The other day, I made a list of things that I am thankful for - and I truly am thankful for all those things. But there were a couple of omissions from the lists, in the interests of brevity and not boring my readers to tears
One of the things left off the list was this blog, the opportunities it has given me, the things it has taught me, and the people I have met through it. Some of those people I have met in “real” life and they have become firm friends. Others, I haven’t met (yet!) but their kindness and generosity across the miles have often stunned me – like the outpouring of love and support when my friend Christelle passed away in 2005; or the big parcel of unsolicited chocolates that Stephanie sent me last year when my friend Peter passed away. It is this loving and supportive community aspect of blogging that surprised me the most, and it always feels good when you can take your turn and make a difference to a blog friend in need who is going through a rought time.
I have never met Barbara of Winos and Foodies in person, but we have been in touch on and off for two years since she started the Taste of Yellow event to support the Lance Armstrong Foundation‘s LiveStrong day. Having lost both my two friends mentioned above to cancer, I was instantly attracted to the quiet, positive way in which she had faced her own battle with cancer. I love her unfussy recipes, her gorgeous pics… and the occasional male nude And I was devastated to read last month that her cancer had returned and that she has once again started a cycle of chemotherapy.
So when my dear blog friend Bron Marshall got in touch to ask me to participate in a weekend of virtual hugs for Barbara, organised by her and the lovely Ilva of Lucullian Delights, I said yes without a second’s hesitation. A little bird told me that Barbara likes clean, Asian-inspired flavours, and I know that ginger is good for nausea (one of the side-effects of chemotherapy), hence the recipe below.
Barbara – I hereby send you a big, warm hug, tons of love and all my positive thoughts for getting through the chemo and emerging victorious. And seeing as no girl can resist flowers, I’ve also sent you a Spring tulip as a symbol of rebirth
GINGER PANNACOTTA WITH LIME SYRUP (serves 4) (from www.a-stove.com, a now sadly defunct South African food blog)
For the syrup:
100 ml granulated white sugar
50 + 50 ml water
zest and juice of one lime
strawberries (or raspberries) to garnish
If using leaf gelatine, place the gelatine in water for 4 min.
Place the sugar, ginger and cream into a pot. Slice open the vanilla, scrape the seeds into the cream and then add the pod as well. Bring the cream mizture to the boil.
Remove from the heat, remove the vanilla pod and add either the soaked leaf gelatine, or sprinkle the gelatine powder over the cream mixture. Mix thoroughly.
Pour the mixture into small ramekins or espresso cups. Allow to chill in the fridge for at leats 2 hours before serving.
For the lime syrup, place the sugar into a pot along with 50 ml water and boil until the mixture turns light brown. Carefully add the remaining 50 ml water (it will sizzle – protect your hands!), as well as the lime zest and juice. The consistency should be syrupy. Allow the syrup to cool.
When you are ready to serve, carefully slide a table knife around the inside of the ramekinjs or cups cups to loosen the pannacotta. Knock it out onto a plate, pour the lime syrup around it and garnish with red berries.
NOTE: As you will no doubt have noticed from the pictures: a) the consistency was not at all wobbly like pannacotta should be; and b) the unmoulding bit? Well it just didn’t happen. Think trying to coax an oyster out of its shell. I suspect the reason behind this is the difficulty in converting the quantities in a leaf gelatine recipe to suit powdered gelatine – there was simply far too much gelatine if you used half an 8g sachet like I did. The taste was fabulous though – very gingery, tempered with vanilla, and the lime syrup is heaven on a spoon. But next time, a lot less gelatine!