Sweets

gateau a la sour cream + blueberry custard

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For someone who’s technically unemployed, I don’t know if this would violate the definition of such word but actually, for the past 2 weeks, I’ve been enjoying some sort of a “holiday”.  Well… a holiday on house-arrest if you will, but nonetheless, a holiday.  Despite the… minor inconvenience that we’re currently bound to the last place on earth that we’d like to spend more time in, Jason had decided to take the longest vacation-days he’s ever taken in his entire work-life, ever, an entire 14 blissful days to spend on doing something that we’ve practically elevated to an art-from… that is to do ab-so-lute-ly… nothing.READ MORE

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CARAMEL STRAWBERRY, BRIE, BUTTER/SUGAR TOASTS

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AFTER 10 months of not being able to leave… not a country, not even a state/province, but a particular CITY due to personal circumstances, at a certain point, the “think tank” starts to resemble more like a warm puddle in the middle of a barren desert.  Nowadays I seek recipe-inspirations like a stinking camel seeks for water, only minus the ability to regurgitate.  Don’t get me wrong.  All paranoid recipe-bloggers, me included, respects a well-stocked recipe-reservoir like doomsday-preppers hold high regards for canned beans.  It’s almost a co-dependant relationship and my list is about a mile long.

I guess… a closet full of recipes and nothing to cook, best puts it.

But ironically, as the painstakingly studied and tested recipes often end in heartbreaks, some of the best things I’ve cooked here are incidental occurrences on a whim.  Which brings us to today’s: So random I don’t even know what to call it.  Yah.  I don’t know what to call it because it came from a peripheral glance over the last 30 seconds of a TV-show that I don’t even know the name of, which (I think) pulled some golden-browned butter/sugar toast out of a skillet and served with soft cheese.  The idea stayed with me not because it was as hazy as a hallucinated mirage, but because instead of the more popular way of making “creme brûlée” toasts as under the broiler, this does it more efficiently and successfully, inside a skillet.

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CARAMEL STRAWBERRIES WILL BURST… THROUGH THIS BUTTERY, SUGARY, SALTY AND CHEESY GLORY


If you have ever tried making creme brûlée toasts under a broiler, you’d know that it’s an extremely volatile and unpredictable task.  Every single factor – the type of bread, the amount of sugar, the type of oven, blah blah blah – can contribute to its blackened, smokey, inedible demise.  But by doing it in a skillet – letting the toasts absorb a mixture of butter and sugar until they brown, caramelize and adhere to the golden browned toasts – the outcome is a much more controllable, crunchy, and delicious surprise.

Since we are already in the zone of talking caramel, why stop here?  Drawing inspiration from a traditional Chinese roadside snack, where they skewer various types of fruits, coat them with a whiffy thin layer of hot malt sugar then let hardened, I thought there’s no reason why caramel-coated strawberries would be unwelcomed between creme brûlée toasts and warm, melty brie.  And once in a very long while, everything just sort of goes according to plan.  The creme brûlée toasts are buttery and crunchy, with just enough heat to soften a good smear of French brie.  Then the caramel strawberries will burst through their crackly, lacey jackets as pressure applies and run their juices through this buttery, sugary, salty and cheesy feast of unnamed glory.

I guess there’s still some milage left in this tank.

  
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Makes:  2 sandwiches or 4 open-face

I don’t know why I’m fixated on making these more of a “sandwich” when in fact, it will probably be prettier and easier to eat as an “open face” (you know, like bruschetta).  So I’m leaving that option to you.  For an open-face toast, you’ll maybe need to double the amount of caramel/candy strawberries depending on the size of your bread, and also the size of strawberries.  I needed 6 small strawberries to fill 1 toast.

The freshly grated nutmeg is very important as it gives an “ooomph” to the flavour.  Don’t be shy.  You’ll want to see flakes of it through out the toasts.

Updates 2014/08/05:  Thanks to a reader we now know the show that inspired this!  It’s called Heartland Table with Amy Thielen.  In the show she uses maple syrup instead of sugar, which I think is a even better idea!  If you want to try maple syrup, substitute 3 tbsp of granulated sugar with 1/4 cup of maple syrup.


Ingredients:

  • Caramel and strawberries:
    • 1/3 cup (70 grams) of granulated sugar
    • 2 tsp of water
    • 12 ~ 14 small~medium size strawberries
    • Small cup of ice water on the side
  • 4 slices of rustic country bread
  • 4 tbsp of unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp of granulated sugar
  • 1 large chunk of good quality brie
  • Fresh nutmeg for grating

To make the caramel/candy strawberries:  Wash and remove the stems from the strawberries, then set aside.  Have a small cup of iced water ready.  Heat the sugar and water in a small pot over medium heat.  Cook until the sugar has melted and turned from clear to a pale yellow then to a rich, amber color (careful not to let it turn dark brown or it’ll taste bitter).  This will take approx 5 min.

Remove from the heat, then pick up a strawberry with a fork and dip it inside the caramel to coat thinly (there will be a bit of sizzle).  Let excess caramel drip off, then dip the strawberry in the iced water for 5 sec for the caramel to harden.  Remove the strawberry from the fork and set aside.  Repeat with the rest (If the caramel starts to cool down and is too thick to work with, return it to medium heat until it has loosen up again).

To make the toasts:  Melt the unsalted butter and sugar in a large flat-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat (if your skillet isn’t large enough to fit all 4 slices perfectly flat, then do it in two batches).  Once the butter and sugar look evenly blended (even though you may still see sugar-granules in the mixture), place the sliced bread inside the skillet with a tongs.  Swirl the bread inside the mixture for a few seconds to coat evenly, then flip and coat the other side as well.  Both sides of the bread should have evenly absorbed all the butter and sugar.  Cook the breads until golden browned, with caramel crust on each sides.

Remove from the skillet, and while hot, apply a generous layer of brie on top.  Pile the candy strawberries on top and grate a good amount of fresh nutmeg on top.  Serve immediately.

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MOSCATO AND SPICES POACHED PEAR GELATO

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CAN I JUST SAY… ONE OF THE TASTIEST GELATO I’VE HAD

TYPICALLY, this is where I enter the room, neck stretched and knuckles cracked, oozing a bit a creepy calmness to suggest the looming turbulence, and ghostly hovers over the keyboard…  Inhale…  Then screeeech, obnoxiously, on the worst, ever! weekend-getaway from hell, carrying a Dumpling that was dangerously “soupy” and could burst and leak out at any minute!

But… exhaaaale… I’m not gonna go there.  Not gonna complain.  My negativism is very bored with my discontent.

Instead, I’m going to, for just one day, do the thing that… you know the thing, the thing that happy people do.  Right, to bring you only the bright side of life, with teethy smiles, flowers, breezes, and above all else, happy gelato and all.  And not just any gelato, but can I just say, one of the tastiest I’ve ever had, too.  Hey, I said I promised you bright things.  But even with the promise not to go Gibson on you, it is impossible, from a literary point of view, to give you a complete narrative of this recipe without mentioning its less celebratory beginning.  After all, it was a collateral payoff of the disaster itself.

So let’s fast-forward through the theatrical tragicomedy where we found ourselves strapped to a ticking time-bomb in a smothering hot day, playing house with apathetic companies in a sluggish smog, and as if not comical enough, the farce promptly heightened with a side-plot of tree pollen-allergy.  To cut it short, on the way home with a crippled spirit and minus four friends, the story brought me to a roadside fruit-stand which I was certain, giving my trickling “chi” lately, to be the final K.O. of my demise.  But NO.  Well… yes and no.

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The high-season peaches, smartly, decidedly to side with main plot and joined the mockery.  But tucked in an unnoticeable corner behind the loud flares of summer cherries and melons, was a box of quiet… off-season pears.  Out of place, awkward and unwelcome, they stroke a string inside my empathetic core.  As someone who isn’t normally familiar with pears, I felt a flush of faith and immediately… asked if I could conduct a taste-test.

God damn it! I can be really cynical sometimes!

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But the pears were generous, sweet, and surprisingly fruity and fragrant.  On the rest of the ride home, I had six new companies tucked between my feet.  Of course right away, I started imagining ways I could play with my new friends… possibly… the only friend left.  How about a glazed pear tart to up the already-boiling temperature of my apartment and switch my emotional meltdown to a physical one?  Maybe not.  How about caramel and poached pear cake to nudge me over the edge into those-curious-sidewalk-people-who-mumbles-to-themselves?  Maybe later.  Well, I guess any oven-related tasks were unadvisable.

So I turned my mind to transforming a warm, spicy autumn classic into high-summer treat.  A sweet, fruity white wine cooked down to a syrupy consistency with pears, vanilla beans, cinnamon, star anise and cloves, then blended with cream to form a thick and supple gelato-base.  The high sugar content, balanced by the tartness of pears, ensured the gelato with a dense, pliable and never-frozen-hard consistency that I love, and the flavours were above all else, elegant but rich.  Hugging a cold, soothing box of poached pear gelato freckled with vanilla bean seeds, came the epiphany.  I see that if it weren’t because of a will-bending disaster trip that has left me wary of all social gatherings, I wouldn’t have discovered one my favourite gelato creation and be able to keep it all to myself.

Hmph, if that’s not how your optimism works, I don’t want to hear it.

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This is a seriously good gelato.  I know that pears are not exactly in season yet, so I think a great substitute would be summer peaches.  The moscato (a sweet fruity white wine) I used was slightly fizzy, which wasn’t actually intended but I don’t think it matters because all the bubbles will be gone in the poaching process anyways.  You don’t need to bleed money for this recipe because the bottle I chose was very reasonably priced at around $10 and the result was still great.

I really struggled whether I should make this a no-churn recipe or not, because theoretically, you can whip the heavy cream to soft peaks then fold in the pureed poached pear-mixture then freeze until hard.  But in the end, I still busted out the ice cream-maker just in case…  If you want to try the no-churn method, chill the purred poached pear-mixture after it’s blended with potato starch, then fold it into softly whipped cream and freeze.  It should do the trick I hope…


Ingredients:

  • 4 medium sized pears such as bosc (16.2 oz/460 grams after peeling and de-cored)
  • 2 cups (500 ml/480 grams) of moscato wine, or other sweet fruity white wine
  • 1 cup (200 grams) of granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp of honey
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 star anise
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 small stick of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (63 ml/60 grams) more of moscato wine
  • 2 tbsp of potato starch, or cornstarch
  • 2 cups (465 grams) of heavy cream (or half-half if you prefer)

Peel, de-core and cut the pears into quarters.  Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds.  Add the pears into a sauce pot with 2 cups of moscato wine, granulated sugar, honey, vanilla bean seeds and the split pod, star anise, cloves and cinnamon.  Cook over medium to medium-high heat until the liquid has reduced a little more than half, and becomes thick and syrupy, approx 30 ~ 40 min.  The pears should be very soft and translucent at this point.

Remove the vanilla pod, star anise, cloves and cinnamon, then transfer the mixture to a blender and add 1/4 cup more moscato wine and potato starch.  Blend until the mixture is completely smooth and thickened (the residual heat should cook the starch which thickens the mixture).  Then add the heavy cream and blend just until combined.  Chill the mixture in the fridge for at least 4 hours until completely cold.  Then churn it according to your ice-cream maker’s instruction, then freeze until hard.  (DO NOT over-churn it.  Stop when the gelato is slightly on the soft side then transfer to freezer.  The denser/less airy texture is what separates gelato from ice cream.)

Serve with extra shot of moscato wine if you’d like.

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CARAMEL APPLE PIE BISCUIT

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GENERALLY speaking, food makes people happy.

I’d like to think that I make happy foods.  I’d like to think that to the people wondering to this place, who are just one kale salad-away from opening a suicide.word, a fast responding blueberry oatmeal cookie, in some ways, is a contribution to humanity.  I’d like to think that to you out there who voluntarily devotes to a gluten-less life, though beyond my shallow comprehension, must have had your profound and keen purposes… the unintentionally gluten-free mochi donut is my gentle way of saying, I don’t get it but hey let me get you a donut.  Then of course, when all else fails, the sky is falling and all balls are tucked, a full frontal of a pornographic burger wouldn’t be the worst thing to remember last, before quitting it, whatever it is, all together.

But this theory has been testing quite unsoundly in my personal life-lab in the past week (previously on…), mostly due to my neurotic anxiety who has a very inappropriate humor of its own which has proven to be funnier than eating.

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Just to be clear, this is not where I brag about thing, but I’ve been cruising effortlessly through the most successful and effective, week-long fasting program that normally only Beyonce can pull off, and finding it a little… bittersweet.  This would have otherwise been a great news, a long-planned and awaited reunion with my dormant human-shapes, unfortunately just not in the optimal scenario as I envisioned it.  Don’t get me wrong, waistline, you look fabulous but fuck I look like shit.

MY ANXIETY… HAS A VERY INAPPROPRIATE HUMOR OF ITS OWN

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So in a desperate effort to restore such theory, I’ve embarked on a mission to make the happiest food alive.  Given that this is high pie-season, what’s better than something that, even just by the sound of its name, incandescently cheerful – the all American apple pie.  Hey, I figured if it’s happy enough to have sex with, it’d be sufficient for my condition.

But having said that, I have to be acutely aware of the danger of what a pie-making disaster can do to a fragile state of mind.  These crusty, happy-sounding fellas can be, more often than not, little mean soggy bi-polar bastards.  Best not to go there for the sake of my livelihood.  Instead, I’m going to impose the happy ideal of an apple pie onto these much faster, easier, and above all else, less disaster-friendly folks.  I’ve decided to turn it into biscuits.

So there I found myself in a gloomy, bleakly spirited afternoon, clinging over the edge of the kitchen-counter gulping down dose after dose of buttery crumbed biscuits that are sweetened with salted caramel and twinkle-lighted with soft, candied apples and warm cinnamon, allspice and nutmegs.  Then it occurred to me that, no, I needed something even more potent.  So I brushed them with melted butter and tumbled in nutmeg sugar.  At this point they were already reaching heavenly goodness but I was a holier mess, and I kept thinking that it just… just needed a litttttle something more…  What is it?  God damn it I had it at the tip of my tongue…

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Then OH RIGHT!   Of course.  Silly me.

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Makes: 7 small biscuits

Ingredients:

  • Caramel apple/wet ingredient:
    • 1/2 cup (154 grams) of granulated sugar
    • 1/4 cup (61 grams) of apple juice
    • 1 1/2 cup (185 grams/approx 2 small apples) of small-diced baking apple
    • 1/4 tsp of sea salt
    • 1/8 tsp of ground cinnamon
    • 1/8 tsp of ground allspice
    • 1/8 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg
    • 1/4 cup (60 grams) of apple juice
    • 1/4 cup (58 grams) of heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cup (212 grams) of all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tbsp of aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp of baking soda
  • 5 1/2 tbsp (80 grams) of unsalted butter, very cold and diced
  • 2 tbsp of melted butter for brushing
  • 1/4 cup (77 grams) of granulated sugar + 1/8 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg for surface

To make the caramel apple/wet ingredient:  In a sauce pot, bring 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of apple juice to a boil over medium heat.  Swirl occasionally and continue to cook until the liquid has evaporated and the sugar becomes a rich, dark amber color.  This will take a few minutes.  Then add the small-diced apples and continue to cook over medium heat.  The caramel will harden in contact of the cold apples, so stir with a spoon until all the caramel is melted again.  Cook until the liquid/juice from the apple has mostly evaporated, and the sauce slightly thickens again, approx 7 ~ 10 min.  You should have what looks like about 1/4 cup of liquid in the pot, and the apples should be almost translucent, like candied.

Stir in the sea salt, ground cinnamon, ground allspice, and freshly grated nutmeg.  Then add another 1/4 cup of apple juice and heavy cream.  Mix evenly then chill for at least 1 hour in the fridge, or 30 min in the freezer until cold.

To make the biscuit:  Preheat the oven on 425ºF/220ºC.

Whisk all-purpose flour, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl (or you can do it in the food-processor).  Add the diced and cold unsalted butter, then with a pastry-cutter, cut the butter into the flour until the largest bit is about the size of a small pea (or pulse the food-processor until this happens, then transfer the mixture to a large bowl).  Add the chilled caramel apple/wet ingredient, then with a spatula, fold the mixture together until a wet dough forms.  The dough should be wet and sticky.  If it’s too dry with loose crumbs and flour not coming together, add another tbsp of heavy cream.

Transfer to a floured surface and pat into 1″ (2.5 cm) thickness.  If the dough feels warm or even room-temperature (due to the wet ingredient not being chilled enough), wrap in plastic and flash-freeze for 30 min before proceeding.  Cut the biscuits out with a small cutter, then transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Gather the scraps and cut again.  You should have about 6 ~ 8 biscuits.  Brush the top with heavy cream then baking in the oven until golden browned and puffed, approx 15 min.

Allow to cool for 20 ~ 30 min on a cooling rack.  Brush the tops with melted butter then gently press against the nutmeg-sugar until it sticks.  If you want to slice it open for ice-cream sandwich, use a serrated knife because these are quite delicate.

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SELF-MADE SOUR CREAM GELATO


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IT IS Fourth of July.  You’re busy.  I know.  But just let me squeeze in a couple minutes of your time because if you missed this, it would be the second greatest mistake of your life for we all know that the first in rank is always some hair cut (can’t beat that).  Guys… this is your emergency Independence Day dessert.  A discovery made after a kitchen-mistake of historic proportions, and in corresponding spirit of this holiday, proves again that greatness is often times a by-product of bad ideas.  And this, this is the greatest thing that’s ever happened after the establishment of long weekend.  What it is, is a gelato.  Not any gelato, but the creamiest, virtually zero air-molecules or ice-crystals gelato, that makes itself.

THREE INGREDIENTS → YOU WHISK → IT FREEZES → THAT’S IT!

It can be the base for any gelato flavour imaginable.  No machine, churning, whipping cream or whatsoever!  And it will look, feel, slide, melt and taste like the magic that it is.  Go.  Celebrate.READ MORE

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BROWNIE-COW POPSICLES

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 SHUT UP, SHUP UP, SHUP UP

Let’s play a game, shall we?

Let’s see how much of my babbling you can withstand before you say “shut up, shut up, shut up!” and burst into the kitchen to make yourself one of these milk and any-brownie, or as I call it, brownie-cow popsicles?

Right, so you see here’s the thing.  I kinda love Earth.  Maybe not enough to tie myself to a tree per se, but I do love Earth enough that I have more bicycles than mascaras, and I haven’t had myself an ungodly orgasmic piece of toro, for like more than three years now.  And believe me, I do love my ungodly toro.  But there’s something else I love dearly as well…  In the light of summer-days when reality strikes, I realized that I do also hold high regards for… a dry butt crack.  Yes, yes they do come loose-fit, oversized, or wet, and I daresay, more frequently so, since a few years ago when we decided to live in this particular apartment-complex in Beijing.  Little did I know that Earth and my butt crack were set on a collision course.

You still there?

Right, so where was I?  Yes, dry butt crack.

You see here’s the thing, as mentioned before, the apartment-complex we live in is supposed to be really “green”.  Whatever that means…  There’s no heater in the winter, or air-conditioning in the summer because the temperature inside the entire 10 ginormous buildings are monitored by… well, a “greener” system of some sort.  Or at least as I was told, at a time before I learnt my lesson about China, and still believed what I was told.  Awww…  So we moved in, with good-will kicking and feel-good blazing, we, were gonna save earth, one lease at a time.

Then came the lesson.  Never.  Never.  And I mean neeeevah, believe what you are told in China!  Four excruciatingly warm summers later, we are looking more medium-rare than “green”, still melting inside our boxer-briefs, extra-large-holes tank tops, and our butt cracks… feeling wet my friend.  Feeling wet.

Heh… hello?  Right, there you are.

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So why haven’t we moved you ask?  If you were still here to ask questions…  Well that’s a very kindly irresponsible thought for you to have I mean, what kind of earthlings are we if we were to bail on our promises just because we feel like we were brushed with meat-glue every time we hug?

Icecap-Jack, you melt.  I melt.

So perhaps you should know that… hey, you there?  I’m talking to you!  Right, so you should know that heat tends to do things to weak minds… the other day when I literally risked my sanity and as a result, Jason’s well-being, by boiling a huge pot of stock for 4 hours which turned our lukewarm bitchy beachy apartment into a steaming mind-bending crater of active volcano, I think I hallucinated a lil’bit.

I drifted to the nearest Cold Stone joint, took off my boxer-brief and sat my steamy butt-crack right on top of their sub-zero slab of freezing stainless steels…  Tssss~ aaahhh… like a steak on grill, now this is where my cheeks belong…  And then, only then, somebody came and handed me my go-to combo – sweet cream base with mashed brownies.

That’s it.  Nothing.  Else.  This is a purist’s Cold Stone and how it should be.  I peaked through my fingers to see the next guy ordering something as if the local candy store is unleashing a fuck-fest on top of his ice cream-cup, and got really, really bothered.  Get a room!  This is a family joint!  So I turned away and literally, with my ass chilling, I was about to dig into my…

… then I drifted right back to reality.  Pot.  Boiling.  Hot.  STEAM.  VOLCAAAANO!  See I have to take matters into my own hands…

Take a good brownie.  And I mean a good brownie, the dense… chewy, fudgy and chocolate-y brownie, and in this case, infused with Nutella.  Then break it into large chunks.  Force feed them to your popsicle molds, and if you don’t have any, some freaking paper cups!  Jam a stick in there, I don’t know, a chopstick for all I care, then pour milk that’s been thickened with sweetened condensed milk…  Up up up up, up riiiight there when it just fills the mold.  Then you freeze the bejeezus out of them!

Chewy gets chewier…  Fudgy gets fudgier…  Then we both get one and sit our asses down on a sub-zero freezer slab, and I’ll tell you about the other time when I…

Hello?….  You there?

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Makes:  10 popsicles

You don’t have to make your own brownie.  You can certainly use a store-bought brownie, with flavours to your likings to make these popsicles.  And if you want creaminess, you can substitute whole milk with half and half.  Note that 3/4 cup of sweetened condensed milk is enough sweetness for my taste, but if you like a closer-to-commercial-level sweetness for your popsicles, use more.

Ingredients:

  • Nutella brownie:  adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s favourite brownies
    • 2 oz (60 grams) of bittersweet chocolate
    • 1 stick (115 grams) of unsalted butter
    • 1.5 oz (45 grams) of nutella
    • 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp (163 grams) of granulated sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
    • 1/2 tsp of flaky sea salt
    • 2/3 cup (120 grams) of all-purpose flour
  • To make the popsicles:
    • 1 1/2 cup of whole milk
    • 3/4 cup (230 grams) ~ 1 cup (306 grams) of sweetened condensed milk

To make the nutella brownie:  Preheat the oven on 350ºF/175ºC.

In a microwave-proof bowl, add the bittersweet chocolate and unsalted butter.  Microwave on high at a 30-seconds interval, stirring the mixture in between, until just melted (you’ll need approx 1:30 ~ 2 min).  Whisk in the granulated sugar and large eggs until thick and even, then add the vanilla extract and sea salt.  Whisk again until even. Add the all-purpose flour, fold the mixture together with a spatula until there is no flour-lumps left.  Pour the batter into a parchment-lined, 8″ square-pan or round-pan.  Bake in the oven for 25 min, until a wooden skewer comes out with moist crumbs from the center.

Let the brownie cool for 30 min.

To make the brownie popsicles:  Break the brownies up into large chunks (you’ll need about 2/3 of the brownies).  Lay a couple of pieces at the bottom of the popsicle-mold so the wooden stick has something to rest on, then insert the wooden stick.  Fill the empty space loosely with more brownies until they reach to the top.  Repeat with the rest.

Combine whole milk and sweetened condensed milk together, and warm in the microwave just enough for the sweetened condensed milk to dissolve (if not fully dissolved, the sweetened condensed milk will float to the surface during freezing).  Whisk the mixture together to make sure it’s fully incorporated, then pour the milk into the popsicle-molds until it fills to the top.

Freeze for at least 6 hours to overnight until hardened (in my experience, the popsicles always feel a bit soft right after they are removed from the molds, so once hardened, keep them removed and wrapped in plastic-wrap instead of inside the molds).

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THE PETROVSKY POPSICLE

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DON’T WE NEED OUR RELATIONSHIPS
WITH A LITTLE BIT OF MILK

I DON’T know if this will completely sack my credentials (AGAIN) as an angry, opinionated love-cynic who just fell asleep when you mentioned the words “my ex-boyfriend’s facebook…”.  I’m not even sure if this is a well-adviced public statement for anyone who isn’t fabulously gay.  But this is probably as important to know about me as acknowledging the fact that I eat canned sardines in tomato sauce over oatmeals, that I also have a decade-long, still on-going, life-threatening addiction for… Sex And The City.

The key point in what I just said, is on-going.  Like, seriously.  You’d think that no one can be addicted to something that no longer exists.  It’d be like trying to smoke a cigarette butt, found underneath the bookshelf, that’s accidentally dropped in diesel.  You just can’t smoke that shit anymore.  Oh, but I can.  Since its last season ending in 2004, I had been waiting and watching every season that re-runs in turns on HBO on-demand every months, repeatedly, until 2008 when I left New York.  Then I had to purchase the complete-seasons DVD to continue watching every single episodes that I’ve continuously watched for however long…

Don’t even get me started on the movies.  I mean the second one gave me a bad trip but where the fuck is my third?

Think what you will about me… it’s probably all true…  And as if what I just said wasn’t lame and pathetic enough, allow me to kick it up a notch.  I’ve made myself…

the Petrovsky popsicle.

It’s an intensely black-tea-flavoured popsicle that’s sweetened with cherry preserve which also give it a slight tang. I was told, by a character from a TV-show that ended 10 years ago, that it’s how the Russians sweeten their teas, and I never doubted it for a second.  The idea stayed inside my head for all this time, until a week ago when I purchased my first set of popsicle molds, the Russians invaded.  If you’re into tea-flavoured everything, you’ll have the hots for these this summer.  I did Petrovsky justice by powdering the tea leaves to embolden the flavour and adding an entire jar of sour cherry preserve with large chunks of cherries.  These popsicles are cold, black and caffein-charged with hidden tang and sourness inside their hidden pockets like the character himself.  But of course, mellowed out with whole and sweetened condensed milk.

Because don’t we all “need our relationships with a little bit of milk”.  Even if it’s an icy one.

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Makes: 8 ~ 9 popsicles

The black tea leaves is powdered in spice-grinder to give the popsicle a very intense tea-flavour.  It’s a good trick for maximizing tea-flavour in any recipes (such as this cake).  If you don’t have a spice grinder, you can sort of “fake” one with this trick.  Or, you might have to use more tea leaves to brew a stronger base for this recipe.  I used 6 tbsp of sweetened condensed milk for this batch of popsicle and found the sweetness on the mild side, making this a more “refreshing” popsicle than a “creamy” one.  You can increase the sweetness and creaminess by adding more if you like.

You can definitely use other types of fruit jams/preserves that you like, or trying to use up for this recipe.


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Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp (23 grams) of Assam black tea leaves
  • 2 1/2 cups (610 grams) of whole milk + another 1/2 cup (120 grams)
  • 3 tbsp of cornstarch
  • 1 cup (240 grams) of black cherry, or sour cherry preserves
  • 6 tbsp ~ 1/2 cup of sweetened condensed milk

Powder the Assam black tea leaves in a spice grinder until finely ground.  Mix the tea-powder into 2 1/2 cups of whole milk in a pot, and set over medium heat.  Once the milk has come to a very gentle simmer (careful not to scorch the milk), turn off the heat immediately and let steep for 1 min, then strain the milk-tea through a fine sieve into another pot (to eliminate any large tea leaves).  Whisk the cornstarch together with 1/2 cup of milk, then whisk it into the milk-tea until it’s slightly thickened.  Then whisk in black cherry (or sour cherry) preserves and 6 tbsp of sweetened condensed milk until even.  Add more sweetened condensed milk to adjust the sweetness if needed.

Divide the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze until hard.  Enjoy.

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MOCHI DONUTS

” YOUR SKINNY JEANS
WILL SELF DESTRUCT IN 30 MIN.

THIS MESSAGE WON’T.

THIS, may come as a surprise to hear.  Or not… judging from how you rationalize things.  Well, let’s just say based on the look of things on this blog, this will come either as a gasping surprise, or, as the most obvious conclusion to any.  But what I’m trying to tell you, and this is a true story, is that every night before I go to sleep, the ever-last thought that I’m either saying or thinking before drifting into oblivion is alway this…

#$#$^@#!! I swear I’m gonna go on a fucking diet.

It’s true.  You see the thing is, I’m a side-sleeper.  And side-sleepers feel things.  Things that, with all due respect, back-sleepers wouldn’t necessarily feel so bluntly and graphically and that is, the horror upon realizing that my gut can move freely in 180 degree angle, and rest soundly on the mattress like a soft pouch of cottage cheese.  Did you know this about my gut?  Why am I always the last to know…

I’m telling you this because I want you to know that I am not beyond reasons.  I’m aware of the normal shape of things for a humanoid, and I have acknowledgement of the ancient nutritional pyramid built by aliens to assist mankind, I swear.  There was a lemon-olive-oil-pasta-thingy that was supposed to be here today to demonstrate that I’m well-balanced and eat vegetables.  I don’t know what happened to that.. maybe because, purely guessing, that it didn’t taste as good as this donut.

Right, this is a baaad donut.  A very gooood, bad donut.  I had a sun-dress that just arrived in mail and I got very angry at it, if you know what I mean.  And you would believe me when I say that I would not surrender my prospect into a spaghetti-strap sun-dress this summer, just over any donut, wouldn’t you?

No, no I won’t, because this is not just any donut.

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