It’s definitely ice cream weather right now! You would think that to get a thin coat of chocolate on your ice cream would be a simple matter of dipping it into some melted chocolate. Well, think again. I’ve made some spectacular mistakes. It doesn’t help that doing something like that in the sweltering tropics makes it doubly complex. But I’m happy to report that I’ve finally found a simple chocolate ice cream shell recipe that works: chocolate and refined coconut oil. I did try the venerable Thomas Keller’s recipe first, but it still resulted in a shell that was far too thick. It was the Chocolate Bombe Shell recipe from the fabulous Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams that did the trick.
Regular readers will know that I’m uber-passionate about the Noosa International Food & Wine Festival, a super-fun, four day gourmet extravaganza held in a lovely little beach town on Australia’s Sunshine Coast. I attended the festival both last year (covering it for this site) and this year. This time, though, I was invited to be a participant. One of the activities I was asked to be part of was the festival’s annual Food Critics Cooking Competition.
My darling aunt celebrated her 50th birthday recently. I understand that women generally prefer to not discuss their age, much less have it revealed to the world via a blog post. For this disservice, I’m prepared to receive a phone call from her right about now, to holler threats about cutting me out of her will. But hey, she looks better than most women a decade younger, so where’s the shame? If I turn out half as good as her when I reach this milestone, I’d be unabashedly shouting my age from rooftops. Anyhow, me being her favourite (read: only) niece, I decided that she deserves a splendid dinner and of course, a brilliant cake.
I grew up in the Southern part of US. And what everyone now calls “comfort food” was just regular ‘ole food to us. Southern food is rich – with dishes like fried okra, ribs, creamed corn, BBQ, buttermilk biscuits, mashed potatoes and such being part of the everyday diet. When I go home and visit my mother in North Carolina every year, I start thinking about my mother’s cooking…and when she asks me, “do you want me to make anything special for you?,” it’s her homemade mac and cheese that tops the list.
Diego Muñoz is a nomad, a surfer, and a master of his trade. I say these three things with utmost respect. A nomad because he has taken off solo and traveled the globe conquering kitchens and cuisines led by world-renowned chefs, in all corners of the world. His passion for surf keeps him grounded, balanced, connected to nature, simplified, and enjoying the outdoors whenever he has a spare minute.
I’ve written before about the uber-yummy ice cream cookie sandwiches from The Ice Cream & Cookie Co. Being both a cookie monster and an ice cream junkie, I’m naturally a big fan of these luscious little frozen confections produced by Natasha Chiam and her team. But since they’ve launched their newest (coolest) combination, I’ve become an even bigger groupie. The sandwich in question? Yuzulicious, made with basil macaron shells and a creamy yuzu ice cream.
“What makes a great croque madame?” is a question that no one has asked me ever. If someone did, though, I wouldn’t be able to answer them, partly because I don’t think there’s a single answer, and partly because I’d be foaming at the mouth. For a perfectly representative specimen, though, I’d highly recommend the beauty of a sandwich being served by chef Frederick Colin at the second, and more casual, of his “Gavroche” restaurants.
I was reminded recently, over a great but ridiculously sweaty breakfast at Epicurious, an ultra-popular cafe along Robertson Quay, just how much I enjoy baked eggs for breakfast. Of course, I am a egg freak to begin with; I could happily eat eggs for brekkie seven days a week.Epicurious’ baked eggs were lusciously runny. Cooked with a generous helping of bacon and cream, and served with toast soldiers, they are simple yet entirely satisfying.
Macarons – the gorgeous gorgeous little things. I’ve been a fan of these delicate yet intensely flavoured, colourful and dainty to behold sweeties for a while now. And actually, come to think of it, they’re not even toooo fattening, relatively speaking (no butter in macarons!). Whenever I was in Paris, I would invariably hand-carry back at least two or three boxes of the precious little biscuits from the better-known patisseries – Ladurée, La Maison du Chocolat and Pierre Hermé.
During my recent trip to Norway and Denmark, I discover the Scandinavians consume a lot of open-faced sandwiches for their lunches. One of the Danish cafés, Aamanns, that I visited specialises in open-faced sandwiches or what the Danish called smørrebrød. They simply take a plain piece of rye bread and pimp it up by topping it with seasonal produce and make it delicious. The combination of the fillings is genius yet uncomplicated.