Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Slimy, Yet Satisfying

Disney Classic # 32 - The Lion King

I've got to be honest... this one wasn't my idea (or creation). Way back in July 2010 when I was first admitted to hospital, Zoe and Mike came to visit me one day, with flowers and a plan. The Disney Night idea was still only a couple of months old, and I hadn't yet thought of ideas for many of the later films, and had been asking my friends to share any ideas they had. Well, on this day in hospital in July, Mike came to me and said he'd been think about his favourite Disney film, The Lion King, and trying to remember scenes in which they eat something. The most memorable scene for Mike was during the Hakuna Matata song, where Timon and Pumba start looking around for grubs to feed Simba.

Mike's idea to transform this into cake was to make a chocolate log, and make a few creepy crawlies to go on/in/under it, which I thought sounded fantastic. So that's what we went with. Mike took the lead on this one, making the chocolate log and adding a few of the crawlies, and I contributed by making a couple of crawlies myself.

My jelly worms were based on an idea I found on this Halloween website back in October, and I got the recipe for marshmallow here. And now I'm going to hand over to Mike...

Chocolate Log

Chocolate Log: I originally came across Delia's recipe for Buche de Noel, which attracted me by its flourless creation and the promise of nutty depth of flavour. Creme de Marrons was unavailable, however, so I resigned myself to making her less special chocolate log, until I realised that a) I didn't have enough chocolate for the recipe and b) there was a jar of nutella right by my hand. So this is a Delia recipe adapated heavily by me to make use of what limited ingredients I had.

Prep Time: 20 mins [60 mins if you lack a whisk]
Cooking Time: 20 mins
Serves: 6, as part of a whole
Ingredients -

For the cake:
6 large eggs, separated
150g caster sugar
75g cocoa powder

For the filling:
100g dark chocolate
2 eggs, separated
200g nutella
50g unsalted butter

First melt the chocolate in a bain marie to avoid over heating. Then add the 2 beaten egg yolks and combine until glossy.

Add nutella at some stage, along with the melted butter. Beat the egg white until stiff and fold into your slightly *cooled* chocolate mixture. Chill.

In the mean time, whisk the eggs yolks in a bowl and then add the caster sugar, whisking until the mixture begins to thicken slightly. Sift in the cocoa powder, and gently but thoroughly fold in the egg whites, having whisked them to soft peaks. Place in a baking tray lined with baking parchment and bake at 180 for 20 minutes. The cake will rise quite a lot, but will fall back, as designed.

After it has cooled, turn it out onto a new square of baking parchment and remove the original baking parchment [note - using foil cause serious issues at this point, I do not recommend]. Spread cooled filling evenly over the surface, then use the parchment to roll the cake into a log shape. Finished! Garnish with various grubs, and use chocolate clusters to suggest leaves, detritus etc around the base.
Marshmallow Grubs

Prep time: 45 mins       Cook time: at least 2 hours to set              Serves: 8
1 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
125ml boiling water
pink and yellow food colouring

1tsp vanilla extract
25g gelatine powder
250ml cold water
500g granulated sugar
2 egg whites
  1. Mix the icing sugar and cornflour together in a small bowl and put to one side.
  2. Add the food colouring to the boiling water as required, and mix in the vanilla extract. Sprinkle the gelatine powder on top and stir until all of the gelatine has dissolved.
  3. Put the sugar and 250ml water in a medium sized saucepan over a low heat, stirring until all of the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil without stirring until the temperature reaches 122°C. Remove from the heat and stir in the gelatine mixture.

  4. Pour the egg whites into a large bowl and beat until stiff. Using an electric mixer on a low speed, carefully pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites. Continue to beat for around 5 minutes, until the mixture becomes thick and pillowy.
  5. Dust a sheet of greaseproof paper with the icing sugar/cornflour mixture. Pour roughly 1/4 of the marshmallow mixture along one edge of the greaseproof paper and quickly roll the paper over itself to create a sausage like shape. Tie off both ends with string, and tie string at various intervals along the middle, to create the segments. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
  6. Leave to set in a cool place for at least 2 hours (do not refrigerate)
  7. Once set, cut the strings and discard them. Rub a little of the icing sugar and cornflour mixture onto your hands, and carefully unroll the greaseproof paper and remove the marshmallow. The marshmallow will be quite sticky in places, so it is a good idea to sprinkle a little of the icing sugar/cornflour mixture over it.
  8. To serve, tear chunks off the grubs and enjoy ^_^
Jelly Worms

Prep time: 5 minutes      Cook time: none, but needs to set in the fridge overnight       Serves: 15

One pack of strawberry jelly
6oz boiling water
2oz milk
green food colouring

  1. First thing you will need to do is cut the straws down to match the size of your glass. I used jumbo straws for this, so that my worms were fatter, but any plastic straws work just as well. Cut the straws to be slightly longer than the glass you are using, then stand the straws in the glass. Tip - make sure the straws are really compact as this will help to stop the jelly falling out the bottom of them!
  2. Break the jelly into cubes in a jug. Add 6oz of boiling water and stir well until all of the jelly cubes have dissolved. Add the milk and stir well.
  3. Stir in a drop of green food colouring, to achieve an earth-wormy type of colour.
  4. Carefully pour the jelly mixture into the straws, and place in the fridge to set for at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight.
  5. To remove the jelly worms from the straws, hold each straw under the hot tap for a few seconds to loosen the jelly, then squeeze the end of the straw gently to push the jelly out.
  6. Place on a plate and serve!

Next time we're watching Pocahontas, and I'll be making a Pumpkin Pie.

Happy Thoughts

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Still I Think He's Rather Tasty

Disney Classic # 31 - Aladdin

Coming up with a dessert for Aladdin was an absolute nightmare!! I couldn't think of any images or themes from the movie to base the cake on, so I was relying on my favourite fallback idea of where the story takes place. But where does Aladdin take place? We all know Aladdin from the series of "Arabian Nights" stories, right? However - the story of Aladdin wasn't actually included in the original Arabian Nights, it was added in by the Frenchman who was translating the stories from Arabic into French. So where did Aladdin originate? Well, the internet tells me that the original story quite specifically takes place in China, and Aladdin is Chinese. However, Aladdin's China is mostly desert-land, the characters seem to practice Middle-Eastern culture rather than Chinese, and they follow the Muslim faith.

So, I found myself looking for an Arabic, French, Chinese, Middle-Eastern dessert recipe - that shouldn't be too difficult, right!?

Anyways, by sheer dumb luck I did manage to find a dessert. My friend Sarah very kindly bought my other half Alex a Turkish recipe book for Christmas and as I was sat flicking through it I came across a recipe called "Sultan's Turban" - HAHA! I've got it! Jasmine's daddy is the Sultan, and he wears a turban, as does Aladdin/Prince Ali when he's about to marry Jasmine (and thus become Sultan), so Sultan's Turbans fit wonderfully. (For those of you wondering - they are a nutty, cinnamon-y type of pastry dish)

Beats stale bread any day!

I found this recipe in the Love Food everyday Turkish recipe book, although I did mess with the quantities a bit! A couple of things to note about this recipe: The recipe in the book is in 5 steps, but I found it a bit confusing and had to re-read it a few times and carefully analyse the photo before I felt confident to give it a go. I decided in my version below to split the pastry-handling part into multiple very small steps, in hope that makes the process easier to understand! Secondly, the pastries in the book use a full pastry sheet per turban, I only used half (I didn't realise there were only 6 sheets in a packet until it was too late! haha!) so mine are a lot smaller than they are supposed to me. However, my friends and I decided that this was fine, as if they were twice the size they would have been much too big!

Prep time: 30 mins           Cook time: 45 mins       Serves: 10


150g granulated sugar
125ml water
1tbsp lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
125g chopped walnuts
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
6 sheets filo pastry
175g unsalted butter

  1. Start by making the syrup: heat the sugar and the water in a saucepan over a medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon juice, cinnamon stick and cloves and boil without stirring for around 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain, discarding the cinnamon stick and the cloves. Place to one side for later.
  2. Whilst the syrup is boiling, prepare the filling. Place the walnuts, caster sugar and ground cinnamon into a blender a give them a quick blitz, until the walnuts are very finely chopped (but not pureed!!)  Place to one side.
  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a gentle heat, removing from heat as soon as it has all melted. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
  4. Slice the filo pastry sheets in half, so that you have almost square pieces.
  5. Place one sheet of filo pastry on the work surface, with the long edge (if there is one) towards you. Brush the filo sheet lightly with the melted butter.
  6. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of filling across the lower third of the pastry, making sure to leave a 3 cm margin at the bottom of the pastry, and 1 cm on either side.
  7. Fold the bottom edge of the pastry (the 3cm margin you left previously) over the filling, and place a piece of doweling or a skewer where the folded edge meets the rest of the pastry.
  8. Roll the pastry over the dowelling and seal the end with a little melted butter. (It took me a while to get me head around this step... you basically lift the part of the pastry containing the filling up and over the dowel, and then lift the part containing the dowel up and over the filling, until you use up all of the pastry sheet.)
  9. Crumple the pastry towards the centre of the dowel until it is almost half it's original length.
  10. Slide the dowel out of the pastry, then and seal the ends.
  11. Roll the now sausage like pastry into a flat coil, sealing the ends with a little butter, and place onto the greased baking sheet.
  12. Repeat the process with the remaining pastry.
  13. Bake the pastries (you may need to do this in batches) for 25-30 minutes, until crisp and golden.
  14. Pour the syrup over the pastries, and allow them to cool before serving.

Next time we're watching the Lion King, and I'll be handing over the ropes to my friend Mike! (Although I will still be making a small contribution...) We're working on the idea of "slimy, yet satisfying". ^_^

Happy Thoughts

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Try the Grey Stuff, it's Delicious!

Disney Classic # 30 - Beauty and the Beast

Please excuse the smudge on the side of the mousse bowl! I didn't notice it at the time!!

Beauty and the Beast is my absolute all time favourite Disney movie ever. I love it! And I'm not just saying that, like the Disney Historians do on the bonus features... I mean it is my absolute all time favourite ever! I dressed as Belle at my 21st birthday party, and when I met Belle and Prince Adam at Disneyland Paris in 2009 I gushed:

Me - "OhmygoshI'msogladIgottomeetyouyou'remyfavouriteandtoday'smylastdayandIdidn'tthinkI'dgettoseeyoubutIdidandnowmyholidayandmylifearecompletebecauseyou'rethebestandIloveyousososomuch!!"
Belle - *smiles awkwardly* "You're wearing yellow, like me!"

It was the best day ever.

True story - I was wearing yellow!

Anyways, to honour my absolute all time favourite Disney movie ever, I'm decided to try to recreate my absolute all time favourite pudding ever. Which I just so happened to eat in Disneyland Paris. Which is in France, just like Beauty and the Beast. (Just in case you needed further justification!)

The dessert was the most delicious, beautiful, lovely tasting pudding in my whole life - a chocolate tart with white chocolate mousse, and that's what I tried to recreate this week!

The white chocolate mousse turned out especially tasty.
Now regular readers of this blog will know that I absolutely love my BBC Good Foods 101 Cakes and Bakes recipe book. I love it so much in fact, that I decided to buy it's younger sister, 101 Tempting Desserts, and that's where I found the recipe for the chocolate tart. I borrowed the white chocolate mousse from this recipe (which sounds delicious in it's own right!!)

Tarte au Chocolat

Prep time: 45 mins               Cook time: 25 mins (plus 2 hours to set)      Serves: 12-16


For the pastry:
200g plain flour
100g ground almond
170g butter, cubed
50g golden caster sugar
2 egg yolks

For the filling:
200g dark chocolate
2 egg whites
100g golden caster sugar
145ml double cream

Note: the recipe in the book said to make the pastry in a blender. I thought, ummm, that sounds weird, but tried it anyways as I trust Good Food wholeheartedly. I was very wrong, and ended up with a complete pastry fail! It was far too crumbly to roll so I ended up pressing it into the dish and that made it uneven as a nightmare to get out. In future I will always make pastry the old fashioned way - rubbing in.

  1. Place the flour, butter and ground almond into a bowl and rub between your fingers until they resemble breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, egg yolk and a tbsp of cold water and mix with a knife until the ingredients bind together to make a dough. (If you're having trouble making the ingredients bind with the knife, just get your hinds involved, but be careful not to over-work it!)
  2. Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. (If you're making the white chocolate mousse, now's a good time to start melting your white chocolate... see recipe below!)
  3. Preheat the oven to gas mark 5. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, and use it to line a flan dish. Bake blind (covered in foil and weighed down with rice/baking beads) for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and the beads and bake for a further 7-10 minutes, until crispy and golden. Set to one side to cool. (Now's a good time to make the mousse, if you plan to do so!)
  4. Once the pastry is cool, prepare the filling. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water, then set to one side.
  5. In another bowl, place the egg whites and the sugar, and place this over the pan of simmering water. Whisk for 5 minutes until really thick and glossy, then remove from the heat and whisk for a further 2 minutes.
  6. Gently pour the chocolate and the cream into the bowl of egg/sugar, and fold in until all the ingredients combine. Pour the filling into the pastry case, and then put in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours.
  7. Cut into slices and serve!

White Chocolate Mousse

Honestly... I don't know how I missed that smudge!
Prep time: 20 mins        Cook time: none (but 2 hours chill time)        Serves: 12-16

400g white chocolate
2 egg whites
2 tbsp caster sugar
180ml double cream

  1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Place to one side to cool slightly, but not set.
  2. Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, add the sugar then whisk again until smooth and glossy.
  3. I a large bowl, whip the double cream until thick and pillowy, but not quite peaking. Fold the melted chocolate into the cream with a spatula, then add the egg whites and continue to fold until all combine.
  4. Place the mousse in a serving dish/serving dishes, and place in the fridge for at lease 2 hours, until set.
  5. Serve on it's own, or as an accompaniment to the chocolate tart!
Soo much chocolaty goodness! It didn't quite reach the standards of the Disneyland dessert, but then I'm not a Parisian pastry chef! It was a pretty good effort, and I'd definitely make these again!

We're well and truly in the Disney Golden Age of my childhood now, and next week we're watching Aladdin. I'll be making some Sultan's Turbans to go with the movie!
Happy Thoughts