A blade shines in the darkest of the nights
For our June challenge, the 4 Velveteers (Aparna, Alessio, Asha & I) picked Mint and a seasonal fruit or vegetable (we settled on that because all 4 of us reside in different parts of the world so seasonal fruits/vegetables differs from continent to continent). For me, mint doesn't pose a lot of problem now as I have learnt to use it in some dishes ever since I live in France. Now if I was still living in Singapore, that would be a different story for mint is not very much used (or none at all) in Chinese cooking or dessert. At the start of this month challenge, I had in mind different ideas about what to do with mint and fruits or vegetable but in the end, somehow I got swayed to making Ichigo daifuku, a Japanese dessert. Ichigo what? I hear you. Don't worry, full explanation below. Don't ask me how that came about for I still have no idea. It just popped up in my head one day and refused to go away until I made this dessert. Ok, now let me introduce this infamous Japanese dessert, mochi.
Mochi is a Japanese dessert made of glutinous rice pounded into paste and molded into shape. Traditionally, it is made and eaten during Japanese New Year but these days it can be eaten all year-round. This dessert is very popular in Asian countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Hongkong, Thailand etc. There are many different types of mochi sold, for example:
This is a surprising dessert for most westerners as the mochi is soft and chewy, a far cry from cakes found around Europe and North America. The combination of strawberry and Nutella is actually pretty nice with a minty green tea taste. I also made some with just Nutella filling. Little One loves both version. This mochi is so soft and melt in your mouth that it's quite addictive - I kept eating them while making my Ichigo daifuku.
The original recipe said to microwave the mixture for 2 minutes at 800 watts but mine was cooked by 2 minutes. It could be that my microwave oven is higher than 800 watts (I thought). So I would suggest to try it at 1 minute 30 seconds first and proceed another 30 seconds until it is cooked.
I don't know if it is true or not but it is said that the green tea for baking is more fragrant and green in colour than the drinking matcha type. I didn't have any of the baking type in my pantry and I just used the normal matcha I have on hand. And I didn't use spoon, just pinch a bit off and roll it into a ball. It's a bit sticky so make sure your coat your fingers/hands with some cornflour.
As for the filling, you can put any filling you wish - it can be ice cream, ground peanuts, jams, fruits, palm sugar, sweet shredded coconut etc. If you want just plain mochi flavour, just omit mint and matcha (green tea).
The 4 Velveteers
The 4 Velveteers (as we called ourselves) host a monthly event that explores food/cuisine and share our recipes, experiences and verdicts on our blogs. Every month will be a surprise - we never know what we'll make next. So if you're interested in joining the Velveteers, please feel free to drop by our food blogs and leave a comment and we will get back to you.
Do check out what the other Velveteers have come up with:
* Aparna created Apple Tomato & Grilled Paneer Salad
* Asha created Potato Frittata with Garlic Scape and Mint
* Alessio created Flat Chinese peach salad with cherries, mint and a sesame butterscotch sauce
My (French) sister-in-law likes to make chocolate and chestnut truffles around Christmas. They are an interesting and sinful treat that is traditionally made for the winter holidays and helps you get that little extra cholesterol and sugar in case you didn't get it maxed-out already with the heavy meals that never seems to end around this time of the year.
I've never tried to make some myself, and it's not quite the winter season any more, but I've offered Pierre this incredible big book on chocolate (yeah, maybe I had something in mind with this gift) and as it turns out, it has a whole chapter on truffles: chestnut truffles, rice truffles, even «love truffles» (sure hope I got that ingredient in a cupboard somewhere...) and green tea truffles, which is what I decided to try.
(taken from Le B.A-ba du Chocolat)
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 2 minutes
Makes: about 15 truffles
I was surprised that the truffles aren't as dense as I thought they would be. When you bite one, it is soft and simply melts in your mouth. It has a very rich flavour of milky chocolate and at the same time a lighter texture - not heavy like you are eating plain white chocolate. Sadly it hardly had any taste of the green tea - this might be because I didn't use the matcha. The green tea powder I have is much lighter in colour and it didn't have much flavour. I think it is more of an instant japanese green tea powder. The taste might have been more interesting if I had the correct powder and the bitterness would have balanced off the sweetness of the chocolate. Overall, I'm rather satisfied with this recipe and will definitely make this again for Christmas or New Year.
The book calls for milk-chocolate, not white, its picture clearly shows a completely white interior, and I don't see how that would be possible to achieve without actually using white chocolate. So I brushed it off as some printing mistake.