Mousse au Chocolat

Crème Brulée, Ile Flottante, Crêpes Suzette and Mousse au Chocolat: four classic French desserts. It’s tempting to buy them ready-made, especially Mousse au Chocolat is popular in supermarkets, but why not make your own?

From 1992 until 2002 Belgian cook Herwig van Hove and host Dré Steemans (better known as Felice Damiano) had a weekly program on television called ‘1000 seconds’. In these 1000 seconds (just under 17 minutes) Herwig van Hove would prepare a three-course meal. Sometimes he took a short cut by serving cheese as dessert, but very often he would prepare three courses. His recipe for Mousse au Chocolat is quick and easy. The result is a delicious Mousse au Chocolat, one that will keep well for at least 24 hours.

What You Need (for 4)

  • 2 fresh organic Eggs
  • 35 grams of fine Sugar
  • 100 grams of Dark (Cooking) Chocolate
  • 165 grams of Cream
  • Raspberry (to decorate, optional)

What You Do

You will need 2 bowls plus one larger bowl. Start by separating the eggs. Beat the egg white until firm. In the larger bowl beat the egg yolks and the sugar until ‘ruban’ (meaning thick and pale). Whip the cream until firm. This order allows you to use one wire whisk for all three steps in the process.
Melt the chocolate with 65 grams of cream in your microwave on very low power. No rush, the result should be lukewarm. This will take 3 minutes or longer. Use a spoon to mix the cream and chocolate until smooth.
For the next steps you need a spatula. Add the chocolate mixture to the egg yolks and combine. Now fold in the cream using a spatula and then fold in the egg whites. Don’t stir or mix, just fold.
Fill four nice glasses with the mousse, cover with cling foil and transfer to the refrigerator. Just before serving decorate with raspberries and perhaps some freshly whipped cream.

  • Mousse au Chocolat ©cadwu
  • Mousse au Chocolat not decorated ©cadwu

Your Favourites in 2022

We have been baking our own bread for several years, based on the method of no-knead bread (see Jim Lahey’s book My Bread for more detail) and using the ingredients of the French Talmière. The technique is a bit challenging, so we were very pleased to test the simplified method described by Le Creuset. You were also pleased to learn about this easier method for No-Knead Bread, because it’s our number one post this year!

Kimizu is the classic, golden sauce from Japan, made from Egg Yolks, Rice Vinegar, Water and Mirin. The recipes for Kimizu and Kimizu with Tarragon continue to be very popular. Although this is a classic sauce, we use a microwave to prepare it. A great tool to be in control of temperature and consistency.

If you’ve been following this blog for a few months, perhaps years, then you’ll know we love mushrooms. We are especially interested in the seasonal ones, such as Morels, St. George’s mushroom, and Caesar’s Mushroom. We combine these with Japanese Udon, creating a very tasty starter, full of flavours and texture. Also one of our personal favourites.
Another favorite is the Bay Bolete. Actually a fairly common mushroom, as tasty as Cèpes, but much more affordable.
During the season we saw lots of interests in Bay Boletes and Caeser’s Mushroom, so next season we will publish new recipes with these two delicious mushrooms.

The classic Cèpes à la Bordelaise was also amongst your favourites. You can also use more available mushrooms for this great combination. Always a pleasure to serve, with eggs, with meat, with more present fish.

Ajerkoniak was a dish we looked into when we were exploring dishes/drinks based on egg yolks, such as caudle, eggnog and advocaat. Perhaps not our personal favourite, but why nog give it a try?

We wish you a happy and inspiring 2023!

Your Favourites in 2022 ©cadwu
Your Favourites in 2022 ©cadwu

Tiramisù

Such a simple, tasty, fairly easy to make dessert. No oven needed and the result is always a pleasure to serve. We rely on the recipe of an expert, in our case Dutch pastry chef Cees Holtkamp. Renowned for his excellent patisserie and his truly delicious croquettes. If you ever have the opportunity to visit the shop in Amsterdam, please do so.

After his retirement he started working on his book Dutch Pastry (De Banketbakker in Dutch). The recipes are very clearly written and easy to follow. One of the remarkable aspects of this book is that he prepared all pies, cookies, doughs etcetera in his own home kitchen with basic home cook utensils.

If you want to see his amazing technique and his gently style of creating wonderful patisserie, then visit FoodTube and enjoy how chef Cees Holtkamp and his granddaughter Stella Meijles prepare Pavlova, Black Forest Cake, Lemon Meringue Pie, Saint Honoré, Cheese Butterflies, Tiramisù and many more.

Dutch Pastry is available via the usual channels or via the publisher for 20 euro.

Liqueur

Let’s go back to the Tiramisù. It’s all about eggs, mascarpone, sugar, ladyfingers (savoiarde, sponge fingers or boudoirs) coffee and cocoa powder. Most recipes suggest adding a liqueur to the coffee, for instance rum, cognac, amaretto or marsala. Obviously, we want to add an Italian liqueur to our Tiramisù, so perhaps marsala? This is a fortified wine from Sicily, dry or sweet. A good choice but for some reason the idea of an almond based liqueur is tempting, perhaps because of its slight bitterness in combination with the coffee and the cocoa?

Unfortunately, most amaretto’s taste nasty and artificial. We decided to spend a bit more money and bought a bottle of amaretto produced by Lorenzo Inga. The distillery is located near Gavi, a city known for its amaretti cookies. They produce grappa, bitters and liqueurs such as sambuca and limoncello. Their amaretto is all about almonds. It has a soft structure with a sweet and full mouth feeling. We added it to our Tiramisù and the result was delicious.

Leftovers

The next day we noticed that we had some leftover ladyfingers and also some coffee-amaretto mixture. Why not combine them with whipped double cream and perhaps some vanilla sugar? Would that work? We followed the same approach and stored it in the refrigerator for half a day. We were pleasantly surprised!

  • Tiramisù ©cadwu
  • Amaretto Originale Lorenzo Inga
  • Cees Holtkamp

Walnut Sauce

Michelin Award winning Japanese chef Akira Oshima is author of Yamazato, Kaiseki Recipes: Secrets of the Japanese Cuisine. The book contains recipes from the kitchen of the Yamazato restaurant in Amsterdam. It is amongst our favourite cookbooks. The recipes can be very challenging and time consuming as is getting hold of the right ingredients.
One of the recipes is for Takiawase, a mouth-watering combination of vegetables and fish. Every ingredient requires its own preparation and is simmered in its own dashi-based stock. The recipe of chef Oshima combines kabocha, eggplant, okra and shrimp. Indeed: four different kinds of homemade stock.

When shopping at Amazing Oriental we saw Garland Chrysanthemum, which made us think of another tasty dish, a combination of walnut sauce, chrysanthemum and shiitake called Shungiku Kurumiae. It’s actually two recipes, one for walnut sauce and one for chrysanthemum. The walnut sauce is a combination of roasted and blended walnuts, white miso, dashi, sake, light soy sauce and mirin (in that exact order). Very tasty with lots of umami and depth. It serves as a vinaigrette for the salad which is a combination of blanched and in dashi marinated chrysanthemum and grilled shiitake.

Yamazato, Kaiseki Recipes: Secrets of the Japanese Cuisine is available via the well-known channels, both in English and Dutch, second hand. The Dutch version is available via the webshop of the publisher for €34,50.

Drink Pairing

We prefer a glass of sake with our Shungiku Kurumiae, for instance a Junmai sake with fresh aromas and good acidity. The sake must be dry and well-balanced with a clean finish. You could enjoy a glass of white wine with the dish, provided it’s dry and mineral.

PS

We made too much walnut sauce for the salad, so we stored what was left in the refrigerator. But we were out of garland chrysanthemum (we wanted to use the remainder for our Matsutake dish) so what to do? The next day we fried some excellent organic pork belly and served it with Brussels sprouts and walnut sauce. Lovely combination!

Umami

Sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami are the five basic tastes. The term umami originates in Japan; it’s probably close to savoury. Recognizing sweet or bitter is something we learn as a child, recognizing umami is not something we have learned and that’s perhaps why some people in the past argued that umami is not a taste in its own right. It’s now clear that we have taste receptors that respond to the components that make umami.

Science

Danish professor emeritus in biophysics at the University of Southern Denmark, Ole G. Mouritsen, writes about the gastronomical, historical, scientific and cultural aspects of umami in his book Umami: Unlocking the Secrets of the Fifth Taste (available via your local bookstore or the well-known channels for approximately 40 US$). He also published cookbooks, for instance about seaweeds. Several scientific studies were conducted, trying to unravel the secrets of umami. One of the findings is that umami is the result of two components: glutamate and nucleotide. Bringing them together creates synergy and the umami taste is amplified.

Three Examples

Classic Japanese dashi is a combination of kombu (seaweed) and katsuobushi (bonito flakes). Kombu contains amino acid glutamate and Katsuobushi contains nucleotides inosinate and guanylate. Together they create a synergy, and the result is the clear taste of umami in dashi.
Same story for oysters and champagne. The oysters contain both glutamate and nucleotides (meaning that they are full of umami) and the champagne, due to the way it’s produced, contains glutamate, making oysters and champagne into a very tasty, umami rich combination.
Also the same story for tomatoes (amino acid glutamate) and beef (inosinate). Combining them should create the beautiful synergy of umami.

Ragù

Enough chemistry for one day. We decided to prepare Ragù Napoletano. It is one of the great dishes of Italy, or to be more precise of Campania. It is a combination of rolled up well marbled beef (rump cap, rump tail), an intense tomato sauce and hours of careful slow cooking and reducing. 
The result is a two-course meal: the sauce is served with pasta as a starter and the sliced meat with some sauce and vegetables as a main. 
Will you able to taste the umami? The answer is yes, absolutely, especially when you prepare the dish one or two days ahead.

Recipe for Ragù Napoletano in our next post.

Mushroom Fricassee

A few weeks ago, we wrote about History on Our Plate (2019) written by food historian and award-winning author Peter G. Rose. She writes about America’s Dutch past and the influence of the Dutch settlers on today’s American food. She explains how the founders of New Netherland (1609 – 1664, currently the states of New York, Delaware, Connecticut and New Jersey) brought Dutch recipes, tools, herbs and fruit to the US. Most recipes are based on publications like Een Notabel Boecxken van Cokeryen (a Notable Little Book of Cookery, 1514) and the 13thcentury publication Le Viandier de Taillevent. Peter Rose includes both the original and a modern version, allowing you to recreate food from the 17th century. 

Two Recipes

We were intrigued by a recipe for Mushroom Quiche without a Crust that made us think of a savoury clafoutis. We were also intrigued by another mushroom recipe, called Mushroom Fricassee, partly because of the unusual combination of eggs, mushrooms, onion, marjoram, thyme, orange juice, sherry, nutmeg and (optional) beef juice. The recipe is included in a manuscript written by Anne Stevenson Van Cortlandt (1774- 1821). She was married to Pierre Van Cortlandt, a well-known influential family with Dutch origins. Anne Stevenson was born in Albany, a city linked to Dutch settlers until the British took over in 1664.
We tried this imaginative combination of ingredients and prepared an omelette. The result was tasty and beautifully balanced, with a nice twist thanks to the herbs, sherry and orange juice. Peter Rose suggests preparing it like scrambled eggs, which is probably a better idea. Turning the mixture into an omelette was a bit of a challenge.
You’ll find a detailed recipe in History on Our Plate.

Wine Pairing

We enjoyed our Mushroom Fricassee with a glass of Conde Valdemar Tempranillo Blanco Rioja DOCa 2020, produced by Bodegas Valdemar. Its colour is slightly yellow with greenish tones. The wine has notes of tropical fruit (pineapple) and its taste is fresh and pleasantly persistent. A beautiful, unoaked white Rioja made with 100% tempranillo blanco grapes.
In general, you’re looking for a lean, dry, slightly fruity white wine with notes of lemon, melon and/or pineapple, preferably with a long finish.

Buy The Book

History on Our Plate is available via the well-known channels and your local bookstore for approximately 15 euro or 10 US$.

History on Our Plate

A few years ago, we had the pleasure of attending a lecture by food historian and award winning author Peter G. Rose. She talked about America’s Dutch past and the influence of the Dutch settlers on today’s American food. She explained how the founders of New Netherland (currently the states of New York, Delaware, Connecticut and New Jersey) brought Dutch recipes, tools, herbs and fruit to the US. And she showed how the Dutch influence is still present in today’s food in the USA.

Recipes

In her book History on Our Plate (2019) she writes in more detail about this topic, also by providing various food and drink recipes from New Netherland (1609 – 1664). The recipes are based on publications like Een Notabel Boecxken van Cokeryen (a Notable Little Book of Cookery, 1514) and the 13th century publication Le Viandier de Taillevent. The recipes include both the original and a modern version, allowing you to recreate food from the 17th century. Fried cod with mace, waffles, mushroom fricassee, artichokes with a bread, cinnamon and wine sauce: they all sound amazing.

In her introduction she describes the joy of baking bread in a hearth, the fun (and challenges) of preparing food in her home fireplace and the candlelight dinners that follow. When reading the well written recipes, you sense that she (and her husband who is in charge of the fire) aims to let her readers enjoy the cooking and eating as much as they did.

Quiche or Clafoutis?

We were intrigued by a recipe for Mushroom Quiche without a Crust. It made us think of clafoutis. Replace the cherries by mushrooms, change the seasoning and you have a delicious vegetarian starter or main course. The recipe was first published in 1668 by Franciscus van Sterbeeck  in his book Tractaet van de Kampernoeljes, Genaamd Duivelsbrood (or Treatise of Mushrooms, named Devils’s Bread).
You’ll find a detailed recipe in History on Our Plate.

We enjoyed our Mushroom Quiche without a Crust (or should we say, Flaugnarde with Mushrooms?) with a glass of Rioja d’Oliva Gran Reserva, Altos d’Oliva, 2013. A full bodied, red wine with lots of character that worked really well with the mushrooms, the oregano, and the Gouda cheese.

Buy the Book!

History on Our Plate is available via the well-known channels and your local bookstore for approximately 15 euro or 10 US$.

Fromage de Fribourg

When reading La Cuisine Niçoise d’Hélène Barale: Mes 106 recettes, we noticed that she uses only one kind of cheese in her recipes. Not Parmesan, not Pecorino, but Fromage de Fribourg. She adds it to her fish soup, to her ravioli, to her tourte de blette and to various other dishes. But what is Fromage de Fribourg?

It’s also known as Vacherin Fribourgeois and it originates from the region around the Swiss city Fribourg. It’s a semi-hard, creamy cheese made with raw cow milk. It matures for at least 6 weeks in a damp cellar. Its taste is aromatic, floral, full-bodied and lasting, with a touch of sweetness, bitterness and umami. It is used in a fondue called moitié-moitié (50% Gruyère and 50% Fribourg). It’s also possible to make a fondue with Fribourgeois only, using three ingredients: water, cheese and garlic.

Obviously we wanted to taste this cheese and we assumed that in the home town of Hélène Barale we would be able to buy it. We found a great cheese shop and bought a nice slice of this complex cheese. At home we decided to make an omelet with spinach, following a recipe from Hélène Barale for Omelette aux Blettes.

Omelet

For this omelet you need spinach, shallot, garlic, bay leaf, egg and freshly grated Vacherin Fribourgeois. No thyme, black pepper or salt. We were much surprised by the perfectly balanced flavours of spinach, cheese and eggs. Wonderful omelet.
You’ll find all the details you need in La cuisine niçoise d’Hélène Barale: Mes 106 recettes.

Wine Pairing

We enjoyed our omelet with a nice glass of Côtes de Provence Rosé. You could also enjoy it with an unoaked Chardonnay.
If you decide to eat the cheese as dessert, then we suggest a glass of full bodied red wine (Bordeaux, Côtes du Rhône etcetera).

PS

From a culinary point of view we think we understand why Madame Barale favored Fromage de Fribourg. If it’s her personal choice, something typical for the Niçoise cuisine, a culinary trend or perhaps because she was fond of Fribourg, that remains a mystery to us.

Chervil (Pan-) Cakes

Maastricht is one of the Netherlands most beautiful cities. It’s located in the very south of the country, on both sides of the river Maas. It’s close to Germany (Aachen, Aix-La-Chapelle is only 30 km) and the Belgian city of Liège (25 km). Its culture and cuisine are strongly influenced by France. Maastricht is well known for its excellent local wines (Hoeve Nekum, Apostelhoeve), the hilly countryside and its ceramic.

In 1737 Marie Michon was born in Maastricht. In 1768 she married Albert de Milly. Both families were related to Hugenoten: protestant people who escaped from persecution in France because of their religion and moved (in this case) to the Netherlands in 1685. One of her daughters was Thérèse Elisabeth de Milly, who married the German Baron Friedrich Ludwich Behr in 1792. Clearly a rich and influential family. Mother and daughter wrote down recipes and practical households tips. There are two ‘cahiers’, known under the title ‘Natuurlijk Kookboek van Beproefde en Ondervonden Echte Recepten voor een Zindelijk Huijshouden’. The title would translate into something like ‘Natural Cookbook of Tried-and-Tested Real Recipes for a Proper and Clean Household’. In 2008 44 recipes were included in a book written by Marleen Willebrands.

In the Historisch Kookboek Vega written by Manon Henzen we noticed a recipe for chervil (pan-) cakes, based on one of the recipes of Marie Michon and Thérèse Elisabeth de Milly. Chervil, although its taste is delicate, was considered to be a very powerful and useful herb. It relieved symptoms of gout, high blood pressure, gas, eczema etcetera. The original recipe suggest frying the pancakes per 3. Which made us think of the traditional Dutch dish ‘drie in de pan’. These are small pancakes made with flour, yeast, eggs, milk and (optional) raisins. Fried per three, indeed.

The dough of the chervil pancakes is a combination of eggs, all-purpose flour, bread crumbs, melted butter, yeast, sugar and cinnamon. Add lots of chopped chervil, allow to rest and fry in a pan. We also added chopped parsley and chives.
The pancakes looked very nice and inviting. When eating them we were slightly disappointed (a bit heavy, a bit dry). Perhaps we should have thought about a sauce?

More information (Dutch only) about the original recipes from 1785 can be found on the website of DBNL.

Chervil (Pan-) Cakes
Chervil (Pan-) Cakes ©cadwu

Pasta with Mushrooms

Most historical recipes are about meat, fish and poultry, using a range of herbs and spices. Vegetables were not considered to be a healthy (slimy and wet) or were seen as food for the poor. Afterall, the recipes were to be used by cooks and chefs for the upper class and the gentry. Eating meat, drinking wine and using spices also illustrated wealth.

Today’s food culture is very different: meat is seen by many as the most important aspect of a meal, we tend to eat far too much of it and we’re not willing to pay a decent price for it. Go to your local supermarket, visit your local snack restaurant and feel sorry for the animals. From happy pig in the mud to intensive farming where the animals are kept in gestation crates.
On the other hand, hurray, we see more and more vegetarian alternatives, with lentils, beans, vegetables etcetera inspired by, for instance, traditional vegetarian cuisine from India.

We were pleasantly surprised when Manon Henzen and Jeroen Savelkouls published their Historisch Kookboek Vega, discussing historical vegetarian cuisine. The book includes 14 recipes, for instance dishes like Surprise Honey Cake and Chick Pea Soup. Plus one for Pasta with Mushrooms. Sounds very much 21st century but is actually based on a Venetian recipe from the 14th century. It’s a nice combination of homemade pasta (a bit chewy perhaps), mushrooms and spices. We tweaked it a bit. The original recipe is included in the book which is available via the webshop for €12,50 (Dutch only). On the website you will also find a range of videos, helping you to cook historical vegetarian food.

Wine Pairing

You can be flexible in this case. We enjoyed a glass of Côtes de Provence rosé with our pasta, but a glass of not too complex, red or white wine will also be fine.

What You Need

  • Dough
    • 125 grams of All Purpose Flour
    • 2 Eggs
    • 50 grams of Parmesan Cheese
  • Spices
    • Black Pepper
    • 3 Cardamom Seed Pods
    • Cinnamon Powder
    • Laos Powder
    • Nutmeg
  • Shallot
  • 150 grams of Mixed Mushrooms
  • 4 Sage Leaves
  • Parsley
  • White Wine Vinegar
  • White Wine
  • Olive Oil

What You Do

Crush and combine the spices. Add 2 teaspoons of the mixture and the grated Parmesan cheese to the flour and mix. Whisk two eggs and add these to the mixture. A bit of kneading is required to make the dough. Set aside for an hour or so.
Knead the dough a bit more, flour your hands and make finger-long, thin pasta.
Chop the shallot, glaze in a large heavy iron pan, add the sliced mushrooms and fry these gently for a few minutes. Now add half of the deveined sage leaves and roughly chopped parsley plus some white wine. You could add a splash of white wine vinegar. Cook the pasta in a pan with boiling water for 10 minutes or until done. It behaves very similar to gnocchi. Five minutes before serving add the remaining sage and parsley. Drain the pasta, add to the pan and combine. Serve with some extra Parmesan cheese.

Pasta with Mushrooms ©cadwu
Pasta with Mushrooms ©cadwu