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

Dessert | Dragon fruit & Strawberry Christmas Jelly … Merry Xmas

“Christmas, here again. Let us raise a loving cup:
Peace on earth, goodwill to men,
And make them do the washing up”
Wendy Cope

Dragon fruit & Strawberry Christmas Jelly Dragon fruit & Strawberry Christmas Jelly … these were plenty fun to make and absolutely delicious {if I may so so myself}. Couldn’t think of a better way to ring in the bells, to colour our world with the red, white & green. They seemed so right!!

Dragon fruit & Strawberry Christmas JellyThat they turned out goblet scraping good was an added bonus. Everyone, young & old, loved them. The kids begged for seconds. And thirds. Goblets, glasses, shooters. All fun!Tropical Coconut Milk Rice Pudding Remember my very recent the Tropical Coconut Milk Rice Pudding with Thai fruit? These jellies were what I had in mind initially, yet the rice pudding came first. This a little later. Both eggless and both held their own spot in the dessert world. While I fell in love with the colours of the former, the latter played some more magic. Kid sorta magic!

Tropical Coconut Milk Rice Pudding

Dragon fruit & Strawberry Christmas Jelly Of course the Dragon fruit & Strawberry Christmas Jelly dessert is inspired. Inspired by the Strawberry and Vanilla Macaron Trifles I made in Dec 2010 adapted minimally from a Donna Hay recipe. They were absolute crowd pleasers then. The story the same this year as well.

Strawberry Vanilla Macaron TrifleThe magic lies in the beauty and simplicity of the fruit juice jelly with suspended fresh fruit within. One look at the dragon fruit, the black and white contrast, and the luscious strawberries in the fridge … and a small voice in my head said “Why not? Why ever not?”

Dragon fruit & Strawberry Christmas Jelly So to keep with the flavours, I did a mixed jelly … litchi juice for the dragon fruit and cranberry juice for the strawberries. How good can good get? The result was fab. I know because I could hear the goblets being scraped clean. Thankfully there was plenty.

Dragon fruit & Strawberry Christmas Jelly There is nothing like glassware to set jelly in. I used a variety of glassware just because I wasn’t in the mood for monotony. I used brandy goblets, stemmed glasses and a few shot glasses too. I think stemless brandy glasses would work well too. Or maybe these beauties from Urban Dazzle which are one of my favourites.

Dragon fruit & Strawberry Christmas Jelly The dessert needs a little pre-planning. Since there are two flavours of jelly, one needs to set first, then the other follows. I was a bit impatient so the colours merged a little. No issues though. They still tasted brilliant. I think I managed one a little closer to how I would have liked them all to be.

Dragon fruit & Strawberry Christmas Jelly Dressing up the jellies is the fun part. Pipe over some barely sweetened low fat pillowy soft cream {I used an Ikea funnel}, garnish with colourful fruit, add a sprig of fresh mint … and go HO HO HO!!

Dragon fruit & Strawberry Christmas Jelly

Have a safe, delicious and fun holiday season. Joyeux Noël dear readers, Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas 2013

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

Baking | Red Berry Crumbles … Around the World with the Tadka Girls {a book review}

“Each individual has a unique food personality. The key is finding the balance point at which you feel great and are healthy.”
Rachel Frank

Red Berry CrumblesRed Berry Crumbles from a chick lit cookbook. A youthful, racy, around the world in 80 recipes cookbook with a catch to every name. The Tadka girls who blog at Tadka Pasta present fresh and imaginative recipes from their repertoire of travelling the globe. From the bylanes of Shanghai to the farmers market of Santa Monica, they leave no stone unturned. Their experiments in different cuisines have a personal touch … the inimitable Indian Tadka style of their own kitchen.

Red Berry CrumblesRanjini Rao and Ruchira Ramanujan offer you flavours galore, sometimes quirky enough to make you sit up. Real life stories accompany each recipe, setting the scene and connect that make the book more interesting. At times however, the written word tends to get cumbersome. You want to get to the recipe quick.

Red Berry CrumblesWith the book nicely divided into interesting sections – like bites n brews, sweet treats, signature tadka, funnibles etc, there’s plenty in it for everyone. The Red Berry Crumbles was a recipe I enjoyed. Good for an everyday dessert. Go a step further, perk it up a little and make it special for the holiday season!

Red Berry Crumbles The layout and design of the book is something I like; the simple scrapbook layout which adds to the appeal. Not overpowering, yet aesthetic. Notes with almost every recipe are quite welcome. It is thoughts like this that make a difference!

Red Berry CrumblesWhat should I try first from the book? I thought I’d hand it out to junior. NOT something sweet I ‘gently suggested’ {read instructed}! He came back within minutes mumbling Red Berry Crumble. When I said there aren’t the sort of local berries here that we you see in the book, he was quick to retort … they say you can use strawberries! Kids grow up faster than you can imagine. Smarter too. “I checked the ingredients,” he said.

Red Berry Crumbles At times the recipe title font {and dual headings} confuse. Different fonts and different header designs salt and pepper the book. I think fun stuff like this is possibly targeted at the younger reader, new adventurous cooks in the kitchen. The recipes infuse new life into old classics, a pinch of chaat masala here, a tadka there!

Red Berry CrumblesMultigrain tortillas, DIY Oatnut bread, green chutney pesto, cawliflower soup, Tadka’s own chicken curry, chocolate bark, sundried tomato and herb crackers, Tadka style baklava dessert … yumminess aplenty. An African touch here, a Persian footprint there. Interesting indeed!

Red Berry Crumbles The Red Berry Crumbles offer a burst of colour, texture and fun! They bring alive the holiday season. A crumble is right up our street. This looked and smelt fab as it stepped out of the oven! I added some extra fruit to accommodate an extra serving. I also substituted the plain flour in the crumble topping with whole wheat flour.

Red Berry Crumbles That’s just how crumbles are … very accomodating and simmering in rustic goodness. In a few recipes, I find some basic standardisation missing. It’s best to either go with cup measurements or weight. A combination of the two in the same recipe makes me want to retype and correct!

Red Berry Crumbles A serving of light cream on the side, or some ice cream as suggested by the girls, will dress up this simple weekday dessert for guests. I think you can assemble it in advance and pop it into the oven about an hour before dinner! The red juices that spill out of the ramekins will win you over!!

Red Berry CrumblesThe crumble was delicious. The flavours paired beautifully. We loved it!! You could use frozen berries if you like! I threw in some frozen mulberries too. I leave you to dive into the recipe, while I go to explore the book some more!

Before I sign off I’d like to thank Praveen for including Passionate About Baking in the list of the Top Indian Food Blogs of 2013. I am honoured to be part of the list. Humbled too!

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

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