Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse

Photography by Darren Bester

I’ve always loved Chocolate Mousse … light and airy, you can just about feel the air bubbles pop in your mouth and then there’s the tasty moorish decadence of dark chocolate – Heaven!  It is rich though, which makes over indulging very easy to do, which is why this time round, I opted to serve them in cute little espresso cups.   You can of course, serve yours anyway you want … just don’t pair large portions with a very heavy meal. 

Quick and easy to prepare, it can be made a few days ahead of time thereby eliminating any stress when entertaining.  Perfect end to an Easter Lunch, I’m sure even the Easter Bunny would agree. 

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Yield: 4 standard ramekin portions 

Ingredients: 

170g dark good quality chocolate (70% cocoa solids) – Lindt is a good option 

80ml full fat milk

1 egg yolk

4 egg whites

20g caster sugar

Method: 

Roughly chop the chocolate and place in a heat proof bowl over a small pot of simmering water.  Stir until chocolate has completely melted and remove from the heat. 

Bring the milk to the boil and pour onto the melted chocolate, stirring with a whisk to combine.  Add the egg yolk and mix well to combine.  Set aside to cool. 

Whisk the egg whites to firm peaks, adding the sugar bit by bit.  Using a spatula, fold one-third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.  Whisk briskly, before folding in the rest of the whites (fold from the middle of the bowl up and outwards, using your other hand to steady and turn the bowl as you go).  Ensure the egg whites are well incorporated but be careful to not over work the mixture.  

Pour the mousse into individual ramekins or 1 large bowl.  If you want to serve in espresso cups or another dainty cup, use a piping bag to fill the cups neatly.   Chill for at least an hour.

Decorate with whipped cream and chocolate curls, if desired. 

Cooks Notes: 

The eggs should be very fresh.  Use them cold but not icy and not at room temperature. 

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Prawn, Lemon & Rocket Penne Pasta

Prawn, Lemon & Rocket Penne Pasta

I love Pasta ! When I moved to London in my early twenties, I had my first taste of basil pesto and fell in love! I would drench it over big bowls of pasta with bacon and mushrooms and I simply could. not. stop. eating. it.  Needless to say that when I flew home a year later on holiday, friends and family practically bypassed me at the airport due to not recognising me … or rather, the size of me 😮  

I’ve learnt to practice portion control since then and don’t make pasta part of our families weekly menu.  I am however, a firm believer in the ‘everything in moderation’ mantra and therefore do not see anything wrong with enjoying a bowl of pasta every now and then!  What is life without pasta?  This particular pasta is very fresh and certainly a lot healthier than the bottled pesto jars of my youth.  The flavours marry together beautifully, so simple but really packs a tasty flavour which makes this pasta dish, restaurant quality!   I’ve made it for friends and they have asked for the recipe.  Nough said 🙂  Martha Who_Prawn Pasta stomped1

 

Yield: 4 – 5 

Ingredients: 

500g dried penne pasta

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed to a paste

2 – 3 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped 

450ml of white wine (Sauvignon Blanc / Chenin) 

450g peeled & de-frosted ready to eat prawns 

4 tbs sun-dried tomato puree 

Zest and juice of 2 lemons 

4 big handfuls of rocket, chopped 

Salt & Black Pepper 

Olive Oil 

Method: 

Follow the cooking instructions for the pasta and while that is on the go, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a big frying pan and add the garlic and chilli – cook on a gentle heat ensuring not to burn the garlic.  After a minute or 2, add the white wine and the tomato puree and simmer for a few minutes until the alcohol has been cooked away together with the acidity of the tomatoes.  Drain your pasta and reserve a little of the cooking liquid.  Once the sauce is to your taste, add the prawns and mix through.  Remove from the heat.  Return the pasta to its pot and add the sauce, stir to combine.  Add the lemon juice, the lemon zest and half the rocket and 20 or 30 mL of the reserved cooking water.  Taste. Adjust the seasoning with salt & pepper.  Heat through on the stove top. Plate and garnish with the remaining rocket.  

Cooks Notes: I buy the Woolworths ‘Frozen fully cooked Prawns’  and the Woolworths ‘Sundried Tomato Quarters’.  With the tomatoes, I drain the vinaigrette it comes in and blitz the sun-dried tomatoes in a food processor / blender to a lumpy puree type consistency. 

 

Creamy Cauliflower Puree

Creamy Cauliflower Puree

There’s all this fuss about cauliflower these days, its proving to be a great substitute for rice, pizza bases and mash potato.  Aaaah… Mash Potato, how I love thee … unfortunately though, you do nothing for my waistline!  So I thought, let me see how the cauliflower puree phenomenon will stand up against my beloved mash potato.   The result? A creamy, rich, indulgent and delicious ‘mash’ / puree.   Is it mash potato? Well, no but its a very good substitute for those trying to avoid carbs at dinner time.   So quick and easy to prepare and I caught a few fingers licking the plate … mine included  😉  

I served mine with Pork Chops which I fried with olive oil, garlic and sage leaves.   I fried a few of the sage leaves first in the hot olive oil for 3 or 4 seconds before draining on carlton towel and sprinkling generously with salt.   I then set these aside for garnishing.   The oil was then nicely flavoured with the sage, so I added the pork chops, which I had already marinaded in a little olive oil, with a clove of garlic which I crushed into a smooth paste, salt & black pepper.   As far as week night dinners go, it was a goodie! 

Pork Chop cropped for blog picture

Yield: 3 – 4 servings

Ingredients: 

1 head cauliflower – tough stalks removed 

1 cup chicken stock / Water 

3 Tbsp fresh cream

1 Tbsp butter

Salt & Pepper for seasoning 

Method: 

Roughly chop the cauliflower and put in a pot together with the chicken stock.  Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer gently until cauliflower is completely tender.  Strain in a colander, retaining a few spoons of the cooking liquid.  Put cauliflower in food processor and blend until smooth, adding about 20ml of the cooking liquid as you go.  Once processed to a smooth consistency, add the cream and butter and process again until combined. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy ! 

Cooks Note: I use the Woolworths organic ready made chicken stock for this recipe.  The stock freezes well, so I freeze whats left over after I’ve measured.  If you find the puree too thick, add a little extra cooking liquid or even better, extra cream 🙂

Header pic for pork chop resized

Guess who’s back, back again…

Guess who’s back, back again…

Its been just over a year since I last posted on my Martha Who? blog and I’m not going to lie, it was touch and go there, that I would ever be back!  In the weeks leading up to Hudson’s impending arrival, I was told “Nothing can prepare you for having a baby” and “You won’t have time to do anything else” but I just brushed it off, thinking to myself “How hard can it be?”  Little did I know, that when,  perfect, precious little Hudson was placed in my arms for the first time, it was the very moment that everything else in my world ceased to exist!  I stayed in that little bubble for months and months, I was interested in very little other than my precious new little family.  I secretly begun to worry that my deep passion for the culinary world had vanished.  

During this time, I remained loyal to my favourite Foodie Magazines (TASTE & Food and Home),  I couldn’t walk past it in the store without putting it in my trolley.   They started to stack up on my beside table, unread and eventually were packed away to make room for what I deemed to be a more pertinent read at the time … “Breastfeeding for Dummies” , “5 signs that your baby is over stimulated”, “Sleep Training Your Baby” and so forth.   I had gone from trying to perfect challenging recipes to making Carrot puree, Butternut Puree, Pear Puree… Repeat!

As the months progressed and I became more confident in my Mommy skills, my bubble started to expand and let some of my ‘old world’ back in, I started exercising and fitting back into my old clothes, this went a long way in helping me find my identity again.  Before I knew it, 5 months of blissful maternity leave was over and I was back at work.  Now to find a new balance of juggling work, baby and home life … again this took a few months to perfect.  In between that, we bought a new house and moved from city living to the quiet burbs, then started the commute to work and the realisation that I was spending even more time away from my son each day, to do something I was no longer passionate about.  The fire for the culinary world was being reignited within my belly (pun intended) and I found myself still wanting to make my career in the culinary world!  Hallelujah, I was wide awake again !

A few months later, a romantic weekend away in Franschoek with Andrew and a lovely dinner out, led to the conversation of what my aspirations were for Martha Who?  There on that night, after talking it through with my husband, best friend and confidante, I decided to resign from my job and finally make a career out of doing what I love! 

So here I am 🙂  

I’m back and I’m so excited to show you my new website that I’ve been working on…  I’ve got lots of new recipes, tips and blog posts to share with you along our way.  I hope you’ve had a good year, I hope you cooked lots of new and exciting dishes and shared them with those you love, I hope you ate plenty of indulgent delicious treats and not only on special occasions! 

I look forward to being back in your kitchen! Come visit me at www.marthawho.co.za

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