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vanilla

Indulgent Hot Chocolate Mix “Blustery cold days should be spend propped up in bed with a mug of hot chocolate and a pile of comic books.”
Bill Watterson

Hot Chocolate Mix. This mix took a long time coming. I’ve been thinking of making it forever yet for some reason winter never really ‘arrived’, if you know what I mean. Until mid January this year, we’ve had an alarmingly mild winter. It saw the mustard fields flower before time, and other such signs that could spell disaster for winter crops and the months ahead. Then thankfully a cold spell arrived just in the nick of time. Shudder to think what might have been had we not seen these last few weeks of the below 7C temperatures.Hot Chocolate Mix And that prompted me into action. The kid that loves a good hot chocolate, yet labels on hot chocolate mixes alarm me. The fine print reads a lot of stuff which shouldn’t really be in a comfort drink, leave alone in the body. It also seems oxymoron to buy something which is possibly the easiest and quickest to create at home. Hot Chocolate Mix Good quality ingredients will give you the best hot chocolate mix ever. All you need is a sturdy food processor which is probably part of every kitchen today. My thermomix whirs into action for things like this. Till today, it’s been my best kitchen buy ever. Sturdy, dependable and fun to use. Of course this mix can be made in any dry grinder too. Hot Chocolate Mix If you want to do it by hand, do try and grate the chocolate as small as possible to allow quick dissolving. Else by the time you stir in the hot water, the drink might well become cold chocolate. Not a bad idea for cooler days when they come!!

Recipe: Indulgent Hot Chocolate Mix
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Summary: Indulgent delicious Hot Chocolate Mix. Ready in minutes, this is great comfort food to have on hand in winter. It  seems oxymoron to buy something which is possibly the easiest and quickest to create at home. Good quality ingredients will give you the best hot chocolate mix ever. All you need is a sturdy food processor.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 150g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 200g milk powder
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped

Method:

  1. Place chocolate and brown sugar in bowl of food processor and process until powdered.
  2. Add cocoa powder, milk powder and insides of scraped vanilla bean. Process again for a minute or so until well blended.
  3. Transfer to a clear airtight jar.
  4. Use approximately 4 heaped teaspoonfuls for a mug of hot chocolate. Place mix in mug and top with boiling hot water. Stir until smooth. Top with cream or marshmallows as desired.

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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
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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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“The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”
Miguel de Cervantes

Upcycled Blondie Pudding‘Upcycled’ Butterscotch Blondie Puddingand whatta strange name might this be? It’s natural to wonder but you know, things happen. So I was baking YET ANOTHER BATCH {I can bake these in my sleep now} of the kids favourite blondies, and then there was an emergency. Not an emergency emergency, but one that required me to hurriedly nip out of the house to get some work done. I seldom leave while I am baking. The blondies were about done, like 5 minutes to go. I peeped in, and then thought, nah, not done. Should give them an extra 10 minutes!

Upcycled Blondie Pudding Well that’s the difference between Wholegrain Butterscotch Blondies and the‘Upcycled’ Butterscotch Blondie Pudding! Just ten minutes. TEN! Got back, they were done, cooled… and I thought, oh dear, slightly over done. The boy readied to sink his teeth into gooey, moist blondies, and was disappointed. “Ummm, NO. What did you do? You messed them up. Same taste, not gooey Mama.” It was a ‘shove the blondies down his throat now‘ sort of a moment, but I desisted.

Upcycled Blondie Pudding They sat there in the box for a few days. ‘He‘ didn’t even look at them. The dog did. Often. I was tempted to, but I couldn’t give sweet to the poor pooch. I debated what to do, then eventually ran out of patience, and thought, that’s it. Trash ’em! As luck would have it, just that day Ruchira swung by. We were in the kitchen and the box caught her eye. ‘What’s that?’ ‘Ruined batch of blondies.’ ‘Whatchya gonna do with them?’ ‘Chuck them. Overbaked.  Too dry!’

Upcycled Blondie Pudding She took a little nibble, eyes shining said, ‘Upcycle them!’ We both dissolved into puddles of giggles as we had spent all morning discussing up-cycling furniture.  Oooh whatta good great idea that was. And that is just what I did the next morning. Such fun. Just the very name ‘Upcycled’ Butterscotch Blondie Pudding gave me the energy and soon I had sweet little glasses of up-cycled dessert!

Upcycled Blondie PuddingThey were a HIT! A simple vanilla pastry cream brought together in the Thermomix in under 10 minutes. Crumbled blondies and butterscotch chips. The pastry cream smothered the dry blondies in it’s love, and the end result was love at every bite!addictive good. The spoon scraping the bottom of the glasses was the sweetest sound ever! Can’t wait for another over baked batch!

[print_this]Recipe:  ‘Upcycled’ Butterscotch Blondie Pudding
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Summary: Wholegrain butterscotch blondies are smothered in a luscious vanilla pastry cream to make this dessert. The ‘Upcycled’ Butterscotch Blondie Pudding’ is an addictive pudding to serve for dessert. Make ahead too. Serves 8-12 depending on portions.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Ingredients:

  • 1 batch Wholewheat & Oat Butterscotch Blondies, cut into 16 squares
  • Vanilla Pastry Cream
  • 350ml milk, cold
  • 200g single cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 75g brown sugar
  • 20g cornflour
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 25g butterscotch chips to top if desired

Method:

  1. Vanilla Pastry Cream
  2. Place all ingredients in bowl of Thermomix. Stir for 20 seconds on speed 4 to mix.
  3. Cook for 7 minutes at 90C on speed 4. It should be thick enough now. If not, cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
  4. Strain into a pouring jug.
  5. Note: Use the same proportions to make it the traditional stove way.
  6. Assembling pudding
  7. Crumble up 2-3 squares of blondies. Reserve for topping.
  8. Cut the rest up into cubes. Divide half between 6-8 serving glasses/dessert bowls {or a combination of glasses and one large pudding bowl}.
  9. Pour over half hot/warm pastry cream, and top with remaining cubes. Pour rest of the pastry cream over. Top the pudding with blondie crumbs and butterscotch bits. Chill for at least 2-3 hours to allow the flavours to marry.

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