Foodiva's Kitchen: March 2011

Monday, March 28, 2011

Blood Orange Onde-Onde with Dark Chocolate Filling

won't you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

won't you celebrate with me by Lucille Clifton

When I think of sunny skies and a lightness in the air, I think of onde-onde, a favorite childhood dessert. Made of glutinous rice flour and filled with anything from nuts, sweet bean paste to palm sugar, with a decadent coating of grated coconut, these fresh, round dumplings are for me the epitome of simpler days, of happiness. My mother used to make onde-onde in the traditional pandan (green) flavor, filled with brown palm sugar that just melts in your mouth.  I opted to fill mine with chocolate because it won't be a Foodiva recipe if I didn't sex things up a bit!

I also added blood orange juice into the mix because I figured it would give a pretty, baby pink coloring and a subtle citrus fragrance to the overall dessert. In case you didn't already know it (although I can’t imagine why?), pink, citrus and chocolate go very well together… yes, they do.

The best thing about this dessert is that it can be made within minutes, with no baking involved. You only need to boil the onde-onde balls for about a minute before they are cooked and ready to eat!

The second best thing is what happens as you take a bite out of the soft, chewy onde-onde. Its contents spew out, then you start to feel and taste the sweet, dark chocolate oozing slowly onto your tongue. Sensory-wise, it's right up there fully approved by Dionysus (Greek God of Earthly Delights). Taste-wise, it's pretty good, too. Come on... you get chocolate, peanut, coconut and yes, blood orange flavors in one go! And that's before you even swallow.

Blood Orange Onde-Onde with Dark Chocolate Filling
1 cup glutinous flour
2/3 cups blood orange juice
200g dark chocolate, chopped into 1/2cm chunks
1 cup dessicated coconut flakes

1. In a large bowl, combine the glutinous rice flour with blood orange juice and knead lightly to form a dough.
2. Pinch a small piece of the dough (about 1/4 of it) and drop it into a pot of boiling water. When the dough rises up the surface, remove it with a slotted spoon and shake off the excess water. Mix it back into the main dough and knead well to form smooth dough.(Adding cooked to uncooked dough stabilizes the whole dough). Cover the dough and set aside for about 15 minutes.
3. Bring the pot of water to boil again. Pinch a small piece of dough (about a tablespoon) and flatten lightly. Fill the center of the dough with about 1/2 teaspoon of chocolate. Pull the dough up to cover the chocolate, and pinch to seal the dough. Roll in your palm to form a smooth ball and drop about 5-6 glutinous rice balls at a time into the boiling water. When the rice balls float to the surface, remove them with a slotted spoon and shake off the excess water. I usually tap the spoon on an absorbent paper towel.
4. Coat the rice balls with coconut by rolling them in the flakes. Serve immediately. Also keeps for 2 days, covered, at room temperature.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Vanilla Rooibos with Coconut and Macadamia Bread Pudding and YBR

Your kind words and support have made me feel like it's time to come out of the woodwork and cook up something nice for you. Think of it as my Thank You :-).

I also feel that I need to fulfill some obligations to fellow bloggers this month. The first is the Bread Pudding of the Month Club hosted by my lovely friend, Victoria at Mission Food. Anyone who has made bread pudding during the month of March is invited to link up to her event, and I'd greatly encourage you to check it out before the month is out, soon! This is my contribution: Vanilla Rooibos with Coconut and Macadamia Bread Pudding, topped with White Chocolate Cream Sauce.

I first discovered this blend of Vanilla Rooibos tea when I stayed at an upscale serviced apartment in Virginia last year. The housekeeping ladies, bless them, left out fresh fruits, pastries and the most amazing coffees and teas for their guests every morning and I guess that was where I got hooked on this rich and full-bodied tea with a creamy vanilla finish. This organically-grown Rooibos is also rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and is a naturally caffeine-free infusion, so it was only inevitable that I cargoed home boxes of the stuff when I left Virginia! They're distributed by, in case you're interested.

Since I love the heavenly aroma, I decided to flavor my bread pudding with Vanilla-Rooibos and wrapped the bread with coconut and macadamia to give a lush, tropical feel to it. But that's not all, top the warm pudding with a white chocolate cream sauce and you know you've arrived in the big leagues when you take a bite out of this. It's called the Power of Attraction, don't you know?

Here's the step-by-step, folks:

Now for the slightly tedious part, but only slightly....

Bringing up the rear for another event, please head out to Your Best Recipes hosted by the lovely, uber-accomplished Nancy of Spicie-Foodie. My best recipe for February was my Valentine's Cupid's Cobbler made of plums, cream biscuits and rose-basil seed cream! Check out her site for other participants' contributions or send her your best recipe before the end of March. Gosh, I just realise that I haven't got any recipe, let alone a best one, for March! But there are a few days left, and there's hope yet....

Vanilla Rooibos with Coconut and Macadamia Bread Pudding and White Chocolate Cream Sauce
Bread Pudding
2 organic Vanilla Rooibos teabags
1 litre milk
1/2 cup palm sugar, grated
2 eggs, lightly beaten
8 slices stale bread, crusts removed
50g butter
1/2 cup sweetened dried coconut slivers, chopped finely
1/4 cup macadamia nuts, chopped finely
Butter, for greasing pan

White Chocolate Cream Sauce
200g white chocolate
200ml heavy cream

1. Butter a shallow baking dish (1-2 inch deep) and set aside.
2. Flatten each bread slice with a rolling pin and use the rest of the butter to spread on one side of the bread slice.
3. Spoon about a teaspoon each of chopped coconut and macadamia on top of a buttered slice, then roll the slice tightly to form a cylinder. Cut each cylinder into three 1-inch long slices and arrange the circles tightly (cut-side up) on the base of the baking dish in one layer. Do this with all the bread slices until the dish is full. Set aside while you make the custard.
4. Place the milk and vanilla rooiboos teabags in a pan and heat until just starting to boil, stirring constantly to prevent the milk from burning. Remove from heat while you prepare the egg mixture.
5. Whisk eggs and palm sugar in a small bowl, then add a cup of the warm milk and beat further. Pour this mixture back into the pan with the rest of the milk and stir until it just starts to simmer. Remove the teabags.
6. Carefully spoon the custard onto the bread slices until they are completely soaked and the custard reaches the rim of the baking dish. Bake at 180C for 30 minutes. Drizzle with white chocolate-cream sauce before serving.
7. For the sauce, simply warm the cream in a pan on medium-low heat and add the white chocolate until completely melted. Use immediately.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

MIA in a Foreign Land

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
Chapter 1
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost ... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter 4
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5
I walk down another street.

Portia Nelson's "There's a Hole in My Sidewalk"

To borrow a quote from Marian Keyes, "The pissed is a foreign country, they do things differently there". Just substitute pissed with sick and that's where I've been. The Land of the Sick. It started fairly innocently with pneumonia, then developed into something else that escalated into something else that paralyzed me entirely. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't get out of bed, I couldn't write, I couldn't read, I couldn't talk to people. If this sounds familiar, then you've probably gone through it and know exactly what I'm talking about. In Portia Nelson's piece above, I'm probably somewhere between Chapters 2 and 3 right now, but slowly crawling my way out to 4 and hopefully someday, 5.

Anyway, despite my head being in the dark clouds, I am still aware that there have been recent troubles in the world in the wake of monster earthquakes, tsunami and floodings. And that many other people are suffering more, very much more than I am, and my heart and prayers go out to them. Therefore, I won't go on about myself. I just wanted to say sorry that I turned my back on this blog, abandoned YOU, for over a month. Thank you for your kindness because you've all been so lovely to me. Full service will resume when the clouds lift, hopefully soon ;-).          

Much love,
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