Weekends come and go so quickly it's easy to let those magical 48 hours pass by, wasted by excessive computer use or tv watching. This weekend, me and my mom opted to cherish our short reprieve by cooking a comforting meal and watching a French movie.
The Menu: Beef Stew (this wonderful one pot wonder courtesy of Marie Hejl) and
indulgent sinful Chocolate Mousse from Rachel Khoo (of Cooking Channel's The Little Paris Kitchen's) namesake cookbook.
The Movie: A Cat in Paris.
Beef Stew, courtesy of Marie Hejl
Chocolate Mousse with Cocoa Nibs, courtesy of Rachel Khoo
For the crème pâtissière (pastry cream)
3 free-range egg, yolks only
50g/2oz caster sugar
250ml/9fl oz whole milk
1 heaped tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
For the chocolate meringue
3 free-range eggs, whites only
50g/2oz icing sugar
couple drops lemon juice
pinch of salt
150g/5½oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
200ml/7fl oz whipping cream
2 tbsp soft butter
50g/2oz cocoa nibs
For the crème pâtissière, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until pale and thick, then whisk in the cornflower.
Add the cocoa powder to the milk and bring to a boil then switch off the heat.
Pour the milk in a slow stream onto the egg mixture, whisking
vigorously all the time. (Pour slowly to avoid scrambling the egg.)
Return the mixture to a clean pot over a medium heat and whisk
continuously. Make sure to scrape the sides and the bottom,
otherwise it will burn.
The cream will start to thicken. Once it releases a bubble or two, take it off the heat.
Pour into a shallow bowl. Cover with cling film (pat the cling film so it sticks directly on to the cream) and refrigerate for at least an hour before using.
For the meringue, put half the egg whites into a clean glass or metal bowl. Add the sugar, lemon juice and salt and whisk until white.
Add the rest of the egg whites and continue whisking until the
meringue forms stiff peaks when the whisk is removed.
Melt the chocolate in a bain marie (a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water) or in the microwave on a low setting.
Whip the cream until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed.
To make the mousse, beat the chilled crème pâtissière to remove
any lumps before stirring in the melted chocolate. Mix in one third of the meringue, then gently fold in the rest followed by the whipped cream.
To serve, brush 4-6 glasses or ramekins with soft butter. Add some cocoa nibs and roll them around the sides and bottom of the
glasses until evenly coated.
Divide the mousse between the glasses and chill for at least an
hour, but ideally four hours. Serve chilled, sprinkled with cocoa
nibs. The mousse is best eaten the same day and should not be
kept for more than two days (due to the raw egg whites).
specialist food shops, online and at some supermarkets), a coating of finely chopped nuts mixed with some cocoa powder is a good alternative.
A Cat in Paris tells the story of the double life of a young girl's pet cat, who, by night, helps a surprisingly likable cat burglar steal jewels and precious works of art throughout Paris. The story is strikingly complex; as it turns out, the young girl's father has been murdered by a ruthless man whom the girl's mother (a police chief) has since devoted her life to find and punish. The captivating and beautifully animated film truly deserves its Academy Award nomination.
Why not spend next Sunday making a homey meal and catching up on a deserving French masterpiece?