Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Eggs, Tea, Chocolate

Contrary to what the light speckling of snow in my garden might suggest, Easter has come, layed its annual batch of chocolate eggs, and gone. This, to me, marks the end of my first 'chocolate season'. Starting in Summer '12  and going through Chocolate Week, Halloween, Christmas, Valentines and finally Easter where chocolate consumption rockets to its final peak before the summer lull.  It has been a great season, full of challenges and I genuinely feel like I have learned a lot about working in a production kitchen, the industry and of course, chocolate. Always chocolate.


So much chocolate

Just before Easter weekend, the winners of the Acadamy of Chocolate awards were announced and amongst the gold medal winners were three of our newly developed ganaches from the season: salted chocolate toffee and crunchy praline, kalamansi lime caramel and passion fruit and rosemary caramel. It's been great seeing these chocolates right the way through from development to chocolate counter to awards! They are all tasty deserving medal winners. Other Rococo winners can be seen here and a full list of acadamy winners here

Away from chocolate, my mind has been rather preoccupied with tea recently. Drinking tea, trying new tea, using tea infusions. My go-to tea day to day tea is black Earl Grey with a slice of lemon if I'm feeling fancy. I've been trying to work these flavours into an edible treat, resulting in a lemon and Earl Grey s'more which I have to say is pretty yummy. I've also been making sweet, smoky lapsang souchong caramel sauce and I'm keen to get started on a popcorn green tea ganache. I had spent a fair amount of time day dreaming about a proper builders tea chocolate truffle until I went into Paul A Young and found that, not only had he pipped me to it, but he has cleverly rolled the truffle in buttery biscuits. Tea and biscuits all in one chocolate, heaven. There are so many teas and ways to use their flavours to enhance or reinvent dishes that I have a feeling this infusing obsession could continue for a while.


  I want s'more.


Tea, biscuits, chocolate.

In other imporant tea based news, kickstarter Good and Proper Tea are now out and about in London town. I'm yet to try it but the brew bar combines a perfect cuppa with another of lifes pleasures: great street food. I've got a few days off work to go and hunt the van down and get myself a proper brew. Hope you're all as excited as I am. 

The end of the season means the start of a summer of planning and developing new ranges and seasonal specials which I am really looking forward to. I also have a few personal projects in the pipeline giving me plenty of blog based ammo.  In the mean time, hope you all had a wonderful Easter and found eggs hiding around every corner. 








Friday, 18 January 2013

Resolutions

On New Years Eve, I was (I hope) jokingly told that my resolution should be to be nicer to my boyfriend. I looked across the room at him, on all fours, dressed as a donkey, with a mexican on his back and thought; naaah. I've got bigger issues at hand. Namely this slowly sinking ship of a blog. 

Resolutions:

1. Bake more. I'm worried my kitchen aid might divorce me if it has to put up with coming second to chocolate any longer

2. Blog more. Hardly a challenge since I think my last entry is dated May.

My first resolution is going well. I have been baking every weekend of the new year, even whipping out my all time favourite recipe from college last week - Chef Julie's sticky toffee pudding. Something I should probably share at some point.

However, somehow, it's half way through January and I am yet to blog. But I am making amends right now! I'll keep it brief with a quick summary of a few Rococo highlights and a promise to write again soon(er)

The most common question I get asked is some variation of : ''how much chocolate do you eat'. So, let's clear the air and get it out of the way. I pretty much eat chocolate everyday, who wouldn't when your literally surrounded by the stuff? Enough so that on my days off I get definitely mid afternoon chocolate cravings, not enough that I need to go out and buy new jeans. Having said that, I don't think I ate any chocolate during our Christmas break. Sometimes we all need a break from even the closest of friends.

So life as a chocolatier is just as full of chocolate as you would hope it to be. I can't lie, there have been days when its late and I am on the tube home being given slightly odd looks for the overwhelming smell of cocoa powder I am emitting, which away from a kitchen is a surprisingly hard smell to place.  

Here are a few Rococo based snaps. Including a few slightly unglamorous backgrounds. 




Collection inspired Chocolate afternoon tea (excuse the background)


Getting ghoulish for Halloween


Goats cheese ganache elevenses 



Christmas trees

In other non sweet related news, I have aslo been working my way through Yotam Ottolenghi's latest book Jerusalem which is not only a taste sensation but is also providing perfect repayment for the donkey incident.