It is post 200 for me today, so time for a bit of self indulgence. Hopefully you were all watching Channel 4 last month when they screened, what was in my opinion, one of the most interesting food shows I have ever seen - Willie's Wonky Chocolate Factory.
The 4 part show followed the fortunes of the hard working, determined and charismatic Willie Harcourt-Cooze in his efforts to turn his passion into a dream. With a huge love for top quality chocolate, Willie buys a cacao farm in Venezuela and the show sees him turn the bean into the bar. Hugely entertaining, realistic and with loads of Willie's brilliant simple recipes, it was a proper Sunday night treat.
In one of the episodes, Willie was seen teaming up with a lady called Petra to try out some hot chocolate recipes and then see what the public thought of them. Petra's orange infused chocolate was the winner. And how surprised was I a few days later when that very Petra emailed me with details about her plans, asking me if I wanted to participate?! For Petra has her own business selling choccy delights in her amazing converted ice cream van Jimmy, AKA The Choc Star Express.
Petra has hit the road with Jimmy on a culinary adventure to see what the folks of Britain have to offer. It is a fantastic idea, one that will hopefully spawn the most alternative of travelling books, and I will be delighted when Petra hits the frozen North East next month and she becomes our lodger for the evening.
I implore you to check out her Blog which is detailing her diary of events on the road. Get in touch with her, join her Facebook group, encourage her and most of all, enjoy her brilliant humorous approach to life via her writing. The world would be an incredibly dull place without people like Petra. And in dedication to her, I've attempted one of her recipes that I asked her to send me. Needless to say, it was simply brilliant and as you can see, it passed the Cerys test with flying colours. In Petra's own words, "It's like a cold, crunchy, dark slice of truffle and very moreish and so easy". What more do we need? Choctastic. See you in May Petra.
Chocolate, Almond and Orange Terrine
300g chocolate, min 70%
250g unsalted butter
A few broken fingers of shortbread (or digestives if you prefer...or any crunchy biscuit)
100g caster sugar
2 eggs and 1 egg yolk
100g toasted flaked almonds
Grated zest of 2 oranges
A jolt of brandy (or Cointreau, or rum)
1 - Melt the chocolate in a bain marie with the butter.
2 - Whip the eggs together with the sugar - not too much but so they're well blended. Stir into the chocolate butter mix thoroughly.
3 - Stir in the broken biscuits, zest, almonds and booze. I also added a handful of glacier cherries.
4 - Pour into a medium loaf tin lined with good strong cling film and place in the freezer to set for a couple of hours.
5 - When you're ready to serve, remove from the freezer 10 minutes before, remove from the tin and peel off the cling film...and then slice that old rascal up.
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