I just sat down to do some photos and stuff and stuff from my trip and then discovered that some bozo left their photo cable on their mother’s dining table…….doh.
Never fear though, sweet readers, as I made a delight a few weeks ago and took pictures. I promise I’ll get back to some down home family meals in a minute…..
We all know that eating chocolate is good for us, right? ‘Tis not just wishful thinking, it’s actually true.
Dark chocolate is in the same category as a blueberries and green tea in the antioxidant department and is also known to aid cardio-vascular health. I don’t know about you but I can kid myself, no problem, that an entire block of Lindt Intense Orange is practically a run around the block. My three Lindt favourites are the Intense Orange (dark chocolate with dried orange pieces and flaked almonds), Touch of Salt (as the name suggests) and their new Intense Strawberry (pieces of freeze-dried strawberry – hello, can I kiss the dude that came up with that gem???).
Perhaps I could put on a unitard and bike helmet, eat a block of all three and call myself a triathlete.
(Ha, a triathlon joke. I must tell Mister H, he’ll think I’m positively hilarious. His training is going well though, thanks for asking. Only 12 weeks until the half-iron man. Nut job.)
I think if the Mayans and the Aztecs could see how far we’ve come with the cacao bean they’d have extended their calendar for shizz, or at least added some dedicated chocolate munching days.
From the humble beginnings of what, in hindsight, would have been a fairly ordinary drink (a far cry from Max Brenner’s thick, syrupy and rich death-by-chocolate hot chocolate), we now have all manner of chocolate goodness with which to stave of our PMT and stop us murdering our partners. I have been known, mid-toddler-tanty to walk straight to the cupboard and eat a piece of chocolate. I have to actually stand inside the pantry so he can’t see though as that would no doubt make everything worse because I ain’t sharing with no screaming kid.
(NB if you look closely at this photo you can see the reflection of my flouro track pants. That’s pure art!).
It is proven that eating chocolate releases happy-hormones, and it must be so because today’s recipes made me really, really (two reallys) happy. Then, when Mister H said it was the best ice-cream I’d ever made, I was extra really happy.
I’ve told you a couple of times that ice-cream takes me to my happy place so think about it. Three Chocolate Semifreddo.
Shut. The. Front. Door.
(I still can’t bring myself to drop the F bomb here cos I know my Nana reads it and she doesn’t know I have a filthy truckers vocabulary under my belt)
This is not my recipe, this is courtesy of one of Australia’s finest chefs, Neil Perry. This is in his ‘The Food I Love’ book which I adore. It’s simple food, and he talks about cooking principles too, not just recipes. It’s a really mix and match book which is so indicative of his passion for food.
The fine thing about semifreddo (fancy Italian for half-cold, which is weird because it’s totally frozen, but those Euros are a little odd) is you don’t need an ice-cream machine. Any old iced confectionary lover can make it.
6-8 portions. Depends who’s serving!
You will need :
- 5 large egg yolks
- 6 tablespoons castor sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 70g good quality milk chocolate
- 375ml pure whipping cream
- 200g good quality white chocolate
- 60g good quality dark chocolate
Take a rectangular loaf dish measuring about 20 x 10 x 7 cm and line the inside of it with a few layers of plastic wrap allowing some excess to hang over the edges. This will give you something to help you to get it out once it’s frozen.
Whisk the egg yolks in a medium stainless steel bowl with half of the sugar and the salt. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.
Fill a saucepan one-third full of water and bring to a simmer. In a heavy based saucepan, heat your milk to just below boiling over a medium high heat but do not let it boil. Whisk the milk slowly into the egg yolks and sugar mixture. Set the bowl over the saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the bowl fits snugly as you don’t want it to touch the water. The bowl mustn’t be too deep or the water level too high (I had to piss about with bowls here cos I got it all kinds of wrong. May I suggest you test the bowl to saucepan ratio before you begin?). Cook the mixture for about 4 minutes, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the bowl (you don’t want scrambled eggs forming) until it has thickened slightly.
Stir in vanilla extract.
Neil strains his through sieve at this point but I just transfer into a bowl and stick it straight into the fridge and refrigerate until cold.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over hot water. Melt over low heat. Whisk until smooth. Slowly mix one-third of your custard base into the chocolate and allow to cool.
In a small bowl whip 125 ml of the cream with 1 tablespoon of the remaining sugar until soft peaks form. Fold the cream into the chocolate mixture and pour into your prepared loaf tin. Place in freezer.
Prepare your white and dark chocolate mousses in the same way and put them into the fridge. When your milk chocolate layer is firm to touch spread on your white chocolate and stick it back in the freezer, waiting a further 50 mins or so until that layer is firm to touch before adding your third and final layer of chocolatey goodness.
Freeze for at least 4 hours until hard.
To serve, unmold the semifreddo and remove plastic wrap. Slice and eat. You’ll note that I was a little eager to layer up as my layers are not super distinct. Patience, Grasshopper.