Posts tagged " chocolate "

Celebrating indulgence this International Chocolate Day

September 11th, 2018 Posted by Blog, Recipes No Comment yet

Thursday 13 September is celebrated internationally as Chocolate Day – not that most of us need a special day to celebrate this indulgent confection!

I was delighted to discover Yorkshire’s long tradition of chocolate-making dating back to the 18th century and associated with chocolate pioneers such as Terrys and Rowntree.

The popular chocolate orange, invented in the inter-war years, is now allegedly found in 1 in 10 Christmas stockings throughout the UK.

Although I love local artisan chocolate to eat as is, when cooking, French is best! I like to use a 70% cocoa chocolate such as Valrhona which is widely available here.

This unique, artisan quality chocolate has complex, balanced and consistent flavours. Chefs throughout the world rely on Valrhona chocolate from the Rhone Valley to give the best flavours and the producer has even gone so far as to open its own cocoa bean plantations.

There is quite a process to making chocolate. To flourish, cocoa trees require temperatures of at least 25°C, as well as 80% humidity, lots of rain and shade. The beans have to be extracted from their pods and fermented before being dried, sorted and ground, tempered and poured into moulds. Never take your chocolate for granted!

To make the most of it on warmer days, you can’t beat a delicious chocolate sorbet.

Dark Chocolate Sorbet

– 600ml water
– 180g sugar
– 300g 70% dark chocolate

In a saucepan, mix together the water and the sugar and bring to the boil in order to obtain a syrup. Put the chocolate in a mixing bowl and pour the syrup on top of the chocolate. Mix well and put the whole back in the saucepan and leave to simmer for 5mins. Pour in a bowl, mix well and leave it to cool down. Put the mixture in the ice cream maker and turbine for 10mins in order to obtain the sorbet.

Chocolate soufflé with rhubarb and mint coulis

July 5th, 2018 Posted by Recipes No Comment yet

Ingredients
Serves 4

For the soufflé
– 200g whole milk
– 200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
– 10g cornflour
– 2 egg yolks
– 6 egg whites
– 60g caster sugar
– 4 9cm diameter round moulds

For the coulis
– 200g rhubarb
– 50g caster sugar
– 20 mint leaves

Method
In a bowl, mix the egg yolks and the corn flour.
Heat the milk on the hob and pour into the mixture. Whisk until mixture thickens.
In the microwave or on the hob, melt the chocolate in a bain-marie then pour in the cream. Add to the mixture and mix well.
Beat the egg whites and sugar until stiff peaks form. Add the mixture and fold gently.
Grease the moulds and cover the base and edges with sugar.
Pour the mixture into the moulds leaving a one cm gap from the top.
Cook in the oven at 190°c for 12 minutes.
To make the coulis, place the rhubarb and sugar in a pan and cook until obtaining a purée. Then pour in a blender with the fresh mint and blend.
To serve sprinkle the soufflés with icing sugar and pour over the rhubarb and mint coulis.

French Feast for Easter

March 29th, 2018 Posted by Recipes No Comment yet

Easter, or Pâques as it is known in France, is a Christian holiday that is celebrates rebirth across the world. Whatever reason you celebrate it for, I’ve created a special lamb recipe with a chocolatey treat for dessert. You couldn’t find a more perfect Easter feast.

5 Spices Lamb Shank Confit

5 Spices Lamb Shank Confit

– 6 Lamb Shanks
– 100g 4 spices
– 50g star anise
– 2 bottles cooking red wine
– 50g honey
– 50g gravy granules
– 50g olive oil

Brown the shanks in a frying pan with the olive oil. In a large oven-proof dish, mix all the ingredients together and add the lamb shanks. Cook with a lid on for approx. 3 hours at 200°c until the lamb meat is soft and falls away from the bone.
Separate the meat from the sauce. Pour the sauce into a saucepan and remove any excess fat. Taste and season as necessary. Serve with vegetables of your choice.

Chocolate souffle with rhubarb and mint coulis

Chocolate soufflé with rhubarb and mint coulis

Ingredients
Serves 4
For the soufflé
– 200g whole milk
– 200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
– 10g cornflour
– 2 egg yolks
– 6 egg whites
– 60g caster sugar
– 4 9cm diameter round moulds
For the coulis
– 200g rhubarb
– 50g caster sugar
– 20 mint leaves
Method
In a bowl, mix the egg yolks and the corn flour.
Heat the milk on the hob and pour into the mixture. Whisk until mixture thickens.
In the microwave or on the hob, melt the chocolate in a bain-marie then pour in the cream. Add to the mixture and mix well.
Beat the egg whites and sugar until stiff peaks form. Add the mixture and fold gently.
Grease the moulds and cover the base and edges with sugar.
Pour the mixture into the moulds leaving a one cm gap from the top.
Cook in the oven at 190°c for 12 minutes.
To make the coulis, place the rhubarb and sugar in a pan and cook until obtaining a purée. Then pour in a blender with the fresh mint and blend.
To serve sprinkle the soufflés with icing sugar and pour over the rhubarb and mint coulis.

Top quality chocolate from Valrhona Chocolates

January 29th, 2018 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

Valrhona has been producing the world’s finest chocolate in the small village of Tain L’Hermitage, France since 1922 – even going as far as to open its own plantations. It’s a top-quality chocolate for a truly professional finish and is made from the finest cocoa beans with a top provenance from Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic.

Top quality chocolate from Valrhona Chocolates

You can easily buy Valrhona chocolate online. While it costs a little more, it tastes more intense than other chocolate and gives the best results.  I use it to create all of my chocolate concoctions from chocolate soufflés to chocolate spheres.  Why not try your hand at the latter using this recipe: http://www.frenchchefathome.com/mascarpone-cream-filled-chocolate-spheres/.

To find out more about my favourite cooking chocolate and to try it yourself go to https://www.valrhona-chocolate.com/.

Chef’s tip: The best way is to get the most out of your chocolate is to heat it very slowly over a bain marie