Monday, 13 July 2015

Sugar Nests, Candied Flowers & Rosewater-Pistachio Panna Cotta






Ahhhh….today is a lazing day. It’s mid-afternoon, I'm still in my pj's (just one of the greatest perks of running your own business from home) and laying on the sofa blogging away.  It’s very rare that you’d find me in this state, Hubby teases that I may have mild ADD as I can’t seem to sit for more than 10 minutes without feeling agitated or bored even when I'm sick. I admit that I'm always on-the-go, I guess I just want to be as productive as much possible cause life is short right??... but a good book or movie can easily pin me down.

But there’s a reason to all this laziness and feeling slumberous type of day. The past week has been eventful and full of lingering problems and it's taken a toll on me so here I am with the flu, blogging it off. If you can't bare to hear me whinge  and whine then skip this part and scroll down for the recipes..lol.

Well, last week started off with Hubby and myself facing a whole heap of problems with our pool installation. The pool company just started excavating our backyard but had to stop immediately due to some unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances (won't go into details as it's something I'd rather forget) which involved a lot of money to resolve before digging can continue. Definitely something that our wallets did not prepare for.

According to the excavators..it's probably one of the worst scenarios you can come across during the digging process. And then we had to urgently look for plumbers to fix our broken sewage and an electrician to sort out some exposed electrical wiring all caused from the excavations...we couldn't use our lights and any plumbing for a day, it was a pain. 

The idea of owning a new swimming pool is exciting but the dilemmas to make it happen just became too overwhelming…and yes, I did have a big girls cry ....a couple of times. The air just lingered with problems, problems and more problems. I'm glad all of that is sorted and digging continues tomorrow. Should be 3 months and and pool should be done. We're praying we don't come across anymore problems.

And then we had my two nephews and two nieces stay over for a couple of days while they’re on school holidays (best part of the week), then we hosted a dinner party at home (fun and tiring), then spent two days scrubbing and polishing the house for a photo shoot of our home renovation featured in a newspaper (super tiring but exciting)….so no wonder I feel so run down today. And flu just started kicking in and all the cold snaps we're having isn’t helping.

Anyways, I had to find some sort of release and the only place I can do that in my current state is in the kitchen and garden. As I always say and will say again, these are “my place of zen”. So I spent a little time in the garden picking off some of my edible pansies but any longer out there would make my flu much worse as it’s really cold outside. 



So I headed for the kitchen to spin some sugar nests and make candied flowers for the first time to practice for a little high tea I’m hosting for a couple of friends next week. I plan to use these gorgeous finishing touches on my French Earl Grey Creme Brulee and also on my White Choc- Rose water-Pistachio Panna Cotta, scroll down for the recipe.

I found therapy and relaxation as I worked my magic in the kitchen thanks to the presence of solace and peace. And after all that I am starting to feel better already ;P. Now time for Hubby to taste test.




Candied Flowers




WHAT:
1 egg white
½ tsp water
Edible flowers (I used pansies, plant pots I purchased from a weekend organic markets)
Clean small artist paint brush
Fine caster sugar
Baking paper





HOW:

Set your oven to 150 degrees for about 15 mins. Keep the door closed to keep it warm.

Gently wash the flowers and pat dry with paper towel, make sure it’s free from moisture. Be gentle with them as they are very fragile. 

Beat egg whites and water together until frothy. 

Paint each flower and every petal back and front with the beaten egg white using the paintbrush. When coated thoroughly, sprinkle with fine sugar and place on the baking paper. Make sure flowers don’t overlap each other.


Place the sugared flowers in the oven with the door ajar for a few hours. Flowers should be stiff and brittle to the touch when done. They can be stored in airtight containers until ready to use. They should keep for as long as a year, I have yet to test this theory.


You can use the following to make your sugared flowers- violets, pansies, rose petals and lilacs and much more, do further research. You can use them on sandwiches, salads and garnishes. They present your desserts and dishes beautifully. And make sure the flowers you use are grown organically.


Spun Sugar




I followed another bloggers recipe but used different tools...it turned out well. But yes, I think I need more practice.

Check out the recipe here- http://www.bloggingoverthyme.com/spin-sugar-like-wizard/


Rosewater-Pistachio Panna Cotta






What:

2 ½ cups of thick cream

5 tablespoons caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla bean

100g good-quality white chocolate, I used Callebaut

3 teaspoon agar-agar powder



Rosewater syrup

2 tablespoons rosewater

1/2 cup caster sugar

2 drops natural red food coloring



To decorate

Dried rose petals,

Crushed roasted pistachio

Sugar nest to decorate

How:



Put cream, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Add chocolate, remove from heat and stand for a few minutes until chocolate dissolves.

Add agar agar to cream mixture and stir until well combined. Strain and set aside to cool slightly before pouring into moulds. Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours until set.


To make the rosewater syrup, put the sugar and 1/2 cup of water in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low, add the rosewater and simmer for 10 minutes until thickened slightly. Stir in food coloring and set aside to cool.

Dip base of each mould very briefly in warm water and turn out onto serving plates. Drizzle with rosewater syrup, scatter some crushed roasted pistachios and place the sugar nest on top.



I hope you enjoy the recipes.

Love and Peace
Mazzy
xox