I have this ridiculous urge to look at everything with pastry eyes! What I mean by that is quite often when I come across a food item or ingredient..herbs, spices, vegetables, fruits..anything. I start to imagine how it would turn out mixed with sugar, whisked with eggs, added to cream, baked, frozen, torched, candied and so on. Until lately I thought this was weird. And people around me thought I was ‘stressed out’ and ‘needed a break’.
A Thai lunch and I was all about Kaffir Lime. Not that this was the first time Kaffir Lime had caught my attention. Before this I was probably paying more attention to something else..Lemongrass I think. I enjoyed the dish I was eating but I enjoyed thinking about the little experiments that I was going to carry out more.
‘This is so good’ one of my friends remarked between mouthfuls of Thai curry.
Oh yes, it is..imagine pairing it with mango…I smiled at myself.
‘I had something similar in ABC restaurant but this one is better’ another one spoke out.
It will be great in a Panna Cotta. And blackberries..lovely…white, yellow, black…i was already planning.
I looked at the watch. 1.10 pm…just enough time to go back home, get the kids to nap and run to the Asian Market to get hold of Kaffir Lime leaves and create something.
That is exactly what I did. Kaffir lime…I had to get some…I NEED Kaffir lime, I told myself. This word ‘NEED’ is more than familiar to me at the moment. Apparently, it has assumed a place of great significance in my little boy’s life and vocabulary (the older twin..to be precise 38 seconds older). He does not ‘like’ or ‘want’ things. He NEEDS them. How well I can trace it back to his genes.
I spent the afternoon at the market and later in my kitchen. The Panna Cotta was exactly the way I had imagined it to be. Light, refreshing, fragrant with a distinct taste of Kaffir Lime. While they were setting up, i made the candied lime leaves.
All this while I have questioned my sanity, my thrill at spending hours at a fruit market, the ability to bake a cake at 2 am after a tiring day with two preschoolers, my obsession with food. But not anymore. I am not alone. Ever since I started this little blog, I am coming across people every day who eat, sleep and breathe ingredients..who live flavours..rejoice and celebrate food. This is my place…this is my world. This is where I belong…where I have always belonged. I no longer do things that I have to do..but things that bring me joy. It is all making perfect sense to me now..I feel liberated. Every day is exciting…every moment is beautiful.
This is my world…bright, brilliant, beautiful…of Sugar…et al..
Kaffir Lime Panna Cotta with Mango and Blackberries
11/2 cups Single cream
11/2 Cups Milk
1/2 cup castor sugar
6 kaffir lime leaves finely shredded
2 tsp powdered gelatine
2 tablespoon warm water.
1 mango, sliced
1/2 cup blackberries
Place the water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatine. Set aside till it blooms i.e absorbed all the water. Heat the cream over medium heat in a saucepan and add the lime leaves. Bring it to a boil and then remove from heat. Let infuse for 30 minutes. Strain the mixture to remove the leaves. Put the infused cream, milk and sugar back in the saucepan and heat gently. Add the gelatine and stir to dissolve.
Remove from heat once the mixture begins to boil and let cool to room temperature. Pour into serving glasses and refrigerate till set. About 4-5 hours. Before serving top with sliced mangoes and blackberries. I mascerated the sliced mangoes in 1 tsp sugar to release its juices.
1 egg white
1/2 cup castor sugar
5-6 Kaffir lime leaves
Whisk the egg white till frothy. Place the sugar on a plate. Line a baking tray or plate with baking paper. Dip each leaf into the egg white and hold it by the tip till the excess falls out. Dip it again into the sugar till it is evenly coated. Dust off excess sugar. Place the leaves on the parchment paper to dry. About 2 hours later turn the leaves around for the other side (the one which was not exposed)to dry. They become hard when dried.