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Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Chocolate mousse... just add water?!

Where did February go?? Apologies, dear readers :( I've been so busy eating, I've neglected my blog... so to kick it back off, let's talk chocolate!

If you've ever worked with chocolate, you probably know that you should always melt chocolate using a double boiler and never let any of the water splash into the chocolate as the chocolate will 'seize' meaning it will go rock solid and you'll have to throw it out and start again. So imagine my surprise when I read that Uber Chef-slash-Scientist Heston Blumenthal has made chocolate mousse using chocolate... and water!! Insanity!!!

If you haven't heard of Heston, do a YouTube search as his creations are mind boggling... or sell a kidney and get a table at his very exclusive restaurant in the UK, the Fat Duck.

Ok, back to the crazy Chocolate water mousse.

Normally you would use eggs, sugar and heavy cream to make a beautiful thick mousse - that's a lot of effort and a fair bit of fatty-fat-fat! So you may think that this dessert will fall a little flat. (ah, a rhyme!)

Don't despair, the final creation is so extremely rich and dense, you'll only need a small pot - as you can see I've used espresso glasses. For another twist, you could use a little coffee or liqueur in place of some of the water. The only real rule is that you must use very good chocolate! Remember as the dessert is just chocolate and water, you are really going to taste the chocolate that you've used. Please, at least 70% cocoa solids! Lindt has some lovely dark chocolates on the market now as well as some beautiful flavors like blueberry, mint, chilli, etc.

- 130gr chocolate
- 1/2 c water (or 100ml water and 25ml coffee or liqueur)

How to...
- Get two mixing bowls, one smaller then the other so it can sit inside the larger bowl. 
- Half fill the larger bowl with lots of ice and a little cold water, then place the smaller bowl inside so that it's touching the ice.
- Break up the chocolate, place in a saucepan with the half cup of water and melt gently over a medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Once the chocolate is melted, pour into the small mixing bowl that's sitting on the ice and whisk with an electric whisk for 2 to 3 minutes or until the mixture has thickened, it will turn a little pale. Be careful not to overwhip as the mixture will become grainy. But if you mess up, simply remelt the chocolate and start again.
SO fluffy!
- Spoon the mousse into your serving cups and refridgerate for 2-3 hours... you can eat it straight away but I prefer my mousse cold and loaded with fresh berries!


Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Ricotta Doughnuts

Apparently, breast feeding mums crave sugar as we need the extra energy to nourish our little bubs... sounds like a good excuse for extra desserts to me!

Other then the fact that these doughnuts are deep fried, they aren't too bad for you and they are super quick to make! You get protein from the ricotta, there's not much flour so they are quite light and fluffy and the sugar is minimal too. These doughnuts aren't super sweet, but you won't stop at just one! And even better you can flavor them anyway you like to suit your tastes.
It's best to use fresh ricotta as its a much better product to work with, but I had a tub of super smooth ricotta in my freezer which I defrosted and the results were just as good. It just took a bit of extra flour.

- 250gr ricotta
- 1/4 c castor sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 to 1 c self raising flour (it depends on the ricotta you use, you just want enough flour to make a wet, sticky dough)
Nutty - add 1/4 cup of both pistachios and pine nuts, roughly chopped (this is what I've made in the photo)
Chocolate - add 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1 tsp of vanilla
Citrus - add a tablespoon of finely grated zest of orange, lemon, lime or a combo of all
Or let me know your favorite flavor combo!

How to...

Fill a saucepan with enough vegetable oil to deep fry, about 4-5 cms deep and place over heat until hot. (I find a medium heat works best)
- In a mixing bowl, break up the ricotta with a fork to remove any large lumps.
- Add in the castor sugar, egg yolk, flavor of your choice and add just enough flour to make a sticky, wet dough.
- Using two tablespoons, carefully drop walnut size spoonfuls into the hot oil. If you haven't done this before it's easy! Just use one spoon to scoop up some of the dough and then use the other spoon to carefully push the dough into the hot oil. (I've tried to show you this in the photo below) Hold the spoon with the dough fairly close to the oil so it doesn't splash up and burn you!
- Fry a few at a time (don't over crowd the pot) for about 3-4 minutes. Don't forget to flip them over half way so they are golden on each side. They are cooked when you break one open and they are light and fluffy, not gooey.
- Once cooked, drain well on paper towel.
- I like to serve them dusted with icing sugar and a drizzle of honey, mmmmm!
- Makes about 12-15 doughnuts
Using 2 spoons to make the doughnut