Magic Bullet for World Cup Hangover: Orange Sponge with Choc Mousse and Orange Mint Curd

“Ummmm”. Well, this is the kind of instant response I am usually seeking from mon chéri when I want to cheer him up.Still under the world cup hangover he unfortunately injured his ankle in a game of football and needs about 2-3 weeks of bed rest to recuperate. No golden boot here… 😦

With this sinful combination of orange and chocolate I’ve hit the nail on the head! I went about creating this dessert as I wanted to try out two recipes, one for an orange sponge cake by Julia Child and the other, a chocolate mousse by Christophe Felder. When you are trying to re-create recipes of two outstanding individuals of the culinary world, you can’t go wrong at all! Julia Child, one of the chefs whom I admire most for her determination and courage who brought about a revolution in the culinary world. Apart from the movies, the book “My Life in France” gives a humurous and lively representation of Julia’s culinary adventure. Christophe Felder, is not only an amazing pâtissier but is also considered as the creator of plated desserts by some critics!

No points for guessing that the combination of both the recipes turned out to be utterly delicious and fulfilling.
I have tried to create a plated dessert here since this is one of the skills I am trying to enhance and find my own style. 🙂

Orange Sponge with Choc Mousse and Orange Mint Curd

Orange Sponge with Choc Mousse and Orange Mint Curd

Ingredients :

Orange Sponge Cake : 9-inch cake serves 4-5 portions (I made half this recipe)

120 g sugar
4 egg yolks
Zest of 1Orange/ orange blossom water 1/2 tsp
72 ml orange juice
Salt, pinch
100 g all purpose flour
4 egg whites
Cream of tartar/ lemon juice/ salt, pinch
1 tbsp caster sugar

Candied orange peel:

1 orange
50 g sugar
100 ml water
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon (optional)
2 Tsp Vanilla sugar

Chocolate Mousse: Serves 12 (I made 2 portions)

100 g heavy cream
250 g chocolate (60-70% cocoa)
Cream of tartar/ lemon juice/ salt, pinch
6 egg whites
40 g sugar
2 egg yolks

Orange Mint Curd:

1/2 gelatin sheet (1g)
88 g butter, softened
1 egg
68 g sugar
65 ml orange juice
8 medium mint leaves

To decorate:

Pistachios, crushed, optional
Blanched almond flakes, optional
Icing sugar, optional
Ground Cinnamon, optional

DSC_0625

Instructions :

Orange Sponge Cake:
Butter and flour the cake tin. Preheat the oven to 170 C.

Beat the sugar and egg yolks until light and fluffy to form a ribbon.
Add the orange zest, orange juice and salt and beat until foamy.

Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks. Add the sugar and beat until it forms stiff peaks.

Pout one-third of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture and fold. Fold in the rest.

Pour into the cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.
Cool before serving.

Candied Orange Peels:

Bring a saucepan with water to a boil.Peel the orange into wide strips. Cut into strips.
Add to the boiling water, cook for a minute and drain. This will help to remove bitterness.

Now, combine the sugar and water and boil over medium heat stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Add the orange peel and boil for 2 minutes. Add the honey and stir.
Let the mixture Rest for 15 minutes.
Drain the peel. Transfer to a wire rack and let dry for an hour.

Whisk the sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl.
Add the orange peel to the cinnamon sugar and toss to coat.keep aside.

Chocolate Mousse:

Finely chop the chocolate.
Bring the cream to boil over medium heat. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it melt slightly. Whisk to make a smooth, shiny ganache.

Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites and whip until they form soft peaks.
Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until they hold a firm peak.Do not overbeat.

Whisk the egg yolks into the ganache.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg whites. Gently fold with a spatula. The mousse should be smooth.
Chill for an hour before serving .

Orange Mint Curd:

Soak the gelatin sheet in a bowl of cold water until softened, 5 to 10 minutes.

Pour the egg into a heavy saucepan and add the sugar. Whisk the eggs with the sugar.

Whisk in the orange juice. Continue to whisk over medium heat.
Tear the mint leaves into the pan and cook just until the cream comes to a boil and thickens.
Whisk in the softened gelatin.

Strain the cream over the softened butter. Using a hand mixer, beat the cream and butter for one minute until smooth.
Chill completely, at least 30-45 minutes.

DSC_0682

Assembling the cake:

Spoon a little orange curd on the plate.
Cut a piece of cake and place over the curd. Spoon some mousse over/beside the cake.
Dust the cake with icing sugar, cinnamon and top with almond flakes.
Sprinkle the pistachio and top with the candied citrus peel. Viola!

Plating A

Plating A

Plating B

Plating B

Was Plating B a Hit or a Miss? I would love to know which Plating appealed to you more?

Bon Apetit!

Jamie Oliver’s sweet and spicy beer chicken

I grew up in a vegetarian family where meat was prepared on special occasion or family get-togethers. My mother being a strict vegetarian made sure we had a healthy, wholesome diet consisting of vegetables, dals, rotis, rice , yogurt and salad and chutney.We were never bored as the food she prepared was always finger licking good. 🙂

However, at the end of each week we would be treated with exotic chicken or mutton curries for lunch.What amazes me is that never having eaten even an egg her life, my mom would dish out scrumptious chicken curries the taste of which I can never forget.

I do try to replicate her curries ever so often which have become quite famous among my friends.
I love my chicken curries, however I was tempted to try out roast chicken recipes.When I think of roasting something, be it veggies, meat or anything else, I instantly think of how Jamie Oliver could cook something.Jamie’s recipes are simple, rustic and have loads of flavor. This recipe has been adapted from Jamie Oliver as this one i couldn’t resist trying out.It is sweet, spicy and you can make it as much or less spicy as you prefer. Cooking this with beer takes the chicken to another level and the chicken stays moist and tender.

Sweet and Spicy Beer Chicken

Sweet and Spicy Beer Chicken

We were invited for a barbecue party on Easter, something Jeev gets super delighted about.So, he decided to get a whole chicken and make the sweet and spicy beer chicken. We went to the market on Saturday to buy a whole chicken, much to our dismay we found out that all the shops were closed due to Easter. Well, we did manage to find some thigh pieces from the supermarket and made our peace with that. No complaints as we had our special treat for the week. 🙂

The recipe can be found at Jamie’s website.
Click Here

IMG_4592

Serve with roasted vegetables of your choice.

Bon Apetit!

PS: As we didn’t cook an entire chicken, we have sprinkled over some beer instead.

Chocolate Delice

 

I had been in Wroclaw, Poland for a month now.It was January, still winter time and I was facing quite a bit of a challenge never having lived in a place where the  temperatures would drop to -17°C. 🙂 Not having to go out much, I decided to throw my first dinner party here! Having planned a few Indian starters and a chicken biryani I got to thinking about the dessert. I thought of skipping an Indian dessert as I have experienced that some people find them to be too sweet, well, not me. I love my jalebis and gulab jamun. 🙂

dsc_01997

I had recently bought few of Lindt chocolate 75% and 80 % cocoa and I couldn’t stop thinking how could I do justice to them.Pondering over it for quite some time I decided to go for a chocolate delice.This is no ordinary delice, it is the recipe of one of my favorite chef Raymond Blanc and in honesty, it turned out better than I imagined.It tasted absolutely divine and I had to pack some of the dessert to take home for one of my friends as he absolutely couldn’t get enough of it!

Not leaving myself enough time to make the dessert I had to tweak the base a bit and skip the elements that accentuate the dessert to another level. I would try it the next time I make this.

Link to Ramond Blanc’s recipe.

I couldn’t take any photographs but I have shared the video link for the recipe as well.

Serves 10

Ingredients:
For the base
100 g toasted hazelnuts
100 g caramelised sugar pieces OR
200 g Nutella
150 g bran flakes, slightly crushed

For the delice
140ml full-fat milk
325ml heavy cream
2 eggs
340g good-quality dark chocolate, minimum 60 per cent cocoa solids, roughly chopped

Instructions:

For the base, blend the hazelnuts and caramelised sugar pieces in a food processor until you have a smooth paste. Heat the paste in a small pan on a gentle heat until warmed through.I was running out of time to make this dessert,so I have used nutella instead of the hazelnut praline paste.If using nutella, microwave for a minute until warm.
nutella
Place the bran flakes and warmed praline paste into a mixing bowl and scrunch them together, using your hands, until the bran flakes have broken down and been incorporated into the paste.
bran

Line a flan/tart tin with a sheet of baking paper, then transfer the praline mixture onto it. Cover the praline mixture with a second sheet of baking paper, then roll the mixture out until it measures at least 14cm x 20cm/5½in x 8in and is 0.5cm/¼in thick.
Chill the base in the fridge for 30 minutes, or until set.

Meanwhile, for the delice, heat the milk and cream in a saucepan and gently over a medium heat until it just reaches boiling point.
Simultaneously, whisk the eggs in a bowl.

As the milk and cream mixture comes to the boil, pour it over the eggs, then whisk the mixture constantly until smooth and thick.

Stir in the chopped chocolate and whisk again until the chocolate has melted and the custard is smooth.I have used a 70:30 combination of Lindt 70% : 85% cocoa and it was simply divine.

Remove the base from the fridge and pour in the chocolate delice to fill the mould. Gently tap the sides of the mould to release any trapped air bubbles, then smooth the surface using a palette knife. Chill in the fridge for 6 hours at least or until completely set.

Note: The delice tastes best if made a day ahead.

Bon Apetit!

The Best Chewy Chocolate chip cookies ever!

 

I am currently living in Wroclaw,Poland and have had a hard time finding chocolate chips. So, I would bake my cookies sans chips or with chocolate pieces. One sunny Saturday morning, my hubby and I went for grocery shopping at Hala targowa, a fresh produce marketplace in Wroclaw.

MarketPlace

MarketPlace

While we were strolling along the many stalls,we discovered a cute little stall in a nook run by a young and friendly Polish girl who was selling candies and some cake decorating ingredients.
Hala_targowa_wrocław_wnętrze
Being me, I always like to scout for different things that I can incorporate in my baking.As i began gazing at the different colors of edible glitter, my eyes fell upon a box of chocolate chips.I was ecstatic and yes,you guessed it right.I had to make chocolate chip cookies right away!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

In this recipe I have used butter straight from the refrigerator and microwaved for 15-20 seconds to get the chill off it.This means you do not need to chill the dough.Chill for about 20-30 minutes if the dough is very soft.

DSC_0811

Makes about 12-14 cookies

Ingredients:

113 g butter
55 g caster sugar
100 g light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
150 g all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
100 g semi sweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas 5.Line two baking sheets with baking paper.

Remove the butter from the fridge and microwave for about 20 seconds.

In a bowl sift together all the dry ingredients except sugar.

In another bowl, beat the butter until smooth and creamy.Add the white and brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy.Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and beat until incorporated.

Add in the chocolate chips and mix through.

Chocolate Chips

Chocolate Chips

Refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes.

For the cookies,use an ice cream scoop and arrange on the baking tray leaving enough space for the cookies to spread.

DSC_0765
Bake for 9-10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown in color.

DSC_0817

Just out of the oven!

Just out of the oven!

Cool completely on wire rack.

Cool before serving

Cool before serving

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

DSC_0802
The chocolate chip cookies were crisp at the edges and chewy at the center,just as I like it.They were perfect and can satisfy your cravings for a chewy yummy chocolate chip cookie anytime.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie

Bon apetit!

Chocolate cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

I made my first chocolate cake eight years back….out of Betty Crockers cake mix in a pressure cooker…..It was delicious covered with chocolate buttercream I made myself.I would generally bake for my family being coached by my mother :), this was the first time I made a cake for one of my friends on his birthday.He ate almost half of it. 🙂
I still remember how happy it made him and I forayed into the world of baking and have loved every part of it.

This recipe for chocolate cupcakes has been apdated from the book “Cupcakes with attitude” by Benjamin Wong.The cupcakes turned out super moist, well balanced flavor of cocoa powder.The tangy cream cheese chocolate frosting takes the cupcake to another level and these would make for a perfect treat served at any occasion or party.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes


Makes 12

Ingredients:

Chocolate Cupcakes:

All purpose flour 125 g
Baking Powder 2 tsp
Butter 125 g, softened
Cocoa powder 2 tbsp
Caster sugar 125 g
Eggs 2, lightly beaten
Vanilla extract 1 tsp
Full cream milk 2 tbsp (optional)

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:
Cream Cheese 125 g, softened
Butter 50 g, softened
Semi sweet chocolate 60 g, chopped
Vanilla Extract 1 tsp
Milk 1-2 tbsp
Icing Sugar 50 g

DSC_0038
Instructions:

Chocolate Cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line muffin tray with cupcake liners.

Sift dry ingredients except sugar together. Set aside.

Cream butter in a mixing bowl with the help of an electric beater for a few minutes.
Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until well combined.

Add eggs and vanilla and beat until mixture is light and fluffy.

Add flour mixture and continue to beat until well combined.Do not overbeat.
Add milk if using and mix well.

Spoon batter into cupcake liners until three-quarters full. Bake for 20 minutes.
DSC_0043
When cupcakes are done, remove from the oven and let cupcakes sit in the muffin tray for 5 minutes.

Remove cupcakes from the tray and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting :

Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Let stand until just warm.
Beat cream cheese, butter and milk until light and fluffy.
Add vanilla essence and mix well with the beater.

Gradually add the icing sugar and beat until mixture is smooth.

Mix in melted chocolate until combined.

Using a piping bag pipe the cooled cupcakes or store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
DSC_0132

DSC_0171

Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!