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Star Anise and Chocolate

>> Sunday, October 26, 2008

Star-anise Spiced Chocolate Mousse

This month Sugar High Friday is hosted by the gorgeous Anita from Dessert First with a really interesting theme – “Time to Spice Up Your Life”. And since Melbourne weather is getting warmer, I decide to try on some chocolate mousse…


The combination of star anise and chocolate sounded unusual at first. I love star anise and it is an essential ingredient in many dishes that I cooked. But for dessert, with chocolate? I actually think it would work. The sweet fragrance of start anise will blend nicely with the creaminess of chocolate mousse.


I have never been a big fan of mousse, but I gotta say this mousse is excellent. The texture is so light and delicate, and the fragrance of star anise is not overwhelming at all. I have re-worked the original recipe from Donna Hay here by using milk chocolate instead of the dark variety. I think it would blend better with the spice. Also, to lift up the flavors, I decide to dust the mouse with the mixture of pure cocoa powder and finely ground star anise. It is beautiful, and I cannot praise this mousse more! Perhaps it is something you could try for your next dinner party!


I am sending this to Anita! Make sure to check out her blog on Halloween day for the round up.


Star-anise Spiced Chocolate Mousse

Star Anise Flavored Chocolate Mousse

Adapted from Donna Hay Magazine

Ingredients (serves 4)

2 fresh eggs, separated

1 tbsp brown sugar

1/8 tsp ground star anise

100g milk chocolate, chopped

¾ cup heavy cream, chilled

To dust: 1-2 tbsp cocoa powder + 1/8 tsp ground star anise - mix

Method

Whisk egg whites until soft peak form. Add sugar + star anise. Whisk until stiff peaks form.

Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Add ¼ cup of cream + egg yolks. Whisk well to combine.

Place the remaining cream in a bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. Add chocolate + egg white mixture. Fold through to combine. Spoon to serving bowls and chill for 2-3 hours.

Just before serving, dust the mousse with the cocoa + star anise mixture. Serve with strawberry (or other berries).

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A Moment in Life #25

>> Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Door to the Ocean...

Don't you ever feel so small, facing the vast ocean behind that "door"?

***
Anyway, have a beautiful week ahead my friends!

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Dinner For One...

>> Monday, October 20, 2008

Dinner for one
The above photo is my entry for a Flickr group called Still life with. The theme for this month is Dinner For One... So when Mr. B was away, I cooked myself some grilled chicken wings (which has been marinaded in soysauce and hoisin sauce overnight). I couldn't live without steamed greens and rice either!
I played with the styling a bit with the poppy flower. The shot was taken at night in a very well lit room and a reflector.
What do you think? And what's your favourite "Dinner For One"? :D

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It is World Bread Day!

>> Thursday, October 16, 2008

Honey Whole-wheat Bread


I always love bread, and more precisely, I love making bread. I like the patient wait, the eagerness, the ‘release from anger’ feeling that bread making can bring. The truth is, if I have enough time, I would like to have home-made bread almost everyday…

Back to the main theme of this post – World Bread Day. I haven’t participated in any blogging events for the longest time. So when Zorra’s email about this event arrived, it was time I decided to move my lazy bump and baked something nice.

This bread is nothing extraordinary. Really. It is simply a loaf of everyday bread. Made from organic stone-ground wholewheat flour with some nice oats and flavorsome local honey, it is a piece of carbohydrate goodness. Paired it with whatever you like, the bread is great for sandwich.

The nice thing is this bread is dead easy to make. Just make sure you have all the best ingredients – superior quality flour and good honey do make tastier bread!

Yeap, today (October 16) is World Bread Day. Zorra will post a write up about it soon so do not miss it!

** Update**: The first photo of this post has been featured in an article about WORLD FOOD DAY here. Thanks for all the lovely comments about this photo.

Honey Whole-wheat Bread
Honey Whole-wheat Bread

Based on recipe from Martha Stewart (make two good size loaves)
Ingredients
3½ cup warm water
3 tbsp honey
2 envelopes active dry yeast
4 cup bread flour (Wallaby Bakers’ Flour is strongly recommended if you are in Oz)
4 cup whole-wheat flour (stone ground if possible)
1 cup old-fashioned oat
2 tbsp coarse salt
Method
Combine water, yeast and honey. Set aside for 5 mins.

In a large bowl, whisk 4 cups bread flour + 4 cup whole-wheat flour together with the yeast mixture. Add salt and oat.

Turn the dough out to an oiled surface and knead until smooth and elastic (10-15 mins by hand. If use Kitchen Aid, use dough hook for about 3-4 mins). Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm place until doubled. (1-1.5 hours)

Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Place a pizza stone and heat for at least 30 mins before baking.
Turned the dough out, divide in half. Flatten one piece into oval shape whose length is the same with the length of the pan. Roll up lengthwise, gently press as you go so you have a tight log. Place the log, seam side down, into the prepared loaf pan. Repeat with the other dough. Cover with plastic wrap, let rise in warm place for another 30-45 mins.

Use a razor blade, slash the loaves down the center.

Bake in the pre-heated ocen for about 50-60 mins or until cooked through. Cool before serving.

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A Moment in Life #24

>> Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The old window

Taken @ ABBOTSFORD CONVENT (Melbourne - Australia).

It was such a totally different world walking through this place. So poetic and it brought me the feeling of something old, something of the past....

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Back to bread making

>> Monday, October 06, 2008

Homemade bread


It is not easy to get back to a normal routine after a long hiatus. I have not been much active in anything of late. All efforts have been made to organize for my move to a new city at the end of the year. And more importantly, we (hubby and I) have tried to organize a few things here and there for our new life.

Last weekend I finally got some quiet time at home for some house cleaning (unavoidable!) and bread making session. I was patient this time and sketched the session over two days. And the bread was really amazing with golden crust and soft interior. And there was nothing better than the smell of freshly baked bread filling our little nest… Not to mention that bread tasted sooo good straight out of the oven!!!

I know I still have a little update to give you all on my wedding. I just seem not in the mood for it yet. But hey, I’m back! ;)


Homemade bread

Schizzotto (a golden milk bread from Padua - Italy)

From the amazing book “In Nona’s Kitchen”

Yield three loaves. This bread makes excellent toast!

Sponge

1+1/2 tsp active dry yeast

¾ cup milk, warm

1 cup plain flour (I used Wallaby bread flour, an Australian brand)


Dough

½ tsp dry yeast

2 cup and some more warm milk

Sponge

1/3 cup olive oil

6 + ¼ cup plain flour

4 tsp salt

Coarse semolina, as needed

Method

Prepare the sponge by combining everything together. Set aside for 30-40 mins until doubled in volume.


Add sponge and oil to the yeast + milk + oil mixture, mix well. Add flour, and knead until the dough is smooth but slightly sticky. Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled (2 hours @ room temperature. I put my dough to rise overnight in the fridge).


Divide the dough into 3 pieces. Shape into a rectangular (gently please so you won’t loose all the air bubbles). Cover with kitchen towels and let rise until half-doubled, another 30-40 mins.


Meanwhile, preheat oven to 220C. Put the baking stone in the oven for at least 30 mins before baking to heat up.

Using a sharp knife, cutting five slashes vertically and five slashes horizontally on top of the bread. Bake for 30-35 mins or until cooked (when tapping the bottom produces the hollow sound, it means the bread is ready).


Homemade bread

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