A couple of days ago, we had my birthday dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant, a treat from my hubby. Yup, no cooking on that day :) We were late, as my kids had some schoolwork to finish and by the time we reached the restaurant, we were really hungry! It was a lovely dinner. I enjoyed the appetizers more than the main course! Took some pictures to share.
Vietnamese Spring Rolls, this is REALLY good! Served with some delicious sweet salty sauce, yummy! There's another appetizer dish which we ordered, a huge piece of prawn crackers topped with fresh shredded veggies with a drizzle of light sweet and sour sauce , with cold prawns and squids, really delicious. I have forgotten to take the photo for this appetizer.
A side dish, small little saucers filled with steamed rice flour topped with some fried shallots, garlic (and some other secret ingredients!) and croutons, with some sauce to spoon over and enjoy! Really good!
My daughter ordered a plate of noodles with chicken, prawns, squids and some veggies. My son ordered a bowl of chicken ball noodles, which is very tasty, and again, I have forgotten to take a photo of his noodles, we were extremely hungry! :)
A glass of delicious refreshing drink! Basil, Lime and Soda, this is so good!
A pot of Vietnamese tea for my hubby.
The cute little saucer has a depression in the centre to place the little teacup.
We really enjoyed the dinner and I would not mind going back there again just for the appetizers! By the time we reached home it was already 10.30pm and all of us were so stuffed from dinner that we did not even have our dessert. I made for myself Chocolate and Walnuts Toffee Tart, on that same evening, before we left for dinner. By the time we came back, the chocolate has not quite set yet. And since we were so full from dinner, I placed the tart in the fridge, after the birthday song :) and only have it the next day.
Happy Birthday to me! :)
Oh my! this is SO DELICIOUS! I am overall not a number one fan of chocolates, but this is incredibly good! If you love chocolates, please do make this! It's not difficult to do, I would say it is quite simple and easy, and the end result is just fantastic! The original recipe uses hazelnut, but since I have only walnuts, I use that instead. Rachel says to serve it at room temperature, but we prefer it chilled, take it out from the fridge and leave it for about 5-7 minutes before serving. Heavenly!
The sweet crust is not sweet at all, it has all the right balance of butter and sugar, I really like the crust, it would be a nice basic crust for any sweet tarts.
The walnut toffee filling is so good, with just the right amount of sweetness.
The chocolate mousse is smooth, creamy and delicious. I use a bar of semi-sweet chocolate instead of dark chocolate as that was what I had, and it is lovely.
Put them all together, the lovely crust, the walnut filling and the smooth creamy chocolate, and you will get a delicious, gorgeous chocolate tart! Go make this!
Chocolate and Hazelnut Toffee Tart
I'm sharing this with
(adapted from "Rachel's Favourite Food At Home" by Rachel Allen)
1 portion of Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (recipe below)
For The Hazelnut Toffee :
50gm (2 oz butter)
75ml (2-3/4fl oz) single cream (I use heavy cream)
100gm (4oz) soft light brown sugar (I use 80gm)
150gm (5oz) hazelnuts, roased, peeled and coarsely chopped (I use walnuts)
For The Chocolate Mousse :
200ml (7fl oz) single cream (I use heavy cream)
200gm (7oz) dark chocolate, broken into pieces
To serve :
Cocoa powder (optional)
Softly whipped cream
Roll out the pastry to line a 25cm (10 in) tart in. Cover and chill for 20 minutes, then blind bake. The pastry will not go into the oven again, so it must be completely cooked.
For the hazelnut toffee layer, place the butter, cream and brown sugar in a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat, add the hazelnuts and allow it to cool. Spread over the cooked tart shell.
For the chocolate mousse, place the cream in a saucepan and bring to the boil, remove from the heat and immediately add the chocolate, stirring until the chocolate has melted and mixed with the cream. It should be just tepid now. Pour over the hazelnut toffee in the pastry case.
Place the tart somewhere cool until the chocolate mousse has set. If you are keeping it in the fridge, let it come to room temperature before you serve. Dust the tart with cocoa (if using), slice and serve with softly whipped cream.
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
(adapted from "Rachel's Favourite Food At Home" by Rachel Allen)
This makes enough to line one 28cm (11in) square or one 25cm (10 in) square tin (with a little left over), or two 20cm (8in) square tins, (it is best if they have removable bases). Uncooked pastry freezes perfectly, so it is handy to have some in the freezer. It will also keep in the fridge for a couple of days.
250gm (9 oz) plain flour
125gm (4-1/2oz) butter, diced and softened
1/2 - 1 egg, beaten
25gm (10 oz) icing sugar
Place the flour and butter in a food processor. Whiz for a few seconds, then add half the beaten egg and continue whizzing. You might need to add a little more egg, but don't add too much - the pastry should just come together. (If making by hand, rub the butter into the flour, then use your hands to bring it together with the egg). Flatten out the ball of dough to a thickness of about 3cm (1-1/4 in), wrap or cover with cling film, and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
When you are ready to roll the pastry, remove from the fridge. Place the pastry between two sheets of cling film, which should be bigger than your tart tin. Using a rolling pin, roll it out until it is no thicker than 3mm (1/8 in). Make sure to keep it round, if the tin is round, and large enough to line the base and sides of the tin.
Removing the top layer of cling film, place the pastry upside-down (cling film side facing up) in the tart tin. Press into the edges, cling film still attached and, using your thumb 'cut' the pastry on the edge of the tin to give a neat finish. Remove the cling film and pop the pastry in the freezer for at least 10 minutes.
BLIND BAKING :
Blind baking is a way of partially cooking a pastry case before adding its filling. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F), Gas mark 4. Line the pastry with greaseproof paper when cold (leaving plenty to come up the sides), fill with baking beans or dried pulses (you can use these over and over), and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the pastry feels dry. Remove the paper and beans, brush with a little leftover beaten egg and return to the oven for 2 minutes. Take out of the oven and put to one side while you prepare the filling. This can be easily made a day in advance.
(kitchen flavour's notes : I made 3/4 of this pastry recipe and use a round 9" tart pan. I baked blind for 20 minutes, remove the paper and beans, and bake for another 7-8 minutes till the pastry is cooked and golden brown.)