Hello everyone. The lack of posting lately is due to the fact that it’s exam season, and studying for them has basically taken over my life. I arrived early in the morning at a friend’s house to study (yuck) and her boyfriend, Andrew, had made us a lovely stock pile of chocolate covered strawberries. A LOT OF THEM. I was so happy! Not just any chocolate covered strawberries, these were fancy. There was milk chocolate, white chocolate, chocolate with nuts, and chocolate with coconut. It was all very yummy, and since Andrew REALLY wanted a blog post, here it is. But in all seriousness, this was blog-worthy, as the strawberries looked gorgeous and tasted great.
For all of you suffering through exams, good luck!
Yes I am a terrible poet; luckily I didn’t major in English. Friday night was another successful dinner with my dance crew, Jen and Jose (some pretty mean nicknames were tossed around when I asked them what they wanted to be named as in this post, but I finally decided to go with their actual names instead of things like “butcher-rat”…don’t ask).
The slow cooker meal we went with was oxtail stew, Italian style, courtesy of this blog: http://memoriediangelina.blogspot.com/2009/07/coda-alla-vaccinara.html
- 1 large onion
- 2 carrots
- 4-5 stalks celery
- handful of parsley
- one large oxtail (2 smaller ones would work too)
- about 1 1/2-2 cups red wine
- 2 cans crushed tomatoes
- one bay leaf
- whole cloves
We didn’t have pancetta so we skipped it, but it was decided that if we did have it, it would have added some nice flavour. First, chop up all the veggies and sauté in some olive oil until tender-however, leave out half of the celery and save that for later. Once veggies are soft, place in slow cooker. Take the oxtail and brown on all sides in pan-season with salt and pepper. Add the red wine and boil off. Once wine is boiled off, throw oxtail in slow cooker and add the tomatoes (use the liquid it comes in). Make sure oxtail is just covered with enough liquid: I found I didn’t need to add any water, but if you need to, add some. Throw in the bay leaf and a handful of whole cloves. Set on high for 6 hours. Half an hour before serving, throw in the rest of the celery-this is supposed to prevent it from tasting too cloying. Serve with a baguette to soak up the sauce.
It tasted amazing! The meat tasted very tender; it’s hard to describe the taste of the meat itself, but oxtail is unique and I quite like it. Just a note, it’s not super fatty, but there is fat to this cut of meat. It is very flavourful, but I could see some people finding it heavy; the way it’s prepared here helps to offset that.
To finish off the meal, we also had a Nutella dessert, which Jose made from scratch! It’s called: Brioche roulée au Nutella.
- 225 g of flour (just a tad less than 2 cups)
- pinch of salt
- 25 g icing sugar (3 1/4 tsps)
- 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 egg
- 50 ml of milk, warmed
- 1/4 cup butter
Mix flour, salt, sugar, baking powder. Add the egg. Heat the butter, using a microwave, until liquid and pour in. Mix and slowly incorporate the warm milk. Mold dough with hands until homogeneous. Add more flour or milk as necessary if too sticky, or too floury. Cover and let stand for at least 2 hours; best to leave overnight.
Roll dough over floured surface into rectangle of about 20 x 40 cm. Spread Nutella over dough, leaving 1 cm border. Roll dough lengthwise and cut into small pieces, about every 5 cm. Place on baking sheet and cover and let stand for one hour. Brush tops with a little honey. Preheat oven to lowest setting and bake for five minutes. Then increase to 180 C and bake another 20 minutes.
These were really yummy. The only thing I’d change would be to add some chopped nuts on top of the Nutella. But Jose did a great job with these, they didn’t last long!
And, as per usual, we topped of the night with some swing dancing! Perfect Friday night.
A couple nights ago one of my friends decided to throw a party: Chinese themed. What did that mean? We had Chinese food and played Chinese games. And took pictures (which I will not be posting), posing incessantly. It was a lot of fun; I especially enjoyed meeting new people because NO ONE at the party has any classes with me. Nice to branch out when our class is so big.
I have yet to learn how to make Chinese desserts, so I decided to make Oreo truffles for the party. Super easy and super fun, not to mention super tasty.
- 1 pkg Oreo cookies: 350g size
- 1 pkg cream cheese (8 oz), softened
- optional: semi-sweet chocolate chips for coating (or you could use whatever chocolate you prefer: white, milk, etc)
Crush the cookies finely-if you have a food processor, make use of it. I don’t, so I put the cookies in a big bowl and used a potato masher. Took a bit of effort but it got the job done. Add the cream cheese and mix well. Take the mixture and roll into little balls, about one inch in size. I managed to get 28 truffles out of this, even though the recipe said I should be able to get at least 3 dozen. I think mine were bigger than one in size though. Whatever.
Once you have rolled out all the truffles, place on a wax paper-lined baking sheet and put in the fridge for an hour to firm up. You can serve as is, which is what I did, or you can coat them with semi-sweet chocolate chips for an outer coating.
To coat: melt the chocolate chips in a bowl-I just use the microwave. Then dip the truffles in the chocolate with a fork and let the excess drip off and place on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Chill until the coating sets. I have yet to perfect the coating process for truffles; it tends to be very messy and you have to work quickly so that the chocolate doesn’t harden. Last time I did this, I had to keep microwaving the chocolate every so often.
I skipped this last step, so this was my finished product: