Mother’s Day

“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

  • 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


  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

  • 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


  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

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


  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

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


  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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“Mothers are those wonderful people who can get up in the morning before the smell of coffee.”
Author Unknown

Espresso Chocolate Chip CupcakesExpresso Love. Have you heard the song? Its sung by my favourite band of all time, Dire Straits, whose timeless, classic music never ceases to amaze! Money For Nothing, Sultans of  Swing … yank them up to the ‘are you crazy levels‘ and its nirvana for me!! Similar to the effect coffee has on me. Espresso love … Espresso Chooclate-chip CupcakesThose who have known me for long, know that coffee is my favourite flavour of all time. There was a time when every celebration cake was coffee or espresso. Then came food blogs … each offering fresh perspective, new insights, flavours I had never dreamt of using. Now fruits of the season charm me and prod me to pick them off shelves. Good days are back again and we’re treading slowly into stone fruit season. I made a delicious chocolate & cherry dessert yesterday; should be my next post! Here’s a sneak peek…CherriesYet I couldn’t let the mother in me not post about coffee this week. I was googling for coffee or espresso muffins, one link led to another, and I halted at a tempting site espresso machine reviews. I don’t own an espresso maker, though I do have a coffee maker of sorts; the reviews made me want to own one of those beauties!Espresso Chooclate-chip CupcakesEspresso Chocolate-chip CupcakesThe lad decided to explore the site further and offered to buy me one for Mother’s Day! He read the reviews and zeroed in on the rancilio silvia review. “Would you like this one Mama?”, the ever charming creature queried. Ever since I ordered the misplaced pinch cap for my Sigma lens from ebay and it was shipped from the US, he thinks we can ship anything in! It’s a great idea, but one who is oceans apart from those mean machines, these espresso dark-chocolate chip cupcakes are good enough, for now at least. Espresso Chooclate-chip CupcakesAre you a coffee junkie? Does your morning begin with a cuppa coffee? Mine does. Coffee just makes things better! These muffins are great for a coffee loving Mum! Nothing like a deep, delicious espresso cupcake to make the day complete. Dark chocolate pairs beautifully with coffee, and IMHO, a creme chantilly topping might compliment these cupcakes nicely too. I love the cases too, and have to thank my friend Bina for sending these vibrant and beautiful liners to me. I love the colours Bina!

[print_this]Recipe: Espresso Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with a Chocolate Espresso Ganache

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Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup vanilla sugar
  • 1 tbsp espresso powder {or 2 tbsp coffee powder}
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line {or grease} a 12 mold muffin tray
  2. With a fork, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Reserve
  3. Beat the butter, vanilla sugar, espresso powder, vanilla extract and egg in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add the flour mix and milk, and blend on low speed until smooth, 30 seconds.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips
  6. Spoon into muffin cases upto 2/3 full.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until springy to the touch. Cool in the tin for about a minute before putting the muffins onto a wire rack to cool completely.Top with ganache if desired. {Recipe follows}

Recipe: Chocolate Espresso Ganache

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes


  • 100gms dark chocolate, room temperature
  • 50ml low fat cream
  • 1/2 tsp espresso powder


  1. Place the chocolate and cream in a heat proof bowl, and microwave on full power for 30 seconds. Stir, and give it another 10-15 seconds if need be.
  2. Add the espresso powder and blend well with a spoon until smooth and shiny. Cool and use.


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