Je Mange. Donc, Je Suis.

Thursday 25 July 2013

Intense Chocolate-Orange Panna Cotta & Patrizio Buanne "Volare"

Normally, I love eating a small block of orange-infused dark chocolate with a cup of Earl Grey whilst listening to easy listening music in the afternoon or sometimes it can be enjoyably savored and lingered in my mouth as after-eight bite, serve with smooth jazz;)...Music and chocolate notably help boost my daily morale, pleasure and joy of living, (along with good company, lovely conversation and belly laughs)!
This afternoon, I listened to Patsy Cline, Lizz Wright and ended up with Patrizio Buanne, one of my favourite male vocalists, whilst making my panna cotta, and singing along (+dancing!) in my kitchen at the same time. I also love "Volare", Gypsy Kings' version....or, no matter who sings the song, I cannot help myself, dancing all along! Patrizio makes the song more lively and special, effortlessly! Let loose and Have fun, with moderation--->Mais je rêve!... that's impossible, Anne!!! ;)
It's whiskey in disguise! ;)
200 ml Chocolate Milk
200 ml whipping cream
100 g Orange infused Dark Chocolate
2 teaspoons caster sugar
2 teaspoons gelatine powder
  • Pour chocolate milk into a small bowl, and stir in the gelatine powder. Set aside; In a heavy based medium saucepan, stir together the chocolate, whipping cream, sugar  (with balloon whisk) with low to medium heat until slightly boiling; 
  • Pour in the chocolate milk mixture into the saucepan, stirring constantly until smooth and dissolved. Cook for 1-2 minutes;
  • Remove from heat; 
  • Strain the mixture into another bowl and pour into the six liquor glasses or ramekins that have been lightly greased with the oil;
  • Cool the glasses uncovered at room temperature. When cool, cover them with wrapping film and refrigerate for 2-3 hours, or until firm.
  • Remove them from the fridge 2-3 minutes before serving, then unmold and serve with chocolate sauce.
  • Topped with reduced fat whipped cream, grated hazelnuts, grated chocolate or with other toppings of your choice. Enjoy!

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Monday 15 July 2013

Romy Schneider - Les Choses de la Vie

A Tribute to Romy Schneider...with ultimate dedication to all Goddesses within us... 
...embodying and empowering the capacity to love, arouse, nurture, nourish, understand, hold space, heal, create, sense, express, care, mother and become selfless in interacting with others... 
I give thanks... to our feminine body, which feels, shields, holds, and houses. 
I give thanks... to our heart, which loves, cheers, embraces, discloses and expands to all things. 
I give thanks... to our mind, which thinks, reasons, contemplates, creates and refines. 
I am grateful... for wisdom, for peace, for mercy, for goodness, for kindness, for love, for passion, for joy, for tenderness, for sensibility, for unity, for truth, and for deliciousness of being sensual feminine beings. 
I give thanks... for the moments of loss, of sorrow, of harshness, of conflict, of ignorance for we have learned many lessons and have been given the utmost patience, strength and empathy. 
I give thanks... to all the joy we have felt, all the fullness we have experienced as well as all beauty and grace we have been given. 
I give thanks... for those heartfelt smiles, belly laughs and tears of joy; full hearts & hiccups; for sparkling eyes & surprises--these precious little things, being our nursing home for pure delight...
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Saturday 13 July 2013

Cucumber Salad with Yogurt Dip (Tzatziki)

Cucumber Salad with Yogurt Dressing (Tzatziki)
Tzatziki is made of strained yogurt (usually from sheep or goat milk) mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil and sometimes lemon juice and dill or mint or parsley. Tzatziki is always served cold. While in Greece and Turkey, the dish is usually served as an accompaniment, in other places Tzatziki is often served with bread (loaf or pita) as part of the first course of a meal.
My Tzatziki, served in 
a baby-sized granite mortar
,made in Thailand!:)
I remember when I was first introduced to “Tzatziki”: it was Sausages-BBQ evening by the Lake in Germany. The second time, a Turkish classmate made it, especially for my farewell party, twelve years ago. I then asked for her delicious recipe as I really loved the taste! I also learned from her that “Cacik”, or yogurt dip, Turkish style, is similar to the Tzatziki, in Greece. However, there is a slight difference: Tzatziki is usually made of thick yogurt, from sheep milk, with rich & creamy taste, whereas her Turkish Cacik was much thinner with diluted yogurt from goat milk, mixed with a few drops of olive oil, garlic, salt, lemon juice, alternatively seasoned with dill (and/or mint), and sprinkled with ground paprika. It can be eaten with kebabs or alone.
I love both Tzatziki and Cacik! I love their refreshing ingredients of mint/dill and yogurt, well married with fresh veggies and variety of grilled sausages, to be ideally served during summertime picnic and BBQ. I feel as if, I time-traveled back and forth in Ottoman Empire and Mount Olympus, eye-rolling while listening to Plato’s speech, with Turkish delight in my mouth, fancying Turkish Belly Dance at the same time!!! ;)
Cucumber Salad, Greek Style
from my Turkish friend as well as Collette Rossant’s,
“Return to Paris, a memoir with Recipes”
adjusted to my terribly fussy Thai tongue! ;)
One of my treasures, 
in the kitchen! :)
  • 1-2 oriental cucumber(s), oriental cucumber is long and narrow with very few seeds;
  • 1 cup or 200 ml Plain yogurt (I use 0% fat, plain yogurt);
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil or walnut oil or grape-seed oil;
  • 1 teaspoon lime or lemon juice;
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (I love garlic, so 3 cloves for meJ);
  • *1 teaspoon red onion minced and finely chopped (*optional) note: red onion is smaller than shallot;
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped;
  • Salt & pepper
  • Ground paprika or cayenne pepper or chili powder or curry powder (optional) Anne’s note: I also like the taste with a tiny pinch of curry powder in it!
Peel and thinly slice the cucumber(s). In a bowl, beat 1 cup of yogurt, add garlic and red onion, lime juice, oil and chopped mint. Add salt, pepper and ground paprika to taste. Pour the yogurt dressing over the cucumber and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve 2.
One of my favourite films (2003) with
a touch of Greek and Turkish
Love it!

"A Touch of Spice" is a story about a young Greek boy (Fanis) growing up in Istanbul, whose grandfather, a culinary philosopher and mentor, teaches him that both food and life require a little salt to give them flavour. 
Fanis grows up to become an excellent cook and uses his cooking skills to spice up the lives of those around him. 35 years later he leaves Athens and travels back to his birthplace of Istanbul to reunite with his grandfather and his first love; he travels back only to realize that he forgot to put a little bit of spice in his own life.
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Saturday 6 July 2013

A Tribute to my Love for Chocolate & La Femme Chocolat... Olivia Ruiz

Taille-moi les hanches à la hache.
J'ai trop mangé de chocolat. 
Croque moi la peau, s'il-te-plaît. 
Croque moi les os, s'il le faut...
{La Femme Chocolat, Olivia Ruiz}
“Life was like a box of chocolates, 
you never know what you’re going to get.” 
(Forest Gump, 1994)

“Life is like chocolates in a box; 
no matter how simple, fanciful, 
or luxurious the box is. 
You never know, until you open up that box 
and allow yourself to taste them.”  
“Chocolate is like love, you never get enough.” 
– Anonymous
…and suicide by chocolate?
Jacob, with pistol in his hand, exclaims,
‘Susannah, dear, without your love I’ll kill myself?’
Susannah quakes in fear.
He lays the pistol to his head,
Susannah pleads, ‘Wait, wait!’
‘Don’t fret!’ says Jacob, ‘for this gun is only chocolate!’
--Swiss poem, 1840
Did you know that July 7th is Chocolate Day?
 Chocolate was widely introduced into Europe in 1550. 
The drink was a high-status beverage of the high-society Frenchmen 
and there were as many competitively booming chocolate salons as tea or coffee salons in England, addressed in Charles Dickens's, “A Tale of Two Cities”
with the fact that the cocoa seeds were a very expensive import. 
But today, we can all indulge in our favourite food! ;-)

The ancient Aztec people had known this secret for many years, before a Spanish Conquistador, Fernando Cortés, (more reference;, returned to Central America for the fourth time in 1522, encountering the Emperor ‘Montezuma’ of Aztec Empire’s favourite beverage, called “xocoatl”. He was persuaded to have a sip, while admittedly enjoying its pleasantly delicious taste. Later, he asked for the origin of the drink. It was imparted to him that the Aztec people prepared and used the drink as a part of religious offerings for the Gods & Goddesses. Xocoatl was exclusively reserved for priests and high level soldiers because the cocoa seeds used to make the drink, were hyper-expensive: 100 cocoa seeds were equivalent to the price of 1 slave, at that time! Upon his departure, the Spanish Conquistador brought along with him cocoa seeds as well as cocoa plants to be honorably offered to King Charles V of Spain,accordingly.

The scientific name Theobroma from Greek θεοβρῶμα means "food of the gods". The word cacao itself derives from the Nahuatl (Aztec language) word cacahuatl, learned at the time of the conquest when it was first encountered by the Spanish. Similar words for the plant and its by-products are attested in a number of other indigenous Mesoamerican languages.
Love Adds A Little Chocolate
by Medard Laz
     A house is a house until love comes through the door, that is.
     And love intuitively goes around sprinkling that special kind of
     angel dust that transforms a house into a very
     special home for very special people: your family.
     Money of course, can build a charming house,
     but only love can furnish it with a feeling of home.
     Duty can pack an adequate sack lunch, but love may decide to
     enclose a little love note inside.
     Money can provide a television set, but love controls it and cares
     enough to say "no" and take the guff that comes with it.
     Obligation sends the children to bed on time, but love tucks the
     covers in around their necks and passes out kisses and hugs
     (even to teenagers!).
     Obligation can cook a meal, but love embellishes the
     table with a potted ivy trailing around slender candles.
     Duty writes many letters, but love adds a joke or a
     picture or a fresh stick of gum inside.
     Compulsion keeps a sparkling house, but love and
     prayer stand a better chance of producing a happy family.
     Duty keeps offended quickly if it isn't appreciated,
     but love learns to laugh a lot and to work for the
     sheer joy of doing it.
     Obligation can pour a glass of milk, but quite often,
     love adds a little chocolate.  
                         --Linda Andersen
Chocolat (film, 2000)
Starring Juliette Binoche, Johnny Depp and Judy Dench
When Vianne (Juliette Binoche) and her six years old daughter move to the traditional French Village and open a chocolate shop, they are met with some skepticism, but as soon as they coax the townspeople into enjoying their delicious products that almost magically inspire villagers to abandon themselves to temptation and happiness. CHOCOLAT nominated for 5 Acadamy Award including Best Picture, 
Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress.
What I love most about the film: It’s all about MAGIC! And Love is magical!
Juliette Binoche is truly the magnet of the film!  To me, she displays a truly renaissance woman with passion, warmth, generosity, sensitivity, sensuality yet with confidence and strength, through her chocolate know-how, in the film. 
It’s amazing to see how chocolate plays such an important role as relationship glue, as well as a kind of aphrodisiac food, associated with love, pleasure and libido. I cannot explain why it reminds me of Psyche & Cupid’s divine love. I wondered whether Cupid’s arrow had been soaked with chocolate elixir before he aimed his love-shot, straight to Psyche’s heart!!! Hmmmm just wondering! ;) p.s someone might object that Cupid had the wrong-aiming as his arrow was supposed to be shot right in the emotionally sensitive Limbic brain plus glandular hormone is why Cupid loves Psyche!!!! may say...Oh no! not that romantic at all, let's forget the science geek for a sec., alright? ;)   
Note: I understand that we all heard of Psyche & Cupid’s, but please allow me to share with you my lengthy yet passionate bla bla once again about their everlasting love.
Psyche & Cupid, Louvre Museum, Paris
-Love is but the discovery of ourselves in others and the delight in the recognition.-
Psyche was a gracious, gorgeous, innocent, curious feminine mortal, renowned for being the most beautiful woman on Earth, whereas Cupid was a thoughtful, easy-going, mischievous, sensational and charming God, the son of Aphrodite, a plus! No matter how many times Psyche unknowingly and foolishly committed serious mistakes, Cupid was always by her side (except when he was captured by his mother as punishment), forgiving, guiding and teaching her life-lessons and still loving her. Finally, Psyche was graciously granted by Zeus, with loving support of her beloved husband, Cupid, to be a Goddess in order that they could be officially and divinely consummated as husband and wife. I really admire and love their productive love!
Reading Greek Mythology, not only encourages me to enlarge my view about life, but also allows me to understand an important message: Gods (super Ego) and Humans (Id & Ego) are inseparableregardless of religion or belief we hold dearly to our heart.  When we let go of our Ego and establish conscious contact with our inner self with joy, we are connected to Gods and Goddesses. 
The original. 
Its ultra-velvety dark taste is sublime, 
its balance not overly sweet. 
The magnificence of the most 
decadent chocolate 
you can imagine, 
made divine as a sumptuous liqueur. 
The Godiva Chocolate Martini 
is a must, 
combining irresistible 
Godiva Liqueur 
with Smirnoff Vodka, 
creating your most unique martini 
{credit: Godiva} 
All of us are walking around with some kind
of birthday card we would like to give--
some personal expression of joy,
creativity or aliveness that we are hiding
under our shirt.-- Dead Poets Society
Referring to D. Piomelli, Neuro-Science Institute, Santiago, USA, “Anandamide” substance, found in Chocolate, activates as joy and pleasure’s stimulus to our brain, the same as marijuana’s, but chocolate’s is milder and harmless to our health. The research stated that people who smoke marijuana are also chocoholics. No wonder, Chocolate was considered as “Food of the Gods” according to its Greek name, “Theobroma”.  Interesting!!!
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