milk tray


Trying to clear some space in the fridge, so I opened this big box of Milk Tray that’s been there for a while.

I’m not a big chocolate eater so one or two pieces was enough. Most were way too sweet for my taste. The only one I like is apple crunch.

There’s a lot of disappointed and frankly angry people in the UK because Cadbury’s gone downhill since being taken over by Kraft. It’s broken promise after promise both to staff and consumers; now come in smaller sizes, higher price and changed taste; and closed several factories.

And of course the creme egg scandal that substituted Dairy Milk with disgusting American

standard cocoa mix chocolate

They lost £6m, but of course didn’t admit it was the change of recipe. Honestly, Americans should stay away from trying to make good quality chocolate.

There are 2 layers in the box, so it’ll take me a while to finish it. In the meantime, I’m looking on youtube for old “And all because the lady loves Milk Tray” ads.

sake kitkat


Still bingewatching Masterchef Australia. But now I have snacks. Got these last week and only just got round to opening the packet.

Yep, it’s sake flavoured kitkat. It came out last february in Japan. 0.8% alcohol, so it’s really just for the taste.

Honestly, they taste pretty good. Can definitely smell the sake aroma as soon as the packaging is opened, although the taste isn’t as pronounced. I think they use white chocolate so it’s less overpowering, and so it looks nice. May be I’ll think about taking a supply to the conference this year to give out. They’re more expensive than regular sweets and chocolate, so it’ll have to be only for selected few.

pokehalloween, day of errands, iced chocolate reward


Thursday is office day, but I didn’t need to go in today. But I still left early because I had a lot planned for the day.

There is a pokemon go halloween event. Massive spawnings of gastly family, drowzee family and cubone family literally everywhere. The tracker map is back and if the map is zoomed out there are so many spawnings that they’re all clustered together.

I took over the gym up the road only to realise I had a few hours to go to claim my bonus, hahaha. Someone kicked me out soon after. By then I was on my way to the nearby housing estate for breakfast. I’d only been playing about an hour and my phone already needed charging. Another 30mins or so walking around morse park and more gastlys and drowzees and I caught my first marowak. Bus to signal hill, with a detour at k11 to charge both phone and ext battery. Signal hill gave more than just the halloween spawns, good varieties but nothing too exciting.


Lunch of scotch egg from marks and seasonal japanese beer from 7-eleven. Sat at the downtown park, with first very efficient sniping of the gym at one of the fountains. Quite hot but okay to sit outside, tolerable pollution today. They turned the fountain on while I was there, it was peaceful to watch it for a few minutes.

A good morning’s work. A huge amount of pokemons caught and also candy increase. Double candies means 6 per pokemon caught, I’m now at almost 300 gastly candies.

Dropped off a document at the bank, then walked back to the office. It’s almost november and still it’s 30ºC. Did a little work, surfed around the internet and continued reading my book. I’m not billing today so I’m not actually working, just charging my phone and enjoying the aircon.


We left quite late, almost 7pm. Dinner at 8pm at pokka café, mm had udon and I had korean fried chicken and topoki. We joined the restaurant group’s membership and one of the perks is one voucher per month of a free drink with meal. Considering they are a coffee specialist, their coffee is pretty good. But mm didn’t want coffee so we asked if we can order iced chocolate. Wow. I almost never order chocolate drinks because I find them too sweet or too sickly rich. This was different. Rich, but not overly so. Not too sweet. Very smooth. Came in a jug which we can pour over ice ourselves (or ask for a second glass and share). Good enough to be a dessert. This will be our monthly indulgence for the next 11 months.

I bought a few incubators in the morning and by the time I got home after a long day, I hatched two 10km eggs. Eevee and Electabuzz, sigh.

#60: tiny but intense chocolate cake [recipe]

Task #60 of 101.1001 is to open a cookbook to a random page and make whatever comes up.

Because of differences in terminology and how ingredients are measured, I never use American recipes. For the longest time the only American food website I visit was simply recipes because of the old MT-loyalty thing. Gradually I added smitten kitchen, especially after Ms Perelman added proper measurements to her recipes. I bought her book when it came out, even got an autographed copy.


So when I decided I should start cooking again, as in not just day-to-day cooking, I grabbed the book and opened it up. There, on page 250, is a recipe for tiny but intense chocolate cake. Looks divine, and very simple to make with easy ingredients. Can’t find it on her website, but it was on house and garden. I love the description:

In the short list of recipes I think any baker should have – or simply any person with friends, who delights in making those friends happy – is a chocolate cake to be thrown together just because I… Well, actually I did not know today was your birthday. Of course I am free tonight!

85g butter – the book says 85g, online recipe says 115g
115g chocolate
3 eggs, separated
65g sugar – online recipe says 45g
vanilla extract – i made it myself
pinch of sea salt
pinch of cinnamon

Melt the butter in a small saucepan until almost brown. Remove from heat, add chocolate and stir until chocolate has melted. Let the mixture cool.

Whisk egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, salt, cinnamon until smooth. I only used about 10g sugar because I was using toblerone instead of 70% chocolate. Add chocolate mixture. Whisk egg whites separately until stiff peaks, then fold into chocolate mixture.

Bake at 180ºC for 15-20mins until skewer comes out clean.

Remove from oven, allow to cool inside tin. The cake will deflate and come away from the side of the tin, at which time it’s okay to take out.


The recipe says to use one 15cm/6-inch tin, but I only have the standard sized ones so I used even smaller 12cm/5-inch tins. Yielded 3 cakes.

Very, very light! It was like biting into air. Flourless cake, that’s why. I used barely any sugar so it wasn’t too sweet. From start to finish, less than 1 hr and it took that long because I couldn’t be bothered to get the electric whisk out and whisked the egg whites by hand.

Excellent last minute recipe and definitely worth making again.

fun chocolate creations


It’s Ash Wednesday so Easter is just around the corner. Not doing anything in particular for Lent.

Easter means easter eggs, which reminds me of this gallery of unusual chocolate creations.


In keeping with the Easter theme, here’s a chocolate statue of Mary at an Amsterdam parade.


We had fun with a chocolate shoe a few years ago, most chocolate shoes seem to be women’s pumps, I guess a) chocolate appeal to women and b) the shape looks good. But these formal chocolate shoes look really great, they were part of a Salon du chocolate in Paris in 2011.

chocolate vegemite tasting


When I found out that Cadbury is bringing out vegemite chocolate I got very excited. Vegemite is one of those either/or foods: you either love it or hate it. Food like Marmite/Vegemite, durian, liquorice, oysters, blue cheese, offal, century eggs. I’m in the I love marmite/vegemite camp. (Hate durian, liquorice.)

So anyway, a kind friend from Australia, D, offered to send me a couple of bars. I received them last week, they were a little melted so I put them in the fridge. There were other things to eat first so I didn’t get round to tasting till today.


The packaging says milk chocolate with flowing caramel and vegemite. From the Guardian’s tasting I know that the vegemite flavour is very subtle, like a hint of salted caramel. What surprised me was that it was almost not there. I held the bar up close to my nose and all I could smell was chocolate and caramel. It was the same with the tasting. Overwhelmingly chocolate and caramel, very sweet. I struggled to find the saltiness of the vegemite. There was a little more in the aftertaste, when the chocolate has melted, but not enough.

My verdict? I don’t like it because there isn’t enough vegemite. I don’t like milk chocolate, I certainly won’t buy regular milk chocolate with caramel (the sickly sweetness scares me). I’ve had sea salt caramel dark chocolate and it’s nice. I guess they tried to be very subtle about the vegemite so they don’t scare people away. The problem is that the people who are likely to buy this vegemite chocolate are people who like vegemite anyway, so give them what they like. Don’t skimp on the one ingredient that is selling the product.

In other vegemite news, buzzfeed has this quiz that can tell the kind of person you’ll date with just 4 vegemite-related questions. One of the crazy vegemite creations include vegemite chocolate but I chose vegemite gelato. For relationship type I got:


Hahaha, wonder what mm thinks of that.


chocolate ice cream day


In terms of bizarre holidays, it’s chocolate ice cream day. There doesn’t seem to be a reliable source of origin for the day, it was probably invented by an ice cream manufacturer to market their product.

Chocolate isn’t my first choice ice cream flavour. Not even second, third or tenth. That said, I came across chocolate hazelnut flavour the other day and stocked it in parents’ freezer. Had a couple of scoops with a pear. Pear and chocolate go very well together and the nuts gave it another texture.

#58 new recipe: double chocolate tart


Tasks #49-58 of 101.1001 are to try 10 new recipes. It’s great that the 10th one turned out so nice.

I’ve mentioned before that even though I’ve been baking for a long time, it’s usually cakes and biscuits. I only tried bread a few months ago and choux is the only pastry I’m comfortable with. I rarely work with the most basic pastry of them all: shortcrust.

So we were watching MKR4 repeat and I decided to try the double chocolate tart one team made, because it looked so indulgent.

for the pastry:
150g cold butter
185g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
50g icing sugar
1 egg yolk

for the filling:
350g chocolate
80ml cream
50g brown sugar
2 eggs + 4 egg yolks

Sift the flour, cocoa and icing sugar into a large bowl, mix butter until resembling breadcrumbs. In the recipe they use a food processor but I couldn’t find mine, and besides I’m not sure it works anymore. Takes longer using hands but it’s not too bad. Put the mixture back in the fridge for 5mins to cool, then add the egg yolk. Combine into a dough. Initially I thought one egg yolk surely wasn’t enough to bind so much dry ingredients, but it worked after a bit of elbow grease. Knead on a flat surface briefly. Chill dough in fridge for 30mins.

Roll out dough to a tart tin. Well, I don’t have a tart tin, so I used half the dough and rolled out into a regular small cake tin, mending gaps where necessary. I tried to trim the side so it was flat. Cool the pastry in the fridge for 5mins, then blind bake at 180°C for 15mins with baking beans, followed by 10mins without. Didn’t have baking beans at parents’ place, so substituted with rice.

While the baked pastry case cools, make the filling. Melt chocolate and cream in a bain marie. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, egg yolk and sugar until frothy. Combine with melted chocolate carefully then pour into pastry case. Bake at 160°C for 30mins. Cool at room temperature, then in fridge until set.


The pastry was quite short, may be a tad too short, but I like it. The filling was rich and, yes, indulgent. Should have served it with strawberries or raspberries but didn’t have it. Added to the richness by pouring a little cream over. I’ll have to buy a proper tart tin, it’s one of those desserts I’m going to add to my repertoire.

salted caramel truffle


Mum asked my niece what she wanted for her birthday and the reply was chocolate. Mum normally gives her nice chocoalte like godiva or equivalent. This year, I offered to make truffles. I made two types: mint choc and salted caramel.

The mint choc used 70% mint chocolate as base, and the usual add cream and butter method. The end result was a very subtle, almost non-existent mint flavour. If I had more time I’d infuse mint leaves in sugar syrup or find mint flavouring.

The salted caramel truffle came from an Edd Kimber recipe. In case people are not aware who is Edd Kimber, he was the winner of the first Great British Bake-off. I used 1/3rd of his recipe, to get about 20 truffles.

100g 70% chocolate
100g caster sugar
7g light brown sugar — probably not needed
100ml double or whipping cream
7g butter
1/2tsp salt

  1. break the chocolate into a large bowl, set aside
  2. in a heavy saucepan, slowly melt the white sugar, gently moving the pan until all the sugar has melted
  3. add half the cream and the recipe says brown sugar but I don’t think it’s needed
  4. the mixture will bubble madly, remove from heat if it gets too violent
  5. when the bubbling has subsided, add the rest of the cream, butter and salt
  6. pour over chocolate and stir until all chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy
  7. cover and set overnight. Roll into balls with hands, coat with cocoa powder (or icing sugar or chocolate shell), decorate with a crystal of rock salt

Very nice. I added more salt, it contrasted well with the sweetness of the caramel. 

ice cream with chocolate soil


The whole family went for curry buffet at the yacht club. It’s very hard to take a picture of curry, and of buffet dishes so I won’t even try. My niece didn’t have the curry, instead she ordered spag bol and ice cream. The ice cream was mint choc and topped with chocolate soil, served in a flower pot. Looks great! The soil was broken up oreos. How a little creativity and artistic presentation gave additional wow factor to a good dessert. 

chocolate cake no scales


My scales broke, or rather, the scales I had at parents’ place broke and I can’t be bothered to a) go get the ones at my place or b) go buy new ones. Sales start in november, so I want to wait a few weeks. That said, for some reason I felt like making chocolate cake. So I did some random googling and found a recipe that uses cup measurements.

First of, I know many, many, many bakers use cup measurements — all American recipes are in cups as well as some NZ and Aussie recipes. But I’m uncomfortable with it, as we can see from the results. The recipe didn’t specify what type of cup so I used a proper ones from a professional cooking shop.

3 cups SR flour — that looked like A LOT! Must be something like 300-400g
2 tsp bicarb
pinch of salt
2 cups sugar — I used less, about 1.75 cups
3/4 cup cocoa powder — I used a combo of cocoa powder and chocolate pieces
2 eggs — didn’t seem enough
1 cup oil — I used a combo of soft butter and canola oil
1 cup milk
1 cup hot water

Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl, add wet ingredients and mix well.

That’s it. No creaming, no beating, no getting lots of air into the mixture.

Bake at 180˚C for 45mins. The recipe said 200˚C but I was slow cooking ribs in the oven so I couldn’t bring the temp that high. The rib roasting tray also meant I had room for a rectangular cake tin as opposed to a regular round cake tin. I had enough mixture for 2 cakes—I thought that was a lot of flour and sugar.

The result was, surprisingly, good. We liked the reduced sugar, so it’s not sickly sweet. Light and fluffy inside (bicarb+SR flour?), perhaps a tad too crumbly and a really nice crust outside. I normally don’t go for the end bits but this time I was super glad I did.

So, using a cup to gram conversion table:
350g SR flour
2 tsp bicarb
pinch of salt
350g sugar
75g cocoa
2 eggs — I still think it’s not enough, may be increase to 3 eggs
250g butter
250ml milk
250ml hot water

Or half for just one cake.


#homemade chocolate truffles


250g dark chocolate
250ml double cream
knob of butter

Break chocolate into small pieces in a bowl. Heat cream and butter until almost boiling, then pour onto the chocolate pieces. Stir until chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy. Leave in fridge overnight to set.

Use a small spoon and hands to shape gently then roll in cocoa powder or chopped nuts. I also made a small batch that had a splash of highland park added. It was quite strong. Made around 30 truffles in total. 

101.1001 #54.6 | 30in30 #17 new sweet recipe


This is a combination of task #54.6 of 101 in 1001 and task #17 in 30 in 30 is to try a new sweet recipe.

This is a recipe for no-bake blueberry truffle tart that has been bookmarked for a while. I made some adjustments, mainly in the ingredients and making of the base. The idea remains the same, make a biscuit base, make a ganache, top with blueberries.

225g crushed biscuits — I used half oreos and half hob-nobs, the recipe used just oreos
75g butter
225g dark chocolate
250ml cream — should be 300ml but the carton was 250ml
1 punnet blueberries

Crush the biscuits, I put them in a ziploc bag and whacked them with a pestle but a rolling pin or food processor will work. Melt butter in pan, add biscuit crumbs and transfer to lined tin. The recipe used individual fairy cake tins but mum didn’t have that tin so I improvised and used a square tin. Allow to set in fridge (around 20-30mins).

Melt the chocolate on a bain marie and stir in the cream. Can do it the other way round, heat cream and pour over chocolate. Either way, stir until chocolate has melted and the mixture glossy and smooth.

I sprinkled half the punnet of blueberries on the biscuit base and added the ganache. Set in fridge for about 10mins, then sprinkle the rest on top. Return to fridge so the ganache sets. I left mine overnight.

Usually we combine chocolate with raspberries or strawberries but blueberries work very well too. The ganache was extremely rich, and the fruitiness of the blueberries in every bite was a good contrast. A small slice is more than enough.

chocolate wine


Sis gave me a bottle of chocolatrouge wine for christmas, I saw it at the supermarket the other day which prompted me to open and try it. This is the milk chocolate one. It also won some prizes and is described as

a luscious blend of rich chocolate flavors and fine red wine

I gakked the pic from their facebook page. Didn’t look like wine when poured out, it looked like baileys or the mozart chocolate liqueur I used to see in Austria and Switzerland. Similar taste too, the chocolate is definitely the dominant taste and smell. But there’s also an underlying hit of alcohol that gives a pleasant buzz. I guess wine snobs will sneer at this, but I think it goes with dessert, as an after dinner drink or in sweet cocktails.

Because it said wine on the label, I drank it like wine. It’s way, way, way too easy to drink that way and half the bottle is gone already. Heehee. Should drink it like whisky, in a tumbler with ice and slowly.

It’s not expensive, under $10. They also have a dark chocolate and a sweet wine flavour. I think it’s worth trying them too.

#50 new recipe — christmas chocolate log

Task #50 in 101 in 1001 challenge: 2 of 10 new recipes.

I’ve made yule log before, and it is a sort of family tradition. I wanted to find a recipe that was less sweet, and was pleased that bbc goodfood came through again. I made some adjustments to the recipe, taking out some more sugar, substituting honey for golden syrup and using the chocolate cream for both filling and icing.

for the sponge:
3 eggs
85g sugar
85g plain flour
1/2 tsp bp
2 tbsp cocoa powder

for the filling:
50g butter
150g dark toblerone
250ml carton + 5tbsp whipping cream
1 tbsp honey

Whisk the eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy. Sift flour, bp, cocoa and fold into egg mixture. Bake in a swiss roll tray for 10-12mins at 200°C. Remove from oven, roll in the greaseproof paper and leave to cool.

Melt the butter and chocolate on a bain marie, cool. Add honey and 5tbsp cream. Whip the carton of cream until soft peaks then fold in the chocolate mixture.

Unroll sponge and spread filling generously. Roll carefully into log shape. Cut off one end as the branch. Ice with rest of chocolate cream.

We didn’t have icing sugar so I sieved some caster sugar over as the snow. I like this chocolate cream filling much better than using butter icing. It was very rich, I cut a thickish slice and divided it into three for me and parents, it was enough.

chocolate cake reminder

chocolate cake

This rich chocolate cake from a hotel bakery reminded me of a few things.

parents love you unconditionally
I’m back at parents’ place and mum saved me a piece for tea. She buys a lot of good food for me, and my dad is responsible for cooking all our meals. I’m like a princess when I stay here, and they make it clear they want me to stay as long as I can.

my feelings for mm
We’ve been together, in a weird sense of the word, for 21 years. I’m not sure what lies ahead for us; she’s quite happy about us being a couple of steps up from friends, I want things to go back to how they were in the beginning. The first thing I thought of when mum gave me the cake was I needed to take a picture and send to mm to cheer her up. In return she sent me lots of happy smiley face stickers.

need to keep healthy
This chocolate cake packs something like 300-400 calories. I haven’t been exercising enough, and mm’s recent health scare reminds me that I need to get back to a better level of health.

chocolate isn’t my first choice
Even though it was professionally baked and parents really liked it, I found the cake too sweet, too dry and too rich. I finished it, but it took me a long time (remembering that I’m a very fast eater.) Given a choice between different flavours, I won’t pick chocolate. I like making desserts, and a lot of my recipes are chocolate, but I just don’t go crazy about it like most people.



Based on Nigella’s recipe for snow-flecked brownies. Half the recipe quantity was perfect for the square tin.

melt 190g chocolate + 190g butter over bain marie, cool
whisk 160g sugar and 2 large eggs until pale and thick
combine chocolate and egg mixtures
add 50g mixed nuts
fold in 115g plain flour
bake at 180°C for 30mins until top is dry

The recipe uses 100g white chocolate buttons, when I first made it I used dark chocolate but this time I just used nuts, and a smaller quantity because I didn’t want the brownie to be overwhelmed by nuts. We had peanuts, almonds, pistachios and cashews in a snack jar so that was what I used. Although I cut it into 3×3 squares for presentation, 4×4 squares is probably a more reasonable serving size.

There is a debate about whether brownies should be cakey, gooey or fudgy. These were somewhere in between gooey and fudgy. The tops were crispy and the inside quite dense without being too sticky. The rich chocolate taste came through, which is always important.

chocolate fondant


This is the last of the chocfest we’ve been having at home. First attempt at chocolate fondant, recipe from the guardian.

60g dark chocolate
60g butter
30g sugar — recipe says 60g, I didn’t think we need so much
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp plain flour

Melt chocolate and butter over bain marie and set aside to cool. Whisk egg, egg yolk and sugar until pale and thick, around 5-10mins or the time it takes for the chocolate to melt. Combine chocolate and egg mixtures. Fold in flour, pour into greased tins. Bake at 200°C for 10mins, until the top is just set.

Leave in tin for 30-60 seconds then turn out.

Probably a little tiny bit overdone. The recipe says 12mins, I took them out at 10mins, may be that was even a minute too late.

chocolate yogurt mousse


The recipe for regular chocolate mousse is very rich, almost 500ml of cream total. So we wanted to find a less fattening alternative, and Mum found a chocolate yogurt mousse recipe that uses greek yogurt. I bought her a yogurt maker a long long time ago, and she’s been making her own yogurt occasionally.

We didn’t exactly follow the recipe, skipped the coffee and there was a step with boiling water that didn’t work. Skipped the sugar too.

85g chocolate — we used 100g, a whole dark toblerone
1tbsp cocoa — not even sure it’s necessary, will skip next time
2 egg whites, whisked to soft peaks stage
50g greek yogurt — that’s not a lot, we added an extra tablespoon

Melt the chocolate over a bain marie, add cocoa powder. At this point the recipe said add a couple of tablespoons of boiling water to soften the chocolate. Argh! Adding water to melted chocolate makes it lumpy and solid. I had to rescue it using vegetable oil and a bit of egg yolk.

Add yogurt to chocolate mixture. Fold in egg whites. We tasted at this point and decided no sugar was needed. Leave in fridge to set.

The end result is definitely light, although still very chocolate-y. Can taste the slight sourness of the yogurt, in a pleasant but not overpowering way. Quite soft and doesn’t hold its shape that well — it’s fine in a glass but spooning it out on a plate for presentation will end up being chocolate milkshake. To make it more solid, may be add the egg yolks or whisk the egg whites to stiffer peaks? I want to add more yogurt but it’ll make it too sour. Hmm, more research needed.

chocolate semifreddo


In an early Naked Chef program, Jamie Oliver made semifreddo with maltesers, berries and some other stuff that he just threw into the mixture. That was the first time I came across semifreddo, which is Italian for “half cold.” Somewhere in between a frozen mousse and an ice cream is the best description.

This chocolate semifreddo recipe is itself adapted from Donna Hay’s recipe. I didn’t want to make a big batch, so this is half the recipe.

125g dark chocolate (I used toblerone)
2 medium eggs + 1 egg yolk
75g sugar — this was too much, next time I’ll use 50g or less
225ml whipping cream
1tbsp good quality cocoa

Melt chocolate over a bain marie and set aside to cool. Once melted it won’t set again. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolk and sugar over a very slow bain marie until pale and thick — by hand it took 10mins and the mixture had more than doubled its volume. I periodically took the bowl off the heat so the eggs don’t cook. Take the bowl off the heat completely and continue whisking as it cools, another 5-10mins. The mixture by now was glossy and had the consistency of soft meringue. Fold in the melted chocolate.

In another bowl, whisk the cream until soft peaks stage and add the cocoa. Fold the cream into the chocolate mixture.

Line a rectangular tin with clingfilm. I actually used one of those takeaway plastic boxes, it was the right size and had a lid. Pour the mixture into the tin/box and leave to freeze overnight.

It was absolutely like mousse and ice cream. Very rich, smooth and chocolate-y. Quite dense, a small slice was enough. Because it was made from eggs and cream it had very little water content so didn’t need to be constantly stirred like ice cream. Could have actually scooped it out like ice cream too. Next time I won’t waste the remaining egg white, I’ll whisk it up and add it with the cream. May be serve it with strawberries and a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

chocolate mousse for mum


It’s probably only a slight exaggeration to say that I can make this chocolate mousse in my sleep. I’ve done it so many times, and served it to so many people, it’s sort of a signature dish of mine. Mum felt like it, so I made it and tried to teach her. Usually I make it from dark toblerone, but we couldn’t find it so I used a good quality Belgian 70% dark chocolate.

Four ingredients only, and 4 steps:

  1. melt 300g chocolate and a knob of butter over a bain marie
  2. separate 3 eggs; add chocolate mixture to egg yolks when melted and cooled — slowly, otherwise there’d be scrambled eggs
  3. whisk egg whites, fold into chocolate mixture
  4. whisk 500ml whipping cream, add to chocolate mixture, leave in fridge to set for at least 1 hour

The end result was smooth and very rich, the chocolate was good. Sprinkled a little grated chocolate on top for decoration. We liked it.

gcls con


Registered for the 2013 GCLS conference, which will take place at the end of June in Dallas. Got the early bird x2 ticket with A. Getting flights will be more of a challenge, so I need to start researching earlier. This will be my 5th con, I think. But I won’t get my 5 year anniversary badge because I forgot to renew one time so I had to restart a few months later. Ah well. It’s a great conference, and I’m looking forward to readings, lectures and the annual catch up with friends. Not to mention visitingTexas again and may be this time I’ll shell out for that $200 cowboy hat.

They have a silent auction at the conference, and this year’s chocolate shoe went down very well. Not sure how to top that next year, I wonder if I can get my hands on some strange Japanese candy. Failing that, there’s always melty kisses, the winter special editions are hitting the shelves now.

gcls chocolate shoe

chocshoe06 chocshoe00

When I went to Brussels with A in April and did the chip’n’choc walk, we bought a chocolate shoe from Wittamer that we thought would be perfect to donate to the silent auction at GCLS. We had in mind several attendees who are very interested in shoes and chocolate, and we hope would gamely put in generous bids.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been posting teaser images of the shoe on facebook; basically I took pics at odd angles and photoshopped them. Been extremely pleased that a fair bit of buzz has been generated. We got to the con today and finally revealed the actual item. Hopefully it wasn’t a disappointment, from the reactions it would seem that there may be a potential bidding war. All in aid of the GCLS which is always a good thing.

brussels revisit day 2


Breakfast at the hotel was EUR23, so we just had the croissants we brought with us. We didn’t wake up till 9am, so it was past 10am when we left. First stop was to go to St Catherine area, where I thought there was a food market. But we were disappointed, there was nothing, and for a weekday morning, no one around either. We visited a Carrefour Express and got some waffles. Remember this.

Went back to the hotel to dump our shopping and walked to Le Grand Sablon, where the chocolate shops are. We’d already done some chocolate shopping at the Grand Place vicinity, so it wasn’t as much of a wow factor as before. We did sit outside at Wittamer and had a leisurely 2 hour lunch. That’s the life! We had a couple of nice quiches — lorraine for me and saumon for Mum. There was an odd marching interlude, where a group of about 100 people dressed as officials marched through the street in front of us. The people at the front wore costumes and some had flags. Some of the people had medals or chains that suggested that they are mayors or council members. May be the beginning of the local council or parliament? The people at the back weren’t in costume but were still in business attire and looked official.

Too full after the quiches for dessert, even though the selection looked delicious. I couldn’t let Mum leave Brussels without tasting the hot chocolate though, so we had that. Yes, it was as heavenly and smooth and chocolatey as I remembered. Everyone who visits Brussels must try hot chocolate, preferably at Wittamer, at least once.

I was a bit full but couldn’t resist the frite stall behind La Chapelle. Last time it was closed (too early) so I insisted on getting a small portion. Freshly fried and still piping hot. Nice.

Still some time to spare, so we headed back to Grand Place and behind, near the Bourse. There was a talented busker singing guitar classics, and his tip box was full of euros. We then found a supermarket and went shopping crazy. Mainly white asparagus (3 bunches) and more waffles. I think Mum bought something like 4-5 packets of different sized waffles altogether. I have no idea whether we can finish them all, or she is going to take them home with her. Anyway, our overnight trolley bags are full of waffles.

Uneventful Eurostar trip home. No silly delays like last time, we were home by 8pm.

brussels chocwalk


We had a leisurely morning, taking our time to wake up, check out and have breakfast. Then a short walk to find a couple more friteries near the hotel. It was too early for them to be open, so it was just a matter of taking pictures and then moving on.

Having done the savoury chipwalk yesterday, it’s the turn of the sweet chocwalk, making our trip the chip’n’choc walk trip (my invented word). Of course, Belgian chocolate is famous all over the world, and we took inspiration from this really useful nyt article and made a beeline to Place du Grand Sablon which promised us 8 chocolate shops in one square.

The first shop was Pierre Marcolini’s two storey extravaganza. They treat chocolate like delicate vintage, and have a box that includes the Grand Cru selection. Other selection include one that offers the taste of cocoa from different parts of the world, and one that has spices. I also bought a €49 box of rum & whisky chocolate. The next stop was Wittamer where I bought a box of 9 pralines topped with chocolate coated crickets. Yes, crickets as in the insect cricket. The unboxing and tasting deserves its own post I think. Wittamer was also where we stopped for a hot chocolate. I don’t usually order hot chocolate but this was well worth the exception. The intense cocoa flavour is nothing like the hot chocolate from a packet. Even the cream was delicious. Final stop was Neuhaus for truffles.

I was now pretty laden down with chocolate purchases. But that wasn’t the end of our chocolate adventure. We made our way back to Grand Place and visited the museum of cocoa and chocolate. For €5.50, we visited the small museum, watched a demostration of how to make pralines and had a small sampler. Nice little museum to spend an hour or so in a tiny street just behind the main square.


And in a touristy shopping street the other side of the square, I found the other thing I was hoping I’d find, Westvleteren 12 beer from the Abbey of St Sixtus at Westvleteren. Their beers are in huge demand because of having consistenly been voted the best beer in the world and the small quantity made at the abbey. To make a purchase, people have to ring up to check when reservations are available; then ring up again when reservations do open to make an appointment for a visit. They have to indicate the licence plate number of the car visiting, and one licence plate can only buy every 60 days. Such is the rarity that I wasn’t sure I’d even see posters of the beer let alone the real thing. I had no hesitation in shelling out €12.95 for a bottle (actually got two, plus one each of the blonde and the 8).

Now I was well and truly carrying a very heavy load. Not a lot else to do with only a couple of hours, we ate more frites (at one of the friteries not on the list), had ice cream at at biscuit place and then camped out at a small café. I had a couple of beers and A had a diet coke. Then got a bit hungry, A had a salad while I ordered an américaine, which here means steak tartare. I can’t imagine a dish more misnamed, I can’t imagine many Americans eating steak tartare. It’s been a while since my last one, and it was okay, not the best one I’ve had. Sigh, really have to go back to Switzerland one of these days.

Walked back to the hotel, hung out for a bit in the lobby until it was time to catch our respective trains. Not even the Eurostar delay on the way home, because UKBA was so understaffed they asked the trains to go slow, dampened my overall impression of the trip. What a great weekend, it was a good idea to meet up and do something different than the usual touristy stuff.

chocolate orange


I feel my resolve crumbling in the UK, I can’t resist all the biscuits and crisps that I grew up with. Chocolate I can leave. Except when it comes to chocolate orange. Sigh. I found these different varieties of chocolate orange on sale for 99p at Smith’s and simply had to get them:

  • honeycomb crunch
  • dark
  • volcanic popping candy
  • white chocolate smasher
  • regular

Apparently there are even more flavours. Argh. 4 segments is 180 calories, or running 3k. I guess I’ll have to really stick to the training plan.

stockpot, m&m, rainbow, love never dies


I wanted to take mm to the southbank real food stalls to try the roast hog but there were no pigs there today and we didn’t feel like anything else. Walked back towards Piccadilly Circus and ended up at another old favourite, Stockpot. Had the lunch special — grilled halloumi, mm had fish and I had roast beef, then we both had apple crumble with extra custard. Can’t beat Stockpot for value although I think it’s now less of a poor student’s haunt and has been taken over by the tourist guide crowds in search of a cheap meal. We were surrounded by out-of-towners, the French family next to us ordered steak and kidney pie.

The afternoon was spent ambling around town. I showed her the new M&M store, and we had an absolute blast there. Onto Foyles to look at music books for mm (I escaped to the basement to read finance exposés). Tea at what I now realise is a gay café bar but at the time it was the first one we came across. Early dinner of roast duck noodles in Chinatown. She continued her piano playing stint at a digital piano store and there is such a huge difference between a digital piano and a Steinway (duh). She was a tad unhappy at herself for not playing very well, but we were cheered by the sight of a rainbow at Covent Garden. More blessings.


So, onto yet another highlight of our week, the final performance of love never dies. Reviews haven’t been kind, but we really enjoyed it! I couldn’t afford stall seats so we were up at the upper circle, right in the middle though. We were riveted throughout the performance; the music was good, most of the performances were impressive (some hamming up by Ramin Karimloo notwithstanding), and, well, the audience was overly rambunctious. I even got 2 for the price of 1 for my interval drink — I’d only paid for 1 beer, but they had 2 bottles laid out when I went to collect, ah well. Andrew Lloyd Weber said a few short words at the end and I think they deserved every minute of the standing ovation. We even had a good laugh at the plot holes on the way home.

hot chocolate 15k


15k 1:36:02hr 6.24min/km

Race #11, the hot chocolate 15k.

After last year’s experience, I wasn’t sure I wanted to do this race this year. The course wasn’t that great, the chocolate fondue and drink post-race were not impressive at all, and it’s expensive at $55 for the 15k. But like many, I got caught up post-marathon and wanted to run another race soon, so there I was. Of course since the marathon I’d done a grand total of 8k — not good, not good.

There were many improvements from last year. The first was that packet pickup wasn’t somewhere in the UIC campus, but Union Station. How much more convenient can it get? I mean, I work right next door. The second improvement was the course moved from crowded Montrose to South Lake Shore — start at Grant Park, then south to museum campus and LSD, following the RNR route. The third improvement was a very nice and soft jacket.

They couldn’t do anything about the weather. It was dry but cold. They still had 2 separate starts for the 5k and 15k; and it got crowded with both groups in the area. The 5k racers were back when we were lining up in the start chute, I made my way to the barrier and saw them come back in. This meant the 15k racers were standing around for almost 30mins freezing our butts off. I was one of the few people in shorts. Not capris, normal shorts. And on top was the long sleeved marathon shirt, having gear checked the jacket. If the race started 5 mins later, I would have been shivering and chattering.

This meant it took me like 3-4k just to not feel cold, and more to warm up. The summer of training helped, even after taking almost 4 weeks off. At no point was I winded, and my knees held up. Because of the slow, cold start and wanting to conserve energy, I wasn’t aiming for any particular time. I did kick in a little with 5k to go, only to get side stitch at the last kilometer. But I ignored the pain, because that’s what i should do.

There was more food at the fondue — 3-4 slices of apple, half a banana, pretzel sticks, cereal bar and cake. All dipped in chocolate, this time provided by Ghiradelli’s. I dropped my drink ticket but they still gave me a hot chocolate with marshmallows. Lingered a bit, walking around to look at the park again. It’s my last race there this year. Got sentimental for a minute. Placing:

  • overall — 7689 / 12368
  • gender — 4432 / 8150
  • age division — 259 / 523

#66(7) new pastry: chocolate quinoa cake


I discovered quinoa over the summer and has made it several times as a salad or as the starchy part of a meal. Little did I know, until I read more about it, that chocolate and quinoa go so well together.

This recipe is adapted from here. The author thoughtfully tried to convert American cup measurements to metric but failed in a spectacularly cute way — there is no way on earth that flour and sugar are measured in ml.

3 eggs
150g sugar
100g butter
100g chocolate
225g cooked quinoa
175g flour
1 tsp bp

  1. whisk egg and sugar until pale and thick
  2. melt butter and chocolate over bain marie
  3. add chocolate mixture to egg mixture
  4. add quinoa
  5. sift in flour and bp
  6. bake at 180°C for 30-35mins

Okay, this is just…phenomenal. The quinoa gives it a chewy crunchy texture that is unique and the cake itself is moist and fluffy. I ate a slice, then half of one, then the bits that fell off when I moved it. I’ve never been so lacking in discipline, and I don’t usually like chocolate.

#66(6) new dessert: yule log


Come to think of it, making yule log is one of my family’s christmas traditions. This is a nigella like recipe made from a flourless cake mixture and chocolate butter icing.

6 eggs, separated
6oz / 150g sugar
2oz / 50g cocoa powder + 2tbsp for icing
3oz / 75g butter
8oz / 250g icing sugar

  1. whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks, then add 50g sugar
  2. in a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks, rest of sugar until pale and mousse-like, add cocoa powder
  3. fold egg white mixture into chocolate mixture
  4. bake at 180°C for 20mins until cake springs back when pressed
  5. cool for 5mins, then turn out to greaseproof paper sprinkled with sugar on a wet tea towel
  6. make icing by whisking butter, icing sugar, 2tbsp cocoa, 2 tbsp milk
  7. spread icing on cake, then roll up like a swiss roll
  8. cut off a branch, stick to main branch using icing
  9. spread icing all over, sieve icing sugar and decorate

It was too sweet, next time I’ll use crème au buerre filling and ganache as icing.

#66(5) new dessert: chocolate soufflé


I’ve always found soufflé intimidating. I suppose I shouldn’t, cos I’m not a bad pastry chef. A few weeks ago my friend Car remarked nonchalantly about something or other that I should make chocolate soufflé for her family. It was meant to be a tease, or challenge, or punishment, i can’t remember. I didn’t put up any argument, just said, “okay.”

Not surprisingly there are a lot of recipes. Because I don’t have my cookbooks I focused purely on the ones available online. After a little research I decided on the one at cooking for engineers. It seemed straightforward and I appreciated the step-by-step pictures.

The first challenge was that I didn’t have time to go shopping during the week for the chocolate I wanted to use. At the end I got 2 packs of baking chocolate and mixed the 100% and 54% together.

In a bain marie, melt 8oz chocolate, 1tbsp butter and 60ml double cream. Meanwhile, whisk 5 egg whites with 1/2 tsp cream of tartar till soft peaks, then add 70g sugar and whisk till the stiff peaks stage.

Add 4 egg yolks to the chocolate mixture, then fold in the egg whites. Bake at 190°C for 20mins, serve immediately.

The good news is that it was mostly successful. The soufflés didn’t deflate, and were very rich. The bad news was that the chocolate didn’t work out and it wasn’t sweet enough. It actually wasn’t good enough quality. Next time I’ll use proper high quality chocolate.

chocolate chip cookies


mm’s parents invited me for dinner tonight, they’ve been including me in family gatherings lately, even though technically they don’t know they’re my in-laws. Interesting conundrum.

I didn’t want to go empty handed, and it being so close to Christmas. So I made chocolate chip cookies. I’m useless at picking out gifts for people and if I have time, I prefer to make food items. As the LA Times said in its article 50 ways to make your holiday gifts homemade,

Not only are homemade gifts less expensive, they also capture the spirit of holiday giving in a way that purchased gifts simply can’t.

These were real easy, I can’t remember where I got the recipe, but I’ve always had it on the old html version of my website. Cream 8oz butter with 4oz sugar, add 2 large (or 3 small) eggs, fold in 10oz SR flour and 12oz chocolate chips. Spoon onto a lined baking tray and bake for 15-20mins until golden. Makes 24 large cookies.

I wrapped them up in clingfilm and put them in pretty Christmas-y gift bags. Freshly made, I could still smell them when I gave them out at the restaurant, and my apartment now has that warm homely baking smell that will last till the morning.

#66(2) new pastry: four nut chocolate brownies


From Delia’s winter collection. Yes, I know it’s May and it’s not winter, but who cares when there’s brownies? I don’t usually like nuts, but this was good.

1oz each of macadamia, pecan, hazelnut, brazil nut
2oz dark chocolate
4oz butter
2 large eggs
8oz granulated sugar
2oz plain flour
1 tsp baking powder

Roughly chop and roast the nuts for exactly 8 minutes
Melt chocolate and butter over a pan of simmering water
Cool, then mix in all the other ingredients
Bake at 180°C for 30 mins, cool, then cut into squares

home, relevance, it just is

Got up at 6.15am, was all checked out before 7am. Waited for the limousine bus for the airport, which was pretty full. By the time I got to the lounge, I was so early that the passengers from the earlier flight were still at the lounge! Then again, I had no choice because the bus ran every hour and I’d be cutting it too fine.

The flight was nothing spectacular. I got home around an hour after landing. I called mm to tell her that I’d brought dinner — the salmon roe she asked me to buy — but she was asleep and barely able to talk to me. Kinda disappointed, but what can I do?

The rest of the day was spent watching TV, sorting the pics and obviously catching up on posts. That’s how my life is nowadays, just on my own and finding my own way to occupy my time. There’s no good or bad about it, it just is.

Here’s an interesting collection of KitKats I got from vending machines and convenience stores in Tokyo. Why is it relevant to anything I just wrote? Nothing. It’s not.


food photography is hard

I made toblerone chocolate mousse. And then I realised the recipe post doesn’t have a picture, which is bad bad bad.

Man, talk about difficult. I think I’ve posted about how difficult it is to do food photography at home — too dark, no sunlight, bad lighting, no white surface, too much stuff affecting the background. Not to mention I don’t have good enough utensils, containers and I don’t own a tablecloth. I think photographing food so it looks appealing is tough, period.

I made do with what I had, using different containers — an Ikea dessert bowl, a Starbucks espresso cup and a shot glass. I had cocoa powder and a block of chocolate for shaving. I wish I had chocolate sauce, some raspberries or even mint. But no, I’m out of all those. I did manage to find a box of amaretto biscotti for decoration. See the results:


First I tried the table, then the usual makeshift white surface (ie the microwave). I tried scooping it into a fresh dessert bowl so it looks haphazard. I had a running battle with condensation and the mousse melting. In the end I shot off like 30 pics. I dunno, none of them looked good.

Oh the whole reason I was making chocolate mousse was because I was reading the article about the hidden bear inside the toblerone logo.


And I remembered I had 3 bars of the dark toblerone in my fridge that needed using. Oh no, it’s got nothing to do with the fact that it’s one of my favourite recipes to use.

“five star menu”

mm came over for lunch today, and I’d planned a full three-course menu cos we hadn’t had home-cooked food for a long time and I really wanted to cook. It’s been a theme lately.

Made the starter yesterday. Roasted carrot & tomato soup. 4 large carrots, 3 tomatoes, 3 cloves garlic, 3 finely chopped shallots, Italian seasoning, a little olive oil all browned in a medium oven for 45 minutes. Then transfer the whole lot into a pan, deglaze the roasting tin with water, add turkey stock from the freezer and simmer for an hour. Left the soup to stand overnight, with me in the bedroom cos I had the aircon on. Then blitz, add milk, season and keep warm. s

For mains I marinaded some lamb chops overnight in olive oil, pepper, mint and Worcestershire sauce. Did not salt until I’d grilled one side and was about to turn it over. Nigel Slater wrote that if you salted a chop before grilling the juices flow out and you end up with a dry chop; salting it after grilling means the salt stays outside the meat and does nothing. And he’s right, not much juice came out even though I rested them for about 5 minutes.

I served the lamb with potato chunks and roasted red peppers. I semi-peeled and diced 2 potatoes, par-boiled then roasted with olive oil. The par-boiling fluffs the pieces so they get really crunchy. The red pepper I sliced into 8 long strips then put them over the gas hob (care: naked flame) skin side down until the skin is blackened. Peeled the charred bits off and they tasted smoked and very fine.

I think mm was impressed with the presentation. And she liked the food too, she called it a five star menu, asked for more soup, but ended up finishing the potatoes.


For dessert I tried to make chocolate fondant pudding but I overcooked it, the chocolate inside sank to the bottom and I basically ended up with a nice chocolate sponge pudding instead of anything fancy. Didn’t taste too bad but it wasn’t what I intended. This made 4 puddings — melted 2oz each of butter and chocolate. Beat 2 eggs and 2.5oz sugar until light and tripled in volume. Add the melted chocolate and 1oz flour. Pour into buttered moulds and bake ad 180°C for 10 minutes. I wanted to serve with chocolate sauce but I didn’t have any cream to make it.

All in all, a satisfying lunch. I’m still full.


Quite surprising that I’ve never made brownies before. I’m at home today so it was the perfect opportunity. This is based on Nigella’s recipe. For an Americanized version, and photo of how they should look like go to the Food Network.

I used half portions, made 24 small almost bite-sized brownies.

375g chocolate
375g butter
4 large eggs
350g sugar
225g plain flour
200g chocolate bits — she used white chocolate buttons which I didn’t have, so I used regular choc chips

Melt chocolate and butter in a large bowl over boiling water. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and sugar. Add vanilla extract if using it.

Cool the melted chocolate and butter slightly, then whisk in the egg and sugar mixture. Fold in the flour and chocolate bits. Bake in square tin at 180°C for about 25 mins until the top is dry.

Sprinkle over cocoa powder or icing sugar before serving. I’m thinking a dollop of clotted cream or a scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream will turn this into a dessert. For true decadence, top with chocolate ganache, garnish with mixed berries macerated with brandy and drizzle a raspberry coulis.


choc chip in a bag

I’m terrible at buying presents. So this year I decided to make chocolate chip cookies for my colleagues — I have to give to about 10 people, which is added incentive to keep it simple. Recipe is from Delia. I made 3 batches of double the recipe, one without cocoa and 2 with varying amounts of cocoa. The first lot burnt, so I ended up with 88 cookies.

4 oz (110 g) self-raising flour
½ oz (10 g) cocoa
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 oz (50 g) butter
1½ oz (40 g) light brown sugar
2 oz (50 g) dark chocolate chunks
2 oz (50 g) golden syrup (about 2 tablespoons)

Sift the flour, bicarb, cocoa and ginger into a mixing bowl. Rub butter in till breadcrumb stage. Add sugar and chocolate, then the golden syrup. Mix with a spatula, then with hands till doughy. Divide into chunks of 16 and roll into balls with hands. Flatten slightly and bake in batches of 8 at 180°C for 12-14 minutes. Leave on tray for a few minutes then transfer to cooling rack.

I bagged them in those small transparent gift bags decorated with a Christmas tree ornament.


to live and die (by chocolate) in new york


Not a huge chocolate eater at all (I’m still on that first box of passionfruit frangos), but I was interested to read about the ritualistic aspect of the chocolate Suckao, where shavings of chocolate is added to milk heated over a tealight candle to make a “small, dense” chocolate shot. It’s almost like a Japanese tea ceremony, with the delicate egg-cup bowl, the small shot and the spoon/stirrer/straw.

Other items on the drinks menu include frappés and milkshakes served in an Alice cup; chocolate martinis like the Mocha Martini — chocolate cream, espresso shot, amarula, vanilla vodka, frangelico and a fresh cream float; and the usual hot chocolates and the like.

And if your arteries aren’t already clogged, try the desserts such as cakes, waffles, chocolate fondue, chocolate pizza, bagels, danish and cheesecakes. If you’re there with friends, how about sharing a chocolate mess — warm chocolate cake eaten with spatulas straight from the pan, mountain of whipped cream, ice cream scoops, chocolate chunks, toffee cream, warm chocolate sauce served with either toffee bananas or strawberries & cream.

The mastermind behind this? Chocolate by Bald Man. They have branches all over Australia, in Singapore, Philippines, Israel and NYC. Oh, they serve sandwiches, pasta and salads too. Just in case.

chocolate everything

I’m not a chocolate person. Bizarre. For someone who loves living in Switzerland it’s almost a sacrilege. I mean, the home to teuscher, calliers, Sprungli. Sigh. I even “failed” the chocoholic test — I checked none of the boxes!

  1. Do you think Hershey should be a Patron Saint? No I don’t.
  2. Do you think Carob is a Communist Plot? lol I like carob.
  3. Forget “career vs. relationship”; for you is a major decision having to choose between white and dark, milk and bittersweet, with almonds and without? Nope, plain dark, as high cocoa content as possible. No question.
  4. Do you look at vanilla as somebody’s idea of a joke? [small voice]I prefer vanilla ice cream.[/small voice]
  5. Would you campaign to have Nestle’s birthday declared a national holiday? Nestle was a person??
  6. Has an M&M never had enough time to melt in your hands? Thought they never melt in your hands anyway.
  7. Is your most frequent form of daily exercise prying the lid from a container of Häagen-Dazs chocolate chocolate chip? Not really. Tofu, green tea or sesame ice cream may be.
  8. Have you ever eaten an entire box of still-frozen brownies because you were unable to wait long enough for them to thaw? ewww, no way.
  9. Is your ulterior motive for visiting sick friends to pick through the boxes of candies they received? That’s, um, sick.
  10. Is your idea of foreplay a bag of Hershey’s Kisses? No, but I used this line in a story I wrote.

So, lots of chocolate events happening. There’s Eurochocolate in Italy. And the Chocolateshow in various locations.

Check out the pic of the chocolate outfit at the New York Chocolate show, via Metroblogging NYC.

choc mousse galore

I took another order for chocolate mousse, my colleague asked me to make one for her party. She’d already ordered food from various sources, but wanted a centrepiece.

Of course, I said.

So tonight I took 8x100g bars of dark toblerone, 8 egg yolks and 1 litre of whipped cream and set about making this monster. The square tray I took home was just right. I wonder how many calories is now sitting in my fridge.

I also advised her on drinks, gave her a bottle of cabernet sauvignon and passed on probably the best kept secret as far as sparkling wine is concerned — henkell trocken, in blind taste tests does just as well (sometimes even better) as Möet, at 1/3th the price, or less if you can get it at discount, like we did, we bought 2 cases 40% off regular price.

Oh, and I made egg white omelette with 8 egg whites and 2 whole eggs. Eeek. I ate a couple of mouthfuls, then decided to leave the rest for breakfast tomorrow, I wonder if it microwaves okay.

500 words on snacks

There’s this T-shirt I covet which is so me. The periodic table connection and three sure favourites. Bed, TV and snacks. Mmmm. Interestingly only one symbol is a real element, unless my chemistry is so horribly outdated, last time I looked Tv and Bd are not elements. For the uninitiated, Sn stands for tin, from the latin word for tin, stannum.

Enough showing off. This is 500 words on snacks.

First off, definition. Snacks has different meaning for different people, a steak dinner might be nothing more than a snack for a sumo wrestler. For me, a snack is something I buy ready made and all I need to do is rip open the packaging and reach in.

How about doing a Hornby and going for a Top 5, in no particular order:

  1. Worcestershire sauce flavoured Walker’s crisps
  2. Wasabi beans
  3. Hot roasted chestnuts
  4. Jaffa cakes
  5. Dark chocolate truffles

I could have had all sorts of other snacks in my list. Blue nachos, cereal straight out of the box, Pringles, cola bottles, yogurt covered raisons, Thai spicy mini spring rolls. And my recent discovery, pumpkin chips. Bought a tin of cookies in Singapore and I’m totally forcing myself to ration them out because the temptation to finish the whole tin in one sitting is very great.

I think I overdosed on chocolate when I was young which is why I don’t take it that much anymore. I used to chomp down a whole Twix or Picnic bar without a second thought, although Mars bars are a different monster. I visit the chocolate shelf in the supermarket and the variety blows me away. Prefer dark chocolate, I had some 98% cocoa and it was bitter man. But a good kind of bitter you know.

When I’m driving, especially long distances, I kit the car out with all the essentials – music, water and mints. I can’t drive without having something in my mouth, it helps me concentrate. Really. Usually I take the extra strong mint, the one that’s supposed to blow your socks off. Another candy with the oooomph factor I like are sour warheads. The extreme sourness makes my face squeeze up and then when it’s gone and I kinda miss the sourness.

Straying into finger food category now. Chicken wings. What’s this about them that make them irresistible and yummy tasting no matter how they’re cooked? Even though they’re not the easiest to eat, especially if you don’t want to get your hands dirty. Buffalo wings in blue cheese dip. Grilled in teriyaki sauce. Spicy. And what about pâté on toast, sausage rolls, satay, potato skins, guacamole dip and best quality olives. Sigh. Ok here’s a nice one:

Roll smoked salmon and baby spinach (or other salad green) in pancake thin omlette rounds, cut into 1 1/2 inch rolls and secure with cocktail sticks. Dead easy.

I’, why’re you asking? Hee.