About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Monday, January 29, 2007
As Light as Air

You might not thank me for this. Especially those who find it hard to resist something decadent and sinfully rich.

It all started innocently enough.

Our daughter M has this thing about meat. There is only one sort she ever eats without complaint, pink meat. No, I don’t mean rare or medium cooked beef, but meat that is actually pink to start with and after about one and a half hours of slow poaching is still pink and also meltingly tender. The meat that M favours above all others is pickled pork. Whenever we serve beef, chicken, fish or fresh pork the refrain we hear is “I only like pink meat.”

We as parents of course would like M to have as broad a palate as possible, so while we like to give her what she wants, we regularly have each different type of meat and in turn we serve up her favourite pickled pork. So it was a few nights ago that we had pickled pork, cooked in a large pot with spices until almost done, and then some carrots and broccoli were added. All this was served with some horseradish sauce.

A nice meal and there was no battle to get M to eat her meat.

Thrifty cooks amongst you would realize that we now had a well-flavoured stock leftover from cooking the pickled pork and I had been waiting a while to make something of which we are all very fond – soup veg soup – and this stock was the perfect foundation. We had everything we needed in the pantry, a pack of mixed soup pulses along with some cabbage and carrots. Ordinarily celery would have a starring role, but M is no fan; we only like to participate in battles we have some chance of winning.

So the next day I planned to have soup veg soup but maybe a bowl of soup wouldn’t be quite enough for dinner. What to have with it? I leafed idly through a cookbook searching for some inspiration when I came across a recipe for chocolate mousse. Mmmmm, hadn’t had that in a while, years in fact. In the 1980’s chocolate mousse was served at practically every dinner party and why not? It is a perfect dessert - easy to make, could be made ahead of time and pulled out of the fridge at the last minute, and was very, very nice to eat. The best friend a hostess ever had.

Of course fashion eventually caught up with it, not to mention it is also notoriously difficult to match wines with, and even though it has never gone away, it is not often served now. But, it is still good and a revival was imminent. However a search through the pantry failed to turn up any chocolate. Well, not chocolate in the strictest sense of the word, but there was a big, fat jar of Nutella. You know, the chocolate spread made from hazelnuts, a sort of semi solid chocolate paste.

I don’t imagine for one minute that I am the first one to think about using Nutella in chocolate mousse, I had seen a recipe for a Gianduia Chocolate Mousse cake in Gourmet many years ago that used Nutella, but it was the first time I thought of using it and the idea seemed sound enough. So off to the kitchen I went with my kitchen hand M and we set to. M melted the chocolate and butter in a double boiler, and then stirred in the egg yolks one by one. I supplied the grunt work whisking the egg whites until firm and glossy, then we delicately folded them into the cooled chocolate mixture and put it in a bowl in the fridge to set. Then the ever helpful M cleaned all the dishes, whisk and all…with her tongue!

My only worry at this point was would the mousse set properly because Nutella is not firm like chocolate, but at the cool temperature of the fridge it did set well, though once at room temperature it did melt slightly, not that it had much chance for we wolfed it all down.

The verdict? It was absolutely sensational, a lovely deep chocolate essence enhanced by hazelnut flavours, unlike regular chocolate mousse, which can be one-dimensional. Rich, luscious and full flavoured. Anyone who likes Ferrero Rocher chocolates - you know the ones, crispy, nut studded wafer balls filled with the most amazingly wicked chocolate hazelnut praline - would love this dessert. And it may even be good for you.

Sort of.

A check of the label revealed it is low GI. Well, when I read that in connection with oats or the like, it is reassuring…but with chocolate? The label goes on to say it contains hazelnuts, well that is reassuring, maybe the addition of skim milk is too and also that there are no artificial colours or preservatives. But it would be too much of a stretch to say it is good for you, the sugar and fat content are probably enough to sink a battleship.

So, if your hips and thighs try to leave any slanderous comments, I will delete them

Nutella Chocolate Mousse

200 g Nutella
100 g unsalted butter
4 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon caster sugar

In a bowl set over simmering water but not touching the water, place the Nutella and butter and stir until melted and combined and then beat in the egg yolks, one by one and remove from the heat. In another bowl whisk the egg whites until soft peaks, sprinkle on the caster sugar and keep whisking until smooth and glossy. Add one quarter of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture and gently fold in to loosen the mixture, then add the rest of the egg whites and gently fold in as well. Spoon into serving dishes or pile it into one big bowl. Leave to set in the refrigerator for at least four hours. Serve with some plain whipped cream.

Note: If you wanted to serve this at room temperature or use it as a cake filling, adding one leaf of gelatine to the melted chocolate/butter mixture would help it to hold. Also you need to be sure that your eggs are safe to use raw.
Edited to add: After I posted this, Cindy from where's the beef? alerted me to World Nutella Day, hosted by Sara from Ms. Adventures in Italy and Shelley from At Home in Rome. Ladies, I'm in!


  posted at 7:53 am

At 9:08 am, Blogger Cindy said...

Nice! The biggest challenge will be to set 200g of nutella aside from my sneaky snacking spoon. ;-)

I made a choc-nutella pudding on the weekend. It's not quite pudding weather, but a couple of food bloggers have anounced their own World Nutella Day on Feb 6. Maybe you'd like to contribute your recipe...?

At 9:47 am, Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Oh, I do believe M is a girl after my own heart. I lick whisks also!!!
Nutella Mousse sounds divine!!

At 1:47 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've often looked at my nutella in the pantry and wondered about making some sweet treat from it, but have never done so! I love the idea of the nutella chocolate mousse - I wonder if just a little gelatin/agar agar would help keep it firm?

At 2:37 pm, Blogger Squishy said...

I have been wanting to make Jamie Olivers Nutella Banana Brekky Bread for ages but something else always seems to come first. Nutella is fantastic, but what you have done is just simply brilliant. Yummo Thumbs Up Neil. Great story.

At 4:39 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi cindy, I had no idea there was a Nutella event, thanks. Know what you mean about the spoon.

Hi tanna, and no washing up...well.

Hi ellie, funnily enough, I've never thought of making something with it until this last weekend and only because I had to. I reckon the gelatin or agar-agar would work just fine.

Hi squishy, forget Jamie, try me!

At 5:46 pm, Blogger Squishy said...

Done and forgotten it's all about Neil baby!

At 8:03 pm, Blogger Sara, Ms Adventures in Italy said...

Cindy, thanks for spreading the word! Neil, we're happy you're participating and that sounds delicious!!! Be sure and send your info to nutelladay@nutelladay.com so we can include it in the round-up (Feb. 7th)

I look forward to seeing other ideas - the ones mentioned in your comments sound great!

At 2:12 am, Blogger Jeanne said...

OMG - Nutella mousse! Stop, stop, you're killing me! Having recently rediscovered my mom's chocolate mousse recipe for SHF I am now dead keen on a mousse revival. In fact, a friend and I are having a mousse-off at an upcoming lunch party - maybe I'll jump ship and make yours ;-)

And please tell M from me that she's wise beyond her years. Pork is King and always will be. We had a gammon last night, slow cooked for about 2.5 hours and falling-apart-tender. I also kept the cooking liquid & aromatics in the hope of getting a soup out of them sometime this week - great minds think alike ;-)

At 2:51 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi cindy, that was divine serendipity! I'm looking forward to all the great recipes.

Hi jeanne, if you make it, you won't regret it! M's wisdom comes from her mum...slow cooked pork doubleplusgood!

At 3:07 pm, Blogger Squishy said...

Hi Neil, Do you have the recipe for M's pickled pork. Sounds like something my kids would love?

At 10:36 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi amelita, we buy the pickled pork from Coles and slowly poach it until done, along with some aromatics.

At 7:21 am, Blogger Helene said...

yes, I had thought about it but You made it! and I am sure it was incredible! That Gianduia chocolate mousse is the bomb by the way, made it years ago...rich, decadent but so good!


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