Monthly Archives: August 2012

Chocolate mousse, that is all. Ooh, and salted almond praline! That is all.

 

Now.  Chocolate.  I nearly claimed squatters rights in The Chocolate Shop at Liberty in London today.  My love of chocolate goes way back.  In fact, one of my earliest and most profound memories is of my dear, dear Granddad who came to visit us once a week.  And he would always bring chocolate.  I remember there were normally two on rotation, he would bring Milky bar white chocolate one week (my favourite at the time) and Bournville the next week (my sisters favourite at the time).  Although my tastes may have developed and changed, I still have a lot of time for Milky bars, “the milky bars are on me”, sorry, couldn’t resist!  And occasionally he would mix it up by bringing Fruit and nut but that was back in the days when they were actually chock full of fruit and nut.  Oh the glory days.

 

So, I was on dessert duty for family dinner and having been a bit short on time, I thought I would make old reliable chocolate mousse.  I got myself a head start by putting the ramekins in the freezer so they would set quicker.  I’m not just (or even) a pretty face you know.  Chocolate mousse is not hard but it does have a few different components going on when you make it properly.  Although the ingredients are simple, there is a fair bit of whisking and folding of various ingredients.  However…and this is a bloody big however.  It IS worth it.

Don’t even get me started on the creamy, chocolatey richness.  That silken chocolate melting away on your tongue.  Ooh, I’m in heaven just thinking about it.  I might have got a bit over zealous with the bowl licking and there’s even a photo to prove it.  Now, Little Chef doesn’t usually feature on her own blog but this is a funny photo!  See above…

 

 

So, in summation, chocolate mousse is good and easy and quick.  Next time you have to impress your friends or forget to make dessert for your dinner party, this is the one for you.  I topped mine with salted almond praline, it needs a bit of salt to cut through all that sweetness.  Now, sit back with a block of chocolate or even better, this mousse and think about how wonderful mother nature is for giving us the gift of cacao.

Chocolate Mousse from Gourmet Traveller Magazine
Serves 6
Cooking Time Prep time 20 mins, cook 10 mins (plus chilling)

100 gm very dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
100 gm dark chocolate (55% cocoa solids), finely chopped
125 ml (½ cup) pouring cream, at room temperature
15 ml each Grand Marnier and Kahlua
2 eggs, separated
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
45 gm caster sugar
To serve: pouring cream, coarsely grated dark chocolate and wafers

Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water (5-6 minutes), stir until smooth, set aside.
Whisk cream until soft peaks form (2-3 minutes), set aside.
Whisk liqueurs, egg yolks, vanilla and 30ml hot water in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until light and fluffy (3-4 minutes). Remove from heat, whisk until cooled to room temperature, then whisk in melted chocolate.
Whisk eggwhites in a separate bowl to soft peaks (1-2 minutes), gradually add sugar and whisk to firm peaks (2-3 minutes). Fold into chocolate mixture, then fold in cream, transfer to a 1-litre serving bowl and refrigerate until firm (2-3 hours). Serve quenelles of mousse drizzled with cream and scattered with grated chocolate, with wafers for dipping.
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Raw beef, hell yeah!

Sometimes in life you need to eat Korean food.  Why you may ask?  Because it’s awesome.  Or at least it is at Hana in Battersea rise, London.  We decided to have a cheeky family lunch to celebrate the fact that is was Friday and we were hungry.  Having eaten breakfast not long before our lunch, I assumed I would not be that hungry.  How wrong I was.

We were the first in the restaurant at midday, first in, best dressed.  I’m not really sure we were the best dressed (except for my niece who was sporting a fabulous outfit which I bought her) but we were definitely the first in.  As we sat and perused the menu, we ordered a glass of Prosecco, it was Friday after all.  I had a quick look at the menu the night before, always a good idea when you’re coeliac, you never know what you’ll be able to eat.  So, my mind was already made up.  I was going to order the cucumber kimchee and the raw beef bibimbap.  Now, I’m a raw meat girl from way back.  Put a steak tartare in front of me and it will be gone in moments.  I love it raw and I love it beefy.

When the food arrived, mine was a colourful bowl of goodness.  A heavy granite bowl was set in a wooden stand and laid before me.  In its grey depths lay a bed of cooked rice which was topped with perfectly julienned carrots, courgettes, mushrooms, raw beef, raw egg yolk and sesame seeds.  It looked colourful, fresh and damn good.  The waiter put a little saucer of chilli sauce on the side and asked if I would like him to prepare it for me.  And so he set about expertly stirring the contents, the hot bowl cooking the ingredients and producing a lovely crispy rice crust on the bottom of the bowl.  It reminded me of the socarrat in paella.  The result was surprising and delicious.  It was also reminiscent of Nasi Goreng, but it was quite unique in its loveliness.  It was all at once, a little spicy, a little salty, a little sweet.

This is the kind of dish that I would gladly eat once a week, if not more often.  It was comforting and I can imagine that it would be perfect hangover fodder.  Taking a journey into new cuisines is one of my favourite things to do, this is not the first time that I have eaten Korean food but Bibimbap is a dish I want to eat again and again.  Little Chef is going to have to learn how to make it.  Maybe I can ask the kind people at Hana to show me how…  I’ll keep you posted.

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Everyone loves a quickie!

 

In an effort to rid myself of booze, all be it momentarily, I thought I would treat myself to something delicious.  Usually when I have an AFD (Alcohol free day) my evening consists of me drinking buckets of tea, sometimes regular tea, sometimes chai tea, sometimes peppermint tea, something to alleviate the boredom tea…  You see, alcohol makes you lazy.  Having a nice glass of wine or a tasty little cider sure does make it hard to peel yourself off the sofa and away from a good book.

So, being full of vim and empty of alcohol, I decided to pretend to be marginally healthy and make myself an horchata.  The history of horchata is somewhat muddy and so we’ll leave it at, it’s very popular in south America and can be made from rice, nuts or seeds.  It is either water or milk based and generally has cinnamon in it.  The recipe I used came from Jamie Oliver’s ‘America’ cookbook.  I made the oh so pink and oh so delicious Strawberry horchata.

 

 

Quick, easy and kinda virtuous.  Now, rule number one, don’t do what Little Chef did and cook the rice a little al dente.  The whole idea is that the rice gets blitzed up into the drink and that’s a little harder, well, if the rice is a little harder.  This drink is simple to make and quite filling, which is always a bonus.  Think strawberry smoothie…only I renamed it a quickie.

So, here’s the very simple recipe.  Go on, have a quickie!  Everyone loves a quickie.

Strawberry horchata based on Jamie Oliver’s recipe from ‘America’

500 ml Milk

250 g Strawberries

1 Tbsp Soft brown sugar

75 g Long grain rice, cooked

 

Put all ingredients in a blender and blitz til smooth.  If the rice doesn’t blend in properly, like Little Chef’s attempt, then pass the mixture through a sieve.  Pour into a tall glass over ice, garnish with a strawberry, which Little Chef forgot to do because she’s scatty!  Now, enjoy and feel a little virtuous.  The wine can wait til tomorrow, all is well when you have a Horchata in your hand.

P.s. Little Chef thinks it might be extra tasty with a shot of something boozy in it!  There’s always tomorrow.

 

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