Lemon Panna Cotta

Confession No 8: Ti amo Italia

My first glimpse of Europe was in 1994. John was overseas for 12 months and we were meeting up in the middle for 12 days. He left the planning to me; he knows I love a good plan*. We didn’t have long – 12 days. What could you see in 12 days? But it was a long way to travel just to sit in one place and so I chose a little bit of France and Italy. It went something like this:

  • Meet in Paris
    • See everything that you can possibly see in Paris
  • Drive down from Paris to Antibes in the south
    • Lay around on the beach for a couple of days
  • Drive to Florence
    • See everything that you can possibly see in Florence
  • Drive to Rome
    • See everything that you can possibly see in Rome
    • Get ready to say goodbye to each other for another six months
  • Fly home miserable……**

I had studied French for 6 years at school and so visiting France was naturally the highlight of my trip***. But I wasn’t prepared for Italy. France was okay, Italy was bellissima. I loved everything about it; people, landscape, shoes, vespas and yes, the food. The country is even shaped like a boot: I love boots!

Where was I, oh yes the food. Who can fault the contribution that Italy has made to culinary perfection: olive oil, olives, bruschetta, pasta, pizza, pesto, lasagne, risotto, coffee in all its colours – espresso, latte, cappuccino. macchiato, tiramisu, biscotti, gelato, panforte, panetonne….. But one of my all time favourites is panna cotta.

Panna cotta in Italian means cooked cream. Mmmmm, cooked cream….. Sounds like absolute heaven, yes? Yes, yes and more yes please. But I gotta tell you, panna cotta’s got an average of 14-15 grams of fat per serve, 9 grams of which is saturated fat. Not too bad if you plan on having it every now and then, but if you’re anything like me you’re going to want to eat it more often. The good news is that after much research and testing****, I’ve found a way for you to have your panna cotta and eat it too. Every weekend. Okay, every day….. The even better news is that it’s probably one of the easiest desserts you can make, it literally takes minutes.

This recipe is for lemon panna cotta because I love its lemony creaminess, but you can change the flavours for anything you like – vanilla, caramel, berry….. If you’re not keen to change a recipe, don’t worry because I’ll be back with more panna cotta. You can bet your Italian boots on that.

So, did I fly home miserable? Absolutely, but I had a fantastic holiday and he came home safely, eventually…. We’ve been back to Italy together, ate more panna cotta. Can’t wait to take my girls but until then, I’ll keep making it.

*Obsessed wouldn’t be mild. I have a plan for everything, even a plan for the plan.
**It wasn’t my intention but I thought it might happen.
***Seeing John after 6 months was pretty good too…
****It’s a hard job, but someone has to do it….

If you could travel anywhere right now, where would it be?

Lemon Panna Cotta

Lemon Panna Cotta

Indulge without guilt
Eat without deprivation
Cook great food even when you are on your own
Embrace food moods
Eat what you want



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