Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Deconstructed Mango and Raspberry Milk Tea Verrine

This post is an entry into the Nuffnang ‘Fresh Recipe’ Network Competition, thanks to BRITA. Check out betterwithbrita.com for inspiration and exclusive recipes by Gary Mehigan.
Vanilla pannacotta, mango & peach milk tea jelly and boba, raspberry mousse, raspberry coulis
To say I was perplexed about conceptualising this recipe would be a superlative understatement. How does one make water shine? The first thing that came to mind was a form of soup or stock or something boiled but that becomes overshadowed upon the addition of ingredients. Scouring the Internet for inspiration mostly yielded recipes that required a tablespoon at most. If only this competition had come into fruition earlier! Specifically this and this which respectively use a lot of water! But it felt like cheating if I had entered a recipe that I had created quite a while ago so I returned to the (quite empty) drawing board. 

Next were desserts. Sorbets, or drinks seemed like obvious choices but they lacked pizzazz. I then considered trifles, mochimisu, mizu, golden gaytimes... then I considered entremets with their jelly layers. But seeing as how it was winter, not many fruits were in season. Until finally.. a deconstructed milk tea verrine was born! A verrine is simply a dish with its components layered in a small glass. In this case, vanilla pannacotta acted as the milk base, a peach and mango tea jelly base with boba within and a luxuriously creamy raspberry mousse with a coulis atop to cut through the richness. In addition to fulfilling its role as a garnish, the mint leaves added a refreshing contrast to all the sugar.

Of course, I hit a few hiccups along the way. Accordingly, I reduced the sugar in the pannacotta, but the tea layer itself wasn't as firm as I would've liked thus, agar would be more preferable as a setting agent. Moreover, the boba hardened upon refrigeration but that I believe was more due to the kind I used. Another issue with the boba was that it caused the tea to become cloudy so it wasn't altogether aesthetically pleasing. Furthermore,I also found that the mousse layer was a bit too thick so a thinner layer would help tie the entire dessert more cohesively. 

In conclusion? It was pretty good, all the textures and flavour profiles marrying together harmoniously. And seeing that filtered water played an integral role in the mango and peach jelly, I would say that it was instrumental in this successful union. To more crazy desserts in the future! (But of course after all this, my sister preferred the simple tea I brew ahaha) [And explaining my absence, I won't bore you with the details but .. assignment). 

Deconstructed Mango and Raspberry Milk Tea Verrine 

Vanilla Pannacotta
250ml whipping cream (35-36% fat)
1 tblspoon sugar
1/2 tsps of vanilla extract
1 tsp powdered gelatine
1 tbsp filtered water

Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a medium-sized bowl and let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Heat the cream and sugar in a saucepan over med-low heat. Once sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Don't overheat it. Pour the warm mixture over the gelatine and stir until the gelatine has completely dissolved. Allow mixture to cool down before dividing out into your ramekins. Chill for a few hours (or overnight). [To make the the tilted pannacotta, rest the glass in a muffin pan until the liquid is at an angle, chill until set. Magic! Effort without effort!]

Boba (From thekitchn)

1/4 cup dried boba tapioca pearls per serving 
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup white and brown mixed
Measure 2 cups of water for every 1/4 cup of boba being prepared into a saucepan. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the boba and stir gently until they begin floating to the top of the water.Turn the heat to medium and cook the boba for 12-15 minutes. Remove the pan from heat, cover, and let the pearls sit for another 12-15 minutes.
While the boba are cooking, make a simple sugar syrup to sweeten and preserve them once cooked. Bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil over high heat on the stove or in the microwave. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup sugar until dissolved. Set aside to cool.
Once the boba have finished cooking, drain them from the water and transfer them to a small bowl or container. Pour the sugar syrup over top until the boba are submerged. Let sit until the boba are room temperature, at least 15 minutes, or refrigerate until ready to use. Boba are best if used within a few hours of cooking, but will keep refrigerated for several days. The boba will gradually harden and become crunchy as they sit.
Mango & Peach Jelly
2 cups filtered water
2 mango & peach tea bags 
1/2 - 3/4 cup sugar 
2 tsp gelatine/agar 
1 tbsp filtered water
Sprinkle the agar over the cold water in a small-sized bowl and let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Boil water in saucepan. Dissolve sugar and allow tea bags to steep. Add gelatine and stir until completely dissolved. Allow to cool before pouring over set pannacotta, spoon boba into the tea jelly. Chill for a few hours or overnight until set. 
Raspberry Mousse (from sugarhero, made double of what I required)
1 cup fresh raspberries (I used frozen)
250g white chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups cream, divided use
Pinch salt
2 tsp unflavored powdered gelatin
2 tbsp filtered water
For the raspberry mousse, make a quick puree by blending 1/2 cup fresh raspberries in a blender or food processor. Pour them through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds, and measure out 1/4 cup raspberry puree. (If you have extra puree, save it for another use.)

Combine the white chocolate, raspberry puree, 1/2 cup of heavy cream, and salt in a microwave-safe bowl. Continue to make this layer the same way you made the chocolate layer, by melting and cooling the chocolate, whisking in melted gelatine, and folding in whipped cream. Spoon over tea jelly and chill for a few hours or overnight until set. 

Raspberry Coulis 

1/2 cup frozen raspberry 
1 tbsp sugar 

Heat raspberry and sugar in low saucepan on low heat. Mash when soft. I left the seeds to provide texture (serendipity for laziness haha). 



Sunday, 17 August 2014

Easy Caramelised Generic White Chocolate

I have a friend who is the biggest fiend for white chocolate. I never really understood why, finding it far too sweet. As you can infer, I much prefer its darker kin. White chocolate can languish away for months on a shelf in my fridge, in favour of the dark. But this.. this, I can eat by the spoonful. That richness, that lusciousess.. Oh. My. God. Oh. My. God. Did I repeat that? Only because it bears repeating. 

And it has a long shelf life. Assuming that I've hidden it from view well enough. I used a generic white chocolate from the supermarket because I don't even know where to begin searching for good quality chocolate like Valrhona.. nor do I want to spend a lot of money. So what I did was to cook it at a lower temperature. The only downside is that it requires a lot more time. But it works! The last time I made it it was a chalky mess, but this time.. DELICIOUS. Thus, when you feel like procrastinating, when is a better time to make yourself some caramelised white chocolate? Just envision it. Mixed in brownies. Cheesecakes. Ice cream. Frosting... eaten out of a jar with a spoon.. am I getting ahead of myself? 

Caramelised White Chocolate 


250g (about 9oz) white chocolate, chopped into small pieces
A pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 100°C (212°F). Place white chocolate pieces in a large baking dish/sheet and heat for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and spread with a dry, clean spatula. Return to the oven and continue to cook for 40-70minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until the mixture is a deep-golden brown. Don't freak out if the mixture starts to get dry and chalky. Just be patient and stir the mixture and it should smooth out. Remove from the oven and stir in sea salt. Pour into jar and store at room temperature. Once cool, it solidifies. To use, microwave in 10 second intervals or to sit in a bowl of warm water. 



Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Fashion of the Small Screen: Joan Watson

One of my favourite outfits she dons
So it's been awhile since I've invaded this space, I blame the readings but nonetheless, I apologise. Now that's done and dusted shall we address a typical response to the question, 'Where do you get your fashion inspiration from?' which is usually 'Everywhere'. It is only so contrived due to the truth of that statement. We constantly process things from the environment encapsulating us and of course, involves the people. What regular people wear on a day to day basis is interesting, it allows you insight of their tastes as well as how a particular fabric articulates with movement for example. Without meaning to, sometimes I take notes 'Oh? I never thought of pairing it that way before!' and even re-evaluate a previous dislike. This only extends to what we see in media. Enter, Joan Watson.

I never expected to like Elementary as much as I did, well, the second season was a bit of a let down, but its still a solid adaptation of the original books particularly in its representation of its characters. I don't know whether it's Lucy Liu's acting but admittedly Joan Watson can be a bit bland but I suppose its because she's juxtapositioned against the larger than life acting of Jonny Lee Miller. But what I do like most about her, is her style. We should aspire to dress like her, furthermore.. is her wardrobe Narnia?? I'd like to think that Sherlock uses his inheritance to subsidize her style haha. 

What I love about her style the most is that it's elegant in its simplicity and feminine. But the addition of prints allows a more quirky personable factor to it. 

Can we all agree to just love Joan Watson? Not particularly interested for Season 3 with news of Sherlock getting a new protegee, however. They seem to be entertaining the petty route by encouraging comparison and competition, bleh. What they had going for them was the Watson x Sherlock dynamic so they better have grander plans for this! Or bring back Ms Hudson in a greater light!