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Mother’s Day

Caramel Custard
“For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity.”
Henri Cartier-Bresson

A post about Caramel Custard, Mother’s Day and Sunday Stills! Also of high key photography. The recent trip down into the heart of South India opened up a new dimension to how I wanted to style and shoot food. Karaikudi meant loads more prop shopping, tons of enamelware included. Strange how it started off a domino effect. My downright dark and moody side opened up to a new love, a new light I have never chased so passionately! Kumquat LemonadeKumquat LemonadeLove for light food props, then love for white frames, and eventually a fascination with high key photography. Light tones, pastels, loads of whites, brighter hues, sometimes edging on overexposed. The technical sense still abysmal though! I am still experimenting, still trying to build a level of patience…Kumquat lemonadeThat was a drastic change from what I have always enjoyed shooting, dark, moody frames. Moody is still my first love, shadows, darkness, deep blacks, blocking light, all reflective of my personality, and definitely of my favourite colour, black!Wholewheat Apple Walnut Cheddar Thyme Hand Pies

Pomegranate Mojitos

Melons

Buckwheat Oat Walnut Chippers GF Caught between yin and yang, swinging between two extremes, my sweet friend Simi asked if I wanted to join her and Dolphia for Sunday Stills. Sunday Stills meant experimenting with testing new levels of photography. That basically meant different experiments with light and techniques, new ways to push our comfort levels. While she is a workhorse, with loads of planning and in-depth research, something that reflects in her stunning styling and images, I am quite the opposite.Caramel Custard 1000 3Often impatient, no time for research, technically pretty incompetent {read pathetic}, yet we share two things. Love for food styling and photography, and food props. We are the queens of procrastination too. Oh yes, and we share a single day between birthdays, Scorpions to the core we are!

pink flowers pink flowers

High key photographySo here we go this Sunday. With my #SundayStills, thanks to this hugely inspiring lady, I share with you a little of what I’ve been shooting lately {I have to admit I am also shooting low key, dark images on the side}. Also here for you a recipe for a Caramel Custard that I did for Kitchen Aid. I did another version soon after, the Caramel Flan. Caramel FlanHopefully someday that recipe too will see light of day! While I have baked the custard, you can always steam it the old fashioned way like my Mum used to do. 10-15 minutes in the pressure cooker, placed on a trivet submerged in water, lid on, no cap.

Pink Flowers, Mother's DayHave a great Sunday, and of course, Happy Mother’s Day!

And before I forget, grateful thanks to Manidipa for the include in her post this morning – 20 Top Female Food Bloggers of India: Mother’s Day Special

Caramel Custard
Print Recipe
My version of the quintessential ‘Caramel Custard’ that showed up on our frugal dessert table quite often when we were young. This one is slightly more luxurious than the wobbly one we had as kids from the armed forces. It's baked, not steamed, though if you are making one large pudding, steaming it in the pressure cooker is a breeze. Quick too!
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes 3-4 hours
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes 3-4 hours
Caramel Custard
Print Recipe
My version of the quintessential ‘Caramel Custard’ that showed up on our frugal dessert table quite often when we were young. This one is slightly more luxurious than the wobbly one we had as kids from the armed forces. It's baked, not steamed, though if you are making one large pudding, steaming it in the pressure cooker is a breeze. Quick too!
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes 3-4 hours
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes 3-4 hours
Ingredients
Caramel
Custard
Servings: people
Instructions
For the Caramel
  1. Keep 4 X 8oz ramekins ready and place sugar and water in a heavy bottom saucepan, and stir over medium heat until sugar melts.
  2. Increase heat to high, and allow to bubble away without stirring, until it reaches a deep amber colour. {This is the crucial part because the caramel can burn. Also please take extreme caution as caramel is very hot}.
  3. Take off heat immediately, and pour into ramekins, turning gently to coat bottoms. Allow to stand for 5 minutes, while you make the custard.
For the Caramel Custard
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C
  2. Heat milk, cream and shell of vanilla bean in a pan over low heat until slight bubbles form on the edges. Take off heat.
  3. Place the eggs, scraped vanilla and sugar in bowl of stand mixer. Whisk on speed 2 for 2 minutes until sugar is almost dissolved.
  4. Reduce speed to lowest, put the splatter screen, and gently pour in the vanilla infused milk, whisking continuously for 30 seconds.
  5. Strain the custard into a jug/saucepan, and then pour into the prepared ramekins.
  6. Place ramekins in a 9′ X 9″ square pan. Gently pour in water into the tray to come up half around the ramekins. – –
  7. Bake for about 45 minutes until the custard begins to set, a bit wobbly in the middle.
  8. Allow to cool, then chill covered for a few hours, preferably overnight.
  9. To serve, run a butter knife gently around the tip to loosen it, place a platter over the ramekin, turn over swiftly, and then shake to release. Top with toasted walnuts if desired.
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“Giving birth is little more than a set of muscular contractions granting passage of a child. Then the mother is born.”
Erma Bombeck

Mango Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta Mango Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta … this is really delicious, creamy and special. Well anything that has the Indian king of fruits has to be special. Yes, it’s mango season and the markets are literally flooded with luscious fruit. This is just the beginning and it’s going to get better and better.

Mango Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta So when I saw the Panacotta vanilla with passion fruit sauce @ Canela kitchen, I knew it was panna cotta time on PAB, the perfect dessert for Mother’s Day! I love the stuff my sweet friend Gloria from Santiago churns out, and this recipe was different from any I had seen before.

Mango Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta Who doesn’t love a good panna cotta, one of the easiest and yummiest desserts that the Italians offer the world? Infinitely versatile, beautiful to serve, eggless, make ahead … and oh-so-satisfying! It’s easy to run out of adjectives when trying to describe a dessert well-loved across the globe.

collageI’ve done several {read MANY} versions of this delectable dessert in the past. Some of my favourites are Bru Coffee Panna Cotta, Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries,  Strawberry & Tangerine Quark Panna Cotta with Oatmeal Florentines, Dark Chocolate & Orange Panna Cotta, Mousse-a-cotta, Dark Chocolate Panna Cotta and Saffron Caramel Panna Cotta … see didn’t I say M.A.N.Y.

Mango Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta As you can see, Panna Cotta holds a really special place in my heart. I love how easily it comes together, how infinitely you can play with flavours and how stunning it looks. Use seasonal fruit, or a favourite liqueur to add some oomph, or just simple vanilla bean to tease the taste-buds. You could also try a dairy free version with coconut milk and cream. Mmmm…Mango Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta 5The Mango Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta was sublime, a celebration of all good things in life. It’s a good dessert to salute the toughest job in the world. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there.

Other Mother’s Day desserts on PABMother's Day Desserts Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry Sauce
Espresso Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Pebbly Beach Fruit Squares
Cherry & Plum Crisp
Mini Quark Vanilla Cheesecakes with Balsamic Cherries

[print_this]Recipe: Mango Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta
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Summary: Delicious, creamy, sublime, indulgent and simple, Mango Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta is a great make ahead dessert option. Made with pantry staples, you can use any seasonal fruit that you like. Alternatively, make a vanilla bean panna cotta and serve with fruit on top, or drizzled with a fruit coulis. Serves 8-10

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes plus chilling
Ingredients:

  • 50ml milk, lukewarm
  • 2tsp gelatin
  • 500ml low-fat cream {20-25%}
  • 1 tin sweetened condensed milk {approx 400ml}
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 2 mangoes, peeled, diced {approx 500g net}
  • Fresh mint to garnish

Method:

  1. Sprinkle the gelatin over lukewarm milk and leave to stand for 5 minutes to soften.
  2. Place the condensed milk, cream and scraped vanilla bean in a heavy bottom pan and whisk to blend. Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until it comes to a bare boil. Take off heat and whisk the gelatin mixture in well. Strain and allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. Reserve 3/4 cup diced mangoes for topping. Divide the rest between the serving glasses. Gently pour the cooked cream over.
  4. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours {preferably overnight} until set.
  5. Top with the reserved diced mango and garnish with fresh mint.
  6. Serve chilled. {Keeps refrigerated for 2-3 days}

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“When your mother asks, “Do you want a piece of advice?” it is a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.”
Erma Bombeck

Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry SauceHAPPY MOTHERS DAY! Finally the day to celebrate the toughest job in the world, one that makes you wonder ‘Why?‘ over and over again. As always there are no right answers, but this wonderful piece by Erma Brombeck written way back in May 12, 1974 for her Mother’s Day column tries to explain!

Dear Mother,

When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into his sixth day of “overtime” when an angel appeared and said, “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.
And the Lord said, “Have you read the specs on this order?

She has to be completely washable, but not plastic;
Have 180 movable parts… all replaceable;
Run on black coffee and leftovers;
Have a lap that disappears when she stands up;
A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair;
And six pairs of hands.”

The angel shook her head slowly and said, “Six pairs of hands… no way.” … you must read the rest here When God Created Mothers

Mothers Day PABWoke up this morning to find a beautiful new ipod nano that the kids bought for me as a Mothers Day gift. The teen paid for it, and on last count she was still trying to wrangle the half the lad owed her! The way he’s trying to wriggle out of it is hysterical, both equally persistent! I am so touched with the gift … they downloaded all my favourite songs onto it {Tracy Chapman, Dire Straits, Enya, Scorpions, Eric Clapton, Gordon Lightfoot, Eagles … 1000s more, all there!}, my fave FM music channels, pictures etc, wrapped in pretty hot pink paper!Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry SauceI made these delicious little desserts for today. One the the high points of summer in North India is the advent of stone fruit, especially cherries and peaches. The first sight of luscious deep red cherries takes my breath away. Always priced high, the way to announce the seasons first, yet temptation wins over resolve and the heart sings a song again! This year the crops better, sweeter and even more tempting!Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry SauceCame home 2 days ago with a box that weighed just under 800gms and had many happy thoughts, the first being a lattice cherry pie, or maybe a cherry clafoutis. The teen had other ideas however, being a cherry lover, and soon most of the box was history. Yet it was my bake a dessert day as it had been a while since I made an indulgent dessert.Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry Sauce The Internet has magical powers and drags you into its web, pulling you deeper and deeper. I was quite happily lost in Canelle et Vanilles beautiful pictures, when I googled for a cherry gelee to replace a strawberry gelee. Of course I got distracted, landed up at Epicurious and got searching for cherries. Cherry Syrup? Mmmmm, yes please. That sounded good, but underneath was something that sounded even better, something that I had never heard of – chocolate marquise!Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry Sauce

Chocolate marquise is a delicate chocolate dessert made of dark chocolate, heavy cream, egg yolks, butter and sugar. Though chocolate marquise is fairly simple in its ingredients, it makes for an elegant dessert as it can be molded in various shapes and served with fresh or chocolate dipped fruit and shaved chocolate pieces. Chocolate marquise requires no baking, but you will need at least three hours to allow it to chill in the refrigerator before serving.

Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry Sauce Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry SauceIt’s tough to leave a tempting title like a Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise without an in depth read. Expectedly, pretty soon I was lining molds and humming a sweet song! Yum Yum Yum is all I thought! One thing was definite, that my marquise would be individually plated, a form of serving dessert which I enjoy most. Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry SauceBittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry SauceOf course you can line a loaf pan, or rectangular mold and set the marquise. Chill and slice prior to serving. Else do what I did with some leftover – set in individual goblets. Outstanding and fun! I think if you are short on time, the goblets work best and offer visual delight. I layered in a big hurry as I wasn’t too sure of what to expect. From experience I can now say – expect the best!Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry SauceBittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry SauceIf you like bitter chocolate, then use a nice dark couverture like a 65-70% one, else you can even go with a medium. In that case, maybe reduce the sugar a bit if you like. For an adult variation, maybe spike it with a liqueur and top it with a complimentary fruit pairing. Chocolate holds endless appeal and pairs well with a variety of fruit – cherries, strawberries, oranges, mangoes etc. If cherry season isn’t there yet, try a pairing with strawberries in balsamic syrup.

[print_this]Recipe: Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry Sauce
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Prep Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Ingredients

  • 200gms dark chocolate, melted {I used 55% couverture}
  • 85gms unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 2 tsp cherry liqueur
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 200ml low fat cream, chilled
  • 1/8 cup powdered sugar

Method:

  1. Blend 50gms {2/3rd} of the butter with 1/8 cup of sugar, then add the cocoa and whip again. Set aside.
  2. Place the remaining butter, yolks, scraped vanilla bean, remaining 1/8 cup sugar and water in a metal saucepan and whisk until well blended.
  3. Place the saucepan over simmering water, and stir constantly until the temperature reads 160F. Take off heat and blend with an electric blender for about 5 minutes till it becomes smooth and cool.
  4. Whip this into the butter, sugar, cocoa mix, add the cherry liqueur if using, blending until homogeneous and smooth. Fold in warm chocolate. Adjust sugar if you like.
  5. In another bowl, whip up 200ml chilled low fat cream with 1/8 cup powdered sugar until it holds peaks. Fold this gently but firmly through the chocolate mix.
  6. Divide the marquise into your prepared molds, smoothen out to the edges and leave to set for at least an hour.
  7. Top with the crème chantilly if using, {recipe follows}, drizzled with a balsamic cherry sauce {recipe follows}.

Recipe: Crème Chantilly
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 1/8 cup powdered sugar
  • 100ml low fat cream, chilled
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder {or 1/2  vanilla bean, scraped}

Method:

  1. Whip all ingredients together to medium firm peaks.
  2. Place crème chantilly in a piping bag and top the mold with it. Using an offset spatula, level the tops. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe: Balsamic Cherry Sauce
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 200gms fresh cherries, pitted
  • 20gms brown sugar
  • 3/4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Method:

  1. Place all ingredients in a metal saucepan and simmer until the cherries appear glossy, hold their shape and the syrup become thick.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and reserve. Use warm or chilled.
  3. If the syrup appears very liquidy, remove the cherries to a bowl, and reduce the syrup to desired consistency.

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