Vegetarian food blog featuring nourishing home cooked recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

We Should Cocoa – the Alcohol Round-up

We Should Cocoa | 31st December 2013 | By

Getting into the Christmas spirit, so to speak, was something many of you seemed more than willing to do – 26 boozy chocolatey recipes made their way into this month’s We Should Cocoa challenge where the special ingredient was alcohol. All entries are perfect for the festive season and although I was completely stuffed on Christmas Day, I can’t help being a little bit sad that these treats didn’t grace my table too: truffles, trifles and much much more …

Thanks to everyone for their fabulous contributions to both this and previous challenges throughout the year. I hope to see you again in 2014 and wish you all a very Happy New Year.

Linzi from Lancashire Food is hosting next month’s challenge, so do check out her blog tomorrow.

I’ve noticed a number of people using Google+ for their blog comments. Those of us, who are not on Google+ are unable to leave comments it seems. Rest assured, I have read them all.

Unusually for me, I managed to get an early entry in with this, my first successfully rolled Chocolate Log filled with a whipped boozy chocolate ganache made with Thorntons chocolate liqueur.

Phil from As Strong as Soup has gone all 70s retro and come up with this rather splendid revival of the forgotten Malakoff Trifle. Phil’s take on it is a slightly healthier version of what was a very full on cream and rum concoction.

I’ve always hankered after buns for breakfast, freshly baked and warm from the oven. One day I might manage it and when I do, these chocolate and mincemeat sticky buns from Dom of Belleau Kitchen are likely to be a strong contender. Packed with brandy mincemeat and lots of dark chocolate these are just perfect for Christmas.

With stunning photos of assorted vintage teacups filled with Chocolate Mint Mousse, Karen of Lavender and Lovage gives us a visual feast. Made with cream, crème de menthe and After Eights, these sound perfect for rounding off a festive meal.

Now for a special birthday cake – a Tiramisu Cake from Life Can Be Simple to celebrate her sister’s birthday. Kahlua is the booze used in this coffee lover’s delight and plenty of mascarpone to go with it too.

Now I do like a glass or two of mulled wine at Christmas. Whatever the quantity I make, there always seems to be some left over. What better way to use it than in these Mulled Wine Cupcakes from Janine of Cake of the Week?

I was hoping we’d get some chocolates for Christmas and I wasn’t disappointed. These   wondrous Truffled Prunes from Alexandra of The Lass in the Apron would have been the highlight of my stocking if I’d found any in there. Chocolate ganache made with Grand Marnier is stuffed inside a succulent prune which is then covered in chocolate – definitely something to dream about.

Sour cherries, cranberries and raisins soaked in brandy is a good start to anything I reckon. Rebecca of BakeNQuilt must have thought so too; she confesses that not all of the mini chocolate fudge fruitcakes she baked for gifts made it out of the front door.

Now, I have made chocolate mincemeat and I have made chocolate pastry, but I haven’t yet combined both to make chocolate mince pies. Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe has inspired me. Her chocolate mince tarts look pretty and sound delicious, especially as the mincemeat is made with whiskey – something else I haven’t tried.

Festive Christmas trees top this Baileys chocolate dessert made by Angela of My Golden Pear. They are small but highly photogenic and delicious to boot. She says the last drop of Baileys Irish Cream was used, but strangely made no mention of any new bottle hiding in the cabinet …

Bake a chocolate cake, douse it in whisky; cover it in a chocolate fudge whisky icing, then eat it with a satisfied smile on your face. So did Laura from I’d Much Rather Bake Than … with this “I must make it very soon myself” chocolate whisky bundt cake.

Can Christmas be complete without some creamy homemade fudge? Elizabeth from her Kitchen Diary has come to the rescue and given us this decadent no cook vodka chilli truffle fudge. Vodka was Elizabeth’s alcohol of choice and the chillies are an inspiration that has me longing to try some.

I’ve been on a bit of a biscuit mission this past month – mostly shortbread I’ll grant you, but I’m very keen to try a few more recipes before the festivities are over, especially if the contain Amaretto. Craig of The Usual Saucepans has come up with a flavour combination that has particularly tickled my fancy and his double chocolate, cinnamon and Amaretto cookies sound quite scrumptious.

This chocolate coconut rum cake made with Malibu from the Nutty Tart sounds really rich and delicious. Simple to make, but with lots of dark chocolate and coconut rum, this is another recipe I absolutely must try.

The next tipple to be used is ale in another dark and luscious looking cake. Described as a chocolate log for grown ups, Claire from Under the Blue Gum Tree gives us Chocolate and Ale Cake taken from Tom Kerridge’s Proper Pub Food.

Chocolate mousse made with cherry brandy, topped with a layer of sour cherries and then covered in vanilla cream and chocolate sounds sublime. Chris from Cooking Around the World created this Blackforest gateaux pudding in an attempt to create a simpler dessert version of the classic Black Forest Gateau. A resounding success I reckon.

More boozy truffles come our way via Ros of The More Than Occasional Baker. Great to have around at Christmas, these Irish Cream chocolate truffles make a fabulous gift too. Ros has, of course, made these with Irish Cream.

Hannah of Corner Cottage Bakery reckons her chocolate port sauce was made for pouring warm over Christmas desserts. Having seen this rich chocolate, port and cream confection in a jar, I reckon it’s good to go all by itself. As for the Icelandic chocolate she used in making it – well, go look for yourselves.

Tiffin is one of my favourite chocolatey treats ever, so I was really pleased to see this Christmas Tiffin from Siobhan of Tasty Recipes and Other Stuff. The addition of honey sounds particularly appealing as does that of brandy and it’s a gift I would very much have appreciated.

Baileys Chocolat Luxe is used to very good effect in this Baileys Chocolate Luxe Cheesecake over at Caroline Makes. Light and creamy with lashings of mascarpone cheese, this is yet another dessert I’d have been happy to see on my Christmas table.

Jean from Baking in Franglais made a Black Forest Trifle using kirsch in a trifle dish I am quite envious of. I know just how good it was as we had one on our Christmas table this year and it proved to be very popular.

These Christmas profiteroles from Natalie of HungryHinny got her through to the finals of the Plymouth Chamber Christmas Bake Off, which she very cleverly won – hooray. Filled with a chocolate orange and brandy cream, no wonder the judges were intoxicated by her artistry.

Suelle of Mainly Baking starts her post off in fine style by declaring that there is always a chocolate dessert on her Christmas table. She finishes it off well by presenting us with this scrummilicious Amaretto truffle cake using, you guessed it Amaretto along with amaretti biscuits.

With a dislike for cold custard, cream (I didn’t know this was possible) and jelly, constructing a trifle can be somewhat challenging for Rachel Cotterill. However, necessity is the mother of invention and this rather gorgeous sounding Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake Trifle with cherries soaked in kirsch was the result.

At the last minute comes a beautifully coloured festive Kumquat Cheesecake from Galina of Chez Maxima. Using port and white chocolate as well as cranberries and a whole host of other delectable ingredients, I’m rather wishing I could tuck into this dish along with all the others.

Ice-cream for Christmas may not sound the obvious choice over here in the Northern Hemisphere, but in New Zealand it’s perfect. It is what CT and I had on Christmas Day the year we were in New Zealand. Ours wasn’t half as delicious as Lucy’s sounds. Check out this rich rum and raisin ice-cream over at The KitchenMaid but take care, you might get hooked. Rum is of course the booze of choice for this dessert.

Wensleydale and Cranberry Chocolate Muffins

Christmas, Small Cakes | 28th December 2013 | By

Wensleydale Muffins

I always try and make the boys next door something for Christmas as a thank you for uncomplainingly taking in our parcels throughout the year. Seeing some cranberry Wensleydale cheese for sale recently, I remembered how good the Wensleydale apple cake I made last year was and thought I should perhaps try it out in some muffins. I found this recipe on the Yorkshire Dales Cheese Co website and adapted it accordingly.

So, this is how I made:

Wensleydale and Cranberry Chocolate Muffins

  • Sifted 225g flour, 50g drinking chocolate, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of rock salt into a bowl.
  • Stirred in 110g golden caster sugar.
  • Crumbled in 125g Wensleydale cheese with cranberries.
  • Peeled, cored and finely chopped one small apple and stirred this into the mix.
  • Made a well in the centre and broke in 2 smallish eggs.
  • Added 90 ml Mrs Middleton’s cold pressed rapeseed oil and 200 ml sour milk (ordinary milk should be fine or add a tsp of lemon juice to the milk and leave to stand for a few minutes).
  • Stirred until just combined.
  • Spooned into 12 muffin cases and baked at 180°C for 22 minutes when risen and firm to the touch.
The muffins had a lovely light texture and a nutty taste from the oil. The apple gave additional moistness and the cheese made for a richer more satisfying mouth feel. Easy, quick, delicious and nutritious these would make an excellent brunch dish for all those Christmas visitors.

Not very elegant perhaps, but these would make great snack food for keeping the cold at bay whilst seeing in the New Year at some favourite spot out in the wilds, as we have been known to do. A flask of hot mulled wine to accompany them would not go amiss either. As such I am submitting these to Emily’s Recipe of the Week over at A Mummy Too, which is all about New Year’s Eve Nibbles.

Orange and Cinnamon White Chocolate Shortbread

Biscuits, Gifts | 25th December 2013 | By


Wishing all my readers

A
Very
Merry
Christmas

And I leave you with yet another Christmas shortbread recipe – a spicy and citrussy one this time.

This is how I made:

Orange and Cinnamon White Chocolate Shortbread

  • Softened 50g of good quality white chocolate by putting it in the mixing bowl and placing it on the storage heater for ten minutes.
  • Added 170g of unsalted butter cubed and left to soften.
  • Creamed the butter and chocolate with 85g golden caster sugar until pale in colour and fluffy in texture.
  • Added the grated zest of an organic orange and creamed some more.
  • Sifted in 175g plain flour (half wholemeal, half white), 80g brown rice flour, a pinch of pink Himalayan rock salt and 1 rounded tsp ground cinnamon.
  • Stirred until incorporated, then formed into a ball and left in my cold kitchen to firm up for half an hour.
  • Rolled out to about 3mm thickness and stamped out snowflake shapes getting about 60 biscuits in total. I also tried to make some buttons, but they didn’t quite work out as planned.
  • Left to firm up in my cold kitchen for 15 minutes.
  • Baked for 7-8 mins at 180°C until just golden.
  • Dusted with fine caster sugar whilst still hot, then transferred to a wire rack to cool and harden.
  • Packaged up into bags, then added labels and ribbons.
I did manage to snaffle one to try and they were quite delicious with a good Christmassy flavour.
I’m submitting these to the Spice Trail with Venesther over at Bangers & Mash. The chosen spice this month is cinnamon.

Stocking up with Chocolate

Chocolate Reviews | 24th December 2013 | By

Reviewing products is a funny old game. Things can turn up at odd times and often not at all. So it’s often a complete surprise when I get a knock on the door and a parcel delivery; in such cases I generally have no idea what might be inside. It makes for an interesting life. Here’s some chocolate that turned up this month.

Beech’s Chocolate Brazils

Brazil nuts are quite high in selenium which is said to keep the blues at bay; they are particularly welcome at this time of year when the days are short and often dull in our part of the Northern Hemisphere. To my mind, Christmas is not complete without a good box of chocolate covered Brazils – for medicinal purposes naturally. I am rather fond of these delightful nuts, especially when covered in chocolate. CT is even more fond of them and is unable to resist buying them from time to time – Christmas or no Christmas. So I was delighted to be sent some recently from Beech’s Fine Chocolates, just in time for Christmas.

These came in both 90g and 140g boxes of milk and dark chocolate. Interestingly the dark Brazils were of a more or less uniform size whereas the milk ranged hugely from really quite small to really quite large. We both tucked in eagerly.

The nuts were nice and crisp and tasted fresh. Stale, rancid Brazil nuts can be a bit of a problem, but not in this case. The milk 33% chocolate was creamy but not overly sweet and went well with the slight bitterness of the nuts. There was a good contrast of textures with the smoothness of the chocolate and the crunchiness of the Brazils. We both really liked these and reckoned they were the best chocolate Brazils we had tasted for some time.

The dark 67% chocolate had a strong aromatic smell and the texture was crisp rather than creamy. The overall effect was quite different to the milk. They were also very tasty, but the nuts were not centre stage, as the dark chocolate had its own bitter notes that somewhat overpowered the flavour of the nut. They were, however, less sweet, which I generally find more palatable. That said, the milk chocolates were our favourite as the flavours were, we felt, better balanced.

Beech’s Fine Chocolates have been making traditional British chocolates in Preston since 1920. They pride themselves on using natural raw ingredients with no artificial colours or flavours. They have a string of ethical certifications including buying from UTZ farmers (better farming, better future) and a care for the environment. However, I noticed the Fairtrade logo was missing. They supply own-label chocolates for a number of high street retailers including Waitrose and Marks & Spencer as well as chocolates under their own brand.

A 260g box of chocolate Brazils costs £5.99 from their website, which seems eminently reasonable to me.

Kinder Bueno

I do love beautifully packaged parcels and this one containing chocolate bars from Kinder was a particular joy to look at and unwrap. Subtle colours and pastel shades are not generally my bag, so a gold wrapped parcel covering a sturdy box containing something wrapped in orange tissue paper met with my approval. As it turned out, the Beuno bars nestling inside were similarly bedecked.

When the weather outside is frightful, Kinder colours are quite delightful: in the half light that passes for midday, I was glad to see some of that Italian sunshine, verve and elegance.

Nutella fans will adore these chocolate bars. Fingers of wafer layered with a smooth creamy hazelnut filling and covered with either white or milk chocolate. The chocolate, I’m glad to say, is real chocolate, containing cocoa butter rather than the ubiquitous vegetable fat found in many of our so-called chocolate bars. Each 43g packet comes with two fingers that are partially separated into four chunks. This is handy for portion control, but they are so very light, it is hard to stop at one finger let alone one chunk.

Strangely, although I’m not a fan of their antecedents Ferraro Rocher, I could quite happily polish off a finger or two of these Bueno with no problem at all. I like the contrasting textures of crunchy wafer and smooth creamy filling. The white chocolate has an additional texture, decorated as it is in a rough sandpaper like cocoa substance. Trust me, this is a lot better than it sounds. The bars have a delightful hazelnutty flavour, but are a little too sweet for me, especially the white chocolate one. Nevertheless, I was happy to munch my way through both.

Bueno is currently giving away 3 x £10,000 fashion collections. The winners will be whisked away to Banana Republic’s flagship store in London and given a personal shopper to help select just the right pieces. A makeover, spa treatments and various other delights are included in the prize. To enter, you need to open a bar and type in the code on the inner wrapper to see if it is a winner. To find out more visit the House of Bueno website or their Facebook page.

Chocolate Mad Cowes

Following a Twitter conversation about the delights of chocolate salted caramels Chocolate Mad Cowes sent me a sample box of their artisan caramel chocolates. Once again, these were nicely packaged; I can’t resist a bonny turquoise box tied with ribbon. Are you listening CT?
 
As their name suggests, this chocolate shop is based in the international yachting centre of Cowes on the Isle of Wight. I don’t know whether these came over on a yacht, but they were a little bit scattered and scuffed on arrival. No matter, ultimately, it’s all in the taste.
 
As regular readers will know, good salted caramels are my Achilles heel – I would eat them anywhere at any time. Luckily motive and opportunity rarely coincide. I was, however, looking forward to trying the selection offered. I was pleased to see an interesting variety with centres that were chewy, soft and almost liquid. The caramels were covered in Valrhona dark and milk chocolate. Both CT and I enjoyed all of these, but thought the plain chocolate ones had the edge as they helped to counteract the sweetness of the caramel.
 
Plain Chocolate Pecan Turtles – the soft, but not runny caramel had a good rich flavour with the toffee note coming through almost immediately. It was not too sweet and the pecans’ bitter hints were both a good flavour foil and produced a contrasting crunchy texture.
 
Salt Caramel Bouchees – These squares of salty milk and dark chocolate were firmer, chewier and sweeter than the turtles, but still quite toothsome.
 
Salt Caramel Spheres – the most liquid of the lot, these were my favourite. They were not too sweet and had a hint of the sea about them. Perfectly smooth, these work worked well with the plain and milk chocolate.  CT thought he detected oaky tannins that reminded him of whisky.
 

 

Dare to Bare – Random Recipes #35

Uncategorized | 22nd December 2013 | By

In this very busy month of December, Dom is giving us a break from cooking and has tasked us with revealing the insides of our kitchen cupboards instead. Having seen the well ordered and tidy shelves of so many bloggers through this challenge, I am not at all sure that my cupboards, stuffed to the gunwales of whatever I can fit into them, should be shared. However, in the spirit of Christmas, I am prepared to give you a glimpse.

Perhaps not surprisingly, I have a chocolate shelf. With chocolate being this blog’s raison d’être, it is an ingredient that I just cannot be without. Whilst Green & Blacks, is my go to chocolate for most things, I do have an eclectic mix of different types and brands.

Because I’m a hoarder and also like to be as economical as possible, I tend to buy my staples in bulk and store them in large glass jars – preferably with red lids. In an ideal world, I would have a nice walk in larder and everything would be tidy and easy to access. In actuality, space is an issue and ingredients can be somewhat inaccessible.

In an attempt to get organised one day, I decided I would keep all of my various flours (I have a lot) in a basket. As you can see from the picture, that basket has now become a repository for anything I can’t find a place for somewhere else – oops!

Savoury Chocolate Vol au Vents and Canapes

Mushroom vol-au-vents

The party season is now in full swing and although I rarely buy ready made pastry, these  Gourmet Pidy pastry cases make excellent party fare for a time strapped host. Time and thought can go into creating delicious fillings without worrying about making the pastry and then having to shape it suitably. Pidy are a Belgium company that has been making their award winning pastry cases since 1952. They provide a range of interesting pastry forms, but have only recently launched into the home cook’s market. Their products are available via Amazon, delis, farm shops and other independent retailers.

(more…)

A Plethora of White Chocolate Shortbread Biscuits

Biscuits, Gifts, Tea | 18th December 2013 | By

I was so pleased with the chilli white chocolate shortbread snowflakes that I made last month, that I seem to have done nothing else recently but make more shortbread biscuits based on that recipe. I was baking for a friend’s birthday party recently and thought it would be fun to make “after dinner” tea and coffee biscuits. With 100 guests expected, I made two batches of the biscuits resulting in about 110 in total. To one I added Japanese matcha tea powder to give an intriguing tea flavour and green colour and to the other I added some ground coffee which gave an interesting speckled look and a mild but definite coffee flavour. These proved to be rather popular, especially, it seemed, for scooping up a very large trifle that had been made for the occasion. Even more recently, I made over 60 lemon and cardamom biscuits for my last day at work. I haven’t quite decided what biscuits I shall be making for Christmas this year, but as I’ve ordered some organic oranges, I’m currently in favour of making some orange and cardamom white chocolate shortbread biscuits. By the new year, I suspect I shall be thoroughly fed up with shortbread.

Like their chilli shortbread predecessors, any of these would look good pierced and hung with ribbon from the Christmas tree. They’d also make lovely Christmas gifts.

Coffee White Chocolate Shortbread
Matcha White Chocolate Shortbread
Lemon Shortbread
Lemon and Cardamom White Chocolate Shortbread

This is how I made:

White Chocolate Shortbread Biscuits

  • Softened 50g of good quality white chocolate by putting it in the mixing bowl and placing it on the storage heater for ten minutes.
  • Added 170g of unsalted butter cubed and left to soften.
  • Creamed the butter and chocolate with 85g golden caster sugar until pale in colour and fluffy in texture (used cardamom sugar for the lemon cardamom biscuits).
  • Added 175g plain flour (half wholemeal, half white), 80g brown rice flour and a pinch of pink Himalayan rock salt.
  • Depending on the flavour, added 1) 2 heaped tsp of matcha powder 2) 2 heaped tsp ground coffee 3) grated zest of an organic lemon together with the ground up seeds of 3 cardamom pods.
  • Stirred until incorporated, then formed into a ball and left in my cold kitchen to firm up for half an hour.
  • Rolled out to about 3mm thickness and stamped out small shapes getting 50 to 60 biscuits in total (hearts for the matcha shortbread, flowers for the coffee and snowflakes for lemon cardamom).
  • Left to firm up in my cold kitchen for 15 minutes.
  • Baked for 7-8 mins at 180°C until just golden.
  • Dusted with fine caster sugar whilst still hot, then transferred to a wire rack to cool and harden.

Jo at Comfort Bites has started a new challenge with the same name as her blog Comfort Bites. This month her theme is Christmas and as these would make great Christmas gifts, I am entering them.

Well as far as biscuits go, these are fairly Quick and Easy which is the theme for this month’s The Biscuit Barrel with Laura of I’d Much Rather Bake Than … The stamping can be fiddly if you use a small snowflake cutter as I did for the lemon cardamom cookies, but a larger and simpler stamp would not take very long at all.

As my wholemeal flour is bought locally from Cotehele Mill where it is ground with a traditional water powered stone, I am entering these into Shop Local at Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary.

And as everything is made from scratch some of these are being sent of to Javelin Warrior for his Made with Love Mondays.

Harrods Christmas Hampers

It’s many years since I have set foot in Harrods, but the thrill of entering the hallowed halls still lives on. As an awestruck country girl, this acme of  department stores, situated in exclusive Knightsbridge, was an Aladdin’s cave of delights. The food halls in particular live on in my memory. As a cash strapped student, I would enter and just breathe in the exotic air, rich with spices and other fragrant compounds. I’d gaze at the sumptuous riches all around and at the luxurious chocolates in particular. Well if I can no longer get to Harrods, Harrods can come to me. Or at least it did recently in the form of this strikingly elegant hamper.

It had to be chocolate of course. Initially, I chose the East India Collection which was full of Eastern promise and had some interesting flavours that particularly appealed to me. It also contained a jar of chocolate cane sugar which I find most intriguing and was keen to try out. Sadly, Harrods was out of stock at the time, so I chose this Celebration of Chocolate instead, retailing at £125.

The hamper arrived well packaged and in good condition. The black and gold colour theme conjured up an air of regal livery. If only I had an impeccably dressed man servant to carry the hamper for me, my life would be complete. Wait a minute, I’ve got the not-so-impeccably dressed CT.

Unpacking the contents, I was making a mental note of who was going to get which of the enclosed delights. Everything looked to good to tuck into before Christmas. The dark chocolate coated orange sticks would go to my mother. When I made my own version of these, she thought they were one of the best chocolate combinations she’d ever had. The dark coated ginger sticks were headed in her direction too: it’s her birthday on New Year’s Eve and these are a particular favourite of hers. The dark chocolate used is a 67% house speciality. The whiskey truffles, also coated in dark chocolate, sound like something I’d really like to try and would make great after dinner chocolates to have with friends. The dark chocolate coated shortbread biscuits are made for sharing too. I haven’t yet decided who will get the milk chocolate truffles and what I shall be doing with the two bars of couverture chocolate – one white 28% and one milk 41%. As I am rather partial to a high cocoa content milk chocolate, I suspect I might just be hiding the latter away for myself. To complete the package, there is a selection of ten dark, milk and white chocolates which CT and I took upon ourselves to try for the purposes of this review.

The chocolates, although unidentified, proved to be pleasant, if somewhat on the sweet side. I thought it would have been useful to have a menu included. This was our take on the contents:

  1. Rose and Earl Grey ganache with a smooth mousse like texture enrobed in milk chocolate.
  2. Dark chocolate covering a sweet white firm textured substance that reminded me of honey nougat.
  3. Milk chocolate containing a crunchy praline with pieces of feuilletine.
  4. A firm and fruity strawberry ganache enrobed in creamy white chocolate.
  5. Dark chocolate rum truffle which was less sweet than the others and had a nice zing of rum to it.

 

You can check online to find out what other amazing Christmas hampers Harrods have to offer.

I was sent a Harrods hamper to review. There was no requirement to write a positive review. As always, all opinions are my own.

Goat’s Cheese Chocolate Truffles

Chocolates, Gifts | 14th December 2013 | By

 
 
 
Goat's Cheese Truffles

Way way back many months ago, I was unable to attend a blogger’s event at Chantal Coady’s Rococo chocolate factory. I read many accounts of the fabulous time had by all. The highlight for most, other than indulging themselves with chocolate, was a demonstration of how to make goat’s cheese truffles. I’d already heard accounts of how well these two unlikely ingredients worked together and indeed I’ve tried the combination out for myself on several occasions. My goat’s cheese and chocolate tarts are so good, I keep coming back to them again and again. However, I didn’t get around to trying out goat’s cheese chocolate truffles until I hosted a six course chocolate dinner back in July, when I thought they would make a fitting and interesting end to the meal. I didn’t have a recipe and after looking on the internet and getting baffled by all the myriad permutations I found there, I just made up my own very simple version.

This is how I made:

Goat Cheese Chocolate Truffles

  • Melted 150g 37% milk chocolate in a bowl over hot water then left to cool a little.
  • Beat 150g ripe and soft Capricorn goat cheese with 1 scant tbsp golden icing sugar.
  • Stirred in the chocolate until all incorporated.
  • Placed in the fridge to set for a couple of hours.
  • Sifted 1 tbsp cocoa powder into a bowl.
  • Rolled teaspoonfuls into balls using my hands then dropped them into the cocoa and rolled them around until fully coated. I made 22 quite large truffles.
  • Placed back in the fridge again until ready to eat.
 
Goats Cheese Truffles

Goodness gracious me – these were as delicious as I’d hoped. They finished the meal off very nicely indeed. I decided to use a sweet milk chocolate rather than a bitter dark one as I thought it might combine better with the saltiness and the goaty tang. Even with the milk chocolate and addition of icing sugar, these were almost, but not quite savoury. They made a fine stand-in for the traditional cheese and fruit course.

These would make excellent Christmas gifts for the more adventurous chocolate or cheese lover and if I get my act together I’ll be making another batch.

This month’s Tea Time Treats is for Festive Foodie Gifts, so I am sending some of these to join the prettily packaged tea time table over at What Kate Baked. I expect Karen of Lavender and Lovage will be taking a look-in too.

These truffles weren’t exactly small, but they are an individual portions, which makes them eligible for Treat Petite with Cakeyboi and The Baking Explorer. The theme this month is Happy Holidays.

Recipe of the Week with Emily over at A Mummy Too also gets to enjoy one or two of these fabulous truffles.

Chocolate Themed Wooden Jigsaw Giveaway #42

As regular readers will know, chocolate on this blog comes in many forms. This time it comes in the form of a jigsaw. A wooden Wentworth jigsaw, entitled Decadence, to be precise. The chocolates depicted on the front of the box look decadent indeed. I can’t help but wish that on completion of the jigsaw those tempting looking chocolates would turn into the real thing. Maybe it will, who knows? I haven’t completed the jigsaw yet. In fact, I haven’t even started it. My table is just too cluttered with Christmas stuff at the moment and with the best will in the world, there is no room for a jigsaw. However, it will be clear by Christmas and I am really looking forward to getting stuck in. I love doing jigsaws. My mother loves them too, so once I’ve tackled it successfully, it will be passed over to her to have a go.

This is not a large jigsaw, being only 250 pieces, but it looks to be a tough one with the similar colours and repeating pattern of the chocolates. That’s lucky, as I don’t like my jigsaws to be too easy. It’s also rather a tactile one as the pieces are made of wood and are actually quite chunky but with a pleasingly smooth finish – no splinters to spoil the enjoyment here. The pieces are also wonderfully quirky, or at least some of them are. On sifting through them I found several shapes suitable for a food loving person: a spoon, a fork, cakes and pieces of chocolate to name but a few. I understand there is even a chocolate fountain dripping with chocolate, but I didn’t come across that one. When I first opened the box, I was delighted to see a drawstring cloth bag containing the pieces rather than the inevitable utilitarian and rather annoying plastic. The box itself is sturdy and is not likely to fall apart with a bit of rough handling, not I hasten to add that I would handle my boxes or anything else roughly. There is no doubt about it, this jigsaw is not only a thing of beauty but also of exceptional quality.

Wentworth Wooden Puzzles have been going since 1994 and have earned a name for themselves for both design and execution. Decadence comes in several different sizes, the largest being 1,500 pieces. This 250 piece version retails at £26.95 and would make a fine gift, Christmas or otherwise, for any puzzle lover.

Giveaway
Wentworth have kindly sent me a second jigsaw to give away to one lucky Chocolate Log Blog reader. To be in with a chance of winning, please fill in the Gleam widget below. You will need to leave a comment on this post which then gives you additional chances to enter if you so wish. Gleam will pick a winner at random from the entries received. If you are commenting anonymously, please give me some way of identifying you as I will be verifying the validity of entries. Any automated entries will be disqualified. This giveaway is only open to those with a UK postal address. Because of the Christmas rush, winners will need to respond within 24 hours of being contacted. Failure to do this will result in another winner being picked.
 
 
Prizes are offered and provided by Wentworth and Chocolate Log Blog accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of said third party.
 
Closing date is Friday 10th January 2014
 
Do take a look at my giveaway page to see if there is anything else you would like to enter.
 

Chocolate Jigsaw