May 31, 2006

summer in the air

Tokyo's been having a weird spring. This is supposed to be one of the best time of the year in terms of weather, but a fairly chilly April and unusually rainy May seem to have ruined it a whole lot, unfortunately. On top of that, we are soon having a lousy month-long rainy season before a muggy summer finally comes, so any day with some nice sky and any breeze has to be savored while we can. Thankfully, it seems like the weather is finally picking up over the coming few days.

For the better or for the worse, it's already becoming pretty warm and humid

As hydrangeas in my neiborhood have just started bursting with colors

And if I fancy some cold sips, that's when ginge rale comes in... or even better, stir in with some iced tea. Definitely a keeper for summer.

When I go and get some outside air in the evening, I could instantly smell the summer in it - the young leaves, the heat, the humidity, the breeze, every element makes up that familiar air that tells me the summer is indeed almost here. I always struggle with Tokyo summers, but I am actually quite fond of this feeling of sensing an arrival of summer, don't ask me why.

At any rate, this is also the time when something cool and sweet seems as good as it gets...

Although a dessert like this could just fit in at any given day of a year, I would guess. It's called Ginger-scented Chocolate Mousse with Mango and Passionfruit, and that is precisely what it is; cubes of fresh mango, pulp and seeds of passionfruits mixed with ginger syrup, and light and smooth chocolate mousse with ginger bits come in layers in a glass, topped with chocolate shaves. The recipe is from Australia's great Gourmet Traveller magazine, May 2006 issue, and it was the first recipe that caught my attention, firstly because it was pictuerd on the cover (don't even think about compare mine to it!), and secondly, well, the choc-ginger-mango-passionfruit combination just sounded like my type of thing.

It was pretty simple to prepare, although the biggest challenge to me was decoration; I made a very poor attempt to produce chocolate curls, and not only I ended up having a mass of chocolate shaves, but I stumbled and scattered the relatively luxury Valrhona Manjari (that was specified by the recipe as "its slight acidity works beautifully with the fruits") around on the floor. A total mess.

Apart from the messy finish, the dessert turned out impressively tasty. I was pretty happy with the mousse alone, but when it was had together with the mango and passionfruit, the whole thing got along so well. That is probably what it makes a chef recipe, I suppose - like the rosewater-scented champagne-poached rhubarbs I made a couple month ago using the same magazine issue, this one's by Philippa Sibley, a Melbourne-based dessert chef who has reputation as one of the best in town, or in fact, the country. I can't tell if that is true or not, but if other things turn out as good as this one when I try more of her recipes from the magazine, I'll most likely be convinced.

And this is the time when something cool and sweet seems as good as it gets......


Anonymous said...

Chika, I quite like the last shot - it reminds me of the summer in Tokyo somehow... Your dessert looks beautiful, the combination sounds intriguing.

Hope you're doing well, take care.

Anonymous said...

I am French and I love Japan but also the kitchen! would it be possible a little "know"? I do not know if all that I
marked is correct because I used a translator for a part
i like very much your blog ! bye 

Posted by clotilde

JahTeh said...

Once again, Miss Chika, I have used your beautiful photograph of the ginger scented chocolate mousse at my site. I gave full credit to you and linked back to this blog. If you would prefer that I didn't use your photos please let me know and I will just continue to drool here and my friends will miss out. 

Posted by JahTeh

Orchidea said...

HI. I am Italian and I do not know much about Japan... I am glad I found your blog so I can learn more about Japanese food nd culture.
Nice dessert and beautiful pictures.

Posted by Orchidea

Anonymous said...

Wonderful idea of a new summer. I like so much the green light through the green leaves. It's a wonderful blog. I put it as one of my "chouchous" links on my blog. Thank you so much for your vision… V 

Posted by venezia

a said...

What a lovely picture so summer is in the air and thanks for sharing all those photos you have...I love it!


Posted by xtine

Anonymous said...

Hi there, thank you very much for leaving comments :)

Keiko - the photo does indeed represent Tokyo summer, I guess, at least part of it. If I was as skilled as you, the dessert would have looked just as good as it tasted.

clotilde - thank you, what exactly did you mean would be possible?

JahTeh - thanks, looks like it's pretty chilly over there. Take care.


Posted by chika