Grow a Mousse-tache

How’s this for an alternative to desperately trying to grow a straggly strip of facial fur: get a milkshake moustache instead!

While searching for an edible tribute to Movember I came across a few kitchen utensils which would be useful but it just seemed too simple – and in any case, they wouldn’t have arrived in time. Then it dawned that the word moustache is very similar to the word mousse… a coincidence? I think not. This milkshake was absolutely meant to be. (I also thought of Pistachio Moustachio – but it’s been done, according to Google).

Moustache Cookie Cutter from wantitall.co.za

Chocolate Moulds from wantitall.co.za

I could have made regular chocolate mousse, but that’s soooo several months ago (see here) and in any case, if you try to drink it it instead of a moustache you’ll just get a facefull of chocolate mousse (not completely a bad thing in my books, but not particularly Movember-y).

Warning: This is not for the faint-hearted or the clogged-artery-hearted. It is literally a drinkable chocolate mousse, rich and thick and chocolatey. It will make you feel completely ill if you haven’t been forewarned and fasted for two or three days prior to consumption. Even then, you will need to lie down in a darkened room afterwards while your digestive system says “wait, what?”, and when you do recover the use of your limbs you will need to do 50 push-ups as penance.

It’s so totally worth it.

For one big bold Chocolate Mousse-tache Milkshake (or 2, if you’re less greedy than me):

~ 1 teaspoon dark chocolate ganache, made with chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids (that blog post will appear as soon as I’ve recovered from this milkshake)

4 heaped tablespoons of same dark chocolate ganache

~100g decent vanilla ice-cream (I used an ice-cream on a stick, instead of buying an entire tub) (do not buy the stuff called “frozen dessert” – it’s awful)

100ml cream

100ml milk, and possibly more

~200ml more cream

1 teaspoon icing sugar

a few drops of vanilla extract

First, it’s time to get the creative juices going. Grab a small, clean paintbrush and pick your favourite moustache from the chart below; paint it on the inside rim of the glass about 1cm down. Allow the glass to chill in the fridge while continue.

Place the ganache in a blender and blitz it until it’s thick and mousse-y in texture – not too firm, it should still be able to flow if you tilt the blender. Chop the ice-cream into chunks and add to the blender, then blend til smooth and thick. Yummo! If you bought a single-serve like I did, it’s completely ok to eat the chocolate coating off it first – waste not, want not…

At this point it will be far too thick to drink comfortably – thin it down with a bit of cream and milk until you have a nice velvety-textured shake that won’t suffocate you when you drink it.

Whip the remaining cream with the icing sugar and vanilla until it is just a teeny bit thicker than the milkshake – I made an oopsie at this point and added milk to the cream instead of into the blender.

So what you should do next is pour the milkshake into the glass until it’s just under the moustache, then top it up with the sweetened cream. It will provide a nice contrasting background to show off the moustache. If, like me, you made an oopsie, pour the cream mixture in and watch in horror as it sinks straight to the bottom of the glass – oh well, there’s always a next time. In desperation, scrape the milky froth from the bowl and try to top the milkshake with it, then roll your eyes and shout “I give up!”. It will make a fancy tie-dye effect at the bottom which will allow you to say with aplomb (if you’re making this for someone else): “That’s exactly the effect I was hoping to achieve”.

Make sure that your clothes are not too binding – corsets, belts and your prom dress/suit circa 1994 are discouraged. Prop yourself up in a comfy spot then sink into this outrageously chocolatey sinfulness until you have a mousse-tache that will make the owner of the world’s most famous moustache proud…

 

PS: If you are over 18 and really want to take this over the top, add a bit of boozy goodness – I used Amaretto but I bet Malibu liqueur (my new favourite, tastes like suntan lotion smells) or Amarula would be divine as well.

Advertisements

SaMOOOOOsas

Happy Diwali to all those celebrating the Festival of Light!

In my past life I was very much immersed in Indian culture and celebrated Diwali every year – although maybe it would be more accurate to say that I immersed myself in the food… curry, samoosas, soji, breyani, bhaji, jelebi, naan khatai, murukku, burfi … I think I drooled a little bit just now *wipes mouth on sleeve*. Now, all that remains of my former incarnation is curry cravings when I smell my neighbour’s cooking, and a nose stud which I refuse to get rid of because it was so sore to get in the first place.

Nowadays I’m happy to let a decent restaurant provide the more intricate dishes* since most Indian recipes require a certain amount of commitment in terms of time and ingredients (and dirty dishes! the amount of dishes is directly proportional to the number of ingredients); but when I heard about a BYOS (Bring Your Own Samoosa) Party I thought wouldn’t it be fun to try making samoosas from scratch, with a bit of an easier, healthier spin? Something that any non-Indian who is not adept in the art of folding a leak-proof little triangle could make? Something that isn’t hot enough to scorch the surface off of an unsuspecting victims tongue? And finally, I’ll admit, I happened to have all the ingredients handy…

And so, I give to you… Paleface SaMOOOsas ūüôā (emphasis on the MOOO).

You will need:

Low Fat Laughing Cow cheese wedges (they come in a pack of 8), well chilled. These give the MOOO factor.

Phyllo pastry – 3 sheets of – keep covered with a clean damp tea-towel at all times, or they will dry up and crack and become useless.

Olive oil for brushing

About 6 diced hot peppadews, finely chopped (optional) (optional, because I forgot to add them and didn’t really miss them)

Sweet chilli sauce for dipping

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line with baking paper or my favourite invention ever, the silicon mat. Deep fat frying is for people with asbestos forearms and who have no aspirations involving bikinis this summer.

Next, gently brush each phyllo sheet one at a time, laying them on top of each other (don’t brush the top of the last one). Try not to create any cracks or holes, or you’ll only end up with molten cheese lava bubbling all over your oven.

Righty-o. Unwrap a cheese wedgie (I don’t care how old you are, the word “wedgie” is always funny and should be used as often as possible) and place it on the corner of the pastry; using a sharp knife, cut the pastry to form a strip that’s just wider than the cheese wedgie *juvenile giggle*. Put a blob of sweet chilli onto the cheese, if you like.

Using the shape of the cheese to guide you (don’t go squashing it!), tightly wrap the cheese up by using a rolling and tucking motion. When you reach the end, brush a little bit of water on the ends to squish them neatly against the samoosa if it’s feeling a bit dry. Continue with the remaining wedgies *tee hee* until you have 8 beautiful triangles. Brush each lightly with some more oil all over, then place on the baking sheet. Let me channel the Barefoot Contessa here – How easy is that??

Bake for 15 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking. Remove from the oven when they are golden and crispy, and allow to stand for 10-15 minutes before serving with dipping sauce (if you serve them straightaway, expect 3rd degree palate burns).

Offer these little edible fireworks round in the face of disapproving purists, who will take one bite and agree that they are absolutely delicious even if not authentic. Try to avoid making any snide comments when they take a second and third, because it is Diwali after all :-).

*but since naan khatai isn’t on any menu’s that I know of, will someone please organise??

A Date on the Dunes

As always happens when I visit another country, I have developed a little bit of a crush – just a little one, a little squishy – on Dubai. And as always the squishy has now found it’s way into my kitchen (on my first day back I tried Om Ali before I even cooked regular food, having fallen deeply in love with it a day before in a factory canteen). So when I volunteered to supply cupcakes for bookclub recently, it was for purely selfish reasons.

(Every night in the hotel lobby this man in traditional garb would try to lure us into having Arabian coffee, and each time he turned his back I’d grab a big yummy date from his little display table, so I guess telling people I had “a date in Dubai” isn’t completely a lie…)

I’d been looking for a chocolate/date cake recipe to use but when I came across Honey and Soy’s Food Adventures I was completely sold on the idea of Sticky Date cupcakes with butterscotch icing (even though the icing was not in any way Middle-Eastern-inspired – it just sounded too yummy not to try). For me it didn’t live up to the Sticky part of the name – it was a bit too dry and not like the sticky toffee pudding texture I had expected, but it wasn’t completely inedible either. It could be that the dates I used are very different, possibly a lower sugar content – I hadn’t realised how many different types of dates there are until I went to a supermarket in Dubai and was faced with a selection that was like the Middle Eastern version of a Pick ‘n Mix. The butterscotch icing was absolutely phenomenal; I almost ran out because I was having sneaky little spoonfuls all the time! It’s very sweet but that’s the whole point of the dental care industry, I figure.

Next time I’ll use a chocolate date cake recipe from Foodiction (it’s my FAVOURITE and I can’t believe I didn’t think to use it!) with the butterscotch icing, and I’ll definitely make a double-batch of icing to accommodate my need to sample it frequently…

For 18 date cupcakes:

1¬†¬ľ cup dates (about 225g) – if you’re using the compressed block like I did, it’s a good idea to dice it up first
1¬†¬Ĺ cup self-raising flour
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
60g butter
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and pop cupcake liners into a muffin tin. I made 12 this way, and put the rest into the Cupcakeinator to make mini sample cupcakes).

Place dates and water in a small saucepan. Simmer until mixture thickens (the dates will break down to a mush); this happens quite quickly so don’t go wandering off. Take off heat and add bicarb. Quickly mix well; Honey and Soy say that the mixture will froth up and become aerated, but mine didn’t hence I suspect the dates of being a bit different to what they used. Or maybe my bicarb has expired? It just had a half-hearted moment of fizziness. Add butter and mix well. Tip the resultant mush into a bowl, then mix in the eggs and sugar before folding in the flour.

Place blobs of the batter into the prepared tin. Bake at 180¬†¬įC for 15-18 minutes. They will have quite a bumpy surface, like muffins do, but the icing will make it pretty again.

Butterscotch icing:

100g butter
2/3 cup soft brown sugar
1/4 cup golden syrup
1/2 cup cream
5 cups icing sugar (Honey and Soy specify “pure icing sugar”. At first I worried that my icing sugar was somehow impure but I’ve never come across anything labelled “pure”).

Combine the butter, sugar, golden syrup and cream in a saucepan over medium heat. It will look hideously lumpy for a bit. Stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Turn heat up to high and boil for at least 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature. This is seriously yummy stuff. It’s like jam, but jam made from hugs and kisses. The kind of stuff that can cure Monday blues and rainy days and broken hearts.

Try not to eat it all, leaving a minimal quantity to become icing; definitely do not try it when it’s still piping hot because it will scald your tongue yet again – I never learn.

Add sifted icing sugar to whatever sauce is remaining, beating with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. I didn’t need all 5 cups since I had far less butterscotch sauce than planned for and in any case, I think I would have used less even if I hadn’t eaten most of the sauce. It’s very easy to pipe, not soft and floppy and fractious. Plus I have this amazing little gadget (thanks Jun!) that helps to push all the icing right down to the bottom of the bag, which is useful when you don’t have much spare…

When the cupcakes have cooled right down to room temperature, pop the icing into a piping bag with a large star nozzle and make pretty swirls. I used Al Nassma camels milk chocolate shards as decoration, but if this is a bit hard to come by where you are regular old cows-milk will do. (Be sure to tell people beforehand that it’s camels milk so that they can decide how grossed-out they are by it!).

 

Put Some Hair On Your Chest…

… if you, like me, cannot grow a moustache in support of Movember no matter how hard you try.

Confession: This does not involve food (gasp!) but I made it in the kitchen so it kind-of counts in a way, and since it’s for a good cause I’m sticking my tongue out at you if you’re being judgmental on me right now.

Also, fear not, it doesn’t require consumption of horse medication or whatever it is that side-show attractions take – it’s just a bit of prettyness is all. You could also simplify things and purchase a ready-made piece but that would take all the fun out of it, especially since ¬†swiping a card doesn’t really require pliers (fun!).

What you will need for 1 awesome Movember necklace:

Be a South African (not strictly necessary but it makes the shopping part easier)

Be a girl

ZAR 20.00

Pliers

Now there are two ways you can start this process – either go to your local Mr Price store and risk being caught in a stampede of fashion-forward teens, or sign up at www.mrp.co.za (while browsing, I got so excited at the costume jewellery prices that I signed up and pretty much ordered one of each). I heart online shopping. I also heart R20 price tags.

Whichever way you choose, proceed to buy the necklace that has sunglasses and a mo’. I thought it was a bit much initially, but on closer inspection found that the moustache size and shape was perfect.

Now, scratch around in the cupboard where you keep things like screwdrivers and spare lightbulbs until you find the pliers – yes, they are the ones that look like giant tweezers. Using them, carefully detach the moustache and sunglasses from the chain by opening up the little ring goodies – don’t pull them apart, instead keep the circular shape and slide the open ends up/down. This is really hard to describe so see below:

Next, re-attach the moustache to the chain using the pliers to make sure the little metal rings are securely closed. Do what you like with the sunglasses left over from the exercise – I’ve been trying to get my cats to pose with it on their faces but they’ve been very reluctant to be photographed in such an undignified manner. Let’s just make do with an artist’s impression (thanks Caribou!):

So go forth and wear your moustache with pride – there are only 26 days left, quick, hurry!

PS: If you are hell-bent on sporting a moustache on your upper lip, I recommend these gorgeously girly ones from Big Blue:

 

Five Things: Gimme Mo’

What is¬†with¬†the moustache trend? I googled “moustache” and found a plethora of whiskery weirdness – there’s a well-supported¬†Handlebar Club, and the¬†World Beard and Moustache Championships for further evidence of this facial-hair fetish. Boys are so weird.

And so this is my hairy homage to Movember, which is not just about random guys desperately trying to grow more than 3 straggly strands of facial bumfluff but also raises awareness of boy-cancers.

{minty fresh moustache from Big Blue}

{time to grow some facial fuzz, Big Blue}

{can’t handlebar your liquor}

{Wonder with a Whisker Cookier Cutters at Modcloth}

{not even kiddies desserts are safe from this modern trend. the last one terrifies me.}

PS: You must read this fascinating piece on girls with moustaches. It almost makes me want to quit shaving (a joke! that was a joke, people).