Reidbury's Kitchen

Food thoughts, recipes and billowing smoke from a home cook's kitchen in London


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Mocha Chocolate Mousse (with Irish Whiskey)

Mocha Chocolate Mousse with Irish Whiskey, What Katie Ate

Mocha Chocolate Mousse with Irish Whiskey, What Katie Ate

Not so long ago I was in a homeware shop that had a LOT of cookery books on sale. And whilst I know you’re not supposed to, I totally judge books by their cover. This lovely looking book was buried in the pile and then as soon as I read the title I knew that it was fate – the book is ‘What Katie Ate’! Flicking through it in the shop I then noticed every single page I landed on contained a recipe I really wanted to cook. So, there it is. Fate was sealed. Book was in the trolley before you could say ‘seriously, another one’. The book really is lovely (available to buy here and her website is here) and I’ve been looking forward to trying some things out. I started with her Mocha Chocolate Mousse with Irish Whiskey and the reason I put the last bit in brackets in the post title is because I chose to switch out whiskey for rum (which the recipe does suggest). I love whiskey, but Paul isn’t keen so I went with the alternative.

This mousse was lovely – nice and light and the mocha flavouring was a good touch. I did end up using practically every bowl I owned though, as you need to create a bain marie and use it with two different mixes. And then have another bowl with iced water and a final one to whisk the egg whites in. But otherwise, pretty straightforward to make and really good to eat!

KB rating 8/10. PR rating 8.5/10

Mocha Chocolate Mousse with Irish Whiskey (serves 6-8)

Ingredients:

  • 170g good quality dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 170g unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp good quality instant coffee granules, mixed with 2 tbsp hot water
  • 4 free-range eggs, separated
  • 150g caster sugar, plus 1 tbsp extra
  • 2 tbsp Irish Whiskey (or dark rum)
  • Pinch fine salt
  • Whipped cream, to serve

Method:

Bring a medium-sized saucepan of water to a gentle simmer, and melt the chocolate, butter and coffee in a heatproof bowl that fits snugly over the pan but doesn’t touch the water. Stir occasionally. Remove the bowl from the heat and set aside. Keep the water simmering away.

Place a few handfuls of ice into a large bowl and half-fill with water. Set aside nearby.

In another heatproof bowl that fits over the saucepan of simmering water (and will sit inside the bowl of ice water), add the egg yolks, caster sugar, whiskey/rum and 1 tablespoon cold water. Using a balloon whisk or hand-held electric beaters, whisk for about 3 minutes until the mixture thickens, becomes paler and has a similar consistency to runny mayonnaise. Remove the bowl from the heat and place it in the bowl of iced water. Continue to whisk for a further few minutes until the mixture thickens and cools slightly, being careful that no water gets into the mixture. Add the chocolate mixture to the beaten eggs and stir to combine.

Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until just stiff and frothy. Add the extra tablespoon of caster sugar and beat again until just glossy.

Using a large mixing spoon, add one spoonful of egg whites to the chocolate mix and fold in gently. Gradually fold in the remaining egg whites, taking care not to overmix.

Transfer the mousse to a jug, then pour into individual serving jars or glasses. Chill in the fridge for 3-4 hours before serving. Top with a thick layer of whipped cream to serve.


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Some Recent Restaurant Experiences (And Some Fab Festival Food)

Well it’s been a while since I updated this blog, so lots to talk about. But in this entry I’m going to focus on a number of great restaurants I’ve been to over the last couple of weeks. I’ll start with Bocca di Lupo, an Italian restaurant nestled on a side street in Soho. I was really surprised how small the restaurant was, which added greatly to the atmosphere. The menu is a great combination of sharing food and full dishes. Pretty much anything on the menu comes in two portion sizes, which is great if you want to sample as much of their food as possible. The menu also changes daily. Particular highlights for me were the Courgette Flowers with Mozzarella and Anchovy and the Sea Bream Carpaccio which we shared. As an anchovy cynic I was a bit unsure about the Courgette Flowers dish, but thank God someone else gave it a whirl – the flavour in such a small mouthful was surprising! Paul had Roast Suckling Pig & Grapes as his main which was fantastic although a massive portion. I had the Saltimbocca alla Romana which was a brave choice for me. Very enjoyable but think I’d try something else next time! Desserts were also a triumph, and I’d be interested in going to their shop across the road, Gelupo, for gelato at some point.

Another restaurant we went to over the last few weeks was our tried and tested Thai local, Thai Room, located in Bow Wharf. What looks a bit like a portakabin from the outside is actually a lovely, cosy restaurant that serves some of the best Thai food I’ve eaten. Part of the fun of eating in a great local restaurant is ordering the usual faves! It’s a bit like digging out your favourite jumper when summer starts turning to autumn – comfortable and cosy! We ordered Drunken Beef, Crispy Trout with Three-Flavoured Sauce, Green Curry with Chicken and Pad Thai. All fantastic as usual.  

I was lucky enough to eat in two of my absolute London favourites over the last few weeks. Whilst they sit at extreme ends of the ‘Price Per Head’ scale, I get such huge enjoyment from eating at both of these places – Gaucho and Mien Tay. I do get pretty giddy at any excuse to eat at either and often know what I’m going to order from the moment I find out we’re going!

First up was Mien Tay which, in my humble opinion, is the best Vietnamese on the Kingsland Road. Not only is the food phenomenally good, it’s cheap AND it’s BYO with no corkage fee. I literally couldn’t ask for more! I went with a group of work friends so we didn’t necessarily all share dishes (which I think is the best way to eat at Mien Tay) but I did manage to get some of the classics onto the table. The Crispy Sea Bream with Lemongrass and Chilli was great but, if anything, slightly drier than previous times I’ve ordered it. The Quail with Honey and Spices was as good as ever and I think garnered a few converts! Perhaps the best dish this time was the Beef Wrapped in Rice Paper which I’m sure few people order because the name belies the flavours involved! All in all a great meal – all washed down with some good red wine at Off License prices. Perfection.

This week Paul and I went to my other ‘treat’ restaurant – Gaucho. This time we went to the one in Canary Wharf, and felt very extravagant by going on a Tuesday! This was the first time we’d gone back to a Gaucho since going to Hawksmoor (Seven Dials location), so I was interested in seeing how they compare. Hawksmoor was fantastic and I’m a bit of a cocktail obsessive, so their cocktail menu won me over right from the start. Add in Oysters with Sausage as a starter and I’m pretty much in heaven. Could Gaucho, part of a chain, still deliver? Erm, YES. Definitely YES. We had a brilliant time. We decided to forego the starters and skip straight to the steak – I had my usual 300g Rump whilst Paul went a little off piste and went for a 300g Fillet. Both were unbelievable good – great flavour, cooked to perfection and with a Bearnaise sauce on the side I was a happy bunny. We followed this up with some cheese – I always enjoy it when the waiter shows the cheese selection and the strategic decision to avoid starters was well made! Shame they don’t do Malbec chutney anymore though – it’s now two types of  paste. A Malbec paste and a Torrontes paste – both lovely, but that chutney was special!

Finally, Paul and I went to the Big Chill Festival a few weeks ago. Not only was I concerned about the toilets, the crowd and the weather, I was also worried about the food options (in no way am I the sort of person to take a camping stove and watch some pasta boil for 3 hours). Turns out there was no need to worry about anything, especially the food! We both ate like Kings with a huge range of options.It is a truly global affair as I enjoyed food from France (Boulangere Potatoes with Sausage), India (Vegetarian Thali), Lebanon (Mezze), America (Potato Wedges!), Britain (Pie, Mash, Peas and Gravy) and North Africa (Spicy Fish Bourek – a type of filo parcel). Add in Paul’s choices from Jamaica (Goat Curry), Thailand (Green Curry) and Greece (Harissa Chicken Wrap) and we covered a hell of a lot of the globe!

And special mention to some fantastic drinks at the festival too – firstly, the Cider Bus! No matter what the weather, they had an option that just seemed to work perfectly. In the rain, their hot spicy cider warms you up. When it’s overcast their medium cider hit the spot. And when it was glorious sunshine their Orchard Mist(basically a ‘Somerset Pimms; with cider brandy, lemonade, mint and raspberries) refreshes. God bless the apple.

The Cider Bus, The Big Chill Festival 2011

And an unexpected boozy treat came from the Grand Marnier tent of all things. My experience of Grand Marnier to date is either marinated oranges, done by my Mum as a dessert, or as part of a Crepe Suzette. Turns out if you mix Grand Marnier, Elderflower Cordial and Soda Water and serve in a jug with oranges, lemons and strawberries you get a Grand Espirit. Or in other words, a little taste of summer heaven. Mmmmmm.

The Grand Espirit, Big Chill Festival 2011