Chocolate Terrine with Chocolate and Oat Snaps

I’ve been unemployed for a few months now and my professional life has been more or less of a mess since mid 2016. Some days I spend mindlessly refreshing my Twitter and Instagram feeds, other days I come home and weep because I’ve screwed up another interview. But some days, I try keeping my spirits up, reading the several open tabs on my browsers and making way for a score more tabs of reading. And then, I also read actual books. My reading is nowhere as good as it was a few years ago, when I’d probably do a couple of books every month. But then at least I try. Or I think I do. I’ve been reading Dianne Jacob’s Will Write for Food currently, in an attempt to up my writing skills.

I don’t make very much of the food writing I read here in India. Apart from the odd piece in The Goya Journal, even there, mostly the pieces that involve information and research, I’ve mostly been angered by the poor quality of food writing by Indians. Often, work by foreigners of Indian origin reeks of ignorance and generalization and that leaves me equally irked. But then someone’s has got to change it, right? I’m not saying that I’m going to be the next thing out there on Indian food writing, but I can try. I’m a little confused whether it’s food writing by Indian people that I dislike or writing about Indian food by just about anybody that gets to me. And by reading Dianne Jacob’s book, I hope to find an answer to that. I’m also hoping I can get some good writing done myself. There’s a good chance I will suck at this because that’s one thing that’s not easier said than done. But it’s worth a try or three, right?

At the end of every chapter in the book, is a writing exercise. The first chapter asks that we write about a favourite meal and make sure we use all five senses to describe it. It also asks us to make use of similes and metaphors in our writing, to make it livelier. And lastly, and this is something she stresses on through the course of the book, she asks that we write something in a way that we show, rather than tell. Showing, she says, would be: “Before I knew it, the bowl was empty, with a few shiny kernels rattling at the bottom.” Telling would be “I really love popcorn.”

So, I thought to myself then, bring it on. Put it up on the blog. The half dozen people that DO read, might want to leave some feedback. But then I began to think of a favourite meal that I’d had in the recent past. And for all the cooking I do and as much as I call myself a food blogger (or do I?), I couldn’t think of a single one! There are so many meals I’ve liked! My mum’s three bean and quinoa salad, my lazy night Asian noodles, ramen bowls, South Indian curries… But do I like one more than the other? Or are they all so different, that it’s almost hard to compare…

Since I don’t have a favourite meal that I can remember, but I did enjoy eating the chocolate terrine I made for the cookbook club a couple of weekends ago, I though I should write about making it and eating it. 

Chocolate terrine with candied orange and chocolate and oat snaps
Chocolate terrine with candied orange and chocolate and oat snaps

~~~

It’s always fun to pick a tough recipe when you’re cooking for the cookbook club. It tells you how little you know. It gives you an opportunity to fuck up, I say that like it’s a good thing. And if you have enough time at hand, it also allows you to fix what you’ve ruined in the first place. So then, maybe, sometimes, it gives you another chance. One thing’s for sure, at the end of it, you’re one skill stronger in the kitchen. For me, the chocolate terrine was all of that. And much more.

What’s a terrine you ask? In French cuisine, a terrine is typically made in glazed earthenware (also called a terrine, haha) and is very similar to a pâté, in that it’s almost like a spreadable paste. A terrine, more often than not, is a savoury dish containing copious amount of fat along with game meat such a hare or pheasant.  This one, though, is dessert. How or why Mr. Gellatly decided to make a dessert terrine instead of a savoury one is something I’d love to know. I’m absolutely delighted that he DID come up with the recipe because it’s something I know I will be making again.

Glazed earthenware is expensive and not readily available in markets here in India, and I had to think of an alternate container to set my terrine in. The closest thing I could find was a glass loaf pan. I’ve used it for ice creams and a bread and they’ve turned out fine, so I decided to go ahead with it.

I’ve inherited a shelf full of Pyrex bakeware from a grand aunt. My grand uncle, her husband, used to be in the Indian Air Force and they used to have high ranking guests over for dinner from time to time – which is why she invested in some very good bakeware and other crockery back in the sixties. Or so I’m told. Turns out, no one used any of the stuff after the seventies because a chronic illness confined her to a wheelchair and an oxygen cylinder until she passed away. Last year, when my aunts finally decided to sell the house my grand uncle and aunt lived in before her passing, they told my mum she could take anything she wanted from the house. And that, dear readers, is the story of the Pyrex loaf pan I used for the terrine. It’ll also be the story for the pie crust I post next week, but let’s just pretend we have the suspense built up and an exciting story the next time around as well, yeah?

If there were one word to describe this dessert, it would be decadent. Nothing else. I’m guessing the key to that decadence is using some extremely good quality chocolate. I usually buy a half decent brand that costs about 85 rupees for a half kilo. I went all out and bought some couverture chocolate for this and it cost me about 8 times the cost of my usual cooking chocolate. Well, for someone who’s unemployed, that sort of luxurious spending better have its rewards!

Of course, with chocolate that expensive, I weighed the 115 grams that were required more carefully than I ever would’ve, making sure I’d scraped that last nugget into my mixing bowl. In went some unsalted butter and an idea that I should scrap the terrine plans and make some edible jewellery instead. The recipe then asked that I whisk some egg yolks and sugar in a bowl for about 5 minutes until they’re white and fluffy, so I got to work. Being familiar with the pale yellow colour egg yolks beaten with sugar take on, I wasn’t sure how white a white to expect, but I whisked the mixture for the full 300 seconds that I was asked to and indeed did end up with a pillowy cloud of beaten eggs and sugar. I sifted in some cocoa powder and added the melted chocolate in, and continued to stir hoping to see a lovely creamy chocolate paste. That’s when things went downhill. And right into a pigsty. Because what I was swirling in the mixing bowl was, quite plainly put, a sludge. I wasn’t the least surprised because it was time something should’ve gone wrong anyway. The recipe mentioned that the mixture could be passed through a sieve to get rid of lumps, so I tried my luck with that, but ended up with a gloop floating around in some cocoa butter instead.

Having put many kitchen disasters behind me, I took a deep breath and decided to proceed, to see how bad this could get. I heated some cream and icing sugar in a saucepan, brought it to a boil and hopelessly, yet extremely slowly, added it to the muck, constantly stirring all along. The recipe had stressed that the cream be hot because that was the key to setting the terrine right. So I obeyed. What happened next was nothing short of a culinary miracle. The sludge and the residual cocoa butter coalesced with the cream into a smooth, silky and thick paste. I poured it into my historic Pyrex loaf pan and put it away to set, while sneaking a taste of the leftover batter from the bowl. It was sinful – rich, dark and with just the right hint of sweet.

The tragedy was that I’d have to wait until the following afternoon to cut a slice out to eat. So I decided to head out of the house altogether, lest the diabolic terrine call out to me.

~~~

Chocolate terrine with candied orange and chocolate and oat snaps
Chocolate terrine with candied orange and chocolate and oat snaps

Recipes for the chocolate terrine and the chocolate and oat snaps that it was served with follow. Both recipes are from Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding: Sweet and Savoury Recipes from Britain’s Best Baker by Justin Gellatly.

Chocolate Terrine

Serves 14–16
Suitable for freezing

Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Chilling time: overnight

Ingredients:

115g dark chocolate (70%)
225g unsalted butter
5 egg yolks
115g caster sugar
90g cocoa powder (100%), sifted
a pinch of fine sea salt
340ml double cream
35g icing sugar, sifted

Method:

  1. Line the inside of a terrine mould measuring 25cm × 8cm × 8cm with clingfilm.
  2. Chop your chocolate carefully into small pieces and put it into a large bowl with the butter. Stand the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and let the chocolate mixture melt slowly.
  3. While the chocolate and butter are melting, put your egg yolks and sugar into a bowl and whisk together until white and fluffy (which should take about 5 minutes).
  4. Whisk in the sifted cocoa powder and salt – the mixture will become quite stiff – then put to one side.
  5. Pour the cream into a heavy-based saucepan, add the sifted icing sugar and slowly bring to the boil.
  6. Add your melted chocolate mixture to the egg yolks, whisking all the time to prevent lumps (you can sieve it later if you do get any, though, so don’t worry too much). It should be like a thick chocolate paste.
  7. Now take your pan of boiling cream off the heat and slowly add to your chocolate paste. Be very careful of the hot cream – it must be just off the boil, as it’s the heat from the cream which will set the terrine. When all mixed in, it will be smooth and glossy – if there are still any lumps, just pass it through a fine sieve.
  8. Pour into your prepared terrine mould and put into the fridge overnight to set.
  9. To serve, unmould the terrine and remove the clingfilm. Then, using a long thin sharp kitchen knife, slice it into thin slices, place on the plate and just run a blowtorch, if you have one, over the slice to shine the chocolate and give it the wow factor.
  10. Serve with fresh cherries, crème fraîche and ginger snaps or chocolate and oat snaps.

Chocolate and Oat Snaps

Makes about 28
Not suitable for freezing

Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus chilling time
Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

125g dark chocolate (70%), chopped, or buttons
125g softened unsalted butter
110g caster sugar
85g soft light brown sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
90g jumbo oats
a pinch of fine sea salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Method:

  1. First cut your chocolate into small pieces if you are not using chocolate buttons.
  2. In an electric mixer with a beater attachment, or in a bowl with a wooden spoon, cream the butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the egg a little at a time, beating as you go, until incorporated, then add the rest of the ingredients and mix together. Put the mix into the fridge for a few hours, until firm.
  3. Preheat the oven to 140°C/fan 120°C/gas 1 and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  4. When the dough is firm, take it out of the fridge and roll it into balls about 20g in weight. Place them on the prepared baking tray, making sure you leave plenty of room (about 12cm) between them as they will spread out a lot (don’t cook more than 6 or 7 at a time), and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Leave to cool on the tray, as they will be too fragile to move straight away.
  6. Great served with ice cream (or with the aforementioned chocolate terrine).
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Shankarpale Churros

Following up on my post for Chirote and Kulfi Ice-Cream Sandwiches, here’s my recipe for Shankarpale “Churros”.

Shankarpale Churros with Basundi
Shankarpale Churros with Basundi

Shankarpale are little diamond shaped nuggets of goodness that Gujarati and Maharashtrian families make during Diwali. They’re made with flour, water, sugar and ghee. And then fried in ghee. I’ve noticed a considerable difference in the quality and the taste of shankarpale when they’re fried in ghee versus when they’re fried in oil. The former is far better, the shankarpale are light and have a nice chewiness to them. With regular cooking oil, the chewiness can get a tad unpleasant. And it’s really not worth boiling your blood over the few extra rupees using ghee will cost you. ‘Tis the season of Diwali, Fa la la la, la la la.

Shankarpale Churros

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 60-90 minutes
(makes about 250-300 grams of churros)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup ghee
1/2 cup sugar (use another 1/4 cup sugar if you like your shankarpale sweeter)
2 cups maida
1/2 a cup sugar, powdered
1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon (more, if required)
Additional ghee, for frying
Method:
  1. Mix the water, ghee and sugar in a kadhai on the gas stove and bring the mixture to a boil. Make sure the sugar has dissolved completely.
  2. Let the mixture cool down to room temperature
  3. In a mixing bowl, sieve a cup and a half of maida and add the ghee-water-sugar mixture to this. Stir to a paste like consistency. Gradually add the last half cup of flour, a couple of table spoons at a time, to make a sticky dough. The dough shouldn’t be quite as firm to roll out regular shankarpale.
  4. Heat some ghee in a kadhai.
  5. Fill a chakli maker with the shankarpale dough and begin to drop twigs of the batter into the hot ghee, about 3-4 inches long. You can make fun shapes, if you like.
  6. Let the shankarpale churros take on a golden colour, before you take them out of the ghee and onto a paper towel. While they are still warm, you can roll them in a mixture of powdered sugar and cinnamon.
  7. Serve with rabdi.
Basundi:
Active Time: 75 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours
(makes 4-6 bowls)
Ingredients:
1 litre milk
4-5 almonds slivered
6-8 pista, without shell, crushed coarse
1/2 teaspoon elaichi powder (more, if required)
4 tablespoons sugar (more, if required)
200g Milkmaid
A few strands of saffron
Method:
  1. Boil the milk. Once it comes to a boil, continue to let it simmer for 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure that it doesn’t burn, until it has reduced to about a third of the original quantity.
  2. While the heat is still on, add in the saffron, almonds and pistachios along with the sugar. Stir gently until the sugar dissolves. Remember that you will be adding a little Milkmaid later on, if you plan on adding more than 4 tablespoons of sugar at this stage.
  3. Turn the heat off and let the mixture cool for about 5-10 minutes and add in the Milkmaid to give the basundi additional thickness and sweetness.
  4. Eat the basundi warm or refrigerate for 4-5 hours until chilled, before serving.
Shankarpale Churros with Rabdi:
Serving:
Serve the Shankarpale sticks (or Churros!) with the rabdi as a “dipping sauce”.
Shankarpale Churros with Basundi
Shankarpale Churros with Basundi

Chirote Kulfi Ice Cream Sandwich

What’s Diwali without Faraal, yeah? For the uninitiated, faraal is the Marathi word for any (or all) of the numerous sweet and savoury snack that are made in the days that precede Diwali. I’ve grown up seeing my mum and my grandmum fry kilos of chakli and sev, and make dozens of laddusbesan, rawa, atta, you name it. And when I moved out of home, making faraal for Diwali wasn’t important to me, more so because my mum would courier of a box to me whatever part of the world I was in. In fact, this year, we’re in the same city (in different homes) and she knows I made my own faraal, but still sent four boxes anyway. There’s something about mums that you love to hate, I guess. Or is it hate to love?

All the while, all I’d ever really made for Diwali was a sheera or some gulab jamun or ras malai, just one little something that I was craving that season. It didn’t have to be what people technically considered faraal. It was for me. For Diwali. So it needed to be something I wanted to eat. And that was that. This year, a journalist friend called me up one Wednesday evening and asked if I could help come up with some faraal recipes with a modern twist. She needed them by Friday evening. That was pretty much a day and a half away.

I threw a dozen ideas at her and finally decided to try three – “granola bars” made with chiwda, chirote ice cream sandwiches and shankarpale “churros”. The granola bar idea bombed spectacularly and while the chiwda will be eaten up in the days to come, I’m left with a couple of packets of edible gum (dink) and I’m going to have to think of smart ways to use them up sooner or later.

Chirote are puff pastry, of sorts – made by layering sheets of dough, following which they are fried in ghee, so they fluff up. They’re sprinkled with powdered sugar and they keep for a few days. They’re absolutely scrumptious. This being my first attempt making them, I wasn’t sure how they’d turned out. But I’ve been watching too much Masterchef Australia, and passing on the idea of making an ice cream sandwich was just stupid.

I have no regrets about giving this a shot. I was so pleased with the results. The chirote themselves were super light, crisp and flaky. And the kulfi recipe is a safe hit with my family, I’ve done it a handful of times already now, so I was pretty sure it would turn out okay. The combination was thoroughly enjoyable too.

My mum told all of her friends and the neighbours – the aunties seem mighty surprised that I dared to try making chirote, because nobody takes the pains to make that stuff at home any more, by the looks of it.  And even bought extra copies of the newspaper that published it! My husband has been telling everybody who messages him on Whatsapp during the day and yay, I’m just super thrilled right now.

The third recipe I tried were Shankarpale served with Basundi, a la Churros and Chocolate. I wasn’t entirely happy with the combination, so when I was asked which of the two I’d prefer having in the newspaper, I picked the Chirote.

(The recipe for the Shankarpale Churros is here.)

Here’s a link to the article in the e-paper (the formatting is so messed up!) and here’s a picture of the page in the newspaper.

Faraal Reinvented - Pune Mirror - Saturday, October 14, 2017
Faraal Reinvented – Pune Mirror – Saturday, October 14, 2017

Here’s the recipe for Chirote and Kulfi, which you can then assemble into an ice cream sandwich. The picture was taken by a photographer friend. And you can tell how awesome they are, compared to the ones I usually take.

Chirote Kulfi Ice Cream Sandwiches
Chirote Kulfi Ice Cream Sandwiches
Chirote
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
(makes about 10-12 palm sized chirote)
Ingredients:
1 cup maida
2 tablespoons ghee
luke warm water, as required (no more than 1/4 cup)
For the satha:
2 tablespoons maida
2 tablespoons ghee
Powdered sugar, for sprinkling
Additional ghee, for frying
Method:
  1. Make the satha by mixing the maida and the ghee in a bowl and whipping for a couple of minutes, into a smooth paste.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and ghee and add in the warm water, a tablespoon at a time to make a firm dough.
  3. Cover the dough and let it rest for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Knead the dough for a minute or so and make into 5 balls. Keep the bowls under a paper towel and start rolling them out one at a time.
  5. Roll the first ball out into a circle about 8-9 inches in diameter. Lift it carefully and place it in a plate on the side.
  6. Roll out the second “chapati”. Before putting it aside, slather the first “chapati” with 2-3 teapsoons of the satha, covering the entire chapati well. Place the second chapati over the first.
  7. Proceed to roll out the other three chapatis, and layer them over the previously rolled ones, without forgetting to slather the chapatis with the satha, as you go.
  8. Once the five chapatis are layered, finish the top-most chapati off with whatever remains of the satha.
  9. Now, starting at one end, begin to roll this pile of chapatis into a uniform thick roll.
  10. Once this is done, using a sharp knife, cut the ends of the roll off and begin to cut the tube-like roll into 1/2 inch discs.
  11. Heat some ghee in a kadhai to fry the chirote.
  12. To roll the chirote out into their typical flaky disc shape, roll out each of the small discs that you have cut as explained: You will notice rings on either side of the disc. Place the disc ring side down and squish it sideways just a little to expose the rings on the top fully. Then lightly roll the flattened disc out into a circle about 3 inches in diameter.
  13. Fry each rolled out disc until it has fluffed up and begins to turns just a little golden.
  14. Strain the chirote out of the hot oil and onto a paper towel and sprinkle with powdered sugar on both sides while still warm.
Badam-Pista Kulfi:
Active Time: 75 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours
(makes 4-6 bowls)
Ingredients:
1 litre milk
4-5 almonds slivered
6-8 pista, without shell, crushed coarse
1/2 teaspoon elaichi powder (more, if required)
4 tablespoons sugar (more, if required)
200g Milkmaid
A few strands of saffron
Method:
  1. Boil the milk. Once it comes to a boil, continue to let it simmer for 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure that it doesn’t burn, until it has reduced to about a third of the original quantity.
  2. While the heat is still on, add in the saffron, almonds and pistachios along with the sugar. Stir gently until the sugar dissolves. Remember that you will be adding a little Milkmaid later on, if you plan on adding more than 4 tablespoons of sugar at this stage.
  3. Turn the heat off and let the mixture cool for about 5-10 minutes and add in the Milkmaid to give the basundi additional thickness and sweetness.
  4. Eat the basundi warm or refrigerate for 4-5 hours until chilled, before serving.
  5. The basundi serves as the base to make both rabdi and kulfi.
  6. To make kulfi, pour the basundi into kulfi moulds or dishes and put in the freezer overnight. Make sure that you put the kulfi in the freezer only after the basundi has completely cooled to room temperature, else you will run the risk of having crystallized kulfi.
Chirote and Kulfi Ice cream Sandwiches:
Setting and Assembling:
8 chirote, from the recipe above
4 discs of kulfi
  1. To make kulfi discs, set the basundi mixture in shallow dishes or in a baking tray. Freeze these overnight, per aforementioned instructions.
  2. To cut the kulfi into identical discs, use the top of a glass to etch a circle on the kulfi and then use a sharp knife to cut around it. If the kulfi has set well, you will have no trouble lifting the disc off the plate/tray and putting away in a container in the freezer until you’re ready to eat it.
  3. Sandwich the slice of kulfi between two chirote and serve.

Fresh Fruit Paletas

I’m surprised at how I’ve been cooking and generally been interested in all things food for so many years, and the thought of making fresh fruit popsicles never occurred to me all these years.

A couple of weeks ago, I bought some black grapes on the insistence of my fruit vendor. And five days in, I hadn’t so much as touched them. Now, it’s not quite grape season, so these grapes didn’t come cheap and my frugal side suddenly got the better of me. So I popped them all into a blender, in the hope of making some fresh fruit juice. I also threw in a few cubes of ice and blitzed the whole thing up. When I opened the blender, there was a lot of grape skin, the kind that’d keep getting in the way of drinking and a nice sludgy purple mixture. I went ahead and strained the whole thing into a container and realized that that purple looked so good, I wanted to savour it for a little longer. So, I drank half and popped the other half in the freezer.

A few hours later, I went back to the freezer, having forgotten about the grape juice altogether and walked in on some half-set ice lollies. And I thought about the musk melon + coconut milk + honey popsicles I’d seen on a friend’s Instagram profile just the previous week. AND that’s how it all happened. I let the sludge melt down again, thought of pairing the grape with fennel seeds and lime. Because, why not! That gave me another idea! I ran over to my bookshelf and picked out a book I hadn’t opened in months!

Niki Segnit’s The Flavour Thesaurus. I was overjoyed when she’d mentioned that grapes indeed do pair well with fennel. Let’s do this, then!

So, off I went to the neighbourhood department store and picked up some ice lolly moulds.

I also painstakingly sketched out ideas for pictures, because hey, I’m trying to up my photograph game. Do you know of any food styling books or food photography books that will help me get better at this? I’m quite pleased with the results. Taking pictures of ice candies in natural light is painful, in my opinion, because everything melts all too quickly. It just seemed to work better for me late evenings when it was cooler out. Con: I had to use white light and invited the wrath of a few girlfriends because WHO TAKES PICTURES IN WHITE LIGHT!!!

Black Grape, Lemon and Fennel Paletas
Black Grape, Lemon and Fennel Paletas

Then, I made some watermelon popsicles last weekend and pushed the idea further. The top of the popsicles was watermelon (so that’s what goes into the moulds first). And the bottom was a green base, basil and lemon, to resemble a watermelon, duh! I left bits of crushed leaves in the mix, so that when I poured it over the half-set watermelon ice, the leaves would float to the top, and the whole setup, turned upside down, would look like a watermelon slice. I also thought about adding chia seeds to the watermelon, to let it look like watermelon seeds on the popsicle, but then figured I’d be pushing it, and decided against it eventually.

Watermelon, Lemon and Basil Paletas
Watermelon, Lemon and Basil Paletas

Here’s the fun thing about fresh fruit popsicles (Fresh Fruit Paletas has a much nicer ring to it, doesn’t it?) –

  • There’s no added sugar, unless you want to add your own.  For me, both times, the fruit was sweet enough and didn’t need any additives.
  • They’re ridiculously easy to make.
  • You can play around endlessly with flavours – we have three combinations that work right here:
    • muskmelon + coconut milk + honey
    • watermelon + basil + lemon
    • black grapes + fennel + lemon
  • They’re baby-nephew approved! Well, since they’re all natural and have no artificial colour, they’re a hit with the mommies (and the kids, of course)!

I’m tempted to do one with oranges as the base and some warm spice – cinnamon or cloves, perhaps. But I’m not entirely sure if it’ll work for this weather. We ARE trying to beat the heat with them paletas, non? Or then oranges with peaches or apricots!

I’ve also been thinking little chunks of kiwis and strawberries in coconut water (or perhaps some other variation of flavoured water). Hah, picking up a couple of flavoured vitamin water bottles from a store and adding some chopped fruit to it and freezing that into popsicles doesn’t sound like a bad idea.

Here’s a quick, generic recipes to make fresh fruit paletas:

Ingredients

2 cups of fresh fruit of your choice

2 tbsp of contrasting liquid flavour, optional (e.g.: 2 tbsp lemon juice or 2 tbsp water mixed steeped with cloves/cinnamon etc.)

2-4 tbsp water, as required

Method

  1. Blitz the fresh fruit and the complementing flavour in a blender. Add a few tablespoons of water, if required, to ensure the resulting mixture is of pourable consistency.
  2. Strain the fruit mixture and pour into ice lolly moulds or into an ice tray.
  3. Serve chilled.

Pro Tip: Have fun making cocktails by serving them up with fresh fruit ice cubes. Think Bloody Mary where the ice cubes are made with tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco. Added to a glass of vodka and lime juice and garnished with a celery stick.

Margaritas – lots of fruit flavoured crushed ice, topped up with Cointreau and Tequila and with a dash of lime.

Tender Coconut Pudding

Tender Coconut Pudding
Tender Coconut Pudding

Remember my dessert disaster from the first Cookbook potluck I’d organized a few weeks ago? I was so upset with the aftertaste on the pudding, that I knew I wanted to make it again the right way. And so I did.

Here’s what went wrong the first time around, and what I did differently when I tried the recipe again.

  1. The recipe calls for dissolving the gelatin in warm milk. The first time around, I thought the gelatin could do with a little more dissolving/melting, but I didn’t want to add more milk to the mixture, lest I lessen the flavour of the tender coconut. So, I added coconut water to the milk + gelatin mixture and microwaved that for about 30 seconds. That’s what ruined it. I suspect the coconut water began to ferment and lent a weird aftertaste to the finished pudding.
  2. The second time around, I didn’t fret about the gelatin not dissolving all the way in the milk. I strained it and used it in the condensed milk + coconut water + tender coconut bits mixture as is. What I ended up with was the creamiest, yummiest, tender-coconut-iest pudding ever! You know how too much gelatin can end up making the finished product a little shiny and jiggly? That’s not how this was. All of the creaminess was still intact, and that just made me utterly happy.
  3. It’s worth playing around with the quantities of coconut water and condensed milk because the latter can make the final result too sweet for some. I think my second attempt was perfect and my diabetic grandmum-in-law ate a whole serving by herself. But my grandmum (who isn’t diabetic, but has a sweet tooth) complained that it was too sweet for her liking. I think I need to change my target audience.
Tender Coconut Pudding