Almond meringue gateau with mango cream cheese filling.

This was inspired by a recipe I saw in one of my recipe books. The original recipe called for hazelnuts, raspberries and whipped cream filling, but obviously, as the title has indicated….I replaced them with almonds, mangoes and cream cheese.

I used almonds because it’s cheaper than hazelnuts and I happened to have them in the pantry. Same goes for mangoes.

As for the filling, although I had whipped cream, I thought it might render the meringue a bit too damp by the time I delivered it to Old Klang Road (where a bunch of us were having dinner) so I replaced it with cream cheese, which tasted like, oh I don’t know, 100 times better? Hahahaha.

# – Almond meringue gateau with mango cream cheese filling.

It should be quite stress-free to make this gateau but for some unknown reason, baking luck was not with me.

The recipe called for 4 egg whites…but I managed to waste about 7 eggs due to “reason of multiple yolk explosions in hand” before I managed to successfully separate 4 eggs. So yeah, total number of eggs used were 11, instead of just four :P

/hangs head in shame…

And then, believe it or not, I managed to burn my first batch of meringues. I’m guessing hazelnuts have higher burning temperature compared to almonds because my attempt to bake almond meringues at the temperature stated by the original recipe resulted in two burnt discs of rancidness.

/hangs head in shame again…

As dinner time was approaching quickly, I had to whip up a new batch of meringues at lightning speed. Thankfully, an almost yolk explosion incident was successfully averted and I even had the rare brilliance of turning the oven’s temperature down, resulting in perfectly baked almond meringues.

Final count of eggs used: 15.

Anyway, enough with the sob stories, lets begin on how to make this delicious pudding!

For the meringues:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 180 grams of caster sugar
  • A few drops of vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon of vinegar
  • 120 grams of ground almonds

For the filling:

  • 2 mangoes, peeles and cut into small cubes
  • 1 tablespoon of icing sugar
  • 300 grams of cream cheese, softened
  • 5 tablespoons of yogurt

# – First, beat the egg whites until fluffy and then gradually add in the caster sugar while still beating.

# – When the mixture has turned glossy, add the vanilla essence.

# – Followed by the vinegar. I used malt vinegar in this case. Beat for about 10 seconds more.

# – Next, fold in the ground almond.

# – Gently stir until combined.

# – Separate mixture into two 8″ pie/cake tins. I used non-stick silicon baking moulds but you can greased ordinary tins and lined them with non-stick baking paper.

# – Stick into preheated oven at 135 degrees celcius for about 40 minutes to 1 hour. Always check to make sure your oven’s not too hot to avoid burning. The final result should be slightly browned.

# – When done, leave the meringues out to cool down completely.

# – In the meantime, beat softened cream cheese and yogurt together until smooth.

# – Add a tablespoon of icing sugar to balance out the tartness.

# – Then throw in the cubed mangoes.

# – Gently fold to combine. The mango cream cheese filling is now done. I don’t recommend sticking it in the fridge as it’ll be hard to spread chilled cream cheese.

# – When the meringues have completely cooled down, place one piece on a serving plate and then spread the mango cream cheese filling all over.

# – Next, top with the other piece of almond meringue and dust icing sugar all over. Chill in the fridge for at least one hour. It tastes better chilled.

# – Almond meringue gateau with mango cream cheese filling, DONE!

The gateau is a combination of crispiness, nuttiness and crumbliness with the most decadent, almost savoury cream cheese filling. It is a true adult’s dessert. I brought the gateau to a dinner outing, which will explain the sudden change of lighting in my pictures.

# – Crispy, slightly crumbly almond meringues with a rich, decadent mango cream cheese filling.

# – Grill Sergeant Lance giving me the look of approval. Yay!

# – I can’t wait to make more!

The boyfriend was very happy with the pudding too and told me it’s like I’d combined my 3 big loves into one super dessert: pavlova, macaron and cheesecake.

Yeah baby, that’s how I roll it!

How to make your own cheese or paneer.

I’m really excited to share this because it’s so simple! This is actually an Indian recipe for making paneer, an almost tasteless crumbly white cheese, which, excitingly….can be flavoured however you like!

I’ve always fantasised about making my own cheese because cheeses are so expensive here! The only cheap cheeses are cheese slices which probably are not even real cheese and they taste like plastic.

There are only 2 ingredients that you need to make this basic cheese, milk and lemon juice! Excited yet?

Utensils you need:

  • 1 tea towel or muslin cloth
  • 2 pots
  • Something heavy like a chopping board or stone mortar (to weight the cheese down)

The ingredients:

  • 1 litre of fresh milk
  • 100 ml of lemon juice (or acid like white vinegar)

# – First pour the milk into a pot and bring it to boil on medium heat. Stir sometimes.

# – While the milk boils, set the teatowel over the other pot, like this…

# – When the milk starts bubbling, pour in the lemon juice bit by bit while stirring.

# – As you stir, you will notice that the milk begins to curdle. Looks like bashed up tofu. Stir for another minute or two.

# – Pour the content into the tea towel set up earlier to strain.

# – When you lift the tea towel up, you can see what’s left behind is a clear yellowish liquid. This is called whey. Some people use it to boil rice or something but I just discarded it…

# – Turn the pot upside down and place the drained curd (still in tea towel) on top.

# – Weigh it down with something heavy for 2 hours. You can do this in the sink cause it’s wet. Check out my style…

# – After 2 hours, cheese. DONE!

# – You can use it straightaway but if you want a less crumbly cheese you could knead it a few minutes to soften the texture, which I did. If you want to flavour it, you should chuck in the flavourings at this point…parsley, garlic, dried fruits…make it happen!

# – Wrap it up in clingwrap if you’re not going to use it immediately.

# – Keeps for 5 days in the fridge.

Told you it’s simple. It’s crazy simple!!!!

Cauliflower macaroni cheese recipe.

The BF has been bugging me to make him cauliflower cheese for the longest time. He grew up eating them and it’s one of his favourite comfort foods.

I don’t know why I haven’t gotten around to making it. I guess I was intimidated by the vegetable?

I’ve never cleaned and prepared cauliflower before. And it’s white. That’s just abnormal. Vegetable is supposed to be green or at least in darker shades of colours. White is creepy.

Then, one day while out grocery shopping, he plonked a 1.5 kilograms worth of cauliflowers into our trolley. I had nowhere to run. I had to make cauliflower cheese or else…

I decided to chuck in some macaroni, so I didn’t have to cook a carb to go with :D

# – Cauliflower macaroni cheese.

The ingredients:

  • 300 grams of macaroni
  • 800 grams of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 180 grams of grated parmesan and a bit more for the topping (you can use cheddar or any crumbly hard cheese too)
  • 300 ml of milk
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 tablespoons of mustard powder
  • Salt & Pepper

# – Prepare a deep pot of boiling water seasoned with salt. Throw in the cauliflowers. They take about 8-10 minutes to cook through. Depending on how long your pasta takes to cook, chuck them in at the appropriate time too so they cook together with the cauliflower.

# – Put your baking tray or heatproof dish over the stove, heat up a bit of oil and throw in the sliced onions to brown.

# – Pour in the milk.

# – Then the grated parmesan. Stir till mixture’s combined.

# – Next, put 3 tablespoons of mustard powder. Stir.

# – Followed by the drained cauliflower and macaroni.

# – Give it a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper (Actually you can season the cheese sauce first before adding in the cauliflower/pasta but I forgot :P). Stir.

# – Sprinkle more grated parmesan all over the top.

# – Place the halved cherry tomatoes all over the top.

# – Stick it in the oven, on a top rack to grill at 210 degree celcius for 10 minutes or till the top is browned.

# – Cauliflower macaroni cheese, DONE!

Cheesy, creamy and soft but most importantly, easy to whip up. The ultimate comfort food! I guess you can say it’s quite healthy too as there’s no meat involved.

But who am I kidding? Something that tastes this good CAN’T be healthy, hahaha.