Chocolate Making experience by My Chocolate

I was very lucky to be given the luxury present of a chocolate making and cocktail experience when I left my previous workplace. I was so excited!!! :) what a great present and defiantly my favourite from what I was given.

I didn’t know what to expect but the experience started at 7.30pm and was going to be 3hrs long. I didn’t want there to be too much waffling going on, 3hrs! Can you imagine?! I went with my mum as I think it’s hard to know which friend to take.

We all started with a glass of prosecco went in the workshop which was in a large room where there was 12 people to each table and we found a seat wherever we wanted. The table was laid out with parchment paper a spoon and what I though looked like prong fork and a various number of chocolate pieces.

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The guy who was taking over the class was funny and made you feel welcome. One of our first experiment was giving us experience of the difference between what’s is good quality chocolate and what is bad quality chocolate. We tried it and independently said which one we felt was the worse quality chocolate. He talked about the history of chocolate and what you can make and use it for. We also tried the other pieces of chocolate some which were flavoured and we had to say what we thought was in them.

We also got to make cocktails in groups which was really funny and made us interact with the group a lot more. It was fun trying to make the swirl to decorate our cocktail glass. Mine shocking didn’t turn out that bad, however my mums looked like a car crash loll. I also had my first experience of trying cocoa nibs which were quite an unusual taste not to everyones liking but I was surprised at their benefits.

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We got to make our own thin square of flavoured chocolate (that’s where the spoon came in) we mixed the oil that we choose I went for ginger and orange and my mum went for strawberry. We then placed them on a piece of parchment paper spread them to form a square shape and left them to the side to dry. I liked being able to make my own flavoured chocolate.

Then the even more fun part came towards the end of the session where we got the make the truffles. We had to work in a group to partly make the gananche ourself and there was a competition to see who could make the mixture the fastest wining the chance of getting some more chocolate for our table, unfortunately our team didn’t win :( but he did still give us some chocolate. We had to to make 6 truffles with the mixture and were were also given some chocolate fudge and a slab of this Italian chocolate that had hazelnuts in, I have totally forgotten the name. It was absolutely yummy I actually didn’t use these for my truffles as I thought it was a waste and I just ate it as it was. (I would love to get to buy this again) For the truffles we could use either dark or milk chocolate to dip our truffles in and that’s where the fork thing came in, we placed this truffle on there and used them to take them out, there is a technical name for this but yes I forgot! oops. We then cover them with the 8 toppings they provided, rose petals, crushed dried raspberry, white chocolate curls, a decorative transfer, desiccated coconut, cocoa powder and a crunchy honey comb topping. This was really enjoyable, therapeutic and slightly messy!

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It was nearing the time for the session to end and the tutor also wanted us to see how chocolate and port and sweet wine tasted. At this point I was feeling slightly sick from the chocolates but I tried the port and the truffle and I do think it went well. I heard the sweet wine was horrible and didn’t taste nice so I didn’t bother with that.

We were given a lovely gold box to put our chocolate in and a spare cellophane little box for any extra. My parchment paper that my truffles where laid on looked a complete mess. Once they were peeled away and put in the box they looked a lot better lol. I took these photos the quickly with my phone the next day at home.

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Overall I had such a good time, it was a laugh and I think the people on the table made it an even more enjoyable experience.

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Afternoon Tea my style!

Tea consumption increased dramatically during the early nineteenth century and it is around this time that Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford is said to have complained of “having that sinking feeling” during the late afternoon. At the time it was usual for people to take only two main meals a day, breakfast, and dinner at around 8 o’clock in the evening. The solution for the Duchess was a pot a tea and a light snack, taken privately in her boudoir during the afternoon.    

Later friends were invited to join her in her rooms at Woburn Abbey and this summer practice proved so popular that the Duchess continued.  Before long all of fashionable society was sipping tea and nibbling sandwiches in the middle of the afternoon.

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The quintessential afternoon tea is something I wanted to really try for myself. Although mine wasn’t truly a proper afternoon tea as I didn’t make any sandwiches! This was mainly based on the cakes and the scones, so half the afternoon tea I would say.

I decided to make a plain cheese scone and plain scone with jam and thick cream. I also made a pistachio cheesecake, oreo truffle and lemon and poppy seed muffin. I know it’s not as much as you usually get from an afternoon tea but it was more then enough to eat.

I will post each of the recipes separately – the plain scones, the cheese scones, pistachio cheesecake, oreo truffles and lemon and poppy muffins.

 
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No fish, No eggs for the month

As some of you may or may not know it’s the month of Sharavan, I’ve been doing Shravan Maynow for so many years now, I don’t fast as such but I do participate in not having any eggs or fish, which to be honest doesn’t really bother me at all apart from when I’m eating out as eggs are in a lot of things like CAKE! lol.

I know this may not seem like a post that relates to food but to me it does the whole month I have to be conscious and aware that I can’t eat what I want and not having eggs in things can be hard to remember. I do think that it makes you feel healthier and also the people who fast realise that we actually overeat too much! This month for me is being strong, aware, spiritual, dedicated and I feel good I’m getting involved in religion. 

I wanted to get to the bottom of why we do Shravan and what’s it all about as there are so many stories around and actually people really don’t know! lol. So here goes –

Shravan Maynow is one of the holiest Hindu months and is dedicated to Lord Shiva, it’s also very auspicious and religious months.

Right…so…it’s not about detoxing, harvest or other myths I’ve heard, it makes sense that it’s about dedicating the month to Shiva thats probably another reason people don’t really eat meat I assume.

Being Gujarati I know that this month has rituals that we participate in. One where you eat spinach, cudi and kichrie (Kichrie Pancham), another being where you eat cold food (Randhan Chat and Shital Satam). I know not all Gujis follow all the same rituals but we always do that.

What I didn’t realise was how religious this month is, I think my family only do the main rituals and not the other ones! like Saturday fasting, pujas and rituals are observed to escape from the bad influence of Lord Shiva – I didn’t know about this.

Or any of this huge list of others:

Veerpasli is a fast observed on the first Sunday of Shravan and is continued for next eight days for the welfare of male members in the family. 

Noli Nom is observed on the ninth day of Shravan by childless couples.
Phool Kajali and Chokha Kajali are observed on the third day of waxing and waning phase of moon. This is for getting a good life partner and for a happy married life. Gai Vrat which is observed during the entire Shravan month is also to get a good husband.
Bhe Bharas is another ritual observed on the 12th day of Sawan and is observed near a water body.
 
Bol Choth is another important ritual observed by all the family members and it is for the welfare of cattle. People cook outside on the day. 
The other important festival in the month is the Sri Krishna Janmashtami and also Raksha Bandan that I observe.
 
Apparently they say some scholars are also of the opinion that it is during this period that waterborne diseases spread fast. So the numerous fasts and rituals in the month are to keep people healthy. During this is the month when Mother Nature nourishes with monsoon rains. All the lakes, ponds and rivers are full and there is green everywhere. 

It is considered highly auspicious to wear rudraksha beads in Shravan month, which I didn’t know!

I hope that reading this would bring a better insight to why we do Shravan Maynow. I found it interesting reading up on it and learning about my religion. Thank you hindu-blog.com for providing me with a better insight.

I will be making a few eggless cake recipes to keep me going. I’ve already done two, the apple crumble my style and eggless bundt cake, which are totally eggless so check them out.

But watch this space as I will be experimenting in the kitchen and posting more eggless cake recipes up.

:) 

LESF

xo

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Derby Bakewell Pudding no it’s not a tart it’s a pudding

I was looking at this recipe book I got from the Good Food Show it was a lovely little recipe book with quite a few traditional recipes. I seen a recipe for a traditional bakewell tart and it mentioned that the it originated in Bakewell (Derbyshire) I was sooooooo shocked firstly I didn’t even know Bakewell existed and secondly I didn’t know it was in Derbyshire. I wasn’t sure if I’m being dumb or do most people not know that Bakewell existed?
Anywayyyyy I was actually looking at the recipe book at work and was like OMMMMMGGGGG did you know that Bakewell is in Derby and my colleagues at work were like yes didn’t you know that?…so the answer to my question was yeh I was being dumb!!!!…My colleagues said that Bakewell is a lovely little quaint  village and I should go there one day…So I did. It was a lovely place and really nice village although it is quite small so it didn’t take long to go around but it’s not far from Matlock so I suggest to go there as well.
Whilst in the hometown of the famous tart I had to get one, there is a few traditional bakers I choose one and I want I didn’t realise was that the famous tart wasn’t a tart! it’s actually a pudding! it has pastry and jam and a topping basically the same but when I tried it I didn’t like it as much as a standard Bakewell tart, I prefer the structure and taste of the original tart.

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BBC Good Food show Winter 2012

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I have been to the Good Food show a few years back, it was a great first experience of a food show I never experienced so many food and drink stalls under one roof. It was a good day out with a lot of samples and unusual, unique foods I’ve not seen in shops, since then I have been to better food shows and don’t really think the Good Food show is thattttttttttt amazing.

For those who haven’t ever been to a food show this is a good first place to go but I wouldn’t spend the full amount on a ticket look out for any deals. It’s also a good day out if your not up to much so I would advise to go, it took 1/2 a day to go round the show.

I went this year as we got a cheap ticket and I’m always up for going to any sort of food shows. This year it wasn’t as big as the time we went before, there were more chefs doing live cooking experiences and there was a lot more independent producers selling their foods.
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Leicester Winter food and craft festival

Leicester is well known for it’s market (which I just recently found out!) and they used this for holding this particular event so luckily no setting up for the stall holders!

This was a lovely little festival. There were nice local food and freshly made food available to eat. Leicester is a very multi cultured city and the event catered for all cultures including Mexican, Indian, Chinese and much more. It was surprising as I wasn’t expecting it, I thought there would be a showcase of jams, Christmas cake, mincemeat etc but it was a nice surprise. :)

I loved this event as it brought the festival season closer and made you get more into the spirit of Christmas. The event had freshly made food, delicious cakes and amazing crafts all relating to Christmas. It was a festival to go to and I will go next year.

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Diwali is here, Diwali is here

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That song always comes into my head when it’s Diwali! I’m not sure if anyone remembers the video that was put on at school (it might have just been my school though) whenever Diwali was on?!! I actually can’t remember it properly but I do remember the annoying cheesy song they sang but I sing during this time to annoy people at home hehehe.

With Diwali around the corner I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Diwali and prosperous New Year. Diwali usually comes in the Autumn months and changes from year to year according to the Hindu calendar.

For you who are not sure of what Diwali is about it’s very much known as a Hindu persons ‘Christmas’, but it has a deeper meaning then that Diwali is a very auspicious occasion for us, it translates to a ‘row of lights’, it’s to signify the triumph of good over evil. Diwali commemorates the return of Ram, along with Sita and Lakshmana, from his 14-year-long exile and vanquishing the demon-king Ravana. We light our homes, clean our homes to welcome their return and also fireworks are lit to drive evil spirits away.

Diwali is very much a for time getting the family together, for celebration and it’s about food obviously getting fat is all part of it!. We also give out home made snacks to close family and friends to share the celebration and love. These are a mixture of mainly savoury and sweet snacks, all eggless and veryyyyyyyy delicious. I decided to take a photo to give you an example of what we usually give out. I didn’t get to make any of these as I was at work, but I decided to get involved and made the ferror style truffles (in the purple lantern style box) we are mad about ferrero rochers they are like the most amazing chocolates don’t you think? so when I seen this recipe I knew when I wanted to make them for.

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Melton Mowbary food festival

We went to this food festival last year I had seen it being advertised but didn’t know what to expect and thought it would be a nice day out, I’m not sure if you remember the random amazing weather we had? but luckily the event took place during that time it was fab. We decided to go again this year, compared to last year I found they had more stalls and there was more stalls selling fresh food to buy.

I did recognise some of the stalls from last year and there was some stalls that were also at the Stratford Upon Avon event. This event had the usual cheeses, jams, sauces, cakes, puddings, bread, etc. The thing I’m not keen on about this show is they have a lot of meat but I think as it’s based at the cattle market there would be a lot of meat there, sorry guys didn’t really want to take any photos of anything meat related.

The stalls I found interesting were the wood fired pizzas, the vegetarian stall and the Lebanese food stall I don’t think they were there last year.

Unfortunately as it was quite crowded and I didn’t manage to take photos of a some of the stalls that I wanted to and also didn’t manage to try some samples of some of the stalls as well :(.

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Anyone for cake? Macmillan ‘Biggest coffee morning’


At work I had the idea of getting involved to raise money for Macmillain cancer research ‘World’s biggest coffee morning’ which takes place every year and enlisted in my lovely work colleagues to get involved to, which they were happy to do. With some planning and deciding on what we were going to make we were ready for the Friday. I designed all the price tags, made leaflets for the event, downloaded bunting from Macmillan to make the bunting and used the same bunting design to cover the trays.

‘Dee day’ Thursday day & night I was getting excited but slighlty nervous about baking thinking (would my cakes turn out?, would people buy them? and would people actually like them?) but I had to ‘keep calm and carry on’, I baked carrot cake, chocolate chip flapjacks and lemon curd muffins in all I ended up making over 45 pieces and between us we had over 100 pieces which included strawberry yoghurt cake, spiced apple cake, maid of honours (which I keep called maid of Marians lolol and ended up getting other people to say it to lolol ooops!) and chocolate cake.

I couldn’t sleep on Thursday night and woke up at 3.30am :( :( on Friday morning I was running on any adrenaline I had to keep awake, today was all about sell sell sell! I was really pleased with all our cakes and ended up raising over £100 which was almost double the figure we were expecting! we are sooooo happy! it was definitely worth the effort we put in and we were really grateful with everyones generous denotations.

Here are some photos of the day (sorry about the poor quality they were taken from my phone).





I had made these little price tags for when we were trying to sell cakes to people outside our work.

& these are the three I made…



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Startford Upon Avon food festival

We decided to check out the Startford Upon Avon food festival.

At first the weather was dry but cold then in true typical British style the heavens opened o dear! luckily I was half way round the festival when it happened.

Anyway back to the event…there was a lot of ranges of stalls including cakes, breads, cheeses, wines, beers, burgers, sauces, pickles, jams and the list goes on. I was particularly interested in anything sweet first as per usual, but I tried sweet and savoury samples. The food and drink was generally all specialised it was nice getting to try a variety of new food on the market.

Here are some pics from the food festival.

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We also had a wonder into the town where there was another two food markets on which was an extra bonus :)Startford Upon Avon food festival 12

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