Paul A Young’s Muscovado Truffles Review

Paul A Young Muscovado TrufflesPaul A Young. Is that A for Awesome, A for Alchemist or A for Adventure? Turns out he’s an English creative flavour alchemist or quite simply, a chocolatier. This was a fairly easy truffle recipe, it just requires plenty of time for cooling. You basically make a chocolate ganache. It looked super silky smooth, like something out of the Chocolat movie. You do have to let the cream and sugar mixture cool a bit (e.g. a minute) before you pour it on the dark chocolate pieces otherwise apparently you’ll get a split ganache. I didn’t have 64% Madagascan chocolate but I can assure you it turned out just fine with 70% Green & Black’s dark choc.

Once you’ve made the ganache whack it in the fridge and watch a film (preferably one that lasts for two hours). To make sure it’s set, put the bowl over your head. Well that’s what my BF did to me and luckily for me it had set!! Next up, mix up 50g of cocoa and 50g of muscovado sugar in a mixing bowl. Get lots on your fingers, then take a teaspoon of the cooled ganache and roll it in a ball. Mine were quite dainty, the boy’s were like boulders. Paul A Young’s look quite rustic. Then I popped them into little cellophane gift bags with little ribbons. Paul A Young recommends making a batch of these and keeping them in an air-tight container – I thought that was a good idea for unannounced visitors and effortless domestic goddess chicness. *Warning* these are not calorie free. They’re incredibly rich so one truffle will do in any one sitting!

dark muscovado trufflesTo try out the muscovado truffle recipe it’s published online here. For a few more details on the method this Guardian article is pretty handy.

So you want the recipe book? It’s called Adventures with Chocolate and you can find it here on Amazon. I received the book as a pressie a couple of years ago so I’d recommend as a gift for foodie lovers. I will be trying the dark choc and pecan tart recipe next week. Lush! And if you want to go to one of Paul’s chocolate tasting and making workshops you better get in there quick! Last I checked the next one available is in March!

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How to make Vanilla Extract

How to make vanilla extract on the Cake takes the biscuit blog

For Christmas pressies, I decided to make homemade vanilla extract. I can now write about them since I have given the pressies away 🙂 I was given a jar by my sister-in-law as a present last year and I thought it would be a great gift idea for me to replicate as I use the jar all the time! It’s super easy and is a nice pressie that is practical and will last for ages. I bought my little jars from a shop called Tiger. The only ingredients you need is vodka – I used Smirnoff – you don’t need anything too fancy plus high quality vanilla pods – 1 per jar. I had good customer service from Vanilla Mart and you can buy the pods in all sorts of different types and quantities.

  • Cut lengthways down the vanilla pod, leaving 1 inch connected at one end.
  •  Put the vanilla pod in a preserving jar – it needs to have a tight fitting lid.
  • Cover with the vodka to the top of the jar and give it a shake.
  • Store in a cupboard for 2 months and hey presto you have your own vanilla extract for baking with!
  • The vanilla extract lasts for years – you just keep topping it off with the vodka.

I got some good tips from this recipe on Simply Recipes. I was intrigued to learn that each vanilla pod comes from an orchid that has been pollinated by hand. Once the vanilla seed pod has developed, it must be hand picked as well. Who knew!

Yumbots – robot cupcakes!

My boyfriend spotted these when they first came out in America but it’s only recently they’ve become available in the UK. I spotted mine in the sale at Oliver Bonas (currently out of stock) but you can buy them from Play.com but they’re cheaper on Find me a Gift. In the box, you get four ‘yumbots’ – robot cupcakes moulds made out of silicone. They’re dishwasher safe, they swizzle their heads, and look super cool. What more could you want? Just be careful when taking them in and out of the oven as I found one of the yumbots came loose during the baking stage.  I filled them with vanilla sponge cupcake mix and then piped vanilla buttercream icing on their heads.  Perfect for a cake treat for your man or kids! Yum-bots!

Gareth James Chocolatier – one year on…

Today I visited Gareth James Chocolatier shop in Tynemouth and it was a timely visit as it will be their one year anniversary later this month. Since I last visited, the shop has widened its range with chocolate pearls, sea salted caramel squares and their new 60% chocolate and orange bars. They are also doing more coffees and teas and it was lovely to sit outside for a mid morning coffee in the sunshine. The staff were friendly and efficient and admitted whenever they do tastings, they can’t help but eat the chocolate themselves! I don’t blame them. My next stop was the beach and I thought it would be fun to photograph the chocolates with the complementary sand colour.

 

The chocs in a box were delicious and I loved the sea salted caramel one and the hazlenut praline whilst my boyfriend enjoyed the champagne, orange blossom and classic ones. The brownie was lovely and gooey although perhaps needed a little more structure and the dark choc and orange bar was really delicious and the taste was lingering in your mouth so you hardly needed to eat any. If you’re in Newcastle, it’s worth the metro ride out to Tynemouth for the beach and chocs!

Peggy Porschen teapot cookie and cafe

There’s a very cool cookie, cake and cupcake shop in Victoria which I’d recommend – Peggy Porschen Cakes. I’ve just been in there to buy this lovely pink teapot cookie for my friend as it’s her birthday tomorrow and unfortunately, she’ll be travelling back from Switzerland rather than kicking back with a glass of wine. This was a lovely little treat to cheer her up! At Peggy Porshen’s as well as being a cake shop, they have two tables in there and serve a selection of nice teas. I am hoping to try out the cupcakes for myself very soon! I have also spied that Peggy Porschen is running cupcake masterclasses…They also have an online shop which has lovely gifts. Will keep you posted on the cafe review soon!

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