Chocolate Mousse

3 Sep

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The best way to welcome long-time-no-see friends is with chocolate, yes?

It was a delight to go back to familiar faces after 7 months apart, to sat in the same chair and felt the slippery wooden table, big enough to share for two.

It was also a delight, that once I sat down, one by one turned their head on me and mouthed ‘Cakes. Bring cakes, Dee would ya?” or “Sweets. When are you gonna bring some sweets?”

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Apparently my appearance was equal with dessert, which I have no reason to object. I love that they devoured my sweets. They either love me, the food, or the simple fact that the food was free. (I have always pretended its because they love me so much)

The recipe stated for one teaspoon of extract, but The Boys (I studied Business, majoring in Marketing and strangely trapped in a class with majority of testosterone bearers) felt that it was too strong. I did exchange the usual vanilla with almond and felt that the vanilla version was so much better.

I still love the heady crunch of toasted almond on top of the blanket silky chocolate though, whatever the extract would be.

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I am going to move out from my parent’s house to my friend’s house next week, (which is closer to my university) but sadly have no oven installed.

I will miss that special air in the house that only exist when you have a cake in the oven and that crips on the outer ring of a cookie that only homemade one has. But I also think this would be a fun challenge to come up with no-bake desserts.

I can see it already: popsicles, puddings, custards, ice creams (yes, no oven but I will haul my ice cream maker with me) and so on.

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This chocolate mousse also do not require oven, just eggs, chocolate, cream and love, like the love you have for friends that you hold dear.

Chocolate Mousse
Adapted from Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals

I have always been afraid of making anything involving raw egg yolks, afraid that it would turn into a dessert with stinky smell. This chocolate Mousse is anything but. Thick and soft at the same time, it is a great comfort coming home knowing there are bowls of this mousse after a hard daywork.

Serves 8

200 Gr of good quality dark chocolate
1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter
2 tablespoon of powdered sugar
300 ml of double cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (Or 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract)
2 large eggs
Almonds, toasted (optional)
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I don’t like really cutting chocolate bars and get both of my chopping board and knife smeared brown if I don’t have to, so what I usually do is leave them on the wrapping paper and smashed the heck out of them with a rolling pin. It can be very therapeutic.

Tip the chocolate chunks into a heatproof mixing bowl or a double boiler, then add the butter. Leave to melt, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, add the sugar and the extract to the whipping cream, then whisk until it reached soft peaks.

Separate the eggs, pour the whites to an empty mixing bowl and gently mix the yolk to the whipped cream.

Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and whisk really well until stiff. The best way to test it is to slowly and carefully tip the bowl upside down. If the fluff of egg whites doesn’t fall off, you are good to go. Set the egg whites aside.

By now, the chocolate should be melted, so spoon it into the bowl of whipped cream and with a spatula, fold until just combined. I know it might be nerve racking to stream down hot melted chocolate to cold whipped cream, but get your confident coat and do it. If you hesitate and leave the chocolate to cool down too long, it might harden back and turn the mousse to brittle, gooey mess. (Believe me, I tried)

Gently fold the egg whites through with a spatula. Spoon them into your serving vehicle of choice.
Toast some almonds then scatter few of them on top of the mousse.

If you’re serving right away, put into freezer to set, 10-15 minutes. If not, let it sit in the fridge to set, 1-3 hours.

Breakfast Toast

30 Aug

Good morning! A quick hello and snapshot, what do you have for breakfast today?

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I am slowly nudged awake by the gentleness of this cream cheese toast drizzled with honey. Then, the aromatic guava with sharp balinese lime marmalade gave me a bang to get going. September is coming, fellas.

PS: I used left-over cream cheese for the toast and here’s the trick: scoop out the amount you need and in a small bowl, beat the heck out of it with the back of a spoon until you get a creamy, fluffy spreadable cream cheese.

Wishing you an astounding day,
Dee

Mini Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

24 Aug

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Every time my best friend, M comes to my house and spends some time in my room, she leaves some evidence. Back in high school, she left her phone. Then her watch. Then her books, cosmetics and a handful of other stuff I can’t even remember anymore.

Recently, she left her earphone. I let it laid tangled exactly where she left it for a week. Then when she came by to get it, she took my phone instead of her own phone. Today, after hours of laughing and hanging out, she left me a paper plane.

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It was made out of a brochure from the supermarket we went earlier. And just like the rest of the stuff she left, I let that paper plane sit right where she put it. I know it was not something precious, not something she would call me later and made sure she left it on my place and did not lose it.

I left it there, even though knowing it is categorized as junk. I left it there, because it represent her presence in my room. That after a year not seeing her, she was here. Breathing and alive, kicking and laughing. There were some several tear drops too, but that didn’t matter.

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We met in high school and managed to stay close across the seas and across the years (she went to the US while I stayed home) Our relationship are based on texts, Facebook message and occasional skype.

I was terrified at first, not knowing whether this friendship will withstand the distance and time difference.

Will our world suddenly become so different that we cannot relate to each other anymore?

Then I remember how exactly I got to know her. Once we realized we have something in common, we hit it off and decided to bake together.

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The goal was simple. Baked a vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream and get it right. On the contrary of how classic and easy it may sound, it took us numerous amounts of frustration, sleepovers, sweats and hard work to get the perfect springy cake. We tried handful of recipes, tweaked, tried it again, and so on until we found the perfect version.

The whole high school students and teachers alike loved it that we decided to make little money out of it. I couldn’t remember in the end what we spend that money on, but what I do remember is that the cupcake gave me what money can’t ever, ever buy: friendship.

Every time I bake, devour and share this cupcake, it is a silent gratification for our friendship.

She’s flying back tonight to US and I have no idea when am I going to see her again, warm and vibrant in flesh. Safe travel, my friend. I”ll see you when I see you.

Mini Vanilla Cupcake with Vanilla Buttercream
Adapted from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

We weren’t so inclined on frosting that is tooth-achingly sweet, so this vanilla buttercream is sweet but on the stronger taste of butter and would melt in your mouth like one. We believed it pair very excellent with the cake, which both moist and springy.

Makes 48 Mini Cupcakes

Vanilla Cupcake
1 cup of softened butter
1 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup self rising flour
1/2 cup of low fat milk
1 Tsp of vanilla extract

Vanilla Buttercream
1 cup softened butter
2 cup of powdered sugar
1 tsp of vanilla extract
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To make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 F/180 C

In a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, medium speed, cream the butter until fluffy and pale. Add the sugar by spoonfuls, waiting until it dissolves into the butter.

Add eggs one at the time, beating well after each addition.

In a bowl, shift the flours and combine with a whisk or fork. Turning down the mixer speed to slow, add the flour in four part, alternating with milk and vanilla. Scrape the mixing bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is well combined. The batter would look thick and fluffy, like yellow clouds.

Line the muffin pan with paper liner and spoon the batter with teaspoons into the cups about three-quarters full. Bake until the top spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted comes out clean for about 20-22 minutes.

Move the cupcakes to wire rack and let cool completely before icing.

To make the buttercream:

In a mixing bowl fitted with paddled attachment, cream the butter until smooth and fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract.

Gradually beat in the sugar, scraping the bowl when necessary.

Ice your cupcakes.

Red Cherries

20 Aug

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My dad wants to get a six pack. Not a six pack of soda, not a six pack of beer, but abs. Like, movie star abs. Like Ryan Gosling in Crazy Stupid Love abs. (Remember when Emma Stone squealed, “Seriously? It’s like your photoshopped!” I can’t decide which one I like better, her attitude or his abs – If you haven’t watched the movie, go run now and rent it. It’s hilarious)

He watches countless of videos, does hundreds of sit ups, spends half of his waking hour in the gym, the list goes on and on. I dare not to laugh nor tease him since I still value the fact that my head is still attached to my neck.

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One good thing that comes out from his obsession is that my fridge is now full of juicy, robust fruits. From our local exotics of rambutan, jack fruit and dragon fruit to imported berries and all kind of cherries.

I am now proud to say that when the clock strikes midnight and my stomach demands a little snack, I no longer nibbling and sinking my teeth on the allure of velvety chocolate bars.

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I rip open the silky plastic wrapper instead and reveal the plump, proud cherries. It sit there on my palm with its glossy glory and when I bite into it, oh, the sweetness!

The cold from refrigerator hits my teeth with a bang while my tongue dance on the festivity of syrupy juice. My lips would turn red, like those red hot lipstick you wear to feel sexy.

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Then, I would slowly close the refrigerator door and tip-toed back to my room, ready to sleep with a content smile on my face.

Snapshots

16 Aug

Sometimes I do things without reasons.

I have always felt that it is important to simply do things just for the heck of it. So if you ask me, why Snapshots? I cannot give you a legitimate answer. Some of the pictures below may be related to food, some may not.

One thing I know for sure, looking at these pictures makes me happy and I want to share them with you.

“Snapshots” is a post consist of 3 pictures that inspire me, induce nostalgia or simply put a smile on my face.

There will be occasional day meal, travel pictures and eye catching dessert/candy/snacks I stumbled on.

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I can’t forget this sunset in Jimbaran, Bali. I Love the silhouette of the boats and how the dark tangerine from the sinking sun reflected on the sand.

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My first successful cupcake ever! (back in 2009) Lemon cupcake with cream cheese frosting, drizzled with honey.

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A cute strawberry shortcake bakery I passed by in Tokyo, Japan.

Blueberry Icebox Pie

14 Aug

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I imagine there is a cup of hot steaming coffee by my side. If it sits close enough to my keyboard, my pinky finger would briefly brush the warm glass when I press Enter. Maybe the earthy smell would slowly nudge my brain awake like the morning chaste kiss mothers give to their toddler.

But no, no coffee here. I don’t even know if I like coffee enough to have it everyday. I have always been a tea drinker.

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It’s just that I always have this romantic thinking that early morning writing would be accompanied by coffee. (Does this even make sense?)

I don’t usually write in this ungodly hour, (Hi! 5 AM here in Jakarta) but my classes would start in 2 weeks and I can’t afford the luxury of “Writing-at-midnight-until-early-morning-session” if I want to be completely awake for that itty bitty details of marketing plans or business research *arghh*

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The fact that the sun is slowly rising distract me. The shine creeps through my window and I imagine myself covering my eyes with blanket, wishing the night would last a little longer.

Since I can’t have any of that, I think coffee might be my next best friend for the next year of college.( Which my last year and most probably the worst)

I still don’t know what kind of coffee would be my favorite- but what I do know is that I do not mind having coffee with this blueberry icebox pie every morning.

I would say this pie is a pure kick-ass-blueberry-goodness. The ingredients are pretty much only blueberries and chocolate wafers.

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Yup. That’s it.

Simple flavors. Fresh. Best eaten cold. ( with coffee!)

Blueberry Icebox Pie
Inspired from At Home with Magnolia by Allysa Torey

First there’s the fruit itself, shiny blue little things, gleaming in light. Second, (and my favorite) is the jam-like filling. Deep blue, almost purple even.. It’s like seeing into a pool of sapphire. It is soft and a little bit chewy, with sharp tang that will wash away any sleepiness that hover your mind in the morning.

Serves one 9 inch pie

Crust
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs

Filling
5 cups of fresh blueberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping
1 cup of fresh blueberries
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To make the crust:
In a bowl, combine melted butter and the chocolate wafer crumbs. Butter lightly the 9 inch pie dish then dump the crust mixture on it. With the back of a spoon or your fingers, spread and firmly press the crust. Cover tightly in cling wrap and freeze for one hour.

To make the filling:
In a medium-size saucepan, combine the blueberries, sugar and cornstarch and stir constantly over medium heat until it reaches the consistency of jam, 10 to 15 minutes.

Reduce the heat to low and cook just a slight more until the mixture thicken. Remove from the heat and whisk in vanilla extract. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Take the pie crust out from the freezer and spread the now cool filling evenly onto it. Dot with fresh blueberries, cover with plastic wrap again and chill the pie in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 8 hours.

Pots & Pans

9 Aug

Say hello to the newest additions of my family. Rrr… My kitchen family, that is.

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Mr Loaf Pan, readers.

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Readers, Mr Loaf Pan.

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Here are Mr and Mrs Springform 9 inch pan. Mr SP (Lets just make up some fun nicknames, shall we?) has been a member of my kitchen family for years and has been quite lonely.

“I need a (girl)friend so you can make layer cakes, Dee!”

I hear ya, big guy.

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They are so happy together now.

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Last but not no mean the least, Miss 4 quart Sauce Pan. Look how glamorous she is. All shiny and gleaming.

She makes a huge difference in my life already. No more overflowing custards on-too-small-saucepan! I can make stocks now! Stews! Oh, the possibilities!

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I’m gonna go to the kitchen and introduce them to Mr Stove and Mrs Oven now.

See ya around,

Dee

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