Gastronomically Terrific

August 29, 2010

Truffles, Mark 2

Filed under: Sweets — Tags: , , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 9:52 pm

I claimed I would never make truffles as a present.  I lied.

Trufflicious, and beautiful. Score 1 for science.

These are the same recipe as the previous truffles, with only one difference: I used a chocolate mould.  (Actually an ice-cube mould, but who is to know?)  Instead of fighting the cooling of the mixture, simply pour some chocolate into a mould, smooth it around the edges, then leave to set.  Then pour in some truffle mixture and leave again.  Finally add a chocolate layer to seal the truffle inside.  The end result tastes the same as hand-crafted variety, but is infinitely easier to present well!

I also tried some variation here.  Notice that there are white and milk chocolate truffles.  Much to my dismay, the white chocolate ones were a little too sweet since the truffle mixture is also filled with condensed milk.  They weren’t bad, but not as good as the milk variety.  However, more successful was cherry brandy flavouring – a dash or two in the truffle mixture lead to a divine melting on the pallete, and Tia Maria worked as well.

Tasty yummy goodness, and I’m not even sad that I left it ages to blog about it – we had mixture left over and this evening another dozen truffles have mysteriously appeared.  I’m off now to eat them…

Who made it: Dan

Recipe: See my previous post.

April 10, 2010

Easter Nests

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , , — thinkingdan @ 10:40 am

The last of our Easter Treats this year, these “fairy cakes” are so good they taste otherworldly.

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate and chocolate makes a perfect combination.

I can’t quite figure out what it is about these fairy cakes that makde them so morish.  Perhaps Anna went overboard with the cocoa.  Perhaps the combination of sweet chocolate on top complements the slightly bitter cocoa in the cake.  Perhaps these were cooked to exact perfection.  Whatever the reason, there was something special about these guys that made it difficult not to stuff all 6 in my mouth in one go.

These are just ordinary chocolate fairy cakes, covered in chocolate buttercream, sprinked with chocolate flake and of course decorated with chocolate eggs.  OK, that is four types of yummy chocolate right there – perhaps that is the reason.  Anyway, I’m tempted to insist that these are a very summery type of cake this year…

Who made it: All Anna’s handiwork.

Recipe: Fairy Cakes, by Joanna Farrow, page 34.

April 5, 2010

Bittersweet Easter Basket

Filed under: Sweets — Tags: , , , , — thinkingdan @ 10:44 am

There is nothing bitter about this basket of goodness.  Take a look:

Chocolate cookies, Lindt Bunny, grapes, mini-eggs and Lindt eggs. Mmmm.

Again my photography skills have let the baking down – the chocolate cookies here are really divine; melty and oh so chocolatey. The weird thing about them is they have marmalade in.  As with all biscuits, they are actually done before they look done – the ones on the middle were soft and the edge ones were hard.  Which way you like it might be a matter of preference, but for me the gooey meltiness of the “just-done” biscuit is divine.

I’d really want to make these again and try to get the whole batch gooey because the extreme chocolatyness was overwhelmingly tasty.

Ingredients: 110g margarine, 50g soft brown sugar, 110g plain chocolate (melted into the mixture), 110g milk chocolate (chunks), 2 tablespoons marmalade, 175g self-raising flour.

Who made it: Anna did everything.

Recipe: Baking, Making and Sharing, by Susan Over, page 14.

April 3, 2010

Easter Nest Torte

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , — thinkingdan @ 9:57 pm

There are five different uses of chocolate in this Torte, and Anna presented it so well that my feeble photography skills can’t cope.

Perfectly presented easter torte. I'd love to see the bird that made this nest!

There are only four types of chocolate visible here: mini eggs, flake, the chocolate border and the chocolate mousse.  The final one is a fairly thin layer of chocolate sponge, visible in the piece below.

Torte, open for the eating. The imperfections only appeared on the cutting.

This cake confuses me.  On the one hand, it looks amazing and everything in it tastes great individually.  For me the whole is a little less than the sum of its parts, which I think is because the mousse changes the texture of the chocolate on top and doesn’t taste very strong itself.  Now I should be clear here – it tastes really rather good.  Just not, in my opinion, as good as an ordinary chocolate sponge cake with chocolate icing and chocolate on top would have done.  Perhaps the vege-gel in the mousse is to blame, or perhaps the mousse should be made with a higher proportion of chocolate (though actually, that would be difficult…)

I can’t even begin to describe the recipe as Anna did all this when I was not here – you should have seen the silly grin on my face when I found this in the fridge!  It is moderately complicated but there are clever tricks to getting a professional finish without having to be artistic. Indeed, I would like to point out the great job Anna did with the chocolate collar, which holds the mousse in.  It was some of the most professional chocolateering to come out of our kitchen, rivalling the picture in the book for smoothness and crispness (although my photos do not rival the books… sorry!)

Who made it: All Anna’s handiwork!

Recipe:”Simply Cadbury’s Chocolate”, by Joanna Farrow, page 120.

March 12, 2010

Chocolate Hedgehog Cake

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 10:56 pm

It turns out that hedgehogs taste amazing.  I’d given up being a veggie for this guy, until someone pointed out that he probably wasn’t made of real hedgehog.

He's wearing spectacles on the tip of his nose, as all good hedgehogs do.

The body of the hedgehog s a chocolate cake cooked in a Pyrex bowl to give that characteristic shape.  Then he’s sliced in half and filled with “blood”: raspberry jam mixed with butter icing.  This works amazingly well – somehow the fruit sweetness really makes the cake.  Then of course he’s smothered in butter icing and decorated with halved buttons for the spines.

The butter icing is a little wetter than it should be, leading to a slightly shiny texture, but that is really the fault of the camera work which was done in poor light with a flash.  It looked very good and tasted amazing.  We ate him from the rear forwards, cruelly extending the pain just like you do with jelly babies…

Who made it: this is all Anna’s fine work – she made it for my birthday.

Recipe: “Hallelujah! Chocolate!”, by The Chocolate Squad, page 22.

February 15, 2010

Truffles

Filed under: Sweets — Tags: , , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 10:12 pm

First up: acknowledgements.  Huge thanks to Anne for making these for us at Christmas, and putting up the recipe!

There is only one word to describe these truffles: divine. It might be blasphemous, but the only way I can describe the taste is as a Mars Bar made personally by God.

Home made truffles come in all shapes and sizes yet just one awesome favour. Trust me, you don't want them to taste of anything else.

Making your own truffles is a way of turning some tasty chocolate into loads of even tastier chocolate (again with the divinity thing – except that chocolate tastes better than loaves and fishes!).  It’s a fair amount of effort, and it matters which chocolate you start with, because “all” you do it melt it in with some condensed milk, refrigerate, and coat in chocolate.

Of course, that’s some “all”. Anne details all the clever tricks that make it easier, but at the end of the day warm melted chocolate goes on cold balls of truffle that melt at room temperature.  Its a very tricky business!  We don’t have Anne’s “truffle-fu”, so got a little more “variation” than would be ideal.  Still, the taste is all there.  After the ordeal of making them, we were wondering why we bothered since chocolate tastes so yummy anyway.  But the next day when I tried the first one…

Oh.  My.

I won’t be making them as a present – they are tricky, and I couldn’t get them as perfect as Anne did – but if anyone is reading this – I’ll take it as a present any time!  And getting the taste right is thankfully easy, and oh so worth it…

Who made it: A joint effort, though I’ll claim responsibility for the decoration!

Recipe: See Anne’s post, and the pioneer woman‘s post, which is two links in the industrious history of this magnificent recipe.

January 31, 2010

Chocolate Ripple Teabread

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , , — thinkingdan @ 7:43 pm

What better on a Sunday Afternoon than:

Chocolate Ripple Teabread

Doesn't it look perfectly delicious?

You can see how great this teabread looks.  Chocolate, chocolate and chocolate!  Mmmm.  I stuffed my face on the mixture and licked the bowl clean – it tastes amazing, being flavoured by mixed spice to give it a little extra.

No look closer at that picture.  Go on.  Stop being distracted by its delicious yummyness and focus on the flash glare.

Yes thats right – its the picture from the book. Sadly, our cake burned on top 20 minutes in to the 90 minute baketime.  We had to slice the burnt top off (complete with chocolate pieces – I could have cried), wrap it up in tinfoil, then put it back in the oven for another hour.

The finished article: upside down cake.

Our cake is the “upside down” version, though contains the same chocolaty goodness inside, as pictured.  We managed to stop it burning again by putting it in the bottom of the oven, at 20 degrees less, and covered in tinfoil (for the remaining hour).  This isn’t the first time we’ve had such problems with the oven; normally starting the oven from cold works but sadly not this time.

Still, what remains of the cake tastes as it should, which is pretty good.

Who made it: I’m going to claim that Anna had the most input, but lets face it, either of us could have noticed that it was burning before it burnt!

Recipe: “Simply Cadbury’s Chocolate”, by Joanna Farrow, page 32.

January 22, 2010

Chocolate Pots

Filed under: pudding — Tags: , , , , — thinkingdan @ 10:26 pm

Chocolate Pots. That would be pots, filled with chocolate.

Pots, of chocolate

Dark chocolate, white chocolate and milk chocolate make for a chocolatey chocolateness

This recipe comes from  the “Co-operative magazine” which mysteriously appears every so often in the post.  In fact, this magazine has some exceptionally good recipes in; so good we thought “Mmm, lets write a blog about all this yummy food”.

This comes as a slight disappointment on the tail of the previous recipes from the co-op, which remain sadly unreviewed. The bottom layer is a creamy chocolate sauce, topped by white chocolate mousse, and a milk chocolate mousse.  These are all pretty tasty as you’d expect, but the overall effect is extremely sweet and it took me two tries to make it all the way though.

This is a shame, as the dessert would have made a perfect topping for a cake, or flavouring for smaller chocolates.  In general, I’ve found this sort of dessert a bit much, favouring instead cakes or baked puddings.  Perhaps I’m just a simple cake monster and should stick to what I know and love?

Who made it: Anna slaved over a hot stove and a whirring blender whilst Dan supervised by licking everything he could find.  Yes, everything.

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