19 January 2011

no more cocoa leave-io, one two three

In 1993 the band Blur released an album called Modern Life is Rubbish. While I can't speak for Damon Albarn and his not-overly-merry men, maybe if that album had been made today, they might have called it Modern Life is Rubbish (Except For Twitter). Or even something like Modern Life is Rubbish (Except For Twitter, Wikipedia, free blogging platforms and the wide accessibility of humorous gifs which can replace actual content/emotion.)

Twitter briefly: a website where you log in with a username and deliver thoughts, or news commentary, or links to other content in 140 characters or less, as well as following people who do the same, and potentially re-share - with acknowledgement - those people's content of the aforementioned nature, people who may include verified celebrities, celebrity parodies, companies/brands, and people from other cities that you don't know but whose blog you really like. If you suspect it's not for you then you may well be right, and that's fine. Me, I love it.

Because of things like this:

My already cement-thick adoration for Twitter was further set into steadfast concrete last week. I'd been wanting to make Chocolate Sorbet for a long time now and not having a recipe, I asked my followers whether or not anyone had made it before and if they had any stories to share. Through one person replying and including someone else's Twitter name (yeah, talking about Twitter outside of Twitter can sound cringey), and that someone else happening to be Giapo, the extremely busy-with-good-reason gelato shop on Queen Street in Auckland. I ended up procuring a stunning recipe for Cocoa Sorbet because Giapo - whoever does their tweeting - delivered it to me via Twitter. Told me I only needed cocoa, and asked for the fat content of said cocoa in as caring a manner as 140 character tweets can convey. Kindly told me to go ahead and share the recipe here, that there's no intellectual property on what they do.

Well, it would've been churlish not to after all that effort. Luckily it tastes incredibly stunning, as it should - this recipe uses 200g of expensive cocoa. I trusted Giapo since they make their living from ice cream-related things, but I was still pretty wary, because it felt almost terrifyingly reckless to tip that much cocoa into one bowl. The point is, this recipe only has three ingredients, cocoa, sugar and water. The cocoa flavour will shine, so...it needs to be good stuff with around 20% fat content. I use Equagold, which comes in 300g jars and has 21% fat content. This does make it an expensive recipe, however the other two ingredients are cheap and free, respectively, and it's not like you're paying for eggs, cream, or chocolate. But still. Been warned.

This much cocoa!

Cocoa Sorbet

Recipe provided with thanks and acknowledgement to Giapo.

200g best-quality cocoa (with around 20% fat, such as Equagold)
200g sugar (any old white sugar! woohoo!)
500g water (from the tap! yeah!) (also: yes, grams. Weigh it like it's flour or something, for accuracy purposes.)

Bring your water to the boil in a pan. In the meantime, in a large bowl, measure out the cocoa, fan yourself at the amount needed, move on, and measure out the sugar into the same bowl. Important: stir this (I used a small whisk) untill the cocoa and sugar "are one and the same" in Giapo's words.

Turn off the stove when the water has boiled and pour it carefully into the cocoa and sugar. "Stir, stir, stir" said Giapo - you want this to become a thickish, dark syrupy liquid with no errant cocoa lumps. This is called a cold hot infusion. Allow to cool, then pour into a container and freeze. Every couple of hours go back and whisk it or stir it to break up any ice crystals. Allow to defrost a little before you try and eat it.

With that much cocoa in it, so light-absorbing and chocolate-ful, this recipe had to taste decent. However I was still nervous when I first rolled my spoon across the surface of the sorbet. But: it was actually amazing. The cocoa flavour is unsurprisingly strident, and while there's the necessary sugar to stop this being a throat-clogging, inedible paste, the cleanness of the water allowed the pure, heady, earthy cocoa flavour to be the star.

Without the (admittedly delicious) mellowing of any cream or custard this made for a fairly intense eating experience. A smallish portion satisfies with its aggressive cocoa-ness, but it's easy to keep going. Truly, truly delicious stuff, I absolutely recommend it. The only thing I would change - with all due respect - is to maybe up the amount of water to 750g. While the cocoa itself provides quite a lot of bulk, I feel that the mixture can handle being extended a bit, which also makes it go further and therefore helps justify the use of that much cocoa. I also figure that, if you've only got regular cocoa, you could maybe use just 100g of it, and roughly chop up 200g very dark chocolate and stir it in with the cocoa and sugar.

Hey! Exciting news! As if cocoa sorbet wasn't enough: Tim and I are going on holiday in April. Our first holiday together...ever. To London. And Berlin. And somewhere in Poland, once I remember if I preferred Krakow or Warsaw better first time round. And on our way back to New Zealand we're spending two nights in LA. That's LA, AMERICA! As soon as Tim told me that he jacked that stopover up at the travel agency, I can half ashamedly/half defiantly tell you that the Baby-Sitters Club Super Special "California Girls" was the first thing that sprang to mind. By the way, the reason I'm disproportionately excited about going to America is that I've never been there, whereas London/Berlin/Poland is a re-visit. This is pretty massive for Tim and I - while we met over in England (him from Wairoa and me from Otaua, haha) the last time we stepped foot in an international airport was when we got back to New Zealand in December 2005. We're now, in 2011, finally scraping ourselves into a position financially to be able to travel. We are SO EXCITED. And we're going to book tickets for Wicked in London! I'll finally see it - admittedly not with an Idina Menzel or a Julia Murney in the cast - but still. It has been interesting to love a musical to the point where my feelings have evolved into a kind of "how very 2007, and isn't it a flawed story" fondness without ever having seen it live...but it will be even more interesting to just see it for real. So we're trying something that I've called "nil by purse" where we basically don't spend any extraneous dollars. It'll be like back when we first moved in together, except now we've got an exciting endpoint other than just surviving.

So, since it's nearly six years since I've been to London, Berlin and Poland, and since all I know about LA comes from things like the Baby Sitters Club and music videos, if anyone knows any cheap-but-awesome places to eat, or if anyone would like to (but not in any way be obliged to, because that's just awkward) provide a couch or a floor for two extremely nice New Zealanders to crash on, or know of any amazing things to do and sights to see, then please share your knowledge! (and feel free to email me at hungryandfrozen@hotmail.com.)

Further exciting news: I'm trying to make a recipe index for this blog. Because I don't have a head for strategy it's a bit all over the place and there's not necessarily a heading for everything (mostly just for foods that are a priority to me, like tofu and ice cream). And it's not completed. But it might be useful! To find it, cast your eyes just under the heading picture.
Title via: the gone but not forgotten Notorious B.I.G with Things Done Changed from Ready To Die, which swirls round contemplatively to a pretty devastating final verse.

Music lately:

Emily 2.0 by Wellington's Mammal Airlines from their EP Life of Mammals which you can seriously download for free. I love their music, they deserve to be huge with fuzzy catchy goodness like this.

I Wanna Be Your Dog by The Stooges from their album of the same name. I managed to catch about 15 minutes of Iggy on my break at Big Day Out. From my vantage point up in the stands, miles away, the sound was fairly appalling and...I actually have no idea what I was listening to. But it was fun just to see him at all, exactly as he appears in video footage of other music festivals: sinewed, shirtless, boucy.

Next time: It has been a while since I've been on here, mostly because I was up in Auckland working at Big Day Out, which takes some recovering from. I'm working on more frequency though. Next time there'll probably more skiting about our upcoming holiday. Also, more relevantly, a recipe for blackberry fool.


  1. Great post and that sorbet looks incredible, so dark & decadent. And I agree re Twitter I am a total convert :) And a trip to plan how exciting! I head to UK mid March and a little side trip to Amsterdam & Paris...cannot wait for 5 blissful weeks of no work!! Look forward to the blackberry fool.

  2. The person who tweets for Giapo is "Giapo" himself, Gianpaolo Grazioli, the founder, owner and soul of the store.

    The Cocoa sorbet is one of my favourites! Giapo's insistence on the purest sorbets possible results is some amazing results. The stawberry is incredible, as is the plum! And then there's the gelatos!

    I suspect I pay a trip to Queen St when I need my hit, but it's great to see the recipe here.

  3. Hey! When will you be in Berlin? I'm planning a trip there myself and I feel it would be rather awesome if it coincided with yours. We could go eat summink.

  4. Whoa, that's a mean looking sorbet! Congrats too on your first holiday together! I'm off on holiday in March. First, the UK for a month to see my little sister & her hubbie, as well as a general wander round (& a feed at the The Fat Duck too, if I can convince my sis to mortgage her house) & then a week in France. I just made a gooseberry fool last week, so I'm looking forward to seeing your creation.

  5. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! AAAAAH!!!!!! So excited for your holiday! AAAAAH!!!! I'm so travelsick myself right now and it's only been a year since I was overseas. Cannot wait to vicariously live through you and all your adventures with Tim!

    Aaaah! *tries to calm down*

    I'm also so incredibly thrilled that you were able to make this fabulous sorbet without an ice cream maker. Now I can feel confident that if I splurge on fancy cocoa myself, I'll be able to replicate this :)

  6. LA is a great town (subway is good too). All sorts of different scenes, the Silverlake music scene, cool art scene, and lots of great places to eat. My fave when we were there was Canters Deli on North Fairfax (there's a record store across the road too, called Turntable Lab). It's been in LA since 1931, open 24 hours, classic booth seating, and there's a Jewish bakery out front that sell wee cakes and pastries by the pound.

    Story is that Nic Cage took Rosanna Arquette there for their first date. And they have a cool little bar called the Kibbutz Room.

    Went to this sushi place http://www.yelp.com/biz/taiyo-los-angeles
    great sushi, across the road from the Scientology hotel (Where famous scientologists stay when in LA), and we sat in window and watched the queue for the improv theatre next door - Bobcat Goldthwait was in line. There's a cool bookstore a few doors up. Also, alot of retail places stay open til 10pm too, but dont open til midday.

  7. Thank you.
    My name is Gianpaolo. and I am Giapo.
    Congrats as what you did looks totally amazing for a first timer.
    I see a future here.. I also love your blog!!! WOW!

    A few things re your post comments..

    1)Icecream is a science. Quantity cannot be added and taken off as
    easy as when we cook a sauce in example.
    Icecream making is a full science and as such it cannot be improvised.
    Being into ice cream making means knowning the biophysical interactions of
    water, sugar, fat, air and cold and how they work together on a
    bio molecular basis. I am saying that because adding the 250 g of water to such a low quantity recipe you have used would make it unbalanced... i.e.: the
    smoothness from the fat content of cocoa will be diluted and lost with the new added 250 g of water... besides the water is ice at a higher temperature...
    it means that a freezing point the more water you
    will add the more ice crystal you will form and it will spoil the recipe.

    2) Adding the some chocolate bar chuncks will not make it a sorbet.
    thats what cheap icecreamery do to save money... Chocolate bars
    have milk protein, milk solids, they have milk in it,
    and milk is the word you dont want to see in any sorbet.
    A sorbet is by definition a dairy free product or
    it does not have reason to exist.

    gianpaolo grazioli (giapo)

  8. Wow, looks amazing and, even before reading his comment above, I was inspired to visit Giapo the next time I'm in the city, based as much upon his generosity of spirit as his biophysical skill. May his business thrive! I'm quite excited to think of eating ice cream and sorbet as dabbling in science.

  9. Yay for holidays! I loved Berlin. We stayed at a fantastic hostel in East Berlin: http://www.circus-berlin.de/

    Was about 70 euros a night for a double room. Great value and location - right next to an U-bahn station and heaps to look at in the area.

    Also totally recommend Cocolo (ramen noodle bar), a few blocks from the Circus:

    really simple, delicious food & great atmosphere. A refreshing change from meat and fried potatoes!


  10. Amazing three ingredients can look so good! I have just hooked into twitter but still a bit of a novice but will try and hook up with you there. Gourmet Gannet - Alli- peasepudding

  11. That sorbet looks so decadent!! I've never heard of Equagold, but it's probably better that I haven't because it looks like something I'd eat by the jar. Your vacation sounds like it'll be a blast! I so wish I were in LA right now, it's below freezing here in New York!

  12. Congratulations on your proposed holiday. How long are you going for? Did you have any problems getting time off work the pair of you?
    Sounds like the chocolate sorbet could be on the menu next Christmas!! love and hugs, Nana

  13. Laura, this looks amazing! I've been reading your blog for a while now and always really enjoy it -- thank you. And as I'm about to move to Auckland, I think I'll be paying Queen St and Giapo a visit!

  14. Whoooooooah. Exciting! I'm definitely keen to give this a crack. And very jealous you're heading back to London; I sadly have not it back since I spent my year in Tring! It's on the to-do list, along with a recipe index, and making ice cream. Awesome.

  15. Twitter is the best way to consumer media. Enjoy your travels. Shame you hitting LA, I up in San Fran

  16. Woooo, exciting! I used to live in Berlin, so once you know whereabouts you'll be staying let me know, and I can restaurant-recommend away! (Incidentally, my top accommodation recommendation would be Wombats, which is near Alexanderplatz - for just 40 Euros a night you get a really nice self-catering flat. It also has the advantage of being close to the ever-delicious Mousieur Vuong cafe/restaurant. Voici! http://www.wombats-hostels.com/berlin/hostelpictures/)

  17. This looks amazing, can't wait to try it.
    And yes, Giapo is by far the best gelateria in Auckland.