August 04, 2013

It gets perfect only after being a total disaster

I've been so reluctant to write a new post, cause I wanted it to be cheerful. Sunny. Bright. Full of excitement. Packed with a marvelous taste of a dozen amazing once-in-a-lifetime experiences. The kind of ones that you just want to grab and hug and squeeze so tightly that after a while you could barely breathe. The kind of ones that you just want to hold on to, rigidly and tightly, while at the same time, with all the strength one could possibly possess inside, trying to stop the time. To make it freeze in order to forget about everything else in the world, and, for that tiny fraction of a second, live this moment of happiness as long as you can.

Instead, my days, right here, right now, are full of misunderstandings. Every day brings a new challenge. A challenge I haven't ever had to deal with. A challenge I haven't ever had a chance to face before, or to handle all by myself. I know, in that way, I'm growing up. Sometimes even far too quickly, I guess. I'm getting stronger, firmer, more self-supporting, after all, this whole process of becoming mature still evokes the panic along the way. And, so here I am, standing, lingering, and desperately trying to find the courage that could assist me in overcoming another one out of those dozen other problems.

"No-one comes knocking at your door. If you really want to do it, you've got to persist and have confidence in yourself." ~Heath Ledger

However, I'm not that kind of person who likes to complain or to be felt sorry for. But since I don't keep a diary where I could insert my blues-infused feelings on paper, it seems a good idea to bring them here. Just to let them lie down for some time, where later on, after everything finally settles down and falls into more-or-less right places, I could return to, take another look, and hopefully feel proud of myself for having been able to conquer this misery.

"I live completely in the now, not in the past, not in the future" ~Heath Ledger

The book I've been reading lately was quite an inspiration for me. I think, I don't have to explain who Heath Ledger was. Supposedly, we all know this charismatic Australian who, for way too short time, had been sparkling and enchanting everyone with that adorable smile he used to wear along his way. He could be everything you wanted him to be. A super charming guy. Funny or mischievous. Slightly edgydeeply dramatic, unconventionally honest, or just heroic. And it was him not only in the movies; it as well was him in a real life.

However, his life was wantonly tragic and way(!) too short. But at the same time it was full. Lived from the beginning till the ending. Thoroughly experienced. Completely felt. Entirely performed.

I live completely in the now, not in the past, not in the future.

But even for him, for this charisma-sparkling, energetic, super talented, and simply very lovable guy, everything wasn't easy at the beginning. Doors where not wide opened as we might want to think, and it took a while until he made into his movie-star life. It's been a tough journey, full of winding roads, dead-ends, and wearing disappointments.

I was hungry at times, it was my last hope. If I didn't get the part I was going to go back home. I had nothing. No money. No nothing. At one point I didn't even want to read the script and go in and meet with them. I had come close to so many great projects that I just had the rub taken out of me.

But the one thing I'd [say to other actors] is that no-one comes knocking at your door. If you really want to do it, you've got to persist and have confidence in yourself.

And that's what we all have to remember. Dreams don't come easily. They ask for pain firstly, and only then, when you have drowned enough, when you have suffered enough, when you have ached enough, when you were wounded enough, only then it might reward you with something great.

Greek Yogurt & Sweetened Condensed Milk Panna Cotta

Actually, I have a very similar story with panna cotta.  In truth, there is not much going on in the recipe,  cause it's only a dairy, some kind of a sweetener and a gelatin bounding everything together, in that way making one doubt, how hard it can get to put everything together in a perfect harmony?. But the truth is, it's far from being simple. As a proof, the very first attempts to make it at home ended up in a totally disaster. It all started with my panna cotta refusing to set. Then, after solving this problem, there came another texture issue when this deceptively simple dessert became too stiff and far from being light and clean as it's supposed to be. Okay, I slightly reduced the amount of gelatin as well as dairy fat content, but when the failure season seemed to be over, it still took me three sets to successfully get the panna cotta out of the molds.

But setting the original recipe aside for a while, there is one that might be perfect from the very beginning. I borrowed the idea from Smitten Kitchen, and then modified a little bit by omitting lemon juice, which might result in curdling, and substituting sugar with sweetened condensed milk. It turned out just the way I wanted - not too rich, not too sweet, and perfectly balanced with a generous drizzle of blueberry jam on top.

Greek Yogurt & Sweetened Condensed Milk Panna Cotta

Greek Yogurt & Sweetened Condensed Milk Panna Cotta
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

for 3 servings:
30 ml (1/8 cup) water
1 Tbsp gelatin
240 ml (1 cup) Greek yogurt
240 ml (1 cup) milk
4-5 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk
blueberry jam or compote, for serving

Place water in a small bowl. Stir in gelatin and set aside until it softens, for about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk yogurt, 1/2 cup of milk and sweetened condensed milk, adding more of the latter if you feel like needing more sweetness.
In a small saucepan, bring the remaining milk to a simmer. Stir in water-gelatin mixture, and wait until it dissolves; then remove from heat. Whisk it into the yogurt mixture. 
Set the bowl in the ice bath and whisk until the mixture is lukewarm, making sure there are no grits from undissolved gelatin (if there are some, just run the whole mixture through sieve).
Ladle the mixture into three cups, ramekins or glasses and chill in a refrigerator for at least 2 hours, best overnight. If you're going to keep them longer than overnight, cover them with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.
Take your panna cotta out of the refrigerator approximately 10 minutes before serving. If you want to serve it unmolded, dip the ramekin briefly in a bowl of hot water, and then carefully invert onto a serving plate. Serve drizzled with blueberry jam or blueberry compote. 

Greek Yogurt & Sweetened Condensed Milk Panna Cotta


  1. kaip gražu :) pagrindą pati dažei? nerealiai, ypač pirma foto!

    1. Dėkui ;)
      jo, pati dažiau, nors, tiesą pasakius, norėjau tamsiau mėlyno, tačiau gavaosi toks dangaus žydrumo :)

  2. What a lovely recipe, I love how versatile greek yogurt is: I'd add it to literally everything! Your pictures are beautiful too x

    1. Yep, Greek yogurt is a total goodie! It is something that you could incorporate almost everywhere!

  3. Hi Migle
    Can't wait to try out this pannacotta recipe. One query, you say to "bring the remaining milk to a simmer" but earlier you instruct to "whisk in yogurt and 1 cup milk" which would mean you have used up all the milk accounted for in the ingredient list. Is there supposed to be another measurement of milk or have I read this wrong. Thanks

    1. thanks for noticing! My mistake! It was supposed to be half cup and then half cup again! Mistake eliminated, and hopefully everything else turns out great for you! ;)