“Aero”, Aerated Chocolate at Home

IMG_8553
Who doesn’t love an Aero Bar, am I right? I’m not sure who came up with this technique, but I first learned about it from John Placko, many years ago when I was helping out with his modernist technique workshops. It’s a pretty easy technique: melt chocolate, thin it out, put it in an ISI, add nitrous oxide, dispense, and vacuum. But in order for you to do all those things, you need some equipment…

Read More

Gwai Fa Go (Osmanthus Flower Jelly)

img_7860

This is one of my favourite desserts at dim sum. We came across a recipe when we were researching snacks for Chinese New Year, so of course we had to try it! The first recipe we found used only agar to set the jelly. It held the liquid, but the texture had way too much crunch and not enough of a softer jelly feel. We decided we needed a mix of gelatine and agar — it turned out that finding the right proportions were a lot harder than we thought. After numerous trials, this is the recipe we settled on! We are pretty happy with it, but I guess it all comes down to personal taste. If you like a bit more crunch, then you can add a little agar and take out some of the gelatine mass. If you don’t like any crunch at all, you could try using only gelatine (though we’ve been strongly cautioned that is not authentic). For a little more firmness, you could reduce the amount of tea (or simply simmer for a bit longer to reduce the water content). There are so many variables! Read More

Sourdough Waffles

IMG_7780
I am guilty of many things in life – one of which has been, until recently, neglecting my sourdough starter with varying degrees of severity. I mean, if wild yeast abuse was an actual thing, hoo-boy would I be in trouble! Sure, there were weeks at a time when Chad (my starter) would be happy, healthy, and well-fed. Unfortunately, equally frequent were the spurts when I just didn’t have time to make or think about bread, and Chad (as we like to call him) would become lost to the oblivion that is the back of our fridge. When I did eventually rediscover his existence, I would find him in a sad state indeed: slumped, sour, and malnourished. I would then nurse him back from the clutches of death – only to repeat this rather demented cycle a short time later. Now, it’s not like I’m a bad person. This wasn’t intentional torture, it’s just that sometimes Chad just didn’t make it onto my priority list – life, amirite? Well, let me tell you – these sourdough waffles have changed all that!

Read More

Siu Hao Jo (Laughing Sesame Balls)

img_7937

Last week, we wrote about making peanut puffs, a treat from Royce’s childhood. Siu hao jo, or “laughing balls” are another snack traditionally enjoyed around Lunar New Year. These balls are basically sesame fried dough, and are so-named because they split open when fried, which I guess someone decided looked like a laughing mouth. We first made these a few years ago, with a recipe passed along from a friend’s dad, and we were thrilled with how they turned out. It was particularly rewarding, as that year we had experimented with several other treats without much success. Read More

Kok Chai (Chinese Peanut Puff)

img_7847

Happy Lunar New Year! Sometimes you can’t help but reminisce about the good old days, especially with traditional celebrations just around the corner. For me, part of the good old days was making treats with my family on the roof of the building where my po po (婆 婆) lived. Read More