Sunshine in a bowl: mango sorbet

mango sorbetSummer is well and truly over so what to do when you can’t find sunshine outside? Just get some on your plate! This was the perfect ending to a very successful thai cooking workshop (my kitchen was the backdrop, the chef a bubbly laotian colleague of mine and the food totally yummy!) and a great excuse to test my new pride and joy: our kitchen aid, including the ice cream maker. Finally, it’s another way to eat more cardamom, anything I can add that spice to just makes me happy. I looked on the internet to find a great recipe and in the end decided to go with my own blend. Here’s how to make it:

Cut 2 mangos in chunks, add 150 g icing sugar, the juice of 2 limes and the crushed seeds of 5 cardamom pods (optional of course, you can just leave them out or add any flavour you prefer with mango, such as mint leaves for example) and mix to make a smooth puree (you can also do this in a food processor of course).

Transfer to an ice cream maker and churn to freeze according to the instructions of the manufacturer (it only took 20 min in my kitchen aid bowl). Transfer to a container and put in the freezer until you are ready to eat it. That’s it!

Don’t have an ice cream maker or the patience to freeze this stuff for a couple of hours? You can also use a short cut: just buy frozen mango in the supermarket and take it out of the freezer 10-15 min before you want to eat your sorbet. Mix it and serve: you now have a 100% fruit sorbet that is good for you and your diet! If you want you can add some sugar, lime juice … but you will notice it doesn’t need it. This also works with any other type of frozen fruit, such as forest fruit or raspberries. Enjoy!

Sunshine on a plate: mango and cardamom panna cotta

Mango and cardamom panna cottaTo thank my sister and her boyfriend for their help in our apartment, I invited them for dinner. Of course, I needed a delicious dessert to go with it, and I didn’t find anything to my liking in my cookbooks. As summer seems to be finally over, I wanted to enjoy some last summer tastes before it’s too late, so I wanted to make something with mango. This seemed a great excuse to use cardamom as well, it’s one of my favourite spices and it goes really well with mango! So I decided to freewheel a bit and invent my own recipe for a mango and cardamom panna cotta. Here’s how I did it:

Put 5 leaves of gelatine in a bowl of cold water (they have to be fully covered) and set aside for 5 min. In the mean time, put 400 ml double cream or whipping cream (you need at least 30% fat contents) in a pan with 150 ml milk100 g caster sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract (or the seeds of a vanilla pod) and stir to combine. Gently heat the mixture while stirring occasionally until it’s almost boiling. In the mean time, peel 1 to 2 mangos at room temperature, cut into chunks and mix in a blender until smooth (1 mango gives a subtle taste, two will make it more pronounced). Add the hot cream to the blender and blend again until smooth. Check if the mixture is still quite hot, if not you can heat it through a bit. Add the crushed seeds of 5 cardamom pods (the flavour will come through very well, if you prefer it to be subtle, stick to 3 pods instead). Take of the heat and add the gelatine leaves one by one (squeeze out all the water first) and stir well. Pour the mixture into dariole moulds and put in the fridge to set for 2-3 hours or overnight.

To unmould the panna cotta, dip the bottom of the moulds in hot water for a few seconds to loosen them, then turn them upside down on a serving plate. They may need a few sharp jerks of the hand for them to come out. If this fails, run a small knife around the side of the mould to loosen slightly. Or just don’t bother taking them out of the moulds at all. I served the panna cotta on it’s own, but if you prefer you can add some raspberry coulis as well. Enoy while listening to Sunrise by Norah Jones.

Use up some cardamom in a cardamom loaf or a chocolate and cardamom mousse. If you got more mangos than you can handle, try a lime and mango cake.

Truly delicious: lime-mango cake

lime and mango cakeA colleague of mine recently brought a home-made tart to the office for his birthday. It was so delicious, that I stalked him for the recipe so he brought his cookbook from Australian chef Bill Granger, which also contained this recipe. Now if I see lime and mango both in one recipe, I don’t have to think twice! Straight to the copy machine it was and that night the cake was already in the oven!

Heat the oven to 170 C and grease a 26 cm cake ring (or use a 22 cm round springform or whatever other combination of tins instead). In a large bowl, mix 180 g softened butter with 250 g caster sugar and 1 and 1/2 tsp lime zest (you need about 2-3 limes in total for this recipe). Add 4 eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Fold in 300 g flour in two batches, alternated with 200 ml yoghurt, also added in two batches, adding 2 and 1/2 tsp baking powder with the final batch.

Now fold in 1 mango cut in cubes and scoop the mixture into the prepared cake tin, smoothing the top with the back of a spoon. Bake for 45 min or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 min before transferring to a wire rack.

Now make the lime icing by mixing 185 g icing sugar with 2 tbsp lime juice and 20 g melted (and cooled) butter until you get a thick mixture. Add a bit more lime juice if it’s too thick. When the cake has cooled, poor over the lime icing and garnish with a sprinkle of lime zest.

A final tip: don’t do this late at night or you will be too lazy to get the icing just right and instead of a gorgeous cake you get what you see in the picture. It still tastes as great though!