Monday, September 20, 2010

Crepe Suzettes

Posted by Quinn at Monday, September 20, 2010 17 comments Links to this post

I know, it's been over a month since I wrote about food and life here...Thank you so much for the wonderful emails, some dropping by just to say hello and some are getting worried and all of you are just very concerned about me. I still could not believe how blogging has made the world a much smaller place and receiving emails from people I have not met asking how am I doing really touched me....Thank you, I am very grateful and felt so appreciated...

The fact is, I have been doing a lot of takeaways and busy with work and a lot more other stuffs, was in denial for a bit, almost going to depression and I was basically living through hell, thriving on nothing but milk and water and enough food to keep me alive.. Significant weight loss and mood swing started and a couple of good friends were there to give support and things were back on track, rather slowly though. Stepping back into the kitchen was something I courageously did a week back and I find it took my minds off so many things, unhappy and things I worry about....They say one should not worry about tomorrow for they have seen yesterday and am happy about today...

Went over to a good friend's place and cook for the family. Cooking with and for the family was a lot of fun but it was a dinner so no pictures but we did came up with some rather impressive dishes. The Entrée to begin with was a seared scallops served on cold watermelon disc and arugula leaves and finished off with a beautiful mint vinaigrette. The main was a homemade squid ink tagliatalle with garlic, prawns, lots of fresh parsley and basil and finished off in a dash of cream. Also made a beautifully layered Ratatouille for the sides flavoured with thyme and a real good homemade tomato base sauce. Blanching and deseeding tonnes of tomatoes could not be very fun but when doing it with many people, I wish time would stop and we could cherish each other's help. Helping each other in my opinion would be the most beautiful thing in the world.

I could not believe I just said I was involved in cooking all that. I was really just sous chef-ing... I did not exactly start cooking until 3 years back. Watching Nan cook and cooking yourself, it is very very different. But I do enjoy good food. Currently, Modern French and a twist of Modern Australian Cuisine would be my favourites...

Aaron is back from Dubai on Friday and is now in Perth. He received a notice from his company saying he will be based in Perth for 12 months. He sent a bouquet of Lilies when he was in Dubai but it could not make up for his absence at all... He bought me 'Eat, Pray, Love' and other practical stuffs such as Iranian Vanilla Beans and Saffron strands but that all could never be compared to him being physically here. The postcard he sent me, I could read it front to back and back to front again and could memorize it word for word but it makes me long for him even more....I do not like long distance relationship and the distance as of now is doing nothing but straining our relationship. More flights in and out of Adelaide-Perth and when reality sink in, it could be very horrible to even go to bed sometimes...

I am a very bubbly and cheerful person by nature, I love being close to people, a simple pat on the shoulder or a rub on the hand could be very comforting. As of now,Quinn would love a lot of free hugs, let it be virtual or not. Going to Perth in the beginning of next year is the plan as of now....Will try to cook more often and blog more often, that would perhaps be the best thing I could do as of now....

I do not want my life to be dependent solely on Aaron. It is really not like that, we are just very very close to each other, that is all. We like being clingy and snuggle up each other and cuddling and me talking away...I do realize when you depend your life on someone else, let it be anyone, not just your partner. When that someone leaves or walk out of your life, you will realize that someone just took away your life with them and you're essentially left with nothing. You feel life is not there anymore because someone took it away.

Right now, life is about work, catching up with friends, cooking a lot of things Aaron would not eat when he was here. He just doesn't do much cheeses (feta, goat's cheese and curd are all yuck!) and dairy products and prawns basically so I tend to cook within his boundaries of favourite food. Now that he is not here, I could cook and eat what I always wanted to, go for musical and operas and enjoy them. Had a couple of nights out doing fine-dining and dressing up to the occasion, that all made me alive again....Life is good....Being back in the kitchen, could not help but make something sweeter, the savoury could come later...

You all do know what is Crepe Suzette don't you? My folks and my family, we all come from a non-English speaking background however we were lucky enough to be given the opportunity to travel halfway across the globe. I first heard of it when I was in France...My parents do not speak much English and I was very young to even understand what was going on around me but I clearly remembered after dinner one night, a very handsome young man, he was the waiter . Anyway, he pushed a trolley cart out next to our table....Then he started arranging beautifully paper thin crepes in concentric circles in a pan, one of those anodized bronze pan with long handle, typical of French. He poured a piping hot sauce over it and in the empty pan, he poured a generous amount of Brandy and Grand Marnier and heat that up and deglaze the pan clean of sauce and pour that over the crepes too. Then he lit them on fire and voila....Flambé was the first term I learnt when I first started off baking......I was very very intrigued and curious....And when I pop them into my mouth, that sauce, it's gotta be made up of orange, both the zest and the juice and caramelised sugar all finished off with a slight hint of liquor....a very beautiful bright orange colour that attracted me so much I remembered the Crepe Suzettes experience up to this day, very vividly in fact!

Everything you see here are made from scratch, from the crepes to the Vanilla Bean Mascarpone quenelle. It is not whipping cream. Went for fine dining last week in an Argentinian Restaurant and they serve Vanilla Bean Mascarpone with a rum flambéd bananas and strawberries caramelized in Muscovado sugar. It was absolutely yum!

And yes, you hear me right, homemade Mascarpone...I just could not find the energy to have a recipe up for each and every single thing I have made as of now...Swee San, remember when we talked about homemade Mascarpone? Did you manage to try out what I taught you?

That is about it I guess...I hope this would calm many people a bit and stop the emails coming in. The inbox is still flooded as of now and I have been copy and pasting the same reply to everyone, sorry people...but it does not show how important or famous I am, it only goes to show how nice people around me are and I am one lucky girl. I also have been missing a lot of postings which I doubt I could catch up with anytime soon, food is something I could never be sick of....For those of you who have linked me back on my recipes and shout-out to me in your post (say Pei-Lin and Ellie) and a lot more, it does not mean I am not giving due credit just because you are not mentioned...Thank you so much, period

I do not have a fix recipe for Crepe Suzettes. It is not hard, google Crepe Suzettes Recipe and be ready to be spoilt with choices.

Good night.

P/S: Updated as of 20 Sept 2010 , 10:34am

Some of you ask through email for the recipe for homemade Mascarpone Cheese. I will be posting it just below here since it is requested. One of my housemate is Italian-French. She taught me how to make my own Mascarpone. It is way more delicious from those we bought outside, albeit a little wet but very rich and delicious. You gotta drain it well though then it won't be wet. It is way way cheaper too to make them yourself especially for things that will not cost you much. Do not know what it is priced like elsewhere but here in Adelaide, it cost approximately AUD12 per 250g tub of good, organic luscious Mascarpone and at the rate of me digging my spoon into it and eat it just like that, I would not pay that kind of money for something that is made out of nothing but cream and lemon juice.

Homemade Mascarpone
(makes approximately 2 cups)

4 cups of real good quality whipping cream (not thickened stuff please!)
1/2 a lemon or approximately 2-3 tbsp FRESH lemon juice

Heat the cream in a stainless steel pan until it is hot. When you take a wooden spatula and drop a little on your wrist, it should be almost scalding OR you see lots of steam escaping from the surface of the cream. I do not have the exact temperature. Remove it from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Whisk with the wooden spatula vigorously until it starts to curdles It will curdle and become thick and coat the back of your wooden spatula. You will know it is thick enough when it is like this. The line should stay and not drip down again. Then let it sit for 20-30 minutes, undisturbed until it is not so hot anymore.

Line a large fine sieve (we use a large tea strainer) with layers of clean and sterilized muslin cloth (we use store-bought ones). Drain it overnight just like that. When it is completely cooled, we cover the sieve with a large piece of cloth and place it in the fridge to drain overnight.
The next day, we remove the cheese. It will be unmoulded as one piece and is nicely lifted off the sieve. Stir with a wooden spatula until it is creamy and form a smooth mass again before using. You can use it for tiramisu and use it for savoury dishes too. With 4 cups of whipping cream, it would yield approximately 470-500g of Mascarpone cheese. And did I mention, it kept so well it in the fridge in an air tight container. Lasted for 2 weeks for me, no mold growth , no problem!

For the Vanilla Mascarpone shown here, I mixed in 2 tsp icing sugar with 1/2 a vanilla bean seeds, scraped from the pod and mix it with 1 cup of Mascarpone cheese. Mix it well and chill it in the fridge in an air-tight container until needed. The remaining Mascarpone was use to make a walnut Mascarpone sauce for a gnocchi dish.

Have fun making your own Mascarpone...


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