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Archive for October 6th, 2008

Isn’t it funny? When you’re a kid, you’ll eat any old chocolate based foodstuff. Cheap cooking chocolate, frozen chocolate gateaux that disappear like a whisp once defrosted, last years chocolate tree decorations this Christmas round…

I remember school dinners. The main courses were really very bad: minced beef in some greyish gravy, greasy chips, instant mashed potato, beef burgers (no bun!) swimming in an industrial sized baking sheet, amply lubricated with weeks old grease. And yet we never complained. Sure, I would deliberately loosen the lid on the squeezy ketchup bottles so that when I squirted some on my food, the lid would come off, pouring water-thinned ketchup all over my food, thereby rendering it inedible. Never underestimate the cunning of a child.

I wonder if we kept our complaints to ourselves because we found the pudding course so delectable? Sometimes it was Arctic Roll, sometimes Red Jelly and White Ice Cream (I doubt that either of this age-old pairing had ever seen a strawberry or vanilla pod), but maybe one day out of the week it would be my favourite: chocolate mousse with Rice Krispie cakes! Oh, such a simple treat but one that I savoured and still miss today. A tiny white porcelain dish filled with (packet mix) milk chocolate mousse, more air than anything else and a crispy cake made with everyone’s favourite cereal on the side. Sure, cornflake cakes were nice too, but they were always mixed together, rather more complexly, with golden syrup and jam, to produce some dentist’s dream.

Ahh, but those Rice Krispie Cakes. The chocolate always slightly soft under the fluorescent lighting of the school hall. You always got sticky fingers as you pulled apart the krispies, a room full of quiet, chocolate covered mouths.

CHOCOLATE RICE KRISPIE CAKES – makes a lot!

Ingredients:

125g Chocolate. I use a good variety these days, but a semi-sweet one. Cadburys Dairy Milk works well for very young children but you might like to try Green and Blacks if you fancy eating them yourself too.

Rice Krispies – 200g but you may need more or less depending on the absorbancy of the chocolate. N.B. If you are making these in larger quantities, supermarket own brands of Rice Krispies work just as well.

To serve: either use brightly coloured cupcake cases of any size or pour into a square baking tin, lightly oiled with a flavourless nut oil. I am being deliberately vague as to the size of the tin because this all depends on how thick/thin you want your rice krispie bars to be.

METHOD:

Place half of the Rice Krispies into a large bowl.

Using a double boiler, or a bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, melt the chocolate until it has just melted.

The Complex Process in Action...

The Complex Process in Action..

Stir and pour over the Rice Krispies.  Mix thoroughly with a spatula and pour in the rest of the Rice Krispies if you feel that the mixture is too runny. You are aiming for a light coating but one that will ensure that they stick together.

The Finished Article!

The Finished Article!

Using a teaspoon, fill up your cupcake cases, pressing the chocolate coated Krispies firmly, and leave to cool.

If you prefer to make bars, pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin, again pressing down firmly and leave to cool. Cover with foil and place some tins on top.  Chill in the fridge for several hours. Cut into bars or squares and apply to face.

OPTIONAL EXTRAS: If you really must gild the lily, you could reduce the amount of Rice Krispies and stir in some dried cherries or raisins, peanuts or hazelnuts or mini marshmallows. Or perhaps a combination of all three if you want to go Rocky Road Cocoa-Loco!

ENJOY!

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Mousse is possibly one of the easiest sophisticated desserts to make but even easier to eat. It can be luxuriously dense or as light as a cloud. It can be savoury or sweet and it can be baked or, um, not baked.
I wanted to do something slightly different from the norm. What about those poor people who are dairy intolerant or for whom Veganism is a lifestyle choice? What do they do for chocolate mousse? As I started to search the web, a startling solution stared up at me: Tofu Mousse. Wait. Did that say Tofu? Isn’t that coagulated Soy Milk? The original vegetarian food and possibly the sole reason why I gave up vegetarianism as a kid? How can this be utilised in a mousse without it tasting like a health shop smells?
Actually, Tofu gets a bad press but it is surprisingly versatile if you treat it properly. Paul loves it in Miso Soup and he introduced me to the joys of deep fried tofu but neither of us had tried a sweet version of it.
What makes this mousse particularly special is that it is OK for vegans and would also be good for diabetics (it uses Agave Syrup instead of sugar), yet it doesn’t skimp on flavour either. So, if you find yourself with a spare box of silken tofu in the cupboard because, say, your husband said he wanted to make Miso soup with it so you bought him a packet especially and six months later it’s still in the cupboard, and you don’t feel like the hassle of whipping egg whites, or you have vegetarian guests coming for dinner that you want to impress, then this could be the mousse for you!
It requires no cooking except for melting the chocolate, which doesn’t count anyway, and the flavouring options are endless. I soaked some dried figs in chocolate liquor, chopped them into sticky, crunchy nuggets and folded them into the mousse, but preserved cherries, fresh raspberries, rum raisins, nuts, mint essence, toasted coconut, anything would be great in this versatile mousse.
The Filo Cups are optional but they do look cute, and because of the high quantity of butter in them, are not Vegan/Dairy friendly.

However, if you do choose to use them, they are incredibly fragile and need to be served with the mousse in them straight away (but fortunately this mousse doesn’t need to sit in the fridge for several hours to set up) otherwise they turn soggy. The mousse would, of course, be just as good served in little espresso cups.
I have used Agave Syrup for natural sweetness, although you could replace this with honey or sugar if preferred, and of course, every bakers essential flavouring, vanilla extract. These four ingredients, the chocolate for flavour, the tofu to replace the egg element, the syrup for sweetening and vanilla for flavouring are your basic mousse. What else you add to it is entirely up to you. Some Orange Flavoured Liquor perhaps?
This batch makes enough to fill four large Texas Muffin Cups with some left over in the bowl for finger licking.
TOFU CHOCOLATE MOUSSE WITH LIQUEUR SOAKED FIGS serves 4

See? It doesn't look healthy!

See? It doesn't look healthy!

Ingredients:
220g Block Silken Tofu
100g Bar Good Quality Dark Chocolate (but you could use milk chocolate and I suspect white chocolate too)
2-5 Tablespoons Agave Syrup (or honey or caster sugar)
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
5 Dried Figs, soaked in a tablespoon Liqueur (I used chocolate)
4 Large Sheets Filo Pastry
Melted Butter
METHOD:
Preheat the oven to 200c.
To make the Filo Cups, cut the large sheets of filo pastry into quarters and brush with butter. Layer the sheets into the cups of large muffin tins so that they form little cups. They may overlap but they are supposed to look rustic. Brush any pokey out bits of pastry with butter and bake for 5 minutes or so, until golden brown.
Carefully remove from the muffin tin and leave to cool on a cooling tray.
To make the mousse, melt the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl placed over lightly simmering water.
Stir in the vanilla and the agave syrup. Use just two tablespoons syrup to start. You might need to add more later depending on how sweet your tooth is.
In a food processor and using the plastic blade, blend the tofu until it is smooth.
With the blade still running, pour in the chocolate mixture and process until completely amalgamated. Taste for sweetness. Add more if necessary.
At this point you can add any other flavourings. I used the soaking liqueur from the figs.
Stir in the chopped figs, keeping some aside for decoration.
Spoon the mousse into the filo cups.
Sprinkle over the reserved pieces of chopped fig, lightly dust with icing sugar.
Enjoy!

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