Quite a nice food day today. For one thing, my copy of Hermé’s Macarons arrived this morning, so I got to spend a significant portion of my day at work being an Evil Temptress and making people drool over both the macarons and the cookbook.
Then I came home to discover that my parcel from The Curious Chocolatier had arrived. Oh, my. This was my first foray into her chocolates and I’d ordered 4 of the “Designer” bars: dark chocolate with apricot and rosemary, dark chocolate with strawberry and Szechuan pepper, mint dark chocolate and raspberry, and caramel milk chocolate with pecans. I have to say, after getting absolutely wringing wet cycling home tonight, it was pleasingly luxurious to sit back on the couch and sample truly excellent chocolate. I think my favourite was the strawberry and Szechuan – somehow the spiciness of the pepper had a floral, fruity background that made you think of strawberries even when you weren’t getting a hit of freeze-dried strawberries. The rosemary dark chocolate was wonderful, and definitely a flavour combination I would like to do more with – interestingly, I couldn’t taste the apricot at all, and Andrew thought the apricot was lovely and strong but couldn’t identify the herb. Raspberry and mint was a little weird, but good (I had a feeling it would be, but given that my favourite chocolate flavour is raspberry and Andrew’s is mint, I could hardly pass it up), and the caramel chocolate was far more caramelly than I would have expected from an unfilled chocolate bar.
The other noticeable thing about this chocolate was that one square of each flavour was absolutely plenty. I find that this is how you can really tell good chocolate from the mediocre kind – the mediocre stuff makes you keep eating it, but excellent chocolate is quite satisfying in small quantities. Unless you are having serious hormonal or emotional issues that make huge amounts of cocoa butter imperative.
Then, dinner tonight was surprisingly successful. I ordered topside roast from Koallah Farm recently, and didn’t really know how to cook it, so I slow-roasted it the other night with a lot of vegetables and red wine, and made a red-wine sauce that was astonishingly shiny (I felt so clever, but still don’t know what I actually did) and that everyone else liked except me. It wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t really happy with it. So tonight, I chopped up the cold roast beef and roasted carrots and onions and celeriac and simmered them with onions and tomatoes and the red wine sauce, and I took the lavender-roasted pumpkin and potato and golden beetroot and mashed them with some plain boiled potatoes, and made a sort of cottage pie thing, and it was excellent – much better than the original roast, and the meat was incredibly tender. So that was a nice surprise.
And now all that remains for my evening is for me to do a little more research into cake boards and coverings for them and figure out just how I want to make this wedding cake for Tuesday actually look. The cupcakes themselves are simple – it’s the presentation that takes forever, and I really don’t think an afternoon wedding lends itself to lots of shiny gold and glitter the way an evening reception does. Though I must say, the little pink and gold shiny edible confetti hearts are probably going to find their way onto the cake somehow…