Saturday, October 25, 2008

Chocolate Bavarois Recipe

I was craving something creamy and chocolatey.

My thoughts immediately turned to chocolate mousse, but the honest truth is that I've never really been comfortable with the raw egg whites present in an authentic mousse.

Then I found this recipe for chocolate bavarois that solved all of my problems! (Well this one at least) It's light and fluffy like whipped cream, but more stable thanks to a little gelatine and definitely rich! The recipe says to use 8 oz glasses for each serving, but it is so rich I could only eat half of that at a time, so you can definitely stretch out this recipe.

*sigh* I miss BF's camera...I can't seem to take a good picture with mine...

Recipe: Chocolate Bavarois


  • 200g (6 ½ oz) good quality dark chocolate
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar
  • 1 Tbsp gelatine
  • 1 ¼ cups whipping cream
Combine the chocolate and milk in a small pan. Stir over low heat until the chocolate has melted and the milk just comes to a boil. Remove from the heat.

Beat the egg yolks and sugar until combined. Gradually add the hot chocolate milk, whisking until combined. Return to a clean pan and cook over low heat until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Do not allow to boil. Remove from the heat.

Put 2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin in an even layer over the surface and leave to go spongy. Stir into the hot chocolate mixture until dissolved.

Refrigerate until the mixture is cold but not set, stirring occasionally. Beat the cream until soft peaks form, then fold into the chocolate mixture in two batches. Pour into six 250 ml (8 fl oz) glasses and refrigerate for several hours or overnight, or until set.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Congee, Tempura and Miso Soup Recipe

I tried out some new recipes while making lunch yesterday, so I thought I'd share them.

Over the past few weeks, I've been working on building habits and skills to transition from making North American meals to to making Japanese/Asian inspired meals instead. My set of matching dishes is slowly being replaced by all different sizes and shapes of dishes, each carefully selected and gorgeous on its own. My fridge and cupboards have been filling up with new and foreign ingredients for me to try. My goal is to get to a point where I can throw together a gorgeous, balanced Asian style meal without giving it much thought, rather than taking the 'easy' route of making the pasta or meat and potato type meals I grew up with and are ingrained in my psyche. I want it to become second nature. But it's a lot of work getting there, building up a repetoire of recipes and understanding the versatility of ingredients so that nothing gets wasted.

For example, I bought a large piece of gobo (burdock root) to use in the soup pictured below. Of course this is a small bowl of soup, so I didn't end up using the whole thing. Rather than wasting what was left, I took it as an opportunity to experience the different textures and flavours that can be created with this vegetable. I tried kinpara gobo, gobo and carrot braised with soy sauce and mirin and really liked it. And I tried tataki gobo, gobo boiled, smashed and mixed with sesame paste (I didn't care for this one). So nothing went to waste and I learned a little more.

One habit I've been attempting to build is to make soup with every meal, in traditional Japanese style. The first step was learning to make my own dashi stock, a lightly flavoured fish broth.

Here is the recipe:

Recipe: Dashi

- 15 Square inches of dried kelp (kombu)
- 1/2 cup dried bonito flakes
- 4 1/4 cups of cold spring water or filtered water

Rinse kombu and place in a pot with the water. Let sit for 20 minutes.

Slowly heat the pot until you see the bubbles that it is just starting to boil.

Remove from heat. Sprinkle bonito flakes on the top of the broth. Let sit for three minutes and then strain through cheesecloth so that you are left with only the broth.

It's really quick to make so I've started to keep a pitcher of it in the fridge at all times. This allows me to make a bowl of soup very quickly at mealtime. The recipe makes about 4 cups and my soup bowls hold 3/4 cup of soup, so it doesn't get a chance to go bad, I make a new batch every couple of days.

I'd also like to mention that I don't like the taste of fish, but this broth is so light tasting and has a bit of a smokey flavour, so that when seasoned with other ingredients, I quite enjoy it. The taste is so light in fact, that when I made it the first time using tap water, the flavour of the broth was completely overpowered by the minerals in the tap water, that's why the recipe calls for spring water.

So here is the lunch I made yesterday. My apologies for the picture. I realized after I took the pictures that everything is brown! So it doesn't look very appetizing I'm sure (although it really was delicious) but perhaps you'll try some of the individual components if not the whole meal.
For the rice dish, there is a small bowl of congee, a Chinese word for rice porridge. Congee is the Chinese equivalent to chicken soup, in that it's a comfort food that is served to sick people. I am in love with this food! It's hearty, delicious, and incredibly inexpensive and simple to make. I bought a bag of congee mix called '8 Treasure Congee' that contains about 20 servings for $1.65. It's basically a mix of white rice, black rice (that's what gives it the purple-y brown colour), green and red beans, barley, peanuts, cornmeal and something called flower beans, so it has both carb and protein content. You can make it at home easily, but I find it's just as easy to buy it premixed.

The recipe is incredibly easy. Throw 1/4 cup congee mix, 2 1/2 cups water, and a small packet of beef boullion in the rice cooker and press start on the porridge setting. You may have to run it through more than once to cook up all the water (On my Sanyo rice cooker I cook it on the 'porridge' setting and then a second time on the 'normal' setting and it comes out perfect). That's it! You can add meat or veggies to it of course, but it's also delicious on its own.

On the left are some tempura sweet potato wedges. My tempura skills still need work, so I will wait to post a recipe for that. The small dish above that contains dipping sauce for the tempura, a mix of dashi, soy sauce and mirin.

Finally there is a bowl of miso soup.

To make this, first fry thin slices of gobo in a bit of sesame oil for about a minute(to prepare gobo for use, run it under cold water and scrape of any dirt with the back of a knife). Mop up any remaining sesame oil with paper towel and add 3/4 cup of dashi, 2 tsp soy sauce and 2 tsp mirin and brought to a boil.

While the dashi is heating, in your soup bowl place one green onion, sliced, and 1 1/2 tsp white miso.

Add some thin carrot slices to the boiling soup and allow to simmer for about a minute, until carrots start to soften.

Spoon a little of the soup into the soup bowl and mix with the miso so that the miso becomes soft and smooth. This is to make it mix easier with the rest of the soup. Pour the soup from the pot into the bowl and stir. Serve piping hot. Serves 1 but recipe can be easily adjusted for more servings.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Masaman Beef Curry Recipe

Masaman curry is hideous. It looks like a tasteless pile of mush, completely unappetizing.

But, if you're brave enough to get a little closer to it, the smell will start to intrigue you. You'll notice a faint aroma of Indian spices like caradamom and cinnamon but there are other scents there too.

And if you work up the courage to actually taste'll be surprised and delighted at how delicious such an ugly food can be.

Of all of the curries I have tried so far, masaman beef curry is by far my favorite. It is so rich and hearty and the beef is incredibly soft and tender.

Over the past month or two, I've been spending a small fortune buying masaman curry from a local restaurant. When I saw how much of my food budget it was actually taking up, I decided it was time to figure out how to make it myself.

For a first try, it turned out excellent so I thought I would share the recipe which I adapted from another website. Here it is:

Recipe: Masaman Beef Curry


  • ½ large sweet potato
  • ½ lb stewing beef
  • 1 large white onion
  • ¾ cup coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp masaman curry paste
  • ½ cup water
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp tamarind pulp
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup chopped peanuts


Peel potato and slice into chunks, approximately 1” x 1” x ½”. Slice beef into thin slices, about 1” square and 3/8” thick. Cut onion into chunks of a similar size.

Heat ½ cup coconut milk and curry paste in a medium pot over medium heat and stir. Break up the paste and mix well with coconut milk. Stir constantly to keep the mixture from sticking.

When you see the red oil bubbling up (about 5 minutes), add the beef and stir to cover the beef with curry. Add ½ cup water or enough to cover the beef.

Add the cardamom, bay leaves, sugar, tamarind, cinnamon and salt and allow to stew for ½ hour, or until beef is tender.

Add remaining coconut milk, potatoes, onion and peanuts. Let simmer for 20 minutes more to cook the vegetables. This should be a fairly dry curry, however you may need to add more water if it the liquid becomes very low while simmering.

Serve over hot long grain white rice.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

I heard of a woman on the internet who tried fifty different chocolate chip cookie recipes to find the best one. I can't even imagine the magnitude of such an undertaking.

Of course I had to try the recipe! (although I've lost track of where the website was now)

No pictures this time because I made them at my mom's house and only brought a couple home. And they didn't last long!

These cookies are soft and chewy on the top and light and crispy on the bottom. They are absolutely perfect. The measurements are a bit strange (who uses eighths of a cup???) but just go with it :)

One change I made to the recipe: I missed the part about melting the butter so I ended up beating it until fluffy instead. I'm not sure how that would afect the end result.

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about three dozen.


  • 2 1/8 cups bleached all-purpose flour (about 10 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 cup brown sugar (light or dark), 7 ounces
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 - 2 cups chocolate chips or chunks (semi or bittersweet)
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

Either by hand or with electric mixer, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Mix in egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients; mix until just combined. Stir in chips.

Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving about 2" between cookies.

Bake, reversing cookie sheets' positions halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy, 10 to 12 minutes. (Frozen dough requires an extra 1 to 2 minutes baking time.) Cool cookies on cookie sheets. Serve or store in airtight container.

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