Archive | January, 2014

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My first organic choco experience!

 

Today was really eventful for me, so much deadlines and manual edits from my online work and I really got tired working. Of course I always have my favorite stress reliever with me and that is my Nestle chocolate Kit-kat, my chocolate buddy for today

So after having my Kit-kat break my cousin paid a visit today and gave me some organic chocolate from Northern Mindanao Philippines. I was curious about it since I never had any organic chocolate before. I don’t know what it taste like so I sort-a have few hesitation before trying it. But of course like I always said there is nothing wrong with trying new things and so my dear readers…I actually ate it and it tasted different! I can’t compare it to any other chocolates or other sweets since it really tasted different plus I just learned from searching the internet that it is quite pricey! It is expensive! So without a doubt I need to eat it for real! Hahaha…

It has a medium-dark brown color, smooth surface although it has tiny bubbles in the raised lettering, some adhered bits, and a couple of places where the sheen was uneven. Bar has medium hard snap. It has a earthy aroma and scents of roast, fruits and sweetness. Slightly sour. Finish was bitter.

Anyways, after giving a few bites, I have to admit, it tasted a little weird,but after a while it actually tasted great!!  I couldn’t help myself on wondering what it was made of and why it tasted different?

So again we need some accurate and useful information and that is when we seek for help from Mr. Google ^_^

Organic chocolate does have more generous and complex taste. Usually they use 95% organic ingredients like organic cacao, where instead of using pesticides they use conventional fertilizers, soil conditioners and all-natural fertilizers (manure) that creates more sustainable crops. No artificial flavors, dyes, and GMOs. Of course it is sweetened with organic sugar. But it my case the organic chocolate I ate was only 77% organic cacao and 23% cane juice. Not bad for my first time.

I realized that it’s No wonder it tasted different because we are so used to eat conventional chocolates which was already processed and has artificial flavors. This is my first introduction to organic foods and it was a good reality check for me that it is more healthy than what I usually had for my chocolate pleasure!

You heard it right! If we thought that our common chocolates are healthy enough, well I encourage you to read our August 1 2013 Post – Organic Vs. Non-Organic Chocolate and see the real deal about Organic Chocolates and non-organic chocolates. But all in all I can only say that I thank my cousin for giving me that extraordinary chocolate. Oh my, this is bad…Now I want to have more!! -_-
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valentine's day chocolate

Chocolate + Romance = Love? – Discover the truth behind it.

“Chocolate boxes
Men on horses
Valentine’s day
Party’s on Saturday!”

Song Title : 10 on 10 from movie “Pyaar Impossible.”

I heard that song from the said movie. It is all about love. A “Genuine Love” from a not-so-popular guy or should I say, a geek, that falls deeply in love with a super hot and popular rock star chic named Alisha for 7 years but the girl doesn’t have any idea about it. I really loved that movie. Now why are we talking about this? Well basically because it’s about “love month” plus “chocolate”…you do the math! ^_^

Ever wonder why chocolate is often associated with romance? I’ve been wondering that too so I did a couple of research and I have some interesting answers.

While surfing in the internet for my next post, I end-up at a Men’s Forum (Dailystrenght.org) that was currently having a discussion about why do chocolate often associated with romance, some thought it is just used for marketing chocolates, some thought that it’s because people get used to give chocolates as a present. Per se!

For example in Japan on valentine’s day, Japanese women often gives chocolates to men. It is their tradition to express their love to their “special someone” through Chocolate gifts and there are 4 categories of giving chocolates in Japanese tradition:

  • Giri-choco (obligation-choco) – Chocolates given to men whom women don’t feel special love. Example chocolates given to co-workers, bosses.
  • Honmei-choco (prospective-winner-choco) – Chocolates given to a special man from a woman.
  • Tomo-choco (Friend-choco) – Young women exchange gifts with their female friends.
  • White day – Every March 14, It is a tradition for Men to give chocolates or gifts to women.

hmmmm….so those comments from that forum are partially correct…

But actually according to web definition Chocolates has Theobromine it is the primary alkaloid found in cocoa and chocolates, specifically dark chocolates. In modern medicine it is used as a vasodilator or in other words a blood-vessel-widener, a diuretic or urination aid and a heart stimulant.  It is said that it stimulates dopamine production.

As it is a myocardial stimulant it increases heartbeat as well, yet it also dilates blood vessels causing a reduced blood pressure or  in short  “a feel good” neurotransmitter so the brain is feeling all warm and fuzzy like when you are in a romantic mood. ^_^

That is why Theobromine has also identified as one of the compounds contributing to chocolates reputed role as an aphrodisiac. See post from October 13 –  Can chocolate act as an aphrodisiac?

So what can we learn about this article? True that whenever we eat chocolates there is a component that can cause us to feel warm, sensual and gives us a romantic mood, for some countries giving chocolate is a tradition and for some it’s just a common gift or a marketing tool…but for me if someone gives me a Chocolate gift not just because I am a choco enthusiast, that only means that he/she appreciates me and that enough is the meaning of love and acceptance. Oh yeah! ^_^

 

 

 

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Cocoa

Cocoa Polyphenol – Can save us from Cancer and Neurodegenerative diseases!

chocolate_piece-263x164[1]Chocolate – Good for health?

To those who are health-conscious  people, eating chocolate may not be included in their dietary needs since there are some news about eating too much chocolate that can be bad for your health.  That is partially true specially when you’re not careful on what you eat right? But then again a lot of scientific studies proves that dark chocolate has some benefits for our health.

For example, Japanese Newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun states that Chocolate is good for you health because it contains Cocoa Poly-phenol which helps to inhibit arteriosclerosis and cancer. Further more chocolate is said to be effective in balancing the immune system and  helping the body to recover from stress.  Professor Hiroshige Itakura of Ibaraki Christian University says: “High quality chocolate that uses plenty of cocoa beans and very little sugar and oil is the most effective.” From the Magazine awake.

However our focus for today’s article is about Cocoa poly-phenol of course it can be found in Dark Chocolates. Now what do we know about Cocoa Poly-phenol? According to web definition: It is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamin A, minerals and amino acids that helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It provides excellent softening and moisturizing benefits.

So how does Cocoa Polyphenol can save us from:

CocoaCANCER:  Number one cause of it, STRESS. Cocoa Polyphenol can regulate intestinal inflammation through the reduction of neutrophil infiltration and expression of different transcription factors, which leads to decreases in the production of pro inflammatory enzymes and cytokines that triggers cancer cells so phenolic  from cocoa can protect us against diseases due to oxidative stress that cause cancer.  From Departament de Farmacologia Facultat de Farmàcia, Universitat de València, Burjassot, Valencia, Spain.

NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASES : Popular examples are Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Now what is the main cause of Alzheimer’s? Well the scientist believes that 80% of most people that has this diseases, these are the results from a combination of generic, lifestyle and environmental factors that affect the brain over time. According to mayoclinic.org

 So how does cocoa polyphenol helps? The Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO, Center for Biotechnology, Temple University, Philadelphia PA USA) and The University of L’Aquila (Italy) Studied the possibilities and the findings were published on Journal of Cellular Biochemistry quote “Our studies indicate for the first time the cocoa polyphenols do not act only as mere anti-oxidant but they, directly or indirectly, activate the BDNF or Brain-derived neurotrophic factor survival pathway counteracting neuronal death” – S.H.R.O

It is very clear and the whole world already knows about it, that Dark Chocolates do not just satisfy our chocolate pleasure/desires but it is also a source of good health. I believe that with the proper information, we can enjoy this much and be able to stay healthy!

Posted in Chocolate 101, Chocolate Indulgence11 Comments

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Chocolate pleasure “Thai Tradition!”

imagesKP3V5BF1สวัสดีอีกครั้งทุกคน – Hello again everyone!

My last Asian entry as for this Month…

Well..we all know that chocolates aren’t just some random dessert that is only good in taste but has no nutritional advantages for those who eat it, because scientific studies shows that there are health benefits from these scrumptious sweets that we can acquire through proper information. For example chocolates can be nutritious when combined with nutritious foods like fruits and herbs.

So wouldn’t it be nice just to take a rest from the life’s ups and downs for a while and just have a moment with your bowlful of GUILT-FREE chocolate pleasure for snack time?

That is soooo possible!

Let me introduce you to Thai’s very own “Chocolate Mango Mousse”. Now chocolate mousse are very popular all over the world, well obviously in any country it is well known as well as Mango recipes. So you might wanna ask, “What is so special about Thai’s Chocolate Mango Mousse that it stands out among others?

The answer is quite simple…”Coconut Milk”.

Thailand is a tropical country therefore the land is rich in tropical trees and plants as well as Coconuts and of course tropical country has mangoes, variety of sizes,shapes and classifications. According to studies and experts, Coconuts are said to be a “Treasure Fruit” why? because every part of a coconut is healthy, and No part of it is useless or can be thrown away, from seed to tree, from leaves to fruits and from it’s very own coconut milk. This is why it made this dessert stand out and critics who have tasted Thai’s Chocolate mango mousse testify that their version was the best.

I know it is hard to just rely on someone’s story to know if a food is that extremely delicious and I wont force you to believe me..why don’t you see for yourself and experience the fun and excitement from this new discovery?

Here’s what you need:

  •  1/2 can of coconut milk.
  • 1 and 1/3 diluted dark chocolate (160g)
  • 1 or 2 ripe mangoes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp brown or white sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of ground cardamom

Procedures:

  • Pour the diluted dark chocolate in your blender and blend until smooth and thick. Put the egg, mango slices, cardamom, sugar and salt blend it all together until it becomes smooth.
  • Pour 1/2 can of coconut milk into a pan and put it into a medium heat until slightly boiled or steamed.
  • Pour it in the blender, and blend for high speed in a minute or more. Add the remaining milk in any amount you want depends on your preference.
  • Pour the finish mousse in a bowl or glass bowl and placed it into your fridge. Chill for 4 hours.
  • Garnish with some mango slices on top of it then served. Enjoy!!

This is perfect for parties or any occasion.  It is a healthy and delicious dessert that at first tasted a little different from your regular mango or chocolate mousse but I’m telling you it is what you need to be able to experience an awesome twist on your regular sweets in Thai Tradition!

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Hoddeok – Korean Pancakes with fillings

images0YNGWEOL안녕하세요  여러분! – Korean

Pancakes – you can’t go wrong with pancakes, right?

Good for morning meals, or even afternoon snacks. Usually served with honey syrup or apple syrups or melted butter. Very nutritious and delicious.

But where’s the chocolate?

We’re talking about chocolates right? So how does the pancakes fit-in?True, in our traditional pancakes, there’s no chocolate mixtures needed, but Koreans don’t take pancakes as it is, so they made a very interesting twist on pancakes and they named it “Hoddeok”.

Why Hoddeok? you might wanna ask.

“Hoddeok” (or Hotteok) – means filled-in pancakes. Well that’s exactly what it is, pancakes with fillings!! It is very popular in Korea and it is one of their best selling street foods. These filled pancakes are very satisfying and comes with variety of fillings like jelly, vanilla or fruits. But we’ll focus on their ever famous Chocolate Peanut Butter Hoddeok.

Ooooh no! You don’t have to fly to Korea just to try this. You can do it yourself. Actually we have 2 options,  it’s either buy the ready-made ingredients in any Asian or Korean Groceries  Stores near you or create your very own using these Ingredients:

Here’s what you need: (for 7-8 servings)

  • 1/2 tsp instant dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup of milk
  • 3 1/2 tbsp water
  • 1 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour (dash of salt)
  • 6 tbsp of Hershey’s chocolate or any special dark chocolate chips would do.
  • 3 tbsp smooth peanut butter.

And here’s how we do it:

  • Dough – on one clean bowl, mix the dry yeast, whole wheat,  milk and water together and let it heave and thicken for an hour or so. (Put cover or plastic wrap on top).
  • Filling – on a separate bowl, mix the peanut butter, dark chocolate and some vanilla if you wish. Better to melt the chocolate first so this will serve as your fillings. Hmmmmm
  • Once your dough is ready, make 7 to 8 balls but make sure to wet your hands so the sticky dough wont give you a hard time. Flat each ball slightly and then add a spoon full of fillings and then cover it again using the dough it self.

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  • On a iron frying pan or sauce pan, cook one at a time . Press each ball to flatten them using spatula. When it’s color starts to turn brown, flip it on the other side until all cooked.
  • Serve and ENJOY…(i sooo loved writing that ^_^)

I know that pancakes is not that much an option for breakfast specially to those who loves chocolates. Believe me, I know how it feels because  I myself prefers choco cereals, but when I learned about this recipe I couldn’t wait to try it myself and it pays off once you had your very first Hoddeok.

As I have told you before folks, there are more incredible Chocolate Recipes out there waiting to be discovered.

Sticking on those recipes we know isn’t a bad thing, but exploring new and exciting Chocolate recipes isn’t bad either. Ain’t that Right? So what are you waiting for? Try it now!!

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Kumquat spring Rolls

Chinese – Kumquat Chocolate Spring Rolls

Kumquat spring Rolls你好大家好!
Nǐ hào dàjiā hǎo!

More Asian Chocolate Recipes coming right up!

Well truth is I never been to China or Hong Kong or even in Taiwan although I always wanted to go to Macau ^_^ but it doesn’t matter because as many of you my Dear Readers know, I’m sure we can all agree that there are Chinese people everywhere and I do mean everywhere!! China Towns, Chinese Businessmen, Chinese Furniture, Chinese Traditions, hmmmm…and even Chinese Recipes…yes! Chinese Recipes which we are going to talk about in this article.

Now as some of you might notice, Chinese people loves to cook and they’re really good at it even in Chocolates! How do I know? It all started when my dear Chinese friend cooked this awesome Chinese Chocolate Recipe and introduced it to me and they called it “Kumquat Spring Rolls” . Kumquat is actually a fruit closely resembles that of the orange and can be found in South Asia and the Asia-Pacific region particularly grows in the tea hills of Hunan, China.

Now how did this fruit becomes a part of this chocolate spring rolls? Why don’t you try making it?

Here’s what you need:

  • 5 kumquats, cut into 1/4-inch slices and seeded (juices reserved)
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp ( 4 1/2 ounces/127 grams) heavy whip cream
  • Vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • 8 1/4 ounces (233 g) bittersweet chocolate pr dark chocolate  finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp orange flavored liquor (preferably  Grand Marnier)
  • 1 tbsp butter unsalted ( softened)
  • 36  5-inch square spring roll wrappers
  • 1/8 tsp of salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
Procedures:
  • In a saucepan, put the kumquat slices & its juices, add whip cream and salt for a medium heat.
  • Put the chocolate in a bowl and while the kumquat mix is still hot, combine them. Mix them until smooth.
  • Add the egg yolk, liquor, butter and then mix them until combined.
  • Once done with the mixing, place a plastic wrap in the pan then pour it and placed it in the freezer (do not put cover) wait until completely hard.
  • Take the plastic wrap then slice it into lengthwise in half then cut each half crosswise to have at least 36 chocolate bars.
  • Wrap each chocolate bars into your spring roll wrappers but before that spread a little beaten egg into the surface of the wrapper and then make a roll.
  • Heat a saucepan with oil into 350°F. When ready, fry the spring rolls into the pan (but careful not to crowd the pan)turn occasionally until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm and Enjoy!

What are the Health Benefits we can get by eating Kumquat Chocolate Spring Rolls?

Since Chinese are well known for their variety of powerful medicines made from herbs and plants that they also used for cooking, Kumquat fruits is also rich in Vitamin C which increase immunity and can protect us from cold, flu and common infections. It also has a high amount of antioxidants that helps neutralize free radicals that are due to oxidative stress. In short it can help us and can protect us from cancer and heart diseases. Plus the health benefits from dark chocolate that contains antioxidants as well, this recipe is without a doubt, Healthy!!

So no need to hold yourself back from having this tasty treat. Props to our Chinese Men who invented this!! ^_^

 

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Tiramizu

Grahams Tiramizu – Italian-Filipino Style Chocolate Cake

Ciao tutti! – Italian

Cake made from Chocolate crackers?

It’s not just a normal cake but it is made from Chocolate Crackers.

Wherever you go, whatever country you visit there will always be cakes everywhere just as chocolates can be found anywhere.

But let us admit that not everyone knows how to bake. Take it from me guys I don’t know much about baking for real, so I was thinking…. is there such a chocolate cake recipe that I can make or create without using any oven or any types of baking skills?

Well actually there is…and it is called “Grahams Tiramizu”. Now before we talk about how to make this, guess you’re wondering what “Tiramizu” actually means?

According to Wikipedia Tiramizu came from Italian word Tiramisu (tiramisù) meaning “pick me up” or “lift me up” – is a popular coffee flavoured Italian dessert. It is made of ladyfingers (Savoiardi) dipped in coffee, layered with whipped mixture of egg yolks, egg whites, sugar and mascarpone cheese flavoured with cocoa.  There has been a debate about the year it was created. Truth is I never had this Italian Tiramizu ever before. But as time goes by, people’s creative minds has made cakes more exciting, extraordinary and in this day it was adapted into different types of desserts,  and now a Chocolate version of it using Graham Crackers.

Now Grahams Tiramizu isn’t as complicated as our previous recipes (e.g pudding) In fact, anyone can make it!

tiramizu

Here’s what you need:

  • 3 packs of 200 g Chocolate Grahams Crackers
  • 4 pack of 250ml Nestle All purpose cream  (Chilled over night)
    food_condiments_nestleallpuposecream250ml_0[1]
  • 2 cans of  300ml Carnation Condensada (condense milk)
  • 4 oz bars of Dark Chocolate (you can use Milk chocolate depending on taste) if you want it to be more chocolatier you can add more chocolate bars. It’s up to you.

How to do it:

Step 1 : Cream

  • On a separate bowl Mix the condense milk and cream until it becomes smooth. Set aside.

Step 2

  • Evenly place the Crackers at the bottom of a deep container (Square or round) this will serve as your first layer.
  • Pour the cream and spread it evenly. (Thickness depends on your reference.)
  • Sprinkle the Dark Chocolate (chopped in pieces according to preference)
  • Repeat the same procedure to create 3-4 layers.

Step 3 : For Covering

  • Spread the cream and sprinkle Dark chocolates on top. Refrigerate for an hour and then serve and enjoy. ^_^

 

I don’t know about you guys but to me this creation Grahams Tiramizu is like an Oasis in the middle of the dessert. ^_^ Because sometimes I do get depressed and stressed out, so making this on my own since it’s very easy to create and indulging it keeps my mind calm and relaxed.

So I encourage everyone to try this one out and you’ll see what I mean.

 

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Posted in Chocolate 101, Chocolate Indulgence, Recipes2 Comments

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Japanese Chocolate Purin for 2014 Good Vibes! ^_^

Konnichiwa Minna-san!! (Hello everyone!!)

Yes! We’re on to Japanese mood at this very moment so bear with me my beloved readers,  sit tight coz this will gonna be a one blog chocolatey good vibes.

Okay! When your body starts to crave for a chocolate pleasure, my advice is you better listen. Why? Because I know too well that there is no point on holding yourself back or resisting it because the temptation is really unbearable specifically when you’re resisting yourself from indulging into a fine fluffy Chocolate Pudding with thick chocolate sauce on top of it and when it is in your mouth it quickly melts, and give you a creamy chocolatey goodness that Oh my gosh! It’s sooo fluffy chocolatey I’m gonna die! Hahaha

Anyway back to our topic, yes! Chocolate Purin or Pudding is getting a lot of attention nowadays, I’m talking about different Choco pudding versions and presentations, but in this blog we are going to talk about one, and that is Japanese Chocolate Pudding where in everyone in Japan adores it.

Making the Japanese Pudding needs a careful and specific guidance from the experts. It may take a while, but it’s worth the shot. (I had to repeat it 20 times before it actually becomes fluffy.)

So here’s what you’ll be needing

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla
  • plastic wrap

Procedures :

  • In a microwave safe bowl, bring together the sugar, cocoa, & cornstarch. Whisk in milk a little at a time to avoid chunks so you can have a fine mixture.
  • Put in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes (high)
  • Stir. Cook at 1 minute intervals, stirring between cooking times for 2 – 4 minutes, or until shiny and thick. Mix and stir in vanilla.
  • Don’t forget to put/place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the chocolate pudding to prevent a skin from forming. The pudding is hot so careful, but don’t worry the plastic wont melt so it is safe.
  • Chill in the fridge. Serve cold and there you have it  Indulge!!

I remember there’s this one  anime boy character that really loves his Japanese Choco pudding. He always have pudding for snack. After every scoop he always says “Wooju..bouko wa tengoku ni iru yo!”  or “Wooju…I’m in heaven!”.

In my case, “If I can’t have any Chocolate Pudding in heaven, then I don’t wanna go there!”. ^_^ Don’t just rely on what I wrote here folks, see, try and taste it for yourself so you’ll know what I was talking about. Ne?

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