to make. I usually stick to fruit in season as they inspire me and often put me in panic mode since they’re going to be gone soon. The burst of colour adds to appeal. I love this version because I played around with ingredients and unintentionally ended up with a gluten free cheesecake.

Kumquat Quark Cheesecake in jarsSee I told you, endless possibilities! I did a few sans the base in little jam jars too. Topped them with Nutella, bitter kumquat marmalade and fresh quartered strawberries. They were polished clean within minutes amidst great praise. The daughter added strawberries to her cheesecake slice later as well!

Kumquat Quark Cheesecake The base isn’t your everyday light as air buttery biscuit base. This one is dense, flavourful and slightly chewy. The good thing is that it keeps the dessert gluten free. You could always use your favourite base instead!

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


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No Bake | Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries … lighter & gluten free | dessert for someone you l♥v

“If music be the food of love, play on.”
Shakespeare

 Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic StrawberriesButtermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries … dessert for someone you l♥v, or dessert for someone who loves dessert! Panna cotta, or cooked cream, is one of the quickest Italian desserts you can make. Minimum fuss, quick to make, do ahead and divinely delicious, a winner every single time.

Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries The tempting option of going a teeny bit healthy on a cream dessert, yet keeping it indulgent, is perhaps worth the bait! I’ve done a Berries & Buttermilk Puddng in the past, so the idea of a buttermilk panna cotta was going to be worth every delicious spoonful! Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries 5 Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries Delightful tangy undertones, a gentle wobbly set cream, smooth vanilla overtures…what more can you ask for? Pretty darned good as it is, you can take it a step higher with luscious red strawberries as topping. Use any seasonal berries for that matter, or fruit like figs too. A salted butter caramel sauce would be really nice as well.

strawberriesIf you have the time, gently simmer strawberries to make a balsamic strawberry topping. And if time is not your friend that day, simply macerate the berries in castor sugar and a dash of lime juice, or maybe just toss them in honey. It adds a nice sweet touch to the fruit while making it shiny and attractive to top the panna cotta.

Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries The colour contrast weaves a magic spell. What’s not to love about red and white? And what’s not to love about strawberries and cream. AND what’s not to love about make ahead, fuss free dessert? Go on, take the plunge! Spoil those you love on V Day with this gorgeous Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries.

Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries Oh yes, and make sure you get them to do the dishes! Share some love!!

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

Baking | Whole Wheat Lemon Tres Leches Cake … & Your Wish is My App #Indiblogger #Nokia #NDTV

“Sometimes things become possible if we want them bad enough.”
T.S. Eliot

Whole wheat Lemon Tres Leches Cake 1Whole Wheat Lemon Tres Leches Cake … a healthier, whole grain version of an international favourite. The cake was as delicious as it was simple and rather plain in appearance. A healthy makeover, a cake I was inspired to make a while ago with leftover ‘tres leches‘ or 3 milk syrup from a Daring Bakers challenge. Then I had made a much fancier layered Mango Pastel de Tres Leches or Mango Three Milk Cake.

Mango Pastel de Tres LechesI forgot to share the whole wheat version until the other day when I was trying to dream up some app ideas for an Indiblogger event I attended. One thought led to another, and also took me back to the Whole Wheat Lemon Tres Leches Cake which I had forgotten to share as promised.

Mango Pastel de Tres Leches But first a little introduction to the event that inspired me to ‘wish‘! It was an interesting evening which launched Season II of the Your Wish is My App meet with Indiblogger and Nokia Lumia. It promised to be an entertaining evening with a live wire bunch of folk on stage. The line up included New York based, Michelin starred celebrity chef Vikas Khanna, TV anchor and  super gadget guru Rajiv Makhni, and someone best known as the father of the Indian gaming industry, Vishal Gondal.

Your Wish is My App Indiblgger NoikaThat it would be entertaining was expected; that it would be side splitting funny, hysterical laughs and packed with madness and mayhem wasn’t. The trio kept us in splits, a 100% engaging and interactive. The crowds loved them, especially Vikas Khanna who wears his heart on his sleeve. The attendance crossed 300 and for a while the stage shuddered under the weight of almost everyone who wanted to be ‘there with the guys’!

Photo courtesy Vj Sharma @ Photo Journey

Photo courtesy Vj Sharma @ Photo Journey

With sound touching the ‘are you crazy‘ levels, it was an entertaining evening of ‘Apps and Blogging‘ alright. Have you ever thought to yourself “I wish there was an app for this! ” was the question asked.

Healthy food makeoverI did have some app-etising thoughts in my head, but very enthusiastic techies present in large numbers overtook my confidence pretty soon. Food bloggers were few, the techie majority hungry for bytes. My ideas just didn’t flow. On the drive back however I suddenly had a head full of possible ‘wishes’ ! Apps that would bring together a local farmer/produce community in touch with buyers … a farm to table app!

fresh pumpkin pureeApps that would encourage the use of local produce, suggest indigenous substitutes for international recipe, and also give a nutritional analysis of a recipe, maybe a possible calorie count too. An app that would make us think differently perhaps, support a local food and farmer community, encourage us to lean towards healthier food habits, and analyse our plates to see what we eat.

Roasted bell peppers
Roasted bell pepper pesto

Why apps? With over 2200 million mobile handsets being sold in India each year, the numbers are only set to grow. With mind boggling numbers of 130 million users who access the internet via smart phones, it only makes business sense to step into apps! Season I at Nokia saw 38000 app ideas being offered, out of which 1200 have already been converted into apps.

Here’s one that would be on top of my wishlist for a food community at large. Since all of us aren’t recipe developers and experimenters, how about an app that offers a healthy alternative to a normal recipe? Not sure if it’s achievable, or if it’s a hair brained non tech idea, but I love the very thought. While I have the time to experiment, substitute, indulge in my hobby / obsession, a lot of food lovers might not be on the same plate.

Healthy food

Maybe call it a Glocal Healthy Recipe App? It would need to offer healthier substitutes for recipes, locally available alternates, a calorie count, nutritional info if possible etc. The idea is to try and stay local even with global recipes, Glocal if you like. That in turn reduces out carbon footprint, makes us support the local farmer and producer community, encourages us to think out of the box; more than anything else, experiment!

Whole wheat Lemon Tres Leches Cake Here’s an example of a healthy makeover. This Whole Wheat Lemon Tres Leches Cake is a whole wheat version of the Tres Leches Cake {or a “three milks cake”}. Incidentally, the basic cake is also a healthier whole grain version of the pound cake. Whole wheat Lemon Tres Leches Cake The Tres Leches is a light cake, with many air bubbles. This distinct texture is why it does not have a soggy consistency, despite being soaked in a mixture of three types of milk. Enjoy it!

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

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