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Chocolate buckwheat groats biscotti “Make half your grains whole grains.”

Chocolate buckwheat groats biscotti … a nice way to feed the blog in the new year, a tad late perhaps. Life has been a bit of a whiz, things that happen often least expected, yet as they say, life goes on. Every time I thought I’d post on the blog, something new happened. Then I suddenly discovered a shop in the neighbourhood selling locally sourced buckwheat groats. Pretty mundane and boring for most of the world, yet almost a mini celebration for me.Buckwheat groats Buckwheat groats are gluten free seeds from a plant related to rhubarb. The outer husk is pulled away and the grain-like fruit is harvested and eaten. Buckwheat is very nutritious, making it popular in many nations across the globe. Buckwheat provides complete protein, including all the essential amino acids. These soft white seeds have a mild flavor, but when toasted or roasted, they have a delightfully intense flavor. Groats can be steam-cooked like rice for salads and side dishes or ground in your own mill into fresh flour. The robust flavor of this quick-cooking gluten free grain is perfect for salads, soups and cereal. Use buckwheat groats in any recipe that calls for whole grains.

buckwheat groatsFood connects are strange! These heart shaped seeds had me mesmerized. I still remember my fascination with this pseudo cereal when our Ukrainian friend fed them to our 6 month old daughter every morning in Moscow way back in 1996. She always talked about how good they were as cereal, how they had been brought up on them etc.  I’d heard a load about them, read a bit about them, often wondered if I should order them online, yet laziness got the better of me. Then the day I saw them on the shelf, they were mine in a heartbeat. I was so excited, so raced home to first get a close look at them babies! Chocolate buckwheat groats biscottiRather lost at sea with my new ingredient,  it was back to the google gods for help. I soaked some overnight and thought I’d do a salad with them. Left them to drain the next morning, and was making a batch of biscotti, and then thought why not? Why ever not can I steal some groats into my biscotti, and that’s just how this Chocolate buckwheat groats biscotti came to be. The biscotti turned out to be quite good if I may say so myself. Attracted a lot of interest from a very curious dog too!

Chocolate buckwheat groats biscotti A few days earlier, in the first week of January, I was contacted by the the local TEDx team here inviting me to host a TED talk. Did catch me by surprise, and it took me a bit to figure out if I was good enough for TED. Well eventually after much nervous mulling over I said yes  and got together  a small talk. Deeba Rajpal TEDxFor the uninitiated, the TEDx Program is designed to help communities, organizations and individuals to spark conversation and connection through local TED-like experiences. TEDx was created in the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading.”

Be local, stay seasonalMy talk was in a light vein touching upon my graduation from refined foods to whole foods, briefly touching upon my journey from college to food blogging, recipe development and food styling. The mainstay of the conversation was of course to rethink what’s on our plate, and try and look beyond foods with no nutrition and empty calories. Not the words of a food researcher or historian, just ideas from someone who enjoys getting good healthy fresh food on the table.

Just desserts, wholefoodsThe audience was great, so enthusiastic and appreciative, that I think most of the nervousness melted away! I think they did hear me out to the very end, as my last slide mentioned this biscotti, and that I was carrying some in my bag just in case someone wanted a nibble. Sure enough, once I left the auditorium, there was a line of kids from the audience outside. One sweet lad hesitatingly asked, “Ma’am, you said you had biscotti in your bag. Do you?”

Chocolate buckwheat groats biscotti The rest, as they say, was history! The same evening I received a mail from a smart  bespectacled young lady from the audience, praising the biscotti, discussing recipes, and asking for advise! My closing line at the talk was meant to be “If you can inspire even one, you have left a mark in this world.”. I think I missed the line out there as the talk was extempore, but here it is anyway! I guess I left a mark!

Recipe: Chocolate buckwheat groats biscotti your picture

Summary: Crisp, chocolaty, satisfying and wholegrain, this Chocolate buckwheat groats biscotti is healthy delicious. Keep it on hand for a quick nibble! Makes approximately 30 cookies.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour plus resting time
Ingredients:

  • 150g wholewheat flour
  • 50g oats
  • 60g buckwheat groats, soaked overnight, drained
  • 75g dark chocolate, melted
  • 50g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 75g brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 15g yogurt
  • 50g butterscotch chips or chocolate chips
  • 15g brown sugar for topping

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly grease a heavy duty cookie sheet, or line with parchment.
  2. Stir together the wholewheat flour, oats and groats in a bowl. Reserve.
  3. Place the melted chocolate, butter, sugar, egg, vanilla extract, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk until mixed. Add the dry mix and mix on low speed until it all comes together. Add the yogurt if required. {The biscotti dough is meant to be quite firm}
  4. Stir in the butterscotch/chocolate chips, or walnuts if you like.
  5. Bring the dough together with your hands, divide into 2 and shape into logs.
  6. Transfer to prepared tray, spritz gently with water, and sprinkle over with brown sugar.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes until the logs are firm to touch.
  8. Take out from oven, and reduce the temperature to 160C.
  9. Slice the logs thinly, about 1/2″ slices, and lay flat on the cookie tray.
  10. Return to the oven and bake for another 25-30 minutes until firm. {return to the oven if they feel a little soft. Biscotti should be firm and dry}
  11. Cool completely on cookie rack, then store in an airtight box.

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 “It doesn’t matter where you’re from – or how you feel.
There’s always peace in a strong cup of coffee.”

Gabriel Bá

Coffee White Chocolate Panna Cotta Coffee White Chocolate Panna Cotta, time for an indulgent dessert that screams coffee! It’s been a busy few days, or maybe weeks. A lot happening on every possible front which barely leaves me time to blog. Sometimes I fall into a guilt trap for starving the poor hungry PAB, so I figured the sweet coffee indulgence should be a nice way to offload my guilt. This dessert rocked, the flavours of local Bru shone through, the taste nice and mature after an overnight chill! For those who know me, coffee is my first choice in dessert. Coffee in desserts @ PABOf course it’s another matter that I was in Bangalore a couple of days ago styling tea for a shoot; tea that was almost too pretty to brew!!

Rose Mist Summer Darjeeling White Tea ...almost to pretty to brewPanna cotta has been in the news at home of late for all sorts of reasons. Good because this was an experiment that rocked, and one that I have made several times over. Made it most recently for my friends from the Swiss Made Grand Tour crew who visited last week. Bad because it was part of a plagiarism row that hit our small local food bloggers community. A similar panna cotta recipe, Espresso Panna Cotta,  from PAB was one of many to be ‘copy pasted‘ verbatim! We live and learn, and hopefully ‘the copiers’ will too!

Espresso Panna Cotta

Coffee white chocolate panna cottaMoving on, it’s also a panna cotta coz I’m happy; happy about a media mention that The Asian Entrepreneur carried about me yesterday. It was quite a fun interview and I am eternally grateful to them for offering me such a wonderful platform.

Interview with Asian EntrepreneurThis calls for a cuppa coffee!!

[print_this]Recipe: Coffee White Chocolate Panna Cotta
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Summary: Indulgent, indulgent, indulgent. If you are a coffee lover, then this Coffee White Chocolate Panna Cotta is the dessert with you. The addition of good quality white chocolate adds depth and body to the dessert. Serves 6

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes {plus chilling time}
Ingredients:

  • 65g good quality white couverture chocolate, chopped
  • 400ml  single cream {Amul low fat}
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 2tbsp instant coffee {Bru}
  • 100ml warm milk
  • 2tsp gelatin

Method:

  1. Sprinkle the gelatin over the warm milk and leave to soften.
  2. Meanwhile, put the white chocolate, cream, brown sugar and coffee into a heavy bottom pan, and simmer over gentle heat.
  3. Stir the cream mixture and take off heat when small bubbles begin to appear around the edges at the bottom. Stir in the gelatin mix. Taste and adjust sugar if desired.
  4. Allow to cool until lukewarm, then pass through sieve and pour into serving glasses/bowls.
  5. Chill for at last 6-8 hours, better overnight.

Note: Top with a dark chocolate ganache for added indulgence. Or skip the coffee and add any flavour you like, then top with seasonal fruit or a fruit coulis.
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“I’m not a vegetarian! I’m a dessertarian!”
Bill Watterson

Kokum Coconut Milk Panna Cotta Kokum Coconut Milk Panna Cotta … as if the Italian version of the panna cotta wasn’t delicious enough, the coconut milk version is glass scraping good too. So when the very sweet Ajit posted about a kokum cooler on FB, I was instantly on his case. “Want Want Want”, I said {read pleaded}. The fine, ever obliging and efficient man that he is, ensured that I had a ‘kokum’ package in my hands a few days later. It was a 100 watt smile on my face I tell you!

Four Seasons Vineyards, Baramati, Pune, India 26

Four Seasons Vineyards, Baramati, Pune, India Ever since we had the sol kadi {top left corner, and just above} at Baramati on the wine fam trip to Four Seasons Winery a couple of years ago,  kokum has had me smitten. Must be a taste bud thingy. I might bake and make a load of sweet stuff, but my heart belongs to savoury. Piquant, tangy, sharp, citric … flavours that make my mouth water. Add garlic, astoefetida, sumac, phalsa berries, raw tamarind to the list and you just might hear my heart sing out loud.Kokum Coconut Milk Panna Cotta Kokum or Garcinia Indica  is indigenous to the Western Ghats region of India located along the western coast of the country. It is used as a staple souring agent typically in Goan cuisine and some parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka. Kokum yields a peculiar flavour and blackish red colour. It is a preferred substitute for tamarind in curries and other dishes from the Goa and Konkan region.

So you can imagine my happiness when the package with kokum arrived. With it, a sweet hand written note from the A of A & N, a blog that I first connected with several years ago. At the time A & N were in the US, and regaled their audience with tales of getting flood waters in their home, food and a lot more. The they came back to India, and we reconnected. A and me exchanged notes over ingredients, oohed and aahed over experiments with 100% whole wheat bread, and a lot more…

Whole Wheat BreadThe N of course is the sweetest thing to walk the earth… joyful, exuberant and uber talented. She works with of my most fave online furniture stores Urban Ladder. Anyway, to cut a long story short, A in his note said “I’m sure you’ll work your magic and turn it into something wonderful. Looking forward!” The pressure that didn’t allow me to make just a simple cooler. I wanted to make something to embrace sweet & savoury for summer….

Kokum Coconut Milk Panna CottaI knew it was panna cotta. To tie in the coastal flavours from where kokum is born, it was going to be a coconut milk panna cotta. Vanilla bean because I love it so, and it flavours the panna cotta gently.  More flavours because I have bunches of lemon grass growing outside, and a box of kaffir lime leaves in my freeze. The pairing was beautiful. The basic panna cotta pairs well with most fruit …. so think strawberries, cherries, blueberries, mango, blackberries…

[print_this]Recipe: Kokum Coconut Milk Panna Cotta
your picture

Summary: Kokum Coconut Milk Panna Cotta … gentle, tropical, flavourful, this panna cotta gone light comes alive with the zing of kokum. The pairing is beautiful. The basic panna cotta pairs well with most fruit …. so think strawberries, cherries, blueberries, mango, blackberries if you can’t find kokum. Serves 6

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes {plus chilling}
Ingredients:

  • Coconut Milk Vanilla Panna Cotta
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 200ml single cream {Amul 25%}
  • 3/4 tbsp gelatin
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 stalk of lemon grass, bruised
  • 2-3 kaffir lime leaves, bruised
  • 75-100g raw sugar {as per taste}
  • Kokum White Chocolate Ganache
  • 80g white chocolate
  • 25g single cream
  • 25g kokum concentrate {recipe follows}
  • Kokum concentrate {makes enough for a jugful of kokum cooler. Can be made a day or two in advance}
  • 12-15 kokum halves soaked for an hour in 250ml hot water
  • 200g raw sugar
  • Pinch of Himalayan pink salt

White chocolate shavings or coconut chips, fresh mint to garnish

Method:

  1. Kokum concentrate
  2. Run the soaked kokum halves, sugar and salt in a blender to get a smooth concentrate. Pass through a sieve if you like.
  3. Store covered in a glass/non reactive container in the fridge , covered, for 4-5 days.
  4. Coconut Milk Vanilla Panna Cotta
  5. Warm 75ml coconut milk in a small bowl, and sprinkle the gelatin over to allow it to soften. Leave to stand.
  6. Place remaining coconut milk, cream, scraped vanilla bean, sugar, bruised lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves in a heavy bottom pan, and bring to a simmering boil. Turn off heat, add the bloomed gelatin and stir in well to mix.
  7. Allow to cool while the flavours seep in.
  8. One it has cooled down, strain and pour into serving bowls/glasses, leave to set for 3-4 hours.
  9. Kokum White Chocolate Ganache
  10. Pace white chocolate and cream in a heat proof bowl and microwave for 30 seconds to a minute until the chocolate has almost melted. Stir until smooth, then stir in the kokum concentrate. Add more concentrate if you like.
  11. Spoon the concentrate over the set panna cotta, drizzle some .extra concentrate over if you like.
  12. Garnish with white chocolate curls, coconut chips and fresh mint.

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