Time for a long overdue blog post. August has been such a hectic month (with two weddings, a F1 Grand Prix weekend in Belgium, numerous birthday celebrations for Mr W, a job interview, and completing an online diploma to name just a few) that I just haven’t had time to sit and blog. I’ve only now just started to settle back into a routine (I knew I liked my routine but I didn’t quite realise how stressed and out of control I would feel not being in one. I now understand why it gets brought up so much at work. Out of routine Jenny = bad news). I can now get back into doing my regular baking. I mean, I have done a little bit in my absence but forgot to take pictures of the finished product. Instead, I am going to put up a recipe for a dessert that I have been promising my friends for months. It’s a recipe I’ve adapted from the Good Food website (click here for original recipe). But before I get into my recipe, I just wanted to mention a couple of places I’ve been to around the Manchester area.
A couple of weeks ago I went to Tattu in Spinningfields, Manchester with people from work. I was a bit sceptical at first because of the price but it was definitely worth it. I shared the venison won tons (the dipping sauce was little too sweet for my liking) and then had the chilli glazed smoked aubergine with steamed rice. My sister had the lobster and prawn noodles which looked amazing. The place itself is lovely. It did take us a while to find as it has no obvious signage but inside they have a number of little booths with a living cherry tree on the first floor.
A number of people might be aware that one shop I am reluctant to go to is Ikea. I don’t like that you have to follow a particular route taking you through all the different departments to get out. I want to go straight to the area that I want and then go straight to the till. But this week, Mr W wanted to go to buy some furniture for the loft. He thought about how to get me to agree to this carefully and suggested we have tea at an American chain called Five Guys in Ashton (right next to Ikea). Now, I’m not a particular fan of fast food chains like McDonalds or Burger King but this was on a completely different level. You pick your basic burger or hot dog (4 of each type, nice and simple) and you then request your toppings (all free, as many as you want). Mr W went for a classic beef burger with lettuce, fried onion, mayo and ketchup. I went for a hot dog with fried onion, pickle, ketchup and mustard. Now, I’m not a big fan of hot dogs but this was good, so good but so bad. To make that even more better, they have unlimited soft drinks where you pick your base (coke, diet coke, coke zero, sprite, sprite zero, fanta, fanta zero, fanta still and lemonade) then a flavoured syrup (I think it was a choice of 8-10). AMAZING. I’m now thinking of things I need from Ikea for an excuse to go back.
Finally, as a birthday treat for Mr W, I booked us in at the Hawksmoor today for some lunch. I’d read that it had the best Sunday lunch in the UK, Mr W had heard that it was known for it steaks. I chose the slow roast Sunday lunch and Mr W had the rump steak with triple cooked chips. To finish I had the salted caramel rolos and Mr W had the sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel ice cream. We can see why the roast and steak are such highly recommended, they were cooked to perfection and tasted great. Mr W managed to eat the majority of his dessert (I had to have a few spoonfuls to make sure it was up to standard). We did find the salted caramel rolos a let down as they were a bit too sickly rich for us and left a strange after-taste. I would love to go back with my sister and try the Ambassadors Reception pudding. Watch this space….
Now, back to the recipe. To begin with, I halve the recipe as I make it for me and Mr W. The first time I made it I used the recommended 70% dark chocolate and decorated it with raspberries and blueberries and it was yum. I’m not normally a fan of chocolate mousse (in particular shop bought which is quite airy as there doesn’t seem to be much to it and isn’t worth eating) but this version was light and rich with no aeration. This version is the picture I have used for my main blog page. Below is the latest version I made, chocolate orange mousse.
40g dark chocolate with orange
1/2 tbsp cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
1/4 tsp coffee granules
1/4 orange blossom water
1 egg white
1/2 tbsp caste sugar
25g Greek yogurt
Orange zest and grated chocolate to decorate
- Chop the chocolate very finely and put it into a large bowl that will fit over a pan of simmering water. Mix the cocoa, coffee and orange blossom with 1 tbsp cold water, and pour over the chocolate. Place the bowl over the gently simmering water, give it all a stir, then remove from the heat. Leave with the bowl of chocolate still over the water, stirring occasionally to check when melted.
- Stir the melted chocolate, it will be quite thick. Stir in 1 tbsp boiling water and the chocolate will immediately thin down and become silky smooth. Leave to cool slightly.
- Whisk the egg white to fairly soft peaks, then whisk in the sugar until thick and glossy. Beat the yogurt into the cooled chocolate. Fold about one-third of the egg white into the chocolate mix using a large metal spoon, then very gently fold in the rest of the egg white until they are evenly mixed in – being careful not to over-mix or you will lose the volume of the mousse. Spoon into 2 small cups or (125-150ml) ramekins and chill for a couple of hours, or overnight.
- Place each mousse on a saucer or small plate. Top with some orange zest and grated chocolate, then dust with a little cocoa powder. Will keep for up to 2 days in the fridge.
I also wanted to provide a recipe for some cookies that I made for Mr W’s birthday BBQ. I was surpised at how well they went down and want to give the recipe so that people can give them ago. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of this bake but if you click here you can see what they should look like. I did adapt the recipe slightly as I couldn’t be bothered making the cornflake crunch they suggested, I just used good old cornflakes. I baked some of the cookies after I chilled them for the minimum amount of time. They were okay but not as good as the ones I baked after having them stored in the fridge for 4 days. These were moreish. If making these, make sure you are baking them from chilled and not baking more than 6 per baking sheet as they do spread (they might look like they won’t but they will).
Momofuku Milk Bar Cornflake Marshmallow Chocolate Chip Cookies Makes 15-20
225g butter, at room temperature
250g granulated sugar
150g light brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
240g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
100g mini chocolate chips
65 g mini marshmallows
1. Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes.
2. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
3. Still on low speed, paddle in the cornflakes and mini chocolate chips just until they’re incorporated, no more than 30 to 45 seconds. Paddle in the mini marshmallows just until incorporated.
4. Using an ice cream scoop, portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. Do not bake your cookies from room temperature—they will not hold their shape.
5. Heat the oven to 190C or 170C fan oven.
6. Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets (I did 6 per baking sheet). Bake for 18 minutes. the cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. At the 18-minute mark, the cookies should be browned on the edges and just beginning to brown toward the centre. Leave them in the oven for an additional minute or so if they aren’t and they still seem pale and doughy on the surface.
7. Cool the cookies completely on the baking sheets before transferring to a plate or to an airtight container for storage.