Bitter


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Chocolat Meringue Tart. Made using Meringue Suisse with mousse au chocolat, a great combination.

Meringue suisse is whisked over a bain-marie to warm the egg whites, and then whisked steadily until it cools. Unlike Meringue ItalienneMeringue française, this forms a dense, glossy marshmallow-like meringue. Meringue suisse can be used as a base for cakes.

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Sévigné


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Special Meringue française batter with crème au beurre au praliné filling. The praline paste is made from 50% sugar and 50% roasted almond. No preservatives and additives. The key here is to make sure the meringues are not sticky so that it will not create hollow in the centre. The name Sévigné is coming from Madame de Sévigné or Marquise de Sévigné, a French aristocrat born in Paris to an old and distinguished family from Burgundy.

Meringue is often associated with Swiss, Italian and French cuisine, made from whipped egg whites and sugar. Sometimes an acid such as cream of tartar or a small amount of vinegar is added. A binding agent such as cornstarch or gelatin may also be added. The key to the formation of good meringue is the formation of stiff peaks formed by denaturing the protein ovalbumim via mechanical shear. Meringues are often flavoured with vanilla and a small amount of almond or coconut extract, although if these extracts are based on an oil infusion, an excess of fat from the oil may inhibit the egg whites from forming a foam. They are light, airy and sweet confections. Homemade meringues are often chewy and soft with a crisp exterior, although a uniform crisp texture may be achieved at home, whilst many commercial meringues are crisp throughout.

It has been claimed that meringue was invented in the Swiss village of Meiringen and improved by an Italian chef named Gasparini in the 18th century. There are basically three types of meringue which are different in the way it is made. Unlike Meringue ItalienneMeringue française is the method best known to home cooks. Fine white sugar is beaten into egg whites, however, I did beat only half of sugar with the remaining was added in the later part of process and was mixed into the meringue. French meringue has a slightly rough texture but it is melted in the mouth. It is shinny and often used inside cakes’ batter. It can also be baked as it is and/or used as the base for chilled sweets or ice-cream.

Rochers Coco


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Simple Meringue dessert with peanuts. Meringue is often associated with Swiss, Italian and French cuisine, made from whipped egg whites and sugar. Sometimes an acid such as cream of tartar or a small amount of vinegar is added. A binding agent such as cornstarch or gelatin may also be added. The key to the formation of good meringue is the formation of stiff peaks formed by denaturing the protein ovalbumim via mechanical shear. Meringues are often flavoured with vanilla and a small amount of almond or coconut extract, although if these extracts are based on an oil infusion, an excess of fat from the oil may inhibit the egg whites from forming a foam. They are light, airy and sweet confections. Homemade meringues are often chewy and soft with a crisp exterior, although a uniform crisp texture may be achieved at home, whilst many commercial meringues are crisp throughout.

It has been claimed that meringue was invented in the Swiss village of Meiringen and improved by an Italian chef named Gasparini in the 18th century. There are basically three types of meringue which are different in the way it is made. I am using Meringue Italienne, made with boiling sugar syrup, instead of caster sugar. This leads to a much more stable soft meringue which can be used in various pastries without collapsing. Italian meringue is safe to use without cooking. It will not deflate for a long while and can be either used on butter cream, mouse, or base for sherbet, or spread on cakes or even spread on a sheet and baked for meringues.

It is interesting to know the chemistry of these amazing desserts. When egg whites are beaten, some of the hydrogen bonds in the proteins break, causing the proteins to unfold and to aggregate non-specifically. This change in structure leads to the stiff consistency required for meringues. The use of a cooper bowl, or the addition of cream of tartar is required to additionally denature the proteins to create the firm peaks otherwise the whites will not be firm. Plastic bowls, wet or greasy bowls will likely result in the meringue mix being prevented from becoming peaky. Wiping the bowl with a wedge of lemon to remove any traces of grease can often help the process. When beating egg whites, there are three stages according to the peaks they form when the beater is lifted: soft, firm and stiff peaks. The sugar is necessary to the structure. Egg whites and sugar are both hygroscopic (water-attracting) chemicals. Consequently, meringue becomes soggy when refrigerated or stored in a high-humidity environment. This quality also explains the problem called “weeping” or “sweating”, in which beads or moisture form on all surfaces of the meringue. Sweating is a particular problem for French meringues in which the granulated sugar is inadequately dissolved in the egg whites.

Based on my experiences, be extra careful when separating yolk with the egg whites, as yolk contains fat, where even a drop of yolk will not make the meringue mix becoming peaky. Another point to remember is to immediately store the meringues in an air-tight containers with silica gel to avoid the sweeting.

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Baileys Cup Cakes


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Today I made Baileys cup cakes with cinnamon scent. The baileys are in in the batter, butter cream and the chocolate too. Baileys are soaked into the cup cakes too. I mixed the batter with brown sugar too to give me a good colour.

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Baileys Irish Cream is an Irish whiskey and cream based liqueur, with alcohol content of 17%. According to the manufacturer no preservatives are required as the alcohol content preserves the cream. It also claims that Baileys Iris Cream has a shelf life of 30 months and guarantees its taste for two years from the day it was made, opened or unopened, stored in a refrigerator or not, when stored aways from direct sunlight at temperatures between 0 and 25C.

Rice Wholemeal Bread


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I did experiment with 1:2 rice flour and wholemeal bread today. Except for rice flour and a bit of butter, the rest are organic ingredients.

In 2001, a study group at Yamagata University’s Department of Engineering made use of foam molding technology to produce rice bread made from 100% rice flour. I need yet to find the way to make 100% rice bread…Being gluten free, it is hard to get the bread texture if using 100% rice bread. Some recipes use arrowroot powder, baking soda and baking powder but I am against chemicals.

Ingredients: Japanese rice flour, organic wholemeal flour, organic sugar, organic olive oils, French butter, Himalayan salt and Japanese nature yeast.

Paris-Brest


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Paris-Brest is a French desert, made of pâte à choux and a praline flavoured cream. The pastry was created in 1910 to commemorate the Paris-Brest bicycle race begun in 1891. Its circular shape is representative of a wheel. It became popular with riders on the Paris-Brest cycle race, partly because of its energising high caloric value, and is now found in cake shops all over France.

I made my own praline paste from 50% organic sugar and 50% roasted almond to make sure I get them and without any preservatives and additives. It turned out well.

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The cream used is Crème mousseline au praliné. 

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I baked the remaining dough as small choux pastry and fill them with remaining cream.

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Kinako Cookies


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A semi-sweet kinako cookies. I used to eat Kinako Stick when I lived in Japan and I suddenly wanted to bake something using Kinako so I bought them when I went to Osaka in Aug 2014. For people who love soya, it is best eaten coated with soya powder but they are great too on their own…

Kinako (黄粉 or きなこ), also known as roasted soybean flour, is a product commonly used in Japanese cuisine, although mostly associated with Japanese confections wagashi. Usage of the word kinako appeared in cookbooks from the late Muromachi period (1336-1573). Kinako means “Yellow flour” in Japanese.

Soy is a complete protein, and soyfoods are rich in vitamins and minerals including folate, potassium and, in some cases, fiber. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially recognised the cholesterol-lowering effects of soy protein in 1999 with a a health claim stating that 25 grams of soy protein per day may reduce the risk of heart disease. Most soyfoods are also low in saturated and trans fats. Recent research suggests that soy may also lower risk of prostate, colon and breast cancers as well as osteoporosis and other bone health problems, and alleviate hot flashes associated with menopause.

Although soy is one of the most controversial foods in the world, try to use those that are non-GMO and organically grown and like in everything, eat in moderation.