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 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!!

[print_this]Recipe: Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries  
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Summary: Delightful tangy undertones, a gentle wobbly set cream, smooth, vanilla overtures…what more could you ask for in a Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic. This must be the quickest make ahead dessert ever! It’s a great Valentines Day dessert too.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

  • Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta
  • 1 tbsp + 1/4 tsp gelatin
  • 2 tbsp warm water
  • 300ml low fat cream
  • 150g vanilla sugar {or Castor sugar}
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder
  • 1 vanilla bean pod, scraped
  • 450ml cultured buttermilk
  • Balsamic Strawberries
  • 200g strawberries, chopped
  • 30g brown sugar
  • 15ml balsamic vinegar
  • 15ml honey


  1. Panna Cotta
  2. Put the warm water in a small bowl and sprinkle the geltain over. Leave to soften for 10 minutes.
  3. Put the cream,sugar,  scraped vanilla bean and pod in a heavy bottom saucepan and simmer gently for 5-7 minutes. Do not allow to come to a rolling boil. Stir often.
  4. Take off heat and stir in the buttermilk and softened gelatin. Whisk to blend well, then strain and pour into serving goblets or ramekins.
  5. Chill for 5-6 hours, better overnight.
  6. Top with balsamic strawberries, garnish with fresh mint and serve.
  7. Balsamic strawberries
  8. Gently simmer brown sugar, honey and balsamic vinegar in a small pan until the sugar has melted and is thick and syrupy. 
  9. Take off heat and add lime juice. Mix in the chopped strawberries. Leave to macerate for 10-15 minutes.
  10. If the strawberries leave a lot of liquid, strain the liquid out, and reduce over medium heat. Mix back into the strawberries and then chill until required.


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“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!


Recipe: Wholewheat Plum Frangipane Galette
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Summary: A delicious wholewheat plum frangipane galette with a light, buttery, flaky crust. Frangipane in here is as delightful as can be. It adds to the taste, and also offers a layer between the pastry and fruit. This keeps the pastry from going soggy!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hr 15 minutes

  • Wholewheat galette pastry crust
  • 130g wholewheat flour {aata}
  • 25g plain flour
  • pinch salt
  • 100g butter, diced small, chilled
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2-4 tbsp chilled water
  • Almond Frangipane 
  • 60g almond meal
  • 60g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 60g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 10g whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  • Topping
  • 300g plums, stoned, quartered
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 45g brown sugar {divide 30+15}
  • 1 tbsp milk


  1. Wholewheat galette pastry crust
  2. Place the 2 flours and salt in the bowl of food processor and pulse to mix and repeater.
  3. Add the chilled diced butter and lime juice and process again briefly until you have a pea sized mix.
  4. Add chilled water 1 tbsp at a time and process until the dough comes together when pinched between your fingers.
  5. Turn out, knead very briefly to pull together. Flatten into a round disk, wrap in cling-warp and chill for about 2 hours. {There’s a nice pastry tutorial here}
  6. Almond Frangipane 
  7. Run all the ingredients in bowl of food processor until nice and smooth. Refrigerate until required.
  8. Topping
  9. Toss the plums with the lime juice and 30g sugar. Reserve in a bowl.
  10. Preheat the oven to 190C.
  11. Roll the pastry dough out on a large piece of parchment.
  12. With an offset spatula, spread the frangipane over the base, leaving a border of about 1 1/2″.
  13. Top with the resrved plums.
  14. Gently draw the pastry up around the filling, using the parchment as a guide.
  15. Pleat the pastry around the filling, pressing gently into place. Transfer onto baking tray.
  16. Give the border a quick brush with milk, sprinkle over the remaining 15g brown sugar.
  17. Bake for about 50-60 minutes until the crust is golden brown and firm.
  18. Cool for at least an hour before cutting. Slice and serve with unsweetened low fat cream.
  19. Note: We enjoyed the galatte chilled as well. It kept well in the fridge for 2 days.


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“To me, the smell of fresh-made coffee is one of the greatest inventions.’
Hugh Jackman

Chocolate Cake & Coffee Patisserie Cream TriflesChocolate Cake & Coffee Patisserie Cream Trifles. The deep, sensual aroma of coffee steeping won me over! Are you devastated by the smell of fresh bread or cookies baking? Or onions in gently frying in butter? Roasting garam masala? Fruit stewing with vanilla beans? Or maybe coffee beans roasting? Fresh herbs? Freshly plucked tomatoes? I absolutely am. It’s an olfactory explosion of sorts.

smells 2When I was young I often woke up to the delicious smells of onions frying, a chocolate cake baking, a clarified butter/pure ghee dal tadka … but the most vivid memory was of the smell of wet earth after the first monsoon showers. To this day, the smell of wet earth takes me back to those childhood days when we used to race out to play in the rain. Pure nostalgia!Whole wheat coffee dark chocolate pound cakeNow more than ever before, my world is ruled by food aromas. Does your nose lead you to the kitchen? At home here, all day long, you’ll find folk following their nose into my kitchen. It’s the most happening place in the house. I baked a chocolate cake 2 days ago. Yet this coffee pound cake was on their mind. ‘Why didn’t you bake another coffee cake?’. The  teens pestered me! Annoying? Yes!Chocolate Cake & Coffee Patisserie Cream Trifles I’m an out-and-out coffee sort of person! The family is too. Fresh coffee beans roasting … nirvana. Takes me back to days down south. Every house would roast their own coffee. Ours did not, but the neighbours generously shared the aromas. What a beautiful heady feeling to wake up to. Instant upliftment.

Vanilla beans in bakingI’m also a vanilla sort of person, mostly paired with fruit. The fragrance of splitting a plump vanilla bean and scraping the insides makes my day. That morning was good! Once the thermomix got down to making the creme patisserie {7 minutes is all it takes}, I had ample time to sit and take in the fragrance. My hands smelt so good.

Balsamic Vanilla Basil StrawberriesTry reducing fresh strawberries and vanilla bean for a compote. The whole house smells beautiful. Seriously … never underestimate the power of smell. Walk into a good coffee shop and if you’re like me, you’ll fall into a trance! 
hocolate Cake & Coffee Patisserie Cream Trifles So to cut a long story short, I was MAD that my chocolate cake didn’t go down well. I counselled myself a little. I knew what went wrong. I had tweaked a good recipe and added more baking soda than necessary. Extra baking soda always plays spoil sport. Note to self : BEWARE in future!hocolate Cake & Coffee Patisserie Cream Trifles I almost trashed the cake yet knew the crumb was light. It was a good cake basically, so trifle was on my mind. I love it when cake obliges with neat little squares. Two minutes later, I was in coffee creme patisserie mode. Time to win the coffee lovers back! Pastry cream that smelt like heaven, felt smooth as silk. Asked the daughter to check for sweetness. She couldn’t wouldn’t stop spooning it into her mouth! Just one last spoon, she begged!

Chocolate Cake & Coffee Patisserie Cream Trifles Trifles are great make ahead desserts. Also a lovely way to use up leftover cake. We love fruit trifles and we loved these Chocolate Cake & Coffee Patisserie Cream Trifles too. Deep coffee flavours, great pairing with chocolate, nice play of textures. The cake cubes soaked in a coffee syrup. A swirl of whipped cream might have completed the trifle. CoffeeSo tell me dear reader, is your life is ruled by good food aromas? What are the smells that awaken your senses? Are you convinced that if something smells divine, it must taste even better? Do you eat with your eyes first? And do you believe, like me, that the sense of smell, sight and taste are all interlinked to make our world more delicious?

Smells of everyday

Food,  ingredients, aromas, the folk, the garden, the venue, memories, the ambiance … the entire connect weaves a delightful ‘spread’!
~For Indiblogger and Ambipur  … ‘Smelly To Smiley!’ ~


Recipe: Chocolate Cake & Coffee Patisserie Cream Trifles your picture

Summary: We loved these Chocolate Cake & Coffee Patisserie Cream Trifles too. LOVED! Deep coffee flavours, great pairing with chocolate, nice play of textures. The cake cubes soaked in a coffee syrup. A swirl of whipped cream might have completed them! Serves 6-8.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes plus cooling time

  • Chocolate buttermilk pound cake {recipe adapted from here}
  • 175g whole wheat flour
  • 50g cocoa powder 
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 100g unsalted butter, room temperature{or 70g butter + 30g olive oil}
  • 200g vanilla or plain sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 100ml buttermilk 
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Coffee Cream Patisserie 
  • 75g granulated sugar
  • 200ml low-fat cream
  • 300ml milk
  • 40g plain flour
  • 30g instant coffee 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 tsp coffee extract
  • Coffee syrup
  • 150ml water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp coffee powder
  • Chocolate shavings to garnish {or/and whipped cream} 


  1. Chocolate buttermilk pound cake {you will have leftovers}
  2. Preheat the oven to 170C.Line the base and sides of a 7″ round tin.
  3. Sift the flour with the cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Reserve.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract.
  5. With beater on low add the flour and buttermilk alternately in three lots.
  6. Bake for 50-60 minutes till the tester comes out clean.Cool in tin for 25-20 minutes, then gently remove from tin.
  7. Cool completely, this cut into squares.
  8. Coffee Cream Patisserie {Thermomix recipe}
  9. Place all ingredients in bowl of thermomix and process to mix on speed 6 for 1 minute.
  10. Turn the TM to 90C, speed 4 and set for 7 minutes. {You can add the vanilla bean shell if you like. I did}
  11. Strain in a bowl and allow to cool. Stir often to avoid a film getting made on top. Cover with cling wrap, the plastic touching the surface, and chill until the cake cools.
  12. Coffee syrup
  13. Place all ingredients in a pan and simmer until the sugar dissolves. Allow to steep and cool until needed.
  14. Assembling trifles
  15. Place a handful of cake cubes in the base of serving glasses/bowls. Drizzle liberally with coffee syrup. Top with coffee pastry cream. Repeat again.
  16. Finish with a few cubes of chocolate cake {drizzled with coffee syrup} and chocolate shavings. {Pipe over whipped cream if desired}.
  17. Chill for about 2 hours before serving to allow the flavours to mature. You can assemble these a day ahead.
  18. Note: You can make the Coffee Cream Patisserie by the traditional stove top method too using the above ingredients.


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