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mousse

A Frontyard Picnic

A Frontyard Picnic

So, I had this all planned out. I was going to make this awesome picnic spread with the products the lovely folks at Trois Petit Cochon sent across. Their picnic basket makes for a fantastic board as is but I decided to dare it up further. Then, me and partner were going to carry it to Astoria park, sit amidst the trees with a view of the bridge. I was going to uncork a nice bottle of chilled Rosé, pour into proper flutes (we don't do paper cups in our thirties.. we buy hampers with checkered cloth liners and leather straps to hold things together... #noirony), lean back and enjoy the afternoon. It was the pre-Memorial day picnic just right to ease into the Summer groove.

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Begin with Chocolate

Begin with Chocolate

There is so much to say for beginnings.. And, right ones, at that. 

But, they are tenuous things aren't they? I mean, how do you know what is the right way to start? Do you go by the correctness of precedence and established norms? Or, do you go with how you feel it should be? Mind or heart? In this day of everyday's disruptive forces, which, are all considered inventive and innovative, it feels as if  there is no wrong!

Perceptibly, there is more risk-taking happening around the world. Say what you want about the age of the millennials, and, they have been adored and maligned in equal parts, the the post-2012 era is significantly more assured, passionate and self-aware than ever before. We have more choices, than ever before, as also the option to be a slave to or master of them as much as of life. And, yet, often when I look around I realize that much of life seems to go on as is....

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Saying Thanks for your Generosity - IFBAfJ Auction Results

Canapes 1


I am bursting with excitement and happiness as I write this post. The International Food Bloggers Auction for Japan closed for bids last Sunday and I just tallied up the highest pledges. We raised $925 for the Japanese Red Cross Woohoo!!

Thank You soo much for your generous contributions and to everyone who participated in the auction. And, much gratitude to my fellow bloggers for opening their hearts and busy schedules to put aside some time for this auction!! Everyone accepted without a heartbeat's hesitation and I am so happy we all came together to lend a helping hand.

The list of winners and the pledge amounts is at the end of this post. All the winners will be receiving a mail from me shortly, with details on the logisitics... Once again, thank you! :)


Wine Braised storage Onions Canapes



And, to thank you and celebrate this human spirit, may I serve you this graceful and easy-to-put-together appetizer - Rice crackers with Wine Braised Onions over Peanut and Honey Mousse. Obviously, this pairs beautifully with bold, full bodied reds.

I would definitely recommend braising the onions in the same or similar (if you drink very expensively) wine as you plan to pour for the evening. However, if you are not a wine person and more the light summer spritzer kind, this appetizer still carries sufficient weight to keep you grounded. :)

The rice crackers I used are actually appalams from India. Appalams are dehydrated rice crackers that are typically deep fried. They provide an intense satifaction as a side with a simple rice and dal (and a spot of pickle) lunch.


Canapes-collage


They can be easily substituted with any Asian rice cracker. I like the crisp, grainy texture of the rice appalams and that contrasts nicely with smooth peanut mousse and the rich onions.

And, oh yes! It is gluten free! :)

So here is raising a toast to the winners and the Spirit of Japan! Cheers!


Breakfast Basket (Asha): Arun Manickavasagam ($100)

PB & J Hamper (Asha): Nancy Eatough ($200)

Afternoon Tea Basket (Liren): Nancy Eatough ($150)

Dutch Basket (Simone): Sarah Samuel($100)

Eggless Decorated Cookies (Aparna): Sarah Samuel ($25)

Margaret Fulton Favorite (Trissa): Maria Pearcy ($45)

Stafanie Alexander Gift Set (Trissa): Brendan Doggett ($275)

Kiwi Basket (Vanille): Robin Cammarota ($30)



Rice crackers with Wine Braised Onions over Peanut and Honey Mousse

(all amounts are approximate. Play with them!)

1 large yellow onion, julienned
1 cup bold red wine
3 T peanut butter
1 T honey
2 T heavy cream
rice crackers as needed
dill for garnish
oil, salt and pepper as needed

In a large heavy bottomed pan, heat the oil and add the onions. Saute for a couple of minutes. Add the wine. There should be enough to cover the onions and be a 1/4 inch above the level of the onions. Over low heat, occasionally stir the mixture until the wine has reduced and almost evaporated.

Meanwhile, whip peanut butter, cream and honey to a smooth mousse. Refrigerate until ready to assemble. You have to use it very quickly as other wise the fat starts seperating.

Fry the crackers just before serving. To assemble, pipe a bit of the peanut & honey mousse over the cracker, pile on some onions and garnish with dill. Serve immediately.

Chocolate, Avocado and Orange Mousse Entremets - Daring Bakers

Entremet - Chocolate, Orange and Avocado mousse1

As every month edges closer to its last week, there come a bit of flurry into the FSK household. I am fully aware, on day 1, that the DB posting date comes around 26 days hence. Yet, the passage of time takes me by surprise every 30 days!! LOL.

For most of the month, I manage to run on cruise control, save for the occasional turns off the beaten path. Thankfully, atleast once a month, I am literally shoved off the main road, down a winding byway that promises much discovery. Often, it ends in a marked adrenaline rush and a happy ending ;-)! {I shall not elaborate!}

Entremet - Chocolate and Orange mousse

The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert.

This month, this year :), I was really looking forward to making my version of the challenge. Being a connissiour of all things French and a proclaimed dessert addict, Entremets hold a cherished place in my heart, as these delicacies deserve to have.

Mousse Glass

Besides, after countless hours of mesmerising over Helene's and Aran's gorgeous creations, it indeed was an aspirational item to recreate. There could not have been a better catalyst than the DB challenge. I find that more often than not, the group tends to push my creative envelope and I am much grateful for that.

After debating with self about flavor profiles and desire to experiment, I settled on chocolate as the lead ingredient and avocado as its supporting cast.

Entremet - Chocolate and Orange mousse top

Now, that hit all the right buttons(!), a fabulous idea and great chance to experiment. Only, now I needed another ingredient that would balance the chocolate and avocado's creaminess and enhance their snooth flavors. And, that was citrus.

Oranges are flooding the market and despite the cold, it feels awesome to bite into the fresh flesh of a ripe, juicy orange after a warm, hearty meal. Somehow, it just lightens you up and gets you ready for the next one! :)

I used the recipe given to make my jaconde with chocolate decor crosslines. I made one sheet of it. My challenge was getting the sponge cooked without browning it too much. I overcooked the first one completely. The second was more successful but still too brown to stand up to a good entremet. Nevertheless, it was tasty!

Entremet sliced

After going through almost a whole carton of eggs, I now have a lot of yolks with only time limiting my use of them. But, stay tuned for some rich recipes with them! I did some to make the rich mousses I filled my entremets with. I made a couple with all three mousses and a few with just chocolate and orange topped with fresh slices of the fruit.

And, with the left over mousse, I just filled cups with the mousses alternated by slices of fresh fruit!


Chocolate Mousse
(adapted from Cannelle et Vanille)

2 egg yolks
50 g simple syrup
150 g whipping cream + 1 tsp powdered sugar
60 g bitter sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Note: To make the simple syrup, use equal parts sugar and water, heat until the sugar dissolves and cool to room temperature before using.

Whip the cream and sugar until it holds soft peaks. Set in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Whisk together the yolks and syrup until light. Place over double boiler and continue whisking until light, foamy and thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and continue whisking until the egg mixture has cooled up and whipped to be airy and fluffy like a custard cloud.

Gently fold in the liquid chocolate into the cooked custard. Fold a third of the whipped cream gently to loosen the mixture. Fold the remaining whipped cream to create a light mousse. Refrigerate for 30 mintues before piping or spooning into the prepared jaconde molds.


Orange Mousse

1 egg yolk
20 g simple syrup
1/3 cup heavy cream
zest of 1 orange

Whip the cream and sugar until it holds soft peaks. Set in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Whisk together the yolk and syrup until light. Place over double boiler and continue whisking until light, foamy and thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and continue whisking until the egg mixture has cooled up and whipped to be airy and fluffy like a custard cloud.

Gently fold in the zest and whipped cream to create a light mousse. Refrigerate for 30 mintues before piping or spooning into the prepared jaconde molds.


Avocado Mousse

1/2 ripe avocado
1 T cream
1 tsp salt
1.5 T powdered sugar (depending on ripeness)
1/6 cup whipped cream

Whip the cream to soft peaks. Puree the avocado, cream,salt and sugar and strain through a fine mesh for a smooth, creamy mixture. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Transfer to a piping bag, refrigerate for 30 minutes before piping.


Mousse Glass top view

Daring Bakers: Chocolate Pavlova with Banana Mascarpone Mousse and Vanilla Mascarpone Ice Cream

Choc Pavlova + Banana mascarpone mousse + Vanilla mascarpone ice cream + choc mascarpone sauce 1

July 3, 2010 Update: This post was featured on FoodBuzz Top 9 today

The June 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Dawn of Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers’ to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard.


I didn't think I was going to post about this at all. It has been a very trying month for me with few reasons to smile. Truth be told, it has been a challenging couple of years, really. While this blog has kept me sane through most of it, in my frustration, I turned my anger on it.

For some time, recently, I have been contemplating discontinuing blogging. While food is a passion and blogging a medium for expressing it, it really was meant to be a hobby, albeit a serious one. My profession is something else, atleast it is supposed to be.

Choc Pavlova + Banana mascarpone mousse2

Anyway, I lost interest in creating anything. I just wasn't upto putting on my culinary thinking cap when things were falling apart around me. But, eventually, I realised that the distraction that had worked so effectively so far, still had it's magic. Besides, I had made a commitment to the DB group and my conscience wouldn't let me break it..

Making the components of this challenge took away my mind from the reality, even if just for a couple of hours. It was a much needed break and breath of different air that I sorely needed. So, although late, here is my creation for this month's Daring Baker's challenge - Chocolate Pavlova with Banana Mascarpone Mousse and Vanilla Mascarpone Ice Cream.

Choc Pavlova + Banana mascarpone mousse + Vanilla mascarpone ice cream + choc mascarpone sauce

Verdict: Anyway, as to the dessert, it is indeed a fantastic one, at once light and rich with the different components coming together beautifully. Although, we were asked to make everything chocolate, since I am not a chocolate fan, I made a banana mousse instead. Also, I churned the mascarpone cream into ice cream. The rich creaminess lends itself very nicely for a smooth, creamy ice cream even without an ice cream maker.


Chocolate Meringue (for the chocolate Pavlova)

3 large egg whites
½ cup plus 1 tbsp (110 grams) white granulated sugar
¼ cup (30 grams) confectioner’s (icing) sugar
1/3 cup (30 grams) cocoa powder

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 200º F (95º C) degrees. Line two baking sheets with silpat or parchment and set aside.

Put the egg whites in a bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar about 1 tbsp at a time until stiff peaks form. Sift the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder over the egg whites and fold the dry ingredients into the white. (This looks like it will not happen. Fold gently and it will eventually come together.)

Fill a pastry bag with the meringue. Pipe the meringue into whatever shapes you desire. Alternatively, you could just free form your shapes and level them a bit with the back of a spoon. (Class made rounds, hearts, diamonds and an attempt at a clover was made!). Bake for 2-3 hours until the meringues become dry and crisp. Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


Banana Mascarpone Mousse

1 ripe banana
3 T heavy cream
2/3 cup (160g) mascarpone
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 T powdered sugar

Puree the banana with the cream until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in the powdered sugar and nutmeg. Add the mascarpone and beat until you get a creamy mixture of mousse consistency. Whip on medium speed until it holds soft peaks.

Chill for atleast 10 minutes before assembling onto the pavlova.


Crème Anglaise
(a component of the Vanilla Mascarpone Ice Cream below)

1 cup (235 mls) whole milk
1 cup (235 mls) heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
6 tbsp (75 grams) sugar

In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture turns pale yellow. Combine the milk, cream and vanilla in a saucepan over medium high heat, bringing the mixture to a boil. Take off the heat.

Pour about ½ cup of the hot liquid into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly to keep from making scrambled eggs. Pour the yolk mixture into the pan with the remaining cream mixture and put the heat back on medium.

Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens enough to lightly coat the back of a wooden spoon. DO NOT OVERCOOK. Remove the mixture from the heat and strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until the mixture is thoroughly chilled, about 2 hours or overnight.


Vanilla Mascarpone Ice Cream

1 recipe crème anglaise (above
2/3 cup (160g) mascarpone

Once the creme anglaise has chilled, add the mascarpone and whip to make a smooth mixture. Adjust sugar if needed. At this point follow your ice cream maker's instructions to churn and freeze for ice cream.

If you don't have an ice cream maker, freeze the mixture and after an hour, beat the mixture to break down the ice crystals and incorporate air. Repeat atleast 2 more times and then let freeze for atleast 4 hours.


Chocolate Mascarpone Cream

1/2 cup crème anglaise and mascarpone mixture (recipe above)
2 T heavy cream
1 T semi sweet chocolate

Melt the chocolate into the cream and cool to room temperature. Stir into the creme anglaise mixture.


Stacked Pavlova Assembly

Place one layer of the pavlova on the plate. Pipe the mousse onto the pavlovas. Sprinkle cocoa powder or chocolate shavings on the mousse layer and then arrange banana slices over it. Place the next layer of pavlova on the slices and repeat. Drizzle the chocolate mascarpone cream over the top. Top with the Vanilla Mascarpone ice cream.
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