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Snow White. The Cake. Special edition.

Every Christmas I re-open a jar of high hopes and reach to the bottom of it to grab anything I can find. I always find quite a lot, despite the collection of broken jars I have hidden in my metaphorical closet. Maybe it's the magic I'm trying to re-capture, this firefly that's almost always too fast. I get to touch a wing, I feel a flutter in the air, catch a glimpse of it in the darkness, but can't ever hold onto it. You shouldn't be chasin' fireflies, you'll say. I can't help it, I'll respond. I've been in love with Christmas since I was but a bear cub; big-eyed, curly and thirsty for that gooey feeling dripping slow and heavy like honey.

It all started with snow, I just know it. One snowflake and I was helpless. What is it? How does it simply fall from the sky, changing both our outside and our inside? It's like a big chunk of love has been frozen, then broken into a million pieces and spread all around, for everybody to get their share. I still find it amazing; I think it's nature at its best and most generous. The softest memory I have from my bear cub days is the “Bear-cub goes into the snow” one. It begins on a cold day, bear-cub looking out the window. You know: big eyed and all, bewitched by the world's snow coat. Bear-cub feels excitement gathering up in her stomach like a pack of fireflies, warming up her insides and lighting up her face. Bear-cub wants to go outside. Papa-bear is very protective; he is afraid that bear-cub is too fragile for the outside world, especially in this cold. He tells mama-bear to layer little bear-cub as she would a cake. Mama bear agrees and piles fabric after fabric, infinite layers of cotton and wool, topping it all with a big cosy hat, a fluffy scarf that covers half her face, mittens tied with string and of course, a big fur coat. I know, she's a bear, why would she need another one? Silly worried bear parents, they're so worried they don't make sense anymore. Bear-cub has grown fussy and impatient. Enough is enough! Door opens, cold enters, a gust of wind carrying snow hits bear-cub in the face. She is out of breath for a second, then recovers and takes her first step into the snow. It gathers under her foot - bear-cub's ear twitching under the big fluffy hat - and it makes the most satisfying sound she's ever heard (apart from the sound of the spoon accidentally hitting the sides if the honey jar). She dares to take another step, and another. Suddenly, she's part of the story. Mama-bear leaves bear-cub to play with other all-kinds-of-cubs, slowly closing the door, with lingering looks to make sure her bear cub is going to be alright. That was the most fun bear-cub has ever had in her life so far. She stayed outside as long as she could, even though she couldn't feel her feet anymore, her hands were wet and her chubby cheeks were berry red and cold as popsicles. When mama-bear called her inside she felt relieved to “have” to go - to have someone help her say goodbye - because she felt it was too hard of a decision to make on her own. She said “goodbye”, “thank you” and “see you tomorrow”.

Oddly enough my favourite part of this memory is not the cookie, but the after-taste. The after-taste is the feeling of sweet exhaustion and the big smile on my face. It's warmth slowly invading my numb body, it's my mother's hands cupping my cheeks and lending them their loving heat. It's my dad's worried, slightly disapproving look because “Look at you, you're all wet! You're freezing, you're almost blue” - said with fake authority, tenderness and care. It's that moment when all wet layers are shed, I sit on the floor, on my back, my cold feet up on our old terracotta stove, and I look up. I look at the world above me, my mum cooking, my dad moving around smelling everything. It was like watching the clouds on a sunny day. Their feet moving around me, making the floor shake was the music of life, of laughter and beginnings. That is my favourite firefly and the most elusive of them all.

In honor of those days and of my love for snow, today's recipe is a Romanian classic: Snow White Cake. I've always associated it with Snow White and the 7 dwarfs instead of the obvious “it's an all white cake, just like snow” explanation. Blame the Brothers Grimm, or Disney... Always blame Disney.

  • Things and stuff: a big ass baking tray, a rolling pin, one or two mixing bowls, a pot, hand mixer/old fashioned whisk, a grater, a spoon
  • It was this big:  about 30 cube shaped lil' cake bites
  • It took this long:  60 min. 

Ingredients and quantities:

The Process:

THE DOUGH

Pre-step: Heat that oven at 180 degrees.

Step 1: Egg, sugar and a pinch of salt. They boogie until foamy.

Step 2: Add the oil, little by little.

Step 3: Squeeze the juice from the lemon wedge all over the baking soda. Yes, in that little spoon. Yes, you can trust me. Do it. If you squeeze it, it will foam.

Step 4: Add le milk.

Step 5: Incorporate flour.

Step 6: Keep adding flour until you get a smooth, elastic dough.

Mine looked like a wrinkly baby from one side. Here's a close-up:

Step 7: Divide the dough in 3 as-equal-as-you-can parts and start rolling. The sheets should be thin and long. Place them on your upside-down tray. No need for perfect looking sheets of dough. Not that type of cake.

Step 8: Pop it in the oven for 7 to 10 min. Don't just trust the oven. Look at it. When the edges are getting nice and brown, you're good to go. Or you get them brown all over, like I did. It was definitely by choice.

THE VANILLA CREAM

Pre-step: Take the butter out of the fridge and cut it into small cubes. You need that nice and softened. 

Step 1: Sugar and eggs do the twist again, like they did... well, a little while ago.

They go from this:

To this foamy looking motha' lovin' fellow:

Step 5: That cocaine lookin' white stuff is your flour. Be a good boy and mix that until it disappears.

Step 6: Pour your milk into a pot. Get your vanilla in there, grate some lemon (I grated a bit of orange too, cause I'm sentimental like that) and bring that up to a simmer. Have it hot but not boiling.

Step 7: Come on, you know where I'm going with this. You're gonna make me say it anyway, aren't you? Fine. You pour the milky goodness over the eggy stuff, while whisking with feeling. I'm not gonna impose a feeling here, be your own master.

Step 8: Back on the stove. Low heat. Stay there and mix constantly. The minute you go away it will stick to the bottom of the pot and ruin your dreams. You wouldn't want that to happen, right?!

Step 9: When it reaches a almost custard consistency, let it chill in a cool spot. It doesn't have to be cold, just not hot. Warm is good. At this point, add the juice from half of lemon and incorporate the butter. 

Step 10: Layers, love!

Step 9: Finish with cream on top. Sprinkle desiccated coconut and fairy dust. I mean, dusting sugar.

Step 10: Cover that with cling film all over and let it sit overnight in the fridge. The cream will soften up the cake and you won't believe how heavenly this turns out. I have many pictures to try and prove that.

Eating Tenerife

It was a cold, windy and of course, rainy Dublin day. Stormy weather is the best weather to leave one country for another. Even if for the shortest of time. And leaving stormy Dublin for Tenerife in December feels amazing. Who am I kiddin'? Any time is a good time to leave Dublin for Tenerife. Exact location?

Even more exact? Hotel Gran Melia Palacio De Isora. You got that right, I stayed in a place that has "palacio" in its name. I'm a fairy princess. This was my first time ever in a resort and my first “all inclusive-silver bracelet treatment”. Beside from feeling like the poster child for “privileged white girl sips cocktails by the pool” I felt a whole range of feelings that I will try to express throughout this post. Let's hope I make it.

Day one. We arrived at about 6 pm. It was cloudy and windy. Like Dublin! But warm, a warm breeze, a warm feeling in my feet, my hands, my face. A warm feeling I embrace! Palm trees in sight, none looking misplaced, and I kid you not, a smell of chocolate in the air! And then I just burst into song:

All I want is a room somewhere/ Far away from the cold night air/ With one enormous chair/ Oh, wouldn't it be loverly?/ Lots of chocolate for me to eat/ Lots of coal makin' lots of heat/ !Warm face, warm hands, warm feet/ Oh, wouldn't it be loverly?

And, just as Eliza Doolittle, I got my wish to come true! Arriving in a place that smells like chocolate?! A place that exudes chocolate and waffle smell in the air (with no chocolate waffles in sight) must be a truly magical place! By far, the most inviting first whiff of a country :D After an hour bus ride, we arrive at Palacio de Isora, amaze at the size of it (insert Steve Irwin's passionate voice here), check in and amaze at the room. Now, it's true, I haven't been in that many rooms, but this was a pretty sweet room! I loved the dim lighting, the warm, cosy atmosphere, the giant bed, the good fabrics, the big bathroom with the inviting tub, their 90-euro-to-take-home robes and the big mirrors everywhere.

After taking a shower, we got fancy and went to dinner, because hunger is a real thing and it makes people do terrible things that they almost immediately regret. Oasis. That is the name we picked out of a hat for that night. First on the list was Cipirones a la plancha con majada de ajo y perejil. As in grilled baby squid with garlic and parsley. I forgot to photograph it until the very last minute because hunger met deliciousness and I couldn't control my feelings. You've been there, you understand.

Now let me tell you what my mouth had to say about it. It felt chewy, but soft, had the most subtle, mild fishy flavour. Light on the parsley, generous on the lime, refreshing but garlicky at the same time. Simplicity is a beautiful thing. I had them with bread and butter because there is never a bad time for bread and butter. I've come to realize that I haven't been paying squids enough attention! I've been so in love with prawns all my life, I failed to acknowledge that the seafood world has more to offer! I love these little wizard hat-shaped pouches of awesomeness!

For the main course, I went with Tranco de merluza con pisto manchego y salsa de azafran con patatas asadas. Translation? Overbaked hake with ratatouille in a saffron sauce with baked potatoes.

I chose the hake because I don't like my fish to be too fishy because I am a delicate snowflake and I can't take strong, overwhelming flavours. This fish was right up my alley, nice and mild. The fish, not my alley. Now “my alley” magically transformed into a weird euphemism. Stop. Back to the fish. It was a bit overdone in some places, but hey, they did put that in the name, so it was pretty much expected. I did not eat the skin, though, because I only like crispy and this was not crispy. Flawless logic, gents! It doesn't get any better than this!

The potatoes were the 3 musketeers of this dish. Mainly, because there were 3 pieces of potato on the plate. As an official potato enthusiast, I must admit I felt the roots of disappointment slowly growing in my heart. I tried to bitch about it, but I couldn't. It was enough, it was all I needed. It was also delish! (delish - probably the “whitest” word out there, posh as fuck, very inappropriate). These potatoes claimed to be baked, I suspect them of either being baked or boiled until their interior is soft and theeeen sealed in a pan, with butter! These little bricks of joy were like Santa Claus in potato form! They come but once a year, they have a fat exterior, they're soft on the inside and they make you happy!

Now let's talk about the ratatouille because that was luscious! Saffron and ratatouille were just meant to be a couple, they should walk hand in hand on the plates of life para siempre! Sweet, glossy, peppery, delicate, distinct flavours that lived in harmony! The fact that they were tiny made them even more precious, it was like eating little gems from a puddle of gold.

Even though I've had ratatouille before, I've never had this feeling before. I recognized something, there was a very familiar, very ancient savor that both my palate and my heart reacted to. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I felt like the sun of my childhood was shining on my face again. A dim, yellow light in a steamy day and it smelled like summer, vegetables and care. As I kept trying to make sense of it, it hit me that this is what Anton Ego must have felt! Yes, Anton Ego from Ratatouille! Yes, the animation! No, it's not ridiculous! It's quite wonderful, actually. I felt quite wonderful. And I was reminded of love and food, and the love for food.

Para el postre - Espuma de crema catalana sobre almibar de platano y cristales de canela. In the restaurants very own translation, I give you Creme brulee mousse & a banana syrup & cinnamon crystals. I think this is quite possibly the lightest thing I have ever had in my mouth. It was like eating a cloud! A banana, cinnamon and coconut flavoured cloud! With chopped walnuts on top! Incredibly airy, light, and delightfully milky! And then you get hit by this intense banana essence that perfumes everything slowly but surely. This is the type of dessert that surrounds you and lures in until you become infatuated, seduced, smitten. A smitten kitten. The beauty of it is that you don't even know how it happened, you just know you slipped and it was good.

Day two. Waking up late is very satisfying when you know there is no need for breakfast because you get to have lunch as your first meal of the day. You crazy rebel, you. It felt like one of those days where you replace your regular cup o' tea with a tall beer and some grilled stuff. Well, guess what? There was this place called Market Grill, right by the pool! When it's meant to be, you just know it. You're gonna have to put your Buena Vista Social Club soundtrack on. Do it now. I can wait...

First choice: Shrimp & seafood roll, with wakame seaweed, pineapple, avocado cream & sweet mayo. The first batch disappeared before we knew what was happening. 4 pieces of goodness, quick-like-a-cat movements and puff, out of sight, gone! Evidently, we asked for another one, in order to understand the deliciousness that we hastily put in our faces. The second batch, was as expected as the second coming of Jesus! It took a while, is what I'm trying to say. So, by the time it landed on our table we were just as hungry and desperate as we were at the beginning of the meal! That's why it slipped my mind to take a freakin' picture of the damn thing! Twice! Thank the fat Buddha for my memory, for I cannot unsee what I have seen, and I cannot untaste what I have tasted. This was an excellent example of how a perfect balance of flavours makes little things achieve greatness. It was like a playground of fresh and creamy, chewy and soft, sweet and savoury. The ingredients worked so well together, that you hardly distinguished them separately! They were strong separately, but together they were INVINCIBLE! (read as dramatically as possible). Also, the second batch was juicier than the first one AND instead of a ketchup-smeared-plate, we got a spicy sauce-smeared-plate. Much, much better! Holy trinity alert: savoury, sweet and spicy! All rolled into one! Sing it with me: ♪ I'm a bitch/ I'm a lover... ♪ No? enough of that? Fine.

Now, we're gonna talk pork, baby! To be more exact Bruschetta de lomo/ Loin ciabatta. Marinated iberian pork loin on ciabatta, covered with roasted peppers and aioli sauce! And it looked like this:

Pork and peppers. Perfection. Pork and peppers perfection. PPP! There are no needs for many words or fancy descriptions here, it's very straight forward. The charred ciabatta, crunchy everywhere except for the top, that's been infused with the pepper sauces and has become a sponge that absorbs all the goodness and then passes it on. It reminds me of Monica's infamous “moistmaker”.

On top of that comes the brotherhood of the peppers. Red and green, sweet, sweeter and a bit bitter. Then pork meets garlic sauce and everybody lives happily ever after. Fries on the side, beer- very near and a view of a big blue pool. And I'M NOT COLD! Fuck me, am I spoiled, or what?!

Day three. There is no better breakfast than a breakfast I did not make. Not because I'm not good at it, but because I'm at my most lazy in the morning, so I would much rather be taken care of. I've had mornings where I just dropped my eggs on the floor, tryin' to get them out of the fridge, so I try to learn from that.

The breakfast place was Pangeea. Buffet style food as far as the eye can see. I must say it is both a joy and a burden to have so many choices! The selection was huge! Eggs – every way you want them, cheese, salami, ham, bacon, potatoes, veggies, salads, cereals, pancakes, waffles, churros, croissants, donuts, fruits! I couldn't even decide what to drink: coffee, tea, fresh juices, smoothies, sparkling wine?! Choose wisely, take the wine ;). I ate 2 breakfasts, one lunch and one dinner there. My advice? Go for breakfast. Have anything but the stale, oily lookin' churros, the “pancakes” (that were too thick to be crepes, not even close to the idea of pancakes, just looked unappetizing and sad) and the waffles were only ok. The croissants are top notch, fresh fruits are awesome, the eggs are delicious, the cheese is amazing! I had an orange-looking cheese, that I adored! Mildly spicy, very creamy, tasted like red pesto, maybe with a touch of fennel in there! Subtle but mouth watering! My favourite thing there!

The fresh smoothies are a thing of joy, the juices are yummy, and the sparkling wine is...well, sparkling wine in the morning, so it's good! The lunch and the dinner were so disappointing, that it makes me sad to even talk about it. For lunch I had a broccoli soup that was as boring and uneventful as a bank statement, the paella was overdone and too salty, the fish was bitter (apparently it's supposed to be that way), the mussels were drenched in lemon, you couldn't feel their natural sweetness anymore, the best thing on my plate were the peas, because no one did anything to disrupt their natural peasyness. As for dinner, the potatoes were ok, the salad was good, the lamb was overdone, stringy and tasteless, to the point where I couldn't eat it, stuffed my face with bread and butter instead. So what have we learned? Breakfast good, lunch and dinner not so much.

As I was pondering the food that I ate and the fact that nothing really blew my mind, I realized that “Eating Tenerife” is quite... misleading. I actually ate the food in a resort, in a small town in Tenerife. That is not at all the same. That day, lounging by the pool, gazing at my surroundings, I had the very precise feeling of a fake world. ♫ Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality ♫ .

A mirage, a man built the illusion. Resorts sell illusions to people that want the illusion, need the illusion, pay for the illusion. The seclusion from anything in the outside world helps maintain the fantasy that life is this clean, peaceful, perfectly painted place. A fools' paradise with organised palm trees, planted koi fish, pools as far as the eye can see, a wellness area, a sports area, a spa. Don't get me wrong, it's beautiful, it's relaxing, it's even necessary sometimes to shield yourself from the world and be in a bubble of wellness. It's like therapy. You relax, you unwind, you replace the ugly images with blue pools, the noisy city sounds with the sound of water and cocktail glasses cling cling-ing each other in celebration of the silence that surrounds you. It's a sanitary, tidy, unpolluted world!

It's everything the real world isn't! It's a peaceful island of reassurance. I just think... No, I feel it lacks authenticity. It lacks the unpredictability of the outside world! When we visited the beach, the first thing I felt and said was: "Even the wind blows differently here!" My feet felt that as soon as I stepped out of the resort. Even though everything around the hotel was fashioned too, they couldn't touch the ocean, baby! The ocean was wild and free, as untamed as ever! The contrast was strong with this one.

What it's really missing is the flavour of the country you are in. I don't think it makes much of a difference if you're in Spain, Italy or France while you're inside a resort and you stay there. You could be anywhere and nowhere at all. It's not wrong, it's just different kinds of travelling. There are those who just wanna relax and they go for the resort experience, there are those who go full experience, meet the locals, walk like them, talk like them, and then there's everything in the middle.

For me, this experience would have never been as colourful without a taste of that little town. I wanna see what makes it different than everything I've seen so far, or what pieces of other countries I can re-find there. On the day, we went beyond the resort's walls and into the city, we were surprised by the contrast between the two worlds.

Unlike the resort, the town was poor, small and quite sad. Oddly enough (or not!) it reminded me of areas of my own country. There were some restaurants that looked like the old-school ones that we have in the mountains, and overall, the whole town centre felt like Piata Mare, from Bacau (my hometown), many years ago. This reference will mean nothing to most of you, but those who know will completely understand. It had the same mix of stores that sell low-quality products, depressing looking buildings, small town-small scale quality. Just less... alive and kind of grumpy.

That was the general feeling until I walked into a store to buy unknown fruits! There was an explosion of life in the form of the old man who owned the store! While he was busy with some others customers we went ahead and picked a bunch of fruits. Foolishly, I grabbed a cactus fruit ignoring all the precious advice from Baloo. ♫ Don't pick the prickly pear by the paw/ When you pick a pear/ Try to use the claw ♫. Too little, too late, Baloo! I was left with a hand full of tiny hair-like thorns and I had no idea how to eat any of the fruits in my hands. So, I asked jovially, in Spanish and got that and much more! There began an enthusiastic, fast-paced conversation (my Spanish still has training wheels) that offered an answer to all my fruit related questions, a solution to get rid of the thorns and a prickly pear on the house! Add to that the infusion of joy in my system and the big smile on my face, and we have one happy experience! For 3 grumpy men that silently judge you on the street, you get one awesome one, and renounce defeat! The men here are not subtle, you can tell that they're scanning you, and you can tell where they start, where they stop and what they think in between! “These sombreros aren't big enough! Bad little white girl!” Finally, the words of Pheobe make sense!

After all this excitement, we headed to where our eyes saw the ocean, we found a lil' place that served cheese&ham toasties, beer and amazing sunsets and we enjoyed the magic of simple things.

That night we ate the fruits. First of all, aside from the prickly pear, I have no idea what I ate. They were, of course not labelled, and I of course forgot/ didn't understand their names in the first place. So, if anybody has any ideas, please, do tell. Don't leave me alone in the darkness, show me the light. Meanwhile, I have named them myself, to make this process easier and sillier.

1. “The tiniest of them all”. It was like eating grapefruit mousse, only more perfumed.

2. “El che se chupa” . This one gets its name from the precious instructions we got from el canario. He said that the way to eat it is to cut it on one end and suck the inside out. “Se chupa!” “Y si quiremos chupar los dos?” “Pues, chupan los dos”. And we laughed and laughed. I didn't take a picture for this one, cause we were to busy, chupar no es tan facile. It had passion fruit texture, it was more sour than sweet, but very fragrant.

3. “The vagina looking mofo”. I know, it's harsh, but it's true. Look for yourself:

First, it has a very intense scent. Restrain yourself from all the jokes, please keep it in yo' pants. It kinda smells like windshield washing fluid. Second, the skin is bitter. The strongest sensation you get is similar with having swallowed perfume; it leaves a very strong, sweet, pungent aftertaste. If you're gonna make pussy jokes, I guess this is truly the best time. But, wait there's more. It's generally sweet and pleasant, with a texture resembling pumpkin puree, or the combo between a banana and a very floury apple.

4. “The big orange”. Plum in texture. A mix of ripe plum, peach and mango in the taste department. I think I actually declared this one my favourite.

5. ”The one with an actual name”. On the inside it looks like a cucumber with bigger, stronger, bolder seeds. It taste like a pear and an watermelon had a baby, and that baby is more like the mother than the father, but you can still tell who's his daddy. It's soft in the middle (like a pear), fresh and hard on the outside (like a cucumber-melon hybrid, if you wish). Umph, there it is:

Day four. The last supper. Well, it was actually lunch, but you understand the impulse. What we did was go full circle, so we returned to Oasis, to our mantequilla de todos los dias, the crusty bread that demanded Ratatouille moments, and the best olives that have ever visited this lil' ol' mouth of mine. Why? Because unlike regular olives, these ones lived with garlic for the longest of time! Thus, they shared flavours, swapped fluids, brought out the best in each other and became better people along the way. I mean olives! Better olives. I know olives are not people and people are not olives. But what if they were? (insert dramatic chipmunk here)

♫ Now lemme tell 'bout these prawns I know/ they're my babies and I love them so/ That's why I know, yes, I know/ Hallelujah, I just love them so! ♫

Langostinos al ajillo/ King prawn in hot garlic oil! Prawns in the sky with diamonds, that's what it felt like. Lemme tell you the story about the piece of crusty bread that gets dipped into the magical potion that is that oil. Lemme tell you how you must hug the bread between your fingers and slowly but firmly convince those little pieces of browned garlic to hold on, because they're going somewhere where they will truly be appreciated. How breathing intensifies, hands get trembly and mouth goes watery following the road from the pan to your hungry, wanting mouth. You're almost there, when you remember you forgot the prawn; instinctively your other hand reaches for that pink, firm, sweet bastard. You grab it by the tail and then you unite everything in your mouth. You start chewing, you feel the sweetness of the prawn, the many faces of the garlic, the chives, the sprinkle of chilli, the hint of lemon, the soft, the firm, the crunch. All those sounds hit the top of your mouth and everything echoes. Everywhere. And that, ladies and gentleman, is a proper food experience.

Next: Chopitos fritos/ Fried baby squid.

A lot of them! Soft, juicy and chewy on the inside, all dressed up in crispy clothes of crunchy batter. Accompanied by a mayonnaise sauce that I found too heavy for the squids. They needed a lighter, fresher, tangy partner to balance them out. Now you now the story: girl meets squid, but girl already met prawn and is forever in love, so whatever squid would do at this point, girl's heart belongs to another. And word on the street is they've already engaged in carnal relations. So, she gives squid a sweet peck on the cheek and bids him farewell. The End.

Rodaballo a la salsa Menier con papas arrugadas y verduras/ Grilled Turbot with a Meuniere sauce served with canarian wrinkly potatoes and vegetables.

By the time the fish happened I was full. Full of awesome, but still, full. But I am human, thus unable to resist such beauty, and very willing to throw my newly acquired principles into the air and proceed to overstuffing my face. The fish was cooked perfectly, the sauce was buttery lusciousness, the veggies (carrots, green beans, celeriac) were lovely and fresh, still had a good amount of crunch in them, and the potatoes were baked whole and indeed, very wrinkly.

La torta de queso fue el final. I ended it all with the cheesecake. The cheat cheesecake that provided me with all the creaminess necessary for 3 days. Yes, my cup was full and was bound to overflow. Cheesy? You bet your ass it was.

Adios, muchisimas gracias! Che sean felices!

Señoras y Señores, this was Food Talk. Come again ;)

S01E12 The one with the salmon roulettes

Whistle while you work, tanananananana (music sign), then watch this clip and try to guess the lovely episode.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdpipXQdxIw

Man, I wish I had a monkey! Then I wouldn't need an excuse to listen to that song. I'd call her Cheesecake, and she would be my Cheesecake! I'd teach her how to cook and we would make wonderful,slightly hairy treats together! She'd d have a tiny apron that says “go bananas” and she would. And I'd say “Cheesie, stop going bananas, we need to get those cookies in the oven!” And like a good sidekick, she would listen. In one year tops, we'd have our own tv show “There's a monkey in my kitchen!” and thus Ratatouille will be long forgotten because Cheesecake will be in your homes every Saturday evening, basically saying that if a monkey can do it, you can do it too! I think that is the perfect angle and my key to that door called “success” that I can't seem to find on my own. That's why I need a monkey! If tomorrow, this idea still sounds as life changing as it does now, I'm going ape! I swear I'm not high, nor drunk. I do crave cheesecake like a mother fucker, so maybe that explains a piece of the craziness you just witnessed. The other piece has no excuse. It's merely a result of the lack of grip over my own life. So, nothing new there. Fortunately, Wikihow truly has the answers for everything!

http://www.wikihow.com/Get-a-Grip-over-Your-Own-Life

Hey, I'm all better now! Anyway, the episode is “The one with all the poker” and the recipe is “Salmon roulletes with assorted cruditees”. Sounds fancy as fuck. It's really not a big deal, don't be deceived. If you translate it into regular, non-posh vocabulary, it's just salmon rolls with raw veggies. It was either this or “pretz” and I just found this more appealing.

Things and stuff:

  • a whisk
  • a couple of bowls
  • a pan
  • knife
  • spoon

It was this big:

  • 5 crepes, 1 big roll, 10 pinwheel shaped rolls

It took this long:

15-20 min preparation, 1 hour for the crepe batter to sit before using.

Ingredients:


The Process:
THE CREPE BATTER
Step 1: Crack the eggs in a mixing bowl, near the flour. Do it in a silly way, so that it looks like a flour-eating monster.

Step 2: Start killing the monster with a whisk. As in beat those eggs into submission. 

Step 3: Incorporate the flour into the eggs. It should be fairly thick and lump free.

Step 4: Add the milk, slowly but surely. Then throw in there the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a lil' bit of salt. Cover with cling film or a plate and leave to sit for at least an hour.

Step 5: Heat a pan. Non stick, if you want your life to be easy and crepes to be crepes. Convince a knob a butter to melt, and then pour a ladle of your batter and swirl it around until it evenly covers the bottom of your pan. Leave it to cook for a minute or so and then flip it like there's no tomorrow. Another 30 seconds on the other side and you are done! Repeat until you're out of batter! Ta-daaa:

THE FILLING

Step 1: Mix the goat cheese with the greek yogurt, sage and pepper.

Step 2: Chop the avocado.

Step 3: Do nothing to the salmon.

THE ASSEMBLY

Step 1: Take a double piece of cling film, large enough to fit 2 crepes, slightly overlapping each-other. Like so:

Step 2: Layer that with your goat cheese and yogurt filling.

Step 3: Salmon time! Squeeze some lemon juice on that layer of pink, it will love it!

Step 4: Get that avocado in there!

Step 5: Roll it like a cigar and smoke it! 

Umph, there it is! Do not attempt to *really* smoke it. Let's play pretend, act like it comes naturally ;)

Step 6: Leave it in the fridge to think about its new found salami shape.At least half an hour, or up to one day. I used mine the second day.

Step 7: Slice those babies up, arrange them on a plate with your veggies of choice and a olive oil and lemon vinaigrette.

Feedback: Easy to make, they look fancy enough to fool a bunch a people expecting fancy things from you and it's delicious! I see no down side to this. I wonder what Cheesecake would think of these. She's more into desserts really, but I do trust her monkey taste buds.

I bid you farewell, homies! Until the next one, happy eating! ;)

Eating London, baby!

Whenever I travel, I am on an eating mission! Sometimes I amaze myself with the ability to focus solely on the food I will be eating and forget anything else. Vorfreude definitely applies here. (Vorfreude = the joyful, intense anticipation that comes from imagining future pleasures) Excuse me if I sounded snobbish, totally accidental.

First stop: Maverick, near London Victoria station. It's a lovely little place, fuss-free atmosphere, intimate and friendly in a cool, minimalist way. Loved the music! The waitress was nice enough to show me what playlist they had on, because I got stuck on a song I loved but couldn't identify (Shazam failed me). The song, just in case you are consumed by curiosity, was Down in Mexico by The Coasters. Soul in my ears, pizza and wine in my mouth, friend I haven't seen in forever across the table. Life was sweet that day.

Now let's talk pizza. There were three of us so I got to taste more than one pizza. Yay! I'll start talking about the dough, because a pizza's magic starts with the dough. It was Italian honesty on a plate. Crusty, thin, not oily. A delight in its simplicity. I had the Genovese. Classic gal (pesto, cherry tomatoes, rocket) with the twist of smoked mozzarella. I've always loved smoked cheese, but rarely had it on pizza successfully because it tends to overpower all the other flavours. Here it added another layer for my taste buds to explore. Add this to the amazing pesto, that is surely made by the hands of a wonderful human being, and you are in a world of intense, soulful flavours. The cherry tomatoes complement this perfectly, they bring that freshness and sweetness we all crave in our pizzas - and in our personal lives. Rocket and Parmesan on top, and that's it. Beautiful.

Second pizza choice at the table was Capra. Goat cheese, red onion, pomegranate drizzle. A good combo, if you're looking for something less traditional. And again, these people know their cheese! Not too much, so it doesn't steal the show. Balance, my friend. The last I tried of the three was the “Bianca”. Marinated aubergine, smoked mozzarella, rocket, basil, Parmesan shavings. This one I found to be a bit dry for my taste, the aubergine needed more seasoning, and overall it felt like it lacked flavor. I like my pizza on the juicy side, so maybe that is just my opinion. Or maybe not. Keep you guessing.

There was this one place that slightly changed my life. We looked for it like one looks for Neverland, we waited for it as one awaits that letter from Hogwarts that's lost in the mail, and we walked like Frodo walked to throw that damn ring in Sauron's bitch ass face! We skipped lunch in order to get to that damn bridge, missed afternoon tea, clearly my judgement was clotted. Uh, I mean clouded, damn scone craving keeps following me around! By the time we were eager to sit down and have an amazing meal, we were long hungry and tired. Every place we liked was full, while every ugly-ass “ we have a buffalo head in the window”- place was of course empty. One moment I'm saying we have to keep looking, not settle, we waited so far, we have to find a good place with awesome food, otherwise all the sacrifice was for nothing! (Dramatic, I know. It's how I roll.) The next moment I'm willing to eat soup in a plastic cup in a sad looking place, that's gonna close in like 10 min. “Fuck it, I just want hot something in my mouth and a place TO SIIIIIT!” I miss seating! Remember seating?! And being warm?! I get awfully cranky and desperate when not fed. My friend, who knows me, knew I would soon regret giving up, so she pulled me out of it and we kept looking for that place, that magical damn place that would put delicious stuff in our mouths, dim lighting on our faces and good music in our freaking ears!

After realizing we're in the wrong part of London, we took a bus, we saw a place and immediately got off there. If you know what I mean. French, dim, jazz, baguette at the door, oh my! Purrfection! Je vous presente Cafe Rouge, mes amis! We had the Lobster bisque, the Plateau a partager ( board of charcuterie, olives, pâté, soft goats' cheese, rocket and a selection of bread with d'Isigny butter) and the holy trinity dessert. Washed down, of course, with wine. Because of all the reasons. The lobster bisque was so dreamy. Like Colin Firth in The Bridget Jones diaries. Sweet, steamy, intense, rich, creamy as fuck, respectful and loves you for who you really are! Also, the puddle of melted butter in the middle was “make you weak in the knees-decadent”. Wink wink, baby! I didn't think anything could top this, until I had a lusty love affair with the pate. I've never known pate like this, I was living in the dark 'till it came along and showed me what true pate tastes like. It had such complex, complete flavours, 5 dimensions all in one bite! His heart, core, grounded, meaty flavour, the base that then sustains the sweetness, and then the lightness, and then the perfume! Oh, the perfume! And the texture! It was like cutting into cheesecake, creamy, airy, layered! Imagine this: a slice of baguette- crusty outside, soft inside, cut in a big, inviting chunk, drizzle that with melted butter with garlic and herbs, then top with the pate. I got dizzy at one point. Orgasmic. I swear! I have dreams about that pate. Pate has become my life's new goal. Obsessive? You bet! That's what great food does.

That platter was amazing. The goat cheese was just as it should be, and the meat was chewy and salty and sweet! In perfect harmony with everything there!

For the dessert we had miniature tarte tatin, tarte au citron and fondant aux chocolats. Even though I wasn't blown away by this (not sure I even had the capacity at this point) it was all good. It was the perfect ending to a decadent meal. I don't have a picture for this one, because we rushed everything into our mouths. Like animals. Graceful, slightly boozed up animals. 

When I planned the whole London fast get away, the only thing I did was ask someone who is as passionate about good food as I am, where must I eat? One of the places on her list was The Breakfast Club. We were pretty far away from city center, so by the time we got there is was lunch, and it was full and we were far too hungry for a 30 min wait. We vowed to return the second day, and headed to 5 Guys Burgers and Fries to stuff our faces with something downright dirty. It did not disappoint. That was the dirtiest breakfast I've ever had. I mean if you're looking to eat good bad stuff, this is the place to go. It's greasy, it's saucy, the potatoes are real, "you bite the fry, the fry bites back!" and the burgers are made of fat dreams. Unfortunately for me, my stomach prefers the French decadence over the American splurge. By the end of that meal I just felt like I've been stuffed like a turkey and then punched in the stomach. Don't worry, an entire day of walking took care of that. 

As promised, the next day we went back to the Breakfast club. At around 3 a clock. No, we are not morning people. Their shit is clearly the good kind, because the place is packed! You either get there early enough to say "Top o' the mornin' to ya' laddies!" or late late lunch, when people with jobs and such are not having lunch. The place is like a beehive, buzzing with loud talk, fast food, good music, and generally a very hungry energy. The lucky thing was that we already had breakfast so we were not hungry, we went there to stuff our faces with pancakes. And everybody knows you don't need to be hungry to eat pancakes. When I saw their menu I suddenly got a Sophie's choice kinda feeling. I looked around and everybody had delicious looking stuff on their plate! Huevos rancheros, Pulled pork sandwich served with fries, Eggs Benedict, Eggs Florentine and oh Lord, The Pancakes! I mean The All American just brings one to tears: pancakes, eggs, sausage, homestyle fried potatoes, streaky bacon and maple syrup! Pancakes and fries on the same plate?! Clearly the work of the devil! Because we weren't hungry, we decided to meet in the middle. So we got the Eggs Benedict and The Pancakes & berries. My boyfriend had the coffee and I had The Slow Boy juice (Apple, Carrot, Orange, Ginger). And boy, was it slow! They kinda forgot about us for a while, it was clearly a mistake that doesn't happen very often and they handled it perfectly. They took responsibility for the mistake, apologized, served us promptly and said that the bill is on them, because we had to wait for so long. 10/10! I will probably repeat myself on this subject! A lot! The food was amazing! The eggs were just how The God of Eggs intended! Poached to perfection, placed on a toasted English muffin dressed in ham clothes, topped with creamy hollandaise sauce and sent off into the world! 

Perfect and untouched. Just like a freshly snowed road. And then, you gotta walk all over that! Poke it, and surely yellow goodness will overflow! 

And right when I'm about to say that there just is no better way to a breakfast-loving-heart, the pancakes and berries appear like a gift sent from heaven! 'Cause why else I am hearing angels sing?! Those pancakes are the thought that keeps me balanced in times of madness! There are animals being hunted by stupid assholes, people being murdered by insane assholes, injustice, poverty, fear and more assholerry! A cruel world. Yes, but also a world with amazing pancakes. That you share with friends. Or that you eat alone, to fill the friends-shaped-hole in your heart. With pancakes. All I'm saying is as long as there are pancakes like these, there is hope. As fluffy as a bear cub's bottom, as chewy as Chewbacca and as sweet as a squirrel in the snow (a bunny would have been too sweet, a squirrel is perfect), these pancakes are the past, the present and the future! And if that wasn't enough sitting on top of this glorious stack of happiness, is a luscious vanilla cream that sits there like lipstick on a pretty girl's lips. Effortlessly. Like it belongs. Like it's been there since the beginning of time. You think I'm done? I am not done. On and around this mountain of joy, topped with a fat cloud of fat, berries of all kinds are sprinkled around. Like precious beads of freshness that bring out the very best in you. All of this sitting in a puddle of maple syrup, also known as the Elixir of life and love and all that is good in the world. So next time, I'm in London, you know it's gonna be pancake time! Oh, Lordy, Lordy! It turns out I do wanna roam again!

 Also, I love Borough Market. I wanna live there. I'll be a market child, wild and free. 

 Ladies and gentlemen, this was FoodTalk. Come again.

S01E11 The one with the biscotti cookies

Introduciiiiiing tooday's reeeeciiipeeeee! From “The one with two parts”, in the left corner we have Mad About You's Jamie and Fran, in the riiiight corner Pheobe Buffay! And in the middle “ 2 lattes and some biscotti cookies”. Now fight in the name of Italian goodies! If you are confused, go and watch the thing! What are you still doing here? If you know what I'm talking about, you're gonna wanna watch it again, because that's just the kind of person you are.

A lot of things happened in the world since the last post. Adele performed “Hello” on TV for the first time, Caitlin Jenner “finally” got her driver's license gender changed, teenage girl punched 87-year-old woman in face on bus in Britain, las empleadas domésticas en la Ciudad de México luchan por un trato digno, and I am on a low carb diet. You be the judge and establish which of these shocked you to your very core. I am not one to have dreams of skinnyness (yes, I did just make that up), I'm actually quite fond of my Nigella Lawson style curves . I just wanna transform the jelly parts of me into..well...not so jelly parts of me. You know, from soft cheese to a cheese that can hold its form. And the headline would read: The magical journey from mozzarella to Gruyere! [insert music notes] Reeead all about iiiit, reeeead aaaall aaabouuut iiit! However, I would like to do this while at the same time being true to my carb-loving self. I feel like my identity is being stolen from me! Yes, carbs are a part of my identity!I know there are brothers and sisters out there who fully understand me. I also know, some of you are calling bullshit on this. Papa Bear, honey, sugar snap, if you haven't had carbs taken away from you, you don't get a say on this one! You can't understand how it feels to suddenly rely on meat and eggs to fill you up. And no, the eggs cannot come in the form of a deliciously yellow batter that you can make into cupcakes, pancakes and/or generally slather your jelly-like body with. No! Even the stuff that autumnal baking dreams are made of are off limits. No more apple pies, pear and frangipane strudel, pumpkin spice flavoured everything, rice pudding with home made sour cherry jam, mashed potatoes with mascarpone instead of butter! Goodbye butter biscuits! Goodbye biscuits for that matter! A world without carbs is a world I don't wanna live in. It's a sad, bitter, black and white world, and bitch, I need colour! Foreeeeeveeer fat, I'm gonna beee foreeeveeer faaat! Do you really wanna eat forever? Foooreveeer caaarbs!

That being said, I decided to try my best but not deny myself what I consider basic needs. Because if baking bread (wholemeal even) at 11 a clock at night is wrong, I don't wanna be right. Eating 5 slices of it with butter and gruyere cheese, is definitely wrong. They might as well put it on the label :“Eating Gruyere doesn't make you Gruyere”. So much for that whole “You are what you eat” thang. It's important to know the difference between right and wrong so that there is no confusion in your mind when you're being a bad, naughty, downright dirty girl.

Tune in, and witness how I fail at life but win at food! Every week, I will have a “Naughty list” to share with the world (as graphically as possible). You know, cause I need to keep count. And what better way to do it then publicly? Declaring it, like you would in a great arena of shame. Glorious!

Now, let's focus on the recipe. "Cantucci" as they are called in their homeland, are biscotti that were born in the region of Toscany, the place where dreams are made of food. Traditionally they are made with almonds and almonds only. But we are a creative people and thus man has made many different combos. I will be making both the original one and a Christmasy one with pistachios, white chocolate, cranberries and orange zest. What makes them different from other types of biscuits is the fact that they are double baked for that extra crunchy, perfect-to-dunk -in-wine texture. Oh, did I not mention? Yeah, italians dunk them in Vin Santo toscano and gracefully stuff their faces with it! In our episode, they accompany lattes because they're in a coffee shop in NY and because God doesn't like it when I drink my wine with biscuits. He's such a purist. Even more so than the Italians.

Things and stuff:

  • bowls
  • mixer/old fashioned whisk
  • oven tray
  • parchment paper
  • brush/your fingers

It was this big:

  • aprox. 25 biscotti

It took this long:

  • 25 min. to make, 35 to bake! I made the rhyme, you do the math. It's only fair.

Ingredients and quantities:

The Process:

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 190 degrees/ gas mark 5/ moderately hot.

Step 2: Take your nuts of choice and lay them in a tray, as you would a lover in bed.

Step 3: Toast them for 3-4 min.

Step 4: Crack 2 of the 3 eggs in a bowl, add the sugar and salt.

Step 5: Wisk, beat, do whatever you have to do to get the mixture foamy and pale.

Step 6: Add the butter. Melted and cooled down.Mix.

Step 7: Start slowly adding the flour. One tablespoon at a time. This is how it looked after half of the flor was incorporated:

Step 8: Add the rest and you will get a very soft dough, like this:

Step 9: This is where I realized that I forgot to add the baking soda (when adding the flour). First I panicked. Then I added it anyway, stirred the shit out of it, and voila! Like it never happened.

This is a picture to help you understand the magic of Irish weather and thus how lighting is an adventurous game I play every time I take these pictures. That cloud moved within seconds! That's how fast the sky changes its profile picture around here.

Step 10: I divided the dough in two almost equal for the two different biscotti. Now add your cool(ed) nuts,choc&cranberries. Drop that stuff from a height, because it makes you feel badass.

Step 11: Lightly flour a surface. Place dough.

Step 12: Play with that dough. Like playdough! Omg, I just got that! Shape it into a log. That is easier than you may think it is. This has got to be the most cooperant, gentle, docile, well behaved, polite dough ever! Just...really the nicest dough!

Step 13: Remember that third egg? Crack it, gently whisk it, brush them logs with it.

Step 14: Get those babies in the oven for 20 min at 190 degrees and just stalk them until they're nice and tanned.

Step 15: Get them outta there, let them cool for 5-10 min. Cut them diagonally. Try not to eat them. I ate some just like that, because IJBDBCHVC. Like I need a reason?!

Step 16: Tuck them in close together, like a big tray filled with babies. Now forget about my foolish baby comparison and get them back in the oven for 10-15 min at 170 degrees.

That is all! Fatto! Finito! Tutto aposto!

Now make yourself a latte, sprinke some crazy cinnamon on it and go to town. Methaporically. Don't really go into town, you just made biscotti!

Jump, Bis Scotty! Go on, take that bubble bath, you'll feel so much better.

A mountain is a mountain. When it's a biscuit one, it's just much easier to climb

I dunked a biscotti and I likeeed it.

Come on close, young dunked Cantucci!

Il Cantuccio nostagico.

In my corner. Where pretty things happen. Especially when you bake them.

Feedback: I'm just gonna say this: easy and delicios. Next time, I'm drowning them in wine! Because getting drunk on food is awesome!

Yours truly, forever a bit fat, Gogo Cherie!

Until the next one, happy eating!

S01E10 The one with the tuna melt and curly fries

(Joey enters, looking extremely pleased with himself.)

Chandler: Hey, where you been?

Joey: I went back to Riff’s. I think Ursula likes me. All I ordered was coffee, she brought me a tuna melt and four plates of curly fries.

Chandler: Score.

Yes, ladies and gents, that is all, cause who needs more? Tuna melt and fries. The simple joys of life, right? Usually, yes. Let me explain.

I was expecting my “return” recipe on blog to be an exciting and fun as fuck experience. Instead, it was more like sex without being hungry. I mean horny! Like sex without being horny! I MEAN LIKE EATING WITHOUT BEING HUNGRY! Man, those two are easy to fuck up. Mess up! Jeez! What's wrong with me?! Don't answer that.

Aaaaanyway, I was trying to say that this was the most MEH experience I have ever had in the kitchen. If you ignore that one hand job I tried a while ago. No! No, it's not true. I'm obviously joking. I'm quite successful at hand jobs. I am so sorry you had to read that! I could erase that, it's true. But I won't. You see, It's a thing I'm trying out. I write as I speak, once it's out there, I can't take it back. The system is designed to make me more careful when I open my big mouth and say all sorts of stupid things. It's supposed to make me more aware and responsible. I think it's working, I'm really starting to see results.

So, let me paint the picture for you. In theory, I was really looking forward to make the food and eat the food and be dazzled by the food. I was expecting to be seduced even. Did not happen. It felt like my body was being dragged around by pure inertia and my mind was foggy and unimpressed. Like being in a dream. A boring dream. The fact that my camera decided to be a deceitful lil' bitch sure spiced things up. Even though I checked the battery on my camera before starting, somehow, after taking 2 very bad pictures, it died. You'd think that would make me very, very angry, and make me want to do terrible things (I do hope you read this in the right voice, otherwise it's a waste). But I wasn't angry, or mad or pissed off or other synonyms. I was... very British about it. Very “oh, bugger”. So, I put the bitch down, grabbed my phone with resigned disgust and moved on with my life. Here's a visual, if you're having trouble:

Before this whole “doing” phase started, I, of course did my curly fries research, to find out the “how to” of it all. First, I struggled (some, not a lot) with finding a curly fries cutter that would not drill a hole in my pockets. What has it got in its pocketses?! Nothing, niente, nada! That baby is as empty as it can be! I refuse to spend more than 10 anythings on something that I will most likely not use again. So, I turned to the internet for help and the internet did not disappoint. All you need is (no, not love) skewers, potatoes and patience. S.P.P! Smug potato peeler. Silly pekingese porn star! Superior puzzle, Pinky. And theeeen, spiral potatoes, pal! That's the closest you're gonna get to curly fries! And the cheapest, too. As for the tuna melt, easy peasy!

Things and stuff:

  • knife
  • wooden skewers
  • a pan
  • a bowl

It was this big:

  • 2 tuna melts
  • 7 potatoes on a stick

It took this long:

Approximately 30 min, but it only takes that long if you are a beginner at cutting potatoes in a spirally fashion. If you're making regular fries, 20 min. If you're slow or hungover, the sky is the limit. But, really, it's a sandwich and fries, you got this.

Ingredients and quantities:

First of all, the picture says 8 potatoes. That is lie, a damn lie!

Second of all, you don't really need quantities. If you want a creamier tuna, add more mayo ( I used about 3-4 tablespoons), if you are a cheesy person, you will want more cheese! Just use your common sense and valuable eye sight.There are no real rules on this one, boys and girls! Taste, adjust, omnomnom!

The process :

LE TUNA MELT FILLING
Step 1: Release the tuna fron its tin cage.
Step 2: Chop, chop. Onions, capers and herbs.
Step 3: Omg, put them together in a bowl and mix. That is all.


LE CURLY FRIES

Step 1: Get yo' self some small potatoes, 'cause piercing some big ass ones with a tiny wooden skewer ain't easy.

Step 2: That's right, put that potato on a stick. Summon that Hulk inside of you, but combine it with some patience and ease, we don't want no smashed potatoes for this one.

Step 3: Get a knife and start cutting the potato slightly diagonally, while rotating the skewer. If you don't cut at a diagonal angle, you're just gonna get chips on a stick, they will not be connected. They will break all ties and stand alone, pretending they weren't even related, even though they were literally the same freakin' potato just a minute ago. Damn ungrateful potatoes! Just look at them, smug bastards.

Step 4: Season time! Rub a dub dub! 

Step 5: Pan. Oil. Hot. Skewers. In. Fry. 'Till golden. Brown. Ungrateful potatoes on a stick? Done.


So, we got the filling, we got the fries. Time for the actual tuna melt!

LE TUNA MELT

Pre-step: Take the butter out of the fridge, we need it soft and willing.

Step 1: Get yourself some sliced bread. Or get some non-sliced bread and slice it.

Step 2: Butter up one side of your slice of choice. Lay that gently in a heating pan. Yeah, grilled cheese style, as it should be.

! Don't have the pan too hot, just starting to warm up. Otherwise, it will burn your bread, while leaving the inside untouched, that means cold and pretty much the opposite of melt-in-your-mouth gooey and delicious. And if it ain't gooey, what's the point?

Step 3: Layer that baby! It goes: cheese,tuna melt filling, cheese again and top it with your  other slice of bread.

!You need to be pretty quick with this, because the bottom of that sandwich is getting hot!

Step 4: Butter the other slice too and then flip it, so it can be purty n both sides!

! You might be wondering " How the flippin' bird do I know when it's done on the first side?". Well, you don't really. Kidding. Usually it takes about 2-3 min, depends on how fiery your flame is. Just use your sense of smell, move fast with the assembly, and before turning it, lift it with a spatula and sneak a peak to make sure it's how you like it.

Yes, that is really how it looks like! I ate that with some store-bought spicy sauce and it was good! 

Feedback: The curly fries were not really special, despite their curlyness, but all in all, good fries. The tuna melt was creamy, gooey, tangy and just fishy enough to work. I'll tell this much: Whoever invented grilled cheese sandwiches, is a freakin' evil genius! Buttering the bread and then toasting that in a pan is the best method ever! Crunchy on the outside, cheesy in the middle! And so many possible combo's! And it really works for a tuna melt too! I'll tel you something:

That is a wrap,y'all! Until the next one, happy eating!

S01E09 The one with the onion tartlets

! Warning: You might find the following content at least slightly sad.

! Advice: Strap on a pair and read the damn thing.

A day that began with an early Skype call from my family back home, letting me know that my dad was in the hospital and that he might be dying. Nothing you imagine in the world can ever truly prepare you for that moment. I cried my heart out for half a day, thinking not only that he might be dying, but that he might die without seeing me for one last time. That was the day I told my father “Please wait for me” and he said “I'll try”. Every morning ever since that day, I would sleep with the fear and wake up with the fear, brush my teeth with the fear and eat and walk with the damn fear of losing him.. That day was the beginning of the end and the last time I cooked for blog.

Needles to say, I wasn't up for anything that day, but I decided to try and do it in order to distract myself and maybe stop crying for 5 whole minutes. This was like food therapy. That was the purpose of cooking that day, and it served me well. It's going to be extremely difficult to tell you how much time this recipe takes, because it took me aprox. 5 hours. I was thinking and moving in slow motion but I was crying full speed. This recipe was truly my Everest and the time that followed was easily the hardest time of my life. I did make it home on time to see my father before he died. I got to kiss him and hug him and tell him “I love you” for the last time. The reason I'm writing about this is threefold:

1. Because it happened and I have a crazy compulsion to tell the truth.

2. Because depending on how my life is going my relationship with food changes. I may use cooking to make me feel better, I may try to use it to make me feel better and fail because the shit I'm going through is just too much; There are times when I have no appetite, no creative spark, I'm stuck in a rut eating bad sandwiches and feeling hopeless. It's all connected and it reflects on my food.

3. Because my dad loved food. Decadent, hot, meaty, eat-with-your-hands and share-with-your family-food. I got my love for food from him for sure. The way he spoke about food would make any mouth go watery. He truly had a gift. He appreciated the good things in life, the good food, the good booze, the great music.

Food was a big part of my family's life. We did express love through food and no, I don't think that was a bad thing. My dad loved to take us out to eat, or surprise us in the morning with fresh hot pies from various pastry shops, or come home from the market loaded with strawberries and awesome cheese and hot bread! The best times we had together were the times we were around a table. In the summer time we would make late-night barbecue and eat it outside, underneath the dark sky. A meaty feast accompanied by a hot polenta and freshly made garlic sauce. At the end we would all share a huge, cold-from-the-fridge watermelon and fight over the sugary middle. Those were the days, my friend. Over the years, as my dad's sickness kept getting worse, I kept hoping that at one point we will be restored to our former glory and celebrate with one of those barbecues. Sadly, that never happened. He died with the taste of unsalted veggie mash and tasteless cottage cheese in his mouth. He had been craving a meat and cabbage stew. He would tell me about it, he would describe the smokey meat, the hot bright yellow polenta and the chili pepper that would accompany that. I was going to come home in august for a whole month and cook for him. We made so many food plans, a list of things I never got to make. That, believe it or not, is one of my biggest regrets.

After I post this recipe, the “Friends food challenge” will officially be on a break (get it? - insert Rachel and Ross fight here) because I will be staying home for a couple of months. During this period I may post childhood recipes or things my dad liked. And maybe a glimpse of the magic Romanian markets that I missed so much! And when autumn comes, I will return to Dublin and to the food challenge and to my fat cat. And possibly mental health.

Things and stuff:

A 20 cm tart pan with a removable butt, a rolling pin, a blender/mixer type thing/your lovely fingers, a bowl, a pan, a knife, a cutting board,the usual.

It was this big:

Well, a 20 cm tart ;)

It took this long:

The making of the pastry - 10 min., the resting of the pastry - 30 min. The preparation of the onions - 25 min., the making of the cheese filling - 5 min (but because this is happening while the pastry is resting, you're basically turning back time!). 5-10 min. to assemble, 30 min. to bake it. If you are making the candied nuts I made, add an extra 10-15 min.

Ingredients:


The Process

THE PASTRY

Pre-step: get your butter out of the freezing cold and allow it to come to room temperature. He deserves it! He never gets to be on the outside, playin' with the cool kids. When warm, dice that baby up real nice.

"Why am I doing this?"
Because if you want a awesome piece of pastry you need to have an even distribution of butter within the flour, to give it that flakiness we all know and love. This is difficult to achieve if the butter is as cold as ice but, unlike the girl from the song, unwilling to sacrifice. Sooo, listen and make sure it is at room temperature.

Step 1: Put the flour, butter and salt into a large bowl (if you're using your hands) or you mixer bowl (if you're going electrique).

Step 2: Lightly rub together using your fingertips OR blitz them shortly until you have a sandy texture.


Step 3: Add the egg and the water and blitz again like we did last summer. If you're doing this with your fingers, make a well in the center and then add the egg and water, gradually working them into the flour mixture.


Step 4: When the eggs have been absorbed, bring the dough together and press to form a ball shaped thing.Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently with your palms for just 10 seconds. Flatten said dough into a round, and wrap in cling film. Refrigerate for 20–30 minutes before rolling out. 


!  You have to judge the consistency of the dough. If it is too wet add a little flour; if too dry, add a little water. Flours differ in absorbency, you have to roll with it.

! Flattening the dough before resting it in the fridge is much easier to do than once it is chilled. Resting makes the dough less elastic, more pliable and easier to roll. I wouldn't have it any other way.


THE ONION FILLING


Step 1: Thinly slice the onions. Like so:


Step 2: Start melting the butter in a pan ( you can add a tablespoon of olive oil too, to prevent the butter from burning). Then throw the lobsters into the air! Wait. No. That;s not it. You throw the onions into the pan. With the salt and pepper.Let them soften. Little heat, lots of lovin'.


Step 3: When they are submissively soft, add the sugar and the balsamic vinegar and let them party until they merge into this purty lil' thang:

Done!


THE CREAM FILLING


Step 1: Grate cheese and combine withe the eggs and the thyme.


Step 2:  Add milk and creme fraiche, mix until combined.


ASSEMBLY TIME:

Step 1: Roll out the dough. Place in the middle of a large sheet of cling film and cover with another sheet of cling film, of similar dimensions. Roll out the dough to a circle, 3mm thick give or take.

!Rolling it in between two sheets of paper prevents the dough from sticking or breaking. It doesn't become heavier due to the use of flour and it's cleaner. Cleaner, faster, better! This is teleshopping shit at its best! Cling film! Point to a bag today! ;) 


Step 2: Take off the top layer of cling film and discard, then lift the dough by picking up the corners of the cling film and invert it into the tart pan, removing the cling film.

 Ease the pastry into the ring with your fingers and then tuck that baby in! With the help of your rolling pin, trim, baby, trim.


Step 3: Prick it, prick it good, prick it just like you should. Or maybe you prefer : Fork it, baby, one more time! A lil' bit of Britney for that old school feel.


Step 4: Place the tart case in the fridge for 30 min. to relax and firm up. At the same time! 


Step 5: Preheat the oven at 170 degrees/gas mark 3. now rest and allow yourself at least one glass of wine. Seriously, you need it. No? Just me?


Step 6: The 30 min. are up! Wake up, get it out of the fridge and get back to business. Place the onions in the pastry case.


Step 7: Pour the creamy stuff, you know you want to.


Step 8: Place it on the middle shelf in the oven and wait for it. 30 min or until golden browned.


Now, I decided to over-complicate things and add goat cheese and candied nuts on top. I would give you the recipe but I can'd remember shit. So, instead of lying about it or trying to cover up the fact that I have no recollection of how they happened, I am coming clean and promising to make lots of candied nuts in the autumn time when the weather is fine. Enough talk, there it is:


Feedback: Oh, goodness gracious, great balls of fire! You can't get cheesier that this! And gooey and sweet and creamy AND crumbly! This one here is the bees knees, the cat's pajamas, top freakin' notch! Takes a bit of time and a bit of dough skills, but I trust that you (whoever that may be) are a hungry yet rational individual with a desire to improve yo' baking skills and put this baby in yo' mouth.

 Caution: let it rest, if you try (as I did) to cut into to it when hot out of the oven, you will regret it. Wait for at least 15 min. and then indulge. Serve with a fresh green salad and become a better person. Guaranteed!  

Oh, Russell, you understand me. It's just that I miss a lot of things these days. I miss my bedroom, my boyfriend and my cat. My big kitchen, my closet space and all that. But most of all, I miss you, dad. 

Until the next one, happy eating! 

S01E08 The one with the shrimp ravioli

(Steve and Monica leave on the tour and Rachel goes to follow them but Phoebe stops her and drags her into the kitchen.)
Rachel: What's up? Phoebe: (whispers) In the cab, on the way over, Steve blazed up a doobie. Rachel: What?
Phoebe: Smoked a joint? You know, lit a bone? Weed? Hemp? Ganja?
Rachel: OK, OK. I'm with you, Cheech. OK. Do you think it’s going to be cool or…?
Steve: (from the living room) Is it dry in here? (licks his lips)
Rachel: Let me, let me get you some wine!
Monica: Yeah, I think we're ready for our first course. (Steve sits, Monica brings over a tray)
OK, um, these are rock-shrimp ravioli, in a cilantro ponzu sauce... (Steve starts to eat them one by one, quickly)... with just a touch of minced (he finishes)... ginger. 
Steve: Well, smack my ass and call me Judy! These are fantastic! 
Monica: I'm so glad you liked them! 
Steve: Like 'em? I could eat a hundred of them! 
Monica: Oh, well... um, that's all there are of these. But in about eight and a half minutes, we'll be serving some delicious onion tartlets.

This recipe called for rock shrimp, apparently a type of shrimp that tastes lobster-like. I could not find it in my area, so I decided to go loco and replace it with Dublin Bay Prawns. And by loco, I mean local. But, you know, either way. It was almost 12 noon when I arrived in Howth, the place where the fresh fish is. 

Lovely view, sunny day, all seemed well in the world. Little did I know! This day began wonderfully and ended with me in a metaphorical puddle of shit. After buying them crazy prawns, I headed for the store to buy some stuff for the ponzu sauce that I couldn't find at the close-to-home-stores. Here begins a journey that took way longer than expected and that tired the hell out of me. I get home at around 16:00 or something equally ridiculous. I'm hungry, I'm thirsty, I'm peeing my pants! It's late, it's getting cloudy, even though it has been a perfectly sunny day so far. Frustration begins to show its ugly head. I decide to take care of my needs. You know, empty the smallest bladder in the world, drink some water, eat a sandwich. Gather some energy and get this mission on the road! 

I barely get to take a first bite out of that sandwich, when I receive the lovely news that instead of a package from back home, we'll be getting a mother from back home. My boyfriend's mother. At 1 a clock at night. I absolutely adore impromptu, unannounced visits in the middle of the night! Understandably, I was bursting with excitement and anticipation of what the busy, overwhelming week before we leave for Italy will be. I got so absolutely exhausted by the mere thought of this great surprise, I had to lie down for half an hour. You know, so that I could bask in the utter joy! Take it all in baby! The silence, the peace, the freedom. It's all so precious when you're about to lose it. Breathe in, breathe out. Gooosfraaabaaa!

And if not,

L040951

I slowly begin to measure ingredients and try to get my head in the game.

Things and stuff:

Rolling pin, pastry cutter/ pizza cutter/ your teeth (!), a couple of bowls, lil' ol' spoon, a pan, pot, nothing fancy.

It was this big:

450 gr. pasta dough/14 ravioli (fat ones), a big ass bowl of shrimp filling (I still had about 3 tablespoons left), and way too much sauce for this amount of ravioli (half the quantities if you don't want leftover sauce).

It took this long:

Forever. Peeling – half of my life, preparing the shrimp filling – 10 min, making the pasta dough – 20 min (first stage), 30 min in the fridge and then... 40 min. to convince it to be thin (damn society) and shape it, 5 min for the sauce, 7-10 min to boil the ravioli. About 1h and 30-40 min . Depends on how fast you peel them fuckers. Or maybe buy them all done and ready. I did not have that option.

Ingredients and quantities

The Process 

THE PRAWN FILLING

Pre-step: First play with your prawns. Arrange them as if they are racing each other. All the while listen to Townes Van Zandt - Shrimp Song. Trust me. It's just silly enough to work.

Step 1: Release the prawns from their bitchy armour. Peel them. This proved especially long. And hard. Get your mind out of the gutter. At the end of this process my hands were red and my heart was thirsty for revenge. Pain has been inflicted on me and I wanted to inflict it right back. Don't do it, the prawn is stronger then you. Or least more equipped. I looked up the official method to tame these armed bastards. I even made a video for you to witness my suffering.

What is supposed to happen: The shell has 6 individual segments. The objective is to hold 3 segments between each thumb and index finger and then we take the tail and twist it and break the join at each side of the shell. Then turn the langoustine belly up and with the thumb of your right hand push the meat forward, grip the shell, pull the tail out of the shell, trying to leave the vein connected to said shell (must de-vein them because eew). Then we need to remove what's left. It's supposed to just come off easily. Did not work for me.

Notice how methodical and clean the first part of the process is. Notice how I completely lose it by the end and go ham on it. Ouch, you cute pink motherfucker. Ouch.

Step 2: Finely chop them.

Step 3: Mix in a bowl with the ginger, green garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil and basil.

Step 4: Shallow fry them. Pan, a bit of olive oil, hot flame, 2 min. Just so that they are not raw, but not completely cooked either. That's done! Set it aside.

PASTA DOUGH

Learn from my mistakes, I certainly try to.

 A. 00 flour is the best for the job. I didn't have it in the house, tried it with normal flour and ended up with a hard disk of non-cooperative lump. Had to go hunting for the last 00 flour at the Italian place and re-do it. That's how bad it was.

B. Patience and endurance. It takes time and muscle to get those sheets thin without a pasta machine. So be ready to pay with sweat and tears. I did.

Step 1: Sift the flour onto a work surface, forming it into a volcano-shaped-mound with a well in the centre. Like so: 

Step 2: Break the eggs into the centre. Add salt.


Step 3: Poke the yolk to release them. Incorporate the eggs into the flour with yo' lovin' hands, gradually drawing the flour into the egg mixture. 

If the mixture is too soft or sticky, add a bit more flour. Before kneading the dough clean you work surface and your hands.

Step 4: Lightly flour the surface and start to knead with the heel of one hand. Work it for 10-15 min until smooth (Jamie Foxx smooth) and elastic (Mr. Fantastic?)

Step 5: Wrap it in cling film and allow to rest in the fridge for 30 min. 

Step 6: Start rolling, babe! Lightly flour you working area (yes, again!) and gently roll out the dough. Roll it till about 3 mm thick (or at least aim for that). 

Step 6: Cut the edges to make them nice and even. 

Step 7: Put heaped teaspoons of the filling near one of the edges. Not too near the edge, just not really in the middle.

Step 8: Now fold it over. Press gently with your fingers all around the filling to seal the ravioli shapes without air bubbles.

Step 9: Cut the pasta into squares. Or aim for that. Cover them with a tea towel while you do the rest, to avoid them getting dry and unmanageable. Like some people. 

Step 10 : Cook the pasta in salted boiling water. If they are the right thickness it shoud take 5 min. Mine were thicker, so it took about 7-8 min.

THE SAUCE

Step 1: Put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix. The end. 

Will the original Ponzu sauce please stand up? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponzu. 

Ladies and gentleman, I presesnt to you Shrimp Ravioli with ponzu sauce and a touch of ginger:

Feedback: Making pasta is not as easy as advertised. At least not for a first-timer. I must keep at it, try different recipes and get a sense of what the proper consistency is. So to sum it up, not easy, not fast. Delicious. But not sure it was worth all the blood and tears. The pasta was not thin enough, and I could feel that around the edges of the ravioli. That annoyed me. A constant reminder of the “not-quite-there” thing I have going on. Should celebrate the fact that I made to the end of this recipe. You must know it took two days. Because night ambushed me. Because I had my very first blog-down, which is a melt-down but blog related. Well, and life related. Blog is life! Oh my God, I did it, I exaggerated all the way to the moon and back. Just did it again! Seriously hard to stop.  

This recipe was made in the midst of pressure, frustration, and oh, so many other feelings. I yelled, I cried, I hit things, they fell, hit me again. But hey, I did manage to get through it.

P.S. Don't slap your dough. She's innocent. Also, it hurts. Ouch inside and out. 

RavYOLO!

Let's try and keep it together, people! Until the next one, happy eating!   

S01E07 The one with the salmon mousse

Monica cooks a gourmet meal for a restaurateur who is looking for a new chef, however he arrives at the apartment stoned. Meanwhile, Ross tries to master 'dirty talk'.

Now, if that doesn't sound like a great episode, I don't know what does.

[ Scene: Monica's apartment. Everyone is there but Ross and Chandler. Monica is making food, and having everyone try it.]
MONICA: [to Joey] Ok, try this salmon mousse.
JOEY: [tasting] Mmm. Good.
MONICA: Is it better than the other salmon mousse?
JOEY: It's creamier.
MONICA: Yeah, well, is that better?
JOEY: I don't know. We're talking about whipped fish, Monica. I'm just happy I'm keeping it down, y'know?

Salmon and cream cheese and dill, oh my! That's right, no fancy introduction this time. Well, no introduction at all. If you're thinking there's something fishy going on, you're on to something.

CHANDLER: Can you believe it? I mean, don't I look like someone who should be doing something really cool? You know, I just always pictured myself doing... something.
RACHEL: Oh, Chandler, I know, I know... oh,hey! You can see your nipples through this shirt!
MONICA: [brings a plate of tiny appetizers over] Hey, maybe this'll cheer you up. 
CHANDLER: Ooh, you know, I had a grape about five hours ago, so I'd better split this with you.
MONICA: It's supposed to be that small. It's a pre-appetizer. The French call it an amouse-bouche.
CHANDLER: [tastes it] Well, it is amous-ing...

In case you are now as confused as a headless chicken, I will attempt to clarify the situation. Today's recipe is salmon mousse fancy appetizers. I am here to prove that even if fancy is not your thing, this is totally doable. Take it from the person who forgot she didn't have a pipping bag, and tried to manufacture one last-minute. The great adventure of Chuck - the almost pipping bag. His majestic body was made out of a sandwich bag and his nozzle - the top of a tuna can, bent and battered into submission. This is the stuff great legends are made of. Or mediocre tales. Also, by “I tried to manufacture one” I mean I made my boyfriend do it. Why? Because I am a helpless little duckling or a demanding little bitch. Pick your favourite and let's move on.

Things and stuff

A food processor (to process the shit out of that salmon mousse) or some sturdy man muscles, a pipping bag (if you want them to be real purty), baking tray & parchment paper, and your usual bowl, spoon, knife combo.

It was this big

One medium sized bowl, 500 gr. of mousse, aprox. 100 amouse-bouches (that's a lot!, I only made one batch, the rest awaits in my fridge)

It took this long

5 min. to mousse, 10 min. to bread and 10 min. to assemble ( this for one batch-25). So 30 minutes if you take your time.

Ingredients and quantities


The Process

Step 1: Finely chop your salmon / Put your salmon in a food processor and mix until finely chopped. Waaaay easier with the magical tool that plugs in. It's noisy but fast and efficient. I mean, it gets the job done (wink wink).

Step 2: Combine chopped salmon, cream cheese, sour cream and dill. You can thoroughly stir this by hand (if you want a chunkier texture) or process that baby 'till desired mousiness level. I initially went for the “by hand” approach but changed my mind. I want it moussier. 

Tip: don't add salt! The smoked salmon was salty enough. It was actually a tad too much. Next time, I will consider keeping the salmon in water before using it, to get some of the saltiness out. It looked somethin' like this:

Step 3: Now that your mousse is ready, get the bread ready for party. The journey from bread to crostinni is short and safe. Thinly slice your baguette. Tray, parchment paper, place slices.

Step 4: Lightly brush yo' slices with olive oil. You don't have to do this. I just like olive oil on bread. And cheese. Ok, on everything!

Step 5: Put those bad boys in the oven at gas mark 4, aprox. 180 degrees, basically moderate heat. For 5 to 8 minutes. They will be lovely golden brown and crispy as a motherfucker.

Step 6: Yay, assembly time! Get your mousse on the crostinni. If you don't have a pipping bag, to do this “properly”, or if you have a home-made pipping bag, that becomes a hazard after 3 pretty successful crostinnis, go rustique. Use a butter knife or a lil' spoon. 

Step 7: It goes like this: crostinni, mousse, a lil' dollop of sour cream, chopped salmon, chives and or capers.

Even if you think they don't look as fancy “as they should” or whatever amouse-bouche prejudice you have in that head of yours, forget about it. It's fun, it's easy, it's yummy and it can have any personality you want it to have. I wanted mine to be super fancy, very meticulous, very proper, a testimony of patience and precision. I failed. They reflected my true self. And that's a good thing. Food should reflect your true nature. That's what makes it interesting and personal.

Feedback: Slightly too salty. Easy to make. Fun to put together. You can add a lot of things to this. From mustard to horseradish, hard boiled egg yolks, replace the cream cheese with mascarpone or ricotta, top it with dill, capers, finely diced peppers or cucumbers. You can replace the bread with philo pastry, or puffpastry, or crackers, or tiny salad leaves! A lot of wiggle room. This being my first salmon mousse, I chose a basic one. I wanted to feel the intense salmon-ness of it all before I start playing with other flavors. 

There you go, my little mousse-amouse-bouches:

Me gusta la moussolina, dame mas moussolina! 

Mmm... amous-ing ;) Until the next one, bon apetite

  

S01E06 The one with the chocolate mousse

Imdb describes “The one with the candy hearts” as it follows:

As Valentine's Day approaches; Ross and his date end up at the same restaurant as Carol and Susan, Joey inadvertently sets Chandler up on a blind date with Janice, and the girls burn mementos of their old boyfriends.

Come on, you remember this one! I dare you not to read this in her voice!

You totally read this in her voice! Oh, and remember this particular conversation?

JOEY: She said she wants to slather my body with stuff and then lick it off. I'm not even sure what slathering is, but I definitely want to be a part of it.

CHANDLER: Ok, you can not do this to me.

JOEY: You're right, I'm sorry. You're right.

LORRAINE: [to waiter] Uh, can we have three chocolate mousses to go please?

JOEY: I'm outta here. Here's my credit card. Dinner's on me. I'm sorry, Chandler.

CHANDLER: I hope she throws up on you.

Ka-ching! We have a winner! Chocolate mousse detected!

The day was Friday. The weather was more Irish than ever. During the one hour it took me to make the mousse and set everything up, we experienced sun, hail, rain, sun, more rain, hail, sun, different kind of rain. You get the drift. The temperature: around 10 degrees. The mood: jazzy. In the background, old documentary about Dean Martin, Marylin Monroe, vintage Hollywood. And so it begins.

As far as utensils go, you will need: a medium size pot, 2 big heatproof bowls ( I like big bowls and I cannot lie), a whisk/hand mixer, a large spatula (for gentle folding).

1. Ingredients and quantities

2. The process

  • The chocolate. The darker, the better, get one that has a minimum of 70% cocoa solids. Roughly cut up le chocolat. Place it in the bowl over a pan of simmering water. This means low heat, no hurry here.

! The water must not touch the bottom of the bowl, otherwise it will overheat it and your chocolate will become grainy.

  • While the chocolate is melting away, separate the egg whites from the yolks and place them in your other clean, dry bowl.

 ! When separating the whites, be careful not to get any traces of egg yolk in there. The fat in the yolk will prevent the rising of the egg whites. 

  • Now whisk the egg whites with the lemon juice from the lemon wedge, on medium speed until they start to foam (2).
  •  Then switch to high speed and gradually add the sugar. Whisk until you get firm, cloud-like peaks (3). By the time you're done with this, your chocolate should be melted and glossy (4).
  •  The next step is a crucial one. Take a third of the egg whites and whisk them fast and whisk them good. I did it with a spatula, cause my judgement was clouded. Do as I say, not as I did. It worked, but it was more difficult than it should have been.

 ! Because you are adding a cold mass (the eggs) to a hot and sexy one (the chocolate) there is the possibility/risk of the cocoa butter inside the chocolate solidifying, leading to a lumpy mousse. So whisk it "Fast and Furious" style. Show her who's boss.

  •  When she's loosened up (5) add half of the remaining egg whites (6), replace the whisk with the spatula and gently start folding. Move the bowl as you move the spatula in a slow, therapeutic fashion. This is where you apologize for being so rough before, so go nice and gentle. Use the love. 
  •  When you've incorporated that (7), add the last of the whites (8) and repeat the careful procedure.

 ! The reason for this is that over-mixing will ruin the air bubbles in the egg whites that you've worked so hard to create and the result of that will be a heavier mousse and less volume. When it's smooth and the whites have been integrated (9), pour your mousse into glasses, jars, ramekins, or bowls and leave it to set for at least 2 hours. 6 is best. After 12 hours it will become heavy and lose its innate moussiness. 

Then you'll find yourself saying things like: "You're not the same as you were before. You were much more moussier. You've lost your moussiness."  You get the reference, right? (insert chirping sounds here)

Before setting in the fridge and adding delicious and pretty toppings:

After setting in the fridge and adding delicious and pretty toppings:

Girl, look at that body! That's some seriously moussy business we got up in this biatch! Uhm, I mean, look at the lovely texture:

Feedback:  Oh my! How did I not make this before? It's easy, it does't take much time and it's one of the best ways to eat chocolate! Plus, it has sooo little sugar in it! It's all about that chocolate, baby! Oh, and I love the raspberry combo! The intense chocolate flavor, in that airy, fluffy textured form loves the slightly sour freshness that the raspberries bring to the table. Will definitely repeat the experience!  I ate some of it after two hours of chilling in the fridge, then after a day, aaaand after two days. I prefer the first one. The more it sets, the heavier it gets. Something that applies to life too! I've imparted enough "wisdom", I'll go away now.

Until the next time, happy eating!