Tag Archives: dessert

Classic Chocolate Mousse

Adapted from Bon Appetit (where their picture is SPECTACULAR and just wants to make me dive right into the photo with my mouth open), this is not for the faint-hearted or diet-conscious eater. Nor is it for someone that wants a “quick chocolate mousse” – it takes several processes to get this divine dessert, just right: decadently chocolately and rich at the same time as being lighter than air. I reduced the coffee because I want the coffee to boost the chocolate flavour, and I found that at 1/4 cup, it almost overpowered the chocolate flavour. I also doubled the salt from 1/8 teaspoon to 1/4 because I think salt makes desserts and other sweets taste better.

Ingredients makes six small teacups/ramekins

  1. 1/2 cup chilled heavy cream (you can use cooking or whipping cream)
  2. 4 large egg yolks
  3. 1/8 cup espresso or strong coffee, at room temperature
  4. 3 tbls sugar, divided into 2tbls and 1 tbls
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (60-72% cacao), chopped
  7. 2 large egg whites
  8. 1/4 cup whipping cream to serve (optional)

Method

  1. Beat 1/2 cup cream in medium bowl until stiff peaks form; cover and chill
  2. Combine egg yolks, espresso, salt, and 2 Tbsp. sugar in a large metal bowl
  3. Set over a saucepan of gently simmering water and cook, whisking constantly until mixture is lighter in color and almost doubled in volume (about 1 minute)
  4. Remove bowl from pan
  5. Add chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth
  6. Let stand, whisking occasionally, until room temperature
  7. Using an electric beater with clean, dry beaters, beat egg white in another medium bowl on medium speed until foamy
  8. With mixer running, gradually beat in remaining 1 tbsp sugar
  9. Increase speed to high and beat until firm peaks form
  10. Fold egg whites into chocolate in 2 additions
  11. Fold whipped cream into mixture just to blend
  12. Divide mousse among six teacups or 4-oz. ramekins
  13. Chill until firm, at least 2 hours
  14. DO AHEAD: Mousse can be made 1 day ahead; cover and keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving
  15. Before serving, whisk remaining 1/4 cup cream in a small bowl until soft peaks form; dollop over mousse
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Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck – part 3

The Fat Duck part three – phew ! Well I suppose if 14 courses took us four hours to finish, three posts does seem to do it justice. (Here are parts one and two).

The Fat Duck hot and cold tea

The deliciously crazy hot and cold tea

So we’d now completed the appetiser and main courses. Before going to the dessert courses, our palates were cleansed with “hot and iced tea” which is another perfect example of Heston’s ability to mess with your mind – making something as simple as a cup of tea raise all the eyebrows on our table, even thoughwe all knew exactly what it said was – not only was it printed on our menu, but the waiters told us as they served it. As you sip your tea from the glass cup, you taste the tea, experienced hot on one side of your mouth, cold on the other. We later looked up how this was achieved, but you know what, all I want to remember was that OH. MY. GOD. moment when I took my first sip. Just delightful stuff.

clove caramelised blackberries

Clove caramelised blackberries

First dessert was clove caramelised blackberries, served with a 2009 Passito di Pantelleria from Sicily. The blackberries came on one plate, and then the waiter passed around a tray full of silver cachons where four cornets with hojicha tea ice-cream where nestled. Again, that contrast/harmony of hot and cold, and sweet and woody and tart worked perfectly.

The Fat Duck BFG

The “BFG”

The “BFG” (Black Forest Gateau) came next. At this point, I was about at bursting point. But who can pass up something that looked like a tower of cake that ended almost like a full stop, with a quinelle of silky vanilla ice-cream ?

the Fat Duck whisk(e)y wine gums

Whisk(e)y wine gums

Final two desserts – we’re on the home stretch ! Whisk(e)y wine gums, stuck on to a map indicating where the corresponding whiskey came from, and to be eaten in a certain order. All I can recall is that while not a whisky drinker, these were deliciously alcoholic wine gums – except for Laphroaig. It was so strong and peaty that even being following three wine gums (there was five in total) couldn’t take away that smoky flavour. In fact, that seemed to be the lingering flavour in our mouths for the rest of the evening.

The Fat Duck petit fours

Coconut baccy and a wax-sealed envelope containing an edible white chocolate card

Last dessert was the petit fours of the meal – appropriately called “like a kid in a sweet shop”. Edible white chocolate Queen of hearts card, coconut baccy, apple pie caramel with edible wrapper and aerated chocolate of mandarin jelly.

NO MORE I hear you say ! Actually, by the time the sweets came, I have to admit we were all pooped from eating. But gosh what a luxury ! The Fat Duck is certainly somewhere I’m lucky enough to have experienced – the detail that goes into everything from the food to the cheeky waiters – simply makes for an totally enjoyable evening. It may not be for everyone, but if you love food and having a ball of a time eating it, I’d strongly recommend it. Heston Blumenthal certainly brought the fun back into food.


Rustic blueberry tart

Who doesn’t love decadent sweet treats ? Choc Chip Uru’s wonderful blog Go Bake Yourself is pretty much full of chocolately goodness and it’s always such a delight to visit and escape in all that sugary goodness. Everyone should take a peek into her happy happy life at least once (I challenge you not to go back after one visit) – I can guarantee if you are having a bad day you’ll feel better after.

And guess who was lucky enough to be able to write a guest post ? Yes, yours truly ! You can check the post on Uru’s blog and I’m reposting it here because I actually really love this tart ūüôā

Ingredients serves four
  1. 75g unsalted butter – melted
  2. 90g caster sugar
  3. 80 ground almonds
  4. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or vanilla paste)
  5. pinch salt
  6. 1 sheet of puff pastry
  7. handful of blueberries (I use frozen but you can use fresh)
  8. additional sugar for sprinkling
  9. Optional: clotted cream or good vanilla ice-cream to serve
Method
  1. Mix together the sugar, ground almonds, vanilla and salt
  2. Add the melted butter and mix well to combine
  3. Take the sheet of puff pastry and cut into quarters
  4. Lightly score about 1cm around the edges using the edge of a pointed knife
  5. Spread the almond mixture evenly over the pastry within the scored area
  6. Place the blueberries on the almond mixture
  7. Bake in a hot oven (200C) for 15-20 minutes until the puff pastry and almond mix are golden brown
  8. Serve hot with a dollop of cream or good vanilla ice-cream

South African Style ‘(Mel)ktert’…

My first guest post! I love guest posts because I get to share with my friends and fellow bloggers the delicious food that I get to experience with and from other friends and fellow bloggers.

I get so excited when I meet people who are as passionate about food as me, and it always amazes me how many different personalities of “foodies” there are out there. My friend, Melody, is a new resident of Singapore from her native South Africa, and I am always learning something new about South African cuisine and wines from her. She is one of those amazing cooks that loves to experiment and mix things up and I get so inspired by her. The photo below (that I took in harsh halogen lighting) does the milk tarts absolutely no justice. They are gorgeous – cute and delicate and creamy and simply moor-ish. I might have to raid her fridge for the bigger tart she made. She is also an awesome mum with a brutally honest and always entertaining blog about children, food and life in Singapore, melonearth. Please read on for the delectable details from Melody!

Individual traditional South African milk tarts

We’ve all been dying to get together for a¬†catch up, good old board games and a ‘night in’…and of course something yum for the tum.¬† I woke up on Friday feeling like baking, so instead of my original offering of bringing along a cheese board, I opted for a typical South African delight that’s not too heavy on the¬†gut before we headed into chaos with the board games…even though I used half the sugar, I’m not sure if it was the ‘milk tarts’ or the delicious red (and special bottle of white¬†I brought along) that gave us the sugar rush to carry on till 1am, either way, we had a blast.

The start to the evening was a tad annoying as I refused to glad wrap my tarts for fear of squashing them, so instead, I ended up dropping one…then our dear ‘Uncle’ taxi man had NO idea where we were going and took us on a joy ride around Singapore.¬† Finally arriving,¬†we made our way up to a homely, beautiful welcome and an instant happy place where dear friend Carol insisted I do a guest post…I am honoured, but admittedly, I was a little scared, as I am by no means a foodie like Carol, I’m just a babbling masterchef wannabe…so here goes!

For the pastry:

2 Cups of flour

1 egg

1/2 cup sugar

2tsp Baking powder

125g butter

pinch of salt

Cream butter and sugar together, add egg and all other ingredients till it’s a soft, stiff dough.

It makes a lot of dough, so you can do 2 dishes with this or as I did, 1 full tart and 12 cupcake size tarts.

Bake at 180 degrees until light brown.

For the Filling:

4 1/2 Cups Milk (1.125l)

21/2 Tbsp cornflour

3/4 Cup Sugar (I used brown, raw sugar)

2 1/2 Tbsp flour

Dash vanilla essence

blob of butter

1. Bring milk to the boil slowly, make sure it does not boil over

2. Beat eggs, sugar, flour, cornflour well together and pour into the boiled milk.  Mix well

3. Allow mixture to thicken, then add in the butter and vanilla essence and continue stirring.  The mixture should resemble a porridge consistency.

4. Remove from heat and pour into the shells

5. Leave to stand for about 10 minutes, sprinkle with cinnamon and refrigerate until ready to serve

Enjoy, I know we did (and¬†I still am with the extra full sized tart in my fridge…).

xx


24 Apostles

Amarone risotto

Well, the second time we went to the 12 Apostles, actually. We had had such a fun and delicious experience there a few nights earlier, and there was so many dishes that went unordered, we felt we simply had to go again.

D and I were intent on trying dishes that we would not normally order. This time around, again on recommendation, an amarone risotto, a gorgeous dish of saffron shrimp au gratin and my first taste of monkfish.

The amarone risotto tasted exactly as you would expect a risotto that was made with a heady, heavy, sweet red wine instead of stock. With no other ingredients or accompaniments, the flavour was a little strong for my liking – not sure if it’s habit or preference, but the flavour of risotto for me is usually quite delicate. Still, I’m glad I tried a speciality of the region – presumably because they have a large supply of amarone (so jealous). And the risotto was cooked perfectly – with a good amount of bite and lots of gorgeous starch from the grains.

Saffron shrimp au gratin

The shrimp came on a bed of wilted spinach, smothered in cheese and then oven-baked so that the cheese melted over the shrimp. Oh. My. Goodness. Heaven on a plate. I never think of combining shrimp with cheese but that sweet and savoury mix worked beautifully together.

Pan-roasted monkfish with frutti di mare

Monkfish was my main course. ¬†It isn’t commonly found in Asia or Australia, and we’d seen it in the Venice Fish Markets – not really sure why it seems to be filleted so that it looks like it’s exploded like some alien, but assume because the only edible part of the fish is the tail (and it’s liver) – and looking at pictures of the whole fish, it’s a pretty ugly looking thing. Which is ironic because it tastes absolutely delicious. The texture of it is dense and sweet, similar to lobster-meat but not quite as heavy and is beautifully flaky. This came simply pan fried with a simple stock reduction and seafood with vegetables. I have to say, that in the whole of our trip, the Italians seem to really overseason and overcook their vegetables. Still, the fish was wonderful and I’m glad to have finally tasted this fish I hear so much about from watching travel/cooking programs.

Vanilla ice-cream with amaretti pastry and crushed hazelnuts

Of course we couldn’t skip dessert. Only this time we were more restrained and just ordered one – essentially a round ice-cream sandwich, with vanilla ice-cream in the centre, flaky amaretti pastry on top and bottom, and with the ice-cream dusted in crushed sugar and hazelnuts. The dish was warmed in a hot oven for literally 30 seconds before serving, melting the sugar and hazelnut mixture and providing you with incentive to eat it before all the ice-cream melted. I think it wasn’t on our table for much longer than it was in the oven.

I would recommend Verona to anyone who asks, and also this restaurant. Your dinner is sure to give you a true taste of Veronese food and wine, as well as its culture and history.

12 Apostoli
Corticela S. Marco 3,
37121, Verona, Italy
Tel: +39 045 596999
Email: dodiciapostoli@tiscali.it

Closed Sunday and Monday evenings


Pavlova

pavlova with fresh cream and berries

Pavlova is another one of those desserts whose origin seems locked in battle between Australia and New Zealand. ¬†I don’t care who “invented” it, I’m just grateful for it, no matter where it comes from.

It’s a dessert which seems to invoke fear in people trying to make it, but I have made it enough times to know that with some basic rules, it’s a simple and impressively sweet treat to make. ¬†You end up with this perfect blend of crisp outer shell with marshmallowy centre, topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit.

The basic rules:

  1. Use a clean bowl and beater – any oil, egg yolk, water, soap etc will limit the volume that you will get from your egg whites
  2. If you’re in humid weather, beat your egg whites with the airconditioner on. ¬†Humidity also minimises volume
  3. I make my pavlova a touch less sweet, but you need at least 50g of sugar per egg white to keep the stiffness in the meringue mix
  4. Make sure you add the sugar to the egg whites gradually, making sure you beat well until the sugar is dissolved (taste some of the mix, if it’s gritty, you need to beat it more)
  5. When the cooking is done, let the pavlova cool in the oven with the oven door closed or at the most open only a crack or your pavlova will collapse

OK that’s a few more than I thought, but really, it’s not that difficult, honest !

Ingredients (to feed 6 people or 4 greedy ones)

  • 4 egg whites at room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • 200g castor sugar
  • splodge of vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • Whipped cream and fruit to top

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C
  2. Beat egg whites with salt until satiny peaks form
  3. Add castor sugar in small batches, beating well between each so that the sugar has dissolved
  4. fold in the vanilla, cornflour and vinegar
  5. Pile on to a tray lined with baking paper (you can draw a 15cm circle on the underneath of the baking paper to help), flatten the top a little (so you can add the topping)
  6. Put into oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 150C and bake for 30 minutes
  7. Reduce the temperature to 120C and bake for another hour
  8. Turn off oven at the end and let the pavlova cool in the oven
  9. Top with fresh whipped cream and fresh fruit

It’s called Lemon Delicious for a reason

I remember reading somewhere that Lemon Delicious is actually an Australian dish, but then again, we also lay claim to pavlova which I have also heard could be a New Zealand dish.

Anyway, I digress.

There are two things you need to know about Lemon Delicious.¬† One, it’s lemony and two, it’s delicious.¬† Essentially it’s a self-saucing pudding which, due to the inclusion of beaten egg whites, has the consistency on top of a light puffy souffle.

I don’t know if that does it justice, but it’s such a simple recipe, and such a stunningly delicious dessert, that it’s a favourite in our household.

To serve 6 people (this actually always seems to make more)

1. Beat 3 egg yolks with 2/3 cup of castor sugar and grated zest of 1 lemon until thick and pale.

2. Whisk in 3/4 cup of plain flour with a teaspoon of baking powder, 3/4 cup lemon juice and 2 cups milk – the batter will be very liquidy – that’s normal.

3. Beat 3 egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form.

4. Loosen the batter with a bit of the beaten egg white, then gently fold in the rest of the egg whites.

5. Spoon into 6 ramekins, put them into a large baking dish and fill the dish up with boiling water so that it comes up to at least half of the ramekins, and pop into a 180C oven for 40 minutes

6. Serve immediately with a dusting of icing sugar and some fresh berries


My birthday at Marque

With me being in Sydney the week after my actual birthday, and with no real desire to visit any restaurant in Singapore at the moment, I asked D if I could have my birthday dinner at Marque in Sydney. Been wanting to go there for a while now, and am glad I finally did.

Perhaps it’s the entire change in the vibe of eating out in Sydney – where in Singapore the average Singaporean has access to the local food, there are cafes and affordable restaurants all over town that are not going to break the bank so much that it becomes a once a week/month/occasion sort of thing.

Marque is unassuming and I think deserves to be voted best restaurant in Sydney last year simply because the food is amazing, and the service is absolutely top notch. EVERY ONE of the staff there are attentive, seem to know every customer in there and absolutely everything there is to know about the food without actually being in the kitchen and cooking it. They are attentive without being obtrusive and efficient and polite and friendly and just…great.

The food speaks for itself. The flavours of my entree – thinly sliced bluefin tuna, over a lightly whipped creamy mousse of foie gras on a slice of brioche was so delicately flavoured that you almost needed the “pork crackling” – crushed up pieces of crackling – sprinkled liberally over the top of the fish, to add texture and salt to the dish.

The duck I had for main has to be one of the best ducks that I have had, and I have had a lot of duck. Served medium with super crispy skin (because let’s face it, the skin’s always the best bit) and roasted jerusalem artichoke hearts and a hearty serving of thick whipped potatoes which were divine, was a wonderful meal.

It didn’t end (or start, actually) there – we were first presented with an amouse bouche, which was a warm egg yolk served in the shell with cream whipped with four spice with crostini crusted with salt.

Before dessert we were served with a sauterne custard with a caramel topping, the most posh creme caramel we have ever tasted.

Dessert was the winner for me. D ordered the chocolate mousse which was incredibly rich yet light and served with mousse “ecrase”, which was bits of a larger chocolate mousse that chef Mark Best had frozen with liquid nitrogen and then “crushed”. My “lemon tart” was served to me looking like a giant yellow egg on crushed oreo biscuits and when cracked, revealed an also liquid nitrogen treated inside of marshmallowy, icy tartness. It was incredible.

We were so full after that we were really struggling to finish the petit fours they served, but it was explained that the chef wanted us to end our meal with four flavours – sweet, sour, salt and bitter. First was an apple jelly crusted with lime sugar, second white chocolate with lemon juice encased inside, third (our favourite) was dark chocolate with a salt caramel inside and finally a sweet that had amara, an Italian herb liqueur. It was the perfect way to end a perfect evening.

Thanks D !

Marque
4/5 355 Crown Street
Surry Hills
+612 9332 2225