Hello all, apologies for my erratic blogging over this time. I’ve been busy with various traditions such as playing cards, watching my favourite Christmas movies (the Muppet’s Christmas Carol, and Nightmare Before Christmas) and making desserts. It was a very hot day to be chocolate making, but fortunately I’m an old hand now at making chocolates in hot weather, cramped conditions, and pushed for time. I’ll be taking a pavlova with berries and lemon curd, mini gluten free banoffe tarts, and three different types of hand made truffles; coconut rum, berry, and hazelnut liquor to Christmas dinner. Life has been busy with the groups wrapping up for the year, various pets ill and needing vet assistance, art projects I’m trying to get to and today’s cooking challenge. All worth it. 🙂

The really good news is that my sick and underweight cat Loki does not have FIV, so is on a high protein diet with a course of steriods and antibiotics and such like and will hopefully bounce back. Charlie, my blind little dog has also been quite sick but is improving as much as could be expected considering a severe heart condition. He’s certainly a lot happier and brighter than he was, and is getting sprayed down regularly to help him cool off in this heat. He’s discovered the joy of fans and now when hot will wander around until he finds a fan on the floor then stand right in front of it, looking very content. Being the dog that he is, if we set up a fan next to his dog bed he will go and sleep in the hallway instead. 🙂

So, here’s a couple of my culinary accomplishments so far:

Berry truffles: they are a blend of dark and milk chocolate, melted with cream, finely chopped tart home made plum fruit leather, and a drop of cherry flavour, then dusted in bitter cocoa. The secret to rolling truffles is to chill the mix until it’s very firm, then roll them wearing latex gloves and working very quickly with small batches.

Gluten free bases for the banoffe tarts – these are banana caramel tarts. The bases are made from macaroon mix pressed into muffin tins. Then goes caramel to set, before serving I’ll layer sliced banana and lavish with chantilly cream and crumbled flake. Yum!

Coconut rum truffles: these are a favourite every year. If made with dairy free dark chocolate these can be dairy free in entirety as they are made with coconut cream, and possibly vegan as well, although not being vegan myself I’d have to check that. You soak coconut shreds in rum, vanilla essence, maple syrup, and coconut cream until the flavour has developed, then heat and melt into chocolate. Chill, roll into balls, chill the balls further, then dip into chocolate to coat. Delicious!

And my hair is looking a lot more festive, in another holiday tradition I’ve managed to think of a colour I haven’t yet dyed it. Voila!  Merry Christmas to all of you. I hope you have a peaceful time, and can find something a little heart warming somewhere in the day. Take care.

I appreciate hearing from you

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