Chicken Alfredo

Chicken Alfredo – Candy Coated Culinista

How can something that looks so simple and uncomplicated taste so divine and complex. That was my reaction to this recipe after asking the question “do you have any requests” and then I said to myself I guess it’s time to learn how to make chicken Alfredo.

Yield/Serving: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 45 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium, a little time consuming

• 2 handfuls linguine pasta
• 4 boneless chicken breast
• Sea salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• Dried Oregano, to taste
• Dried Basil, to taste
• Dried parsley, to taste
• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tbsp margarine
• 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets and stems chopped
• 3 pieces of bacon, fried and crumbled
• 2 handfuls button mushrooms, sliced
• 2 tbsp margarine
• ¾ cup chicken broth
• ¾ cup 2% milk
• ¼ cup heavy cream
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 anchovies, finely chopped
• 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
• ½ cup cream cheese
• ¼ cup mozzarella, shredded
• Fresh basil, chiffonade
• Fresh chives, finely diced
• Parsley, to garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Boil a large saucepan with salt and canola oil.
3. Season chicken breasts with sea salt, pepper, oregano, basil and parsley.
4. Using a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add extra virgin olive oil and margarine and sear all sides of the chicken for 2 minutes
5. Then place in oven and continue to cook for 20 minutes covered in aluminum foil and let rest.
6. Meanwhile a saucepan steam broccoli.
7. Using a medium frying pan fry mushrooms in a little extra virgin olive oil and set aside.
8. Using the same frying pan cook three slices of bacon, drain on a paper towel, crumble and put into the same large bowl.
9. Add linguine into pot and cook until aldente and drain well.
10. Using a small saucepan over medium-high heat melt the margarine and Gradually add in the chicken broth, 2% milk and whisk constantly.
11. Add in the minced garlic, anchovies, parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese and whisk until sauce has Gently broccoli, mushrooms, bacon, chives, basil and alfredo sauce into the pot with the pasta.
12. Serve immediately and garnish with parsley if desired.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I’m in love with this recipe, now it’s not the traditional recipe as I just can’t help myself but it still has the flavours and it tasted divine. The addition of the mozzarella cheese, bacon and anchovies was a great idea and I think the recipe would have felt like it was missing something without out these. This is definitely a rich dish; but still so satisfying. This is one of my recipes that was talked about days after so I know I did a great. I even patted myself on the back for a job well done and I made it again the following week.

T is for … Tangerine Crème Brulee

T is for … Tangerine Crème Brulee – Candy Coated Culinista

Nothing beats the cracking sound you hear when you break into a perfectly coated crème brulee. It’s like breaking into a present for me and my eyes light up. This is decadent, creamy and rich with a hint of tangerine … it’s simply divine.

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 30 min.
Cook Time: 25-30 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

• 2 ½ cups heavy cream
• Tangerine zest, from 6 tangerines
• 3 eggs
• 5 egg yolks
• ¾ cups golden brown sugar, packed
• ½ cup freshly squeezed tangerine juice
• ½ tsp sea salt
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• Tangerine segments, for decorating

1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
1. Place ramekins in a roasting pan and create a “bain-marie” of hot water filling the pan three-quarters up the sides of the ramekins. (A bain-marie is a fancy French term for a container filled with hot water that is used through the cooking process to ensure that the custard doesn’t scorch or boil. It’s an insulator for the custards.)
2. Now remove the ramekins from the water and place pan in oven.
3. Over medium-high heat, combine cream and tangerine zest in a sauce pan. Warm until the cream is scalding, stirring occasionally.
4. Using a medium-sized bowl, whisk eggs and egg yolks together.
5. Stir in a half cup of the brown sugar and the tangerine juice.
6. Pour the egg mixture into the cream stirring constantly.
7. Add in the salt along with the vanilla extract.
8. Using a fine-meshed sieve. Strain the custard into a clean bowl.
9. Pour the custard mixture evenly into the ramekins, about three-quarters full.
10. Place the ramekins into the hot water bath and bake for twenty-five to thirty minutes, or until they are just set.
11. Once cooked, remove custards from the bain marie and let cool for twenty minutes, then refrigerate covered with saran wrap until chilled through. (cover to prevent the custard from absorbing any other scents from inside the fridge)
12. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup sugar evenly onto the tops of the custards.
13. Torch the custards until sugar caramelizes.
14. Place a tangerine segment on top and sprinkle a little more sugar and torch if desired.

• Make sure there is enough room between racks in the oven or remove the top rack if needed. I had them too close and it made it quite difficult to add in a heavy pan full of water that I couldn’t shake too much as I put it into the oven.
• It’s better to under cook than to overcook the crème brulees.
• Use a thermometer to ensure the cream reaches the correct temperature. Be careful once the mixture hits around 150°F it climbs fast and you can pass the simmering stage.
• Do not waste the egg whites. Mr. C. asked for an egg white scramble with diced green onion and green pepper with salt and ground black pepper. Or use it in another recipe that calls for egg whites. So this recipe calls for a little pre planning with two recipes on hand, or like me just make scrambled eggs.
• If you have a kitchen butane torch, it will make burning the top much easier. Alternatively set the oven to broil to brulee the tops until the sugar has caramelized..
• This is also a two day task as after you have baked the crème part of this recipe; let the crème set in the fridge overnight for best result. You can brulee and serve the same night if you give yourself enough time. This makes a good recipe to make in advance as all you need to do is add your sugar and brulee the tops when you are ready.
• Custard will keep for 5 days in the refrigerator un-bruleed.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I love love love a good crème brulee. I have had enough poor and odd flavoured crème brulee’s to know when one tastes amazing and this one is a keeper.

Dia de Muertos: Spiked Mexican Hot Chocolate

Spiked Mexican Hot Chocolate - Candy Coated Culinista

Spiked Mexican Hot Chocolate – Candy Coated Culinista

Dia de Muertos or Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday celebrated to remember your friends and family who have passed on. Now I don’t need a special day to remember my mom or any of my loved ones who have gone on to a better place; but I do like the idea of this day as people celebrate the lives that the dead lived and it’s not about grieving. I have been looking for Mexican chocolate for over a year now, but I wasn’t going to make a trip or purposefully look for a Mexican grocery store in Toronto. I was shopping in the Detox Market and found Mexican Chocolate here of all places and that means I can make my spiked Mexican hot chocolate.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 10 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Hot Chocolate
• 3 cups 2% milk
• 2/3 oz tequila
• Chipotle chocolate bar, chopped into pieces
• 2 tbsp Dutch-processed Cocoa powder
Whipped Topping
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• Cinnamon, garnish
• Nutmeg, garnish
• Cayenne pepper, garnish
• Shaved chocolate, garnish
• 2 cinnamon stick, garnish

Hot Chocolate
1. In a small saucepan heat up the milk over medium heat.
2. Whisk in the tequila and chocolate pieces and combine until melted and frothy.
Whipped Topping
3. Using an electric mixer, or by hand whip heavy cream.
4. Top with whipped cream and grate cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, chipotle chocolate and put a cinnamon stick in.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This had some heat thanks to the chipotle and cayenne on my lips which I enjoyed. On a cold night curled up watching a movie this is a great a different spin on a traditional hot chocolate.

Berries & Pistachio Cream

Berries & Pistachio Cream - Candy Coated Culinista

Berries & Pistachio Cream – Candy Coated Culinista

This light dessert is fresh and so simple to put together.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 5 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 6 strawberries, quartered
• 10 black berries, pierced
• 20 blueberries, pierced
• ½ tbsp Grand Marnier
• ½ tbsp peach liqueur
• 1 cup, whipping cream
• 1 tsp confectioner’s sugar
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 tbsp pistachio, finely chopped

1. Prepare the fruits and pour into bowl.
2. Pour Grand Marnier and peach liqueur over berries.
3. Whip whipping cream along with vanilla extract until thick.
4. Prepare pistachios.
5. In a glass cup place berries in and top with whipped cream and then sprinkle pistachios over top.

• You can use store-bought whipped cream if desired, but homemade is so much better.

Please Enjoy

Coconut Thai Cream Soup

Coconut Thai Cream Soup - Candy Coated Culinista

Coconut Thai Cream Soup – Candy Coated Culinista

I received a request to find a “nice and easy coconut Thai cream soup”. I thought this would be an easy recipe to find as I had just bought a book called Coconut 24/7 (perfect timing or what); only to find that there wasn’t a recipe for coconut cream Thai soup or anything remotely near this. I perused ten coconut soup recipes and after researching what makes a dish Thai, what are the typical components, ingredients and flavourings I put this recipe together. Now when I think “nice and easy” I have a few criteria: One- The ingredients must be in my at local grocer, as I am not venturing to the Asian market for lemongrass and Kaffir Lime leaves and even Palm sugar and coconut sugar. Yes I realize that these are what some would say are staple ingredients required, but I just can’t trek myself out when it’s -12 out and -21 with the wind chill; my fingers and toes mean more to me today. Two- When I say “nice and easy” it doesn’t mean I didn’t put any work into it and it took 10 minutes to make with no effort. Let’s face it everything takes a little effort unless you’re boiling an egg and making some toast; but see effort was required there also to some extent, but I digress. Three- It must take me no more than 30-60 minutes from prep to the table. If I can get a recipe complete in that time frame and the flavours are well married I deem it a success; especially with soup when those ingredients need time to grow. To keep the taste and feel true to Thai cuisine this recipe will have to require some essentials which some may deem not so “nice and easy”; but I’ll let you be the judge of that. To me this recipe is keeping the Thai feeling true but without all those hard to source ingredients. To me that is C. C.’s “nice & easy”.

Yield/Serving: 2-4
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 40 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 2 cans coconut milk
• 3 shallots, minced
• 8 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tbsp ginger, minced
• Handful of cilantro, including stems
• 2 tbsp chillies, chopped
• ½ tsp golden brown sugar
• Lime zest
• Juice from one lime
• Pinch of cayenne pepper
• Salt
• Black pepper
• Water from one Coconut
• 1 coconut, set water aside and get out flesh
• Coconut water, from coconut
• Coconut water, from can
• Package of Enoki mushrooms, (or button mushrooms)
• A handful of bean sprouts
• Coconut meat (leave some behind for garnish)
• 60g Spinach vermicelli rice noodles
• Cilantro leaves, for garnish
• 2 green onions, thinly sliced
• Fresh lime slices, for garnish

1. In a medium saucepan, pour in coconut milk and simmer on low-medium heat.
2. Add shallots, garlic, ginger, cilantro, chillies and sugar, lime zest, lime juice, cayenne pepper, salt & black pepper and simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Strain soup into another saucepan using a sieve and discard all the solids.
4. Add in coconut water from coconut and the can, mushrooms, bean sprouts, coconut meat and noodles, then continue to simmer for 2 – 5 minutes.
5. Garnish with cilantro leaves, green onion, coconut meat and lime.

• If you just want a broth, serve as is after you strain out the solids.
• I found it hard to eat the noodles, even though it tasted good. If you have a proper Thai spoon (wide porcelain spoon) it will make eating this so much easier.
• I found the Enoki mushrooms alongside all the other mushrooms at Metro, but button mushrooms will work just as well. I just wanted a unique eye-catching vegetable. (This was the second time I saw these mushroom. A cute anecdote that night for the appetizer round of Chopped Canada Enoki mushrooms was in the first basket and I couldn’t help but say I’m on the right path.)
• Cracking the coconut was a task. Skip if you’re not in the mood to crack open and extract the meat. I first tried to bake it at 375° for 10 minutes to get it to crack and that didn’t work; even though I read that this was a good way to crack it. I finally had to bring in the big guns (Mr. C.) and problem solved. I just needed that initial break and then I was good to go, smashing away the rest of it. Wash and place inside a heavy-duty freezer bag and that way you save the coconut water for the soup.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I have never had a Thai dish before ever. The Asian foods I consume are Chinese, Japanese and just a little to the east Filipino cuisine. This was my first foray into Thai food and I deem this a success. I could taste the sweet, salty, spicy and sour flavours all the while still getting that coconut flavour.

Christmas Cookies & Cream Ice Cream

Christmas Cookies & Cream Ice Cream - Candy Coated Culinista

Christmas Cookies & Cream Ice Cream – Candy Coated Culinista

Now that I have made a sorbet and ice cream from a recipe, I feel sufficiently confident to make some ice cream from scratch. I am taking the knowledge I learned from my Mango Sorbet and Salted Caramel Ice Cream and making my Christmas cookies & cream ice cream.

Yield/Serving: 4 cups (about 1000 ml)
Prep Time: 10 min
Difficulty level is: Medium
Shelf Life: 1 week
Cook Time: See your manufacturer’s instructions
Chilling Time: 2 hrs, or overnight

• 1 cup milk
• 3/4 cup granulated sugar
• Pinch salt
• 6 large egg yolks
• 2 cups heavy whipping cream
• 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
• 1 cup candy cane sandwich cookies, crushed
• 1/2 cup crushed candy canes

1. Combine milk, sugar and salt in saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Stirring until the sugar is dissolved and texture is smooth.
3. Whish together the egg yolks in a large bowl.
4. Add the hot milk mixture to the egg yolks, pouring in a constant stream while whisking.
5. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan and set over medium-high heat until it has thickened and coats the back of a spoon, 3 minutes.
6. Strain the base into a large bowl and mix in the cream and extract.
7. Set the bowl into an ice water bath and stir until the base becomes cool.
8. Remove the bowl from the ice bath and cover with plastic wrap and let chill completely for at least 2 hours.
9. Freeze in the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
10. Add the cookies and candy canes pieces during the last 5 minutes of the churching process.
11. Transfer to a chilled container and freeze until ice cream firms up before serving.

• Place cookies in a sandwich bag and the candy canes in another sandwich bag and crush with a rolling pin until the sizes desired are achieved.
• The custard will look a little eggy but don’t fear it will turn out well. I saw mine and was thinking about getting 6 more eggs and starting again, but I said to continue on.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Once again when I come “off recipe” is when I make my best creations. I learn what I can from other recipes and use that knowledge to create my own recipe. The moment I put this mixture into the ice cream maker I stepped away for 10 minutes and when I returned this was already looking like proper ice cream. The salted caramel I made didn’t even look like this so fast into the mixing process. After the 30 minutes or so I took a quick taste before I added the candy and cookies and it tasted amazing. The peppermint was strong and I was contemplating to add the remaining ingredients and potentially ruin this amazing recipe. I decided to continue and once the remaining ingredients were added I did one final taste test and the candy danced on my tongue. Mr. C. immediately said “this tastes much better than the other ice cream”. It is rich and creamy and this will be my base recipe from now on. For a person who prefers slushies, smoothies and sorbet to ice cream 100% of the time; I think I have been swayed. I look forward to making really amazing a delicious homemade ice cream in 2014.

Au Gratin Potatoes

Au Gratin Potatoes - Candy Coated Culinista

Au Gratin Potatoes – Candy Coated Culinista

When I saw the pomegranate lacquered roast chicken I was thinking what I could make to accompany this as a side dish. Lucky for me Heather made some suggestions in her post and I chose to make potatoes.

Altered From Heather Cristo

Yield/Serving: 8-10
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 1 hour
Difficulty level is: Medium

• 10-12 Cups thinly sliced potatoes
• 4 cups 35% cream
• 4 tbsp butter
• 4 tbsp flour
• 8oz cream cheese, cut into chunks
• 1/8 tsp nutmeg
• Kosher salt
• Ground black pepper
• 2 tbsp melted butter for baking pan
• Fresh Thyme leaves
• Basil
• Parsley
• 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
• 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Bring the cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan.
3. Using a large saucepan melt the butter and whisk in the flour and make a roux.
4. Cook for a few minutes over medium heat to let the flour taste dissipate.
5. Add the cream to the roux pot and whisk until the sauce is smooth.
6. Now add the cream cheese chunks and whisk until smooth.
7. Season this with nutmeg, kosher salt and pepper.
8. Pour the melted butter into a 9×13 baking dish and layer the potatoes.
9. Ladle a thin layer of the sauce over the potatoes and sprinkle with parmesan and mozzarella.
10. Add another layer of potatoes and repeat this process over until complete. (The top will have the most sauce, parmesan cheese, mozzarella along with thyme, basil and parsley.
11. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour or until the potatoes are tender and the top is golden brown.

• I lessened the cheese to 1/3 cup parmesan cheese and added 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
• I also added basil and parsley to the top of the potatoes.
• Increase the temperature 350°F so the chicken and potatoes are in the oven at the same time.
• This is also a great dish to make a second container of and freeze.

Please Enjoy

“So good I wanted more – the potatoes were roasted perfectly, falling off my fork as I went for bites.
Just the right amount of cream and cheese – the cheese crust on top was perfect, not too crisp and not too soft.”

I mentioned that I had altered the recipe a bit and was told “It was perfect just the way it was”

“Wonderful potatoes.”

My thoughts
Yum Yum Yum is all I have to say. It was homey and a great comfort food. I am glad I altered the amount and type of cheese as I didn’t want to consume all that cheese. I can finally say I made a roux which was really easy to make.

Pistachio Dark Chocolate Soufflé

Pistachio Dark Chocolate Soufflé - Candy Coated Culinista

Pistachio Dark Chocolate Soufflé – Candy Coated Culinista

“Please don’t sink! Please don’t sink!” is what I have been thinking since I knew I was going to be making a soufflés for the cooking challenge. The word Soufflé much like many other French foods I want to try sound so daunting. (I’m thinking of my first attempt at macarons: Lemony Letdown Frosted Flakes Macaron.) All I can see when I think soufflé is what happens on TV shows. A woman working tirelessly to make her precious soufflé; the kitchen and the woman is in utter disarray while she has her guest in the other room waiting for dessert. She opens the oven with wide eyes only to have the thing deflate the moment it comes out of the oven…and cue the canned laughter. This will not be happening to me…. I hope. I do have back up eggs and chocolate just in case to be safe. See my picture here in the gallery.

Altered from Chatelaine

Yield/Serving: 6 – ½ cup Ramekins
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 10-12 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

• 1tsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 5 tbsp granulated sugar
• 200g good quality 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped
• 1/3 cup 35% cream
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 3 eggs, separated
• 3 egg whites
• 1/3 cup pistachio’s finely ground.
• ¼ tsp Maldon sea salt (optional)
Bailey’s Caramel Cream
• ½ cup 35%cream
• 2 tbsp Bailey’s Caramel liqueur

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter the inside of 6 ramekins that hold about ½ cup each. Dust with 2 tbsp sugar, tilting cups to coat evenly, then tap out any excess sugar. Arrange ramekins on a large baking sheet.
2. Fill a medium saucepan with about 1” of water. Bring to a simmer over medium-low. Combine chocolate, 1/3 cup cream and vanilla in a large heatproof bowl. Set bowl over saucepan, covering saucepan completely. Stir often until chocolate is melted, about 3 to 4 min. Remove from heat, and let cool slightly.
3. Beat 6 egg whites in a medium bowl, using an electric mixer on high, until soft peaks form when beaters are lifted, about 2 min. Gradually beat in the remaining 3 tbsp sugar until stiff peaks form when beaters are lifted, about 2 min. Set aside. Using same electric mixer (no need to wash beaters), beat 3 egg yolks in a medium bowl until pale and thickened, about 3 min. Stir ½ cup chocolate mixture into yolks. Fold in remaining chocolate mixture and ground pistachio’s until blended. Gently fold in remaining whites. Pour or ladle mixture into prepared ramekins until full.
4. Bake in centre of oven until soufflés are puffed and tops are firm to the touch, 10 to 12 min. Sprinkle with salt.
5. Beat ½ cup cream until stiff peaks form when beaters are lifted. Beat in liqueur. Serve with soufflés.

• Whatever size ramekins you use, just ensure you fill it to the top.
• Add some pistachio’s on top of the caramel cream.

Please Enjoy

Mr. C. said “the soufflé was excellent and it had a very airy feel to it but thick at the same time. The chocolate was very rich and as you got the bottom of the soufflé it felt like you were getting a sponge cake which was really tasty.

My thoughts
For a person who doesn’t eat or like milk or dark chocolate, I really enjoyed this. It was light, airy and decadent. I am used to ramekins that are one cup sized and when I made this recipe the first time, I didn’t realize that it wouldn’t puff up to a cup size. Then and there I decided to make this a second time. I remembered that on an episode of Masterchef the pressure test was soufflé; and the ramekins were filled right to the top, so I went back and did it again. (It’s funny what the mind remembers, and retrieves when needed.) My second attempt was much better and the centre was perfect. When I saw my first attempt I was like this is okay and tasty, but me being the perfectionist I wanted to try it again and get that sense of accomplishment and completion, and I did. Sure I wasted 1 dozen eggs and 4 packages of expensive dark chocolate but you know what, it felt so good seeing my second attempt and knowing I can do this no problem that I didn’t care about the waste. Mr. C. still ate my first batch of “soufflé cakes” as they were still edible. Now I can check the dreaded soufflé off my list and accept my next challenge with no regrets.

Dark Chocolate Soufflé - Candy Coated Culinista

Dark Chocolate Soufflé – Candy Coated Culinista

Peaches & Cream Cake

Peaches & Cream Cake - Candy Coated Culinista

Peaches & Cream Cake – Candy Coated Culinista

This cake is a butter cake with a hint of lime zest and topped with homemade whipped cream and fresh Ontario peaches. This is an excellent fresh & light dessert.

I did another Chatelaine Cooking Club Challenge and my photo was featured among the selected photos I was tweeted a “Wow … cover worthy! Thanks for your entry in our Cooking Club Challenge!” upon submitting my photo. Another fun challenge and a recipe in my repertoire. Link to my photo.

From Chatelaine

• 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
• 1 ½ tsp baking powder
• ¼ tsp salt
• 2/3 cups salted butter, at room temperature
• ¾ cup granulated sugar
• 3 eggs
• 3 tbsp milk
• 4 tsp lime zest
• 2 tsp vanilla
• 2 tbsp lime juice
• 2 tbsp granulated sugar
• 1 ½ cups 35% cream
• 2 tbsp icing sugar
• 3 large peaches, unpeeled, cut into wedges

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter an 8” round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment.
2. Stir flour with baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
3. Beat butter with ¾ cup granulated sugar in a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium, about 1 min. Add egg, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat In milk, lime zest and vanilla. Reduce speed and gradually beat in flour mixture until just blended.
4. Scrape batter into a prepared pan and smooth top.
5. Bake in centre of oven until a cake tester inserted in centre of the cake comes out clean, about 35 min.
6. Boil lime juice with 2 tbsp granulated sugar in a small saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool.
7. Cool cake in pan on a rack for 15 min, then turn out onto rack. Remove parchment. Brush top of cake with lime syrup. Cool completely, about 45 min.
8. Whip cream with icing sugar until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 min.
9. Spread whipped cream on cake. Top with peaches.

Please Enjoy

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