Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Crème à la mandarine et croquant aux amandes

Literally meant: Mandarin cream with crispy almond. Dish names in French almost always sounds better in French then English doesn't it? Have you tried naming Fois Gras in English? It'll be called duck or goose Liver Fat in direct translation!! Who wants to eat that??!? BTW, ever wondered how its made? Here's the link and frankly I find it barbaric. So does finning shark's fin. We are defined who we are by how we treat others, and that includes treating the animals that feeds us.

So personal ethics aside, got this recipes from my weekly supermarket newsletter, Coop. Tried it over the weekend and its super delicious!

Ingredients for 4 persons
Prep time: 20 mins
Cooling time: about 1 hour

6 or 8 Mandarin oranges OR clementine oranges, only for their juice; around 300ml
2 tbsp of lemon juice
80g of clear marzipan/almond paste, shredded
1 piece of vanilla pod, scrape of its grains
1 tbsp of corn starch
2 eggs
50g sugar

100ml of cream (double cream preferred)

Crispy Almonds
20g of almonds, chop into "matchsticks"
50g sugar
1/2 tsp of water

For the cream
Mix together all ingredients, including the sugar and simmer it on top of low heat while constantly stirring.

When the cream seems to have thicken in consistency, remove from heat source and continue to stir for about 2 minutes. You then strain the cream mixture, cover it and leave it aside until coll enough to pop it in the fridge for about 1 hour.

Crispy almond
Toast your almond sticks on medium heat and pour them onto baking paper. Then boil sugar and water together while stirring continuously on medium heat. Lower the heat when sugar has melted and let it simmer while "shaking" the saucepan occasionally until you get a caramel texture. Pour it over the almonds and let it cool for 15 minutes.Crack them and to decorate your cream. 

The main point here is to strain of the lumps.

Lovely lemony coloured!

Whip it!

An aunt gave a big bags of sliced almonds. Got to use it finally...
Its not so sweet but still a great quick desert.

BEFORE serving, whip your cream and gentilly fold them into your mandarin orange cream mixture. Then ENJOY!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

La Redoute - La Rubbish!!

A little history about La Redoute. Its a French based home shopping website, which started out as a catalogue shop. Now as most of us know catalogue shops never really went into main stream, but still they manage to stick around for years. That is until Amazon made it BIG in the 1995, BEFORE eBay on 1996. Click here for a little of online shopping history.

So this La Redoute started to mail us a catalog sample sometime back in 2006. There's always lots of interesting stuff in their catalogue but I never really wanted to buy from them as I've heard horror stories of bad home shopping experiences.

So one day, against my better judgement and also what hubs told me, I went ahead to buy from them for the very 1st time. It all went well. So did the 2nd order. BUT just fairly recently (November 2010 order - it was on sale), problems started to come up. The main problems with catalogue shopping are ; returns, exchanges, no customer service, package mysteriously got lost and of course my personal favourite, refunds.

With my Nov 2010 sale order, it came on time and all clothing items are intact. But I had to return a really bad quality turtle neck T-shirt and exchange a to big a size blouse. So went ahead to return the items and exchange the blouse. The blouse exchange came back 2 weeks later, which is expected. BUT they charge me extra! I was fuming MAD!

Who ever charge customer the original price for an exchange for something that was on SALE in the first place???? And by the way, there wasn't any notice saying that items on sale can not be exchanged or returned. I wrote them an e-mail before I even made the return and exchange transaction just to be on the safe side. And customer service assured me that the price for the exchanged item will remain on sale.

WTH!!! So wrote them another e-mail to say that its unfair to charge me the original price when you've promised me that it will remain on the sale price. That was 2 weeks ago. Up till now I've not paid the extra charges (which was due on the 31/01/2011 at the amount of CHF17.40). Its NOT because of the menial amount that I refuse to pay BUT for the principal of doing honest business.

Seriously just STAY AWAY from La Redoute!!!!  What a way to began the new year.