Saturday, June 9, 2007

Warm up Winter

It’s that time of the year again when I crave for casseroles with thick luscious gravies, steamy hot soups, flaming curries and everything that requires the assistance of my deep fat fryer. Winter has slowly but surely set in on us. If you are like me, this is also the time when you get the odd pimple or two, a sore throat, a runny nose as well as a stuffed one, a tension headache and glistening eyes. Why is it that our immune systems fail us at this time of the year?

The answer is quite simple, really. If you believe in the Chinese theory of Yin and Yang, you would understand that our bodies are designed in such a way that it requires a balance in order for us to be in optimal health. In winter when we overload our systems with ‘comfort foods’ such as those that I’ve mentioned, we ‘over-heat’ our bodies so to speak. The untimely pimple and all the other symptoms are our bodies’ way of screaming out its need for ‘coolants’.

What are these ‘coolants’ you may ask. Here in the Rode-Chong household, we come to the rescue with remedies such as ‘Five Flower Tea’, Chrysanthemum Tea, Barley water, Dried Sugar cane water, Grass Jelly water.. The list is endless. If all this seems foreign to you and you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, don’t fret. It’s not Rocket Science. If you do so feel inclined, get to your local Chinese Gourmet store and ask for any of the items I’ve mentioned, say, “ I would like to make.. (Fill in the blanks) could you please point me to the item?” Then get a packet of rock sugar or sugared winter melon strips and you’re good to go. These remedies do come in the form of ‘instant’ sachets but if you choose to go along this path, I am sorry, but you are on your own. JUST KIDDING! But really, you just can’t be sure how much of the real thing there is in those sachets.

All you do now, is rinse the dried herbs (unless you chose to buy a can of grass Jelly, you would cut the jelly into tiny cubes, then add to your pot of boiling water and rock sugar or winter melon strips) under cold running water, then put into a pot and fill with water and rock sugar or winter melon strips. Bring to the boil and simmer. It is as simple as that. Please feel free to email me if you are unsure about anything or everything.

If you simply cannot be bothered (I can think of at least one person here, you know who you are! HA! HA!) to do this, just remember to flush your system with plenty of water. I truly believe that Water is the Elixir of Good Health. Now with this said I feel less guilty in presenting today’s recipe of a ‘Malted Chocolate Pudding’ with melted chocolate and almonds to you. This indulgent winter warmer is adapted from the August 2003 issue of Delicious. The original recipe calls for a mars bar custard and chopped walnuts to be served with the pudding, but I personally prefer melted Valhrona Manjari and sliced almonds.

Serves 4-6

125g salted butter, softened
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
125g plain flour
50g malted milk powder
1 tsp baking powder
2-3 tbsp cold milk
1 tbsp cocoa powder (I used Valhrona)
150g milk or dark couverture chocolate (I used Valhrona Manjari)
30g sliced almonds, lightly toasted, to garnish

Grease a 1-litre pudding basin. Place butter and sugar in a bowl of an electric mixer and beat until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift in flour, malted milk powder and baking powder. Add enough milk for a dropping consistency.

Place half the mixture in a separate bowl and sift in cocoa. Place alternating spoonfuls of each mixture in the pudding basin, then use a wooden skewer to gently swirl together. Cover the lid with foil and tie with a piece of kitchen string. Place an upturned plate in the base of a large saucepan and stand the pudding on top.

Pour boiling water into the saucepan to come halfway up the sides of the pudding basin. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and steam for 2 hours. Just before serving, melt the chocolate. Turn out the pudding and serve with the melted chocolate and garnish with the toasted almonds.


Eggy said...

Hi Carole, that looks delish! And your blog's fab too :-) I'm glad I found it.

Sylvia said...

carol ,your blog is beatiful ,and this recipe looks fantastic

Big Boys Oven said...

Carole!! Let me toast to your lovely choc. pudding. It is so lovely especially when you top it with melting choc and garnished it with sliced almonds.

Refering to the chinese herbs, I read a blog called Miss Pinky at which has introduce a chinese herb chicken which myself thinks it is good to have it during winter. It is easy to make also.

I think I will try to whisk up a choc red wine cake soon and will post it soon.


Ming_the_Merciless said...

The cake and photos look spectacular. Is that a cappuccino next to the cake? You have a cappuccino machine at home?

I've been eyeing one of those Tassimo/Nespresso single serving cappuccino/coffee machines since last Christmas. I'm still trying to rationalize buying one since I rarely make coffee at home.

$ha said...

A great recipe! I love the last photo!

Belinda said...

OMG Carole - that pudding looks deeeeeeeeelicious!!! I always love looking at the mouthwatering photos on your blog. You are one talented lady :o)

Oh for the love of food! said...

I've just spent the entire morning curling up and reading your entire blog- you are incredible!

Thank you. I just love your taste in homewares!

Big Boys Oven,
Thanks, guys. I look forward to your Red Wine Chocolate Cake post!

Thanks for the compliment. Yes, we have a Delonghi fully automatic (self-cleaning) espresso machine that makes any sort of coffee you want. It is a brilliant machine and we are very happy with it.
We had a look at the Nespresso coffee machine ( and many others)before deciding to go with the Delonghi. The coffee pods are cool aren't they? I guess it's ok to get it if you don't regularly have guests and it's only for yourself because you'll find the pods run out very quickly and they are not so easily accessible.But, If you really like it, Ming, you should get it ! Life is too short to over rationalize about getting something for your own enjoyment. ;o)

Thanks for dropping by.

Thanks, you are making me blush! I'm still waiting for the post about that cake that I've inspired you to bake?? HA!HA!

The Cooking Ninja said...

That cake of yours looks very delicious. To combat winter, I drink lots of hot chocolate - a way to keep me warm from the breezing cold and wind. :) Oh ... I love having home-made tomato soup during winter too.

Chloe said...

Hi mum.
i love this cake , mum. nice photos 2 ;)
my friends will be coming to see your blog soon :D
love always,

Ming_the_Merciless said...

Carol, I read your comment on Bel's Fishbowl and like you, I grew up with Spandau Ballet and Thompson Twins.

Opps! I'm giving away my age here. :-)

Belinda said... and my big mouth about my doing some baking - hehehehe!!! Guess you can tell I haven't done it yet, but I did EAT some cake the other day - does that count?? :o) PLUS, every time I attempt to bake, I ALWAYS burn myself which isn't so much fun :o(

I love your taste in music too by the way. If you're into The Police, then you'd like Maroon 5 - the lead singer has a very distinct voice, but at times he and their music are reminiscent of Sting and co.

Oh, and Spandau Ballet's Gold is my favourite of theirs ;o)

Rafe Totengco said...

just pigged out on some Jacques Torres chocolates...I'm so sick and happy!

Oh for the love of food! said...

Cooking Ninja,
Thank you so much. Liquids of any kind in abundance is a good thing ( well, except for caffeinated ones) We love soups and have plenty of it. Where are you situated BTW?

I love you so much, Baby.

Don't worry, you're not the only THIRTY SOMETHING around here! HA!HA! Hey, I've down loaded "True' on my blog!

Well, as long as you actually had some cake! HA!HA! You must have been a toddler when "Gold" was released!

Good for you! I have a bit ( O.K., a lot!) of chocolate everyday.

thwany said...

i'm literally salivating.

The Cooking Ninja said...

For the moment, I'm based in Nantes, France. :) Am enjoying the summer weather at the moment.

MeltingWok said...

Munching away my Dove's smooth milk chocolate with almonds while lurking at the screen :P

Oh for the love of food! said...

Good to hear from you again, buddy!

Cooking Ninja,
I'm sure it's very pretty there. ;o)

Melting Wok,
I do that all the time!

tigerfish said...

The dome shape reminds me of the Hokkaido loaf in Breadtalk :O

Oh for the love of food! said...

Hi Tigerfish, Thanks for visiting!

SteamyKitchen said...

Hey Carol - for some reason Wordpress thought you were a spammer and put your comment in a spam folder....but I found it!

My husband and I LOVE Australia - he used to go there 3 times a year, and some of our most treasured moments are on Bondi Beach....2am....tipsy. LOL!

If we ever had to move anywhere else, we'd seriously consider AU.

That chocolate cake would be so yum with an espresso....

Oh for the love of food! said...

Thanks, Jaden. Don't know why I 'passed' the spammer test! This is really great for my ego! You were in Sydney.. I think. I'm over in the west, Perth.

Ashley said...

you seriously put martha stewart to shame! you need a tv show!!! this looks so amazing, from the article to the recipe to the photos. love it!