We are counting down to Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year, both of which fall on the same day this year and for the February month of Romance, Singapore Airlines has, aptly, compiled a list of Romantic Classics for their in-flight movie screening. One which I have watched twice within this month, is the old time classic, An Affair To Remember - starring the impossibly suave Gary Grant and the very likeable Deborah Kerr. For those who needs a reminder, this is the movie that was referenced in Sleepless In Seattle - this is the original movie that pitched the promise of meeting on the Empire State Building rooftop.
I risk sounding old fashioned and cliche by saying this but I will say it anyway, they don't make movies like these anymore. Devoid of glitzy pyrotechnics and computer graphic effects, old movies, I feel, always manage to deliver a mega dose of glamour and class. It could be the charisma of the actors and actresses themselves, the clever lines, the evergreen plot -but whatever they are, I find them less forgettable than the newer movies we are flooded with today. I always have to struggle to remember the name of an actress or a movie today but one can never forget Audrey Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, Lauren Bacall..... The permanent impression of Audrey Hepburn standing in front of Tiffany is indelible and the clever and charged exchanges between Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart in the other Classic Love Story, To Have and Have Not - is priceless and always leave me sighing for more. Here's an example :
[Slim kisses Steve]
Steve(Bogart): What did you do that for?
Slim(Bacall): I've been wondering if I'd like it.
Steve: What's the decision?
Slim: I don't know yet.
[They kiss again]
Slim: It's even better when you help.
These are the type of lines that are waiting to go terribly wrong but when you hear it in Bacall's husky (non-stereo enchanced) voice and see the moody, cool expression on Bogart's face - it becomes eternally memorable!
As I walked by the Duty Free Shop at Changi Airport, the Moet Chandon's Pink Champagne Valentine promotion pack caught my eyes and immediately brought back this scene from An Affair To Remember - where Gary Grant's and Deborah Kerr's character had both unwittingly ordered pink Champagne at the bar counter.When Deborah Kerr dabbed the champagne behind her ear lobes, I was... bewitched. Don't worry, I am not going to go around dabbing champagne on my pulse points - I know I won't be able to pull it off.
(Click on the Video button on the top left corner to see the video. Please let me know if the video doesn't play...)
Determined to find a sweet that would pair with the pink champagne, the first ingredient that came to my mind was strawberry. Once again, I turned to Keiko's Okashi for the Strawberry Mochi recipe. The original recipe called for red bean paste but I decided to put the Prune Paste (枣泥) that I bought in Taiwan to good use and I thought the champagne should pair better with a tangy fruit paste instead of a bean paste.
My first time making a Mochi, I messed up my kitchen quite a bit experimenting with different cooking time for the glutinous rice flour. But all in all, it is quite an easy recipe to follow and I am really glad the Prune Paste is not overly sweet - in fact it was quite subtle allowing the strawberry's sweetness take center stage.
Recipe (Adapted from Keiko Ishida's Okashi)
Prune Paste 170g
Glutinous Rice flour 70g
Potato starch for coating
Small strawberries, 4 washed and hulled.
1. Combine glutinous rice flour and water in a bowl. Mix well. Microwave at 600W for 1 min. Stir the mixture again. Microwave again for 1 min.
2. Cool down dough. Coat dough with potato starch, then flatten using hands. Divide into 4 even pieces.
3. Place 40g of Prune Paste on a cling wrap film. Place 1 strawberry in the middle. Roll the paste to cover the strawberry. Chill the filling for a few minutes.
4. Place each filling ball in the middle of each piece of dough. Cover the Prune Paste dough , gently using your fingers, stretch the dough over the Prune paste balls. Coat rice ball with potato starch and serve immediately.