Saturday, November 26, 2005

Return of the Chef

You Would Not Believe What I Do. Honestly.

As you can see, the commentary on my last post ran from sushi rolls to Koko Black's truffle selection and as mentioned, I wound up taking pictures on my old SLR in order to share this chocolate box with the world. As I was looking for the camera, I also came across an old roll of film from goodnessknowswhen. Then there was the roll in the camera already. And the new roll that I snapped through in 24 hours. Well, the garden was looking lovely and I had a few chocolate shots and there's always a demand for the Plumbaby to model. So, this morning, I sent Figman up to the shops and asked him to drop the films in to be processed to discs. He asked if we could get prints as well and I said Sure. Anyway, when he got back, he glanced at the receipt as he handed it to me and the man almost fainted. "SEVENTY-FIVE DOLLARS???" he thundered? "It costs seventy-five dollars to get three rolls of film processed?".

"Um, that's probably cos you wanted prints as well" I said, Trying To Make it Look Like His Fault. He rang the shop and changed it to discs only, but I have been ordered to stop using film immediately. Oh well, any excuse to buy a digital camera. But the pics are not going to be ready until Monday (you think for that price they would hand deliver them by velvet sleigh tonight) so I'll leave you with a little chocolate action in the meantime.

French Leave was a Channel 4 tv show and series about an English chef and his family moving to France for a year, to rediscover family life and a passion for cooking. I am a sucker for anything like this and I immensely enjoyed it. And a little while later, I picked up a battered copy of the accompanying book at a truck sale. The book was an eye-opener, as, while I admired JBR's skills, he didn't seem like someone I'd like to have dinner with. But he connects much better through his writing than the television and it's a decent read with some solid French recipes. One thing I'd always had a hankering to make was his Simple Chocolate Truffles and last week I finally got my act into gear and used some of the Callebaut I bought for this express purpose about a month ago.

The ganache centre could not have been more easy. As I am still without kitchen scales, I took a 300ml container of double cream from the fridge and tipped chocolate callets into a bowl until they were almost as heavy. I then took 2/3 of the cream and (slackly) heated it in the microwave. This was supposed to be brought to boiling on the stove and it probably would have been a better idea, because when I looked in th microwave and saw the yellow liquid separating, I freaked out and immediately tipped it over the chocolate. I then had to chop up some butter and chuck that in as well. But the cream obviously wasn't quite hot enough because I ended up having to put the entire mixture back into the microwave to get the chocolate to melt. Anyway.

Do you remember this honey? I added a couple of teaspoons to the mixture and left it to set. It tasted incredibly yummy at this point and I could barely restrain myself from tipping the bowl around every time I opened the fridge to see if it had cooled. Once firm, I scooped out the ganache with a nifty little icecream baller from the Essential Ingredient, dipped in melted chocolate and returned them to the freezer. JBR also recommends piping the ganache and I can see why. Even after being cooled it was very soft and difficult to scoop neatly. And despite how cute this little ice cream scoop is, I'm going to need a lot more practice to turn out uniform and not hideously misshapen balls.

The recipes says to double dip and while I followed these instructions for about half of the truffles, I wouldn't bother again. Maybe it was due to the viscosity of my chocolate, but the initial coat was enough. And apart from the way they looked, I was quite chuffed with this first attempt. They certainly tasted good - first the chocolate taste, then the honey hit, and the final impression was of cream - good rich thick cream. They are so decadent, I couldn't eat more than two without wanting to lie down and murmur in a dark room. And we won't talk about how I managed to burn a batch of the coating chocolate in the microwave while I was distracted.

I would have taken a photo for you, but as you now know, I have been banned. Whatever will the man do next? Take away my wooden spoon??

PS I was just looking at this post and trying to figure out Why On Earth I titled it Return of the Chef. Of course, JBR is back on the ABC this week with the second series set in Devon. Called Return of the Chef (you didn't imagine for a second that I was referring to me, did you???)


At 9:52 PM, Blogger Niki said...

Great post! Great chocolate truffle description (dont' really need pictures after that) and great comment on the cost of living in the technological age. I hadn't heard of the tv show, so I will have to check it out.

At 12:15 PM, Anonymous Barbara said...

I've never attempted choc truffles. Maybe one day. I can't imagine life without a digital camera now.

At 10:09 PM, Blogger plum said...

Hi Niki - I think he hadn't had film processed for about 10 years so he was expecting the $6.95 for a roll of 36 price. I am now all keen to make other chocolate delights - maybe for the holidays ...

Hi Barbara - good to see you back from hols! I can't wait to get a digital camera - I've been borrowing from family for ages and should really get down to buying one. I really miss being able to run off 20 shots and not having to worry about it!


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