No Bake | Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries … lighter & gluten free | dessert for someone you l♥v

“If music be the food of love, play on.”

 Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic StrawberriesButtermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries … dessert for someone you l♥v, or dessert for someone who loves dessert! Panna cotta, or cooked cream, is one of the quickest Italian desserts you can make. Minimum fuss, quick to make, do ahead and divinely delicious, a winner every single time.

Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries The tempting option of going a teeny bit healthy on a cream dessert, yet keeping it indulgent, is perhaps worth the bait! I’ve done a Berries & Buttermilk Puddng in the past, so the idea of a buttermilk panna cotta was going to be worth every delicious spoonful! Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries 5 Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries Delightful tangy undertones, a gentle wobbly set cream, smooth vanilla overtures…what more can you ask for? Pretty darned good as it is, you can take it a step higher with luscious red strawberries as topping. Use any seasonal berries for that matter, or fruit like figs too. A salted butter caramel sauce would be really nice as well.

strawberriesIf you have the time, gently simmer strawberries to make a balsamic strawberry topping. And if time is not your friend that day, simply macerate the berries in castor sugar and a dash of lime juice, or maybe just toss them in honey. It adds a nice sweet touch to the fruit while making it shiny and attractive to top the panna cotta.

Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries The colour contrast weaves a magic spell. What’s not to love about red and white? And what’s not to love about strawberries and cream. AND what’s not to love about make ahead, fuss free dessert? Go on, take the plunge! Spoil those you love on V Day with this gorgeous Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries.

Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries Oh yes, and make sure you get them to do the dishes! Share some love!!

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Baking | Wholewheat Plum Frangipane Galette … the last goodbye #stonefruitlove

“What is more mortifying than to feel that you have missed the plum for want of courage to shake the tree?”
Logan Pearsall Smith

Wholewheat Plum Frangipane GaletteWholewheat Plum Frangipane Galette … it is strange that when the season is bidding adieu, the palpitations grow. I tend to hang on to the last fruit like they are going to go out of fashion; trying to extend their shelf life beyond reasonable measure. Plums have sadly gone. I have been happy looking at the last lot in the fridge for past 2 weeks.

Wholewheat Plum Frangipane GaletteYes, indeed. That is how long I kept them, and interestingly, that is how long they stayed. Beautifully! Bidding goodbye to summer is never easy given my deep emotional bond with stone fruit. I still have one last batch of frozen plums. Thoughts of sorbet, granita, fro yo dance in my head!

PlumsI had this recent conversation with a friend where I mixed up my grey cells and gray cells. It was so funny, by the end of it nothing looked right. I knew I needed help! Good time to hand over to an online editor. I used Grammarly to grammar check this post. It took care of what they taught me at school. Grammarly carries out plagiarism checks too! So cool!!

Wholewheat Plum Frangipane Galette Did I mention my uber healthy baking spree of late? I have always attempted to keep my baking healthy. I went one baby step further with this Wholewheat Plum Frangipane Galette. I’ve never made a galette or pie with mainly whole wheat in the pastry. I am usually haunted with scary thoughts. What if it all falls apart; what if the pastry does not hold; and what if it does not taste good?

Wholewheat Plum Frangipane Galette Whole wheat is not what one might traditionally use in pie crusts, but trust me, it works well. You got to give it some extra TLC. Surprisingly, the crust was buttery, light, flaky and delicious! A bit fragile, but expected. Take baby steps from all purpose towards whole grain. There’s a whole new world out there!

Wholewheat Plum Frangipane Galette This pie crust is not a 100% wholewheat. I added a teeny bit of plain flour. Next time, I’ll be bolder. See baby steps? I’m doing it. You can too.

Plum lemonadeI made lemonade that day as well….plum lemonade to be precise. Not to be served with the moorish galette, but here anyway. Simple and a fun way to include more fruit in your diet. The kids gulped it down greedily asking for some everydayToo late! It’s goodby plums for now! We’re already staring fall in the face.

Wholewheat Plum Frangipane Galette I’ve made plenty of galettes. It is one of my favourite forms of pie. If you are lucky and still in plum season, then you could try making this rustic free form tart.  You could always substitute plums for peaches, nectarines, cherries, strawberries, blueberries, apples, figs, pears, or frozen fruit. A combination of fruit works equally well!

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Masterclass | An interactive Italian cooking class with Chef Maurizio Raselli, Hyatt Regency, New Delhi … & a green bean potato salad

“You create something with your own hands, add a dash of your heart and when you see a satisfied diner relishing it, the feeling goes to your soul,”
Maurizio Raselli

Hyatt Chef Maurizio Masterclass It’s the passion, the energy, the enthusiasm, the free spirited and relaxed young chef who greets you. The emotions are infectious and before you know it, the charismatic Maurizio Raselli casts a spell over you. From there he effortlessly leads you into his chamber {read private kitchen, with a large glass window, well lit and fully equipped} for a therapeutic, unwinding, endlessly entertaining and interactive Italian cooking class. That’s what Camp Charmaine was about!

With poster boy good looks , a charm that can instantly disable, and a smile that can light a room, this young man is passionate about what he does. Hailing from the Piedmont region of Italy, Chef Maurizio Raselli is happy to be in India.

Hyatt Chef Maurizio Masterclass He thinks food, he celebrates food and believes in simple, good cooking. His mantra is clear. Use the best ingredients, keep it simple, do it from scratch, cook from the heart, use your head … discover the soul of a good dish! Every dish he created was gold standard! Effortlessly conversing with us, with his ingredients, with himself too, hands flying all over the place, he enjoyed every single moment!

Hyatt Chef Maurizio Masterclass We loved it too! Tremendously. It was a treat being invited to the camp held at the beautiful Hyatt Regency, New Delhi. A little bit about the concept. It’s the brainchild of young, enthusiastic and affable Vidhi Jatia {extreme right below}, the CEO & Director of Charmaine. Charmaine means ‘Charm’ and you can see the concept taking life right from the word go!

Hyatt Chef Maurizio Masterclass

Charmaine is aimed at young girls and ladies who are wanting to learn about etiquette – social and communication skills, table manners and dining etiquette, grooming, hair and make up, fashion and styling as well as image consulting, nutrition, wine and wine glasses, wine and cheeses, cooking and plating dishes, cocktail making etc…. the list goes on! They do customised classes for beginners right up to advanced camps.

Hyatt Chef Maurizio Masterclass The interactive cooking session was stellar. Simple, unfussy,  good quality ingredients and a load of elbow grease is the secret to Italian cuisine. “Read a recipe, then forget it“, he says! A diehard Italian cuisine fan, he learnt the tricks of the trade watching his grandmother cook.

Hyatt Chef Maurizio Masterclass Lavished generously with small handy tips, some amazingly simple yet so effective. It was a well set menu. We did 4 dishes, each one special, with flavours that pleased. Beginning with a simple, moorish green bean and potato salad, it was surprising how much flavour he incorporated into the almost humble salad. {catch the recipe at the bottom}.

Hyatt Chef Maurizio Masterclass Every ingredient was treated lovingly, right from handling the beans to chopping the spuds, he ENJOYED the process. Expertly tossing the dressing, not distracted by us talking nineteen to a dozen, Maurizio seems born to do this. The salad was outstanding in flavour, everyday ingredients beautifully paired.

Hyatt Chef Maurizio Masterclass Onto the risotto and I was ‘iffy‘. Shrimp, calamari and asparagus sounded exotic good, but I’m not a ‘seafood’ person and was apprehensive. The risotto used Maurizio’s rice of choice, Riso Scotti Carnaroli. He prefers carnaroli over arborio as it has a higher starch content. The risotto was simmering very soon…. Hyatt Chef Maurizio Masterclass This class was beginning to be really good. With 2 dishes to go, Maurizzio decided to show us his muscle power and within 1 few minutes was happily kneading pasta dough. Keep it simple he said. Too many egg yolks do not a tasty pasta make! With perfect eyeballing, he tossed flour, eggs, salt and olive oil …dashes of water, some serious {and well appreciated} kneading later, he left the dough to rest.

Hyatt Chef Maurizio Masterclass While the dough rested, the risotto was done. A nice generous helping of mature parmesan and butter later, it was plated to perfection, with another generous drizzle of EVOO!

Hyatt Chef Maurizio Masterclass With Ruchira quickly doing a taste test, she confirmed that it wasn’t ‘fishy’ at all. I was convinced and then couldn’t stop devouring spoonful after spoonful. Excellent! Creamy, fab texture, good bite, all the flavours just right. One of the best risottos we’ve had. Almost wiped the platter clean, even though we were yet be served lunch.Hyatt Chef Maurizio Masterclass By which time the pasta sauce was being expertly panned! It was very simple and yet very delicious. While the sauce gently cooked {begun with all ingredients in a cold pan so as to not give it a thermal shock}, the efficient chef turned his attention to rolling out the pasta. He spoke about tortini, tortellini and ravioli, dispelling several misnomers we had.

Hyatt Chef Maurizio Masterclass It was a treat watching him create the filling for ravioli. Simply blanch the spinach. Dunk into cold water and then press. Yes, he showed off his muscle power yet again, much the the glee of the ladies. All the liquid must be squeezed out, ALL of it! Then came some expert chopping. You would not like to get a leaf in your mouth he questioned? Would you? Make sure you don’t overstuff them, he warned. We need the bite of pasta as well as the filling.Hyatt Chef Maurizio Masterclass The sauce was as simple as it was delicious. Just enough to add some beautiful moistness to the pasta, some mature parmesan to give it the added luxury, some EVOO…and it was soon gone! He certainly created magic! Bravo!!

Hyatt Chef Maurizio Masterclass Soon it was time for tiramisu. In a matter of seconds he grabbed a HUGE bowl, separate the yolks and white and got down to whipping manually. He was now beginning to enjoy showing off his muscle power to the awed women! The yolks are the easy part he said, eyeballing some sugar into the bowl with the yolks. What unbelievably followed next were the whites. I have never seen egg whites come to stiff peaks whipped by hand in a matter of minutes. We all stared …

Hyatt Chef Maurizio Masterclass 18What a tiramisu that was. Maybe the best ever. Not too sweet, full of deep coffee flavour, no liqueur as was his choice, the zabaglione mousse and light. Creamy but sans cream, it was excellent.

Hyatt Chef Maurizio Masterclass We soon shifted to the table set at the beautiful Hyatt Club, a private seating and lounging arrangement. With newly done and refurbished interiors, it’s chic, relaxed, well lit and spacious. We devoured a lot fresh and delicious bread with our meal. Chef Bungla who heads the bakery at the Hyatt is one of the most unassuming and humble chefs around. He was sweet enough to part with some sourdough starter. And Maurizio presented us each with a jar of bruschetta topping he made.

Sourdough bread with Maurizio's bruschetta topping Well I baked bread soon after. That with the topping was addictive good! Will share the recipe sometime soon! Until then, here’s the simple bean and potato salad that we loved!

Recipe: Green beans and potato salad, aged parmesan flakes, rocket leaves, mint and shallot dressing 

Summary: Recipe courtesy Chef Maurizio Raselli, Hyatt Regency, New Delhi

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

  • 80g diced beans
  • 80g diced potatoes
  • 5g shallot
  • 10g EVOO
  • white vinegar
  • 20g aged parmesan
  • rocket leaves
  • mint
  • parsley
  • almond flakes


  1. Cook the beans in boiling water for about 5 minutes.
  2. Trim the beans, and open them into two follwoing the natural line.
  3. Cook the potatoes diced in water till soft.
  4. In a bowl mix the beans and slightly mashed potatoes
  5. Add the grated parmesan, EVOO< shallot brunoise with vinegar, mint leaves and chopped parsley.
  6. Plate it nicely with some rocket leaves underneath and fresh grated parmesan on top as garnish.
  7. Serve warm

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