Tag Archives: freeze-dried fruit

Recipe: Chocolate THING that is basically evil but really yummy

A couple of Thursdays ago, I read an article in the paper lamenting the fact that many Australians would be letting down their employers by taking a sickie on the Monday before Australia Day.  (The article did, at least, point out that employers should be reasonable about granting annual leave on this day, but something about the way it was written still left an unpleasant taste in my mouth.)

My scientists work ridiculous hours, and don’t tend to take sickies, even when they probably should (leading to the fun phenomenon of the Lab Lurgy – we are a sharing sort of team on 5 West!), but I thought that if others were getting a four day weekend, legitimately or otherwise, we should do something to make it worth coming in to work that day.  Accordingly, I proposed a casual lab lunch – anyone who wanted could bring a plate to share, and we’d set up in the meeting room for a couple of hours, with people dropping in, chatting and eating when they had time.

It turned into a smallish but pleasant gathering – certainly worth doing again, with an interesting variety of food ranging from Turkish bread and dips provided by our German lab head and vegetarian sausage rolls from one of our British postdocs, to a proper Gallette des Rois, brought in by one of our French scientists. 

Normally, I would make Nonna’s pizza for this sort of occasion, but my left wrist is still giving me a lot of trouble, and kneading is definitely beyond me.  So instead, I decided to pursue my current favourite confectionery strategy of melting a lot of chocolate, and then opening the pantry and flinging any sweet contents that seem plausible into it.  The results were very tasty – it’s quite a sophisticated, dark chocolate thing, full of glacé and freeze-dried fruits, but I also couldn’t resist pouring in some popping candy, and I got a great deal of glee out of hearing people go “oh, this is really nice – ooh!  Oh my God what is that?” at irregular intervals through the afternoon…

All in all, an excellent way to liven up the day before a holiday.


Your Shopping List

500 g good dark chocolate (I used half Lindt, half Green and Blacks, both 70% cocoa)
250 g glacé fruit (I used pineapple, peach and apricot, but cherries, pears, oranges, or anything else that takes your fancy would work.  Probably not citron, though.)
50 g crystallised ginger
35 g freeze-dried fruit (I used strawberries and blueberries, but again, pick your own preferred flavours)
35 g popping candy
100 g praline paste (I used almond, but use whatever you prefer)

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Recipe: Rocky Road for Timon

I’m in mad cooking mode for Shakespeare tomorrow. At this very moment, something that I hope will turn into Turkish Delight is glooping away, jellyfish-like, in a saucepan, so imagine, if you will, that this post is punctuated by mad dashes out to the kitchen to see if the mixture has achieved ‘very thick and golden’ yet.  Since we’re doing Timon of Athens, it would actually be appropriate to just serve hot water and rocks, but that would be mean, and I can’t bring myself to be quite that evil.  Besides, I have much, much nicer friends than Timon does, so they certainly don’t deserve Timon’s feast.

So we’re having a lot of Greek food, and also rock cakes, and, as you have possibly guessed by now, Rocky Road.

The trouble with commercial Rocky Road is that people always put pointless stuff in it, like peanuts, or really bad jelly lollies, or marshmallows that don’t  even taste like marshmallows.  And they don’t use proper chocolate, either.  This is where it becomes really pleasing to make your own Rocky Road, because you can put whatever you like in it!  Also, it takes about ten minutes to make, and most of that time is waiting for the chocolate to melt.

This is, in my view, the best ever Rocky Road.  Of course it is.  I made it precisely to my taste – inasmuch as the shops would let me.   I was hoping for a lot more freeze-dried fruit, preferably raspberries and apricots.  But you know what?  That just means I can make this even more perfect next time…

Your Shopping List

500 g really good dark cooking chocolate.  This is all about the chocolate, so you might as well go Lindt 75%
150 g marshmallows.  The ones which actually have a bit of flavour to them.
85 g roasted unsalted almonds.  Need I say more?
50 g glacé cherries.  But if you can get glacé pineapple instead, I say go for it!
50 g freeze-dried fruit.  The snappy, crunchy kind.  Trust me, this is an absolute winner, especially if you can get something good and tangy, like strawberries or raspberries.
50 g good quality turkish delight, or better still, pectin jellies! Did I mention I still have some mis-shapen ones left over from Christmas?  Well, now I have 50 g fewer…

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