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.
Cocktails are not something I know much about. There was a certain bar in Baker Street we used to frequent when I was a student, where a certain Aussie barman gave us half price cocktails when he was in a good mood. But sadly his moods took a turn for the worse when his overtures were rebuffed by one of our group. Other than that, I can probably count my cocktails on the fingers of one hand – maybe two if pressed. However, there is something rather alluring about them and I expect if I had an independent income I’d drink more of them. So when Urvashi of Botanical Baker challenged us to come up with some summer cocktails, I just couldn’t resist.
Although I’m not much of a drinker – honestly – I do make my own liqueurs: sloe gin, cassis, rhubarb schnapps and various other vodka infusions. I’ve had some cocoa nibs soaking in vodka now for over six months, so I figured it was time to test out my attempt at chocolate extract and concoct some chocolate cocktails. Having used three rose flowers to make some rose sugar, I was left with one glorious bloom. Sadly the weather was not favourable, so I thought I’d harvest it before it got blown away. What better use than to make rose syrup which would be perfect for a summer cocktail.
This is what I did:
Rhubarbarella (Rhubarb & Rose Cocktail)
50ml rhubarb schnapps
50ml lemon balm tea
10ml chocolate extract
squeeze of lemon juice
Ran a little lemon juice around the rim of a glass then dipped the glass into a saucer of rose sugar (caster sugar). Placed all the above ingredients in a well sealed jar and shook. Strained into the glass and added a sprig of lemon balm.
Chocadoodledoo (Chocolate & Mint Cocktail)
50ml Mint schnapps
10ml chocolate extract
50ml single cream
Placed the above ingredients into a glass and shook well. Strained into a glass and added a sprig of mint
Rhubarbarella was the star of the show. Rose and rhubarb had already proved themselves as a flavour pairing in the last lot of Nonnettes I made so I had high hopes. It was delicious, fruity, refreshing and with a definite kick – of chocolate as well as alcahol. The rose flavour added a layer of sophistication, or so it seemed after a few sips ……. The colour was alluring and I impressed myself with the sugared glass. I’d be happy to drink this all summer long, which by latest reckoning, ends tomorrow.
Although the chocolate came through quite powerfully, I wasn’t quite so taken with chocadoodledoo due to a slight bitterness from the mint schnapps. Next time I’ll add some sugar to counteract this. It was certainly bracing, the mint schnapps being noticeably stronger than the rhubarb. However, I’m not giving up on this one, there will be a next time.
* Rose Syrup The rose syrup was absolutely delicious and I can see many uses for it, not least added to sparkling water and used as a drink. I made it by adding 200g golden caster sugar to 200ml water and putting this on a low heat until fully dissolved. I added the petals of a deep red rose and left to not quite simmer for half an hour. I then strained the syrup into a bottle and left to cool.
As I have used mint and lemon balm in my cocktails, I am submitting this to Karen’s Herbs on Saturday. A challenge I keep meaning to join in, but somehow keep forgetting about.
When I found that rhubarb had been picked for the One Ingredient blogging event in April, I so wanted to take part. But our rhubarb was ailing and I just can’t bring myself to buy something that we used to produce in prodigious quantities on our old allotment plot. The other day, however, my mother, called in with stack of rhubarb from her garden – plants we had luckily given her from our old plot. Hooray, the one ingredient challenge might be over, but I could bake with rhubarb. Since I saw the rose and rhubarb combination over at Laura of How to Cook Good Food, I’ve been itching to try it. My only dilemma was in what form? Actually, the dilemma was easily solved; my one remaining duck egg supplier was attending a wedding this week and I had run out of eggs. An egg free bake was needed. Bingo! Nonnettes it had to be – not exactly a hardship in my experience! Since first trying Nonnettes back in December, I have become enraptured with these very tasty honey cakes. What with Friands as well as the Madeleines I have yet to bake, the French are little cake bakers par excellence.
I was quite excited at coming up with a Nonnette nouvelle. The combination of rose and roasted rhubarb jam has probably never been used before. This in conjunction with some delicious Cornish honey, ought to be irresistible, I thought. As we still had quite a bit of cake in the house from my recent Clandestine Cake Club event, I used half the normal quantities to make six rather than twelve individual cakes.
This is what I did:
- Chopped up 4 sticks (about 300g) of washed & trimmed rhubarb into 1 cm lengths.
- Placed these in a greased Pyrex dish and sprinkled a teaspoon of rose water over the top.
- Spooned 50g cardamom sugar (caster sugar) over the rhubarb.
- Roasted at 200C for 30 minutes.
- Left to cool, then spooned into a jar.
- Melted 40g unsalted butter in a pan.
- Added 100g local Cornish runny honey and 50g light brown sugar.
- Turned off the heat and added 50g milk, 40g water and 10g of rhubarb liqueur (homemade) with a tsp of rose water.
- Stirred until smooth then left to cool.
- Ground the seeds from two cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar.
- Sifted 100g plain white flour, 50g rye flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda into a bowl.
- Added the cardamom and the grated zest from 1/2 a small orange.
- Stirred in 25g chopped white chocolate.
- Made a well in the centre and poured in the honey mixture.
- Stirred until all combined.
- Divided the mixture between 6 buttered muffin moulds and placed in the fridge for an hour.
- Placed a spoonful of rhubarb jam on the top of each one.
- Baked at 180C for 20 minutes.
- Left to cool
- Mixed 1 tbsp icing sugar with a little rhubarb liqueur (homemade) and a drop of rose water to form a slightly runny icing.
- Drizzled these over the cakes whilst they were still warm.
These turned out even better than I could have wished. After the first bite, I was very much regretting making six rather than twelve. They were absolutely scrummy and as CT stated later, tasted French – I think this was a compliment. They had a lovely soft texture which I attribute to the presence of rye flour. The rose made its presence felt but was not in the least overpowering and contrasted well with the distinctive tartness of the rhubarb. The roasted rhubarb jam was a delight in itself and has adorned various slices of toast all this week.
When making these Nonnettes, I had not one, not two, not three, but four blog challenges in mind:
Simple and in Season – a monthly challenge to get us to cook uncomplicated food using seasonal ingredients by Ren of Fabulicious Food. This month it is being guest hosted by Urvashi of The Botanical Baker.
Alpha Bakes – Caroline Makes and Ros of The more than occasional baker take it in turns to pick a random letter from the alphabet which inspires the theme of the bake. This month Caroline picked H and my H is for Honey Cakes.
Tea Time Treats – the fabulously sugar overloaded monthly tea time party run alternately by Karen of Lavender and Lovage and Kate of What Kate Baked. The theme this month is floral. Rose is my flower of choice, because I love roses as mentioned in previous posts and one of the reasons why I chose Rose as one of the We Should Cocoa challenges.
Made with Love Mondays – Javelin Warrior’s weekly challenge to get everyone making dishes from scratch from Javelin Warrior’s Cookin w / Luv.