Monday, 29 March 2010

Chocolate is Not Just For Easter


One of the joy of writing about food is when you come across a product you want to share with the world. Rococo Cat and Dog Gift Box is definitely a perfect example. Chantal Coady's company has been going for nearly 30 years, a couple of years back Rococo and Chantal were awarded a special prize by the Academy of Chocolate Awards for "changing the way people thing about chocolate". It is a fair-trade company which means that the cocoa beans are not harvested by children which are in schooling age, meaning less kids are kidnapped and sold as farm workers.

I still got to come across somebody who does not like Ganaches. Ganache is normally 2 parts chocolate, one part cream, it is used as a glaze or a truffle base.

This box is for the traditional palates with its Sour Cherry Ganaches, Lemon Praline but also for the chocolate freaks with Jasmine Green Tea -which I must say was rather too subtle for me but I still enjoyed it- and Popping Champagne, this one is great it pips and pops as it melts in your mouth.

I'll mark this box a drooling 9 out of 10. If you wonder why there are cats and dogs on the packaging it is inspired by a classic 19th century French chocolate mould catalogue.

Disclaimer: I have not been compensated in any ways for writing this review.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Chocolate Festival on the South Bank -London-

This afternoon on my way back from a meeting with Contact publishing's director with whom I have been working on a book. I stopped by the Chocolate Festival on the South Bank -London- here is a taster:

Here is what the press release has to say about the event:
The Chocolate Festival returns to Southbank Centre just in time to shop for all your Easter treats. Dozens of stalls showcase truffles, bonbons and bars, as well as chocolate cakes and pastries, a wide range of hot chocolates and chocolate-making kits. Make chocolate truffles from raw cocoa, watch master chocolatiers and top chefs in action, and learn about the health benefits of chocolate and how to include it in savoury dishes. Plus, browse an array of tempting books and meet the authors at signings. An event chocolohics can't afford to miss!

Here is what the press release has to say about the event:
I was particularly interested by Rococo Chocolates and I will tell you all about it in my next post. I could not work out where any of the pastry chefs announced in the programme were, only saw lots of marquees and trade people. In the meantime here is the link to the festival mini web site

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Photos From the Week-End-2-





David modeling The Pan Poet's sword: sirloin, rumpsteak, chicken sausages,bacon:
"Beefsteak for Rudolph II" in truffle sauce

Eating in Bohemia should be a nice experience, if not on the light nor vegetarian side of the spectrum. I remember, when he and I first went to Prague, in the early 90's, the restaurants menus were impossible to decipher, so it was all a stab in the dark. Now, it is the food which gets stabbed for indeed there is a lot of "meat stabbing" in Prague. In fact there is a lot of meat.

On arrival we went to Stoleti a restaurant, which I would not recommend. The waiter advised against the house wine, explaining that it was rubbish, so why would you put a rubbish wine on the menu, I asked myself, but was to shy to formulate the question aloud. I should have, had I known that the charade would continue and he would make me feel like a miser when I turned my nose at an ordinary French wine for £30 a bottle. Pork was dry, sauce too thin, only the polenta cakes were acceptable.

The next day was going to be very different and indeed the choice of pub excellent U Basnika Panve, very much in the same style as that recommended by Sari. The evening was part of the conference he was attending. There was the widest array of choice, I have seen so far in Prague ranging from meat of course to vegetarian. I went for the salmon which was perfectly cook, not an easy task when there are some 40 people to serve.

The last night of the conference was a buffet in an old monastery that brews wonderful beer. And then back to reality, I wanted to try a "canteen style" recommended in my guide book which I will not bother to mention here.

My impression on food in the heart of Bohemia: it has improved tremendously taste wise, like in a lot of western countries, cast you mind back to food in the 80's in England and compare with now. Still in Prague, you have to be very choosy and go for pubs over middle of the range restaurants. Research pays and I am not sure that spur of the moment is a good idea.
I am finishing this post with my congratulations Sari from Cooking your Dream whose photos have appeared in a Prague Magazine.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Photos From the Week-End-1 -

We went to Prague at the week-end, he booked in at a conference and I joined for the fun and meals, oh yes, I would not miss out on fun nor food anywhere in the world. In between lavish buffets showing Czech food at its best, we had a couple of meals in restaurants. In order to get the best places, I turned to the delightful Sari of Cooking Your Dream and asked for a couple of addresses.

But first of all, let do a bit of sightseeing. Prague is a real bonbon box, every nooks and crannies cuter that the next. Off I went to the Museum of Decorative Arts where at an inflated ticket price in line with the rest of Prague's prices, one can admire a collection of really beautiful objects such as these 18 century dishes.
If you ever find yourselves in Prague make sure to get a museum pass, it might seem like a lot to fork out up-front but it is worth it.

Then off to the streets funfair where people living in Prague are out numbered by visitors to the tune of 3 to 1 , and where shops offers bohemian glass fashioned into all sorts of objects.








and for the food, you wonder, well that is what Photos from the week-end 2 will be all about.....

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Pebble News

Pebble soup is rather excited and waiting with anticipation for the results of an application. You too, could be feel the tingles.
Let me explain: the country’s largest agricultural show, the Royal Bath and West Show 2010 is looking for a food taster.
What better job to have for a day, I ask you but to sample local products from beef to strawberries.
For the first time ever, a member of the public will join the panel of expert. Every application is vetted, a skilled panel of recruiters will put a shortlist of applicants through their paces. As well as having to take a series of product ‘taste tests’, their knowledge of issues relating to local and seasonal produce.
To apply for the job visit the Royal Bath and West show 2010 site: and good luck to us.

I have been in a swirl lately and a friend mentioned the imminent Easter school holidays, "what so soon!", apparently so, but she has found a good trick, it is a discount vouchers site, sounds good to me so I am passing it on. Have a look here

Monday, 15 March 2010

What is in Your Spice Rack: Cinnamon

Following the successful end product, last time I contemplated my spice rack, I decided that cinnamon was worth spending some time experimenting with.

Cinnamon has a warm wonderful scent which stimulates the brain activity; that is not its only benefit: "seasoning a high carb food with cinnamon can help lessen its impact on your blood sugar levels. Cinnamon slows the rate at which the stomach empties after meals, reducing the rise in blood sugar after eating." So all in all, a good thing. Either found as stick or powder, the only difference is that the powder taste stronger. Cinnamon originates from China or Ceylon, the latter being sweeter but the difference is subtle.
Cannellini beans with cinnamon and tomatoes is a Turkish recipe which I spotted in the week-end paper. Success renewed, really tasty

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Champagne Pâté

When you think about the number of blogs folding within their first year, it is lovely to celebrate a 4th birthday; that of "what's for lunch Honey?" and in true Meeta's style she is having a Mingle and a glass of Champagne.
I did not have to think very long to find what I would bring to the party, Meeta said she wanted Champagne in the recipe and so she should have this absolutely, mouth water, smooth, delicious and sadly very fattening recipe, a very special Champagne Pâté .

So Meeta here is to your blog : Happy Birthday
Ingredients
25g Butter
500g chicken livers, trimmed of fat and sinew
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
150 ml carton double cream
125 ml champagne or sparkling wine
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
Yum


Method
Melt the butter in a frying pan and cook the livers and garlic over a fairly high heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the livers are browned and caramelised on the outside but slightly pink on the centre. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Whizz the chicken livers and all it's buttery juices to a paste in a food processor. With the motor running, pour in the cream, followed by the champagne until well blended and completely smooth.
Season with the sugar, 1 tsp salt and plenty of ground black pepper.
Pour into a bowl, cover with cling film and chill overnight.



Sunday, 7 March 2010

Grow Your Own


Last week-end the weather was horrid, shame as We were going to visit the Garden museum where there was an exibition devoted to growing your own. Which is my new pinch of madness. In the "Greenwich size garden", I am growing garlic and potatoes. Yes, I have got a plan but if you had brilliant recipes involving either, or, I am all eyes.

With garlic, it started while visiting the Isle of Wight, in January. There is a brilliant garlic farm, obviously they grow and sell garlic and an enormous array of garlic products, every one more delicious than the next.

However what got me most was that the owners, beside being very knowledgable were incredibly good communicators. I was impressed by their video which goes through the growing process without boring you to death. Above all, they appeared to really enjoy what they were doing, they seem to be having a ball and I found the attitude incredibly refreshing.

Back the "Greenwich size garden" I planted 6 cloves, very likely in the wrong setting since I could not remember what the video said and I moved onto the potatoes, that was slightly more involved. Bought the potatoes, the bag, the special feed, put the potatoes into a egg carton so they grow "eyes" and now I am being stalled as I am too early for planting. I can tell you now, I have not missed my vocation, farming and gardening are not my thing but it is fun to try.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Mother's day with Interflora





Mother's day is looming and I have done the shopping bit for you. Don't mention it, it was my pleasure.
There was something in me which felt a little uncomfortable when I saw the Biscuiteers Shoe Box, only because it is a bit of a cliché and at the same time I felt strangely attracted by it cuteness.
I am so glad I went ahead with it, this special gift is a real delight. Very well put together, it is a little like a treasure box. First a baby ad, then pink tissue paper, peel, peel away.... you get the brown layer, more pink and finally, these amazing looking biscuits, glitter and bows on chocolate backgrounds, a tea cup to match the rest.
Too delicate to eat, may be but somebody has to do it. I could not believe my tastebuds, the biscuits taste really nice, soft not too sugary. So thumb up for Interflora its gift ideas and Mother day flowers.
Disclaimer: I have not been compensated in any ways for this review

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