Last Sunday I had a fabulous and much needed day out. I finally managed to take my mother to Caerhays Castle to see the magnolias in full bloom. The display was stunning, but to paraphrase an oriental sage, the heart doesn’t crave flowers for long when the belly lacks calories. Thankfully,when I dropped her off back home, I was treated to a bowl of homemade soup, followed by a good look around the garden and a post-prandial raid on the rhubarb patch. The result is this toothsome rustic rhubarb galette with orange spelt flaky pastry.
It’s the second week in December and I’ve only just made my first Christmas recipe. Biscuits and cookies make great gifts at Christmas and when I’m organised, I like to make a few of them. I’ve started with these gluten free chocolate pistachio biscotti as I want to get a few sent off in the post and biscotti are great for keeping well.
It’s always useful to have some simple but delicious and portable food up one’s sleeve for this time of year. Our British summers can be quite changeable and embarking on a picnic or al fresco dining is often a last minute affair. Higgidy quiches are ideal for these occasions, as is this orange ginger carrot salad, which fits the bill perfectly. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the recipe.
There are few things more exciting than receiving a box of organic fruit and veg in the post when you’re not quite sure what will be in it. I received such a box recently from Delicado48 in Spain. One thing I was pretty certain of was that it would contain oranges and I was not disappointed. A beautifully fresh tasting orange kefir smoothie became our breakfast staple for the next few days.
Easter is fast approaching and as it gets ever nearer, my thoughts turn to chocolate, although to be fair, my thoughts are rarely far from this exquisite food of the gods. Over the years I’ve made many Easter chocolate cakes, some more child friendly than others. These ones, containing rather a lot of rum are definitely of the adult variety.
A couple of weeks ago The Book Shop, here in Liskeard, had a Books Are My Bag party with a local author coming in to read to the kids, music, a living statue in the window, jugglers and more. The colour for the event was orange, so what could I do but make some orange cakes?
It was a friend’s birthday a couple of weeks ago and we had been invited over for lunch. This was to be followed by a walk from Respryn Bridge at Lanhydrock to Duchy Nurseries so we could indulge in a cream tea. But first a cake was in order.
Some time ago, I received a set of chocolate making kits from Chocolate at Home. I made the milk chocolate truffles almost immediately and was impressed, both with the kit and the resulting chocolates. I was saving the other kits up for Christmas. With the party season in full swing, I was pretty sure there would be an occasion to use the Dessert Canapé Kit and I wasn’t wrong.
Sadly and rather frustratingly, both CT and I have been hit by the flu – a result of overcrowding on the trains I suspect and no easy escape from contagious fellow passengers. I can only assume that the old saying, “coughs and sneezes spread diseases” did for us. The result being a rather low key Christmas with no outings in site. Tomorrow our friends hold their annual Solstice dinner and I was saving the canapés for the occasion. Well, we can’t go now, but I’m hoping the canapés can.
This kit was just perfect in my time of need. Cooking and baking is still beyond me at the moment and if truth be told, I don’t fancy eating that much. I was able to make the canapés simply and easily, but still feel I had a hand in the creative process. Both the effort required and the washing up were minimal and I finished the task feeling a lot better than when I started. Contents:
- 15 chocolate canapé cups
- 100g dark chocolate mousse powder
- 40g caramelised hazelnuts
- 50g candied orange peel
- piping bag
Unlike the first kit, when I followed the exact instructions, I thought I’d add my own twist on this one; I created an orange and rhubarb flavoured chocolate mousse, with a bit of a kick to it. I added some organic orange zest and a little of my rhubarb liqueur.
This is how I made:
Orange and Rhubarb Chocolate Canapés
- Poured 125g milk into a bowl and added 1 tbsp rhubarb liqueur.
- Added the mousse powder and whisked briefly.
- Grated in the zest from half an organic orange and whisked again for a few minutes until the mousse was smooth and silky.
- Spooned the mousse into the fifteen chocolate cups provided. A piping bag was provided for this, but as my mousse wasn’t that firm due to the added liqueur, I didn’t think this bit necessary.
- Allowed the mousse to settle and firm up slightly, then removed the cups from their holder and placed on a serving platter.
- Decorated the mousse with the candied orange peel and caramelised hazelnuts provided, then dusted with a little edible glitter (not provided).
The mousse tasted like a sophisticated version of Angel Delight. It was very chocolatey and the orange and alcohol fortified without overwhelming. The chocolate cups were all set at a slight angle, giving an elegant tilt to proceedings and making for a stylish end to any feast.
It’s the last day of National Cupcake Week and I’m just getting in by the skin of my chinny chin chin. With the Great British Bake Off in full swing everyone seems to have gone baking mad. Home Bargains is one such and they have given me a helping hand with my cupcakes by sending a box full of baking goodies. Their brief was to create a Home Bargains showstopper.