Displaying items by tag: chocolate
Local hand-made chocolate alert! This rather lovely Spring Selection was sent to me by Marimba, the Suffolk based Chocolatiers. It's a family run business with a chocolate kitchen in Bury St Edmunds and a Cocoa House (chocolate shop and cafe) in Sudbury. The family, David and Jackie Wright, with son Brad and eldest daughter Katherine produce a Hot Chocolate Melt made from flaked chocolate, using top quality cocoa beans from Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador, all selected for their distinctive flavours. Be surprised dear readers as I do not usually drink hot chocolate. It's the hot milk thing that I've never been crazy about, but I always try what I've been given and the Spring Selection included a 52% Vietnam Dark Milk flake. It dissolved easily in a mug of microwaved milk and a quick whisk with my aerolatte produced a very enjoyable strong and rich, smooth hot chocolate. I've obviously not been indulgent enough with my hot chocolate before. There's an online shop with fabulous range of hand-made chocolates, thins, bars, buttons and seasonal collections. Spring Sunshine Thins are sweet (I'm double checking as I write) white chocolate, cut through with zingy grapefruit and citrussy orange and a slight tropical flavour of those old fashioned sweets; pineapple chunks. Strawberry and Mint Thins are made with Venezuelan milk chocolate, rich and robust with hints of garden mint, softer than the often strong peppermint found in some chocolate. The little pieces of dried strawberry add some sharpness now and again. I saved the chocolate collection until last. Hands up if you remember violet and rose creams of the 60's? These tasted better - a Rose and Raspberry Caramel, pretty in pink with a delicate rose and nicely tart, not too sticky, raspberry caramel centre. A Lemon and Violet Cream, with a dark chocolate and sugared violet encrusted case, and strongly scented violet and lemon cream filling is delicate in flavouring, just enough not to make you feel you're at a perfume counter. Last to try was the very cinnamony and dark, spicy chocolate truffle, think hot cross buns. Perfect for Easter!
- chocolate flakes melted easily in hot milk
- with spring brings the hope of summer
- white chocolate and citrus - a perfect marriage
- so pretty and so well scented and flavoured
God help us if Carob makes a comeback in 2021. The chocolate alternative of the 70's and 80's that tasted horrible and traumatised a generation. My first restaurant business (in 1982) was The Chalice Vegetarian and Wholefood Restaurant in Bury St Edmunds and the one ingredient that I hated was Carob. Despite my numerous hippy recipe books and an eclectic and colourful team of cooks, including many well travelled Sannyasins from Medina Rajneesh, you'd never find me with a Carob Drink or Carob Shortcake Biscuit in my hand. Carob may be naturally sweet and cocoa coloured but it's no replacement for the real thing. No doubt the shift towards plant-based and health conscious foods will drive this trend. Expect to find it in nut butters, sweet treats and drinks. Being high in antioxidants, calcium, fibre, iron and protein and low in fat and sodium, Carob is sure to be the next superfood. But it's not chocolate.
(photo taken from my Eva Batt Vegan Cookery, co-published with the Vegan Society. 1985. And no, we didn't bake these)
I have just discovered the perfect little 30g bar of chocolate. Made with certified organic cacao sweetened with coconut blossom sugar, it feels good for me. Better still, 3% of the Bedfordshire based company profits go to UNICEF. My favourites are this 70% Raw Peruvian Chocolate with Pomegranate and the 100% Raw Peruvian Cacao Bar with Mulberry. Find some for your Valentine.
Who would refuse an invite to visit Green and Blacks stall at the Christmas Fair in Bury? It took a while to find them but we persevered and were more than rewarded by a couple of tastes of the various bars they produce and two bars of their thin Sea Salt chocolate to take home. Really nice guys on the stall too. This company were the fore-runners of the chocolate trend that has now made it possible to try specialist chocolate from all over the world - and this is still some of the best.
We really enjoyed having Amy, our work experience student from Thurston Community College, this week. She showed us her favourite recipe: Birdy's Brownies!
- 185g unsalted butter
- 185g cooking chocolate
- 85g plain flour
- 40g cocoa powder
- 100g best dark chocolate
- 3 large eggs
- 275g golden caster sugar
- Cut 185g unsalted butter into smallish cubes and tip into a medium bowl. Break 185g cooking chocolate into small pieces and drop into the bowl.
Melt over a pan of boiling water.
- Turn the oven on to 160C/conventional or 180C/gas, so it has time to warm up. Using a shallow 20cm square tin, cut out a square of non-stick baking parchment to line the base.
- Now tip 85g plain flour and 40g cocoa powder into a sieve held over a medium bowl until all lumps have gone.
- With a sharp knife, chop 100g of dark chocolate into chunks (rough squares) on a chopping board.
- Break 3 large eggs into a large bowl and tip in 275g golden caster sugar. With an electric mixer on maximum speed, whisk the eggs and sugar until they look thick and creamy, like a milk shake
- Pour the cooled chocolate mixture over the eggy mousse and gently fold together with a rubber spatula. Plunge the spatula in at one side, take it underneath and bring it up the opposite side and in again at the middle. The idea is to marry them without knocking out the air, so be as gentle and slow as you like – you don’t want to undo all the work you did in step 4.
- Hold the sieve over the bowl of eggy chocolate mixture and resift the cocoa and flour mixture into it. Gently fold in the powder, in the same figure of eight action as before. Finally, stir in the chocolate chunks until they’re dotted all of the way through.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, scraping every bit out of the bowl with the spatula. Gently ease the mixture into the corners of the tin and paddle the spatula from side to side across the top to level it. Put in the oven and set your timer for 25 minutes.
- Leave in the tin until cool. Once cool, cut into small squares or triangles.
View the embedded image gallery online at:
- melt choc and butter
- stir until glossy
- sieve flour and cocoa
- place eggs and sugar into bowl
- whisk until fluffy
- chop the chocolate
- mix melted choc and eggy mixture
- add flour, cocoa and chopped choc
- pour into tin
Cheryl creates a wonderful range of chocolates, scrumptious cakes and brownies at Artistry in Cocoa. Newmarket which we mentioned earlier. And here is her recipe:
Chocolate Cake with Ganache topping and Chocolate Dipped Strawberries.
For the Chocolate Victoria sandwich:
Softened Butter or margarine or a mixture of both
Milk or water
Weigh the eggs.
Weigh out the same weight of butter/margarine and place in your mixing bowl.
Weigh out the same weight of sugar and add to the mixing bowl.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Weigh out the same weight of flour, then remove a tablespoon and replace this with cocoa powder.
Sieve the flour, cocoa powder and a teaspoon of baking powder together.
Break the eggs into a cup or jug and beat into the creamed mixture one at a time, adding a little of the flour mixture to prevent curdling as necessary.
Fold in the rest of the flour with a metal spoon.
Add a tablespoon of water or milk and mix in gently. Dip your spoon in the mix and hold it above the bowl. The mixture should drop off your spoon to a slow count of 3. If it takes too long add another spoon of liquid. If you have accidentally put in a little too much liquid add a small spoon of sieved flour/cocoa.
Bake in greased and lined or greased and floured tins at 190C/fan 170C/gas 5 until the cake springs back to the touch.
Remove from the oven, run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake from the tin if necessary and invert onto a wire rack to cool.
For the chocolate ganache coating :
200g- 300g milk or dark chocolate and an equal amount of cream.
Break up the chocolate into small pieces, bring the cream to boiling point and pour over the chocolate.
Allow to rest for about 5 minutes to soften the chocolate then whisk until the mixture is smooth and glossy. If the ganache is very runny you may wish to leave it to cool further before you cover the cake with it. This can be done by pouring or spreading. Do not cover your cake until the cake itself is cold.
Melt some extra chocolate gently until it is almost, but not entirely, liquid and stir well to melt out any lumps until the chocolate looks smooth.
Dip your strawberries holding by the stalks and place directly on the cake. Please note that the strawberries should be dry or the chocolate will not stick. If you wish to dip your strawberries in advance then place them onto greaseproof paper so that you will be able to remove them once set.
If you wish to pipe on the cake with the ganache you can make it with a little less cream so it will be thicker and whip it before use. You can fill the cake with a layer of ganache or you could use sliced strawberries and whipped cream and top with ganache.
Angus Kennedy had a job some people would consider a dream - £30,000 a year tasting chocolate. But he was warned that his cholesterol level was becoming 'dangerously high' after his role required him to eat up to 2lbs of cocoa-covered sweets that included ants and aphrodisiac lollipops - every day. Mars and Nestle relied on his experience and his sophisticated palate to sample new treats and Angus would then write about the products in the trade journal - Kennedy's Confection. But the high-calorie diet caused his weight to balloon and doctors warned he risked a heart attack if he carried on. Read more in the Telegraph...