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Sunday, 30 December 2012

Happy New Year! Welcome 2013!

2012 has taught me: We must always 'Look Back' for future lessons, 'Look Forward' for a drive and 'Live Now' for happiness. Somewhere in between all of this, our personal growth takes place. 
My New Year's Resolution: Look forward for pleasant surprises, which usually come disguised

What a year, 2012! I could not have asked for a better one! Not because it was easy, in fact 2012 was very challenging! Not because it was relaxing, this year could not have been more hectic! Neither because it was filled with things falling into place, at times it seemed things could not go in as much the opposite direction! Nor because it was what I had asked for, I might have asked for the total opposite!
2012 was the best year ever because it brought my way all the things I should have asked for! 

I will not make this a long post, I just want to wish you all a very Happy New Year's Eve, and a tremendous year ahead, filled with all things good, even the ones you forgot to ask for or didn't know you needed!

I also want to thank you all for all your fabulous interactions, the kind words, the support and the very inspiring and heartfelt emails. I am never happier than when hearing from you and knowing that you are enjoying this delicious journey. So THANK YOU for making this blog a part of your kitchens, and I do hope that you will continue to enjoy and will stay in touch :)

Off with 2012 and here is for 2013......

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Chocolate Mousse Macaron Cake, A glamorous Dessert for Hosts with The Most

Macarons have that signature texture of solid outside, chewy inside, which makes them such a pleasure to eat. Chocolate Mousse on the other hand, has that creamy, airy, melt in your mouth texture that makes you slip away on clouds of chocolate heaven. Ganache is a lush, creamy, deeply chocolatey experience that makes you unable to think of a better indulgence. Each is an absolute pleasure on its own, but when combined into one dessert, then you are creating a masterpiece of joy and lush goodness for your palate to remember!

Starting off with a large macaron disk as base for this dessert, topped with a layer of chocolate mousse and left to set in the fridge. Then when firm, the whole is covered with dark chocolate Ganche and left again to set. While you brush red currents and chocolate leaves with gold dust for a fancy festive feel. Then you fit the sides with macarons (in chocolate and vanilla), and golden decorations are gracefully placed atop the round chocolate goodness... The combination of flavour and texture, the steps, the patience, the assembly and the finishing touches... these are the makings of remarkable desserts! Ones that will set you apart from the rest of the crowd, who only go for a quick and easy mix fix. These desserts, will show your skills, your flavours and your passion. And they will end your meal with a bang!

If you are sold on being the host with the most this season, and if you want to have an impressive finale to your festive menu, then this recipe will do that for you. Despite sounding like a challenge, it really is very easily doable...

so let's get to it....

Chocolate Mousse Macaron Cake
serves 8
The Making of Macarons will take 2 days, first day to separate the egg whites and let them stand, and the second day to make and bake them. The chocolate mousse will require a minimum of 4 hours to set, then it will be dressed with Ganache, which will also require 2 hours to set. Make sure to take timing into consideration when making this dessert.

Macaron Base is simply a large Macaron
You Need
For Chocolate Macaron Base
100 g Finely Ground Almond
170 g Confectioner's Sugar
30 g Cocoa Powder, Sifted
3 Egg Whites (eggs are separated a day ahead, and whites kept at room temperature overnight in an airtight container to cure).
4 tbsp Caster Sugar
Seeds of a Vanilla Pod

Paper covered wires
for floral decorations
For Chocolate Mousse
200g dark or milk chocolate
4 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon coffee flavored liqueur, or 1 tbsp of strong prepared coffee, cooled
300ml thickened cream

For Dark Chocolate Ganache
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
360 g dark Chocolate, Chopped

For Chocolate Leaves
200 g dark, milk or white chocolate, melted
A few leaves (any leaves work, you can even use mint leaves...)

For Golden Decorations
Gold Luster Dust (Edible Gold food colouring powder)
1 shot vodka, or any clear alcohol (can be substituted with oil-based flavouring)
a few springs of red currents

For Side Macarons
Follow the recipe on this link for Vanilla Macarons, and make a few chocolate macarons from this recipe too following the same instructions as the vanilla ones in the link.

Start by making the Chocolate Macaron Base

Line a baking sheet with a silicon mat, baking paper or rice paper.
In a large bowl, mix together the icing sugar, cocoa powder and ground almond. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites and vanilla seeds with electric mixer, then gradually add the caster sugar and beat to soft peaks. Fold the egg white mixture into the dry ingredients mixture and continue to fold until you reach the ribbon consistency. place a large round tip in a piping bag, fill the bag with macaroon mixture. On the lined sheet, pipe a swirl, starting small in the centre and growing into a large circle, making sure all the edges are closely touching. Repeat once more to have 2 large disks of chocolate Macaron.  Leave the disks to set on the counter top for 1 hour. This will form a skin that becomes the crunchy bit after baking.

Fill any remaining small Macarons with Ganache, cream, or jam, sticking two rounds together.
Place them in a candy jar and serve them on the side.

Meanwhile, make the side Macarons, 
Pipe the rest of the Chocolate Macaron mixture into small rounds, and make the Vanilla Macarons and pipe into small rounds. Leave to set on counter top for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 300F, bake the macaron disks for 12-15 minutes, keeping a close eye on them as they can easily burn. Once done, firm on the outside, remove from the oven and cool completely. Carefully remove the disks from the baking sheet and set aside. Bake the small Macarons in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. When done remove and cool completely, then carefully remove them from baking sheet and set aside. 

Once the Macaron disks have completely cooled, place 1 (or the 2 disks for a thicker base) inside a slightly greased baking ring, or a loose bottom cake tin or a springfoam tin. Place over a baking sheet and set aside.

Make the Chocolate Mousse
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Once melted, remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.

In a seperate bowl, slightly beat egg yolks with liqueur or coffee if using, otherwise with vanilla flavouring. (The coffee brings out the chocolate flavour.) Pour the egg mixture in a thin stream over the melted chocolate while continuously whisking.

1. Beat whites - 2. soft peaks - 3. stiff peaks

Beat the cream in a chilled small bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold cream, in two batches, into the chocolate mixture.

Beat the egg whites in a separate small bowl with electric mixer until stiff peaks form; fold into chocolate mixture. Pour the chocolate mousse over the the Macaron disks inside the baking ring and place the sheet in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or until the chocolate mousse is completely set.

Chocolate leaves are the easiest
way to bring life to an otherwise
everyday dessert
In the meantime make the chocolate leaves,
Rinse the leaves and dry well. Place them on a lined baking sheet.
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Make sure not to over heat the chocolate, once it is almost all melted, remove from heat and stir until the remaining chocolate melts. Using a deccorating or pastry brush, brush the melted chocolate over the leaves to form a full layer of chocolate. Set the chocolate-brushed leaves over the lined sheet and leave to completely dry.

Tip if you use different chocolates (white, milk, dark) you will end up with an assortment of leaves in all shades of chocolate. Use these leaves to decorate the tops of any cake dressed with Ganache or even buttercream for a leafy look that will always impress everyone. A very simple way to bring life to an otherwise everyday cake. These leaves can also be used in decorrating cupcakes or to top desserts...etc.

Once the chocolate leaves have completely set, simply peel off the leaf (carefully so not to break the chocolate) and set the chocolate leaves aside.

Edible Gold powder mix to coat decorations

Make Golden Decorations
In this dessert, the decoration is simple and the cake is not over filled with decoration. Feel free to go for a different design, like chocolate leaves on the whole top of the cake, or full springs of red currents...etc. You can either go for a shades of chocolate theme (using a variety of chocolates), carrying it out through the leaves and chocolate dipped red currents...etc. Or you can go for the golden theme for a more fancy and glamorous look.
To carry out the look in the picture, you need to adhere the leaf to a paper covered wire (for floral designs). To adhere simply, dip the top of the wire in melted chocolate and place the dipped wire at the centre of the leaf. Set aside to completely dry. Meanwhile, gently skewer some red currents with separate floral wires, twisting the wire and securing over the side, under the red current. Repeat a few times to make a few red current wires. Gather the red current wires in different heights and place the leaf in the centre or towards the bottom. Twist the wires to secure together, then wrap the whole with green wire paper (or if wire paper is not available, use another wire to twist around the whole in order to hold the piece in place). 

Once done, make edible golden liquid colour,
TIP In order for golden powder to adhere to chocolates, fruits ...etc creating a full layer as in the decorations in this dessert picture, the powder has to be mixed with enough alcohol (or oil-based flavouring) to create a slightly thick liquid. Golden powder can be brushed straight away on chocolate and will make it golden, but it won't be as completely and boldly covered. Rather it will be a kind of see through golden cover, which will also rub off when touched.

To make this golden liquid colour, mix the golden powder with enough alcohol to get a slightly thick consistency. Using a decorrator's brush, brush this liquid over the desired surface and leave to dry.

Colour the centrepiece and some red currents using the liquid gold and leave to dry, Until ready to finish assembling the dessert.

Make the Chocolate Ganache,
In a medium saucepan, bring whipping cream just to boiling over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolates (do not stir); let stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Cool for 15 minutes.

Remove the set cake from the fridge. Using a torch, slightly heat up the sides of the baking ring for easy release. Otherwise, carefully run a knife down the sides, making sure not to cut through the mousse. Remove the baking ring, and set the cake over a wire rack, fitted in a baking sheet to collect the dripping ganche. Pour or spoon the Ganache over the chocolate mousse and down the sides to cover all. Allow to set for 5 minutes, then when the ganache is no longer dripping, carefully move the cake to serving dish. Place the Macarons along the side, alternating vanilla and chocolate. Return the cake to the fridge. and leave to set for at least 2 hours.

When ready to serve, finish up the cake by placing the golden decorations on top. And serve cold.

Love the minimal yet elegant look of this table
follow this link for useful tips on
 table setting anddecorating for this season's dinner
Yes, super delicious desserts, and impressive looking desserts always require multi-steps of prep. Yes, it is a tad more than mix, bake, and serve, but hey, if you want to display skill, then you have to actually use those skills :) With that said, there is nothing more satisfying than when all of your guests are always in anticipation for what you are offering, because they know it won't be a cake mix from a supermarket shelf! 
I hope you have enjoyed this post, the recipe and the handful of tips and know how's. I would love for you to take a jump into the dessert deep and try making this. Do however, let me know what you think, I always look forward to hearing from you ;)

We are almost there so get going with it...
Happy Macaron Cake to you all!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Châteaubriand - My Absolute Favourite Menu Option For Home Entertaining

Serves All Palates

When done right, Chateaubriand is amongt the most flavoursome and tender meat cuts Ever!

There is something very charming about Châteaubriand  I love serving this dish when entertaining at home! It is probably among the most flavoursome and tender meat concoctions, especially when done right. Personally, I prefer meats blue (a step below rare). Honestly, a proper meat cut needs no more than, black pepper, salt and a good searing all over. That is it, and just allow the meat to speak its own volumes about its goodness. This is the thing about good produce, really you need not do much with it. However, if you prefer meats a notch more cooked, then go for rare, or even medium, but do not kill it with overcooking! Especially with a Châteaubriand, you lose the goodness of this dish with an overcooked meat. It is a crime!

What is Châteaubriand?
Châteaubriand (also known as Châteaubriant) is a recipe utilising a particular cut from the beef tenderloin. Connoisseurs insist that the term refers to the quality of the beef bred around the Châteaubriant town in the Loire-Atlantique, France. They might even suggest that unless that specific meat is used, the dish cannot be classified as authentic Châteaubriand! However, the tenderloin from other breeds have been used in the making of this dish, and some critics argue that as long as the right cut from the right part of the tenderloin is used, the dish is by all means a Châteaubriand. Therefore this cut of meat has become known as the Châteaubriand cut. 

The cut is the thick part of the Tenderloin situated between the Rump and Sirloin

Despite the technicalities of the meat cut, the story of this recipe goes way before the classification. It's been known that this recipe was developed by personal Chef Montmireil, for the French author François-René de Chateaubriand. François-René was The Secretary of State for two years for Louis XVIII as well as a diplomat serving Napoleon. Because the recipe was developed for such high ranking personality, as well as its use of a more expensive meat cut, it has always been associated with luxury dining. 

Châteaubriand is classically served with a reduction of white wine and shallots, softened with demi-glace, then mixed with butter, herbs and lemon juice. Nowadays, it is traditionally served with - and best complimented by - a Béarnaise sauce. Also traditionally, some boiled vegetables are slightly cooked with the remaining butter from cooking the Châteaubriand, and then all are served surrounding the meat, sprinkled with finley chopped herbs.

This is a Classic French Recipe that is exceptionally good and always impressive to serve. And since we are going for less-traditional Festive Dinners this season, I thought I must include this marvelous dish to the repertoire of recipes on this blog for you to try.

Festive or any other occasion, you will love serving this beautiful dish of exquisite meat surrounded by assorted accompanying vegetables complimented by the delicious Béarnaise sauce.

Here is how it's made...


If you have access to a gourmet independant butcher, then all you have to do is ask for a Châteaubriand. They will know what you are talking about, and will give you exactly that. If you don't and your Butcher is clueless, ask for the thick part of the Beef Tenderloin. Go for the best quality meat available, because at the end of the day, the meat is the star of this dish.

I have gone for roasted vegetables as a side. Roast the vegetables separately, simply sprinkle with salt, black pepper and drizzle olive oil all over them. Add a sprinkling of fresh thyme all over. For deeper flavour, cut 20 g butter into small cubes and sprinkle them over the vegetables too. Roast in a preheated oven (450 F) until slightly browned and cooked through, making sure to turn throughout.

You Need
The thick part of Beef Tenderloin (size depending what's available, go for the biggest available if serving 6 - 8)
50 g butter
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt & Black pepper to taste
2-3 large vines Cherry tomatoes, keep on the vine

For Béarnaise sauce
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
2 springs thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped 
1/2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
Squeeze of lemon juice 
3 egg yolks
150 g butter, cut into small cubes
Salt & Black pepper to taste

For Accompanying Vegetables
1 Butternutsquash, roasted
1 Kg new potatoes, roasted
1 Kg new carrots, trim the stems leaving a short bit intact, roasted

For Garnish
Fresh Thyme Leaves
A few fresh chives, finely chopped

Start by roasting your vegetables, making sure to turn them throughout the roasting.
Meanwhile make the Béarnaise sauce.
Boil some water in the bottom part of your double boiler (making sure the water won't touch the top part of the double boiler).

Meanwhile, In a small saucepan, mix together the vinegar, chopped shallot, the spring of thyme, the bay leave, salt and black pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer to reduce by half. Strain the vinegar mixture into the top part of your double boiler and discard the shallot and herbs.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. In a thin steady stream, while continuously whisking, pour the egg yolks into the vinegar until combined. Set the pot over the steaming simmering water and continue to whisk. Add the butter a cube at a time, whisking until fully incorporated before adding the next cube. Continue until all butter had been added. The mixture should be smooth, with no lumps and emulsified (not separated). Remove from heat and stir in the tarragon and parsley. Cover the top of the sauce with cling film, to prevent formation of skin, and keep in warm bain marie to keep warm. 
Do not reheat the sauce once cooled.

Make the Châteaubriand
Rub the Tenderloin with salt & Black pepper all over.
Place the butter and olive oil in a large oven-proof pan over high heat. Once the butter sizzles, add the meat and sear on all sides until the outside is browned and completely sealed. Top the seared meat with the cherry tomato vines and place in a 450 F oven for 5 minutes for rare and 10-12 minutes for medium. Remove the pan from the oven, and rest the Châteaubriand for 10 minutes on a wire rack, covered with foil.

In the meantime, Arrange your vegetables on a serving plate and sprinkle with thyme leaves and chopped chives. Place the Châteaubriand on a wooden chopping board or slice it and arrange it on a serving plate.
Serve with the Béarnaise sauce in a sauce boat on the side.

Despite being known as a technical dish, Châteaubriand is not that hard to make. There is always a chance that the sauce may split, but if you follow the instructions precisely, I guarantee you, it will work like a charm. This is one of my favourite recipes, and one that everybody loves. Give it a try and serve it to your family and friends, and see how they are going to love you for it. They will even be looking forward for the next time you make it, which I know will be not too long after! It is that good :)

Hope you have enjoyed this post, and that you too will become a fan of the delicious Châteaubriand. Do let me hear from you, I love nothing more. Come back again soon for more not so traditional festive menu options that will tickle your taste buds.

Bon Appetit!

Relative Links

Sunday, 16 December 2012

The Classic Victorian Recipe for Roast Goose & A Quick Class On Goose (Prepping, Cooking and Pairing)

Have you just served Roast Turkey on Thanksgiving? Have you been serving turkey every Christmas, every Thanksgiving and on any special occasion? Did you brine the turkey instead of simply roast it? It was very moist and delicious that way, but it was still Turkey! Have you ever found yourself trying to serve something new - trying to brighten up the dinner table with a new menu - but somehow ended up serving the same old turkey but in a different dress? We all have at some point! 

Well if you are looking for ways to bring new to your dinner table this festive season, then look no more, this is exactly what this blog is offering you this Christmas. I want to help you serve a whole new menu - with new recipes, less traditional ingredients, and fresh menu options to choose from. Hopefully this will help you find new Family Favourite Menus for special occasions . Rest assured that you are going to cook dinners that everyone looks forward to....

First, let's give the poor old Turkey a rest this season. It wasn't long since thanksgiving! Why not go for a different bird altogether? In this post I am going for this Classic Victorian Recipe of Roast Goose. I have served this succulent Roast Goose recipe, last Christmas, and everyone loved it. Everyone was excited about having something different, and the shower of compliments did not stop pouring! You are going to love serving this dish.

About Goose Meat
Unlike turkey meat, goose meat is dark. The meat is more boldly flavoured than turkey, and is even gamier than duck. Goose is also a bigger bird, which makes it fattier than duck. The meat is juicier than other meats, due to the fatty coating, which allows it to be served without a sauce. However, it can benefit greatly from the presence of sauce, and I personally find the overall flavours of goose meat to round up nicely with the presence of a fruity sauce.

Back in the day, old geese where the only ones used for cooking, which meant the meat was tougher and required pre-marination and even tenderising. Nowadays, younger geese are on offer, making for a more tender meat, that does not require a lot of prep. Opt for a 4 1/2 - 5 Kg goose, these are usually younger birds, whose meat isn't tough and won't require tenderising. Go for fresh, free range goose instead of the frozen ones as they are always more tender and better quality than the frozen ones, which are usually tougher. (see end of this post for where to buy in Dubai.)

The bold characteristics of goose meat ask for bold accompanying flavours. It has therefore been customary to accompany goose with the strong flavours such as: roasted chestnuts, cabbages (very popular goose accompaniments in Northern Europe), pears, sultanas, truffles...etc. are also common accompaniments. In the same effect, it is usually aromatised by pungent herbs such as sage & rosemary. The same also applies to pairing goose with wines.

Pairing with Wine
When it comes to pairing wine with food, the fattiness of the meat, the boldness of its flavour as well as the accompanying sauce are all to be taken into consideration.
In general, with fatty meats, it is preferable to serve a slightly acidic wine, as acidity cuts through the fattiness. by slightly acidic, I am not referring to vinegar, I am rather suggesting a wine with a fair level of acidity. The wine has to also have the right structure against the meat, so going for a bolder more full bodied wine is preferable over the milder flavoured ones.
Going for fruit-based sauces, such as apple sauce, usually calls for a fruity white wine as the reds can be overpowering to the delicateness of apple sauce. However, most people expect to be served reds with goose, so why not have both at hand?

Barbarelo Wine Tours
Common Wine Pairings with Goose

Basic Goose Cooking Tips
Because geese have a high portion of fat, they must be properly prepared to provide eating pleasure. Serving a goose swimming in a puddle of fat is not exactly pleasing to the eye nor the palate. The most common goose prep methods are: Some would blanch the bird for a few minutes, then prick the skin to release the fat. Others would ‘crisp” the carcass in the refrigerator for a week. Most would start roasting at 475F for 15 minutes and reduce the heat to 375F until done.

I find, it is best to place it over a rack fitted in a deep baking dish, where the juices drip off. Prick the breast of the goose with a fork to allow fat to escape, which in turn will also help in crisping the skin. I drain off the dripping fat from the roasting tin, at least twice during the cooking, and use these drippings to baste the goose as it cooks. This prevents extra dryness of the breast while the rest of the goose cooks. Not only will the basting make for a moister meat, but it will also give it a beautiful golden brown colour.

The best thing about draining the dripping fat is that you will have goose fat to use in cooking later on. It keeps well in the fridge and can even be frozen for later use, like for instance when roasting potatoes and many other preps that call for goose fat.

Allow 35-40 minutes of roasting per Kilo in a preheated 350F oven. Do not overcook your goose or the meat will be tough and not too pleasing to eat. If you own a thermometer then the suggested minimum internal temperature (from the innermost thigh) must register 165F. However, some suggest that it shouldn't go past 150F for best eating experience. Personally, with geese, I go the time/Kg method and it has never failed me. I always end up serving goose that is tender, fully cooked through without the livery texture of being overdone! I do however, know the exact temperature of my oven (use oven thermometer to know the exact oven temperature).

You can stuff geese with herbs, dried fruits such as: raisins, figs, or prunes. Dried fruits can be pre-marinated in Armagnac or Cognac or rum if you like. You can go for a bread stuffing. Try Rye or Multigrain bread for a change. The stuffing can be cooked separately and passed around, check out the stuffing balls in the Roast Turkey Recipe in this link. Other stuffings include, fresh fruits, such as apples, pears and even peaches and pitted cherries with oranges. Or you can go for vegetables, such as onions or celery.

Roast Goose with Onion & Sage Stuffing
Served with Roasted Apples and Onions and Apple Sauce
Serves 8
The onion and sage stuffing will pleaseantly fragrance the bird. The roasted onions and apples will add the sweetness factor to balance out the gamy flavour, and the use of the apple sauce offers a tart sweetness and an extra texture to compliment the crispiness, meatiness and mushiness from the rest of the ingredients. This is a dinner you will remember and one your guests will remember you for...

This recipe is based on the Classic Victorian Recipe, with a few changes including the use of Rye bread, the addition of apples and applesauce. The Rest is Classic!

You Need
4-5 Kg Goose (best fresh, free range)
3 pink apples, quartered
3 onions, quartered

For filling
1 Kg large brown onions
1 Large loaf Rye Bread, cut into cubes
2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
1 - 1 1/2 cups milk

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Salt & Pepper to taste

For Semi-sweetened Plain Apple Sauce
Makes 6 cups you can store the rest in a sterilised jar in the fridge for other uses
2 Kg Apples, cored and quartered
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar

Prepare the goose,
Once purchased, remove all packaging and tuss. Usually a vaccumed bag of giblets is also included, remove that too, then rinse thoroughly to clean, and pat dry. Store in the fridge covered loosly by foil paper. It is very common to leave goose in the fridge like so for 2 days to slightly dry up. However, this is optional.

When ready to cook, remove the goose from the fridge and let it stand for 2 hours at room temperature. This will loosen up the fats in prep for cooking; kind of like butter at room temperature. Prick the skin with a fork and sprinkle with salt and black pepper all over. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Make the Stuffing
Roast the unpeeled brown onions in a hot oven until softened. Once done roasting, cool them, peel and roughly chop them. Soak the bread in just enough milk to moisten, then press out any excess milk. Mix the pressed bread, with the chopped onions, sprinkle with nutmeg and season with salt and black pepper. Add the chopped fresh sage and mix all to combine.

Stuff the prepared goose with the stuffing and close the opening either by sewing or by pulling the skin over the legs. Place the stuffed goose over a wire rack fitted in a deep baking dish and roast in a preheated 350F oven for 35 - 40 minutes per kilo. Drain off and reserve excess fat every 20 minutes. Baste the tops of the goose every time you drain off drippings.

40 minutes before the end of cooking, place the quartered apples and onions around the goose on the rack and baste with drippings.

Meanwhile make the applesauce
Place the apples, water and sugar in a heavy pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30-35 minutes or until the apples are very tender. You have to stir it frequently.
Once done, press the apples through a sieve and return to the cooking pot, add water to thin if necessary and bring back to a boil. The applesauce is now ready to use.
To store, place in sterilised jars and freeze for up to 8 months.

Once the goose is done roasting, rest it covered lightly with foil for 20 minutes. Then place it on the serving plate, with roasted apples and onions placed around it. Serve with the applesauce on the side.

Carving Goose

Hold the leg by the end knuckle, cut close to the body and twist off. Carve this leg meat. To carve the breast meat start from the outside working to the breast bone in the middle. Repeat for the other side.

In case you were wondering

Where to buy Fresh Free Range Goose in Dubai this Festive season?
I Love the simplicity of this centre piece and think it
will be perfect for your dinner table. You can use red
candles for a more festive feel.
I have found them in Spinney's - Springs Town Centre, Giant -Ibn Batoota Mall are also offering these. I know Carrefour did last year, but haven't checked this year, however they do usually offer fresh goose, duck, rabbit and Turkey during the festive season. It is confirmed by Sally that Carrefour have geese on offer :) Run, buy one before they are out ;)

Pure heavenly flavours of festive family gatherings!

Hope you have enjoyed this post, and that it took away a bit of goose anxieties! These birds are delicious, and this recipe is such a crowd pleaser, you won't go wrong with it. Do let me hear from you before you go, and don't forget to drop by again soon for some more less traditional Festive Dinners :)

Happy Festive Roasting to you all!

Friday, 14 December 2012

After Eight Chocolate Domes - Along with a few very useful baking Lingo & Techniques

While it is way more simple to fill a Candy Jar with Mint Candy and serve them after dinner, it is way more impressive and satisfying to serve these mints in the form of a home-made dessert. Kind of like: it is way less hassle to serve a take out menu! But nothing beats the feeling of serving an impressive, five-star festive dinner, entirely home-made! Otherwise, it would be way more relaxing to just Reserve a festive dinner at one of the many fabulous restaurants; in the same sense as: who needs the mess at home?! But we all like to gather up at home, we all like Aunt Jane's Turkey, we all want childhood memories, so we all go the extra mile in the festive season. 

Since we are going all out this festive season, and making sure to put our cooking talents on display with the carefully selected menus, it is only fitting to include these beautiful servings of after dinner mints. Yes, it is a bit of extra work, but I know there are lots of you out there who will settle for nothing less than a completely home-cooked festive dinner that is absolutely impressive.

These After Eight Domes look fabulous and the rim of assorted mini chocolate balls lends them a more festive feel. The mixed chocolate cigarillos on top of the domes tie up the look together, making the domes even more festive. These domes are delicious, with luscious servings of chocolate cake and Bavarian Mint Mousse, all encased in a Dark Chocolate Ganache. Ah! Heavenly!
These will cool and refresh your palate, while also satisfy your sweet tooth. Much better than the medicinal overpowering flavour of those candy mints!

With that said, not everyone is into the flavour of mint in desserts. If you or your guests don't fancy minty flavours, then don't worry, I have gone for fresh mint instead of the menthol essence - menthol essence is very powerful (go for the essence if you really want that minty flavour). The use of fresh mint will make this dessert slightly minty but not overly. However, and if you still prefer not to have mint at all, just omit the mint leaves, and you will end up with a vanilla and chocolate flavoured dessert. Not many will argue with that option!

Please note that because this dessert includes multiple steps of prep, I would advise you consider the required time, and make it over a couple of days. Day 1, prepare all the parts. Day 2 assemble and leave to set. 

Ok, so let's do this...

You Need
makes 12 domes

For Coocoa Genoise (Chocolate Sponge)
340 g (11 oz) Sugar
1 tbsp butter, melted
90 g cake / pastry flour
60 g cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
8 eggs

For Mint Creme Anglaise
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup double cream
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves
1/2 vanilla bean (seeds)
45 g caster sugar

For Bavarian Mint Mousse
1 cup Mint Creme Anglaise
3 sheets Gelatin or (1 1/2 tsp powdered gelatin)
1 cup Heavy cream, warm
1 cup Heavy cream, cold

For Chocolate Ganache
1 cup double cream
350 g dark chocolate roughly chopped
1/2 vanilla bean (seeds)

For Chocolate Buttercream
125 g icing sugar, sifted
30 g cocoa powder sifted
150 g butter, softened

For Garnish
Mixed Chocolate Cigarillos
Assorted mini chocolate balls
Melted white chocolate for drizzling

Required Special Equipments

  • To get the dome shape in this dessert you need to use a half-sphere silicon mould (follow the link to buy online). However, if you do not have one, and can't find one, you can use cooking rings, ramekins, or pliable plastic strips to shape your dessert. Just mind you unless using the moulds your dessert will not be round-shaped, but rather cylindrical, which is fine if no moulds are to be found.
  • Round cookie cutter, the same size of your mould, or ramekin/ring...etc. To cut cake disks.
  • Piping Bag fitted with a star tip to pipe the base for chocolate Cigarillos.
  • Squeeze bottle or chocolate piping bag to drizzle melted white chocolate.

Start by baking the cocoa Genoise.
Cocoa Gemoise Sheet

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a standard size jelly roll sheet with baking paper and set aside.

In a double boiler, combine the eggs and sugar together. Using a wire or heat-proof rubber whisk, whip the eggs & sugar continuously together until the sugar dissolves.

Technique - Double Boiler: The idea is to cook on steam. Therefore, the water in the bottom part of the double boiler must not touch the bottom of the top part. Heat source is the steam from the boiling water. This method is usually used in cooking delicate foods such as eggs and chocolates...etc.

Place the egg mixture in a bowl of an electric mixer & whip on high until they reach the ribbon stage.

Lingo - Ribbon stage batter : Ribbon is when you lift the beaters and a stream of the batter falls down in a steady motion forming ribbon-like lines on top of the batter in the bowl. 

Reduce the speed to very low and mix in the the butter and sifted dry ingredients, until just combined. Do not over beat. Pour the batter onto the lined sheet and 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted at the centre of the cake. Cool thoroughly.

Meanwhile Make the Mint Creme Anglaise.
Combine the milk, cream, vanilla seeds, pod, and chopped mint in a saucepan and place over medium heat and bring to just a boil (keep an eye on the mixture as it will rise when boiled). Just before the mixture is hot, combine the eggs and sugar in a separate bowl.  Once the milk mixture has boiled, temper the egg and sugar mixture.

Technique - Tempering eggs: Once the milk mixture reaches a boil, remove from heat and pour 1 ladle of the mixture into the eggs and sugar mixture while continuously whisking. This is to temper the eggs, so that you do not end up with lumps of scrambled eggs in the cream mixture.
Pour the tempered egg mixture into the hot cream mixture and return to the heat. Cook stirring continuously until thickened and the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Strain into a clean bowl and chill completely.

Technique - Custard Spoon Test: Is when the cream mixture coats the back of the spoon, creating a steady layer of cream that does not slip off the spoon. The layer should stay separated should you pass your finger down the centre.

Half-sphere Silicon Mould

Once the Mint Creme Anglaise has completely chilled, make the Bavarian Mint Sauce.
heat 1 cup heavy cream and set aside. Meanwhile Soak the gelatin leaves in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes or until the sheets are soft. Remove the sheets from the water and gently squeeze to remove excess water. Place the sheets in the heated cream and stir to dissolve. Once dissolved, leave the cream to cool at room temperature for 10 minutes. Once cooled, whip the gelatin cream mixture, together with the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream in a chilled bowl, using chilled beaters. Beat until soft peaks form. Gently fold in 1 cup chilled Creme Anglaise until combined. Fill 12 holes of half-sphere mould with the Bavarian mint Mousse and set in the fridge for 4 hours.

Lingo - Soft Peaks: These are peaks that curl up when you remove the whisk instead of standing stiff.

Technique - Chilled Bowls & Beaters for whisking: Using a chilled bowl and beaters when whipping cream, speeds up the whipping process and prevents the cream from separating and curdling.

Make the butter cream by mixing all the ingredients together until combined and fluffy. Place the buttercream in a piping bag, fitted with a star tip and set aside until ready to use.

You have made it! All that is left is assembling the dessert :)

Drizzle the ganache over the cake disks making sure to cover the sides too.

To Assemble
Make the Ganache,
In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, bring the whipping cream to just boiling. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla seeds. Add the chopped chocolates (do not stir); let stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Cool for 10-15 minutes.  It should be at pouring consistency, but not too hot.

In the meantime, using a cookie cutter (same size as your mould), cut 12 disks out of the cocoa genoise. Place the disks over a wire rack fitted inside a baking sheet (to collect the dripping Ganache). Pour over the ganache to cover the tops and sides of the cake disks. Gently remove the Bavarian Mint Mousse domes from the moulds (it should be a matter of flipping the mould over, as the silicon moulds are non-stick). and top each ganache covered disk with a Mint dome. Repeat until all cake disks have been topped with mint domes. While still placed over the wire rack, pour the dark chocolate ganache over the domes making sure to cover all the sides including the cake disk. Repeat until all have been covered. Reheat the ganache if necessary, cool and repeat the process one more time for a thicker cover. 

Melt the white chocolate and place in a squeeze bottle or piping bag. Drizzle all the domes with the melted white chocolate. Place in the fridge to set for 1 hour.

In the meantime, collect the ganache drippings from the sheet and place them in a bowl.

After the domes have set for an hour, remove them from the fridge and brush around the bottom with the reserved ganache and place the chocolate balls to make a rim around the bottom. Pipe a star at the top of each dome and place a chocolate cigarillo on top. Transfer to serving dish and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Serve cold & Be proud that you made them ;)

Don't toss those mints just yet! Why not use them
to create this simple yet very festive centrepiece -
which I found on Trendy Tree and completely adore?
You had been warned!
Told ya I was to bring some action into your kitchens this festive season :) 

The internet is full of simple recipes from cookies, to cookie cutouts in all shapes and flavours. 
Cupcakes, dressed with twirls of icing and fondant cutouts, to cakes dressed in all types of frostings to chocolate truffles and crumbles...etc. they are all over the online world. And in order to cater for home cooks looking for simple recipes, I had always been posting such simple recipes on this blog. 

I understand that while an enthusiastic cook revels at complex recipes, home cooks are not usually super excited about multi-prep options and the extra work. But what is the point of being repetitive and not pushing the envelop, even if ever so slightly? If you are really set out to impress this festive season, do go for a different kind of menu. Do really impress. I want to help you do that, and think that posting such more intricate recipes and going for less traditional menu options, will allow you to bring interesting to your festive dinners. However, the old favourites have all been extensively covered here for you to try, if that is what you are looking for.

I hope you have enjoyed this post and find this recipe appealing. Do stay in touch and let me hear from you.

Happy Festive Baking Everyone!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Perfect Gifts for Enthusiastic Cooks

Serves Cooks & Bakers

What to gift?
seems to be on everyone's mind in the festive season. In my previous post, I shared with you gift inspirations for all kinds of foodie friends. I have also included tips on how to make your gifts more special, stay on budget as well as creating a plentiful gift basket. However, if the foodie gifts post was not exactly what you are looking for and you are looking for cooks-specific gift inspirations, read on because this post is for those who love to cook, bake and prepare food.

If your friend is really into cooking/baking, and if s/he is working on developing and perfecting their skills, or even if your friend is someone who simply enjoys cooking, these are the gadgets every cook must have. Contrary to many foodies, I am not very big on gadgets! I actually minimise gadgets to the least possible. To me, a knife is your best friend, however the very few gadgets I won't live without are the ones in this list:

Sunday, 9 December 2012

What to Gift When you have Foodie Friends

Serves All

                    Just before you hit the malls and in time to plan what's under your tree ;)

The world is full of foodies! In fact is anyone not?! We know them, we all have them and here is a post dedicated for them. If you are wondering what could be the perfect gift for a foodie friend read on because here are some inspirations that they are going to love you for :)

But before we jump into inventory it helps to know a couple of tips...

  • Foodies are those who either like to cook, style & photograph food, write about food, have a food blog, love food and talk about food, love to entertain at home and impress with food and props, addicted to cookbooks, addicted to food blogs, addicted to food channels, like to eat good food, buy food magazines.... the list is huge! They can be any one, combination or multiples of all this food stuff! Therefore, these gifts work for almost everyone you know :)
  • It is the thought that counts. When it comes to gifts, it is really the thought that counts. But in my book, it is not enough that I thought of you, I have to have also thought about what you like, what you are missing, what can make your hobby easier, what can bring out the best in you, what you can really use... so yes the thought counts, but not just any thought. So when it comes to gifting, why not gift something that you will actually use and love?
  • Managing Budgets. A gift is never meant to be out of means. It should never be the last gift to give! Yes we would love to buy the world for our dear friends, but somehow the world is quite hard to budget! With a little bit of creativity you can buy the world's best gift, yet stay within budget. Baskets/boxes full of little thoughtful pieces, make an excellent choice. They even make the receiver feel like they got plenty at one go. So pick and choose from the items below and create a bundle of foodie joy and become your friends' hero. It also always helps to have a group of mutual friends to chip in when thinking of buying that kitchen Aid for your friend.
  • Customise for an exclusive feel. Who does not like to feel like something was made especially for them? While most factories do not produce named items, there are many outlets that offer customisation (initials, names, photos, skins...etc). There is hand carving, wood burning, laser imprints... add your friend's name to the gift for an extra special gift.
  • The basics are always appreciated. You know what your friend has or does not but needs. Most foodies have the basics covered, from measuring cups and spoons, cookie cutters, cake tins, pie plates, to pots and pans, props and napkin rings...etc. While it defeats the purpose to give them something they already have, the basics are perfect if they are not already there. Think of a 'Basics Basket' for a foodie friend who has just joined the foodies forces.

All the gift items below are my personal best loved, tried and tested, useful stuff and most are things I like to surround myself with lol! I know I use them, love having them, and they completely allow me to serve, display and celebrate my food in style. So I know your friends will love them too! 

I have divided the items into groups according to foodie types, different interests and usages. Feel free to mix and match from the different groups to personalise your gift to your friend.

Gifts for the fanatic Home Entertainer

The home entertainer is the easiest to gift! Home entertainers love serve-ware and show pieces. They love to serve food elegantly, they like to make a statement and they will always appreciate an extra plate/stand/ teapot/ board... When choosing the gift make sure you keep your friend's unique style in mind. Some like it elegant and minimal, some like it whimsical, some like it colourful, others prefer it white...etc. If you want your friend to jump up and down in excitement, and for that oscar moment to happen: make sure to choose the piece according to your friend's taste. After all s/he will be the one to use it.

The above list includes

  1. Cake Stands (Pictures 1 + 12) . You will never go wrong with cake stands. Everyone loves them! They are beautiful and nowadays are no longer restricted to just cakes! They can be used to display/serve many food types (cookies, cupcakes, sandwiches, canapes...etc). They come in a variety of materials, colours, shapes, sizes... If you live in Dubai, I strongly recommend you visit TAVOLA outlets for a wide variety of impressive and stylish cake stands.
  2. Glass Bell Stand Covers (picture 2). These are a perfect gift for a friend who already owns stands. They help keep food fresh and protected. If your friend bakes a lot, s/he will appreciate the display option. Tavola also have a variety of stand covers in different shapes and sizes. I have also spotted some really elegant one at Villeroy & Boch as well as Galleries Lafayette.
  3. Glass Pedestal Stands, preferably with covers, (Picture 3). Not only do they allow your friend to display her artsy productions, but they will also become part of the decor. These are my favourite display items, they make you want to dive in and live with the cookies :) The fact that they are quite deep, makes them perfect for desserts such as Tiramisu, Trifle, Brownie pudding...etc. Perfect Gift!
  4. Glass Juice Dispensers (picture 4). I love juice dispensers! They are the home entertainer's best friend. They look gorgeous in a buffet, even on the side table in the garden, or even at the kitchen counter! Instead of having to refill small jugs of juice, your friend will have it all covered! Think Sangria, Mimosa for the festive celebrations, juices with fresh fruits... To complete this gift, you can also tell your friend about these recipe links for fabulous Iced Teas, and Refreshing Cold Beverage in order to make best use of the dispenser ;)
  5. Tiered Platters (Picture 5). Any serious host, any stylish home entertainer knows that tiered platters are our best friends! Not only do they allow us to display and serve different foods, but they also help in the visual appeal of a buffet, or food table. They even allow us to manage space! I cannot live without these and find the table missing without them. They can be over the top whimsical, elegant, silver, white, colourful...
  6. Fruit Punch Bowl (picture 6). Who does not like Fruit Punch? From college students to the golden girls, everyone enjoys a fruit punch! It is the soul of the party. There are many styles and designs for fruit punch bowls, from classic to modern minimalist, they are all beautiful.
  7. Tall Glass Candy Stands (picture 7). Like the cake stands, these can never go wrong. They are beautiful display pieces that bring life to a desserts buffet. They can be filled with all sorts of confections, chocolate truffles, cake balls...
  8. Vintage Dessert Plates (Picture 8) are gorgeous and a very fun way to serve tea cakes. If coupled with a vintage cake stand your friend might just pass out when opening the gift! Stylish Perfection!
  9. Uniquely designed Juice Jugs (Picture 9). If the dispenser is too big for your friend's home, or not exactly her style, then a uniquely designed, stylish jug is the thing for her. We all drink and serve juice, we might as well be stylish at it :)
  10. Mini Pedestal Glass Stands with covers (Pictures 10+ 11) . These can double as cupcake/cookie/food stands, or candle stands for a table centrepiece. If you are one of those entertainers who like to serve individual portions, this is your stylish statement! I would buy at least 4 in this option, in order for your friend to be able to use them for serving.
  11. A unique serving tray (Picture 13). Home entertainers are always serving food and drink, and they truly appreciate a serving trays. Whimsical trays are so in fashion at the moment and are really fun to have.
  12. One-Design's Champagne Bowl (picture 14). Is my new favourite thing! It fits at least 2 bottles and has a small space for the flutes too! All that is left is friends to enjoy it with.
  13. A unique Cheese Board (picture 15). If your friend is a real home entertainer, s/he knows the importance of the cheeseboard. I am completely in love with One Off Oak's (literally one off) custom designed wooden  cheeseboards with built in cheese knife compartments! Not available in Dubai, but can be ordered on line! Your friend is gonna jump, I tell ya!

Gifts for the serious Foodies 
(foodies on the verge of professional lol)

Whether a serious cook, home entertainer, blogger, food photographer... any foodie friend will appreciate a good read. Especially when that read helps hone their skills and increases the depth of their knowledge. At times, these books can even have the answers to some of their most pressing questions. Books never break our budgets, but they are very thoughtful, especially if we know they can inspire our friends. You can also add a book to your basket collection.

Vintage is beautiful! I love vintage because it has a story, it has been used to death and it is a piece of history brought to the table. Stylists and food photographers love vintage pieces and will always appreciate the depth they lend to their photos and homes. Check below for a list of where to buy.

Perhaps foodies are the easiest to please in terms of gifts. If you disagree and find it hard to decide which gift to buy, I hope that this post could relief some of that stress and that you found some inspiration. If you still think that this does not cut it for your friend, then make sure to drop by again on Wednesday as I will post another one dedicated to gifts for Serious Cooks & Those into Food Production! 
Yes this festive season I will make sure your gifting inspirations are sorted :)

Hope you have enjoyed this post, make sure to be thoughtful in your gifts this festive season. If you are the wonna-be receiver of the gifts, make sure to send the link to your friends, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives... pointing out which gift you want lol!

Links for Where to find:

Happy Thoughtful Foodie Gifting y'all ;)

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Soft Meringue Pavlova with Berries & A Meringue Crumble

A soft Meringue is a pleasure to eat, like chewing on air with a comforting
soft  and slightly gummy texture, you will want to go on for ever!

It is December! And while almost everywhere in the world, it is getting colder by the minute and even snowing at some places, it is still strangely warm here in Dubai. Yes Dubai is a warm place, but it feels warmer than usual at this time of year! Now, we would love a white Christmas here in Dubai, however it is highly unlikely lol! But nothing can simulate an iceberg and the airy crispness of snow like a white Meringue with a serving of Vanilla ice cream together with the freshness of Berries; Yum! Yes, you guessed it: It is the best loved dessert with the grace of a Ballet dancer: The Pavlova.

Soft Meringue
Pavlova is a very famous desert and quite a retro one too. I like retro, but I also like to add my twist to things! I have gone for a soft white Meringue in this recipe, one that has an ever so slight crunch on the outside and an almost marshmallowy texture on the inside. The Meringue alone has a pillow-like chew to it - kind of like the floating island feel, but with more density - one that will make you want to go on chewing for ever! With the melting of a creamy vanila ice cream, and the tartness from the raspberry coulis and the berries, the experience is just Divine. Add to that the mixture of white, reds and hints of green, I think it is the perfect recipe to kick start posts for the festive season ;)

Meringue is one of my favourite desserts to use as an ingredient in the making of other desserts. I like to crumble it on top of fruit salads, dessert cups and puds, I find it to be very versatile and happen to love its texture. However if you want to know the real goodness of Meringue you have to try good quality ones rather than the store-bought stiff as a rock variety that might break your teeth before you discover its flavour! I have extensively covered Meringue types and perfecting Meringue in a previous post (click here for the post) and I recommend that you read that post if you wish to perfect Meringue and Meringue desserts. I am also including a meringue crumble at the end of this post, which is a fabulous way to use up Meringue leftovers and fruit salad leftovers. So we are on Cloud #9 this festive season and today it happens to be made out of Meringue!

Le'ts get to it....

Soft White Meringue
For a slightly stiffer Meringue, turn the heat off and keep the meringue in the oven for 1 more hour.

Makes 6 large Meringues
You Need

For Meringue
6 egg whites, at room temperature
200 g Caster Sugar
150 g Icing Sugar
2 sachets powdered Vanilla Essence
a squeeze of lemon (few drops) or 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Vanilla Ice Cream for serving

For Raspberry Coulis
250g Fresh Raspberries
2 tbsp Caster Sugar

For the Mixed Berries Topping
1/4 cup Raspberries
1/4 cup strawberries, quartered
1/4 cup blackberries
2 tbsp red currents
Zest of 1 orange
zest of 1/2 lime
4 tbsp Caster sugar
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp Dried mint Leaves
10 fresh mint leaves, Chiffonade
2 turns of the mil, fresh black pepper

Meringue has to be white and shiny when done whipping 

Start by making the Soft Meringue,
Preheat your oeven to 120F and line baking sheets with baking paper.

Place the egg whites with a squeeze of lemon in the bowl of your electric mixer or a bowl and mix on medium using the wire attachment, or whisk until the egg whites start to thicken and become white. In the meantime, mix the caster sugar and vanilla essence together. Add the caster sugar a little at a time to the beating egg whites, mixing well after each addition. Continue to beat until you reach a medium consistency (between stiff and soft peeks, check out instructions on 'Understanding Meringue' post). The Meringue should be pure white and shiny.

Gently fold in the sifted icing sugar.

Place large dollops of Meringue onto the lined baking sheets, sprinkle lightly with icing sugar and bake for 3 hours. Once done, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely, then place in an airtight container until ready to use. If you want your meringue to be slightly stiffer, turn off the oven, and leave the meringues inside for an extra hour.

A hint of black pepper lends berries a depth to the flavour and keeps your guests guessing :)

In the Meantime, prepare the Mixed Berries Topping
Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix to coat. Leave to set for 1 hour at room temperature, then mix again and refrigerate until ready to use.

Make the Raspberry Coulis
Place the raspberries together with the caster sugar in the blender and blend to incorporate. Push the mixture through a sieve into a bowl. Discard the seeds and refrigerate the coulis until ready to use.

To serve,
Swirl some raspberry coulis at the bottom of your plate, place a piece of Meringue in the centre, top with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream then with the mixed berries. Drizzle slightly with more coulis. Serve immediately.

For the Crumble, 
A very good way to use meringue, berry topping or fruit salad leftovers. Simply crumble some meringues, top with leftover berries topping or any leftover fruit salad, then add some more crumbled meringues. Serve over ice cream, or on its own. You can even go for an Eton Mess, if you add some whipped cream and layer all in a cup! Very simple and messy but delicious.

Hope you've enjoyed today's post and this recipe. I love to hear from you, so why not leave a comment before you go and let me know what you think :)

It is the Season to be Jolly,
So make sure you are ;)