Vanessa Kimbell’s “Let’s Make Christmas Gift Swap 2012” is happening today and I am taking along a couple of cakes with me to swap with lots of other bloggers. This time last year at the Gift Swap, I had only met Nazima of Franglais Kitchen and Kate at What Kate Baked.
How things have taken a turn since then. I must admit I now find it a little easier to attend these events. And today I am really looking forward to meeting many more bloggers and swapping gifts with them. The theme this year is “Chocolate” and Chantal Coady, Pioneer of The Real Chocolate movement, is hosting the event at her Rococo chocolate factory.
What do you do at a chocolate factory? Fall in a chocolate river ? Will it smell intoxicating? Can I drink liquid chocolate as if it is the finest mineral water? Will the art of tempering all become clear to me?
Well, yes to the last one. There will be a master choclatier demonstrating just how to temper that chocolate into sheer slick perfection with the required snap and the way to achieve a glossy silken ganache found in only the finest of truffles. My chilli chocolate cake features the superb Amdei chocolate pictured here.
Yes, I think I might enjoy myself somehow. Only there are considerations about what to make and take to the Gift Swap . Two categories. Best (personal) chocolate recipe. Best recipe from Chantal’s “Mastering the art of choclate” book.
This is all fine. Apart from the fact there are some top cooks/bloggers who will be creating magic. And there are at least two well known judges who you may be familiar with. Xanthe Clay (The Telegraph) and Lucas Hollweg (The Sunday Times) plus one more guest judge…..Sophie Conran. I know!
I like to think I can cook but for some strange reason, I cannot cook my best when I have to. Is this a way of defending my offerings, perhaps it is. Or maybe it’s just that I know how good the winner’s can be. Having sampled Jude’s (A Trifle Rushed) Apricot & Ndali vanilla jam, I can tell you, the standard is H.I.G.H.
My choices are based on what I love.
1. So, first up we have a 3 chilli chocolate cake. Have I overdone it? Not sure, I won’t be able to taste it. My first attempt was too mild so I went large on the chilli this time.
2. Second choice was easy. I just went for the recipe featuring Campari. Which proved challenging, but had to be done given my love for the stuff (HERE).
Recipe 1 is based on Stevie Parle’s Chilli Chocolate Cake. I am a spice addict and The Spice Trip inspired me to make his cake at once. I adapted Stevie’s recipe by adding 5 dried bird’s eye chillies, 1 large dried Pasilla chilli and 1 large red chilli, de-seeded. I soaked the Pasilla chilli in Rum (not Tequila) then chopped it up finely with the other two types of chilli before adding it to the melting chocolate.
Recipe 2 is from Chantal Coady’s “Mastering the art of chocolate“. You will have to buy the book to read the recipe. White chocolate, Campari, Orange and Cherry Cake. It tastes intensely good and represents how good white chocolate can be, particularly paired with Campari and it’s natural partner….the orange.
Thanks to Vanessa for hosting this event once again. Vanessa writes at Goddess on a Budget and has published a cookbook “Prepped” as well as presenting her own radio show, running a pop up bakery and supporting the Fairtrade movement. The Ndali Valilla Gift Swap held earlier this year highlighted the importance of buying Fairtrade items and the positive impact this can have on the farmers and their quality of life. She is a multi talented lady.
As for the winner’s…..wait and see!