• 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!

  • pancake stack The best and fluffiest American pancakes

    pancake stackPancakes come in a surprisingly large variety and each country seems to have their special favourite. Whether it’s French crepes, Scotch pancakes, Eastern European Blinis, Australian Pikelets, Somalian Anjero or the classic English pancake with lemon and sugar, we love them all!

     

    Today’s recipe is for American buttermilk pancakes and is a recipe I picked up in Chile in South America a few years ago. As well as being a chocolate lover I am also an avid foodie and love traveling. Chile was somewhere I ended up quite by accident (a story for another day) and was not only one of the most beautiful countries I have ever been lucky enough to visit, it was also a culinary exploration like no other. It filled my eyes with some of the most stunning landscapes I have ever seen and more importantly, gave me my first glorious taste of churros.

     

    My brother and I were staying with a pastry chef – not planned but certainly a happy coincidence – in Viña del Mar, a coastal city northwest of Chile’s capital, Santiago.  Many late night foodie chats over slices of divine key lime pie and endless glasses of Chilean wine later, I was very fortunate to be given this particular recipe. Since then I have enjoyed it as it is until I (inevitably) added some chocolate. Now I like it even more and am very excited to share it with you!

     

    The best and fluffiest American pancakes ever.

    Makes approx. 12 pancakes

    Ingredients:

    250g plain flour

    2 tbsp caster sugar

    2 level tsp baking powder

    ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

    Pinch of salt

    2 eggs

    300ml butter milk (normal milk with 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

    1 tsp vanilla

    60g (half a bar) Plain Delicious or Smooth Milk chocolate, roughly chopped

    1 tsp coconut oil (for frying)

     

    Method

    1. Mix the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together in a bowl.
    2. Whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla and slowly pour into the dry ingredients, mixing well to prevent lumps. Stir in the chocolate.
    3. Heat a large, non-stick, frying pan on medium heat and melt the coconut oil, taking care to coat the whole base of the pan.
    4. When the pan is hot, pour your mixture into the pan using a ladle to ensure even sized pancakes. I usually do about 3 at a time but it depends how big your pan is (and how big you want your pancakes to be!).
    5. Cook until bubbles form on the surface and the batter is nearly set on top. Flip the pancakes and cook on the other side until both sides are golden.

    Serve warm with maple syrup, banana, chocolate spread, cream or whatever takes your fancy.

    Happy cooking!