Updated with a note on gelatin in recipe section
Morning friends, hope you had a lovely weekend. Morning is dull today, in fact weather here at N.Carolina is pretty much un predictable, but after the rains it looks so green and vibrant, air is cool and breezy. It rained yesterday, incessantly the whole day long but we enjoyed it, we watched three movies back to back, gorged on homemade pizzas and relish on some tastiest dessert – strawberry Panna cotta which turns out almost classic.
Among the three movies that we watched, one was “Kahani” by Sujoy Ghosh, must say it is one of the best movie I have seen in recent years (in Bollywood), powerful, absorbing with a gripping storyline in the backdrop of modern and vintage Kolkata and yes I adore the infectious Durga puja aura in the city, red and white play of colors simply amused me. Chai, garma garm phulko luchi, lazy tram rides, Victoria memorial, traffic congestion, choking metro rides, yellow-black taxis, dingy lanes / by lanes, durga puja all played their part with such conviction that the city itself arise as a main protagonist in the kahani. Though the story starts by taking a cue from “the usual suspects” but it has able to retain its originality to a large extent, much relief to the cine goers like me where every Bollywood flick is copy of this and that International movie. So “kahani” acts much like a refresher. Nimboo pani ! any one !
The statutory warnings against smoking seems to be little out off place as now in India public smoking is banned but then may be the director chose to show how the law makers breaks and twist the laws as per their whims (or puffs), and smoking in front of a pregnant women may highlight the ruthlessness (read careless ness) of an IB agent.
For a change this thriller has no item songs or dance bars where our IB agents might have enjoyed some “sheela ki jawani” while exchanging some information from the informers but this time the poor informer chose to be a sculptor of Kumartuli who makes idols of Ma Durga. Some fresh ideas !
And when Agnes (HR of NDC) invited Vidya / Bidya to Mocambo, I thought both the ladies will now gorge down on the sumptuous lunch at Mocambo but alas that was for such a brief moment. Poor Vidya can’t relish on the “Devil’s crab” or “Chicken a la mocambo” leaving the scene with just a sketchy information. I understand Mocambo has an iconic status but then Flury’s would have much better option, both the ladies can gorge down on some delicious cakes, pastries and can exchange info over some Lipton tea, given that our protagonist is a pregnant women, she needs to eat more, just drinking water wont help much, okay I know she was faking the pregnancy but then faking should have that realistic appeal too.
And don’t forget the LIC (life insuarance) agent “Bob Biswas” who do the double duty as a contract killer, what an ironical way of portraying the characters, so next time beware of your LIC agents too 😀 And the archaic lift through which he came and shot poor old Agnes excellently portrays the complexities of modern-day Kolkata in the vintage backdrop. In short “Kahani “ belongs to those rare breed of Indian Cinema with near perfect execution. A good story has been told with somewhat clumsy climax (justifying the Vidya’s motives) and A Must Watch !
And in all these fuss of thrilling moments I almost forget to mention my strawberry panna cotta which again has very fancy name but ridiculously simple to make only if you know your way thorough the nuisances of gelatine or agar-agar. So if you have not used gelatin or agar-agar before, first make something simple like jelly (by jello) and then only proceed to make the panna cotta. It will be then a smooth and silky ride for you.
For a perfect Pann cotta you can always refer to the recipe here.
- Strawberry puree (strained) : ¾ cup
- Heavy cream or half and half : 1 cup
- Unflavored gelatin : 1 tsp
- Sugar : ¼ cup or as per taste
- Milk : 2 tbsp
- Fresh strawberries to garnish
- In a cold milk, sprinkle the gelatin and keep it for 10 minutes until the gelatin become soft .
- Dissolve the sugar in strained strawberry puree and keep it aside.
- In a heavy bottom pan, pour the heavy cream or you can use half and half too, heat it on low to medium heat.
- Dont let the cream bubble.
- Once the cream is evenly heated, add the gelatin and gently stir it till the gelatin dissolve completely.
- You can do this step while keeping the pan on lowest heat .
- Take off the pan from the heat and stir in the strawberry puree (which must be strained).
- Mix them gently and pour on your dessert bowl and chilled in the refrigerator until set.
- This may take from 4- 6 hours, so better to keep it overnight.
- Serve the strawberry panna cotta simply garnish with some fresh strawberries or with some compote or syrup as you may wish to.
This is in response to the readers queries:
Gelatin : Gelatins are essentially animal protein derives from the collagen present in skin and bones and contains peptides and proteins which when mixed with water helps to form gel like substances. In USA most of the gelatin is derived from pigs.
People with religious restrictions or vegans can go for plant based gelatin like Agar – agar and carrageenan, both are seaweeds, in some countries this also known as Japanese gelatin and pectin which is extracted mostly from citrus fruits.
However, different types of gelatin (plant / animal) base sets at different temperature, agar-agar sets at higher temperature than animal gelatin. So always test the gelatin before uses in a recipe.
And ratio and proportion of gelatin to the ingredients in the recipe also matters. If you are in doubt, then use the entire or half packet of gelatin for 2 cups of milk or cream. With more trial and error you will be able to nail down the exact ratio.
Enjoy !!! and Have a sunny day, because we don’t have and do forgive me for intermixing the movie review with food, but hey I do mention the food in the movie too. 😉
This post is also linked to Radhika’s Chilled delights.