Thursday, 24 November 2011

Dark Chocolate Truffles

I made truffle mixture the day before my birthday because I knew that the first thing I would want to do would be to wake up and roll truffles whilst singing along to my favourite musical soundtrack and waiting for birthday calls.

It made me reflect on truffles.   I don't understand why truffles aren't made more often because they are so easy to make and you add add all your favourite ingredients and guests are always so impressed when you whip them out. Plus theres a satisfaction of rolling truffles that can't be found in any other type of cooking.

200g Dark Chocolate (70% more)
200ml cream
100g Butter
4 tablespoons caster sugar
Cocoa or crushed biscuit pieces for rolling

Optional:  Add  2 tablespoons amaretto/rum/ cognac/ cointreau/ toasted nuts/ chopped raisins/ coconut

Chop the dark chocolate and place in a bowl (medium/ large bowl, you will add other ingredients)

Heat the cream in a saucepan with the butter and add the sugar.  Allow to heat but do not let it boil.  Mix with a wooden spoon.

When the mixture looks hot, pour it over the chopped up dark chocolate and stir.  
If you find that the mixture is separating, keep mixing it until it looks smooth.
Leave in the fridge overnight or for 6 hours minimum.

When the mixture is set, roll with your hands in cocoa powder.  You can roll them with nuts or crushed biscuits to add a crunch.

Venetian Seafood Slideshow (tbc.)

Polenta with spicy king prawns, cherry tomatoes and mixed herbs

Classic Venetian Seafood Antipasti

Rustic Apple Cake with Cinnamon

I find that apple cake is such a classic, that it needed to be added to my blog.  Not only is it tasty, but you can have with tea or as a dessert with some cream.  The best thing about apple cake is that no one dislikes apples.  Funny that?  Have you ever come across anyone that actually dislikes apples?  I haven't.  It's also really healthy and light. (hem,hem) That also means this little treat gets eaten pretty fast unless it falls in the canal like this one nearly did...

Torta Rustica di Mele/ Rustic Apple Cake

125g Butter
150g Brown Sugar  
200g Self raising flour (If you can't find it, you can use plain flour and add a sachet of baking powder)
2 eggs 
4 medium sized apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly   
1/2 cup (two thirds of a cup)- milk
1 tsp cinnamon

Lay all your ingredients out so you know you have everything ready.  Put the oven to 180 degrees C.

Butter a 9 inch baking pan.
Cream the butter and the sugar and then beat with a whisk.
Beat in the eggs, one by one.
Alternate by sifting in the flour and cinnamon, (don't beat the flour) and the milk little by little.
Add to your prepared tin and place the apples on top.  Sprinkle with some brown sugar and bake for 20 - 30 minutes or until you can put a toothpick through and it comes out clean.

Enjoy and take a romantic walk somewhere nice...

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

PERUGIA Chocolate Festival
The largest chocolate festival in Europe hosted by Italy's Chocolate Capital, Perugia, in the Umbria region.

The  city centre of Perugia is filled with a wide range of chocolate stalls ranging from mainstream such as Milka, Lint, Caffarel, to artisan chocolates with the most beautiful handmade truffles.

Dark hot chocolate, milk hot chocolate, white hot chocolate lining every medieval street corner, chocolate sandwiches, chocolate kebabs, churros, handmade chocolates by the gram, lovers feeding each other chocolate and children dancing to chocolate songs.  I've never seen anything so magical.

As a critic and not a publicist, I would like to add I was slightly disappointed and so were others by the lack of free chocolate given out at the festival...something that could be worked on....