Some mornings, I would drop my mother off near her workplace. During the 35 mins morning drive, we would tune in to her favourite radio station FM97.2 and chat about random things like her job, my job, the neighbours or laugh at the DJ’s jokes. On this particular morning just few days before the actual Mother’s day, DJ #1 of the morning show caught my attention when he talked about a listener who wrote in to share her mother’s day wish. At first, the listener’s wish sounded weird, as her wish was simply: “Not to have chicken rice with her children, but rather, to eat “no-chicken rice” 无鸡饭 with them.” Puzzled, DJ #2 then asked the same question that I had on my mind, so did she mean she just would like to have the plain rice without any chicken with her kids? But why? Was she on some kind of diet? So DJ #1 explained that she actually didn’t mean the actual chicken rice which in mandarin is called Ji Fan 鸡饭 (“Chicken Rice”), but rather she actually meant Ji Fan 机饭 (“Appliance Rice”).
For those of you who do not understand Mandarin, both Ji 鸡 and 机 pronounce the same while carry entirely different meanings. The latter Ji 机 means an appliance which is also widely used to describe as “handphone” Shou Ji 手机. As for the “rice” 饭, sometimes can be interpreted as “meal”. So in other words, her “No Chicken Rice” actually meant “No Handphone Meal” Wu Ji Fan 无机饭. Up to this stage, I think we all know what she was trying to tell us and I immediately found myself guilty as I do eat 机饭 (“Handphone Meal”) with my mother sometimes though not always and then I also thought of my son who did the same to me quite occasionally, oh and some of my friends too. So do you at times eat 机饭 (“Handphone Meal”) with your loved ones? If your answer is yes, then let’s try to kick this habit off and aim to be present at all times with our meal companions, engage in good conversations with them, look them into their eyes, really taste and appreciate the food with each other’s presence together shall we?
On this mother’s day, I made chocolate truffles for us. My mother is a self-professed chocoholic. She will not stop eating chocolate if she sees them and she would blame me for not keeping the chocolates away from her whenever she ate too much and suffered from bad throat. But on this day, I want her to indulge in good chocolates handmade with love.
I had previously made these hazelnut chocolate truffles and has gotten rave reviews. I always make them with 70% chocolate which has a slightly acidic and bitter notes to it. But this time I tweaked the recipe by replacing some of the 70% chocolate with milk chocolate and added hazelnut extract to enhance the flavour. I also inserted a whole roasted hazelnut into each truffle to add a crunchy texture. The result is a perfect balance of sweet and bitter, with a pronounce hazelnut flavour that tastes like gianduja chocolate and the addition of the milk chocolate produces an ultra creamy consistency that gives you a melt-in-your-mouth experience. Think Royce’s Nama Chocolate Au Lait. Don’t wait, these chocolates are a breeze to make and luxuriously indulgent.
- I strongly encourage the use of non-powdered latex gloves on rolling and shaping the truffles because it can get really messy and uncomfortable doing it with your bare hands.
- These truffles are extremely fragile and melt quite fast, so it is best eaten straight from the fridge. If you want to transport them, be sure to pack an ice pack in.
- I used Callebaut chocolate 70.4% dark and 33.6% milk.
- For the cocoa powder, I used Valrhona dutch-processed.
Hazelnut Chocolate Truffles
Makes 30 luxurious truffles
150g dark chocolate 70%, chopped
100g milk chocolate 33% to 35%, chopped
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp kahlua
2 tbsp frangelico
1/2 tsp hazelnut extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
30 whole hazelnuts, skinned and toasted
1 cup cocoa powder, for dusting
- Place both types of chocolate in a mixing bowl.
- Place the cream in a medium saucepan and heat to almost boiling but not yet.
- Pour hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 10 minutes, then mix well with a whisk or heatproof spatula.
- Stir in the Kahlua, Frangelico, hazelnut extract and vanilla extract and mix well.
- Pour into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator overnight or at least 4 hours for the ganache to firm up.
- Prepare a tray to place your truffles.
- With a melon baller or a teaspoon, scoop the ganache and insert a hazelnut into the centre. Place on the tray and refrigerate for 15 minutes to firm up for easier shaping.
- Sift the cocoa powder into a bowl.
- With your non-powdered latex gloves on, shape each truffles into round shape and throw into the bowl of cocoa powder to coat.
- Arrange the coated truffles in a container and refrigerate until firm before serving. About 2 hours.
Photo credits : All the photos in this post were shoot and edited by Seth Tan (my son) as a contribution to this Mother’s Day post.