Ok, I’m done.
No, really. I’m close to giving up. Learning how to cook, I mean.
(And yeah, I’m still learning…I haven’t baked any cinnamon rolls yet, or barbequed chicken or anything….)
A heated up kitchen, the smell of fish defrosting, one huge kitchen knife and a fork.
I spent quite a significant part of Friday evening trying to slice fish evenly, to make fish chiplets. And ended up at my wits’ end and hurling profanity at the poor fillet.
And I only learnt to boil water a little more than a year back. I mean, c’mawn!
Remember the Ghol fillets I got last week, and I had kept one of those aside to make cakes? Well, I got it out and behaved like myself, that is, I got bored to wait around letting it defrost. I dunked it in simmering water till it was workable….or so I thought it would be. Ignorant and a sad lazy-ass, that’s what I am. Armed with a knife too dull and a flimsy fork, I set on cutting thin finger-like pieces from the monster of a fillet. Why does it have to be so damn big!
By the end of it, profanities aside, I slumped on the couch drenched in sweat and fishy water and made up my mind to forget all about cooking, food, recipes and all the stupid hoopla I’ve been doing since last year over them.
A little while, notched up air-conditioning and a few scenes from Charlie’s Angels later, I was reluctantly ready to go back to frying the damn chiplets. I’m decidedly not sharing the recipe with you, because its beyond worse and a total mood-kill. I tried salvaging the rest of my Friday by eating panna cotta.
OK, I have to confess – I’m not a big fan of panna cotta. Mostly because I’m not comfortable with gelatin. I get this weird feeling every time I have to use it in some jelly or panna cotta recipe, that I’m taking a shortcut. Shortcut from what, don’t ask. Its like you add gelatin and it sets. No technique, not much physical effort, no timing or rules, like its a magic ingredient.
I still prefer the dark-chocolate and mint combination. Always refreshing and surprising every time. White-chocolate has never been my style, although change is good.
White Chocolate and Mint Panna Cotta
- 1 cup full fat milk
- 175gms of white chocolate, chopped
- 1 tablespoon of powder gelatin
- Half a cup of loosely packed mint leaves
- 2 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar
- Soak the gelatin in 2 to 3 tablespoons of cold water and keep aside for 10 minutes or so till the gelatin blooms.
- Halve the milk in separate containers.
- Heat one half on low and stir in the mint leaves till they sink in. Add the sugar and keep stirring till it dissolves. Simmer for about 10 minutes till the milk starts bubbling at the edges. Take it off the heat. Cover and let steep for about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the other half portion of milk til it almost boils over. Almost. Pour it on top of the chocolate bits. After a minutes, stir the mixture slowly centre-out till all the chocolate dissolves to form ganache.
- Strain the mint leaves-milk mixture out on a separate bowl. Try and squeeze out the maximum amount of flavor from the leaves. Throw the leaves away and stir in half the gelatin into the remaining minty-green milk. Put this mixture back on very low heat and simmer till the gelatin dissolves.
- Stir in the rest of the gelatin into the chocolate ganache and strain into a different bowl. Simmer on low heat till the gelatin dissolves.
- Assemble the panna cotta into greased moulds (or everyday bowls, in my case) by pouring the white chocolate mixture first followed by the milk-mint mixture.
- Allow to set in the freezer for about an hour and a half to two hours.