no bake

“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!


Recipe: Homemade Ranch Dressing your picture

Summary: Zesty, creamy and lighter than a Caesar dressing, this is a handy salad dressing to have in the fridge. Play around with the ingredients as you go along, customise it to your taste buds. You might never go back to a store bought one again.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

  • 1/4 cup Del Monte eggless mayonnaise {or homemade}
  • 1/2 cup cultured buttermilk {chaach Amul/Mother Dairy}
  • 1/8 cup cheese spread
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup cheese spread
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1 tbsp dried herbs
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Place everything in jar of blender and blend until smooth. taste and adjust seasoning.
  2. Transfer to a clean jar/bottle, refrigerate.
  3. Keeps 4-5 days.


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!

[print_this]Recipe: Chicken Pasta Salad in Home Made Buttermilk Salad DressingDressing
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Summary: A nice summery Chicken Pasta Salad in Home Made Buttermilk Salad Dressing which can be made ahead. Toss together and serve immediately in winter. It’s a meal in a bowl, and adaptable to taste. Use the best seasonal greens, preferably home grown or organic

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

  • 2 oat crusted and shallow fried or baked chicken fillets, chopped
  • 1/2 head of iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • 1/2 purple cabbage, chopped
  • 75g Del Monte macaroni, cooked al dente
  • 50g walnuts, roasted, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper, julienne {optional}
  • 1 cup salad greens if in season {I had none}
  • 1/2 cup home made buttermilk salad dressing {recipe above}
  • handful fresh basil
  • Parmesan
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread, cubed


  1. Place bread in air fryer and fry for 15 minutes on 160 until light brown and crisp. {Alternatively bake in oven}
  2. Place all ingredients other than bread, dressing, basil and Parmesan in a big bowl. Toss gently to mix, then pour over dressing as required and mix again.
  3. Just before serving toss in crisp bread cubes. Garnish with fresh basil, sprinkle over Parmesan. serve immediately.


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

“I’m not a vegetarian! I’m a dessertarian!”
Bill Watterson

Kokum Coconut Milk Panna Cotta Kokum Coconut Milk Panna Cotta … as if the Italian version of the panna cotta wasn’t delicious enough, the coconut milk version is glass scraping good too. So when the very sweet Ajit posted about a kokum cooler on FB, I was instantly on his case. “Want Want Want”, I said {read pleaded}. The fine, ever obliging and efficient man that he is, ensured that I had a ‘kokum’ package in my hands a few days later. It was a 100 watt smile on my face I tell you!

Four Seasons Vineyards, Baramati, Pune, India 26

Four Seasons Vineyards, Baramati, Pune, India Ever since we had the sol kadi {top left corner, and just above} at Baramati on the wine fam trip to Four Seasons Winery a couple of years ago,  kokum has had me smitten. Must be a taste bud thingy. I might bake and make a load of sweet stuff, but my heart belongs to savoury. Piquant, tangy, sharp, citric … flavours that make my mouth water. Add garlic, astoefetida, sumac, phalsa berries, raw tamarind to the list and you just might hear my heart sing out loud.Kokum Coconut Milk Panna Cotta Kokum or Garcinia Indica  is indigenous to the Western Ghats region of India located along the western coast of the country. It is used as a staple souring agent typically in Goan cuisine and some parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka. Kokum yields a peculiar flavour and blackish red colour. It is a preferred substitute for tamarind in curries and other dishes from the Goa and Konkan region.

So you can imagine my happiness when the package with kokum arrived. With it, a sweet hand written note from the A of A & N, a blog that I first connected with several years ago. At the time A & N were in the US, and regaled their audience with tales of getting flood waters in their home, food and a lot more. The they came back to India, and we reconnected. A and me exchanged notes over ingredients, oohed and aahed over experiments with 100% whole wheat bread, and a lot more…

Whole Wheat BreadThe N of course is the sweetest thing to walk the earth… joyful, exuberant and uber talented. She works with of my most fave online furniture stores Urban Ladder. Anyway, to cut a long story short, A in his note said “I’m sure you’ll work your magic and turn it into something wonderful. Looking forward!” The pressure that didn’t allow me to make just a simple cooler. I wanted to make something to embrace sweet & savoury for summer….

Kokum Coconut Milk Panna CottaI knew it was panna cotta. To tie in the coastal flavours from where kokum is born, it was going to be a coconut milk panna cotta. Vanilla bean because I love it so, and it flavours the panna cotta gently.  More flavours because I have bunches of lemon grass growing outside, and a box of kaffir lime leaves in my freeze. The pairing was beautiful. The basic panna cotta pairs well with most fruit …. so think strawberries, cherries, blueberries, mango, blackberries…

[print_this]Recipe: Kokum Coconut Milk Panna Cotta
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Summary: Kokum Coconut Milk Panna Cotta … gentle, tropical, flavourful, this panna cotta gone light comes alive with the zing of kokum. The pairing is beautiful. The basic panna cotta pairs well with most fruit …. so think strawberries, cherries, blueberries, mango, blackberries if you can’t find kokum. Serves 6

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes {plus chilling}

  • Coconut Milk Vanilla Panna Cotta
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 200ml single cream {Amul 25%}
  • 3/4 tbsp gelatin
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 stalk of lemon grass, bruised
  • 2-3 kaffir lime leaves, bruised
  • 75-100g raw sugar {as per taste}
  • Kokum White Chocolate Ganache
  • 80g white chocolate
  • 25g single cream
  • 25g kokum concentrate {recipe follows}
  • Kokum concentrate {makes enough for a jugful of kokum cooler. Can be made a day or two in advance}
  • 12-15 kokum halves soaked for an hour in 250ml hot water
  • 200g raw sugar
  • Pinch of Himalayan pink salt

White chocolate shavings or coconut chips, fresh mint to garnish


  1. Kokum concentrate
  2. Run the soaked kokum halves, sugar and salt in a blender to get a smooth concentrate. Pass through a sieve if you like.
  3. Store covered in a glass/non reactive container in the fridge , covered, for 4-5 days.
  4. Coconut Milk Vanilla Panna Cotta
  5. Warm 75ml coconut milk in a small bowl, and sprinkle the gelatin over to allow it to soften. Leave to stand.
  6. Place remaining coconut milk, cream, scraped vanilla bean, sugar, bruised lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves in a heavy bottom pan, and bring to a simmering boil. Turn off heat, add the bloomed gelatin and stir in well to mix.
  7. Allow to cool while the flavours seep in.
  8. One it has cooled down, strain and pour into serving bowls/glasses, leave to set for 3-4 hours.
  9. Kokum White Chocolate Ganache
  10. Pace white chocolate and cream in a heat proof bowl and microwave for 30 seconds to a minute until the chocolate has almost melted. Stir until smooth, then stir in the kokum concentrate. Add more concentrate if you like.
  11. Spoon the concentrate over the set panna cotta, drizzle some .extra concentrate over if you like.
  12. Garnish with white chocolate curls, coconut chips and fresh mint.


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

“I am starting to think that maybe memories are like this dessert. I eat it, and it becomes a part of me, whether I remember it later or not.”
Erica Bauermeister

Espresso Panna CottaEspresso Panna Cotta … this is what sweet dreams are made up of, and made up of everything I absolutely LOVE. Love a good panna cotta, love coffee and of course expresso. Did a fingerlicking spoon licking good buttermilk panna cotta for Fit Foodie recently, and then remembered this deliciousness which was lurking in my drafts. Time it saw light of day

Espresso Panna Cotta Did I say some time back that we had barely seen desserts or bakes of late? Well seem to be making up for the ‘unsweet’ patch, as far as blogging goes at least. This panna cotta was actually inspired by super talented Bart posting some espresso meringues with a chocolate sauce on a food photography FB group. Then along came my sweet friend Gloria’s Affagato which made my heart skip another beat! ’twas time for espresso…

Espresso Panna Cotta… and the next best thing was an Espresso Panna Cotta. Smooth, silky, seductive with coffee written all over it, how can dessert be so indulgent. My Indian coffee or Bru Panna Cotta is an all time favourite, yet the Espresso Panna Cotta now threatens to knock that off the perch. I love doing panna cottas, and have done loads from buttermilk, to saffron, to mango… and more. ‘Making‘ seems a lame term for a dessert so simple which comes together in a matter of minutes. Then it’s all down to a good chill!

Espresso Panna Cotta

[print_this]Recipe: Espresso Panna Cotta
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Summary: Espresso Panna Cotta. Smooth, silky, seductive with coffee written all over it, how can dessert be so indulgent. A topping of a ganache like dark chocolate adds oomph to it!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time:20 minutes

  • 600ml low fat cream
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 2-3 tsp espresso powder
  • 120ml milk, luke warm
  • 2 tsp gelatin powder
  • Dark chocolate topping
  • 70g dark chocolate
  • 70g low fat cream


  1. Sprinkle gelatin over luke warm milk and let stand for five minutes.
  2. Place the cream, espresso and sugar in a heavy bottom pan and gently bring to a simmer, but not a full boil. Stir often.
  3. Take off heat. Add 1-2 tbsp of this hot cream to the dissolved gelatin to loosen it further, and then pour the gelatin mix back into the hot cream through a sieve. Stir well.
  4. Let the mixture stand for about 10 minutes, then distribute among your serving bowls/molds/ramekins/goblets.
  5. Allow to set for 6-8 hours/preferably overnight. 
  6. Gently heat the chocolate and cream in a heat proof bowl in the microwave {or double boiler}. Cool to room temperature, then pour over the set espresso panna cotta.


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

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