Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Chocolate Festival part 2

At the chocolate festival I watched a chocolate making demonstration by artistry in cocoa
The ones being made were rose creams, a traditional flower based cream made with natural flavouring, dipped in chocolate and topped with a candied rose petal. The cream filling is made from a special powdered sugar not cream. This was rolled into a thin log shape and some melted chocolate spread along it. When the chocolate was set the log was cut into pieces, having this layer of chocolate makes it easier for each piece to be picked up on a fork for dipping into tempered chocolate.

below the finished rose creams, these are also made heart shaped.

There were numerous stalls selling all sorts of chocolate based goodies, both sweet and savoury and plenty of samples to try. Highlights for me were the rose cream I saw being made, a salted caramel from artisan du chocolat, and an Earl Grey truffle from Ooh La La Choclaterie Ltd .

below artisan du chocolat Couture collection

below from Alice in Wonderland The Mad Hatter's Tea Party a chocolate sculpture

Friday, 26 March 2010

Chocolate Festival

click on the photo to enlarge

Chocolate Festival, Southbank Centre, London.
The chocolate-art display is part of the Easter Chocolate Festival, featuring sculptures made entirely from chocolate by master chocolatiers and pastry chefs.
My first photo below is part of the creation shown in the photo below it. The central pillar has flowers attached and looks like marble. I kept wanting to touch the exhibits to check they really were chocolate. There was a reassuring smell of chocolate in the room. The textures of the items were so well done. I kept looking at the glove half thinking someone had left their glove on the display. Amazing!

When I first saw this one I thought the rabbits were made from MDF and painted! The texture along the thin edges was rough like cut MDF.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Lunch in the Garden

Yes, really!

Suddenly after the weeks of cold weather it is sunny and warm enough for lunch in the garden. The thermometer agreed at 18C ( about 65F) In the background there are crocuses.
Lunch was toasted home baked granary bread with sunlfower seeds, with salad and Pate 'Grand Mere' a l'Aligote.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Duck with Chorizo and Bean Stew.

This is my version of Cassoulet. It is quick to put together and should feed 4 hungry people.

4 duck portions
Slices of chirizo
I large onion chopped
I can cannelini beans
Lots of garlic ( several cloves at least)
Several glugs of red wine ( about ¾ pint)
2 tbs tomato puree
1 tsp French mustard
2 tsp Marigold veg stock powder
1 Savoy cabbage cut into chunks
4 medium or large potatoes, thickly sliced
Picante pimenton powder (smoked paprika)
Olive oil

I use a large orange Lecreuset pot so the whole meal is cooked in the one pot from start to finish.
Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil for a few minutes. Add the red wine, tomato puree, veg stock powder and French mustard and stir well then add the beans.
Place the duck portions on top of this mix and put slices of chorizo on the duck portions, chunks of cabbage next and finish with slices of potato. Sprinkle with picante pimenton powder. Put the lid on and cook in the oven gas 4 (medium heat) for about 2 hours.

Sorry no photo, in a hurry to eat and camera not working.