Saturday, August 1, 2015

3 ways to enjoy Avocado Mousse

In my quest to reduce gluten intake and satisfy my occasional cravings for cake, I've taken to baking. I am still awful at it. The latest disaster being a "too bitter, too dense" version of the Healthy Chef, Teresa Cutter's Naked Chocolate Cake. The issue isn't her recipe, just my "creativity" and throwing in too many "ideas" of my own. (Hey, why do you think I hack IKEA?) I've had great success with her Banana + Coconut Bread though, which is delicious to the power of 3.

However, as in most things, there is a silver lining. The Avocado Mousse, made to top the cake. It made my ruined cake almost edible. Trust me. It's the bomb! I wondered how I lived so long without tasting this Avocado Mousse Supremo.

This is my first time but I promise you this, it won't be the last. A quick google later, I found the Avocado Mousse touted as a healthy alternative to icing, a gluten-free fan favourite. I also discovered that most people just ate it as well, mousse. That can't be! I made up my mind that this yummy thing should have more application than one. For the next few days, I raked my baking-noob brains for other ways to savour every last dollop of the fluffy, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth goodness.

So I humbly present to you my experiments on the Avocado Mousse.

A modified recipe of Teresa Cutter's Avocado Mousse (Serves 10) Thanks, Teresa!

Teresa suggests a high-speed blender. I don't have one, so I used my regular Philips blender. First I poured in the liquid Stevia, then I added the avocados, vanilla and melted chocolate.

Blend for about 30 seconds until smooth and creamy. You will need to scrape the mousse off the sides of the blender to mix well. Add a splash of water or coconut milk to achieve the consistency you want. Taste and adjust sweetness as needed. Spoon into a bowl and allow to set in the fridge.

Now that you've got the mousse, it's time for some fun!

1. Icing on a cake

This needs no explanation. Make a better version of the cake than I did and slather the mousse all over it. Dig in.


2. Avocado Mousse Coated Banana Popsicles

This was inspired by the cute Tokyo Banana I saw on my trip to Japan. But instead of a banana-shaped-sponge-cake, I thought the mousse may go well with the real deal. At first I wanted to coat a whole banana on a stick but it kept slipping off the skewer. Dang! If you manage to, let me know.

In a bowl, mix the Avocado Mousse with bite-sized banana cuts.


Then, it gets a little messy. When bananas are coated, poke them through skewer sticks. On hindsight, one bite-sized banana on a toothpick may be more fun to serve and eat.


Place the coated banana skewers on a tray and leave them in the freezer for 2 hours. Don't leave them for too long as they will be become impossible to bite into, unless you have jaws (and teeth) of steel.


After 2 hours, they are ready. Cold and crunchy. Sweet and chocolatey. A summer treat.

They should be eaten promptly. If left out in the heat for too long, you get soggy avocado-bananas, which won't fly.



3. Avocado Mousse Coffee Cream

Of the 3, this is my fav! The bitter coffee blends beautifully with the sweet mousse. The creamy coconut seals the deal. It's also beautiful to behold.

First, brew your coffee. Keep it black. Let it cool. (Hot coffee will melt the coconut cream a little and you'll get coconut swirls like the photo below. Impatience, I am looking at you!)


In a shot glass (or small jars, if you wish to keep them for later), gently layer in the ingredients. Using a teaspoon, scoop in a dollop of mousse. Keep adding until the base is covered.

Then slowly pour in coconut cream. Stop when it reaches the midway mark of the shot glass.

Lastly pour in the coffee. Leave it to set in the refrigerator.


Yums...

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

16 things I like about the new IKEA Catalog 2016


The arrival of the new IKEA catalog is always an event, on IKEA Hackers at least. So when the online version went up, I browsed and bookmarked my favourites, way past bed time. This issue is especially fun with "moving" pictures - steam wafting up, water trickling down ... woohoo! There are still loads of little details to pore over - videos to play and extra bonuses to unlock - so this is my first impression of the IKEA Catalog 2016 and the stuff that caught my eye.

The 2016 catalog is all about food and and celebrates how food – and all the activity around it – brings people together. (Last year was the bedroom and bathroom.) In line with the food & cooking theme, the catalog opens with gorgeous spreads of kitchens. The one below with the gold stripped backsplash is definitely attention grabbing. The kitchens also showcase the versatility of the new SEKTION/ METOD system.


I'll start from the kitchen and dining sections and work my way through the catalog. Let's take a look. Here are my top 16 picks from the IKEA Catalog 2016.

#1 LISABO dining table  


Besides its curvy profile, the solid birch LISABO has an interesting back story. It all started with a funny looking dowel. A wedge dowel that completely changes how an IKEA table is assembled. It promises to cut down assembly time by up to 80%. That alone is worth celebrating!   

#2 MÖCKELBY table


The MÖCKELBY has traditional country good looks. Made from solid oak and it is pretty hefty looking. I think it will last forever. Sits 6 comfortably. 

#3 SINNERLIG range


The SINNERLIG range was one of the items I saw during my trip to Sweden and I totally fell in love with it. The use of cork as the base for this range is genius. Unlike some cheapo corkboard material, the SINNERLIG cork has a warm, natural feel. I can't wait for it to arrive in Fall.     

#4 RIMFORSA range


In the RIMFORSA, IKEA introduces another star material - the bamboo. (We will be seeing a lot more of bamboo, that's for sure). It combines beautifully with glass and steel. Hang up the RIMFORSA rail & accessories to free up your kitchen worktop for clutter free cooking. The RIMFORSA tablet stand may also mean the end to hacks like this.

#5 RISATORP cart


I met the RISATORP in person during my last trip to IKEA and was immediately taken by how attractive it is. It's a pretty cart to have around the kitchen for cooking essentials you want to keep close by. The baskets are also detachable. A friend also commented that it may be good for serving a super sized traditional English afternoon tea. 

#6 OLOFSTORP storage unit


I can see the OLOFSTORP working for small kitchens. As a breakfast bar, additional prep area or even a compact kitchen island. I can also foresee lots of people adding wheels to it and carting it around.

#7 New IKEA 365+


The IKEA 365+ range finally gets an update. It's not too fancy and very practical for daily use. I like it especially because of the use of cork as accents.

#8 JÄTTEVIKTIG candle holder


I like this purely for its curves and how it can be used for tealights or candles. 

#9 SÖTCITRON self-watering plant pot


The food theme extends to growing edibles. For inept (and forgetful) gardeners like me, a self-watering pot is a god-send. Fingers crossed, my herbs will not die on me now. 

#10 BITTERGURKA


The name BITTERGURKA is just too cute and seems to be a close cousin of the bittergourd. (Or a very angry Gurkha). That aside, the hanging planters are plain clever! It comes with a hook that lets you hang the pot from a rod. Simply add more pots for a vertical garden. The touch of bamboo makes it so pretty.

#11 JOXTORP 


Moving away from the kitchen, after all, there is more to a home, let's take a look at other sections of the catalog. In the lighting department, I like the JOXTORP paper shades. It's origami-like and at $7, you can swap one out every month or two.

Besides that I am very happy to see that IKEA is all-in with LED lighting. More energy saving and bulbs that last longer. Yay!

#12 SVIRVEL work lamp


I find the SVIRVEL lamp irresistibly cute. It looks like a guy holding his oversized head or plugging his ears (depending on how you want to see it).   

#13 TSUJIG hanger


The branch like TSUJIG hanger is one of IKEA's better looking clothes hangers. You can build up rows of different heights for visual interest. I am not sure yet until I see this in person, but I think it has lots of hacking potential.

#14 NORDLI for the landing space


The NORDLI is not new but I like how it is used here to create a colourful and open landing space. If it is well-organized, a landing space becomes a display in itself.

#15 RÅGRUND bathroom range


The RÅGRUND bathroom range is made entirely from lacquered bamboo, a material that boasts the ability to withstand high humidity. It looks akin to the MOLGER but with more "texture"? I'd need to see it in person to confirm that. But that too tall towel chair over there, I definitely want one!

#16 YDDINGEN cabinets


And lastly, these streamlined tall bathroom cabinets will make any bathroom look neat and structured. I think they will hold loads of stuff and will make great lockers and landing space storage too. 

And that's my rundown of favourites. What about you? What's your favourite piece in the new IKEA Catalog 2016? Tell me in the comments section.  

Besides the products, there are lots of inspiring room sets to oooh and aaah over. Like this one.  


And this.


Another thing I noticed is that IKEA seems to have muted the colours -- going for cool whites, softer greys and blacks. You'd find fewer fire-engine red, green or cyan. Canary yellow is still in but only as an accent colour and where it does appear, it really does pop.  

Hop over here to view the IKEA Catalog 2016 (US version).

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All images courtesy of IKEA.com