Feb 25, 2012

Yogurt Panacotta with Strawberry Jelly

I've always wanted to make Panacotta from the time I have heard about it. Though its an Italian dessert many Italian restaurants that I have been to do not serve this gorgeous , melt-in-your-mouth dessert !!
Pannacotta is an Italian dessert made by simmering together creammilk and sugar, mixing this with gelatin, and letting it cool until set. (Source: Wikipedia )

The moment I saw a recipe for Yogurt Panacotta wih Starwberry Jelly from the blog Closet Cooking , I knew I had to try it.
The Yogurt would make the dessert healthy and it was something I always had in my fridge and so that's how I  served this dessert at my Valentines Day dinner and boy was it amazing !! :-)
I had all the other ingredients too at hand and the recipe was so easy , you just couldn't go wrong.

I used Regular whole milk Yoghurt instead of Greek and it still came out great. Manish simply Loved it and kept asking for more and  I took some to office to share with my colleagues and they really enjoyed it!! 
The strawberry Jelly wasn't enough to fill over all the dessert glasses into which I had set the Yogurt Panacotta, so we just ate them plain and the Vanilla flavoured Yogurt Panacotta was so good I'm thinking i'll post about  it separately.

Yogurt Panacotta with Strawberry Jelly Recipe
Recipe source : Closet Cooking
You'll need 
For Yogurt Panacotta
Unflavored Gelatin - 1 envelope  (2 1/4 teaspoons)
Water - 3 tablespoons 
Heavy cream - 1 cup 
Sugar - 1/3 cup 
1 vanilla bean (split and seeds scraped)
Yogurt - 1 can of 16 ounce  ( Regular Yogurt or Greek Yogurt )
For Strawberry Jelly
Unflavored Gelatin - 1/2 envelope 
Water - 3 tablespoons 
Fresh Strawberry puree - 1 cup 
Lemon Juice - 1 tablespoon 
Sugar -1/4 cup 

For Yoghurt Panacotta
1. Sprinkle the gelatin into the water in a bowl and let sit until softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Bring the cream, sugar and vanilla seeds to a simmer in a small sauce pan until the sugar has dissolved.
3. Remove from heat and mix in the gelatin.
4. Whisk the yogurt in a bowl until smooth.
5. Whisk the cream into the yogurt.
6. Pour the mixture into desired bowl or ramekin or dessert cups and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
(I was able to fill into six 7oz dessert glasses as shown)

For Strawberry Jelly
1. Sprinkle the gelatin into the water in a bowl and let sit until softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Simmer the strawberry puree, lemon juice and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
3. Mix the gelatin into the strawberry mixture.
4. Remove from heat, let cool, pour it over the panacotta and chill in the fridge until set.

It was definitely a knockout dessert both in looks and taste and its definitely gonna be my go-to dessert when friends come over !! Don't you think so too ? :-)

The rest of the menu items will be posted soon...so keep watching out for this space for more interesting dishes and recipes!


Feb 19, 2012

Our Valentines Day candle light dinner....

I know Valentines day is long gone , but since both of us were working that day, I decided to postpone the celebration so that it would be just perfect.
Of course I received Roses , a card and a gift from my Hubby on the actual V day and I gave him a card with an invitation for a Romantic candle light dinner for Saturday  to spend some time by ourselves, enjoy good food and be lazy, which is a very rare thing considering the fact that we have a 7month old at home. :-)
So yesterday was Our Valentines Day!!

Well I had the menu all planned out and I had some ideas on how I wanted our dinner table to be set and arranged. We had our romantic songs all sorted out in my laptop . I even bought  a decorative wall hanging , but I forgot about that ! :-)
Hubby did the honours of bringing in the centerpiece and the candles.
Even though my hubby was my Guest I wanted it to be perfect and him to feel like he had a great time . There were some delays here and there, running behind the baby and getting the food warmed up after each course  and all that, but must say that I was totally satisfied by how it turned up and so was Manish!

Another funny thing was we forgot to turn out the lights for our romantic candle light dinner until dinner was over :-) , coz of all the above said distractions , but later (once the baby was tucked in) we did turn out the lights and just sat and relaxed and listened to sweet and light hearted romantic songs . Anyway I thought I should share our beautiful evening with you all.
This is how our final dinner table setting looked like. I checked some sites online to decide on the cutlery arrangement, though dessert spoon and fork should be kept above the plate, I din't have place there so just kept it next to the main course spoon and fork respectively.

Manish and Manav took their seats, the music was on :-) and I know Manish was all excited, hopefully the baby too...Well he was already fed , so he just had to sit and enjoy though he did get bored at times and we had to keep entertaining him, but he was a sweety throughout!
Now for the menu, I wanted something different from our daily routine food and I wanted something classy. I planned on a 4 course meal.  I din't stick to any particular cuisine and instead ended up offering Indian for 1st course, Thai for 2nd course, combination of Jamaican + Mexican for the main course and Italian for dessert! :-) Any guesses??

I wanted soup for my 1st course and recently on several blogs I had seen this really simple and easy Creamy Cauliflower soup. I took the recipe from Kankana's blog which I love! I added extra crushed pepper though, so Creamy n Peppery Cauliflower soup!
(Click here for Recipe)

My next course was meant to be like a second appertizer course. I came upon this really good Thai Fish Cake recipe online (Delia Online). I had all the ingredients and it was really simple.
I prepared them into small balls and made a tangy Lime and Cilantro Mayo dip (which was my own recipe). They were perfect and Manish , a fish lover, simply loved the flavor combinations!
(Click here for Recipe)

For the main course, I have heard about how good Jerk chicken is from few friends and I knew I wanted to try that. I also prepared some Coconut Rice, a mild coconutty flavored rice to go with the spicy chicken. Both recipes are from here (Food Network by Nigella Lawson) - my Jamaican/Carribean side of the main course.
I noticed Jerk chicken being paired with mango or peach salsa on several websites, so I though why not add that too, so that's my Mexican dish :-)
(Click here for Jerk Chicken Recipe)

Now I wanted a knockout dessert and I have been craving to try out Panacotta for some time now.
I saw a beautiful and really easy recipe for Yoghurt Panacotta with Strawberry Jam from here (blog named Closet Cooking). I followed the recipe exactly and a knockout dessert it was! Manish loved it and it tasted  and looked awesome.
(Click here for Recipe)
The dinner was an absolute success and Manish said he will forever remember this night. I'm so happy :-)
 I may do similar dinners again but this one will forever be my favorite!

I will post the recipe of all the above mentioned dishes soon and let me tell you, they were really good , really easy and you must try them. I started cooking yesterday at 12:00pm and I was done before 5pm. I mean for a 4 course meal from scratch that's a really small time (I marinated for the Jerk chicken previous night though ).
Hope you all enjoyed reading and I do hope you'll be waiting for the recipes!!

Linking this post to:
1. Valentines Day event hosted by Anzz @ AnzzCafe

- Manju

Feb 7, 2012

Devil's Food Cake...a Bundt cake

This cake is going to be the best Valentines day cake you could ever make for your loved one...If you are a real chocolate lover, this cake is the one for you.

Its so Chocolaty, so dense and rich , its just perfect! The cake just sticks to the roof of your mouth , which makes it so yummy :-) The secret ingredient in this cake is Coffee!!! :-) But you will not get the taste of coffee , it just adds the chocolaty richness.
My hus got me this really beautiful book called Illustrated Step-by-Step Baking by Caroline Bretherton,  for our Wedding Anniversary (which was in Dec). This book is great for beginners in Baking , and several recipes have step by step pictures, which is very helpful.

This cake is my first try from this gorgeous book and I must say it came out simply great. I'm not yet at the point of writing a review on this book, but I hope I'll soon try out more and let you know more details.

I coated the cake with some milk chocolate ganache and some white pearls.

Devil's Food Cake Recipe
Recipe source: Illustrated Step-By-step baking by Caroline Bretherton (page 58)
You'll need :
For Cake
All purpose flour - 1.5 cups
Baking powder - 1.5 tsp
Unsalted Butter - 7 tblsp + extra for greasing the cake pan
Coco powder - 1/2 cup + extra for dusting the cake pan
Sugar - 1.5 cups
Eggs - 2 ( at room temperature)
Cold strong Coffee - 1/2 cup (I added 1 tblsp instant coffee (Bru) to 1/2 cup cold water)
Milk - 1/2 cup
Pure vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
For Ganache
Semi-sweet chocolate chips - 1/2 cup
Unsalted Butter - 1 tblsp
Sweetened Whipped cream - 2-3 tblsp
Milk (optional) - few teaspoons to loosen the ganache

Directions :
For Cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease your cake pan ( I used a Bundt cake pan) with some butter and dust the pan with some cocoa powder.
2. In a bowl whisk together the all purpose flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt.
3. In another bowl mix together the cold coffee, milk and vanilla extract.
4. Using a hand or electric mixer cream together the cream and sugar until light and fluffy and beat in the eggs one at a time . Slowly add in the dry and wet ingredients ( #2 and #3) and mix the cake batter well.
5. Bake for 30-35 mins or until a totthpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
6. Leave the cake in the pan for about 20 mins to cool.
For Ganache
1. Melt together the butter and chocolate chips (in a microwave or in a bowl over simmering water, without touching the water).
2. Fold in the cream and make a smooth ganache.
3. Add some milk if you feel the ganache is too thick, but it should be slightly thick and runny.
4. Pour over the cake after the cake has cooled and let the ganache set for sometime before serving a slice.
Decorate with some sugar Pearls if you'd like.
I made the cake in the evening, and we just had to eat a slice for dessert that night. I took few pics that night as well as few in the morning...This one below was taken in the morning. The cake tastes better and better each day.

See how dense the cake looks and it so smooth and crumbly...Chocolaty Heaven! :-)

Enjoy people and have a beautiful Valentines day!!!

Linking this post to:
1. Valentines Day event hosted by Anzz @ AnzzCafe