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

Baking | ‘Upcycled’ Butterscotch Blondie Pudding … when things go wrong as they sometimes will!

“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!

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Dessert | Mango Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta … Mother’s Day Special – Delicious Creamy Indulgent

“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

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