Disaster and dessert later

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.

White Chocolate and Mint Panna Cotta

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.

White Chocolate and Mint Panna Cotta

9 thoughts on “Disaster and dessert later

  1. I can totally relate – there was much sighing and swearing and mumbling when I was working on my rainbow cake this weekend. Hang in there though!!

  2. Gelatine is a funny thing isn’t it? I agree with you. Mint and chocolate is a great idea. I usually do lavender (infuse a little bit of lavender leaf in the milk). I was trying to think of something different this morning and was thinking chai, but choc and mint is way better!

  3. I have to agree with you on the gelatin, I really don’t like it but realise I am going to have to invest in some (preferably the sheet variety). I tend to always use eggs to thicken something but this weekend I tried to make a ‘charlotte’ but cooking the custard just didn’t set it enough so I have admitted defeat and will use gelatin next time…watch this space!

  4. Hahahaa that’s the beauty of gelatin!!!! I’m glad you overcame your dislike and treated us to this nice panna cotta! I don’t generally go for mint-chocolate combos, but this white chocolate looks very creamy and resfreshing for summer.

  5. I usually use agar powder which is a good gelatin substitute for vegans and vegetarians. It is derived from seawood and is cooked the same way you would use gelatin powder. It is widely used in Asia.


    But please don’t give up on cooking. You’re always going to go through ups and downs. Your dessert looks gorgeous. Keep up the great work 🙂

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