Valentines day is almost here and in the spirit of love and heart shaped romance I wanted to share a perfect dessert for Valentines, along with a few delicious quotes from one of my favorite Irish poets, the one and only Oscar Wilde…
Many of his quotes are profound and I am always saddened that his life journey was so short. So, in honor of a poet I enjoy, here are a few of quotes on love…
“Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead”
“Woman are made to be loved, not understood”
“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance”
Hope you enjoy this special Valentine’s dessert….and remember the best ingredient is always ‘love’.
Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Raspberries and Chocolate with a Sugar Spun Basket
(for the buttermilk Panna Cotta)
2 Tbsp water
2 gelatin leaves (3/4 tsp) unflavored gelatin
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
½ vanilla pod (split lengthwise)
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of fine sea salt
½ cup of buttermilk
(for the sugar spun basket)
1 ½ cups of granulated sugar
(for the garnish)
12 fresh raspberries
4 sprigs of mint
(for the raspberry sauce)
1 cup of raspberries
2 Tbsp of fine granulated sugar
(for the chocolate sauce)
1 cup of chocolate chips
¼ cup of whipping cream
How to make it
Place 2 Tbsp of water in to a small bowl and sprinkle over gelatin. Let it stand for 5 minutes until the gelatin softens.
Scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod and add in to a medium size saucepan with 1/2 cup of the cream, pod, sugar and sea salt. Bring to a low boil and stir constantly for 3-5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat and stir in the gelatin mixture.
Strain the cream mixture through a sieve and add the buttermilk and remaining cream.
Divide in to molds and chill for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator.
To make the sugar spun baskets melt the sugar in a small skillet and boil until it is a light caramel color. Remove from the heat and place the pan in a basin of cold water to stop the cooking process. Using the back of a spoon, drizzle the caramel in a think steady stream weaving back and forth to create a weave design. Gently remove the basket and place on a sheet of parchment paper.
To make the sauces puree the raspberries and sugar together and strain to remove the seeds. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler with the cream and stir to melt. Transfer to squeeze bottles.
To serve remove the panna cotta from the mold and place in the center of the plate. Place three raspberries on the side of the panna cotta and a sprig of mint. Using a squeeze bottle pour three circles of raspberry sauce and a swirl of chocolate sauce. To serve gently place the sugar spun basket on top.
Kale Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing and Crispy Shallots
New Season’s Lamb, Mixed Carrots, Colcannon and Rosemary Jus
Just this past weekend I teamed up with Shamrock and Peach photography (my husband Gary) to teach a class on Food Photography at Whole foods Salud cooking school in Alpharetta. Gary is an artist and designer for his day job and a skilled photographer with a passion for creating beautiful imagery that explores the world around us and the Irish landscape. We got to work together combing food with photography when we wrote our first book together ‘the Shamrock and Peach”. We are always learning and exploring and we love to share with others. I heard a quote recently that said “we only own what we give away” so I wanted to share some of the images from our food styling class. Valentine’s day is coming up soon so I am going to share the recipe for the Raspberry and Chocolate Panna Cotta next!
Oh, and here is Gary’s website if you want to check out his work http://www.shamrockandpeachphoto.com/
Summer fruits are bursting with juice and flavor this time of year and I am always looking for seasonal desserts that will showcase this simple but profound truth. Growing up in Ireland, the ‘go to’ fruit show off dessert was a baked pavlova meringue that made the Irish summer strawberries shine, however, I wanted to try something a little different so I’ve plumed for an Italian classic Panna cotta – which means cooked cream. This creamy delight is made by simmering together milk, cream and sugar and then mixing it with gelatin.(oh, and you could also swap out buttermilk for the milk to give it that extra tang)
Tomorrow I head back to Ireland for my last Shamrock and Peach tour of 2014 and it will be no surprise to see Panna cotta making it on to the menus as this dessert is hot at the moment on hip menus…
Next week we will be dining with some of Ireland top chefs including Chef Michael Dean from Deans, Chef Danny Miller from Balloo House, Chef Ryan from the Beechill, Chef Ian Orr from Browns, and our finale with Chef Noel McMeel from the Lough Erne and in my next blog I will let you know how many of these chefs showcased Panna cota for us in our menu. But for now, here is my Georgia Peach Panna cottaversion. Sweet Georgia peaches, ripe, juicy and scrumptious with locally grown blueberries. Now, it don’t get much better than that!
So, get creative and let this summer fruits delight the senses with Panna cotta. Simplicity at it’s very best!