Home made sweet and tart conversation hearts

사랑해요, saranghaeyo, love you, sweet heart, hope, you, me, je t’aime, L’amour, oui, elsker deg, søt, ja, cute, bff, mahal, poge, maganda, xo xo etc, the list is long. You can put what ever you want on the conversation hearts. We wrote words in different languages and a few in Chinese and Korean. I tried to learn Cantonese when I lived in Hong Kong and I remember learning the carachter above, mei wich means beautifull and consist of two carachters, sheep(goat) and big(joeng + dai=mei). So I guess if a chinese person calls you a fat sow, you should take that as a compliment 😀

What is conversation hearts made of, My youngest and I have tried to make some over the week-end.

First we tried a recipe we found HERE, but we found them to be too soft. The texture reminded us of a little bit stiffer peppermint patty and just sweet. We like Love Hearts so I tried to adjust the recipe a bit. We wanted the candy harder, a bit chalky and brittle and of course a little fizzy. I added a little hard candy ingredients and citric acid to the first recipe.

The light colored is the easy recipe, the other recipe is based on this one

2 tsp gelatine powder
1 dl sprite
o,5 dl water
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp dextrose
1 kg powdered sugar
2 tps citric acid

For white: 1-2 drops green apple flavouring
For yellow: 1- 2 drops mango flavoring
For pink: 1-2 drops raspberry flavoring
For green: 1-2 drops kiwi flavoring

These are the colors and flavors I used, bu you can use the colors and flavors your hearts desire. Remember that the different brands of flavoring and coloring are different, so adjust the flavoring and coloring to your liking.

Prepare 4 bowls with food coloring and flavoring

Bloom the gelatin with the Sprite in the bottom of a mixing bowl. After 5 minutes, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water to melt the gelatin, or microwave in short 5 second bursts until melted, set aside.

Combine water, sugar and dextrose in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.

Boil  this mixture until almost hard candy stage, when you drop a few drops  in cold water it will harden like hard caramel, but not hard candy.

Pull this mixture off the heat and start combining the ingredients

In a mixer combine the sprite and gelatin mixture on slow speed with the sugarmix. Add the powdered sugar a cup or two at the time. Keep adding the powdered sugar until you have stiff fondant-like dough. You may not need all of the powdered sugar. If the dough gets grainy  and hard, put it in the microwave for a 10-20 seconds to soften and knead. Putting it in the microwave the candy becomes more brittle

Turn the dough out onto the counter top and knead until smooth.

Divide the dough in four and knead each part in the prepared bowls with flavor and coloring, or divide into as many portions as you would like colors/flavors and keep any dough you’re not currently using wrapped in plastic to prevent it from crusting over.

If the dough gets crusty and hard, put it in the microwave for a few seconds to soften and knead.

Knead in the colors and flavors until homogenous. Taste a pinch of the dough and add more flavoring.

Roll the dough to about 2-3 mm thickness and cut out hearts or desired shapes.

Arrange the candies on a baking paper lined sheet pan and air dry for 48 hours. After 24 hours, flip all the hearts so they can dry on both sides.

If you have little letter stamps, stamp the letters before they harden or write letters with a decorating pen with edible ink when the hearts have hardened.

As I was writing this I realized that I could have made a sugarfondant paste and added citric acid.


Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings

I got very curious when I read about these wings on this Blog 

I had to try to make it so I googled the recipe, I have never been to the Restaurant in Portland Oregon that serves them and never had them roadside from a stall in Saigon, so I do not know if they taste the same. But I can tell you that we love them, even picky eater MiniMe loves them.

I found the recipe HERE The story is that Ike carried this recipe around with him until he opened his restaurant Pok PokI have made these wings a few times since I first posted them on my norwegian blog back in October 31. 2011, and I have even made the dish with pork.

I tried the wings with just the syrup and it was very sweet and salty, and then I tasted a wing with the syrup, crispy garlic, chopped cilantro, mint and chili. WOW what a flavor bomb and I highly recommended that you try to make these.

Dan: Mum, it is so strange, that dish really stinks, but it is really yummy. I knew that you were making this dish, I could smell it outside.

We eat this with plain jasmine rice and a salad of shredded cucumber, mango (sour / sweet), chopped green onion and a little salt and pepper, to balance the salty wings.

I doubled the coriander and mint,and added chili.

  • 1/2 cup Asian fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, 2 crushed and 2 minced
  • 3 pounds chicken wings, split at the drumettes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for frying
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 tablespoon chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chili
  1. In a bowl, whisk the fish sauce, sugar and crushed garlic. Add the wings and toss to coat. Refrigerate for 3 hours, tossing the wings occasionally.
  2. Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a small skillet. Add the minced garlic; cook over moderate heat until golden, 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
  3. In a large pot, heat 2 inches of oil to 350°. Pat the wings dry on paper towels; reserve the marinade. Put the cornstarch in a shallow bowl, add the wings and turn to coat. Fry the wings in batches until golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels and transfer to a bowl.
  4. In a small saucepan, simmer the marinade over moderately high heat until syrupy, 5 minutes. Strain over the wings and toss. Top with the cilantro, mint, fried garlic and chili.

Filipino banana ketchup

I expected tomato ketchup when I asked for ketchup, but instead I got this sweet strange sauce. Being six years old I could not understand why every thing had to taste strange and different.

Now as an adult, I’ve learned to appreciate the sauce with barbecue.
Urban legend says that the ketchup came about when the american soldiers came to the Philippines and the demand for ketchup became greater than what was available. There were hardly any tomatoes in the Philippines, but there was an abundance of bananas.
0.5 dl raisins
0.25 dl onions
2 cloves minced garlic
0.5 dl tomato pure
2 large ripe bananas
1.5 dl cider vinegar
4.5 dl water
0.5 dl sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon ground chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon dark rum
Combine raisins, onions, garlic, tomato pure, bananas, water, sugar and 2/3 of apple cider vinegar in a sauce pan.

Bring this to a boil and blend the mixture with an immersion blender, add the rest of the vinegar, salt and the chili flakes.

Let this simmer for about an hour on medium heat.  Stir once in a while so the sauce won’t burn. If the mixture gets to thick, dilute with a little water.

Add the rest of the spices and let this simmer another 30 minutes until you get the consistency of ketchup.
Store the sauce in clean bottles or jars.