June 2013 archive

Swan Lake Pastries

Choux pastry, shaped as elegant little swans, filled with chantilly cream and gorgeous strawberryies.

Who said the only form of art is a painting? Baking is also an art involving the correct blend of ingredients, the right balance of flavours and textures in order to concoct a masterpiece. A masterpiece that all will want to ferociously devour, yet would hesitate in doing so, because of it’s impressive countenance and the dedicated craftwork it took to assemble. The idiom ‘feast one’s eyes upon would come to perfect use in this instance.


White Chocolate ‘Slab’ Cake.

Encased in white chocolate slabs. Filled and coated with fresh cream and jam, topped with chocolate curls and fresh berries. This show-stopping cake is too much of a stunner for you ot try and make.

Boredom beckoned and my new kitchen called. It was time to start baking again! But what to make? I was in the mood for cake. What kind though? I wanted to create something with an elegant touch, something with chocolate. (more…)

Chocolate and Truffles by The Chocolatier.

Another lovely stall I visited this summer at the BBC Good Food Show was The Chocolatier. Upon seeing these chocolates I gasped and had the biggest smile on my face. Even the lady behind the exhibit commented on my excitement! I was truly a big kid in a candy store.

What I really loved about this, was that they had a really big range of chocolates and that they were completely diverse. As mentioned in my previous post, as much as I love my cocoa copines, I easily grow tired of the usual ones you get in your corner shop or supermarket shelf. Sometimes you just want something different. Or even peculiar.

The Chocolatier, a niche by Aneesh, delivers just that. Flavours from Cola Popping Candy, to Pineapple and Cardamom, they’re aren’t like your normal Nestlé brand. Now to be perfectly honest, when I saw all the flavours, I thought they wouldn’t be as good as they looked or wouldn’t really have much flavour. So I popped in a piece of Mango spice chocolate in my mouth and can I just say, my tongue was literally bombarded with spice and mangoeyness – was NOT expecting that. Personally, sweet and ‘savoury’ flavours mixed together isn’t really my thing (my friend on the other hand loves that mix) and there were many that had that kind of combination, so I was left slightly disappointed at the minimal amount of ‘sweeter’ options available.

And then I met the truffles.

There were so many to choose from and many had unusual flavours. I liked that a lot. They looked very chic and smelt amazinggg!

I picked chilli and lime, Salt and Pepper, Raspberry Gel x2 (I love raspberry and choc) and salted caramel. I had to watch out for how many I got, as we all know that Truffles don’t come cheap, especially of such a niche.

Chilli and Lime was interesting, you could taste the lemon as you bit into it, lasting with a pleasant chilli kick at the end. Nice, but not something you could have a lot of. Salt and pepper was okay, different, and that’s what intrigued me. Salted caramel was yummy as expected, really flavoursome and I just fell in love with the raspberry gel. The raspberry just oozes out as you take a bite and mixes well with the dark chocolate. I’ve always believed that the two flavours are a match made in heaven and it worked extremely well in the truffle.

I also got the sesame praline, which was sweet and crunchy and just so NOM!

I really was left flabbergasted with the varieties of flavours that they had and…wait for it…wait for it…They contained no gelatine, no cream, no butter and no eggs! They are only made from a water based ganache, I have no idea how they make them taste so good without any of these ingredients. Great for vegetarians and for those who have specific dietary limits!

For more information on The Chocolatiers chocolates or if you wanna check out their clever combinations created by Aneesh Popat, you can visit them at http://www.the-chocolatier.co.uk. I do warn you, these do eat into your wallet, though where else will you ever get to try a pumpkin pie flavoured truffle!?

Lovely for an occasional treat. Give ’em a go. They get my official stamp of approval and trust me, I can be a fussy one.

And if you don’t have enough pounds in your pocket, you can always try out my chocolate truffle recipe :)

The Dainty Cook x

Truffle Kerfuffle.

A mixture of rich dark chocolate, butter and cream, who can say no to a decadent chocolatey truffle? 
Truffles. The caviar of the chocolate world. Expensive little things that leave a pleasantly rich taste in your mouth. Usually made of 65% cocoa solids, they may not be to everyone’s taste, but they certainly leave many urging for more.


Macaron Madness.

Macarons are now the ‘jelly’ shoes of the 90s (remember those?!) They were everywhere and being a child in that era, you just had to have them in every colour. Raspberry, chocolate, lemon, vanilla, pistachio. These meringuey biscuits are now the ‘in’ thing to eat and bake.

More, More, More! Macarons by Macarons and More.

I stumbled upon Macarons and More at the BBC Good Food Show this summer. The first thing I saw was the Macaron tower. My eyes lit up and I was drawn closer. The meringue beauties were stacked in a tall prism like structure and decorated with ribbon. They looked very elegant and perfect for a special occasion.

Next to them however, was what really caught the attention of my heart. There was a wide range available such as lemon, salt caramel, chocolate orange, praline, rose, crème brûlée, dark chocolate and mint, pistachio, passionfruit and dark chocolate and violet and blackcurrant, however some were already sold out by the time I got there!

The Orange Chocolate macarons.

These are all (I assume so anyway) designed by Tim Kinnaird who appeared in BBC’s Masterchef in 2010 and was a runner up in the finals. He’s done a really great job getting this far, particularly coming from a medicinal background and not food!

Couldn’t resist and had to eat them before I took a photo. One got smashed :(

Anyway, I wanted to try all of them, but priced at £1.60 each, I had to be weary of how much money I had in my purse and pick a few only. I opted for the chocolate orange, praline, salt caramel and crème brûlée (one of my fave desserts!) And boy did they taste as well as they looked.

The best one was the Chocolate orange, it was just right, not too much orange and the chocolate was of a good quality. Praline followed behind, it was like nutella in a meringue but a hundred times better and of a high standard. The crème brûlée was nice and so was the salt caramel, however for me in a Macaron, it wasn’t my cup of tea. 

They sold them in boxes of 6, 9 and 12 and a box of 12 can be purchased online, (http://www.macaronsandmore.com), which I will definitely do when my next craving kicks in! 

Overall I was left very impressed by my purchase and wanted more! Yes the price is high, but I guess you’re paying for quality. Sometimes you can just tell by looking at the Macaron whether they’ll be amazing or just plain ordinary and with these, I just knew they would be amazing!

Raspberry and Chocolate macaroons from Patisserie Valerie.

I bought some from Pat Val just the other day and as nice as they were, once you’ve had better you won’t really like the standard ones you get. I mean they were good, but not wow. I only bought chocolate and raspberry, because I wasn’t too keen on the other normal flavours you get.

Laduree I am a hugee fan of. Just so so good with a nice pot of vanilla tea. They had a special flavour on when I went , I think it was lemon and dark chocolate, mmmmmmmmmm. Died and went to heaven! The flavours just married so so well. Ah, I’m drooling now so I better stop. But if you want some impressive macrons, do check out Macarons and More

You won’t be disheartened.

The Dainty Cook x