To kick off my festive baking, I made Wheat-Free Hot Cross Buns (recipe courtesy of Waitrose). I decided to infuse the milk with a pinch of saffron and replaced the conventional dried fruit for dried mulberries, crystallized ginger & dates. Heston Blumenthal’s Chocolate Popping Candy Cake was to conclude an evening of good food, wine & trivial pursuit with friends. This my third attempt at this cake & it never fails to delight.
I would love to say that I made this but unfortunately I didn’t…I picked up this delicious chocolate & mango pyramid dessert from Burford, a picturesque village in the Cotswolds. I’m not a big fan of white chocolate but the tangy mango puree complemented the milky sweetness perfectly.
I was inspired to make Nougat from yesterday’s visit to Gloucester where we stumbled upon a deli selling this Italian sweet for £5 a slice. I thought it’ll be fun to make but it didn’t quite turn out right…instead of being soft & chewy my nougat was crumbly, a bit like halva. Admittedly I didn’t put enough golden syrup into my sugary concoction as my digital scales weren’t behaving at the time. M nougat flavours were: fig & almond, chocolate chip & brazil nut, crystallized ginger & peanut, red bean & coconut. They were unbearably sweet so best eaten in small quantities.
Oxford was blest with glorious weather yesterday; we enjoyed the sunshine by eating brunch & dinner alfresco. I made a rhubarb trifle, using Carmelle instead of custard. My mum would often make Green’s Carmelle, in attempt to replicate ‘dofu hwa’ (sweet soya custard). Back in the 80’s oriental grocery stores were hard to come by. She would also steam home grown rhubarb (a great remedy for her constipation) which we would sweeten with spoonfuls of sugar to counteract the acidity.
Chocolate egg Tuesday
As we had an egg less Easter, I decided to hunt down some bargain chocolate eggs. I picked up a hugely reduced continental chocolate egg from Thorntons and strategically hid it under a pillow for my boyfriend to find. Unknowingly, he had the same idea of buying me a chocolate egg, a pink Smarties one. When our post dinner chocolate time arrived, we decided to save the fancy egg for later, so putting my baby-milk guilt aside, we dug into the Nestle chocolate. When I opened the box I was shocked to find a formless lump wrapped in gold foil that sunk when I prodded it: the egg had melted. My boyfriend had forgotten that he’d kept it on the passenger seat of his car (during the hottest day of the year so far) for over 9hrs. I was more amused than angry and together we scooped out the melted chocolate & ate it with yoghurt.