No Bake | Kokum Coconut Milk Panna Cotta … coastal flavours from friends #dessert #giftthanks #kokum

“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…

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Dessert /No bake | Espresso Panna Cotta … what sweet dreams are made up of #dessert #coffee #eggless

“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

Espresso Panna CottaEspresso Panna Cotta … this is what sweet dreams are made up of, and made up of everything I absolutely LOVE. Love a good panna cotta, love coffee and of course expresso. Did a fingerlicking spoon licking good buttermilk panna cotta for Fit Foodie recently, and then remembered this deliciousness which was lurking in my drafts. Time it saw light of day

Espresso Panna Cotta Did I say some time back that we had barely seen desserts or bakes of late? Well seem to be making up for the ‘unsweet’ patch, as far as blogging goes at least. This panna cotta was actually inspired by super talented Bart posting some espresso meringues with a chocolate sauce on a food photography FB group. Then along came my sweet friend Gloria’s Affagato which made my heart skip another beat! ’twas time for espresso…

Espresso Panna Cotta… and the next best thing was an Espresso Panna Cotta. Smooth, silky, seductive with coffee written all over it, how can dessert be so indulgent. My Indian coffee or Bru Panna Cotta is an all time favourite, yet the Espresso Panna Cotta now threatens to knock that off the perch. I love doing panna cottas, and have done loads from buttermilk, to saffron, to mango… and more. ‘Making‘ seems a lame term for a dessert so simple which comes together in a matter of minutes. Then it’s all down to a good chill!

Espresso Panna Cotta

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No bake | Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots … In Season with Kumquats

“Chemically speaking, chocolate really is the world’s perfect food.”
Michael Levine

Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots … these were decadent. Delicious, bowl scraping good and soul satisfying. The season and the colours of the humble little kumquat, a sour citrus fruit that was until a few years ago just an ornamental plant, all inspire creativity. This dessert was the result of one such inspired moment!

Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots We always referred to kumquats as Chinese oranges or tangerines. Food blogging threw up new names. So many references to a similar fruit by the name of kumquat, and then the Google Gods demystified it. These are round kumquats, the Asian cousins of the elliptical round ones that colour the web every now and then.Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots The boughs are hanging heavy with fruit, ready for picking, and more buds and green kumquats are already showing up. My mothers shrub too is full with fruit too. This seems to be a good year for this tart citrus fruit.

Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots I’ve done lots with these beauties this season … Kumquat & Strawberry Tiramisu Charlotte, Kumquat Marmalade, and No Bake Cheesecake Pots. My mind works overtime thinking of how much more we can do with kumquats.

Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots I had serious dark chocolate and orange cravings one day. Two years ago I had  made Dark chocolate & sour orange tartlets. My blog was hacked shortly after that and some posts disappeared. I didn’t have the time to check then. Recently when I looked for the tartlets high and low, I drew a blank on PAB.

Dark Chocolate & Sour Orange TartletsThe pictures are still firmly etched in my head. Googling led me to FoodGawker and I was relieved to see I had indeed made the tartlets, only that the recipe post has been lost forever. I have attempted to recreate it. I remember cooking the whole fruit then.Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots If I wasn’t inspired enough by the fruit of the season, I was even more fortunate that day. Look at these beautiful little ceramic cups and single serve creamers that I got from Urban DazzleAdorable!!  Love at first sight, it brought out the inner child in me. Took me back to when we were little girls, playing with miniature tea sets.  How could I not be inspired?

Urban Dazzle CeramicsThere’s something about white ceramic bakeware. It holds so much promise. These little round ramekins are one of the best additions to my bursting bakeware collection. There is so much you can do in them … cream caramels, panna cotta, ice cream in summer, chocolate custard pots, lime possets. Do you have any more ideas dear readers? What would you make in these little beauties?

Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots One look at them as I unpacked them, smooth ceramic, neat, clean edges, aesthetically designed and my imagination took wing. There was no time to bake so I took the fast track to dessert. A winning combination of sour orange and dark chocolate, topped with a light white chocolate cream sauce. We were back in business! Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots Dark chocolate from Thorntons married a bittersweet sour orange puree to make thick custard like pastry cream. A light cream chocolate sauce made with melt in the mouth white chocolate made it sublime. Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots Candied kumquats tied the flavours together with some white chocolate garnishing. All we heard after dinner was ‘scrape, scrape, scrape’.

Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots You cannot go wrong with good quality chocolate. The pots were bowl licking good as might be the case with the kids. They too fell in love with the little ‘baby’ creamers, so charming and so unreal in this world which is in so much of a hurry sometimes. It was wonderful to sit back and enjoy the petite servings.

Kumquat LiqueurIn the days to come I will try and find more ways to use the bounty of nature, i.e. kumquats in full strength. Bitter Kumquat Marmalade has been made; distributed too! I bottled some Kumquat Liqueur a few days ago in a decanter my Mum gave me. The colours are so pretty!

Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots A few thoughts before I take you to the recipe. Do use good quality chocolate as that is what makes simple desserts like these absolutely shine! Also, if you prefer a smoother texture, you can always skip the almond meal. I just like to add ‘nuts’ in any form to my food.

Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots

This post is brought to you in conjunction with Thorntons.


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