Monday, 18 January 2010

Truffle Shuffling

Yes, yes, I know. I'm a negligent blogger. Last year, I didn't feel like I had lots to write about. 2009 was a year I won't be in any hurry to repeat; recovery from colostomy surgery, redundancy, depression, family bereavement, and unemployment, all meant I was very happy to see 2010 dawn.

Looking forwards now. We are eagerly anticipating our move to Kent, (less eagerly packing boxes, but I work better under pressure) and I am delighted with the kitchen in the new house. While my Husband plans where to put the furniture, I am planning where everything will go in my beautiful kitchen, what I want to cook first in my stunning range cooker, and who should come to all the dinner parties we'll have to host! Sis-in-law and Uncle will be our first house guests, and my brother, his wife, and our new niece/nephew will stay in early autumn, but how to fill the time in between?!

I have discovered the joys of preserving. As I mentioned in my last blog (so very long ago), money was tight at Christmas, so I made our gifts; Tomato and Sweet Chilli Jam, and Cranberry and Clementine Sauce. Everyone seemed to enjoy them, unless they were all just being nice(!), so I feel vindicated to create more chutneys and jams. Now that I've realised the joys, I am delving into learning what makes jam set, what makes chutney into chutney, and the art of ketchup. Once we've moved, I need to find the local markets to make sure I get seasonal fruit and vegetables to satisfy my need to jar!

My other recent success has been Champagne Truffles. My Mum's favourite from a Thornton's chocolate box, I decided to make them for her birthday, to much acclaim. Now, they've been requested for my next visit. In fact, they may have been used in some kind of bribe situation...
I dipped these in white chocolate with a few red candy melts thrown in

Champagne Truffles

450g milk chocolate
100ml double cream
65g unsalted butter
100ml Champagne (I use Jacobs Creek Sparkling Rose, and it works just fine)
4tbsp brandy
Icing sugar, to dust.

Melt chocolate in a bowl sat over a pan of simmering water. Be careful not to let the water touch the bottom of the bowl, or that no steam gets into the chocolate.

Gently heat the cream and butter together in a pan, until it just comes to the boil. Then, pour into melting chocolate.

Add Champagne and brandy, and stir until all ingredients mix together and all chocolate is melted. Remove from heat.

Once the mix has cooled to room temperature, spoon into a piping bag and pipe 2cm blobs on to baking parchment that you have dusted with icing sugar. Place in the fridge.

When the blobs are cold, dust your hands with icing sugar and roll each blob, quickly, into a ball shape.

As they are, the truffles will last 3 days, if you dip them in chocolate (white is good) they'll last up to 3 months.

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