Thursday, December 4, 2008

scots chocs

i’m taking the ferry from larne to cairnryan next week to embark on a tour of rapidly increasing scottish stockists.

we’re delighted to welcome peckham’s to our list of stockists and i will in their edinburgh (11th december) and glasgow (13th december) stores to provide tasters of our range.

i’m also excited to be part of the edinburgh harvey nichols celebration night on the 10th december (6.30pm – 9pm). these evenings always prove to be good fun with lots of producers sampling there wears. sarah will be in london, knightsbridge on 18th december many thanks to rachael and lauren for manning the fort in manchester last week.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

cocoa bean truffle recipes - christmas flavours

as promised - here are some of our original recipes for truffles. these are fresh and will only last between 7 and 14 days. they are best kept in a cool, dry place. if you want to increase the shelf life, decrease the cream to chocolate ratio in the ganache. this makes the truffle firmer and easier to work with but not quite as scrumptious in my opinion! a truffle with alcohol will always have a longer shelf life than one fresh fruit.

when we were making truffles for the markets, we used to make each flavour with the 500g of chocolate. however, this is impractical at home and it's possible to make one 500g batch and then split it and flavour the portions separately. although this is less presice, it does mean one batch of ganache will make a good few boxes of truffles in an assortment of exciting flavours. see emily's temper, temper post to learn how to dip and get the shiny, crisp finish.

ingredients are fresh and real so adapt my quantities according to your taste and the ingredients you are working with.

i have included some ideas for flavours but use my basic recipes and experiment. i suggest you prepare the flavours before you make the ganache.

basic cocoa bean ganache:

500g dark chocolate (a good 50 - 60% works best)

500ml dairy or soya cream

slowly melt 500g of dark chocolate in a bowl over barely simmering water. warm the cream. when the chocolate has completely melted, slowly stir the cream into the chocolate and remove from the heat. if you are only making purely chocolate truffles then allow to cool, cover the bowl and put in a cool, dry place over night. use a teaspoon to take a portion of ganche. dip in cocoa powder and roll quickly between the flat palms of both hands. roll the truffles (30 - 40 depending on size) and place on sheets of greaseproof paper and then dip in dark chocolate ( we prefer a good 70%)

if you are adding flavours, split into separate bowls and combine with the flavours straight away. then follow instructions above.

i suggest you try the 5 following flavours for a great christmas selection. you will therefore need to split your ganache into 5 roughly even portions (6 or 7 truffles of each flavour). a mortar and pestle and a small coffee grinder are really handy for preparing flavours.

roasted hazelnut

roast a handful of hazelnuts under a hot grill for a few minutes, shaking the baking tray once or twice. zap in a coffee grinder and stir through the ganache. dip and then top with half a roasted hazelnut.
christmas pudding

take a handful of sultanas and raisins and soak for a few hours in a splash of brandy. add a dash of cinnamon. combine with the ganache. dip and then top with candied peel or a royal icing christmas pudding hat!
port and lemon

warm a good splash of port with a spoon of sugar. reduce. add a squeeze of lemon and the grated zest of an unwaxed lemon. finally sprinkle in a pinch of ground cloves. alternatively warm with cloves stick in a slice of lemon and remove before stirring the reduced port through the ganache. dip and then top with a sliver of lemon zest.

grate the zest a whole orange. squeeze a little of the juice over the zest and combine with the ganache. it's well worth buying a really good quality orange. dip and then top with a sliver of orange zest.

toast the seeds of 5 or 6 fat cardamoms in a dry frying pan. when the fabulous aroma hits your nose, remove from the heat and grind to a dust with a mortar and pestle. add a sprinkle of chilli powder to taste and a good grating of fresh ginger. if you want to improve the shelf life, replace with ground ginger but it's not as good! combine with the ganache and then top with a sprinkling of chilli powder.

If making your own chocolates is not for you, visit our websites or any of our stockists - nowhere near as messy!