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

Jam making | Kumquat Marmalade … In Season & in plenty!

“I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade. It’s amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges and scrub the floor.”
D.H. Lawrence

Kumquat MarmaladeIt’s a happy feeling just looking at a jar of homemade Kumquat Marmalade, characteristically bitter-sweet and delicious. Life continues to race, the days forever busy. A feeling of strange uncertainty takes over at times, like I’ve forgotten something, maybe missed a deadline.  It’s not the ‘end of the year‘ panicky feeling, or the ‘before exam restlessness‘. Then again, maybe like marmalade, life is bitter-sweet too!

Kumquat Marmalade I like to enjoy what I do, relax and vegetate sometimes, yet the modern day rat race of sorts is woven into every second that ticks by. Can’t figure out what happened to those laid back times of yesteryear.

KumquatsThen in this feeling of being on a roller coaster comes a small break … jam making. Thankfully it’s a process that you so totally get immersed in, that the unsettled feeling is forgotten. The marmalade kept me on my toes, more so because junior decided to get involved.

KumquatsRight from plucking the fruit off the tree, to shooting fruit in baskets, to grabbing some away from the dog, stirring, bottling … he was there all the way! {Little Coco had her eyes peeled through-out}CocoI have been fascinated by the fruit since I was young. No one ever ate them, too tart of course, but they were so pretty! And the colours? Inspirational! Then a few years ago, a lady in the neighbourhood let us into her guarded little secret of making bitter marmalade with these. You will not imagine how many kilos of sugar disappeared into jars of jam once we were ‘fruitily enlightened‘!Kumquat Marmalade Every one we knew and their cousins were gifted bitter marmalade with glee. The hard work of snipping peels and stirring the jam until translucent well worth the look of amazement on the happy recipients faces. For the past 3 years this is all I do come winter, and everyone in the neighbourhood knows where to send their fruit.

KumquatsCall it the strangeness of nature, but the much in demand lime tree just doesn’t seem to bear fruit like the kumquat tree. Kumquats finds little use among common growers and are not commercially sold in India. Yet, almost every household in North India proudly sports a kumquat tree, also called ornamental orange. The fruit fall and rot once ripe as even birds don’t feed on them, they are so tart!!

The round kumquat also called Marumi kumquat or Morgani kumquat, is an evergreen tree, producing edible golden-yellow fruit. Kumquat literally means ‘golden orange’. The fruit can be eaten cooked but is mainly used to make marmalades and jellies. It is grown as an ornamental plant and can be used in bonsai. The plant symbolizes good luck in China and other Asian countries.

Kumquat Marmalade “So much sugar? More? No Mama, No”! I forgot all my jam making skills, and I have made this jam umpteen times. “Is it done mama, is it done. Shall I stir? What if the bag of seeds opens? I think you haven’t tied it properly?” I could have tied up the thirteen year old, I was so nervous.

Kumquat MarmaladeThen I announced it was ‘plate test time’. “What’s that? Ooh can I do it? I think it’s setting. Ya. No. Noooooooooooo … cook some more Mama. OK, let me stir. Shall we cook more?” . I finally regained control of my bitter kumquat marmalade finally telling him I thought it was done {though I think I cooked it a little longer than I should have!}

Kumquat Marmalade It’s strange how when kids are part of a process, they love the food even more. It’s been marmalade and toast for the past few days no matter what. Double fried eggs, cereal … and then the call, “Mama, if it’s not too much trouble, can I have toast with marmalade please?” Did I tell you he was charming? Gosh, all the way!

A word of thanks –  Thank you Ziet Online for featuring me in Sunday Dinners.

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

Dessert| No Bake Upside Down Mango Quark Cheese Pie … #pieformikey

Time has suddenly stood still, though, and I’m waiting to wake up and learn to live a new kind of normal.”
Jennifer Perrilo @ In Jennie’s Kitchen

Upside Down Mango Quark Cheese Pie The food blogging community is a tight knit one. Foodies enjoy ‘being’ together, offering loads of positive vibes and camaraderie everywhere they go. Twitter is one place where you can catch most of the action. On Fridays especially, the timeline practically races away! It’s infectious!Upside Down Mango Quark Cheesecake Pie Upside Down Mango Quark Cheese Pie It’s a place where we all come together, celebrate the highs wholeheartedly, and yet reach out in the face of loss! The outpouring of support, the love, the thoughts, the prayers for Jennifer Perrilo & her girls has been overwhelming. This Friday foodies across the globe are tweeting their love & support for Jennifer with #pieformikey – an outstanding community!Upside Down Mango Quark Cheese Pie The time-line shocked a lot of us a couple of days ago with a tweet saying that Jennifer had lost her husband.  She is one brave lady. Her post after she lost Mikey was heart breaking. Despite the terrible tragedy, she shared her strength with one and all inviting her readers to bake a peanut butter cream pie to support her.  Upside Down Mango Quark Cheese PieJenifer’s Mikey loved Peanut Butter Cream Pie and she kept postponing making it for him. Then suddenly one day it was too late.

I kept telling myself I would make it for him tomorrow. Time has suddenly stood still, though, and I’m waiting to wake up and learn to live a new kind of normal. For those asking what they can do to help my healing process, make a peanut butter pie this Friday and share it with someone you love. Then hug them like there’s no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on.

Upside Down Mango Quark Cheese Pie Words cannot express the heartbreak we felt on twitter that day. The poignancy of the moment hung heavy. Then there was a call for International Pie Day in honour of Jennifer Perillo. I couldn’t make peanut butter cream pie as I had no peanut butter or cream cheese at home, but I made a no-bake Upside Down Mango Quark Cheesecake Pie  …  #pieformikey.Upside Down Mango Quark Cheese PieI had quark and mangoes in the fridge and the BBC Good Food newsletter that had just dropped into my mailbox. It featured Healthy Summer Recipes, and the main picture was an Upside Down Lemon Cheesecake at 185 calories a slice! Healthy? Yes indeed! I adapted the recipe to make my own quark cheese pie for Jennifer! It was delicious!!Coco Take time to enjoy the small things in life… {above photograph taken by my teen}CocoTragedies like these shake you up. We forget to cherish the special moments, take out time, enjoy the small joys … often so caught up in the race of time. Upside Down Mango Quark Cheese PieDon’t wait for tomorrow to come. Whether its food, family, friends, pups, photography, nature … whatever you like most, breathe it now. Most of us bake or cook for the family, and that feeds our blogs. Let’s get that wish list going, share the love … like this #pieformikey!

 

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