Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Chocolate selection Pack 1

After making a few batches of the original choc truffles I got rather excited about making more chocolates that maybe, just maybe, looked like those chocolates you can purchase in ye olde shoppes. So after snooping around on the net I decided to buy some little silicon moulds and play with a few ideas and flavours.

I chose these individual moulds because I wanted to play with a lot of shapes for as little money as possible. A tray mould would be easier if you wanted to line each mould with hard chocolate first for eg making truffle or caramel centres, but these work very well for making hard chocs. I tried a truffle mix in these with a view to freezing and then peeling off the moulds but even then the mix was too flexible to come out with out being misshapen.
The hazelnut truffles I did try, then, with a swift bit of manipulation, became truffle balls.
      When using these moulds, even though they peel back off of the chocolate, it's still a good idea to give them a bit of non-stick help. I did this by means of putting all the moulds in a 9" x 9" tin, tilting it, and giving them a light spray of Cake Release Spray, then dabbing any excess off with kitchen towel. Not sure if the solid chocs would come out ok without spray, but better safe than sorry.
      So, the 3 new flavours I tried (In the top photo - The Snowball in the middle was a Damson Gin Liqueur truffle rolled in grated white chocolate, and the plain chocolate one is a naked Hazelnut Crunch.) were the following:

Hazelnut crunch:

  • 200g Dark choc (around 50% cocoa)
  • 200g Dark choc (70%+ cocoa)
  • 150g Double cream
  • 2 tbsp Roasted hazelnut bits.
  • 2 tbsp Nutella (Or similar spread)
  • 20g crushed Coco-Pops (About a variety pack size)
  • 100g crushed crunchy cereals eg Rice Krispies, Coco-pops, Honey Nut loops


  1. Chop the 200g 50% chocolate into small pieces.
  2. Heat the cream in a saucepan until it starts to bubble at the sides.
  3. Add the chocolate to the cream. Leave for a few minutes then stir gently for a while until thoroughly mixed. 
  4. Add the Nutella and mix thoroughly.
  5. Add the Hazelnut bits and 20g Coco-pops and mix together thoroughly.
  6. Pour the mix into a shallow bowl and chill in the fridge for at least an hour
  7. Line a tray with baking paper, and spoon out marble sized lumps of truffle mix rolling each one into a rough ball shape.
  8. Place the tray of rough truffle balls back in the fridge for for at least 30 mins.
  9. Just before they're ready melt 200g 70%+cocoa  chocolate either in a bowl over simmering water or in the microwave, heating 30 secs at a time.
  10. Break up the cereals. I put mine in a deep tupperware and squished with the end of a rolling pin. and place in a shallow bowl
  11. Take the truffles out of the fridge and roll each one into a neater ball. If they get too messy whilst doing this then put back in the fridge for 5 mins.
  12. Chuck a truffle ball into the melted chocolate then fish out with a fork, forks or cocktail sticks, hold for about 10 secs while the the excess drips off, then chuck it into the crushed cereals, and cover with cereal. Leave that one and do another ball in the melted choc, when that's in the cereal roll the first ball around in the cereal. Then do another ball into the chocolate and into the cereal. By this time the first ball should be cool enough so the choc doesn't run anymore and will be solid to handle. Place it on a tray. Continue like this, with 2 or 3 truffles in the cereal all the time until finished.(It's simpler than I make it sound lol) 
  13. Any left over melted choc can be poured onto some baking paper to cool, then broken up and eaten kept to be melted another day.

White Chocolate Peppermint Crunch:

These nice solid chocolates I made in the prep'd moulds and they came out lovely loike :)

  • 200g white chocolate
  • 1 tsp Peppermint extract
  • 1 heaped tablespoon Granulated sugar.
  • Melted dark chocolate for decoration.
  1. Melt the chocolate
  2. Add the peppermint extract (As much as you want to your taste) and stir in thoroughly
  3. Add the sugar and stir in gently
  4. Teaspoon the chocolate into the Prep'd moulds
  5. Leave to cool completely
  6. When cool, put in the fridge for 15 mins
  7. Melt the dark chocolate
  8. Remove from moulds onto a piece of baking paper
  9. Either drizzle the melted dark chocolate from a spoon tip over the chocolates, or use a fine tip nozzle and piping bag to do more detailed and controlled decoration. (I used spoon for mine)
  10. Eat.

Dark Chocolate Orange Crunch:

Another easy chocolate to make with the moulds using as strong a dark chocolate as you like and incorporating the rather posh, exclusive ingredient of crushed Frosties to add a crunch :) (I'm a classy geeza!) As you can see from the photos the decoration is, well, frankly, bloody atrocious! lol I experimented with my first baking paper piping bag, and instead of being sensible and sliding in a fine nozzle that I had, I just snipped the end to make a little hole, but, well, it didn't work well and it looks like a drunk T-Rex trying to balance on a Pilates ball did the piping. Ah well, they taste ace. You need:

  • 200g Dark chocolate.
  • 1 tsp Orange extract (Or to taste)
  • Variety pack of Frosties, crushed, or blitzed in processor. (About 17g)
  • Melted white chocolate and food colouring (Orange, or Red & Yellow)
  1. Melt the chocolate.
  2. Add Orange extract and stir in thoroughly.
  3. Add Frosties and mix in gently.
  4. Spoon into prep'd moulds.
  5. Leave to cool completely.
  6. Place in fridge for 15 mins then remove from moulds onto baking paper.
  7. Melt small amount of white chocolate and stir in food colouring to the colour you want.
  8. Drizzle or pipe ex-white chocolate to decorate.
  9. Cool and eat.

Some tunes for the chocolate!

One of the best Oasis tracks - Oasis - Some might say (FactThe original title was Some might say that chocolates are bad for us but I say they aren't! alright?)

Oh, ok, another one of the best tracks, Oasis - Live Forever from the awesome live DVD Familiar to Millions, and if you want to feel bloody old it was recorded July 21st 2000! (Fact - The original title for the song was 'If you want to live forever eat lots of chocolate!'

...and finally, I'm going for another rather spiffing tune from that era, the wonderfully catchy Ash - Burn Baby Burn. (Fact - The original title for this song was 'Be careful to melt your chocolate slowly or you might burn it, and baby, you really don't want to burn it. )

Ah, more organic blogginess, after having a snoopy through Elpiniki's Greek tradition blog (See comments) I was reminded of this absolute dance classic from La Rissa - I do both Jay and Jane. I had no idea La Rissa was a Greek county! Education is fun kids! This version is taken from 2001 Club Nation album.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Pork, Sage and Apple burgers.

      I don't know about your body, but sadly mine demands foodstuffs that aren't cake now and again. Shame really. So I thought I'd throw these cheap and tasty morsels on here. Simple to make, you can even indulge in child labour for the squishy mixing bits. I'm sure some pork mince squelching through the (washed) fingers would get a few "eeeeeeuugghh"s from them. The ingredients will make 2 meals worth for me, or about 6 fat burgers :) So here's what you need:


  • 500g Reduced fat pork mince
  • 1 Onion finely chopped
  • 1 Free range egg
  • 1 Heaped tablespoon of dried sage
  • 5 Heaped tablespoons of breadcrumbs (I knew I'd forgotten something in the photo)
  • 1 apple - cored and peeled
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Clove of Garlic - pressed or 1 tsp dried garlic granules (Optional)
  • A sprinkly of Salt, pepper, mixed herbs to taste.


  1. Prep breadcrumbs in a processor or however you like to make them.
  2. Finely chop an onion and place in a bowl.
  3. Add breadcrumbs, sage, salt, pepper and dried garlic and mix.
  4. Add pork mince and break it up/mix together with a knife.
  5. Add the beaten egg.
  6. Add Worcestershire sauce.
  7. Core, peel and grate in the apple.
  8. Get your hands in there and start squishing it all together, about 5 mins is plenty for medium speed squishing.
  9. Take bits of the mix and using those hand things you used just now, and pat together to make burgers the size you want. The mix will make about 6-8 burgers.
  10. Fry, grill, BBQ (Trying to not charcoal them too much) and eat.
  11. Myself, after spending time lovingly crafting these burgers, I like to cut them up and mix together with new potatoes and baked beans. I know, I'm a posh git :)
There is a lazier version of these in which they don't end up as burgers, or with apple in lol 
Boil some spuds. Gently fry off some onion then add salted spuds and fry them. Stick them on a plate. Tip 250g pork mince into pan, add a sprinkling of Worcestershire sauce, sage, salt and pepper. Beat an egg and mix that in. When cooked, add the potato back to the pan, mix together, then either chuck some baked beans on top or heat them seperately, fry for a bit longer to heat the potato back up. Serve in a big heap on a plate!

Being of a herby stylee, I thought I'd add this to the Lavender and Lovage Herbs on Saturday blog challenge run by Karen, mainly just to balance out the inevitable quality, fancy recipes that will be entered :D

Keep watching this blog for more Michelin star recipes :D

To thank the pigs for providing a tasty treat, here is the story of them heroically out-witting the nasty wolf. Pigs in a Polka from 1943, set to Johannes Brahms's Hungarian Dances

Now for a bit of Brett and the boys from the 90's Suede - We are the Pigs.

Kenny Everett as Julian Mince. Well, I LOL'd :)

And now for something completely different... Birdy - People Help the People. Wonderful.

Also, One of my favourite Jane's Addiction songs Pigs in Zen , and a nice messy March of the Pigs from Trent and co. 

Friday, 6 January 2012

Happy Summer Cupcakes.

There was a nice idea and theory behind these cupcakes, a chance to slap the cold, miserable days of January  in the chops and taking a bite, let your mind wander, happily, to a warm, summers afternoon. They kind of succeeded, and kind of failed. But most importantly of all, they taste gorgeous!

They contain the fruit of summer - Strawberries, and also Bananas which, amongst their other many qualities, are high in tryptophan which aids production of the mood-stabiliser Serotonin and therefore in my theory will stop you getting any January blues!, the healthy goodness of rolled oats and oat bran so that you can feel no guilt at all from eating them ;), a hint of dark chocolate, and we all know that chocolate = happines! Topped off with with hazy warm sunshine lemon tinged buttercream. See, a recipe for complete January joy.

It's a nice theory, but the truth of the matter is I'm like a kid throwing whatever sounds good into a bowl and hoping for the best. In the recipe I made the strawberries get lost under the taste weight of the bananas. It didn't help that I had to use tinned strawbs as the local shop had no fresh ones (In January!?! shocking! - ed), and the cakes were quite sticky to the cases, although they were much better when chilled in the fridge. I'll come back to the idea of a taste-of-happy-sunshine cupcake in the future when I have more knowledge :) but for now, here's what you need and do:


  • 250g Plain flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 40g Porridge oats
  • 40g Oat bran
  • 40ml Vegetable oil
  • 60ml Milk
  • 1 Free range egg
  • 100g Light brown sugar
  • 100g Strawberry Yoghurt
  • 100g Strawberries
  • 1 large or 2 small ripe bananas mashed.
  • 50g Dark chocolate chopped small

    1. Preheat the oven to 180c/170c Fan/Gas 4.
    2. Line a 12 hole muffin tray with muffin cases.
    3. Sift the flour, Bicarb, Baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl.
    4. Put the Milk, Oil, Yoghurt and Egg into a separate bowl and mix in the Oats and Oat bran. Leave to stand for 5 minutes.
    5. Mash the banana and chop the strawberries smaller.
    6. Add the Sugar to the liquid mixture and stir.Leave for 5 minutes.
    7. Chop up the Dark Chocolate into choc chip sized bits.
    8. Add the Liquid mixture, the banana, and Strawberries to the Flour bowl and mix together thoroughly making sure all the flour is mixed in.
    9. Spoon or pipe the mixture equally between the muffin cases.
    10. Bake for 25-30 mins or until an inserted skewer/cocktail stick comes out clean.
    11. Cool in the tray for 10 mins, then transfer the cupcakes to a cooling rack to cool completely.
    12. Eat as they are or decorate.
    13. I used the Depression Era Buttercream from the Melting Moments (I'm an addict and wanted to see what it was like as a topping), but for a generous covering for 12 cupcakes you'd need about 190ml milk, 3 tbsp Flour, 165g butter, 165g caster sugar and 1.5 tsp Vanilla extract. I also added some grated lemon zest. I then took a third of this and added red and yellow colouring for the sun, and added blue colouring to the other two thirds.
    14. To make Banana and choc version, leave out strawberries, use plain or another flavour yoghurt. Drizzle with melted choc of choice.

    Happy Happy Sunny Joy Joy!

    One of the happiest, sunniest tunes out there - Katrina and the waves - Walking on Sunshine

    Going back even further, a funky bit of Donna Summer - I Feel Love 

    Haha, sing along to the chorus of  LFO - Summer Girls! You do know it! Oh yes you do!

    Oh, I nearly forgot this! How could I??? Fuzzbox - Pink Sunshine

    And now, it's time for pointing at your body parts! Yay! It's almost a workout if you point dramatically, a choice of the original Beach Ft Tia - Suntan with video, or the Freemasons Vocal mix without video!

    And finally, grabbing the last bit of sun as it melts into the hazy horizon, Sunshot - Stop Me. (An awesome 90's band featuring Toby Bricheno on guitar, you know Toby! brother of Tim! Tim! Yes, Tim from All About Eve, Yes, that Tim! )