Thursday, January 1, 2009

Yay To 2009!

This is going to be an exciting year for my family. Not only do I get to meet my little girl in April, I'm also looking forward to a good pal's wedding in romantic Bali, to Chinese New Year in S.'s hometown and X'mas back home.

The arrival of Bubu (that's what S. and I call her since we first found out of the pregnancy) is making me all hyped up and anxious. A friend suggested I name her "Cookie" since I love baking cookies so much. Erm, really didn't know how to react to that.

I've been thinking "Kate" would be nice. Yup I think this would be it if there are no violent objections from S. Not that he has many opinions about baby names (which frustrates me!)

My activities in cyberspace have diverted to avid reading of pregnancy-related articles and baby stuff shopping. That's why I've become such a bummer with blogging and confectionery making lately. As a redemption (if you came here to read about chocolate,) may I offer you an interesting article I just read online. This article about chocolate "sweetening" pregnancies could bring some cheer to you if you are expecting and craving for dark chocolate big time! Well, moderation is always the key! Please do speak to your ob or gynae regarding your caffeine intake to be on the safe side!!!

Yay to more chocolate and to 2009!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Onion Flowers

These elegant onion flowers are sitting in my living room now, and I can't resist taking a photo or two to capture their beauty. They last well too, I've gotten them 3 days ago and they look just as fresh as they were on day 1.

Very happy to find a florist near my place. It's run by a cheery chatty old gentleman. Somehow in Hong Kong, people manage well with small spaces. He runs his shop in a meter-wide lane between 2 buildings. It's feels like treasure hunting during flower shopping. ^__^

Friday, December 5, 2008

Coffee Truffles - Tribute to Cee

Unveiling... *drumroll*


I have to thank Cee for the start of my home chocolate making venture. It's been months since I left off. After moving to a new city and bad bouts of morning sickness the past few months, I'm finally ready to hit the kitchen again.

She brought me 3kg of Manjari all the way from Singapore! I've never worked with this dark chocolate from Valrhona before, and it's a going to be lots of experimentation with this new flavor. Manjari has a very light and refreshing taste with sourish notes.

The first batch of chocolates from this bagful is coffee truffles. Cee has something for her coffee, be it a wake-me-up in the morning, caffeine-high in the office at 2 pm, or an after-dinner dessert. Just pure addiction for her. I think she would have love them if she could try some. Till we meet again in January, I can only dedicate these truffles to her for now!


For this batch, I used:

- 350g of Manjari
- 250 ml of heavy/whipping cream
- 40g of butter (cubed)
- 40g of sugar
- 4g of instant coffee

1) Half melt the chocolate in a double boiler. (Some work with unmelted chocolate pieces. I use buttons too, but I find that many times, I cannot emulsify properly and get lumps or a grainy texture when I work with unmelted chocolate. Some chefs work with melted chocolate. I wonder what works for you?)
2) Heat cream in a saucepan over medium heat, add sugar and coffee. Stir till sugar and coffee granules are melted, and cream comes to a boil.
3) Pour cream over chocolate.
4) Stir mixture slowly. (A chocolate chef once told me to stir from in to out, meaning you work the chocolate from the center of the bowl and then outwards, in small and widening circular motions.
5) Add butter cubes slowly, a few cubes at a time.
6) Continue to stir till mixture is well emulsified.
7) Pour into a 8" square tray.
8) Let mixture cool till room temperature before putting the tray into the refrigerator. (Please be sure to wrap with plastic wrap, as chocolate takes on odors very easily.)
9) Leave overnight (or enough time to ensure a hard ganache to be cut into pieces.)
10) Cut into desired dimensions.
11) Coat or dust with cocoa powder.
12) Keep refrigerated! These truffles are not coated with tempered chocolate and do not keep well w/o refrigeration!


- I like it a lot, but would have liked it more if it were to be more milky. The acidity and aromatic "roastiness" of coffee complemented with the sourish, refreshing notes of Manjari but it left too strong an aftertaste for me. But it's just me. It's just like how some people would add milk to their coffee, and some would never have anything else but black.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sorry for the MIA!

Been busy, been lazy, had not been baking, had not been making chocolates, had not been myself! And it's for months. I've recently moved to a new city, and yes, besides being homesick and sick of unpacking, I haven't figured out where to get ingredients from! Cranky, grouchy and simply out of sorts. Did they tell you baking could be therapeutic?

I guess, when I can't stand it any longer, I would be doing Betty Crocker's brownies to get started. Speaking of which, I even messed up a BC brownie years ago when I just started baking. I accidentally switched my oven to grill mode and set the top of the brownie on fire! I jumped up and down on the kitchen floor, took the brownie tray out, and quickly slammed shut the oven door. Really didn't want to panic the smoke detector (Mom) and be banned from the kitchen forever. Haha...

Will still be missing in action for a while. Hope to be forgiven by Spatula, Whisk, Oven & Mixer. Hope to be back with a vengeance...

Monday, March 31, 2008

Chocolates seem to make me popular...

Haha... terrible blog title I know! Like all food bloggers or foodies would know, food unites. If there is something more I can add for chocolate, it's "Chocolate DELIGHTS".

It seems truffles have brought me some new friends, and have given me very good reasons to meet up with old ones. I enjoy packing things neatly, and adorning them with a simple ribbon; Nothing pleases me more when what's inside is edible. Sometimes I wonder if I have baked cookies and rolled truffles so I can package them and give away as presents? (and not really to eat them myself?) Nonetheless, the effects of my interests seem to have helped me break out of my sometimes-prolonged bouts of anti-social behavior, and I am happy I did. K. sent me a lovely test message telling how much the bag of truffles brighten her day. That text message brightens up mine too. :)

I met up with W. for coffee because he had long been a loyal guinea pig (well, I hope he no longer feels so...), and I wanted him to try this new recipe. Maybe W. (and E. and A.) didn't enjoy it, have not heard from him. It's okie! I think meeting up for coffee was the real deal.

Haha... silly post, I hope I'm the only one reading it! ^__^