During these strange and uncertain times, we’re all in need of a pick-me-up. And what better than something to feed the body as well as the soul? In our current cookery series, James Gingell from The Stinky Chef deli in Rawtenstall, Lancashire shares a selection of delicious recipes.

Gingell says: “A dessert typical of the Italian region of Piedmont, panna cotta literally translates to ‘cooked cream’. This is an extremely easy recipe that can be prepared in advance and provides the perfect crowning to any dinner party.”

Panna Cotta with local strawberries and aged balsamic


Serves 4

300ml double cream

200ml milk

70g caster sugar

1 vanilla pod

2 leaves of gelatine (soaked in cold water)

50ml quality aged balsamic vinegar or glaze

Mint or basil leaves (torn)

Panna CottaMethod

Split the vanilla pod then carefully remove the ‘seeds’ with the point of a knife.

Add the seeds and pod to a saucepan with the cream, milk, and sugar.

Place on the heat and warm gently without boiling. 

Remove from the heat and stir in the pre-soaked leaves of gelatine until they dissolve. 

Pass the mixture through a fine sieve and discard the pod. 

Allow to cool to room temperature, stirring periodically. 

Once cooled, divide between four moulds and allow to set in the fridge for approximately four hours. 

To serve, decant from the moulds by placing in a pool of hot water for a few seconds.

Place into the centre of a plate and then garnish around with ½ strawberries. Drizzle with a good, thick, quality deli bought balsamic vinegar and finish with torn mint or basil leaves.

Buon Appetito.