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.”
Shakespeare

 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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Dessert / No bake | Bru Coffee Panna Cotta … for hectic days of endless work

“Only one thing is certain about coffee…. Wherever it is grown, sold, brewed, and consumed, there will be lively controversy, strong opinions, and good conversation.”
Mark Pendergrast

Bru Coffee Panna CottaI love the theme for the latest Femina. It’s an issue celebrating the art of slowing down. Rat races and deadlines threaten to burn us out. I screamed a big hearty YES in my head, and then decided to get the better of life! Of course it didn’t happen. The Bru Coffee Panna Cotta did though! It gave me an opportunity to use the beautiful mason jars that Finla sent.

Bru Coffee Panna Cotta

Bru Coffee Panna CottaIt was for a shoot for a magazine in China, they were doing a feature on fridges and lifestyles. Yours truly was contacted, and yours truly said YES! NEVER say yes to a fridge photoshoot! I was spring cleaning till kingdom came, discovering things I hadn’t seen in ages, scrub-a-dubbing forever … and cursing my poor foresight! At the time I really wished I hadn’t said yes!

Photoshoot On the brighter side, I have a sparkling clean fridge that looks almost as good as new, I now know every little crumb that lives in there. It’s so organised that it barely looks like mine! In there too was some Indian Coffee Panna Cotta that I made that day. I am on a coffee overdrive, what with the recent Coffee Vanilla Bean Layered Cake.

Wholewheat baking with chocolate.There’s been a chocolate overdrive of late too, but then, no one seems to be complaining! In the past few days I also made Whole-wheat Mocha Brownies for the kids. They were delicious. And on the trot yesterday, Whole-wheat Chocolate Lava Cakes in 4 and a half minutes in the Philips AirFryer. Some gadgets are such a blessing. 

Bru Coffee Panna CottaBru is my morning cup of coffee, my coffee connect! It’s instant, a mix of chicory and coffee, and I love its deep flavour. It’s been a favourite for years and years. Anything Bru works for me, the original Bru that is.  None of the new flavours appeal to me like the old rustic original!

Bru Coffee Panna Cotta A coffee panna cotta has been tempting me for long ever since Cookaroo posted one with an espresso syrup. What’s not to love about this quintessential Italian dessert of ‘cooked cream’? It’s one dessert where all flavours work magically and very few people would refuse a serving … the kids always want seconds and thirds!

Bru Coffee Panna CottaSo without further ado, here is one of my all time favourite desserts, a Bru Coffee Panna Cotta … make ahead, indulgent and deliciously coffee! For those who have known me over the years, sorry it’s coffee again. For those who don’t know me – nothing wins my palette over like coffee in dessert! My guilty pleasure, my relaxation. {And if coffee is not your thing, I have a whole string of other flavours ... Dark Chocolate & Orange, Saffron Caramel, Strawberry Tangerine Quark to tempt you with!} 

Coco, the cocker spanielOh, did I tell you that the sun is back? It is indeed. The horrid smog has finally cleared and ‘lazy creatures‘ are enjoying the morning sun!

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The Rabid Baker, The Times of India


Dessert | Saffron Caramel Panna Cotta … and Saffron Extract {product review}

“I remember a hundred lovely lakes, and recall the fragrant breath of pine and fir and cedar and poplar trees. The trail has strung upon it, as upon a thread of silk, opalescent dawns and saffron sunsets.”
Hamlin Garland

Saffron Caramel Panna CottaThere’s something about saffron, something exotic, like a caress, light and beautiful! A tiny bit of this beautiful spice catapults a seemingly good dish into an extraordinary one. Pairing it with a panna cotta I learnt that something quite ethereal happened! We have never sat so long over dessert …  S L O W L Y is how we ate it, not wanting it to finish. Thats just how sublime the Saffron Caramel Panna Cotta turned out to be.Saffron Caramel Panna CottaA good panna cotta is one of my favourite Italian desserts, possibly on top of my list. It’s been difficult to get the right consistency as whipping or heavy cream isn’t available here in India. I’ve made panna cotta several times in the past, but have never had much luck with turning them out perfectly, never a 100% satisfied feel!Saffron Caramel Panna CottaMust have been my lucky day as I experimented with a combination of low fat cream and gelatin and got the most amazing result. Amazing in taste and more importantly amazingly set! I set a few in goblets and the rest in metal molds with a saffron caramel {one in a ramekin too}. Saffron Caramel Panna CottaI had panna cotta on my mind ever since I received a mail from VAV Life Sciences, Mumbai inquiring if I was willing to review a ‘saffron extract‘ that their company produced. Saffron? Yes please! I’d never heard of saffron extract even though I use the normal dry saffron strands quite often … like here in Saffron, Pistachio & cardamom Kulfi {Indian frozen dessert}, Saffron Pistachio Yogurt Ice Cream, Saffron Rice Pudding, Hyderabadi Katchi Biryani, Yakhni Pulao etc.

Saffron Caramel Panna Cotta Natural Saffron Extract : Saffron is a culinary spice that comes from the stigma of the crocus sativus flowers. Saffron Extract is a specially formulated food grade extract of saffron that has been treated to enhance the natural flavour of saffron, without losing any of its natural properties. There is a reduction in the amount of saffron extract required for imparting the same flavour, as compared to dry saffron. While the saffron leaves quickly stale and dry out, saffron extract does not lose flavour and can be stored upto 24 months. Liquid extract is easier to use and standardized in food preparations compared to dry stamens and can be dosed precisely compared to natural saffron. {For further details you can get in touch with  Maitreyee Ghoshlogistics {@} vav {dot} in/ VAV Life Sciences }

With the tag of being the most expensive spice in the world, saffron is precious in many ways, especially its delicate flavour. Gentle and mild yet it elevates taste exotically perhaps like no other spice, saffron is associated with cuisines from India, Persia, Turkey, the Arab World, and even Europe. And I love the way it embraces both sweet and savory recipes so well.Saffron Caramel Panna CottaSaffron Caramel Panna CottaThis versatile spice goes a long way, and the saffron extract was a pleasant surprise. It imparted the characteristic subtle saffron flavour and colour to perfection. It was easier to use as its already in an extract form so the need to soak it for the obligatory 15 minutes prior use wasn’t necessary. The flavours were deep and pronounced, as was the colour. Saffron Caramel Panna CottaJust a knife tip amount {about 1/8tsp} was good enough to beautifully flavour the panna cotta and another bit to flavour and colour the caramel.Saffron Caramel Panna CottaA panna cotta caramel? That morning my path crossed with Raquels who writes a stunning food blog in Spanish, The Tragaldabas. She had the most beautiful panna cotta posted there, and I found my culinary path instantly!! She used Werthers candy in her caramel, and the very idea of a panna cotta with a caramel had me captivated.Saffron Caramel Panna CottaI went my own caramel way, like how my mother used to make it for caramel custard when we were kids. I remember waiting with bated breadth for the custard to be turned over {always in a green bowl which was reserved for caramel custard}. All three of us sisters would cheer when like magic the well set steamed pudding would ‘plop’ out with this shining crown on top!Saffron Caramel Panna CottaSaffron Caramel Panna Cotta extractThat was going to be the caramel for my panna cotta, one I decided to flavour with a dash of the saffron extract. Since saffron is such a gentle spice, I kept from letting the caramel turn characteristically dark. Bitter caramel in pudding is yum, but with saffron I turned the heat off the minute the sugar melted and coloured slightly.Saffron Caramel Panna CottaPerfect Spring dessert, the panna cotta came together like a beautiful dream, lilting, mesmerising, smooth, perfect, like a dream you didn’t want to wake up from. The textures teased the palette and we ate it in silence, everyone enjoying the elegance and caress of this cooked cream. {I made it again yesterday, on request, and to ensure that the magic was for real. It was!!}Saffron Caramel Panna Cotta

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