December 23, 2011

Dairy-Free Pannacotta

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I am not really good at staying away from dairy products, as much as I have to. I still love nibbling my favourite cheese Camembert, or spooning a dollop of Mascarpone on a bowl of freshly picked orange juice macerated strawberries. I still like enjoying homemade cappuccino with heaps of milk foam on top and love devouring over creme brulee as my favourite desserts on a special occassion. All of those are too good to be substituted with dairy-free ingredients, if I have to be frank, but they are not without consequences that I have to deal with afterwards. If they are in any way substituted, I cannot find a parallel satisfaction I can get from dairy products counterparts.

Sometimes the consequence is so ugly that makes me promise myself right to the bone not to go back to the previous diets (although I often don't keep).

The older, the wiser I am (says me). If I want to live longer and healthy, please Arfi, don't break your own promises. If dairy-free products can keep me enjoy the world much longer and watch my kids grow up, then stick with them. It is a long-term conduct of well-being, I suppose. And (perhaps) self-discipline.

So, yes. I have to switch my palate to another direction my body tells it's safe to consume. Perhaps with a little adjustment, I will be alright.

I am sure I am not the only one.

The good news is, I am a bit lucky that I can find a lot of gluten-free and dairy-free baking substitutes at our local (Pukekohe, The Heart of Franklin, that is) specialty store, 'N Tolerance. They have Milk AlternativesSoy Condensed Milk, as well as other baking substitutes you find on the website. Besides, you can just find milk substitutes at ordinary groceries, such as 'Pak n Save. Coconut milk and coconut cream are also widely available at local groceries or Asian shops. I don't think I would be able to complain anymore.

It's now the matter of being creative.

I have been experimenting on these products for such a long time to make pannacotta, not that I am paid to say these things, but just as you know. Soy milk and Rice milk are equally good. Almond milk will give slightly richer texture with nutty flavour more than the previous mentioned. But when you make pannacotta, you will need something quite thicker than milk. Therefore, I use coconut cream.

#dairyfree coconut milk agar-agar vanilla pannacotta with blueberry compote #food #foodphotography #ipad2

Dairy-Free Vanilla Rice Milk and Coconut Cream Pannacotta

Allison of Pease Pudding sent me a jar of agar-agar weeks ago (thanks, Alli!) and I use it to make this dairy-free pannacotta. The result will be a firmer texture of pannacotta, not as wobbly as a jelly would be like. I have been familiar cooking with agar-agar because this is what we mostly use to cook desserts in Indonesia, like Casablanca Pudding I made years ago, although nowadays gelatine has been introduced and been used widely. We enjoy this pannacotta with blueberry compote.

The interesting thing about agar-agar is that you can cook it with the other ingredients without the need to soak it in liquid firsthand. If you have some mixture left on your saucepan, it will slide away easily when you rinse it in cold water.

400ml coconut cream
100ml rice milk
1 Tbs agar-agar powder
1 vanilla bean, split and scrapped
1/2 cup caster sugar

Whisk all the ingredients in a large saucepan until well-blended. Boil on high heat until bubbly and then on low heat to simmer until the mixture is thicken. Discard the vanilla bean. Pour the mixture into prepared glasses. Let cool and then transfer into the fridge. Serve with your favourite topping.

Merry Christmas to all of you my Christian friends. All the best! #christmas #love #instagood

Happy Holidays!

December 16, 2011

Gluten-Free Chocolate Crackle Biscuits

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What is so attractive about cracked biscuits? They are photogenic if you ask me.

These biscuits are my gluten-free version. I use milk chocolate for that what I only can find in my pantry, therefore, less sugar is used. 

This is my entry for Sweet New Zealand, initiated by Alessandra Zecchini and now hosted by Bron Marshall for a sweet December treat.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Crackle Biscuits

Gluten-Free Chocolate Crackle Biscuits

1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1 Cup white rice flour
2 Tbs cornflour
1/2 tsp Guar gum
1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
250g milk chocolate
60g margarine
1/4 cup caster sugar (use more if you want it sweeter and crispier) 
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs
icing sugar to coat

#glutenfree Chocolate Crackle Biscuits. #baking #food #foodphotography #ipad2

Preheat the oven to 200C. Line baking trays with baking paper.

Sift the flours, gum, baking powder and salt together in a bowl, set aside. Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl which sits on top of a pot of simmering water. Let cool.

Beat eggs and sugar until thick, add in vanilla essence, beat again. Add in chocolate and butter mixture. Mix well. Fold in flour mix. Mix well. Let cool in the fridge until hardened and easier to work on.

Roll into little marbles, roll into a bowl of icing sugar. Arrange the coated balls on trays, and bake for more or less 12-15 minutes or until firm when touched. Let cool on trays for 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Keep them in an airtight jars. Makes 20.