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I believe that salt is to food, what food is to life. In right proportions, it can heighten the taste of what you eat..and in the wrong - destroy! Even the most delicious sweets come added with some salt...to taste!

As for me, I've never enjoyed cooking. And as contrary to my owning a food-blog as it may sound, I always think about daily, routine cooking as a chore. But my tryst with the pots and pans began when I got a kitchen all to myself...I began experimenting and exploring new worlds in my own home. Some outcomes were excellent and some plain disasters. Then sprouted the need to keep track of all those good ones...and hence this blog!

Here, I share those experiments that pleased more than one palate!

August 2, 2011

Honey Roasted Sweet Peppers And Mango With Ricotta Ice Cream

Yes. We raised the bar. The Free-Spirit Bloggers just decided to take things to a completely different level along with a little bit of a gambling, too. How is that for a little summer-time fun?

This time Lata Raja choose the theme. We were all to make sweet-dishes or desserts using just about any mode of cooking we liked. So? You ask, 'What's so great about that?'. But, hold on. Here is the twist. She asked us to choose numbers between 1 and 12. To each of these numbers she had put down the most unusual combination of ingredients that one would make a sweet dish out of, on a spreadsheet that she had not shared with us.

So (virtually)  blindfolded, each FSB member picked her choice of number(s). Once all of us were 'numbered', we got to see the list. When the ingredients were revealed, I was more than a little baffled. Then, left in amusement and awe. Then in deep thought. Lastly, action followed and here is what I made using what I had chosen - Sweet Peppers along-side fruit and nuts. 

Here's a peek at what other choices Lataji had on her list:

1. Bottle gourd/ Marrow/ Zucchini (Cinnamon/Cardamom flavouring)
2. Tapioca/ Arrowroot starch (Zest of lemon or Orange/Juice) 
3. Tomatoes (Vanilla)
4. Barley (Coffee/ fruit)
5. Quinoa (Raisins, Fruit juice) 
6. Noodles/ Pasta (Dark chocolate)
7. Buckwheat (Cheese/ Paneer)
8. Sweet peppers (Nuts and dry fruits) 
9. Sweet corn (Cream) 
10. Corn meal/ Polenta (Coffee/ Orange) 
11. Black currants/ Pomegranates (Caramel/ White Chocolate)
12. Chick peas or mung beans (Saffron/ Pistachios)

Oh yea, I did away with the nuts because there was already so much going on here. Besides, it was optional. Well, well if you really want to add nuts, just throw in some slivered almonds on top! 

I knew my toughest enemy to make a sweet treat out of this would be dealing with the bold flavor of the sweet-peppers. I had to do something different to make the peppers show me their 'sweet' side, quite literally! Pacing through my mind were various ways I could do this. Saute the peppers and make a halwa? Grind to a puree with cream and sugar and make a popsicle? And just then, like a brainwave I remembered this wonderful recipe I had watched on Food Network. Chef Claire Robinson had made Roasted Figs with Fresh Ricotta on her popular show Five Ingredient Fix. I drew inspiration from this recipe and created what I would like to call Honey Roasted Sweet Peppers and Mango with (not just Ricotta, but...) Ricotta Ice Cream!

I'd like to split the recipe into two. First, we'd learn to make the honey roasted sweet peppers and mango. Later, we'd dive into the Ricotta ice cream.

Read on!

Ingredients for Ricotta Ice Cream (I followed this recipe to a large extent)
2 Cups Fresh Whole Milk Ricotta
1 Cup Powdered/Confectioner's Sugar
1 1/3 Cup Heavy Cream

- Whip heavy cream to soft peaks
- Blend ricotta and sugar in a food processor/blender until smooth. You could add a spoon or two of cream/water to get the contents in the blender moving
- Transfer the ricotta-sugar mixture to a large bowl
- Fold the whipped cream through the ricotta-sugar mixture until fully combined
- Pour into a freezer safe container and freeze for about 6 to 8 hours 

Ingredients for the Honey Roasted Sweet Peppers and Mango
1 Cup Mini Sweet Peppers - Washed, cored of all the seeds and julienned
1 Mango - Washed, peeled and diced to half inch cubes
1/4 Cup loosely packed brown sugar
2 tbsp Unsalted butter
1/4 Cup Honey

- Preheat oven to 400F
- Apply butter on the insides of an oven safe dish and place the julienned sweet peppers and diced mangoes in the same
- In a saucepan, melt butter on a low flame
- Add brown sugar and honey and stir until it forms a golden syrup
- Pour syrup over sweet peppers and mango and toss until completely covered in honey -brown sugar syrup
- Place in pre-heated oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the sweet peppers shrivel up and the honey-brown sugar syrup is all bubbly

To Serve
- Scoop ricotta ice cream into serving bowls
- Top with warm honey roasted sweet peppers and mango and the honey-brown sugar syrup
- Garnish with mint and serve

Makes 6-8 servings

Here's a peek at what the other FSB-ites served up this month and don't complain if they left you drooling!

Lata Raja - Apple and Strawberry Crumble with Barley Flour
Madhuri - Sweet Corn Panna Cotta
Mittu - Quinoa Raisin Muffins with Lime-curd Frosting
Nags -  White Chocolate Pomegranate Cupcakes
DK - Eggless Chocolate Tapioca Pudding


  1. Tough theme very well handled! Love the mix of sweet peppers and ice cream. Beautifully presented too Deepti!

  2. Hi Deepti,
    Very creative... Love it :)

  3. this is so totally rad and awesome! love it!

  4. This cannot get any better!! I would have freaked out if I'd landed myself this. You've pulled it off so well. Kudos - to a great idea from your steaming kitchen :)