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The BloggerAid Cookbook

Bland Mocha Muffins

We got back from Singapore more than a week ago. Autumn in Clermont Ferrand is a mix of cold and sunny weathers - a few gloomy looking days and some sunny afternoons. I love it when it is sunny and cold at the same time. Love the feel of the sun on my cold face. I hope for more sunny afternoons. Doubt that will happen since winter is just around the corner.:-(

The months of September and October see the arrival of a few newborns of my friends and a fellow blogger. A bitter sweet event for me. I'm very happy for my friends who are enjoying and holding their baby right now. But no matter how happy I was for them, I can't help wishing I was holding my very own baby who would have been born now if I haven't lost it early this year.

How was my holidays in Singapore? Unfortunately it was a nightmare from the start. To think I was so looking forward to going back home but instead I was faced with lots of personnal problems through out my 1 1/2 month stay there. It killed any mood for cooking nor baking nor going or eating out. It was an experience that I wouldn't even want to wish it on my enemy. It is still far from over but I'll try to get some sort of a normal life back. Has it turn me off going back home? In a way yes. I don't want to revisit those moments of my stay there.

On the home front, the renovation in our house is still not completed. However the good news is that the bathroom downstairs is finally done.:-) Today the guy came back to install the kitchen door - not exactly what I expect. I was looking forward to a door with glass inserts but I guess I didn't communicate what I wanted correctly. Next time I know better. The other thing is that I wanted a simple glass looking through the corridor from the kitchen, instead I got a real window (with double glass). Whatever do I need that for in a kitchen?

In hope of lifting up my spirit, I forced myself to bake something as in the past, baking always perks up my spirit ... so I decided to do a Mocha Muffin but I guess when your heart is not in it, even your cakes will not turn out right.

I found this recipe online and thought these muffins sounded great as it was described by the author as moist and delicious etc. Ok I have to admit that I replaced some of the ingredients as I didn't have them in my pantry but I didn't think it would have changed much of the flavour or anything. It did smelled heavenly of mocha chocolate in the oven. I excitedly gave one to my house 'guinea pig', looking at him for a hopeful proclamation: "Where's the flavor ?" were the first words that came out of his mouth after the first bite. The muffins are moist but badly lack of flavour - one can hardly taste the chocolates or coffee in it. Oh well, guess I will try something else next time.

Mocha muffins
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Tiramisu

It means "pick-me-up" (metaphorically, "make me happy") ). It is said that Tiramisu is a recent italian creation and not an old recipe passed from generations to generations as one would have thought. According to an article written in 1981 by a certain Giuseppe Maffioli (1925-1985: a famous member of the Italian Cuisine Academy, also actor and journalist): «Tiramisu' was born recently, just 10 years ago in the town of Treviso. It was proposed for the first time in the restaurant Le Beccherie. The dessert and its name became immediately extremely popular, and this cake and the name where copied by many restaurants first in Treviso then all around Italy».

I have always been fascinated with this dessert ever since I first tasted it in an Italian restaurant. I thought it was a very complicated recipe that only trained chef (the kind that wear a gray mustache and scream orders at their terrified kitchen assistants) could whip up. Boy, was I surprised when I found out how to make it a few years ago: it was REALLY a piece of cake (pun not intended) to prepare... in fact even a kid could do it. It was a success at the very first try, however I relied on my usual guinea pigs, Pierre and my parents-in-law to fine tune it to today's recipe. They are so supportive of my experimental cooking...I'm a very lucky girl indeed.:-D

Tiramisu
Ingredients
  • 3 eggs (separate yolks & whites)
  • 3 tsp icing sugar
  • 1 cup strong espresso coffee
  • 1 or 2 packet sponge fingers or ladyfingers
  • 500 g mascarpone cheese
  • cocoa powder
  • Amaretto liquor
Tiramisu ingredients
Directions
  1. Prepare 1 cup strong espresso coffee (black & no sugar) and set it aside to cool.
  2. Separate the egg yolk from the egg whites.
  3. Beat the egg white till the peaks are stiff. It's stiff enough when you can turn the dish upside down without anything giving up to gravity.
  4. Whisk the egg yolks and the icing sugar till it is creamy.
  5. Add in the mascarpone and blend it into a smooth mixture (no lumps).
  6. Fold in the egg white delicately till it is incorporated with the mascarpone mixture.
  7. Add a few spoonful of Amaretto liquor into the coffee. (up to your preference - weak or strong).
  8. Dip the sponge fingers (top & bottom) slightly into coffee and lay them on the base of a dish or container.
  9. Using a small sieve, sprinkle the top with cocoa powder.
  10. Spread a layer of the mascarpone mixture on top of it
  11. Lay another layer of coffee coated sponge fingers and sprinkle the top with cocoa powder.
  12. Spread the final layer of the mascarpone mixture on top of it.
  13. Cover it and leave it in the refrigerator overnight (best) or at least 7 hours.
  14. Sprinkle a coat of cocoa powder on top of the Tiramisu before serving.
Putting the layers
Conclusions

What can I say ... it's as delicious as ever, with a smooth creamy texture, and not overly sweetened as some other recipes I've seen.

I have tried 2 different methods of making it: the lazy one and the 'make an effort' - both give me the same delicious results. The lazy method: just blend the sugar in with the egg yolk without really whisking it and then add in the mascarpone. The only difference I noticed is that with the whisked creamy egg mixture, I get more volume of the mascarpone mixture.

Notes

Kiddie friendly Tiramisu
Omit the alcohol (obviously:-p), replace coffee with Milo or ovaltine or hot chocolate...voilà you have a delicious Tiramisu for kids.

Spong fingers or lady Finger Biscuits
Be careful when coating it with coffee, some absorb liquid very fast while others takes a longer soaking. Always test it out first to see how fast or slow it absorbs the coffee.

Liquor
The original Tiramisu use Marsala wine however I use Amaratto instead and others uses rum or brandy or even kahlua liquor. Also some prefer to add the liquor to the egg yolk mixture instead of into the coffee like me.

Using raw eggs
The original Tiramisu' uses raw eggs but there is a risk of salmonella so some people prefer to cook the yolks bain-marie and to substitute whipped cream for the egg whites. Never had any issue over here using quality eggs.

Tiramisu
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