We Indians are obsessed with skin colour, everyone knows that. We have tried everything to look fair, from Fair & Lovely creams to grandma’s dried orange peel remedy, to saffron infused milk for the unborn baby. In our country, a light skin tone translates to drop dead gorgeous while a dark one invokes the sympathy of family and friends. “Is she ever going to find a suitable husband?”, “She is such a kind hearted darling, but who is going to marry her? Look at the poor thing’s colour!” they whisper to one another. What the hell, even the boys want to look fair today. Maybe they always did, but now they are more vocal about this strange desire of theirs. And to cater to their needs, there is a flood of “Fairness Creams for Men” in the market, creams that are capable of penetrating through their thick skin. (I never thought anything would). Gone are the days when they had to steal their sister’s fairness remedies or try turmeric paste (which did nothing more than drastically affect their facial hair growth and give them a light yellow sheen) in their efforts to look Fair and Handsome.
Yes, we are obessed with our skin colour. Even then, the impact of the same in the Indian marriage market is shocking. Does this sound familiar: “Christian Doctor boy (MBBS, MD, FRCS, WHITE), son of Mathaichen and Mariakutty, from Central Travancore, seeks alliance from white and beautiful girls with similar background”? Much as I wish it were, the WHITE mentioned in the matrimonial ad is not another degree in medicine, but is an indication of skin colour. How in the whole wide world did Mathaichen and Mariakutty end up with a WHITE boy, I ask you, unless the dad was not our good old Mathaichen from Kottayam, but some random Matthaus from Germany?
Anyway, given the state of things, you would not be surprised that all my domestic help till date have been very impressed by Nigella Lawson’s colour. “It is the result of all the food she eats”, one of them claimed as she watched Nigella pour in plenty of double cream to a Honey Semifreddo she was making. Well, I don’t know if milk cream can alter anyone’s genetic makeup, but I am sure it has contributed significantly to Nigella’s voluptuous figure. But just in case you are desperate to be fair, and would like to make sure that my maid’s words have no merit before you scoff at them, here is the recipe for you.
Semifreddo, unlike ice cream, is a semi frozen dessert of Italian origin and has the texture of frozen mousse. I have added some caramel sauce to Nigella Lawson’s Honey Semifreddo recipe, and topped it with some praline and I absolutely loved it.
Caramel Sauce Recipe:
- For Caramel :Mix together sugar and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Heat over medium-high until sugar is melted and turns dark golden brown in color. Take care to not burn it.
- Remove from heat, add butter and half the cream and whisk until smooth. Add remaining cream and essence and stir until smooth. The sauce will thicken slightly once it cools down.
- For Praline:Spread the vegetable oil over your clean kitchen counter top.
- Stir together sugar and butter over low heat in a heavy bottomed pan till the sugar has melted. Let the mixture boil until it turns dark golden brown in colour.
- Take the pan off the heat, and mix in crushed cashewnuts and essence. Pour over oiled surface and let it cool and harden completely.
- Once it has hardened, break off pieces and place it in a ziploc bag. Crumble it using a mallet or a rolling pin.
- For Semifreddo: Line a 1 litre loaf tin with clingfilm.
- Beat the chilled cream until thick. Since I used low fat cream, this took me above 10 minutes with an electric whisk. Pop the cream into your fridge.
- Whisk together the egg and egg yolks with the honey in a bowl, over a saucepan of gently simmering water, until the mixture is pale and thick.
- Fold the egg and honey mixture into the cream. Stir in the caramel sauce genetly. Pour into the prepared loaf tin, and cover with clingfilm. Freeze for about 2- 3 hours.
- Turn out the semifreddo on to a suitably sized plate and drizzle with more caramel sauce if you like, and sprinkle with the praline.