chips n gravy

Posts Tagged ‘chocolate

Cupcakes for little boys. I whipped up some last minute cupcakes for W’s mom to bring home to W’s 3 little nephews. Chocolate are always a winner and this is my Devil’s Food Chocolate cupcake with white chocolate ganache and decorated with Oreos.

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It was a quick whip up.

DEVIL’S FOOD CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE

Part A:

  • 110 grams AP flour
  • 112.5 grams caster sugar
  • 30 grams cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 122.5 grams milk
  • 57.5 grams softened butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste

Part B:

  • 1 whole egg

METHODS:

  1. Mix A until just mixed. Then beat at high speed for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add in egg and beat again at high speed for 2 minutes
  3. Pipe or spoon into prepared tray or cupcake liners and bake at 180C for 15-20 minutes.

WHITE CHOCOLATE GANACHE:

I always follow a ratio of 2:1 of white chocolate:cream. I will quickly zap the cream in the microwave and then pour over the chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute before whisk it evenly.  I will then sick the chocolate into my freezer until it is just set, then take it out to give it a quick whisk.

ASSEMBLAGE:

Pipe ganache onto the chocolate, I just squirt them out using a #5 nozzle onto the middle of the cupcake and topped with Oreos which I tried to (if possible) break into halves.

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Busy.

That is how I would describe the week that has passed. It was a week of laziness and bitterly cold wind mixed with unpredictable weather. W’s parents were in town for the weekend to visit. He got the dates totally messed up, telling me they be visiting THIS coming weekend. I was flustered, I don’t think the house was presentable enough. But nonetheless. It was a weekend of bargain hunting with his mom, that said, it was a real bargain as we just happened to be at Steve Madden’s at the DFO Morrabin and it was closing down. Steve Madden shoes for aud 1.00 anyone? Yes. It was really ONE dollar. I don’t think I need to explain what happened next.

Coincidentally,  another nearby fresh produce (mostly really lovely hard to find flours, nuts and lentils and beans) store were closing down as well and relocating with everything at a 50% off. Sadly, we went too late, I missed out on bargain almond meal!!! Grrr, imagine the amount of macarons I could have made, nonetheless, I made away with plenty of good quality polenta, made some polenta cheese sticks, (they were gone before I can even take some good pictures. Next time, when I make them again, I guess), a good kilo worth of hazelnut meal (only 10.00 Aud), lovely dark rye flour, besan flour, Spanish Saffron (2 gram for 1.49 aud), some organic fenugreek seeds, tomatoes, apples, and plenty of nuts.

It was also a weekend of herb and vegetables planting, I have managed for the first time with the help of W’s mom lovely green fingers in planting several kitchen herbs and vegetables. In a week’s time, I will know if the herbs survive or not and hopefully the borlotti beans and sugar snap peas seed will sprout. As does the blackjack zucchini that I have sown. I also lucked out on some really lovely lemon verbena and planted that in too, maybe beside the zucchini were not a very wise idea, but only time will tell how it goes. It was also for the first time I realised that the annoying tree that is opposite my kitchen windows is actually a feijoa! Never really saw them drop any fruits. Must be those darn birds…..

If my garden venture were to be successful, I am going to plan myself a fig tree, bay tree and an almond tree next.

I also went to the “A day in Pompeii” exhibition which is currently being held at Melbourne’s Museum on Sunday. It was a real eye opener and seeing the body plaster casts of the actual victims, you cannot help but really feel sad. The plaster of a man still being shackled to chains while trying to escape and he made it as far as the town’s gate by crawling with chains and balls before the boiling lava engulfs him. Ironically, today (24th August) is the day where Vesuvius strikes down on Pompeii. Sometimes, you cannot but feel blessed in times like this.

Ok, back to the topic, I have been continuing to bake macarons and beside one totally failed batch (never bake in anger) I had been successful in baking macarons and making my kind of flavours. Granted, it is still not as sophisticated as I wanted them to be, but taste and texture wise, I have to say I am pretty pleased.

 

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I apologise for the pictures. These were some of the macarons that I made for W’s mom to bring home back to Wagga. Front row from the left are the Chocolate macarons with a peppermint dark chocolate ganache and Bourbon Vanilla macarons with a white chocolate vanilla creme. The back row from the left was the surprising hit my macarons flavours; Curry and coconut and the purplish colour (I really wanted a black black macarons but I cannot find black powder colouring) macarons is my Oreo’s macarons.

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These are my Curry and coconut macarons. Curry flavoured shells with a coconut creme ganache and custard filling.

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I am really exasperated by this. I want a midnight black colour. I have tried Wilton’s black colour paste and also the popular Americolor’s black gel paste. Wilton’s produce a purple colour while Americolor’s produce the above, a dark grey colour. I honestly believe black colour shells will really look nice with the Oreo’s filling, even though right now, they match in colour.

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This one is my Oreo’s macarons made using Wilton’s colour paste. Main macaron is the standard size I have seen at Lindt’s and the one on the right is the smaller size which I much preferred. I like the little bite sized macarons which I think is just nice. Not overwhelming, so you would not be sick of it.

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Oreo’s macarons

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W’s dad does not like chocolate at all but he loves his strawberry jam. The above macarons were made this morning. It is a take on strawberry & cream. Pink macaron sandwiching strawberries cream made with St. Dalfour’s Strawberry jam. I would prefer to use fresh strawberry puree but it was a really last minute planning. So this was what I made. The olds both loved it and I packed them enough to bring back home.

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close up of the 1st batch of my curry macarons. I forgot to sprinkle some dessicated coconut 😦

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blueberry basil macarons. I made 10 of them as a taste test. They were gone lightning fast! Did not managed to take picture of the completed macarons.

Coming up, interested in some sourdough bread that has Guinness in it?

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There had been so many bloggers raving about macarons and so many bloggers making them so well. I am just posting because this is the first time I am making macaron with the current oven in the house, and its sort of a get to know you session. Above is the first ever batch i made, notice there was 2 with bumps. Ah well, did not stopped it from being delicious.

As the bender continues, Its scary is it not, this macaron thing. Once you start, you cannot stop. You just keep making them. It is like childbirth, a painful process (my arms are sore from sifting so much almond meal) but you keep doing it because the results are so worth it.

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first ever batch from this oven.

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second batch

BTW, it is painful to bake macarons with a small oven and with only 2 trays and 1 silicon mat. Like my lime green silicon mat? Funky isn’t it? 😀 Making them yourself is so much worth it, not only you get to learn to be patience and these temperamental babes really test your knowledge of baking and understanding of your individual ingredients, but it is also cheaper. In Melbourne right now, cheapest I have found is 1.95 aud at Cacao. Lindt new cafe that is at Collins St sells their Delice Macarons for 2.00 aud a pop and it is really not that great, still they are being sold out. When I went to the ChocolateRush festival last weekend, only the Cacao’s stand was selling macarons and they sold out, beating all those fancy cupcakes stands. The macaron craze has officially arrived in Melbourne, no thanks to that stank of a show, Masterchef Australia. (Let’s not even go there, I am a big fan of Masterchef UK, but Masterchef Australia, 1/3 into the season, for me, you just sank)

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the second batch fresh out of the oven

I was able to finally gauge my oven’s temperature after baking 4 batches. 160C for 5 minutes then followed by 100C for 30 minutes with the oven door ajar. When I was an apprentice, we used to make them in those big industrial pastry ovens, and what I remembered was my seniors they would use double tray (no need for me) and also baked it really low after the initial crust setting. When it is macaron baking time, the ovens will be occupied for at least 3 hrs. So, remembering them, I bring down my temperature and it worked beautifully, no sticking to the silicon mat and with a nice crisp shell and chewy center, just how I like it.

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I am pretty relieved. I have not baked them for ages (like years) and macarons is still one of those things that strike fear into my heart whenever I think about baking them (especially with unknown oven). Now, I have to say, layered cakes and artisan bread is still my crux. 😀

So, you may ask, what flavours did I make? The pictures above are whats left of the macarons after a 2 days carnage.  Two flavours were wiped out and these are what’s left and I am continuing to make more.

The flavours:

  • Crunchy peanut butter (finished)
  • Burnt coffee-toffee (finished)
  • Nutella with Dark chocolate (barely surviving)
  • Thyme scented lemon curd
  • Orange with orange marmalade
  • Oolong with Chai.

I am still on a bender, what I have up next, is thinking of making some adult macarons with a Shagger buttercream (Shagger- a cocktail made from Jagermeister, orangejuice & milk) and vodka lime buttercream. That is on my list. Also, to do some chocolate macarons a la Pierre Herme. Oh~ also Basil & blueberries. Ah, the possibilities are endless and only can be stopped by your lack of imagination.

Are you addicted? Because I am. They are so loveable.

p/s: i am not the most diligent of blog keeper and should any of the posts recipes interest you, please feel free to drop me a message and I will post up the recipe. ^_^

banan-caramel1-wordpressBanana cake layered with salted caramel mousse, dark chocolate glacage spiked with gorgeous leatherwood honey, topped with caramelised banana and accompanied by a 70% callebaut dark chocolate ice cream that sat on a bed of finely crumbed cinnamon streusel which is garnished with crushed candied cashews.

RECIPE

1. BANANA CAKE

INGREDIENTS

  • 198gm salted butter, softened
  • 225gm caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs (60gm each)
  • 220gm AP flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking soda, sift together with flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder, sift together with flour
  • 60ml whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3 big bananas, roughly chopped half and mashed the other half.

METHODS

  1. Preheat oven to 180 CELCIUS.
  2. Cream the butter and the sugar until really light and fluffy. You can see the butter turned an off white and the sugar has all been incorporated into the butter (no sandy texture).
  3. Add the eggs slowly.
  4. Mix in the milk and vanilla essence.
  5. Mix in both the mashed and chopped bananas. The reason here is to have the banana moisten the cake and to have the banana flavour, but also to have chunks of bananas that is lovely to bite into.
  6. Add in the sifted flour, baking powder and baking soda in batches.
  7. Incorporate the flour until just mixed. DO NOT OVER MIX! This is very important so you would not get a really hard cake.
  8. Pour into a lined or greased 8 inch cake tin. I used a round cake tin lined with parchment
  9. Bake in oven for 35 minutes or until skewer came out clean.
  10. Transfer to a line rack and let it cool completely.

2. SALTED CARAMEL

INGREDIENTS

  • 300gm dark brown sugar
  • 335ml cream
  • 85gm butter
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt

METHODS

  • Just dump them all into a pot and bring to slow boil and whisk it intermittenly.
  • Let cool.
  • This yield 2 cups. More than enough for sauce and also for mousse.

3. CHOCOLATE GLACAGE

INGREDIENTS

  • 150gm cream
  • 180g 70% dark chocolate
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) honey (I used leatherwood honey from Tasmania)

METHODS

  • put all ingredients in a mixing bowl and melt over the bain-marie.

4. Caramel Mousse

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup (australian std cup) salted caramel
  • 1 cup (australian std cup) cream
  • 2-1/2 sheet gold quality gelatine sheet (this is 2gm each, which will equal to 5gm)

METHODS

  • Soak gelatine in ice water to soften. Then squeeze out all the excess water.
  • Heat a small amount of caramel just enough to melt the gelatine. Put the gelatine pieces into the heated caramel and whisk thoroughly to incorporate the gelatine.
  • Pour back the gelatin-caramel mixture back into the rest of the caramel and let cool but not set.
  • Whip cream until soft peak.
  • Gradually fold in caramel into the cream.
  • Refrigerate mousse until almost set. Firm but not runny.

ASSEMBLAGE

  1. Trim the crust and sides of your cake.
  2. Divide cake into 3 layers (although I only did 2, it is much better to divide them into 3).
  3. Spread mousse onto the first 2 layers and also leave some mousse to filled the side. Smooth mousse.
  4. Pour chocolate glacage over entire cake.
  5. Refrigerate until set.

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Serve with reserved caramel sauce. Chocolate ice-cream optional. This is a decadent cake. W loves it. I had fun baking it and it was a fun using banana cake as the sponge rather than using normal sponge.

100_0545Pierre Herme’s sable au chocolat sale (salted chocolate shortbread) and meringue kisses. Both are sandwiched using Michel Linxe’s recipe of creme du chocolat. Pierre called for the shortbread to be rolled into a log, freeze/chill and then cut into disc and baked. I think that does not do any justice for this lovely recipe, so to up the glam factor, I shape them using square frilled cookie cutter. The meringues are byproduct from all the leftover egg whites which I had from making various products that only required egg yolks. Basic meringue recipe of sugar and egg white. No vinegar nor tartaric acid added. Piped onto prepared silicon mat or baking parchment and baked at 160C for 45 minutes if you want chewy center or one full hour for crispy melt in your mouth texture. I made plenty of the meringue from 4 whole egg whites, all sandwiched with the chocolate cream, they disappeared really fast in a household full of men, surprisingly, who are fussy about their sweets. Although, that said, I myself am guilty of over indulgence with them too, simply because they make such a wonderful combination. Highly recommended.

I cannot rave enough of this creme du chocolat recipe from Michel Linxe’s book “Maison du Chocolat”. It is an awesome book and and filled with recipes from Linxe’s chocolat boutique, yep, you guessed it, the eponymously titled Maison du Chocolat.

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Ok. First of all, many thanks to the lovely people (the few of you) that actually come and visit my pathetic little blog. I am not the most diligent of a blog keeper, that is mostly due to the fact that I am at a lost to write rather than the lack of materials. I have diligently posted lots of my culinary creations here, so no lacking of visuals, just some literary intelligence.

Don’t get me wrong, for people who knew me, they know that my brain is a constantly ticking mass, I am always thinking about ideas and having this one to one conversation with myself in my head, bouncing off ideas. Yet, how do I put it in a eloquent manner so that I actually makes a blog interesting, not dull and boring and not come across like I am crazy? I don’t know. Many a drafts later, I still am not happy.

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Subject at hand. Cherries. I thought about what to do with those damn cherries that I’ve got for days. The funny thing about winter in Australia is that, we get what other people are having as summer fruits during our cold weather.  Some, maybe not all, I do so want some lovely berries right now, but its impossible. LOL ok anyway…

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The colour tone came out quite good for the plating. I did 3 plating and was unhappy about how it turns out before being semi satisfied with this.

you know about ben and jerry’s “cherry garcia”?
cherry + vanilla ice cream + chocolate = cherry garcia

the elements that i have put in here:
>vanilla scented milk fluid gel (the white thing you see at the foreground)
>black cherry compote and rainier cherry compote. cooked individually using LM pectin. I made one of it sour and one of it sweet so as to have a flavour contrast. The reason for LM pectin is that I want a sort of a thermoreversible effect and also a sheen reminiscent of berry jams rather than just boring looking compote. I just wanted some real shiny compote and I got it.

20080101-100_0700>yoghurt croquant/crisp. i experimented on how to dry pure yoghurt in microwave after chancing upon several science articles on a science journal website. yoghurt in microwave gave me plenty of grievances (the amount of cleaning, bleh) then i further dry it in low temp oven to get the croquant. you can see it close up in the next picture! its alll pure yoghurt. 😀
>chocolate goes well with cherry, everybody knows that. i made some pliable chocolate ganache, unfortunately because i have to guess at the recipe to put in to make the flexible chocolate, i didnt get it quite right. anyway, its still edible (duh!) just not the right texture. so i mould it and coat with cocoa powder.
>honey meringue, crumbed
>home made honeycomb. i wanted big air pocket in my honeycomb, but i get a real fine texture instead. need to add more NaHCo3 next time.

pop!

Posted on: July 23, 2009

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Another round of playing about with ideas. Popcorn has been used in many progressive cuisine/molecular gastronomy as a ingredients quite widely by now (mid 2009).

I have seen pairing of popcorn with beef tenderloin, popcorn with foie (make sense, since its poultry with grains) and popcorn soup incarnation from wd-50, alinea and moto for example. Still, I was curious because I wanted to try to experience the taste although I don’t know about popcorn soup. Today, idea came knocking (well, it was a built up of many days of pondering) and i decided to put several taste and texture of corn and its flavour pals to the test.

that to say, i tried to add salt to every single sweet stuff that i have made lately. and surprisingly and sneakily enough. the people that has been chowing them down did not quite notice the subtle difference. I do though, maybe it is because I added it, so I know it is there and I am looking out for it.

peanut-choco sorbet shake. light but not sickly like milkshake. peanut nougatine with milk chocolate ice cream that was swirled with a dark chocolate ganache. Blended with just skimmed milk.
salted caramel. yum! (where have you been all my life?)
peanut butter powder. (peanut butter + toasted potato starch)
chocolate cookies crumbs
sweetcorn muffins. (going to get a thermowhip so i can make those aero cakes and breads)
salted butter popcorn.
pickled corn kernels. (pickled in brine with a salt/sugar w/v solution)

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I love the whole thing! And eating it with hand makes it so fun. I pick a piece of popcorn and mop up the caramel with the peanut butter and with the pickled corn kernel bits. It was so good! I didnt wanted to stop.

The peanut shake, although light, and yummy on its own, I find it somehow odd on the combination. The funny thing was, after polishing off the plate, I had a brimming hot cup of Chinese Jasmine Tea. WOW! From all that corn and caramel, the tea just makes everything clicks together in my mouth. I am in love.

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I like this not so ordinary combination of salty sweet chocolate + caramel + corn + jasmine tea dessert. got to put it in detailed notes in notebook. this one is a keeper. just need to refine the elements, taste and texture.

did notice how i seemed to plate many yellow colour looking stuff lately. must be the weather. it is winter in melbourne. that said, i got a bunch of fresh red cherries ready to be made-over.


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