Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Nigella's express mousse
I'm not sure if you've been watching the most recent Nigella Lawson series? Titled Nigella Express she promises you ideas to make good food fast with her usual "fantabulous" style. Don't get me wrong, I watched every episode but can't help feeling a bit cheated after every show. Yes, the recipes she shows are fast and no doubt tasty but a lot if somehow pre-made or bought and for me it takes the joy out of cooking a bit. Plus all the hair-flicking, flirting with the camera and vocabulary seems a little out of place to me.
Not that I want to slave over a hot stove every time but when having a dinner party, it's nice to make a bit of effort. But I appreciate that I can be a bit of a masochist when it comes to these things and she definitely has some nice ideas. I've become pretty addicted to her bean mash and when she made her no worries chocolate mousse, I knew I had to try it as I had the perfect occasion/audience.
A friend of mine has been organizing girlie weekend get-togethers in the Lake District for the last 4 years. They are weekends to catch up with her friends (and mine both from before and through this) and they are always fabulous. How often do you get the chance to spend a weekend with up to 20 women your own ages from all backgrounds, nationalities, professions in a wonderful setting?! Most make it every year and we chat lots, walk, have been known to treasure hunt and eat and drink lots of nice things. On Friday night it's casual pizza but on Saturday night all the stops are pulled out for a pot luck dinner. Everyone always makes a real effort and there is always to much food.
And this year was no exception, as I was traveling from Switzerland this year, I didn't want to make something very complicated but still wanted it to shine and I figured these would do the trick. And indeed they are a breeze to make (although I was a bit worries about pouring the hot chocolate mix into the beaten cream which totally deflated of course), set very fast and tasted lovely although it was incredibly rich and perhaps a bit too much after a 4 course meal! I paired them with some wafers inspired by the Essence cookbook I bought recently (fantastic! a definite recommendation and will blog about it soon!). These are very easy to make and look spectacular. The perfect dessert for another perfect weekend, I already look forward to the next one.
Rice paper and cocoa nib tuiles
50 g sugar
50 ml water
rice paper (from Asian supermarket;the white ones for making fresh spring rolls)
handful of broken cocoa nibs (or anything you want to use)
Boil the water and sugar together to make a syrup, then leave to cool. In the mean time line a baking tray with parchment paper, cut the rice paper into pieces and dip one into the syrup. Place it on the tray and sprinkle with some cocoa nibs. Repeat this process till you run out of rice paper. Dry these tuiles in the oven at 80°C for 3-4 hours, they will keep in an airtight container so are easy to make in advance.
And for the people who wanted the flat bread recipe:
2 tsp dried yeast (or 30g fresh)
450-475 ml water
750 g strong white flour
2tsp fine sea salt
black pepper freshly ground
50 ml olive oil
extra flour for rolling
Start about 2-3 hours before required and you need quite a bit of space to make these. First mix the flour, salt, pepper and olive oil then add in the yeast and mix well. Finally stir in the water bit by bit to make a soft dough that leaves the sides of the bowl clean. Knead for about 10 min till elastic - you can do this by hand or with a mixer, whatever you prefer - cover the bowl with a lid/moist towel and leave to rise in a warm place. to speed things up you can partially fill the sink with lukewarm water and place the bowl in there. Alternatively, heat the oven to 50°C, turn it off and place the bowl inside. When the dough has doubled in quantity, knock it back and divide in to 15 pieces. Roll each piece out on a floured surface shaped like a large pita bread. Cover loosely and leave to rest for 3 min. Barbecue over fresh hot coals for 1-2 min each side (the bubbles that pop up are great!). You can also try making them in the oven as it's not really barbecue weather, I would guess at 225°C for 4 min each side. If you can use a pizza stone that will make them puff up nicely.