Feeling like Sisyphus and a basil panna cotta

Do you know the story of Sisyphus? I think you do. But in a few words I will give you a reminder. In Greek mythology Sisyphus was a king. He was punished by being compelled to roll a very huge piece of rock up a hill and he only had to watch it roll back down. Endlessly he had to repeat this action – maybe he is still rolling? Poor Sisyphus! Oh yes, but the story reminds me of my own childhood and the early teenage years.

Growing up and living the first 4 years with my grandparents was the best thing I could have experienced. My parents were too young to raise a family. When I was 4 years old my grandparents decided that a child belongs to its parents and so they supported my parents to start their own family life. I had to move into my parents house (god bless, only a few meters away from my grandparents) and had to stay there.

Well, things went on over the years but a safe bonding couldn’t really grow. I was a “grandma kind of a girl” and I wasn’t good enough for my father. No unconditonal love, no emotional affection. I was being compelled to roll my rocks up a hill and my father kicked them down again and again. Unfortunately for my parents I was excluded from the exchange 😉 and vice versa. I sometimes wished I could leave my small world to find new parents and sometimes I was really jealous of my friend’s parents.

I will tell you about one of my big rocks I had to roll up. Today the story sounds a little funny but it was one of my father’s subtle methods to treat me. Beside our house there was a large batch of construction sand (I hope you know what I mean). Over the years the horsetail started to grow there – and here we go – a new task for me – every weekend I had to clear the rambling weed. Remember Sisyphus… After clearing my father decided if I would deserve to meet my friends.

OK – times are changing – I live my own life with the best husband on earth but there is a little piece of a thing so to speak. I don’t have a “green thumb”. It isn’t a good idea to bring me flowerpots – they will not survive 4 weeks in my household. It must have something to do with the horsetail, I guess 😉 And that’s why you’ll find cactus at my place.

Except one. The tiny little basil! It is my new challenge. I bought “him” and since 6 weeks we have our conversation time – every morning. The basil and I travelled a long way – across france, stopped at chambre d’hôtes, visited the river Rhine in Switzerland and had our problems with the air condition.

I hope “he” will survive!

One of my favourite blogs is Junglefrog Cooking. Simone is a very talented food photographer and the host of photography challenges. After reading Simone’s blog entry I decided that we (the basil and I) take part in the white challenge. The dish and the photography setup should be mostly white – puh, really challenging! But what a nice stage for my friend basilicum minimum.

I made a light version of a savory panna cotta and used a pot of my homemade yogurt instead of only cream. During cooking the cream I added a bunch of chopped basil leaves. I prefer to have this savory panna cotta as a starter. So there’ll be enough space for the next course.

I highly recommend you visiting Simone’s Blog to see the entries for the all white challenge and to browse nice recipes.

I take care of my basil now and see you soon.


Basil Panna Cotta

makes 4 servings


200 ml heavy cream

100 ml yogurt

1 teaspoon agar -agar (a herbal gelatin)

salt (I recommend fleur de sel), pepper

a bunch of fresh basil, washed, drained and chopped and a few leaves to garnish



In a large saucepan, combine heavy cream and salt.

Bring the cream just to a simmer (do not let it boil), whisking occasionally until salt has completely dissolved. Add the bunch of chopped basil and set aside for 3 hours or overnight.

Strain the mixture into another saucepan to remove the basil and bring the mixture to a boil. Now add the agar-agar and whisk to completely dissolve the agar-agar and cook for 2 minutes. Season with freshly ground pepper. Set aside for 5 minutes.

In a bowl whisk the yogurt and then add the heavy cream mixture. Pour the panna cotta into ramekins or custard cups. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

To unmold and for serving, dip the bottom of each ramekin. Run a knife around the edges of the ramekins to help loosen it from the inside.

Place onto plates and garnish with some basil leaves.


Comments (7)

  1. I love your new banner and those panna cottas look delightful!



  2. Was für wunderschöne Bilder!! Und außerdem: alles Gute für dich und deinen Basilikum 🙂

    LG, Eva

  3. Oh dear…. sending a huge, monstrous hug your way. Having been blessed myself with a wonderful childhood in a big, loving family I can but shake my head disbelievingly at such atrocious parental behaviour. Even though I know that not everyone grew up in a kind of a fairytale world it makes me sad to read. But the more happy I am to read and see that you’ve grown into a strong woman that can find the funny aspect in such a sad story.
    And your white-on-white basil panna cotta is a dream come true! Also, thanks for the the blog recommendation, it’s great!


  4. Sorry to hear your childhood was less then perfect Sandy. I have to say that – while probably not as bad as yours – the relationship with my parents has never been as good as I would have liked it to be too. But my father was never mean, like yours.
    It’s always sad to hear such stories but I’m glad you now have a much better life!
    And can I just say wow…. to your photos! Soooo gorgeous. They look so delicate and lovely and those little green basil leaves are like the icing on the cake. Really beautiful and job well done!
    Quite an interesting combination of flavors in that pannacotta too which I only ever had as sweet dessert… So happy you joined in the challenge this month Sandy and your English is totally fine by the way (and so much easier for me to read! Lol)

  5. @Rosa Thanks for your feedback!
    @Eva Ich lass dich wissen, wie es so weiter geht mit uns beiden 😉
    @Katharina thanks my dear friend for your warm words.
    @Simone we all have our family stories – and not only happy stories but it is possible to overcome it and find a positive way of life. Thanks for your feedback, it is a pleasure to take part in your challenge!

  6. […] another beauty by one my new German friends is this one by Sandy from Conviture de vivre Photo by […]

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