Lychee, rose and pomegranate panna cotta; A birthday well celebrated!

RozencentervanbovenA few days back I celebrated my birthday. Big time! I turned 39 and somehow that already seems more important than turning 40. Why? I don’t exactly know. But it hit me the other day that (if I’m really lucky) I’m half way through my life by now and this age seems like a sabbatical year of sorts. I feel a strong urge to evaluate what my life has been like in the first half of my existence and to visualise how I would like it to be in the second. Thoughts so far; a great chunk of the first half was spent fretting. For the second half of my life I intent to spent that same amount of time living. So much time has been wasted on hoping that this or that would happen, that this or that person would approve, that this or that job would fulfill me, that this or that man would love me, wishing it with every fibre of my being, being disappointed when it didn’t happen, being scared when it did, being angry with myself for being scared. Like I said, fretting. No more, no more. Enough already.

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But to be totally fair to myself I have to say that in many ways my life so far has also been quite magical. With some hickups here and there along the way I’ve still been able to hold on to myself. To mostly live from my core. To shower the ones I care for with love and attention (and not to mention huge quantities of food!). To surround myself with beauty even when the budget was tight. To laugh with friends until my belly hurt. To dream up events and make them happen. To cook in sunny surroundings.  To assist clients on their way to a more balanced life. To cuddle with my nephew. To travel to exciting places. To wear the high heels and sequenced dress and dance until my feet were sore. So in many many ways I’ve been blessed. Really blessed.

Jurk    Schoenen

So what’s next? How do I change experience into wisdom? How do I pursue my dreams without obsessing about them? How do I let love be the guiding force in my life, not just in theory but in reality? How do I stare fear right in the eye ball and say ,,Shu!”? Basicly, how do I go about this living business?

Since I don’t really have any of the answers right now I guess I’ll just do what I know that always works for me. I’ll do the best that I can. And if that doesn’t work. I’ll bake chocolate cake, turn in for the night and try again tomorrow.

Happy birthday girlfriend! You’re one in a million.

Lychee panna cotta2

Lychee panna cotta with rose water and pomegranate jelly (lightly adapted from

This recipe is perfect for Pitta because both rose and pomegranate have a really cooling effect counter balancing pitta’s heat. After having a different wine (although it was just a sip of each) with every course we could use some cooling down ourselves! Traditionally panna cotta (which means cooked cream) is made with only cream but I substituted half the amount with almond milk to make it lighter and less fatty. Plus the almond combined really well with the lychee and rose. I bet it would also work with coconut cream instead of regular cream and will give that a go next time round.

Vata best to enjoy this dessert on a very hot summers day. And Kapha please have this treat only on your birthday…

Makes 6

For the panna cotta

  • 1 can stoned lychees in light syrup
  • 6 gelatin leaves (0r substitute agar agar if vegetarian)
  • 240 ml double cream
  • 240 ml almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons very fine cane sugar
  • pinch of powdered cardamom

For the pomegranate and rose water jelly

  • 3 gelatin leaves
  • 240 ml pomegranate juice
  • 100 ml maple syrup
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds
  • 1 teaspoon rose water

Have 6 pretty glasses or bowls ready on a tray. Blitz up the lychees with the syrup in a food processor. Strain through a course sieve and measure out 240 ml of the clear juice. Save the rest.

Soak the gelatin leaves in some cold water for 3 to 5 minutes until they have a squeezable consistancy. But don’t wait too long otherwise they will completely dissolve.

Meanwhile heat the lychee liquid, double cream, almond milk, sugar and cardamom in a small pan. Bring just to the boil than take off the heat. Squeeze the excess water out of the gelatin leaves and drop them in the lychee mixture. Stir until completely dissolved. Pour the panna cotta in the prepared glasses and let set in the fridge for at least two hours before adding the jelly on top.

To make the jelly heat the pomegranate juice and maple syrup in a small pan while soaking the gelatin leaves in some cold water. Take the pan of the heat and mix in the gelatin leaves. Mix well and let cool for 10 minutes before adding in the rose water. Scatter the pomegranate seeds on top of the set panna cotta and slowly pour the jelly over them making sure to cover all the seeds. Let set in the fridge for 2 more hours or overnight. Garnish with (an edible) rose petal before serving.


4 thoughts on “Lychee, rose and pomegranate panna cotta; A birthday well celebrated!

  1. I loved your panna cotta, but the savory girl I am, still dreaming about the scallops with coconut-clementine-grand marnier sauce. Mmm! Thanks so much, you really know how to make a party and make people feel welcome! X

  2. Ik heb al dit lekkers gemist :(, die prachtige foto’s maken het bijna erger, I can almost taste what I’m missing!! Ik mis je soms zo, dat ik blij ben (ook met skype hoor) om zo over je innerself te lezen. You rock 39 bigtime!!!

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