Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cavalock and The Meringue Formulation

Making meringues is probably the easiest thing to bake. Anyone can do it and you really can't go wrong. Did it before and the results were pretty good so when I saw a book just on making meringues at Kinokuniya last week, I immediately grabbed it! Besides it's their 20% off weekend.

Now this is a crazy ass book. I mean, there are all kinds of weird meringue recipes here. Garlic meringue minarets with beetroot borscht, meringue sushi and Mexican meringue chili chips are just some of the more lip-smacking, eye-popping ones.

Anyway, decided to try the conservative cover recipe chocolate swirl meringues.

You got your eggs, sugar and a half bar of Verona dark chocolate. Well, after the above pix was taken, I started doing my stuff, the phone rang, bake, wash, clean and I forgot to take any more pix until I popped them in the oven below. :P

Fortunately everything turned out good. Light crunchy exterior with a chewy yummy inside.

Next time I'm doing it, I'll use less sugar as the dark choc is already quite sweet. Like I said before, am not a big fan of dark choc but this looked simple and quick enough to do in half an afternoon plus them swirls looked damn arty to me.

Chocolate Swirl Meringues

Quick rundown of the recipe from the book, this is freakin' easy, you are gonna need 3 egg whites, 150g of caster sugar ad 140g of dark chocolate. I know there are 4 eggs in the above pix but I only used 3.

Preheat the oven to 90ºC. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

Melt the dark chocolate over a pan of simmering water.

Whisk the egg whites with an electric whisk on medium speed, for about a minute. Then increase the speed till soft peaks begin to form. Still whisking, start adding the sugar a few spoonfuls at a time. Keep whisking till the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is stiff and shiny.

Now that's all the regular meringue making part, here's the unique chocolate part. Gently pour the melted choc into the mixture and with only one or two folding motions, fold the choc into the mixture. DO NOT mix it up otherwise you ain't gonna get them cool swirling patterns.

Spoon on to the baking sheet, making cloud shapes about 10cm round. Put them into the oven for about one and a half hours or until the meringues are dry to the touch but have not changed color.

Let them all cool completely before removing them from the baking parchment. They should keep in an airtight container for 3 days.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cavalock and The French Connection

Not bad, two memorable Saturday nite dinners in a row. Last nite was at Cocotte restaurant at Wanderlust Hotel, charming little French joint in a very colorful neighborhood.

Started the nite with some mushroom soup with truffle oil. Very rich and smooth, no mushroom chucks here, although I was hopping the soup of the day would be soupe de poissons, something I had a lifetime ago while on an assignment in Cannes, north of France.

Two mains came next. A very tender and delicious Boeuf Bourguignon, 'grass fed beef marinated overnight and braised in red wine, served with sauteed mushrooms, pearl onions and roasted baby potatoes.'

Followed by a creamy and flavorful serving of Roast Pork Collar, 'cooked in a creamy Dijon mustard sauce. Served with brussel sprouts amandi ne and sauteed forest mushrooms.' I actually preferred this to the beef, the taste is something new to me and the different textures all make this winner.

And finally dessert, Basque Cake with dark chocolate filling and Creme Brulee. Not a fan of dark choc so the cake wasn't really my kinda dessert. But we are talking bout real rich dark choc here, so order this only if you are into that.

Now let me just 'go off' a little on something here, just a very short rumbling. My iPad has been a godsend ever since I got it last year. I watch and read stuff on it everyday, and before someone yells 'pirate!', let me just say that I PAY for all of them. I ain't no pirate.

Although as to how I feel towards piracy, well, let's just say I am more in NYT best-selling author Neil Gaiman's camp where he comments about Internet piracy "it's people lending books." Exactly! I have borrowed hundreds of graphic novels from our National Library and read about a dozen new ones every week on the iPad, what's the difference? I sure don't see any. In both cases, an individual pays for one and then allows others to read it for free.

Award-winning graphic novel editor and writer Mark Waid has this to say when asked about creative folks who complained about being 'robbed'.

I get emails and message board posts and tweets from fans who are like, I didn't even know Boom comics existed because my mom and pop comic store that's a hundred miles away from me only buys the top 100 comic books. But I found Irredeemable or Incorruptible online, and now I want to buy the trade paperback. That is a valuable market. That's not a lost sale to me.

Moreover, this is something that drives me insane when we talk about how illegal downloading is the enemy of all things good and noble and pure. The thing I didn't say during that speech because I knew I had lost the audience, but that I really wanted say was, look. I understand if I say, "people want to download our work," your kneejerk response is going to be "then pay me for it." Everybody wants to be paid for their work, if for no other reason than so they can keep doing it. But for the love of God, give me 1/16 of a second between saying that and your kneejerk reponse to take in and revel in the fact that people all over the world are hungrily downloading our stuff because they have a hunger for it and they want it. I wanted to say, I guarantee you that down the street, at the poetry convention, no one is giving this speech. No one is talking about illegal downloading because no one downloads poetry.

You can read his entire interview here.

What's more, you can catch the latest episode of Top Chef All-Stars plus a whole bunch of sitcoms and crime dramas a few hours after they are shown in the US, it's amazing! Nothing wrong with that. The shows will be shown on TV eventually and I'm sure the people watching them are already paying for their cable.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cavalock and The Milk Tooth Extraction

Gosh, this is like my first proper sit-down meal in a decent restaurant in over a month. So there I was at the very popular Artichoke. Don't ever come here on a Saturday nite without a reservation. Yup, it's that good. A big thank you to M and Epicurative for their wonderful recommendations, be sure to check out their blogs for some really mouthwatering food pix.

Everything was as good as can be. From the hummus to the grilled haloumi cheese to the whole cooked chicken, it was all perfect. The dessert date pudding was so yummy, we ordered two! I'll let the pix do the talking.

Well, this weekend was also my first back to the ol' Orchard Road shopping belt. Saw lots of new DC Comics action figures but here's something that really caught my eye at Daiso. Now if only I still had my giant wisdom tooth....<^;^>

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Cavalock and The Sausage Utilization


Have a great Year of the Rabbit everybody. Well, still not much new stuff but I managed to spot some interesting additions in town.

Now instead of having fries WITH your burger, MOS Burger lets you have them IN your burger! And no, I haven't tried it yet. :P

Boston lobsters are now available at your NTUC Finest.

Very, very tempting sausages! Kurobuta pork and wagyu beef sausages! Yes, I saw them at Meidi-Ya. So what's the best way to prepare them? In a hotdog bun?

Well, looks like Wagyu beef bangers are more popular than Kurobuta!