Vanilla panna cotta with raspberry sauce (20 mins prep plus 1+ hour for panna cotta to set)

I wanted to do a blog about homemade ice lollies, but given the rubbish weather thought that was a bit pointless…  So instead I have opted for vanilla panna cotta with raspberry sauce, which still feels quite summery but also creamy enough to cheer up a rainy day/evening.  It’s the first time I’ve made it and yes – it is as quick and easy as the recipes claim!   You need ramekins for each serving.  I used vanilla essence instead of a vanilla pod as they were very expensive.  My friend used Dr Oetker Vege-gel (which she bought in Sainsbury’s) instead of gelatine and this worked fine apparently.  Recipe serves 5.

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Here is my slightly simplified version of the recipe (originally from http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/vanillapannacotta_87907/ ):

Ingredients

For the panna cotta

3 gelatine leaves

250ml/9fl oz milk

250ml/9fl oz double cream

1 teaspoon of vanilla essence or 1 vanilla pod, split sideways, seeds scraped out

25g/1oz sugar

For the sauce

175g/6oz sugar

175ml/6fl oz water

350g/12oz raspberries

For the panna cotta, soak the gelatine leaves in a little cold water until soft.  Place the milk, cream, vanilla essence/vanilla pod and seeds and sugar into a pan and bring to a simmer. If using a vanilla pod, discard at this point.  Squeeze the water out of the gelatine leaves, then add to the pan and take off the heat. Stir until the gelatine has dissolved.  Divide the mixture among four ramekins and leave to cool. Place into the fridge for at least an hour, until set.

For the sauce, place the sugar and water into a pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sugar has dissolved.  Take the pan off the heat and add half the raspberries. Using a hand blender, blend the sauce until smooth.

To serve, turn each panna cotta out onto a serving plate, by dipping the base of each ramekin in boiled water, gently sliding a knife around each of the panna cotta and turning it out in to the centre of the serving plate. Spoon over the sauce and garnish with a sprig of mint if you fancy.

Here is a link to some more adventurous panna cotta recipes

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/search?dishes[]=panna_cotta   I think I’ll give the lemongrass and coconut panna cotta a try sometime soon!

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Introducing Tess and her carrot and sesame burgers

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Tess is a 9 year old budding cook and my junior blogger.  Tess says: ‘This is a a burger full of deliciousness and I’ve made it three times. Our family ate it tonight and we all liked it because its vegetarian and full of flavour. It’s healthy and very carroty and I think the yoghurt makes a big difference and so do the sesame seeds. I definately recommend rocket in the burger because it makes it crunchy and peppery, but not if if you don’t like it.’

Tess’s mum says: ‘If you have loads of carrots this is a great way of using them up. But there’s lots of grating involved (unless you have one of those whizzy machines) and you’ll need a decent/large-ish food mixer to make your life easy. You could add another egg into the burger mixture for binding it if you like.’

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Here is the recipe (originally from www.bbcgoodfood.com).  Serves 6:

Burger:

750g carrots, peeled and grated

1 large can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 small onion

2 tbsp tahini paste

1 tsp ground cumin

1 egg

100g breadcrumbs

zest of one lemon

3 tbsp sesame seeds

3 tbsp olive oil

Lemon dressing:

at least half a large pot of natural yogurt

juice of half a lemon

1 desert spoon of tahini

And finally:

6 wholemeal buns

rocket leaves

avocado

sliced red onion

Optional – chilli sauce to serve

Put a third of the grated carrot in the food processor with the chickpeas, onion, 2 tbsp tahini, cumin and egg. Whizz to a thick paste and scrape into a large bowl.  Heat 1 tbsp oil in a big frying pan, tip in the remanning two thirds of grated carrot and cook for 8-10 mins stirring all the while until the carrot is softened (it will turn a little more golden in colour).  Add the cooked carrot to the whizzed up paste of carrots, add breadcrumbs, lemon zest and sesame seeds. Add seasoning and mix together well with your hands.

Make the lemony dressing by mixing the yogurt, tahini and lemon juice.

Divide the burger mixture in to 6 balls using wet hands and shape into burgers. Heat a non stick frying pan and brush burgers with remaining oil on both sides. Cook burgers for 5 mins on each side until golden and crisp. Meanwhile half the buns lengthways and warm. Add a burger to each bun and lather with lemony dressing (the more the better!)  Add rocket leaves, some red onion slices and slices of avocado and finish with a drizzle of chilli sauce if you like it and have some in.

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Enjoy!

Tess will be a regular contributor to the blog and next plans to write about easy recipes for children to cook, including popcorn topping and her very own dessert recipe!