Saturday, February 12, 2011

Operation: Experimentation!

You're all aware of the fact that I'm looking to try new things in the kitchen and so tonight in the Cooking In Choos' household I served up Pork Belly and Adriano Zumbo's Valentine Macarons! (With Valentine's Day only days away what better time is there to try them)

I've been wanting to cook Pork Belly  for a while so when husby visited the butcher this morning I made sure a nice cut of it was on the list. The Macaron fascination has also been around a long time now and while I'm happy to try Emmanuel Mollois' versions baking them is another story.

You see there's art to making them. The ingredients have to be measured correctly and placed in at the right time, temperatures watched like a hawk and then it's all up to the Parisian God's whether or not you're going to get them looking and tasting the way they should - anyway more on them later.

Now to the Pork Belly; this like the Macarons was a first attempt and I'm pleased to say it was definitely a success. The crisp, crackle seasoned with a little sea-salt, while the pork nestled in an a bed of alfoil and marinated in Olive oil, garlic and Rosemary was sensational.

So what's my secret for perfect Pork Belly? It's easy. To get your crackle, crackling turn the up oven to 220 degrees Celsius for a half hour and then turn it down to 160 for an hour and a half.  Keep your pork tender by nestling it in a bed of alfoil lined with the olive oil, garlic and Rosemary. This will not only seal in the moisture but infuse the pork with the beautiful flavours of the garlic and Rosemary - AMAZE!

Here it is:

Pork Belly Perfecction

OK so after a successful main I was hoping my Macarons were going to follow suit. The result well, they weren't bad but let's just say they weren't Pierre Herme's either. The Macarons themselves although perfectly crisp on the outside; inside (well some anyway) they were missing the chewy centre. The ganache on the other hand was a winner with the combination of Rosewater and white chocolate giving this delightful filling beautiful and musky flavours.

Will I try this Parisian morsel again? I'm thinking yes, because even though it was hard and at times very messy at the end of the day it was a challenge and there's nothing I like more; except of course a Macaron! Bon Appetit x

Oh and here it is, with the recipe to follow:

Adriano Zumbo's Valentine Day Macarons - try it yourself

White Chocolate and Rose Macaron by Adriano Zumbo

Rose Ganache Filling ingredients:
120g cream
180g white chocolate
45g unsalted butter
15g rose water
15g musk oil


• Break the white chocolate into pieces and place in a large bowl
• Boil the cream on the stove with the rose water and musk oil

• Take the cream mixture off the stove and pour over the white chocolate stirring until the chocolate has melted

• Leave the white chocolate, rose and musk mixture to cool to 50 degrees

• Blend in butter with a wooden spoon

• Cover with cling film and cool further in the fridge

Macaron ingredients:

125g caster sugar

40g water

50g egg whites

135g pure icing sugar, sieved

135g almond meal, sieved

45g egg whites

Few drops of red colouring (to create pink colouring)

• Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees Celsius

• In a medium based saucepan, boil caster sugar and water to 118 degrees on the stove top

• Place 50g egg whites in an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Slowly stream hot sugar mixture down side of bowl, whisk until it reaches around 50 degrees to create a meringue mixture

• In a large bowl place icing sugar, almond meal and 45g egg whites on top

• Add meringue mixture to this and hand mix until combined and then place into a piping bag

• Pipe 20 cent sized pieces of the meringue mixture onto a baking tray lined with baking paper or silicone mat

• Let dry for 30 - 60 minutes until a skin forms and they are dry to the touch

• Bake in oven for 16 minutes at 150 degrees

• Remove from the oven and let shells cool, then flip them onto a clean baking tray and place in pairs

• Place ganache into a piping bag and fill one shell from the pair, then place the other side on top to make a sandwich

P.S: Hey guys that was my attempt and I'd love to see you all try it. Don't forget to drop me a line if you do, I'd love to hear how it goes. B x

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