Luxury Chocolate Workshop with Red Letter Days – Review

*****Warning – this post contains the word ‘chocolate’*****

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A couple of weeks ago I was invited along to a chocolate making and tasting workshop by Red Letter Days at My Chocolate. The event was being held at My Chocolate Shoreditch, London. Although, they do have other venues available in London, Brighton and Manchester.

The workshop was ran by two chocolate connoisseurs, one who did all of the demonstrating and one who was preparing the chocolate and utensils for us chocoholics to use on our chocolate making.

I arrived fashionably late due to travel problems, so when by the time I had arrived they were already 20 minutes into the first part of the evening, which was preparing your very own indulgent chocolate martini. I was greeted at the door and was directed to the sink where I washed my hands first and then shown to a table where a few of the other attendees had already began creating the martinis. I believe that were shown a technique called ‘wagging the tail’ where they used a spoon to drizzle melted chocolate over the martini glass to decorate it before mixing up the chocolate vodka in a shaker.

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It tastes as nice as it looked. Very much like Irish Cream. They were creamy, rich and one could definitely drink one after another. What a treat! Very much-needed after the train journey I had just encountered. The smell of indulgent chocolate wafted around the room

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Whilst we gulped sipped at our chocolate cocktails, we all stood around the demonstration desk and watched how to make our very own oil infused large chocolate button.

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We was guided on how to place the chocolate onto the paper and how to infuse it with flavoured oil.  The chocolatiers made a huge milk chocolate heart decorated with dark chocolate, using the ‘wagging the tail’ technique again and then using the other end of the spoon to create a marble effect. The expert made it look so easy!

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Back to the tables we went, ready to create our own masterpiece. I chose to make a four-leaf clover and infused it with lemongrass oil. The oil is very strong and only a couple of drops is needed to add the taste to the chocolate. It was very hard, but I resisted, not to lick the spoon, as we was going to be using them again to do the marbling

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I chose dark chocolate, as that is my favourite – the darker the better! The marbling wasn’t as easy as it looked. I think my finished button looked a bit like a toddlers drawing rather than an exquisite chocolate, it was definitely authentic and handmade.

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By now, the only evidence of our chocolate vodkas was the empty glasses on the table. They were soon replaced with a glass of prosecco.

Once we had made our chocolate slab, we was ready to move on to the next part of the workshop, Truffle making. Now I have attempted to make truffles at home before as presents for the children’s teachers and they were a nightmare to make, I had cocoa all over me. So, I was looking forward to this part of the workshop to find out where I went wrong.

We was shown how to make them first by the expert chocolatiers and a helper from the other attendees and then we was sent back to our tables. For this part of the workshop we had to get into pairs.

Firstly you mix the chocolate with double cream, stirring it quite rigorously until it starts to set and become thicker – this is your Ganache. Then you place it into a piping bag ready to pipe out little chocolate slugs or wizard hats on the parchment paper. Once all of the ganache has finished, you wait for them harden.

This part of the workshop brought lots of giggles to the table as we quickly became aware that out little chocolate ganache slugs looked more like little emoji poops. Although, It didn’t matter what they looked like at this point as they were soon to be moulded into truffles.

Once we got the hang of how to hold and pipe the bag, it was quite easy.

And once they were all done, our glasses got topped up by the very nice lady at My Chocolate with Yet more prosecco

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The evening was definitely activating our tastes buds – chocolate and booze!

The chocolatiers tutor was what really made the experience enjoyable, she was fun, humorous, interactive and full of chocolate knowledge.

Whilst we waited for the Ganache to set we was treated to a talk about the history of chocolate and how it is made. We also got to taste 90% chocolate. We was tested on our taste bud knowledge of recognising dark or milk chocolate and taught on how to feel and smell the quality of a chocolate. High quality chocolate should smell strongly of chocolate and the texture should not be gritty or waxy.

The sound that your chocolate makes when snapped is a good indication of the quality of it. Good chocolate has a clean, crisp, sharp snap when broken and milk chocolate tends to bend, because it contains more sugar and milk

After our little fun lesson in chocolate it was time to get dirty with the truffle making. On the tables was a selection of topping to decorate our truffles with; honeycomb, cocoa powder, coconut, salt, raspberry swirls, white chocolate swirls and berry dust.

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This was definitely the time to get creative, release the chocolate demon in you and dig in. First we rolled our ganache into a ball, then coated them in some cacao powder and then dipped them into more chocolate. Before they set I added some of the toppings. Some of our ganaches were a little on the small side so I added two together and at the same time pressed in some raspberry dust and salt into the middle as a surprise when bitten into.

We made quite a mess of our table

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But it was most definitely a sign of a good time. I really enjoyed the whole evening. We got to wrap up our chocolate creations in some cellophane and ribbon to take home. My chocolate goodies didn’t last long once I arrived home as they were eaten by all in the house. the chocolates were mouth-watering and tastes as good as they smelled

The whole experience lasts for about 2 1/2 hours . It’s a great gift for someone who loves chocolate or even as a hen party. I may add that we did not prepare the chocolate- temper it, as that process takes a while. We did the decorating and producing of the truffles, buttons and martini.

Currently priced at £98 for two people on Red Letter Days Website

I was invited along for the purpose of this post, no payment has been received

 

 

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Raw nutty (Snicker) Bars Recipe

A raw food diet is about eating mostly or all unprocessed and uncooked foods so you get all the nutrients without the dangerous additives. It’s a great way to cleanse the body, your skin becomes a lot clearer, you will have a lot more energy and it improves your digestion. It means cutting out refined sugar and only eating food that is raw or heated up in a dehydrator that is below 110 Fahrenheit.

I took the steps to removing refined sugar from my diet over a year ago. I did miss the sugar taste at first but after a while my taste buds changed – for the better.

Raw food doesn’t have to be all fruit and veg, you can still enjoy deserts and treats.

Making raw snacks are easy to do and have a fulfilling taste. Take a look at our raw date bars here

These little bars of goodness are so delicious full of nutty flavours with a rich deep, dark chocolate

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Ingredients:

Base
125g ground rolled oats or oat flour
125g ground cashew nuts
60ml maple syrup/rice syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil

Peanut Caramel
350g dates – medjool
95g merdian smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp coconut oil
40g peanuts-raw
20ml water (if needed)

Raw Chocolate topping
100g coconut oil
60g cacao powder
4 tbsp maple syrup (50ml)

Method:

  1. Make the base. Grind up the oats if you do not have oat flour in a blender. Add in the cashew nuts with the coconut oil and syrup – if like me, your blender is too small then grind the oats and cashew nuts separately and then combine a bowl with the coconut oil and syrup. It should be the consistency of dough, but not too wet. Press the base mixture into a square or silicone tin. Place into the freezer to set.
  2. Make the caramel. Blend the dates, peanut butter and coconut oil together – I blended the dates first and then mixed in the peanut butter and oil. Chop the peanuts into pieces and add them into the mixture (you could keep them whole if you prefer) Add on to the top of the base and place back in the freezer.
  3. Make the chocolate. Melt some coconut oil and in the cacao powder and maple syrup. Mix together. Pour on to the caramel and place it back into the freezer to finish setting. Leave for a few hours or overnight. Cut into chunks.

Raw snickers need to be stored in the fridge or freezer as the chocolate melts.

These little snicker bars are so tasty and very Moorish. You get the creamy texture from the base and caramel, the sour bitter taste from the chocolate and sweetness from the dates and syrup.

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Homemade 83% less sugar Jim Jams Hazelnut Chocolate Ice-Cream recipe

Summer is here and we are all looking for a way to cool down in this scorching, lovely weather we have been having.

Home made ice cream is simple to make – incredibly delicious and makes you rethink about buying shop bought ice-cream again.

It’s that simple that even the children can join in with making it. There is no need for a machine – no churning – just simple mixing with a spoon will do

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tin of coconut milk
  • 1 tub of double cream
  • 4 heaped tbsp of Jim Jam Chocolate spread
  • A handful of chopped hazelnuts

Method:

Combine the cream and milk in a bowl until smooth

Combine the Jim Jam spread in the mixture with a mixer until smooth

Add in the chopped hazelnuts (for that extra chocolate flavour, swirl in some of the spread into the creamy mixture)

Transfer to a freezer safe container

After 2 hours, take it out of the freezer and mix together

Once frozen (about 4 hours) Take out of the freezer and leave in the room to melt for about 5 minutes.

Now you are ready to serve up

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This ice-cream is so smooth and delicious! A little bit of naughtiness but in a guilt free way

Why did I use Jim Jams Spread?

Jim Jams spreads are made up with 83% less sugar – thus meaning it is a healthier choice to feed the family. Instead of using refined sugar they use Maltitol, an artificial sweetener.  It is used to replace table sugar because it is half as caloric, does not promote tooth decay, and has a somewhat lesser effect on blood glucose. Not only is it less sugar but also, gluten-free, suitable for vegetarians and diabetics.

The hazelnut spread gives the ice-cream a rich, full-bodied taste. It is creamy and indulgent.

As a family we have dramatically cut down on our sugar intake; not just because of my illness but for the sake of our health and the children’s teeth. Since cutting down, we can see a difference in the children’s behaviour, they are less fatigued and have lots more energy throughout the day. We have noticed that our skin is much more healthier, we feel less full and that our hair doesn’t become greasy as quickly previously before the change of diet.

Jim Jams Hazelnut Chocolate spread can be found in most major supermarkets.

We was sent a jar of Jim Jam spread for the purpose of this review

 

 

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Homemade Nutty Cacao chocolate, perfect for gifting

I think I may have found a recipe for the tastiest dark chocolate that has ever passed my lips. It has everything you need, dark, smooth, nutty, sweet and rich.

Chocolate doesn’t need to be a guilty pleasure with this recipe as there is no sugar added into it, yes that is correct No added sugar.

Can I tempt you in trying some?

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It is so simple to make and can be adapted to your taste by adding nuts, orange zest, Himalayan salt, dried fruit or ginger. It’s up to you!

Recipe

  • 4 heaped tbsp Raw Organic Cacao Powder
  • 4 tbsp Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup or Honey
  • 1 Tsp of vanilla extract or 1 pod
  • A selection of nuts, chopped

Method

Melt the coconut oil in a pan, add in the honey and vanilla essence. Stir together.

Once melted and combined add in the cacao powder. I used heaped tbsp not levelled. You can add more in if you feel that is too runny. To check if it is of the right consistency dip in a spoon and coat it with the mixture, leave to aside to set. This shouldn’t take too long. If the chocolate hardens it is ready. If not add more cacao and honey to thicken.

When ready pour into your desired moulds and add in any extras that you may want. At this point I added in the chopped nuts. I used almonds, brazil, macadamia and peanuts.

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I used a silicone mould as they are easy to pop out when set.

Place into the freezer to set. This should take about 10 minutes.

Once set they can be individually wrapped in cling film and stored in the fridge.

Wrap them up in cute little cellophane bags and give them away as gifts

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Let me know if you try them 🙂

Thank you for reading

 

 

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Slow Cooker Chocolate Chilli Fudge Bites

Perfect melt in your mouth Chocolate fudge….

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These mini chocolate fudge mini bites with an added little extra kick from chilli are easy to make and taste so damn good!

I can’t completely take full credit for them though as I got the recipe from a facebook page called Slow Cooked Wonders 🙂 although I did slightly change it to my taste.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Tin of sweetened condensed milk 397g
  • 200g white chocolate
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 100g milk chocolate
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 chilli, grated

RECIPE:

Empty the condensed milk into the slow cooker, cook on medium.

Break up the chocolate into pieces and add into the pot, add in the butter and vanilla essence

The mixture will needed to be stirred every 10 minutes for about 2 hours, after 1 hour turn the cooker down to a low. The mixture will start to become thick with a thin skin over the top, so it needs to be stirred often.

Add in the chilli towards the end and mix in.

Pour into a lined tin or mould, leave to cool and then place in the fridge for 24 hours to set. I lined my square tin with cling film so it was easy to take out once done

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Once set remove from the fridge and score/cut into square chunks

You do not need to add in the chilli if you prefer, if you do it depends on the type of chilli that you add in for the intensity of the chilli kick.

Now all you have to do is enjoy! Let me know if you give it a go 🙂

 

 

 

 

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Easter Nest Egg Cakes 85/365

Today we have been making Easter Nest Egg cakes from Shredded Wheat and chocolate

Shredded Wheat (shredded up)
Chocolate melted
Bun cases
Mini chocolate eggs
Lindt chocolate bunnies

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Not a bad effort for the 5 year old, don’t you think?

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Witches Broom (bread) Sticks party food

I have been making these chocolate covered breadsticks for a long time for my boys birthday parties and they go down well everytime!

They are quick and easy to make and the children can join in with making them too as we all know wherever they can make a mess they will!
They are ideal for halloween as they look like mini broomsticks.

What you need:

Packet of mini breadsticks

Chocolate, white or milk

Hundreds and thousands or chocolate mini flakes (cake toppings are perfect)

Saucepan of boiling water

Glass bowl

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Instructions:

Melt the chocolate in the glass bowl over some boiling water in a pan.

Once melted pour the chocolate over one end of a breadstick

Using a cake topper shaker, cover the chocolate all the way round the breadstick. I do this over a tub so i can catch the toppings as then they can be poured back into the shaker

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Once covered place on a plate. When you have done all of your breadsticks place them in the fridge for 10 minutes to chill and set.

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All ready to be enjoyed at a party or just for a treat for the children.
This recipe is ideal to do when your children have friends over aswell.

Hope you enjoy, please let’s know if you make them 🙂

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