27 May 2008

delightful almond and mango soft gelatin cakes

when life gives you mangoes, you make mango gelatin cakes (with almond gelatin on top).

[sorry this picture is blurry and underexposed due to my mango fever. i offer my humble apologies to my exacting photo critics. you know who you are, jerks.]

make it!
(tools required)
1 square 8-inch heat-proof dish
plastic film wrap
saucepan or microwave-safe bowl
spoons for stirring
mixing bowls

(mango gelatin)
2 ripe medium-sized mangoes (preferably of the ataulfo variety), chopped*
125ml (1/2 cup) water
125ml (1/2 cup) sugar
2 envelopes of unflavoured gelatin
80 ml (1/3 cup) water (for the gelatin)

*btw, make sure you take the peel off first.

1. line the heatproof dish with plastic film wrap.

2. pulverize your mango cubes if you haven't already. i used a hand blender which works fine.

3. in a small saucepan, dissolve the 125ml of sugar in the 125ml of water over medium-high heat. if using the microwave, put it in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat it on high until the sugar is dissolved (about a minute), stirring every so often.
4. pop the 2 packets of gelatin in the 80ml of water to soften the gelatin.

5. dump the gelatin mix into the sugar water and stir it up until the lumps are gone. let it cool a bit.
6. dump the liquid into the pulverized mango pulp -- stir it well together then do a little dance.
7. pour the mix into the lined square pan, refrigerate the thing on a level surface for about 45 minutes.

8. make the almond gelatin (see below).

(almond gelatin)
160 ml (2/3 cup) water
180 ml (3/4 cup) sugar
250 ml (1 cup) milk
8ml (1.5 tsp) almond extract
2 envelopes flavourless gelatin
80 ml (1/3 cup) water (for the gelatin)

9. dissolve the 2 envelopes of gelatin in the 80 ml of water.
10. heat the sugar in the water (either in the saucepan or microwave) until the sugar is dissolved.
11. dump the gelatin mix into the sugar water and stir until the lumps are gone.
12. add the milk and the almond extract to the liquid mixture. stir until well mixed and then let it cool to room temperature.

13. pour the almond liquid into the square pan on top of the mango layer. refrigerate for an hour, or until set.
14. remove from the fridge, and unmould it with the help of the plastic film wrap. cut into cubes or diamond-ish shapes. eat them to your heart's content.

19 May 2008

noodles noodles noodles

one of the best foods ever popularized (and likely invented) by the chinese is noodles (from which stems italian pasta, german spätzle, japanese noodles, et cetera). when i say ever, i mean, ever.

[i really don't remember eating this but i believe it is some sort of chow mei-fun (stir-fried rice noodles) in butchered chinese transliteration. i can imagine that it was good and pretend that i remember eating it just to make this posting sound more legit.]

[linguine con vongole -- wasn't very good but it looked ok].

the first purportedly written record of noodles (miàn or mein 麵 in mandarin/cantonese) was before 300 C.E. during the east han dynasty. likely these noodles were likely made of types of millet, unlike today's noodles which are mostly made of wheat or rice.
[some tong mein (soup noodles) that i had and devoured].

today, it is estimated that at least 30% of all wheat production in the world is consumed in the form of noodles (though i would like to find out where that number comes from). in chinese culture, noodles represent longevity (likely the longer you live, the more noodles one can eat). in chinese receptions, noodles are one of the 8 to 11 dishes that are served, each dish representing something i can't remember (something to do with babies, money and/or finding a wife who's not fideous).

anyways, all i wanted to say this post was that lai-mein (pulled noodles) is so farking awesome.

[the best lai-mein i've had in the last 4 months at d & j shanghai restaurant. frawley ate most of it though.]

lai-mein is something else, especially if you can watch it being made... will post more on that in the near future.

[i might have forgotten to mention that i don't actually live in hong kong but if i did, i would be one fatass.]