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Is this thing still on? One two. One two.

Hello all and welcome back to A Table For Two in 2010! This is the first post of the new year and I have to admit, it is hard to pick up the quill and start writing again after a long well deserved rest over the new year. Anyway, I hope you all had a great holiday with lots of delicious food, wish you all are fatter than me so I can feel better about myself and won’t have to work as hard about losing weight in the new year. Ha! (Well, someone has to take the blame…)

I never would have thought I’d say this but after killing myself with heart clogging roast, roast and more roast for the last whole month, I am so over it. It is true that too much good things can be bad for you. I’ve been having heart burns almost every night before bed, and ENO has suddenly become my new found friend. Enough is enough, Chinese dinner was back on the menu for the New Year’s Eve celebration with the Pom and Big D. But a little indulgence won’t hurt for a special occasion like this and new year’s eve simply not the same without the champagne… with a twist. When the clock struck twelve, we raised our glasses and toasted to welcome the brand spanking new year 2010 with Moscato Champagne Jelly.

The first champagne jelly I made for the Sydney Foodbloggers Xmas picnic was rather underwhelming. Instead of making them into individual portion, I showed up with a tray of longan (dragon eye) champagne jelly, which was almost impossible to serve at a pot-luck picnic. It also slowly melted away under the humid hot summer weather Down Under into a sticky goo, only a raunchy jelly fight in bikinis will make it looks good. Lesson learned and this time I cleverly made them in individual cocktail glasses, it turns out to be one of the most beautiful dessert I’ve ever seen!

I stole borrowed the recipe from Chris at The way it crumbles who also borrowed stole it from SMH which believed to be a Heston Blumenthal’s recipe. Wherever the recipe came from, it is actually a pretty simple recipe to follow and will be very difficult to go wrong, which I somewhat cocked up a little. The timing is important and a very cold glass does help. As I poured the jelly into the glasses straight out from the freezer, it didn’t set as much as I would have liked to, hence the fruit are all floating on the surface, all the bubbles also escaped before it gets to be set and frozen in mid air and the specks of gold leaf were either sank to the bottom or floating on the surface.

But don’t worry, it is still salvageable and you still can make it looks just like the one in the magazine! If you are having the same issue as me with the jelly not setting quick enough, just leave them in the fridge for 20 minutes until it is half way set. Then use a skewer stick and give it a quick stir, try and scrape some of the gold leaf at the bottom and let them swim around in jelly. You will then see the jelly will start to bubble again from the vigorous stir, and now let them continue to set in the fridge. Don’t worry if the bubbles seems tiny while stirring because once set, all the bubbles will be trapped in the same air pockets and they will be a lot bigger once is ready.

You can either use normal white champagne, or the pink moscato for the jelly. White champagne will be cleaner with a crisp taste, while the moscato will be sweeter with fruity flavour…. and of course prettier. Whatever you do, just don’t go and pop that expensive bottle of Moet & Chandon in your collection and start mixing gelatine into it. Cause that’s just silly.

Moscato Champagne Jelly (makes 6)

750ml Pink Moscato Champagne or sparkling wine
150g caster sugar
2 tbsp gelatine powder
2 tbsp cold water
1 handful frozen blueberries
1 handful strawberries quartered
1/2 sheet of gold leaf

1. Place six cocktail glasses in the freezer for 15 minutes. Sprinkle the gelatine powder evenly over a bowl of cold water and allow to bloom.

2. Open the champagne, pour 1 cup into a pan and reseal the bottle with a wine cork. Add the sugar heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, but without letting the mixture boil or get too hot. Remove from heat.

3. Add the gelatine to the mixture, whisking continuously until dissolved. Pour into a jug with a pouring lip/spout and let it cool down completely. Add the gold leaf and whisk the jelly vigorously with a skewer stick to break the gold leaf into tiny specks.

4. Pour the mixture into glass about 1/3 full, and add then strawberries and blueberries. Quickly top with champagne, trying to minimise frothing. Return the glasses to the freezer for 20 minutes, then transfer to the fridge and leave overnight before serving.

Tips: If the jelly isn't set while transferring from freezer to fridge, 1) if the jelly is still watery, let it set for 10 minutes in the fridge then give it a vigorous stir with a skewer stick and leave it in the fridge until completely set. 2) If the jelly is already half way set, is already time to give it a quick and vigorous stir with a skewer stick and leave it in the fridge until completely set. 3) If the jelly is completely set and no bubbles, then you are too late. But still taste nice nonetheless.