Chocolate Cream And Home Made Meringues

c5On a regular basis when visiting my grandparents as a kid, at the end of the meal a big bowl was placed in the middle of the table. Being shorter then, all I could see above the rim of the bowl was a mound of whipped cream. I would squeal with joy and excitement—I knew exactly what was soon to be scooped out and placed in a bowl in front of me. Grandma’s chocolate cream. It’s the simplest thing. Not more than 5 minutes to throw together, then a few hours rest in the fridge. 

A velvety smooth, almost pudding like, chocolate. Not too sweet. Fluffy whipped cream is a must. The key ingredient to make this dessert complete: meringues. The sweetness and crunchiness brings it to a whole new level. We used to crush the meringues in our hand and carefully, like a calm snowfall, let the bits of meringue coat the chocolate and cream. Nostalgic much? You bet. Yum.signaturec2

Chocolate Cream

3 tbsp corn starch

4 tbsp cacao

4 tbsp sugar

3 cups whole milk

1 tbsp vanilla essence

In a large sauce pan, mix together all the dry ingredients, then add the milk. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 3 min. Stir constantly.

Add vanilla. Stir and transfer to a bowl or individual dishes. Sprinkle the surface with sugar (to prevent skin forming on the surface). Let the mixture cool slightly then cover in plastic wrap and move to the fridge to let it set for at least 2 hours.

Meringues

Meringues Suisse – is a lovely and professional method of making meringues by beating an egg white mixture in a double boiler. It creates a less brittle meringue, useful when they are small and delicate. It also helps ensure the sugar is properly dissolved, to prevent a crunchy final product. 

 

4 egg whites

250 grams icing sugar (2 cups)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Half fill a medium sized saucepan with water and heat until simmering.

Separate the egg whites and place in a large metal bowl – preferably unlined copper. Rest the bowl over the simmering pan and begin whisking the eggs.

Combine the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, while whisking. Continue beating the eggs at high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has a glossy texture. Mix in the vanilla.

Pipe the mixture on parchment paper into your favourite shape. Bake in a very cool oven, less than 100°C, for 2 to 4 hours, depending on the size of meringue.

Serve with whipped cream and meringues. Serves 4c1c4c3

Savoury Buttermilk Waffles with Tomatoes and Burrata

w5Waffles. Whenever I hear that word, I envision thin, crispy waffles, loaded with whipped cream and strawberry jam. Growing up, that is how I ate them. Today, waffles are more considered a dessert than a savoury dish but I like them both ways. They make a wonderful breakfast/brunch, whether sweet or savoury. 

When we have overnight visitors, I always try to make meals a bit more special. Something extra,  more than simply throwing a box of cereal or a loaf of bread on the counter and say,  ‘help yourselves.’ w1

Recently, I made these savoury waffles for some friends staying for the weekend. They brought some fresh burrata as a gift and I was thinking of a way to put it to good use. Adding some shredded carrots and chives to the waffle batter made them beautifully moist.

Mowing down on these warm waffles accompanied by fresh lettuce, tomatoes and a creamy burrata cheese I realize this is really is quite nice. I should do this more often—a big proper breakfast. Surrounded by cheers and laughter adds to the moment, but who needs guests for these anyway? So what if it is not a ‘special’ morning? Sometimes it’s important to treat ourselves a little. Think of something delicious to make and make this ordinary, nothing special morning, something to remember. 

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1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup sour cream

3 eggs

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

100g browned butter (unsalted)

1/4 cup finely chopped chives

1 cup grated carrots

Preheat the oven to 200F.

In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, milk, sour cream and eggs. In a separate bowl sift flour, baking powder and salt. While whisking, slowly add the flour mixture, a little bit at a time, to the batter then whisk until well blended. Again, while whisking, add the browned butter and the chives and carrots. Stir well. 

Bake the waffles according to the instructions on your waffle maker. Transfer waffles to a plate in the oven to keep warm. Serve with a simple tomato salad and shredded burrata cheese, sprinkled with sea salt.w3 w2

Chicken (not in a pot) Pie

c5Well, summer certainly flew by. I had grand plans to stuff this blog with amazing recipes and photos of fresh summer foods made with ingredients grown locally here in the County. Alas, I failed miserably. Today, we finished processing apples for our 2016 Golden Russet Cider and I realized autumn is almost over as well. But what a beautiful few months we’ve had.

Many of my friends love autumn weather. Though I do prefer summer heat, something must be said about crisp cooler days, warm sweaters, curling up on the sofa with a soft wooly blanket, hot baths, hot teas and heartier foods. c2

A chicken pot pie is a perfect autumn meal. While dining out, I will almost always order them if I see them on the menu. It can be risky since they can be bland. Of course, I always hope they will be amazing. Sometimes I win. Sometimes I lose.

Recently, I decided to make chicken pot pie at home. You may already know I have a hard time simply following a recipe. I need to make it my own. Tweak things here, change things there. Remove any hint of blandness. This is my chicken (not in a pot) pie. Quite different from what you may be used to. And why not? 

See you again soon.

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1 package frozen puff pastry – thawed

Poached Chicken:

3 chicken breasts

2 1/2 cups tomato sauce

1 cup water

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp sugar

Filling:

1 cup brussel sprouts, quartered

1 red pepper

3 cloves of garlic

3 stalks celery

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded

1 tsp curry

1/2 cup dry apple cider

3/4 cup heavy cream

3/4  cup tomato sauce

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

2 apples

salt

pepper

2 cups grated gruyere cheese

1 egg, whisked

In a large sauce pan, Poach the chicken breasts in the tomato sauce, water, vinegar, salt and sugar until cooked through, 15-20 min. Transfer breasts to a plate and let cool, then shred them. Set aside the tomato sauce.

Finely dice the red pepper, garlic, celery and jalapeño pepper. 

In a sauce pan, sauté the vegetables along with the curry in butter and olive oil until soft, 6-7 min. Add cider, cream, tomato sauce (from poaching the chicken breasts) and vinegar. Let simmer for 10 min. Remove from heat and let cool. When cool, peel the apples and grate them into the mixture along with the shredded chicken, stir well. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In two 9” diameter pie dishes, divide the filling equally. Add the cheese. Cut the pastry dough in two equal pieces and roll out. Place the pieces over each dish, overlapping the edge.  

Brush surface with the egg. Poke the dough with a knife a few times to allow steam to escape. Bake in the middle of the oven for 25-30 min until golden brown and puffy. Serves 6-8. c6c1c3