Sunday, February 28, 2010

esme's sleepover birthday cake

i made the cake in a square cake tin for 25 minutes at 180 degrees using 100g butter, 100g caster sugar, 2 eggs and 100g flour with a sprinkle of cocoa powder. i was chatting to emily and put all the ingredients in the mixing bowl together instead of creaming the butter and sugar first. i decided i couldn't do anything about it so whisked them all together and kept my fingers crossed. the cake rose beautifully so i was either lucky or there is a conspiracy to make baking more complex than it needs to be!

i cut a strip off the cake and used it for the pillows and then decorated it with coloured butter icing and lots of sprinkles.

the sleepover went well - the girls had salami pizza, flambouyant icecreams and giggled until midnight!

Monday, February 22, 2010

bridgestone guide

the following snippet is from the online bridgestone guide for the chocolate shop in the english market in cork:

'Niall and Rosemary Daly’s shop sells chocolates, and the very best chocolates at that.
If you search for Cocoa Bean from Kerry, or Willie Harcourt-Cooze’s extraordinary Peruvian Black San Martin 100% Single Origin, then it is here. “Chocolate is an affordable luxury”, says Niall, and their range, from Pralus to Skelligs, reveals just how luxurious chocolate can be. Only brilliant.'

we invited john and sally to a spring market in limerick when we were still a very new company and they were our food heroes. not only did they come along but they were enthusiastic and supportive. i remember john telling us that the best way to work was to be genuinely happy to help your competitors as well as your customers. we embraced this ethos and it has proven to be a way not only to do great business but to make good friends.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

happy valentines day

i really wanted to make aidan a valentine poster out of some blurry photos of us at a pixies concert at brixton academy(kim deal and frank black's thrilling outlines in the distance.) the problem was they were stuck on my fairly basic phone and events conspired against me - so the girls and i have spent the day making things instead. we made a love mobile out of an old bike wheel, bright felt and assorted ribbon; sparkly cards; a collage of butterfies up one wall and a plate of pastel cupcakes (from the hummingbird bakery cookbook). aidan will be flying across the atlantic from montreal to heathrow any minute now. the two older girls are still wide awake together in our big bed, too thrilled by his imminent arrival and their valentine offerings to possibly sleep. the almost definite arrival of canadian sweets and chocolate only adds to the anticipation!
i am sorry for the woeful lack of pictures - my camera says it has a lens error.
hope your day is full of chocolate and good things.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

chocolate cake with beetroot

this is a great cake but maybe you do have to like beetroot because there is a pleasant earthy taste that runs alongside the dark chocolate that would probably taste distinctly beetrooty to someone who is not a fan. i am a fan and i found this cake a pleasure to make and eat.
the cake
125g butter
75g dark chocolate pieces
300g soft light brown sugar
3 eggs
225g self raising flour
1/4 tsp salt50g cocoa powder250g cooked beetroot, grated
grated white chocolate
double cream to serve
preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4
grease a loose bottomed 23cm tin and line the base with greaseproof paper
melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.
beat the sugar, butter and eggs ina separate bowl. stir in the melted chocolate, fold in the flour, cocoa powder and salt. once combined, add the beetroot and stir.
carefully transfer the mixture into your cake tin and bake for 45 minutes. it is ready when your skewer comes out almost clean. leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. turn it onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
the icing
150g dark chocolate pieces
135ml double cream
5 tbsp icing sugar
put all the ingredients in a bowl and melt over a pan of simmering water. stir it altogether then take off the heat. stir quickly until you have a smooth and glossy mixture. leave to cool and thicken.
spread the icing over the cake and top with grated chocolate.
serve with whipped double cream.
thanks to diana henry, mrs. ramsay and daniella's sister who first introduced me to vegetables and chocolate. yum!