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    Artisan Chocolate

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  • IMG_2573 The secret life of the Easter bunny

    My second Easter with Rowdy and Fancy’s meant I had a little more confidence and was better prepared to branch out into new and exciting things, hence my first ever attempt at a hollow figure.

    Something I get asked a lot as a chocolatier is how hollow figures are made. This was certainly a question I had before I began the chocolate journey and its one that still seems to baffle people. Now, there are a few different ways of doing this and here is the one I use. There is no sticking together of halves or coating a block of ice in chocolate and letting it drain through a hole (seriously it’s been suggested), this way is simple and neat and if done right, the easiest.IMG_2602

    Each chocolate figure is made using two halves of a hollow mould, some clips to keep the moulds together, a fridge, a ladle, a hairdryer, a set of scales, some tempered chocolate and a good pinch of patience.

    Melted chocolate is poured into one half of the mould, the sides are clipped together and slowly spun to coat the whole inside of the mould in chocolate. When the chocolate has set, the moulds are unclipped and carefully lifted away, revealing (hopefully) a perfect hollow figure.

    This doesn’t always go as IMG_2600smoothly as planned and any error in temperature at any stage, the chocolate being uneven, being left in the fridge too long or too short, basically anything you can think of going wrong, can mean the IMG_2562bunnies don’t come out right. These error bunnies are allocated to the bunny graveyard where they can thankfully be re-melted and tried again, or eaten.

    Bertie the Bunny in milk chocolate was first, soon followed by Rosie Rabbit and Betty Bunny. Hand making each one individually, leaving extra time for breakages, doesn’t leave much room for a social life, so I was very happy to have these cuties as my friends this Easter.

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  • 14311482_10153965526828063_2609138441279075316_o Chocolate Curry

    I have always loved cooking, to me it is the perfect creative platform because not only do you have almost unlimited options of what you can make, you can eat what you create! For me, a love of all things chocolate is a given and after a recent trip to India, my curry obsession began.  The idea of bringing curry and chocolate together hadn’t occured to me until I found out that national chocolate week and national curry week overlap, a match made it heaven? That’s for you to decide…

    This recipe is quick and easy as well as delicious, what’s not to love! The richness of the chocolate is balanced by the spicey chilli and the zingy lime brings out the freshness of the coriander to lift this dish from being too heavy. It uses household ingredients and keeps well.  Like many curry’s, the spices and flavours develop over a few days so go ahead and double up for some truelly delicious leftovers!

     

    Chocolate and aubergine Chana Masala

    Ingredients:

    1 red onion

    1 clove of garlic, minced

    1 large aubergine

    1 400g can of chickpeas

    1 400g can of chopped tomatoes

    2 tbsp tomato puree

    2 tbsp olive oil

    2 tsp garam masala

    1 tsp ground coriander

    3 good pinches of salt

    1 good pinch of freshly ground black pepper

    6-8 square’s of Rowdy and Fancy’s Lime Chilli chocolate

     

    Method

    1. Gently heat the oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Finely chop the onion and add to the pan with the minced garlic, ground coriander and garam masala.

    2. Once the onions are softened, dice the aubergine and mix into the onions with the tomato puree. Add the chopped tomatoes and simmer on a low heat for 20 mins. (you may need to add some water if its gets too dry)

    3. Drain and rinse the chickpeas before adding them to the pan and simmer for another 5 mins. Add salt and pepper to taste. Now it’s time for the chocolate! I used 8 squares in the end but I would start with 4 and keep mixing and tasting til it’s right for you.

    I found that the mild heat of the chocolate was enough spice for me but you could always add some fresh chilli in with the onions to give it that extra kick.

    This is very rich, so serve with rice, chapatti or as a side dish.

    Happy cooking!