Thursday, May 8, 2008

Rich Chocolate & Orange Mousse and a Thank You!

,

I think what is great about keeping a blog is that it provides structure to our otherwise cluttered life. Everyday when I go to sleep I always make a mental list of the things I need to do the next day, make my sons weekly purees, or clean out my closet, get an assignment ready for a class. I sometimes even think about what I'll cook or wear or buy. It's so overwhelming and when I wake up the next day I set about to fulfill the tasks I rehearsed in my head. Sometimes I complete them and other times I don't and a hint of frustration sets in. But when I've written a post, or baked something, it keeps me satisfied. It gives a sense of completion and there is evidence of productivity and I think that's really all that matters. I've been unsure whether or not to keep blogging since I'm new and not sure if my blog "means much" but as someone helped me realize that I'm not doing it for people, but doing it for myself and it can be therapeutic and give so much satisfaction.
I've read in some blogs (the links to are at the bottom of this post) about giving back and the self-indulgence involved with creating and the guilt that comes with it. Creating is an act of giving in itself, it doesn't matter if what you're creating is a painting, a cookie or a movie. I don't think blogging is a Pygmalion-like activity, at least not for most. It’s not like you’re admiring your creation, boasting about it or even out to satisfy a selfish streak (well maybe a tiny bit and we’re all entitled to it). I think the bigger picture is about sharing. Sharing what you’ve created, sharing the memories & excitement of how you made it and the stories that come with it. Giving it a place in more than one person’s consciousness. Since sharing is an act of giving then it cannot be a self- indulgent act.

So what would happen if suddenly the blog-o-sphere collapsed. And there were no more blogs, beautiful pictures or comments. Could we survive? The answer is an easy yes. Even though our blogs provide structure, satisfaction and allow us to share, even a small part of ourselves with others. Losing them does not matter. Just like if lose your home, it hurts…but when the shock wears away, what you miss most are your old photos and letters maybe…but when you have people you care about around you, then you count your blessings and move on. Even when we lose a person close to us. Now that really does hurt. But it is the end? No, because we have our memories. Because we’ve shared so much with that person and those acts of sharing and giving will always remain with us no matter how far apart we are.

Part of why I love reading blogs and writing in one is because you can read/write about anything from the mundane trivial everyday matters to the more complex, profound, serious or even universal issues. Precisely what life is about. You may have a tragedy happen to you one day and a day or two later you're laughing at a silly joke or doing your laundry. it doesn't mean the pain has gone or has been trivialized. It only means we our keeping our sanity. Just like what I read in Tartlelette's blog yesterday, peeling tangerines may keep your mind of your pain for a few seconds...those few second may be enough to keep you sane. And everyone needs a creative outlet, something they can plant, water and watch grow, something that gives back. Yes, tragedies may happen anywhere in the world or anytime in your life, but just because you keep a blog or make a painting or even sing in the shower doesn't mean you are taking life any less seriously.

Even though I am trained as an Artist I always come back to food and desserts specifically, I find myself staring at the colors and shapes of desserts at any shop with the wonder of a 5 year old, and the admiration of an art-critic looking at a pollock. I find myself smiling when I think about the infinite possibilities I can whip up in my kitchen. Your whole being is involved when you're making something sweet. You senses, your hands, your brain and like someone told me recently, your heart. It is the immediate gratification you get when you see your finished creation and the suspense that builds up to it and the suspense and satisfaction involved in tasting it. Like when you're developing your own photos and wait for the developer to work on your image and it finally appears its like magic. Almost like opening a brand new brightly wrapped present, part of the whole thrill is not knowing what's inside. All of these activities bring out the child in us. Every day when I check all my Google page, with feeds from all the blogs I love, and I see a new title, I get so excited. I click and wait, the page goes blank to reveal a new treat, and an equally thrilling anecdote and in my mind it creates a beautiful memory.



Before I get to the recipe I wanted to write a thank you to two people I don't know very well but showed me that blogging can be a support network and motivated me to keep creating & sharing. So thanks Aran & Helene, your blogs are truly inspirational!

I created this recipe for Sugar High Friday's created by Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess & hosted by Tartelette. This month's flavor is citrus... and when I first read it I thought I would make a citrus cake like the Clementine or Minneola Cake that I made so many times before and is a friends & family favorite. But I wanted to make something different this time. Terry's chocolate orange is one of my favorite chocolates and this rich mousse reminds of it in a refined way. I love chocolate in combination with fruits and the rough texture of the sweet, citrusy zest of the orange compliments the rich, smooth chocolate perfectly.





Rich Chocolate & Orange Mousse
(by Michel Roux)

150g plain chocolate (55%-70% cocoa solids) chopped.
1 tbsp liquid glucose
2 egg yolks
150ml double cream
30g Icing sugar

to decorate:
1 orange washed
100g. caster sugar

Prepare the decoration: Finely pare the zest from the orange into fine strips using a zester. place in a saucepan & cover with cold water, bring to a boil, over medium heat. Refresh and drain & repeat twice more. Put zests in small pan with 100ml of water and the caster sugar. Bring to a boil & buble for 1 minute. Leave the zests in the syrup. When cold drain & set aside.

To make the mousse, place chocolate in a double boiler. Bring water to a simmer. When the chocolate has melted take the bowl off the heat. Mix the glucose with the yolks and 2 tbsps of hot water, then mix into the melted chocolate.
In another bowl whip the cream & icing sugar to a ribbon consistency, then delicately fold it into the mousse without overworking. Pour 1/3 of the mousse in 4 glasses or glass bowls, scatter 1/3 of the zests on top repeat the layers twice finishing with a layer of mousse sprinkled with orange zest, refrigerate for one hour before serving. If refrigerated for longer then remove 30 mins before serving.

30 comments:

Tartelette said...

Thank you for such a great entry! I love chocolate mousse with a int of citrus!
Blog because you feel like it. Bake from the heart and bake for passion. I blog because it keeps my parents updated on what is going with us and because I do bake everyday for work or friends. I enjoy visitors and appreciate their readership but what really drives me is the conections I make in the virtual kitchen, kist as if I were home.
Keep up the good work!

Bakerette said...

thanks, i know what you mean about connections, it is great to learn so much from people that are half way across the globe :)

Aran said...

yes, yes, yes!!! I feel like I let you down with my last post. I truly believe in the words I said to you but on Thursday after a series of bad news, I felt down and I felt like "how can I be baking cupcakes when the world is crumbling down?". I realize it was one of those "moments" and that is by no means, how I really feel about my blog. Like I said, I love my blog and I love what it brings to me. So thank YOU for writing this.

And lovely recipe!!!

Vera said...

Basma,
And I would like to thank YOU, for this post and for all your kind comments. It's truly inspiring. To be honest, I've been seriously questioning the necessity of my blog lately. Thank you very much,
Vera

Bakerette said...

Vera, glad to know I have inspired someone...I love your blog and do hope you continue to bake on!!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Wow, what a beautiful dessert! Orange and chocolate are wonderful together (I used them in my entry, too) and that really looks super rich!

culinarytravelsofakitchengoddess said...

I don't really do chocolate & orange together but this looks gorgeous.

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