Monday, October 6, 2008
For whatever reason, Spanish food, and eating Spanish-style, is all the rage in Australia at the moment. Tapas bars are sprouting left, right and centre, although in typical Australian fashion, the Spanish food is a jumping off point rather than a destination. (Somehow Chinese dumplings and Japanese staples like sashimi have worked their way onto some tapas menus!!) There are also some very special new Spanish or Spanish-inspired restaurants that have quickly made a mark. Perhaps the most famous of these is Melbourne's MoVida, run by Frank Camorra,who has just been awarded Chef of the Year in Victoria. And on the evidence of two recipes cooked from his book, it is an extremely well-deserved award.
A Spanish dinner seemed like a good way to remember a trip to Spain last year, as well as celebrate the return of warm weather. And inspired by the lovely photos, I cooked a main and dessert from the MoVida book. More about the chicken main another time (in the excitement of how fantastic this dish was, I forgot to take a picture so I will have to make it again). Meanwhile, dessert was Fresh Granny Smith Mousse With Blood Orange Jelly. This was one of the most wonderful desserts I have ever made - the tastes so clear and startling and undiluted. Designed to echo the Spanish habit of simply eating fruit for dessert, this stunning concoction contained little else other than fruit, but was exceptionally beautiful. I would jump on a plane to MoVida in an eyeblink, if only I could get a reservation.
Fresh Granny Smith Mousse With Blood Orange Jelly
adapted from "MoVida" by Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish
For six people:
200ml strained blood orange juice (about 6 blood oranges)
7 1/2 gelatine leaves (23cm x 7cm each) - (**NOTE I used only 3 leaves as the instructions on my gelatine leaves for proportion of liquid to gelatine required a lot less gelatine than the recipe suggested - check your gelatine first!)
8 Granny Smith apples
80 ml sweet green apple liqueur (I couldn't find this so I didn't use)
125 g caster sugar
2 egg whites
Heat the blood orange juice over high heat, removing just before it boils. Meanwhile, soften enough gelatine to set 200ml of liquid in cold water for about 1 minute. Add to the hot juice and stir until the gelatine has dissolved. Allow to cool, then pour into 6 pre-chilled serving glasses and refrigerate.
If you have a juicer, juice the apples. If not, puree the apple in a food processor, then strain and discard the solids. Pour juice into a saucepan, add liqueur and caster sugar, and boil over high heat until you have about 500ml of juice. Soften the remaining gelatine (enough to set 500 ml) in cold water for 1 minute. Add to the juice, and stir until the gelatine has dissolved. Tip this mixture into a bowl sitting in an ice bath. After 10 minutes, using an electric hand mixer, start beating the mousse. As it starts to set, add one egg white and continue beating for 10 minutes or until it is noticeably thicker. Add the other egg white and beat until the volume has tripled. Once the mousse is forming soft peaks, pour it into the serving glasses and refrigerate 2 hours before serving.
(NOTE - I don't have an electric hand beater, so I used my stand mixer and kept stopping to put the bowl into an ice bath and chill it before I continued beating. I wound up with an enormous amount of mousse - (possibly because of the whisking power of the stand mixer ???) so poured the excessive mousse into a bowl and used that for dessert another night. No complaints - it was fantastic).