No Bake | Chicken Pasta Salad in Home Made Buttermilk Salad Dressing #mealinabowl #comfortfood

“The cuisine of a country is the only exact attestation of its civilization.”
Author Unknown

Chicken Pasta Salad in Home Made Buttermilk Salad Dressing 1 800Chicken Pasta Salad in Home Made Buttermilk Salad Dressing. Stirring memories.

My one and only trip to mainland Europe was to Milan and that too decades ago. The UK has it’s own charm, but Europe is a different story altogether. The husband often carried back tales of Germany, Netherlands and France yet I get a first hand feel as I couldn’t connect very well. It took the recent trip to Switzerland to change my whole perspective on Europe, how culturally and historically rich it is. You also get a taste of local cuisine. It makes the heart sing out loud when you see the pride they take in stirring up and serving local cuisine, each platter served in style, laced with culinary history. As you cross regions, the stories of food change, the influences are varied, French, German, East European, maybe more.

Swiss cuisineI got back and possibly the first thing I dabbled was was this char-grilled tomato gazpacho, one which is found right across the country. In temperatures ready to sizzle Europe, this Spanish chilled soup is popular across menus in Switzerland. A tomato gazpacho, spinach, cucumber, peach too where they get a little experimental. It’s chilled, it’s bursting with flavour and possibly the most welcome bowl to douse the heat wave!Vine tomatoes with LFP

Gazpacho The Swiss love food and they love life. Local produce rules the roost, and it is heartening to visit a country that celebrates seasonal and local produce practically on every platter. Fruit in bakes, sweet and savoury, greens that are to die for, micro greens just in case you need an additional excuse. Cheese in every avatar, eat as much as you like! If there’s one thing I picked out, it’s there love for salads. Fresh, crisp, from farm to table. SwitzerlandSalad bars are standard at sit down restaurants. Pick and choose what you like, and then drizzle {or drench} with either French or Italian salad dressing. I love the generous servings of dressing that stand alongside, lashings that take the salad up a lot many notches.It’s travels like this that inspire you to stir up something special, maybe something different.Sydney 2015 The trip to Sydney this summer had the teen in love with a good Caesar salad. I soon played around with ingredients for the dressing as that’s what a good salad needs IMHO. The rest I can manage, a little painstakingly in summer of course. So I came up with this dressing, which is like a cross between a Ranch and Caesar, no anchovies in here, yet nice and creamy and zesty. I’ll call it a Home Made Buttermilk Salad Dressing. It’s nice because it’s easy to whiz up, the trusted Hamilton Beach blender being the workhouse through my experiments.Home Made Buttermilk Salad Dressing Home Made Buttermilk Salad Dressing I really should also be making my own mayonnaise, though always have an eggless one in the fridge! Del Monte does a really nice one. Just makes life easier on days when you are short on time. Using just locally available ingredients, this is a nice salad dressing to have in the fridge to perk up the most mundane of salads. Adjust the zinginess as you like, increase or decrease the garlic according to your palette, skip the cheese spread to go light. This is your dressing. Do it your way!

Once this is done and in the fridge, then the rest of the Chicken Pasta Salad in Home Made Buttermilk Salad Dressing is usually a breeze. Summer is a pain for fresh produce here, everything wilts so fast. So I threw together a quick summer chicken pasta salad, inspired by a Caesar.Chicken Pasta Salad in Home Made Buttermilk Salad DressingIt’s a meal in a bowl, and quite balanced too. I’ve kept the carbs to a minimum, a generous dose of greens {iceberg is all I find locally these days} and a handful of roasted walnuts. On other days, you could find some sliced avocado, tomatoes, feta, pine nuts and rocket in there. Do remember to add the croutons just before serving so they stay nice and crisp.Char-grille Tomato GazpachoOh, and you could always serve a chilled tomato gazpacho on the side, making it a more filling meal!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India


I had always thought that once you grew up you could do anything you wanted — stay up all night or eat ice-cream straight out of the container. 
 Bill Bryson

I was delighted to hear from Sean for CSN Stores the other day asking if I’d like to do a home decor or kitchen accessories giveaway for readers of Passionate About Baking from the US and Canada. YES PLEASE!! I could choose something from counter stools or cookware from any of the CSN  Stores. Of course I had to choose something form the ‘cookware‘! This giveaway offers me an opportunity to thank you for stopping by, and for taking the time to leave a comment and say wonderful things.

Have you had a look at the CSN Stores? CSN Stores LLC is a fast-growing, privately-held company offering customers the best online shopping available for home and office goods. A $200 million company, CSN is made up of more than 200 online niche shops offering a huge selection of products ranging from barstools and bedroom sets to grills, greenhouses and gaming equipment. They include All, Toys and Games, and


With summer here, I thought either the Cuisineart Ice Cream Maker or Delonghi Retro Panini Grill would be a fun giveaway. I loved both of them, so thought I’d offer you a choice. Suggestion: With the grill, you can start with a several array of delicious panini sandwich recipes .

To enter the giveaway please leave a comment on this post before Sunday, April 24th, midnight your time, and let me know which of the two items from CSN Stores you’d like to win.  Tweet about this giveaway for an extra entry leaving a comment for each entry.

Cuisinart Pure Indulgence 2 Qt. Frozen Yogurt-Sorbet & Ice Cream Maker – ICE-30BC

What’s better than a quart of luscious homemade ice cream, sorbet or frozen yogurt? Two quarts! The fully automatic Cuisinart Pure Indulgence makes 2 quarts of your favorite frozen desserts or drinks in as little as 25 minutes. It’s easy, an integrated motor, double-insulated freezer bowl and automatic mixing paddle do all the work. Results are consistently smooth, cleanup is easy, and the brushed metal styling is simply sensational. 
Delonghi Retro Panini Grill – CGH800
Make great tasting, restaurant-style grilled sandwiches in the comfort of your own home! This product features a double-sided non-stick grill that cooks from the top and bottom for fast, even grilling. Adjustable thermostat for grilling and toasting allows for easy operation and the temperature range window lets you easily view the precise temperature for perfect customized grilling and toasting every time!
The giveaway is only open to residents of the US and Canada. Be sure your email address is included in your comment.
My stash of strawberries lasted long. Some eaten straight out of the bowl, and loads frozen to be preserved. Others reduced to delicious Roasted Vanilla and Balsamic Strawberries, some headed into jars of Strawberry Vanilla Bean Conserve, and also in a Strawberry Cake with Quark and Mascarpone. Did I forget to mention the Strawberry Vanilla Bean Scented Frangipane Galette and these Double Chocolate Strawberry Energy Bars? Add to that a No Bake Strawberry Quark Cheesecake which I still have to post, and I could happily live off this passionate fruit for ever.

Like all good things come to an end, so has the strawberry season in our neck of the woods. It’s been better than any season before, and we’ve been spoilt silly by these luscious berries. Now it’s time to dig into the reserves and use the frozen ones! With the mercury almost hitting 45C very early in the season, this luscious eggless strawberry ice-cream was absolutely sensational.

Quick Strawberry Ice-Cream was music to my ears when I first saw the recipe in INDULGE – 100 Perfect Desserts by Claire Clark This gorgeous book that I received to review from Blogger Aid is one of the most special ones on my bookshelf, and if offers a variety of desserts from very involved to very simple. Each recipe has trivia attached to it, and Claire Clark extensively uses fruit in her desserts… that is something I love. If I were to own just one book on desserts, this would be my choice!

About the recipe, the author writes, ” One day when I was teaching at Le Cordon Bleu, my friend and fellow pastry lecturer, Matthew Hardy, was in the basement , busily prepping for our ice-cream demonstration the next day. I was shocked to see him making strawberry ice-cream without any eggs, and was convinced it wouldn’t be as luxurious as my recipe. I was, however, pleasantly surprised, as it was every bit as rich and creamy as mine.Whenever I make a fruit ice-cream, now, whatever the flavour, I use this recipe.”

I adapted the recipe a little as I had just made fresh mascarpone for something and looking through Indulge had a a change of heart. I just HAD to make ice cream. but had used my last batch of cream to make mascarpone. The recipe is QUICK as it says. I used vanilla sugar, and the only extra ingredient was a tbsp of vodka. By all means go the double cream way as that might be easier for most of you. It’s a delightfully creamy ice cream and just right for summer. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, this giveaway just might win you one!


Adapted from Indulge by Claire Clark, pg 193
600gms frozen strawberries,  (or if using fresh, washed and hulled)
300gms vanilla sugar (or Castor sugar)
500 ml freshly thickened mascarpone ( or double cream)
1 tbsp vodka (optional)
Puree the strawberries in a blender and then pass through a sieve to remove the seeds. ( I leave the seeds in because I love the added texture they offer)
Mix half the sugar with the thickened cream, and bring to a simmering boil. (If you are using double cream, mix half the sugar with the cream, and bring to a boil)
Pour this mixture over the fruit puree and mix well, then stir in the rest of the sugar,
Leave to cool completely. Set in an ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, then place in a freezer safe container in the freezer. Stir 6-8 times, every hour, to break and distribute the crystals, and then leave to set overnight.
Soften slightly before serving.

Note: I added a tbsp of vodka. This doesn’t change the taste, but helps keep the ice cream from getting rock hard.

♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥

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“All the world is birthday cake, so take a piece, but not too much”
George Harrison

I don’t think it’s going to be easy going back to regular frosting or whipped cream again. This was my maiden attempt at making homemade mascarpone, & I cannot believe how luxurious cream can get. Bless the Italians. Panna Cotta has been on my faves as dessert for long enough; now along comes mascarpone! WOW!! I bought a local brand of mascarpone a while ago, used it with Balsamic Strawberries here, though the dessert was delicious, the mascarpone itself was very disappointing. My homemade one just ROCKED!

I made the mascarpone for my dad’s birthday cake. Actually I had tiramisu on my mind, but it’s just too hot to pipe & make ladies fingers. So I decided to make a simple sponge, saturate it with a strong coffee syrup, & use the mascarpone as topping. Then I googled, & saw Susan’s TWD Tiramisu @ SGCC. Ooooooh, was I in coffee heaven or what? With that idea in mind, I stopped by at Vera’s Baking Obsession, which is my ready reckoner of sorts now, and went through each cake recipe. Her chocolate genoise seemed like my answer. Yes, the idea was forming in my mind. The only ingredient deviation from Vera’s genoise recipe is that I used clarified butter/ghee instead of heating the 4 tbsps of butter & taking 3 tbsps once it was clarified. A simple shortcut as I have ghee at home. The crumb of the genoise was light, tender & moist, & the coffee syrup made it perfect! Sandwiched with a cream as luxurious & indulgent as homemade mascarpone, the cake was perfect. Just right – not exceedingly sweet, light, yet luxurious! I made the mascarpone 2 days in advance, the genoise a day in advance, & refrigerated both.
The daughter licked her plate clean. You couldn’t tell there had been cake on it. I suppose that’s her way of saying it was absolutely delicious as she is one of few words. Teens??? The son, on the other hand, is more generous with his words, & came to tell me that it was like a cake out of the pastry shop, only better! My dad, who’s birthday it was for, loved it of course. Hub, again a man of few words (& those few not minced at all), said it was better than a patisserie cake!! YAY!!
I think my mascarpone behaved a little differently from Vera’s instructions because of the fat content of cream. I used a 25% fat content & her recipe asks for a 36%. The cream also took almost 25 minutes to heat through, but never touched 190F on the candy thermometer. So I added the lime juice when the cream began bubbling slowly. Once made & cooled etc, the mascarpone looked a little dry, but mixing it in with cream & sugar made it luxuriously beautiful!

as adapted from Baking Obsession
Makes about 12 oz
600ml low fat cream (25 %) pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized), preferably organic cream
1 tbsp fresh lime juice

  • Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wide skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water is barely simmering.
  • Pour the cream into a medium heat-resistant bowl, then place the bowl into the skillet. Heat the cream, stirring often, to 190 F. It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating.
  • Add the lime juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream curdles. Do not expect the same action as you see during ricotta cheese making. All that the whipping cream will do is become thicker, like a well-done crème anglaise. It will cover a back of your wooden spoon thickly. You will see just a few clear whey streaks when you stir.
  • Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve. Do not squeeze the cheese in the cheesecloth or press on its surface (be patient, it will firm up after refrigeration time). Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours.

As adapted from this recipe @ Baking Obsession
3 tbsp clarified butter/ghee
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
4 large eggs (I used 5 as the eggs were smallish)
2/3 cup fine granulated vanilla sugar

  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Line, grease & flour an 8-inch round cake pan.
  • Sift the flour and cocoa together three times; reserve.
  • Bring some water to a boil in a large pan/griddle & reduce to simmer. Place eggs & sugar in a large bowl, whisk constantly over the simmering water, heat the eggs to lukewarm (about 105F). Remove the bowl from the pan; leave the skillet on the stove but turn off the heat. With an electric mixer, beat the egg mixture at high speed until it has cooled, tripled in volume, and resembles softly whipped cream, about 5 minutes in a heavy-duty mixer or longer with a less powerful mixer.
  • Meanwhile, set the bowl of clarified butter/ghee and vanilla in the skillet of hot water, with the burner off, to keep it warm.
  • Sift about one-third of the flour and cocoa over the whipped eggs. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the mixture-quickly but gently-until combined. Fold in half the remaining flour and cocoa, then fold in the rest. Remove the warm butter mixture from the skillet. Scoop about 1 cup of the batter into the bowl with the butter and fold together until completely combined. Use the large rubber spatula to fold the butter mixture completely into the remaining batter. Turn the batter into the prepared pan and tilt to level.
  • Bake until the cake beginning to shrink slightly around the edges and the top springs back when pressed with your finger, about 40-45 minutes. Cool the cake completely in the pan on a rack.
  • To unmold, run a small knife or spatula around the inner edges of the pan. Invert it onto a rack and remove the parchment liner. Turn the cake right side up. The génoise can be wrapped and refrigerated for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.

12oz Mascarpone Cream (recipe above)
200ml low fat cream (25% fat)
1 tsp coffee powder (increase or omit as desired)
2-3 tbsps ground vanilla sugar, or regular sugar (according to taste)

  • Beat mascarpone cheese with a wooden spoon till smooth. Fold in the rest of the ingredients & mix with the spoon till smooth.

1 chocolate genoise sponge (recipe above)
1 portion of Mocha Mascarpone Cream (recipe above)
Coffee syrup
Dark chocolate shavings, flakes & coffee beans etc to garnish
To assemble:

  • Make a strong coffee syrup with 1/4 cup of hot water, 2-3 tsps sugar & 2 tsps coffee powder. Cool.
  • Cut the genoise into 2 horizontal layers.
  • Place one layer on the cake platter. Brush well with the coffee syrup. Sandwich with a little less than half the mocha mascarpone.
  • Top with the second layer, & brush that well with the coffee syrup.
  • Frost the top & sides of the cake with the remaining mascarpone. Grate dark chocolate over the top, edge with coffee beans, & sift cocoa over the edges.
  • Chill for 3-4 hours.

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