As soon as I saw the Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook, I knew immediately I wanted to make this Pistachio & Lime Cake for my friend’s upcoming birthday. This is one of Lynn Hill’s own and it is the one that graces the front cover of the book.
Oh the excitement. The pleasure of an unopened box of chocolates just waiting to be discovered. The expectation is doubled when I don’t know what the box contains. I have, occasionally, been disappointed, but these chocolates were from Cocoa Boutique and I have reviewed them before, so I knew I was going to like them. They arrived rather mysteriously; I was not expecting them and had had no correspondence about it, but I am not one to turn down a box of nice chocolates that has been posted through my door. Cocoa Boutique is a chocolate club, so they are set up for parcels that can fit through a letterbox – I wish more would do that: better to be gratified instantly than to have to wait for a redelivery. This box was visually very pleasing and the enticing aroma of chocolate wafting up made me impatient to get stuck in.
Before even looking at the card to see what flavours awaited me, I followed the visual cues and went straight for the chocolate that appealed to me most. It was the Passion Fruit, a flavour I have a love hate relationship with when it comes to chocolate. Done well, it can be exquisite, but done badly it can taste synthetic and unpleasant. I was relieved to find, this fell into the first category. Paired with dark chocolate, it was sharp, fruity, aromatic and full flavoured, leaving behind a mixture of dark chocolate and passionfruit flavour that lingered on the palate for some considerable time after the chocolate had been consumed. I could quite see why this chocolate by Sun Trigg has won several awards.
Following this jump into the unknown and my lust being sated for a while, I was a little more restrained with my further tastings. I looked at the guide to see just what I had in store. There were some delicious sounding chocolates and flavour combinations, but my eye fell on the cocoa dusted salted caramel and as I would be addicted to these if my pocket allowed, this was my very next choice. The caramel was a little thicker than I’ve had before, but no less delicious for that and the salt erring towards subtlety brought out the flavour without tasting particularly salty. Note for CT: a box of these would be my idea of bliss.
Marzipan – just how I like it. It had a homemade feel and was almondy both in texture and taste without tasting of almond essence and it was not too sweet either.
Gazillionaires Shortbread – a fun idea, but sweeter than the salted caramel and like millionaires shortbread, just too sweet for me.
Double Praline – I enjoyed the two different flavours and textures stacked one on top of the other.
The Frothing Hot Chocolate was not only fun to look at, but contained a bit of a surprise – it was certainly very hot!
All in all, I thought this was a good box of chocolates and I’d be happy for someone to subscribe me to the service for a while – hint, hint! There was a good mix of dark, milk and white chocolate and a varied mix of textures and flavours to make this a box that can be indulged in by one single chocoholic – why are you looking at me? Or it could be shared out amongst friends and family – there should be something here to suit everyone’s taste.
Well, I maybe posting this a little later than intended, but it now coincides with my 500th blog post, which turns out to be very apt timing indeed. Read on.
As some of you may know, I’m a big fan of silicone cake moulds. As I’ve said on many an occasion, they have revolutionised my baking life. No more faffing around with scissors and bits of paper. It’s true that I’ve had the odd disaster when the cake has stuck to the bottom of the mould, but these occurrences have been rare. The folks at Mustard must have known my penchant for all things silicone (well perhaps not all things silicone 😉 and sent this fun Choc a Bloc cake mould to try. They are also offering one as a a giveaway to readers of my blog.
I couldn’t wait to try it so grabbed my bowl and spoon and set too. The result was this banana, chocolate and peanut butter cake. Like a bar of chocolate, I found myself unable to stop at one square.
First off I’d like to say a big thank you to Jen of Blue Kitchen Bakes for hosting the February ginger challenge and Lucy of The Kitchenmaid for the March fame challenge. Do have a look at the round-ups if you haven’t done so already. Human ingenuity is well represented.
So, onto this month’s theme – nothing fancy: leeks. Only joking, it is April Fool’s Day.
No, the real challenge is something else. Read on.
Last year in the UK, the weather was atrocious; not only did fruit and vegetables suffer, but so did pollinating insects like bees and butterflies. People weren’t too keen on it either. Let’s hope for a better one this year. Just our luck, 2012 was the year we got our bees which live at my mother’s. They have been having a very hard time of it and we are not sure if they will survive this year. The weather is currently too cold for them to be active.
So with this in mind, I’m hoping you will all support your local bee keepers by buying local honey. Although it is not traditionally harvested at this time of year, it’s warm colour and sweet taste remind us of the good things to come, spring being the herald to summer. April is when bees start to get properly busy (usually). You may have guessed by now, this month’s We Should Cocoa theme is honey.
For some inspiration, if needed, have a look at some of the honey and chocolate recipes I’ve tried in the past.
Here is a quick reminder of how to submit your entries:
E-mail the link to your submission (one only per challenge please) and include: your name, the name of your blog, your recipe title and a photograph (please can you make these no bigger than 800 x 600 pixels) to: email@example.com
If you want to find out more about the plight of bees head to the Soil Association.