In a blink of an eye, 2018 is a few hours away. To tell you the truth, I don’t remember much of 2017 except finding out that I was pregnant, dealing with some complications of pregnancy, and giving birth to Dillon. Everything was a bit hazy after his birth especially the first two months while I was recovering from surgery and relearning how to take care of a newborn. My husband and I often joked that amnesia must have been our brain’s protective mechanism of shielding us from how traumatic parenting can be, especially those early days.
As Christmas approached, I was ready to get a tree, deck the house, cook up a storm, and celebrate Dillon’s first Christmas but life has a funny way of not turning out the way you plan. Two weeks before Christmas, I felt the worst abdominal pain of my life. It knocked the wind out of me and I finally went to the emergency department after five hours of telling myself that it would go away and it didn’t. There I was, in the ED, with my feet dangling from the bed and the clock ticking away while my mind raced through the different diagnosis. I often took care of patients who came through the ED and the surgical ICU with abdominal pain only to find out that they had appendicitis, cholecystitis, kidney stones, perforated bowel, or something life threatening. I was terrified. It’s different when you’re the patient.
After two hours of exams, blood tests, and imaging, the ED physician finally came back. The minute our eyes met, I knew it wasn’t a simple stomach bug. He told me in a quiet voice that he would be writing my admission orders for acute pancreatitis. I breathed a sigh of relief that it wasn’t something that needed surgery but getting hospitalized was no bueno either. While I was in the hospital, I was put on bowel rest which translates to nothing by mouth, not even water. For someone who loves to eat, that was pure torture. After two days, they finally got my pancreatic enzymes and pain under control. My first meal consisted of cream of wheat and chocolate pudding and the chocolate pudding was one of the best things that I had eaten in 2017! You’re probably laughing but until you’re on the other side, you won’t get it.
I was finally discharged but my recovery took a bit longer than expected. The abdominal pain came and went. Christmas was fast approaching but I had no energy to clean the house or decorate. I felt terrible for not feeling the Christmas spirit but it brought a whole new meaning of what Christmas meant to me--being alive and surrounded by those that matter most. It wasn’t the big Christmas celebration that I had hoped for but little moments here and there like watching Aiden’s preschool class singing Christmas carols and how his eyes lit up when he saw us in the audience, taking a walk on Christmas’s Eve to look at Christmas light around the neighborhood, all of us cuddling together on Christmas morning before opening presents, and being fed by close friends who knew I wasn’t up for cooking or cleaning. As 2017 comes to an end, one word resonated in my heart, GRATITUDE. I’m grateful for the reminder of what really matters most--people and relationship--my family, friends, my work family, and all of you readers who stick around, try my recipes, and allow me to share this corner of the internet with you.
Now to the recipe! I originally planned on serving this matcha mousse for our Christmas dinner but you know the story. My plan was to keep dessert simple and to focus on the main and sides. This matcha mousse can be made the night before with fresh berries and pomegranate seeds added when guests are ready for dessert. I used a very high grade matcha powder that my sister in law had gifted us from her Japan trip. Her matcha came from the Tsuboichi tea maker which was established in Sakai since 1850. This matcha mousse is my favorite matcha desserts thus far. It is a cross between a panna cotta and a custard so for lack of a better description, I called it matcha mousse. I made different variations with eggs and without, and the eggless version won. If you’re a matcha fan, you’re in for a treat!
I made the matcha mousse for our New Year’s Eve celebration since we missed the Christmas one. We’re so excited to ring in 2018 and wish you and your family a new year full of delicious meals, good health, and joy!
Matcha mousse with berries and pomegranate seeds (4 servings)
1 cup organic heavy cream
½ cup organic milk
2 tbsps sugar
½ tablespoon high grade matcha
1 gelatine sheet
1 pint of organic raspberries
1 pint of organic blueberries
Seeds of one pomegranate
Micro mint leaves for garnish
1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar for garnish
1. Soak the gelatine sheet in a small bowl of cold water until softened.
2. In a small saucepan, bring heavy cream and milk to a simmer.
3. Add in the sugar and match and whisk until they dissolve.
4. Remove the sheet and squeeze it to remove excess water. Add the gelatine to the cream mixture while it’s still hot. Whisk to completely dissolve the gelatin sheet.
5. Strain the mousse through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl set over an ice water bath.
6. Chill the mousse in the refrigerator until fully set ~2 hours or overnight
7. When ready to serve, transfer the mousse to a serving cup, top with fresh berries and pomegranate seeds. Garnish with micro mint leaves and a sprinkle of confectioners’ sugar.