Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The World's Best Chocolate Ice-Cream

Did I mention that I got myself a Cuisineart ice-cream machine in June? Well, I DID. At a SALE. It was ON SALE. It was CHEAP-er. Such a bargain that there was only 1 UNIT LEFT. My DAUGHTER LOVES ice-cream. Oh....a woman will have every justification possible when she buys something on a whim doesn't she? I've been meaning to shop for one since last year and all I encountered were either the plasticky, toy-like versions or the industrial sizes. I wasn't looking for it this time when I was in Melbourne but as chance would have it, it was there in Essential Ingredients. The one and only unit in the store calling out to me, begging to be adopted. But I was there specifically for ONLY Maggie Beer's Verjuice, a bottle of paella spice mix and Callebaut dark chocolates!! My girlfriend was surprisingly unsurprised when she came back from turning the car around to hear me telling her that I was carting an ice-cream maker back. Mind you, it was quite a large box and I had to re-organise my cabin baggage to accommodate an extra hand luggage. Yes, I had my tote on one arm and the huge 4kg box on the other. I looked ridiculous. Even had to sort of fling it to show the check-in officer that it was simply light plastic ware and my overweight check-in bag could use that allotted 7kg instead of paying a penalty. Story of the ice-cream machine's journey doesn't end there but I'll stop now...we're getting out of context here.

So, the world's best chocolate ice-cream, eh? This recipe was from Nigella Lawson's How To Eat book and she swore that this ice-cream deserved the title. I have by then churned a few rounds of ice-cream and they've all been great. Best be known that homemade ice-cream is nothing like store-bought ones. Not entirely better but entirely different. All depend on what you want from your ice-cream. Our staple brand is Bulla and once in a blue moon, a very expensive and small tub of Haagen-Daaz. But this chocolate ice-cream is truly a class of its own. I used a half of dark chocolate and another half of bitter chocolate. The smokiness from the burnish caramel gave this ice-cream its much-deserved title. It is velvety smooth, creamy rich and.....orgasmic. Beauty of it is you only need a small scoop to get your fix...see how easy it is to satisfy a woman?

Chocolate-Pistachio Cake

This cake came about when I was idling in the kitchen while the boys were watching the Singapore F1 race on the telly and a jar of pistachios on the sideboard threatening to go rancid. Got a kilo of these wonderful nuts from Dubai and we've been popping them till our throats were scratchy. Needless to say, we refrained from them to recover and it's been rendered purposeless since. So, I sat in the kitchen for half an hour just shelling all that were left. Thankfully, there was just enough for this cake. I've resisted baking this cake in the past because pre-grounded pistachios are non-existent and I worry that my food processor may not do a good job. But this old kitchen helper proved me wrong. It did a beautiful job processing the pistachios until dust and it was simply putting the rest of the ingredients after that, to finish off the batter. This flourless cake was moist, yet light and that's all due to the meringue folded into the batter in the last step. So, you have to make sure that you beat the egg whites till they are glossy and firm. I didn't cook the orange-flower-flavoured ganache and this scrumptious cake didn't need any icing to take it to cake nirvana.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Chocolate Cheesecake

We love cheesecakes and we love this Chocolate Cheesecake from Nigella Lawson's Feast. My only gripe is the recipe calls for a couple more ingredients to make up the filling. But then again, it may not be as yummy if it didn't have those extras. Compared to the version from How To Be A Domestic Goddess, this one's smoother and the chocolate flavour is much more intense with a good balance between the sweetness and tang from the sour cream. The two obvious things I did, which probably contributed to its sophistication are (1) using Oreo cookies (no cream) for the base instead of digestive biscuits and (2) Callebaut Dark Chocolate, which reminds me...... I'm out of it!!

Marble Cake

The MOTH finally agrees to this Marble Cake! Over the years, whenever a slice of Marble Cake is presented to him, he'd look at it with disdain. You see, he has very little regard for Marble Cakes...remind him of tuck shop cakes - dry, character-less and plain sweet, just so they can call it a cake. I tend to agree at some point because it really is just a two-colour Madeira Cake where you divide the batter in two and colour one with a tablespoon of cocoa. But this version from Nigella Lawson's Feast is different. Using her moist Madeira Cake as a base, she also gave a small but significant twist to each colour. Citrus zest to add some zing to the plain batter and a little coffee to perk up the chocolate base. The cake is moist, flavourful and you won't stop at one slice. A real comfort cake. No wonder it's in the "funeral" section of that book!