Saturday, 27 February 2010

Pomelo! Sorbet

The dessert (3rd in a row) I am showing off to you today isn't even ready yet. No, no.. it's in the freezer, waiting for me to go stir it every once in a while.. so it can still show its creamy side when I serve it along caramel sauce and bird chirping tomorrow to the guests I haven't even invited yet. Hidden within the cooking instructions, I will set loose my dearest tip for achieving perfection as a chef.. but of course you'll have to hold on through my usual love-at-first-sight encounter with the recipe! tee-hee

Forget the misleading name. This late-springy ice-creamy is nothing I'd have expected when thinking/whispering/ shouting "sorbet". Where I come from, a sorbet is a very sweet cream you're not allowed to eat very much of because it's so vintage your parents only buy it after encountering long-lost friends. Also, it is so sweet even cavities fear it. Or do they?
Either way, no, sorbet-sorbet is just a luscious way of saying ice-cream. In a way it is entitled to be the bearer of a fancier name. After all, among its flavours we will never find labels such as "crazy mango" or "pear-twisted-with-almond-chunky-goodness" or stuff that Ben&Jerry's are supposed to come up with. Au contraire, the elegance of names involving "sorbet" is best suited for 30 year-olds rather than kiddies. Not only the names, but the flavours themselves go by unexpected combinations, such as today's recommendation (ignore the name I've given it, I am still a kiddie) : pomelo & banana.

Here comes the funniest part of the (still) introduction, according to me. How in God's name did I get to prepare this? Home alone, hyper music, bad food, worse weather (Mary Fucking Poppins, ...Bucharest?), generous amount of pomelo. Quick question: Didn't you ever find yourself singing about stuff you were doing out of boredom while being home alone? Quick answer: hell yeah? Well, I sometimes do, but.. I come from a strange family. The deal is, I was about to crack open my size decency-challenged grapefruit when lyrics of songs were connecting in my head. And I listened. What seemed to be Ameno! turned into Pomelo! ..aand that's how this whole religious song translated into names of fruit and nuts.

Pomelo! Visine dulci si amare, Pomelo! Alune! Alune! POMELO! Cirese si.. Pomelo! A rhyming english alternative would perhaps be.. Pomelo! Fresh berries and summer grape seeds, Pomelo! Muesli grains! Muesli grains! POMELO! Honeycomb and.. Pomelo! (Translation not respected.)

You may be wondering why I'm going for ice-cream this time of year. I thought it was outrageous too, but you know what? Those crazy americans know what they're on to when they treat a sore throat with ice-cream. Forget about drinking hot teas and agglutinating tons of lemon slices! Munching on some good quality ice-cream is sure to soothe your pain (and yes, I've tried that a while ago, works like a charm).

One of the difficulties I've encountered while procuring ingredients was obtaining pomelo juice. Especially since I had already peeled it. Save yourself an afternoon and juice it halved, like you would a regular orange. Cause I'm warning you.. pomelo cells are indestructible. Except by human teeth of course. You could juice it with your teeth, but make sure your guests don't know about that. Actually.. scratch that list thing. Emphasize on it. More for you. (I beseech my imaginary readers to pick up that faint pinch of sarcasm. Ooh this is change our mind day (is it not?), so forget I ever mentioned sarcasm on this serious matter. Should create one hell of a comical situation.) To be continued..

For the long awaited Pomelo! Sorbet,

You will need:

1 cup pomelo juice
1/3 cup orange juice
2 perfectly ripened bananas (not the over ripened kind that you use for cakes, but the kind that is uber appealing to the human tooth)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Since this has not sprung from cookie realm, you are absolved from preheating the oven this time. Just make sure your freezer is plugged. Use your food processor or hand mixer to mash up the bananas nicely, incorporating the orange juice. Add the sugar in increments and pour in a bowl. Switch to using a spoon or a spatula and blend in the water and pomelo juice. Continuation of the pomelo tale from the first half of this entry: I could only manage to squeeze out about 1/2 cup of pure pomelo juice(why does this recipe only ask for ingredients that are just right to eat?), so I made up to 1 cup with fresh pieces of fruit, and smoothed it out with my mixer. Now, it is high time you knew my most cherished secret.. (spring roll, er, drum roll please): If it tastes gud even before it's done, you know you've bonded with your dish and turned it into a masterpiece. It was that moment when I licked the spoon today that I said to myself.. this was meant to be.


P.S.: I dare you to sing the Pomelo! song when you're tipsy.

P.P.S.: Notice how the the "imagine this paragraph is invisible" tags appear although they stand inside angle quotes? I laugh in the face of HTML!

Monday, 22 February 2010

An Apple Crumble a Day..

I've got no time to become all apologetic about not posting for such a long while. Instead, I prefer cutting straight to the point and letting you know a little bit about what determined me to share this overly simple recipe with you. I have something to confess, though. It is the first time I've tried it, although drooling over pictures of such desserts for months. I've been a fool to ignore it all this time. I have always loved baked apples, but could never get along with pie crusts (or tart ones for that matter) as they fail to complement the luscious texture of the cooked fruit. This is where the "crumble" part of the dessert comes in to save the day. Don't think about it as pieces of crust, this bare thought will transform the dish into baby food whilst giving it a left-over feeling. Its composition brings forth the magic: the fine mélange of oats, nuts and sugar creates the perfect crispy texture to go with your notorious baked apples.

Although my hailing of the dish makes is sound as a revolutionary, miracle food, it is no wonder that it is in fact a life-old dessert many of you have already experienced. All I'm trying to do here is set an example to all of you who find yourselves "endowed" with apples you find no use but to dispose of.

Quick story to add as a back-up argument in case you're not yet convinced to try out my latest dessert recommendation: I decided to take the long road home today. It was slightly warmer and sunnier than any of the past 100 days or so, and even though this has been the most beautiful winter Bucharest has seen in years (notice how there's no global warming here?), I am pretty sure I speak in everyone's name when I say I am thrilled spring is starting to drop hints. Looking out the bus window I could see merchants installing their carts to sell wittul jewelry adorned with red and white thread. Martisorul is perhaps the only Romanian tradition I don't completely despise. And it couldn't have picked a better date. It was this exact feeling that I experienced while tasting my brit recipe. All in all, it will brighten up your day. So if you ever need some cheering up, this is the thing to try. I know I'm taking some to school tomorrow to surprise a friend or two. Comfort fud always helps.

The amount of apple crumble you make is entirely up to you, so feel free to make changes, recipes in general are only guidelines anyway. I had two apples left so if you want to stick to my proportions, then..

You will need:

2 apples
juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup rolled oats (I kinda just.. sorted a muesli pack through :"> )
a dash of salt
cinnamon to taste

Almost all dessert recipes start the same. Preheating the oven is.. somewhat essential in baking. After you're done, take out the following necessary utensils and recipients: two medium bowls, a baking pan/individual ramekins (makes about 3-4 I reckon), a knife, and a spoon. Core and cut the apples into medium sized chunks (or whatever bite-size means to you) and mix them with the lemon juice and half of the sugar in one of the bowls. Now take your remaining bowl and pour in the oats, flour,butter, cinnamon, salt and the rest of the sugar. Give them a quick whip (you want it to look crumbly, not doughy, so don't try kneading it or anything) and you're ready to assemble everything. Transfer the apples into the baking pan, or divide equally among the ramekins, and top with the oats mix. It might sound surprising, but you don't need to flour the pan. Simply follow the steps as instructed, place in the preheated oven and keep a watchful eye over the goods. The amount if time it needs to bake is mainly dictated by both the quantity and chunkiness of the apples, so there is no exact time for taking it out. But, for further reference, I baked mine for about half an hour.

As an extra tip, feel free to add all sorts of nuts, such as walnuts or ground hazelnuts. I even paired apples with almonds once, and although they lost a bit of their crispness, the flavours were a match made in heaven.


P.S.: Yes, I really, really like taking macro pics. XD

P.P.S.: My friend Dede asked me to provide the cake for her birthday this year. I am really grateful she trusts my (mad) skills! hehe