Clotted Cream and Caramelized White Chocolates

| March 30th, 2014 | 2 Comments »
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“Uh, dearest?” “Yes?” “Do you see this?” (Showing him a clear plastic bag with a small handful of blonde  chocolate fèves in the bottom) “Oh yes, they are really good.” “Uh …” “I ate them.” “Yes ….” “Were you saving them for something?” “The blog.  I was going to make something with them.” “Ohhh …   They were really good – especially at night, when you wake up and you just want a little something tasty … (sees me shaking the sparse contents of the bag) “Can you do anything with that many?” “I guess I’ll find out.” “Well, at least there are enough to photograph.”

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Haggis Truffles

| February 12th, 2014 | 1 Comment »
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Some hae meat and canna eat, And some wad eat that want it; But we hae meat, and we can eat, Sae let the Lord be thankit. The Selkirk Grace attributed to Robert Burns It was Robert Burn’s Day,  a couple of weeks ago. From Wikipedia: Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796) (also known as Robbie Burns, Rabbie Burns, Scotland’s favourite son, the Ploughman Poet, Robden of Solway Firth, the Bard of Ayrshire and in Scotland as The Bard) was a Scottish poet and lyricist.

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The Big Apple – Theatre, Chocolate and a Good Friend

| January 11th, 2014 | 4 Comments »
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I have just returned from an all too short but wonderful trip to New York City. A few months ago, I was whining to my oldest, dearest friend from childhood – we have known each other since Grade One – that I would “give my back teeth to see Cherry Jones in the Glass Menagerie”. While my back teeth are not very impressive, and would not actually be of value to anyone outside of my head, I did feel it was a grand thing to say, as it would involve a painful extraction on my part.

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Good For What Ales You, Scotland

| December 6th, 2013 | 3 Comments »
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I have the most lovely friends. After hosting a couple of them to afternoon tea last week, my friend and colleague, Amanda surprised me with a wee giftie as we were driving in to teach Musical Theatre to 6 year olds, VERY early last Saturday morning. As the gift was a beautiful box of four Historic Ales From Scotland, we both deemed it best to save them for later. And I immediately decided that at least one of them had to be made into chocolates (not to be confused with my exploration two years ago of chocolate beer).

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Peppermint Chocolate

| November 25th, 2013 | No Comments »
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I love chocolate peppermints.  They remind me of winter, cold noses, hands wrapped around steaming mugs of hot chocolate, Vick’s vapo-rub … And maybe because they are “very refreshing” to quote a certain episode of Seinfeld, I never feel like an absolute glutton after eating them … just someone with really fresh breath. On occasional winter afternoons when I was a kid, I used to buy a quarter pound of after dinner mints for about 50 cents, at the candy shop in the mall .  They were the cheapest thing on offer.  I would then sneak them into the Saturday movie matinee.

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A Chocolate Thank You

| November 3rd, 2013 | 8 Comments »
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Although I have now been working with chocolate for three years (gosh, has it really been that long?) and have had the privilege to write this blog all that time, I am still very much an apprentice and feel I always will be. So when my dear friend, Steph asked if I would make some chocolate thank you gifts for generous folks who have supported a wonderful organization we both work with (Vocal Eye Descriptive Arts), I became very nervous. “I’m really not a professional, you know.  Won’t they be disappointed?”

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Some Bloody Good Chocolate

| October 22nd, 2013 | No Comments »
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I made a chocolate coffin, this week.  And then I stuffed it with dark chocolate bleeding hearts.  It was a lot of fun especially with Hallowe’en coming. My old alma mater, Studio 58, did a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which they are billing as “Shakespeare with Bite” … because the director has set it in the Carpathian mountains and the fairies are vampires who “taunt and terrorize all who wander there”. I know, I know.  Haven’t we had enough of vampires?  Actually no, judging by this tongue-firmly-in-cheek, very creative and energetic take on this classic play.

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Tea Infused Chocolate – Bars and Truffles

| October 2nd, 2013 | 4 Comments »
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A few weeks ago, I had a great time with my panel of two teenaged tea aficionados, tasting black, green and herbal teas with dark, milk and white chocolates.  We were surprised and delighted to discover how well the flavours of some of the teas blended with or accentuated the aromas and flavours of some of the chocolate … and some definitely did not. Clearly, I have not had enough of the tea and chocolate experience because this week I picked up  a half dozen tea infused chocolate bars and am making batches of tea infused truffles using some of the flavours which seemed to go so well together.

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Tea and Chocolate Tasting

| September 10th, 2013 | 1 Comment »
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Tea and Chocolate:  These are a pair of my favorite things. There is nothing like a vibrant cup of well brewed tea in my favorite translucent-but-strong mug, my fingers laced around its warmth, feet slung over the arm of a chair, nose in a book, to calm me down and make me feel everything is going to be okay. I feel the same way about a square of really good chocolate.  Holding a piece strategically, between tongue and hard palate, just sorta letting it melt inconspicuously, no one ever need know I am not paying attention to what they are saying. 

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Theo

| August 24th, 2013 | No Comments »
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I love Seattle.   Two hours away from my lovely Vancouver, crossing that border into the United States accentuates the “we’re on a holiday” feeling, as I nudge my little red car onto the I-5, and carefully check the smaller inside dial on my accelerator.  We are now travelling in miles per hour and I don’t want to get this mini break off on the wrong foot with a speeding ticket. Younger Son, my intrepid companion on this trip, laughs aloud when I express my concern over this. 

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Delicious Disaster

| August 12th, 2013 | No Comments »
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Sometimes, good things come out of big failures. Last week, I made a flag, for Vancouver’s Pride Parade celebration, of six different flavours and colours of Pâtes de Fruits (French fruit jellies). I took a shortcut for the final two batches (I was running out of time and patience), and used unflavoured gelatin as the setting agent, instead of the fruit pectin I usually use (I like the texture better and they are suitable for vegetarians). Now, unflavoured gelatin is a perfectly acceptable gelling agent for pâte de fruit.  Several recipes, including one of Jacques Pepin’s use it.

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