I developed this recipe when writing a piece about Carob Molasses recently for Good Things magazine. (You can read it by following the link). The inspiration for the combination is entirely thanks to the wonderful Beiruti blogger, Joumana Accad, author of  tasteofbeirut.com.

The malty caramel flavour of carob molasses and the delicious sesame of the tahini work wonderfully with chocolate and make for a delicious, unusual chocolate brownie.

If you’ve never tried the combination before, its well worth seeking out carob molasses from your nearest Lebanese, Turkish or Greek specialist store to make it.

Carob Molasses and Tahini Chocolate Brownies - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle - text

Carob Molasses & Tahini Chocolate Brownies

Combining the classical flavours of debs bi tahini (carob molasses mixed with tahini) with chocolate in a rich, fudgy brownie.

Makes 36 squares

Ingredients:
2 large eggs
120 grams Demerara or light brown sugar
120 grams carob molasses
60 grams unsalted butter, melted
40 grams tahini
200 grams plain flour
30 grams cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
0.25 tsp salt

Tip: For the sugar, carob molasses and tahini I suggest weighing these directly into the mixing bowl as you reach the steps where they are added. Other ingredients are best weighed out ahead.

Equipment: I use a stand mixer to make the batter but you can use an electric whisk or beat by hand, if you prefer. This recipe is for an 8 inch / 20 cm square baking tin.

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180 °C (fan).
  • Line a 8 inch / 20 cm square baking pan or dish with parchment paper (or grease with butter), and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until well combined and a little frothy.
  • Add the carob molasses and beat again to combine, then add the melted butter and tahini and mix until smooth.
  • Combine dry ingredients (flour,  cocoa powder, baking powder and salt) and add to the mixing bowl. Beat until dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated; if using a stand mixer or electric whisk, start at the lowest speed and increase once most of the flour mix is folded in. This stops the dry ingredients flying out of the mixing bowl!
  • Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan. Use a spatula to spread it evenly into the corners and create a reasonably smooth surface.
  • Bake for 20 minutes for a fudgy texture or 25 minutes for a more cake-like finish.
  • Remove from oven, leave to cool in the pan for a few minutes, then lift out onto a wire rack. Baking parchment makes this task easier, as you can grab the paper at the sides and lift the entire cake up and out.
  • Once cool, transfer to a chopping board and cut into squares. An 8 inch / 20 cm square tin divides nicely into 6 x 6 brownies.

Carob Molasses and Tahini Chocolate Brownies - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle-7533

LoveCakelinklogoThese brownies will last for up to a week in an airtight plastic box.

I’m entering this bake into Jibber Jabber’s cakes from around the world challenge.

 

Every once in a while, I encounter a food or drink product that is so damn good it makes me giggle with delight.

Bonieri is one such brand, which I first encountered at The Chocolate Show last October. Launched in 2013, Bonieri was founded by Amber Rust to bring chocolates and other sweet specialities originating in Italy’s Piedmont region to UK consumers. She fell in love with these products while living and working in Turin many years ago and wanted Brits to have access to the superb quality chocolates made by master chocolatiers of the region.

Today you can buy Bonieri in both Selfridges and Harrods, as well as via their website.

At the heart of their range is the ‘Tonda Gentile delle Langhe’ hazelnut grown in Piedmont, which features in Bonieri’s traditional gianduja products. The local story goes that gianduja was first invented in Turin during Napoleonic times, when cocoa (imported from South America) was expensive and scarce. Local chocolatiers looking to stretch the precious cocoa further combined cocoa and sugar with roasted and ground hazelnuts, and the resulting spread quickly became very popular. The individual chocolates, known as gianduiotti, were created a few decades later.

Bonieri 1 Bonieri 4

Products include the cuboid Cremini – a layer of pure hazelnut cream sandwiched by two of gianduja cream – and traditional gianduiotti. The intensity of hazelnut flavour in both of these products is utterly amazing, and the texture of the pralines is wonderfully silky too. Bonieri also make praline-style chocolates featuring pistachio and coffee flavours, which I adore. Unsurprisingly, the Cremini praline was recognised with a Gold in last year’s Great Taste Awards.

Probably the biggest surprise in the parcel of samples Bonieri sent me (since I hadn’t already tasted it at The Chocolate Show) was their chocolate-covered nougat which, hand on heart, is the tastiest I’ve ever had. I’ve since learned that the nougat (known in Italy as ‘torrone’) is worked by hand rather than a machine and is made using fresh egg whites, those delicious Piedmont hazelnuts and a clear honey from the local area, known as ‘millefiori’. The nougat is steamed for several hours, shaped by hand into moulds, then cut and left to cool before it’s coated in high quality dark chocolate. It has a wonderful almost-crunchy texture but still the chew you’d expect from nougat and the flavour is utterly wonderful.

Another one to try is Bonieri’s Gianduja Spread, which goes in Italy by the wonderful term gianduja spalmabile! It’s miles beyond that high street brand and well deserving of it’s Great Taste Awards gold star. A generous dollop in hot milk makes a decadent hot chocolate or just eat it with a spoon straight from the jar!

Bonieri 2 Bonieri 3

GIVEAWAY

Bonieri are giving away a wonderful prize to one lucky reader of Kavey Eats.

  • A bag of Chocolate Hazelnut Nougat (250 grams, £14.95)
  • The Bella Box Gianduja (250 grams, £23.95)
  • A jar of Gianduja Spread (200 grams, £9.95)

The prize includes free delivery in the UK.

Entry to the giveaway is via Rafflecopter and we’ve provided lots of ways to gain extra entries and increase your chances of winning!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DISCOUNT CODE

And if you don’t win (or if you’re feeling greedy for great gianduja right now) Bonieri are offering 20% off to Kavey Eats readers. Enter KAVEY20 on checkout; valid till 31st August 2015.

 

Kavey Eats received review samples from Bonieri.

 

My first thought, when deciding what diary free ice cream recipe to make for this month’s Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream challenge, was to wonder whether I might be able to make a custard using eggs, sugar and almond milk? It’s still an experiment I’m keen to try.

But I’ve discovered that many people assume dairy free also means egg free – a hangover, perhaps,  from when the dairy aisle of grocery stores sold not only milk products but eggs too. As far as I’m concerned dairy means milk, cream, butter, buttermilk, yoghurt and cheese. Still, I decided to make a dairy and egg free recipe, so the almond milk custard will have to wait a little longer.

Coconut milk is an great choice for dairy free ice creams because of its high fat content and silky-smooth texture. Inspired by the famous chocolate bar, I went for a chocolate and coconut milk ice cream base, using unrefined caster sugar to sweeten. Do use unsweetened cocoa or dark chocolate for this recipe, as milk chocolate and hot chocolate powders contain milk powder.

Dairy-Free-Chocolate-Coconut-Ice-Cream-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-textoverlay-8105

The finished result isn’t quite as rich and creamy as a dairy cream or custard base but it’s still pretty good and I like that the flavour of the coconut milk is quite subtle – almost lost against the chocolate, unless you boost it deliberately.

If you’d like a more obvious coconut flavour – as I did given my chocolate coconut bar inspiration – a slug of malibu does the trick and has the added bonus of making your finished ice cream a little softer and easier scoop.

If you want to make dairy free chocolate ice cream without a pronounced coconut flavour, use a slug of white rum instead. You can, of course, omit alcohol entirely, but this ice cream sets pretty hard even with alcohol added, so you’ll need to leave it out of the freezer for a while before attempting to scoop it.

Bountilicious Chocolate & Coconut Dairy Free Ice Cream Recipe

(& rum and chocolate variant)

Makes approximately half a litre

Ingredients
400 ml full fat coconut milk
50 grams of (unsweetened) cocoa *
50 grams sugar, plus extra to taste
2 tablespoons Malibu coconut rum ~

* If you can’t find unsweetened cocoa, use same weight of good quality dark chocolate (with no milk content) and break into pieces or grate before use. A power blender like mine (see sidebar) has the power to pulverise chocolate into a powder but if you have a regular blender, grate before use.
~ Malibu adds a punch of coconut flavour. For a rum and chocolate ice cream, switch malibu for white rum.

Method

  • Place all ingredients in a blender and blitz until completely smooth; taste to check there is no remaining texture of sugar granules.
  • Do a taste check and add more sugar if you prefer a sweeter flavour.
  • If the blending has warmed the mixture, set aside to cool.
  • Churn in an ice cream machine, according to instructions.
  • Serve immediately or freeze to firm the texture further.

Dairy-Free-Chocolate-Coconut-Ice-Cream-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-textoverlay-8098

This is my entry for this month’s Dairy Free #BSFIC. Come back at the end of the month to see a round up of all the entries.

IceCreamChallenge

Fellow bloggers, do join in, you have a couple of weeks left to blog your entry and there’s the added bonus of a delicious prize of dairy free milk chocolate in the form of a Hotel Chocolat easter egg.

 

With Easter just around the corner, it’s time for the annual Hotel Chocolat Easter giveaway here on Kavey Eats.

It’s become quite a ritual for me to browse the entire range of Easter products and pick some of my favourites to share with three lucky winners. Enter now and share the news with your friends and family, as this year’s prizes are more tempting than ever!

FIRST PRIZE

300429_Easter 2015_All your eggs in one basket-v2

New this year – and a limited edition, so get to the shops fast if you want to buy one – is the fantastic All Our Eggs In One Basket.

The hexagonal box contains a gigantic cookie-crammed milk chocolate Ostrich half eggshell, an extra-thick caramel-chocolate half eggshell, an extra-thick 70% dark chocolate half eggshell, a Supermilk Facet Egg, a milk chocolate Goose Egg, a caramel-chocolate Goose Egg, a milk-chocolate Scrambled Egg and – nestled in tissue paper at the bottom, a selection of salted caramel egglets.

SECOND PRIZE

300430_Easter 2015_Facet Egg SUPERMILK

I’ve loved the geometric design of the Facet Egg since it was first introduced a few years ago. Made from Hotel Chocolat’s Supermilk, this is one for dark and milk chocolate lovers to share!

THIRD PRIZE

300428_Easter 2015_Scrambled Egg_White-v2

The new Scrambled Egg range are the perfect size – each box contains a 150 gram chocolate egg and a box of 6 matching chocolates. I’ve chosen the White Chocolate Scramble Egg as the third prize for this year’s giveaway.

 

GIVEAWAY

It’s my pleasure to join  with Hotel Chocolat in giving away these three prizes to readers of Kavey Eats!

  • First prize is Hotel Chocolat’s All Our Eggs In One Basket (£50).
  • Second prize is a Hotel Chocolat Supermilk Facet Egg (£18).
  • Third prize is a Hotel Chocolat White Chocolate Scramble Egg (£15)
  • Each prize includes delivery within the UK.

HOW TO ENTER

You can enter the competition in 3 ways – the more ways you enter, the higher your chances of winning:

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
Leave a comment sharing your favourite Easter-related memory.

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow @Kavey on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the exact sentence (shown in italics) below.
I’d love to win @HotelChocolat Easter egg prizes from Kavey Eats! http://bit.ly/KaveyeatsHCEaster #KaveyEatsHCEaster
(Do not add my twitter handle into the tweet; I track twitter entries using the competition hash tag. And please don’t leave a blog comment about your tweet either, thanks!)

Entry 3 – Instagram
Follow @Kaveyf on Instagram. Then instagram a suitably Easter-themed image (chicks, rabbits, eggs…) in your Instagram feed. In the caption include my username @Kaveyf, @hotelchocolat and the hashtag #KaveyEatsHCEaster.

RULES & DETAILS

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 27th March 2015.
  • Kavey Eats reserves the right to alter the closing date of the competition. Changes to the closing date, if they occur, will be shown on this page.
  • The 3 winners will be selected from all valid entries (across blog, twitter and instagram) using a random number generator. The first name selected will win the first prize. The second name selected will win the second prize. The third name selected will win the third prize.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • First prize is Hotel Chocolat’s All Our Eggs In One Basket. Second prize is a Hotel Chocolat Supermilk Facet Egg. Third prize is a Hotel Chocolat White Chocolate Scramble Egg. Each prize includes delivery within the UK.
  • The prizes cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prizes are offered and provided by Hotel Chocolat.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. One Instagram entry per person only. You may enter all three ways but you do not have to do so for each individual entry to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, winners must be following @Kavey at the time of notification. For Instagram entries, winners must be following @Kaveyf at the time of notification. Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contacting the winner.
  • The winners will be notified by email, Twitter or Instagram so please make sure you check your accounts for the notification message. If no response is received from a winner within 7 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

Kavey Eats received samples of items in the range.
Winners: 1st prize @thestax (twitter), 2nd prize trevor linvell (blog), 3rd prize @bettyjaneee (twitter).

 

This month’s Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream was a joint challenge hosted by me and Choclette – BSFIC meets We Should Cocoa. We asked you to give us your chocolatey frozen treats and you obliged!

dark-chocolate-baked-alaska
Image via Big Spud, provided by Waitrose

First up is this rather impressive Chocolate Passionfruit Baked Alaska from Gary at Big Spud. Using passion fruit to cut through the rich flavour of chocolate makes perfect sense.

Elizabeth

Next, Elizabeth over at Law Student Cookbook combines a classic pairing in her Chocolate Hazelnut Ice Cream. She used roasted hazelnuts to provide both flavour and crunch.

frozen creme fraiche brownie custard

Hannah at Honey & Dough made this lovely Frozen Creme Fraiche Brownie Custard. I love the idea of big chunks of chewy chocolate brownie mixed into the ice cream base, and creme fraiche surely gives a gorgeous tang!

Eton-mess-in-tea-cup-640

Janice at Farmersgirl Kitchen took inspiration from ingredients she found in her freezer, to make this White Chocolate Eton Mess Ice Cream. Love the dainty tea cup!

Chocolate Ice Pops

Fellow host Choclette made these delicious Chocolate Ice Pops – chocolate ice cream in a coat of melted chocolate. Using good quality chocolate makes all the difference in recipes like this.

joskitchen

Jo of Jos Kitchen made triple sure to get chocolate into her recipe with these Triple Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches. To a Jamie Oliver chocolate ice cream recipe, she added chocolate chips, and sandwiched the resulting ice cream between chocolate digestive biscuits.

cakeIC (427x640)

I’d never even heard of cake batter ice cream till I read Julia’s post on Something Missing but apparently it’s a thing in San Francisco. Julia used vanilla cake mix along with chocolate chips and folded the mixture into an Italian meringue to create her No Churn Birthday Cake Ice Cream.

violet crumble ice cream in bowl

Johanna at the Green Gourmet Giraffe Blog made an amazing sounding Violet Crumble Ice Cream as part of her Australia Day celebrations – the ice cream includes broken up pieces of Violet Crumble, an Aussie chocolate-covered honeycomb bar stirred into a no churn condensed milk and cream base.

Dense-Chocolate-IceCream-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-fulltext

My own entry tastes way better than the photograph might look – it’s an incredibly Rich, Dark & Dense Chocolate Ice Cream. I adapted a recipe I’d made previously on the stove to do the whole thing in my power blender, which worked really well. This mixture would make absolutely killer chocolate ice lollies aka fudgesicles.

Thank you everyone for joining us for our WeShouldBSFIC Mashup!

BSFIC-WeShouldCocoa

I’ll post a theme for January’s BSFIC soon.

 

My initial plan, when Choclette and I set our joint #WeShouldBSFIC challenge for January, was an ice cream sandwich. I wanted to make chewy chocolate chip cookies and sandwich white chocolate vanilla ice cream between them. But every time I started scribbling potential recipe notes, my thoughts turned instead to a chocolate ice cream recipe I shared back in the summer of 2012; a rich, dense and wonderfully dark chocolate ice cream. I still remember the richness of that ice cream!

Like many no-churn recipes, it has a base of condensed milk and double cream (plus regular milk). Unlike most no-churn recipes, it’s not simply a case of folding together whipped condensed milk and cream, adding flavouring and popping into the freezer. It needs the milks and cream to be boiled, the chocolate (and other flavourings) to be melted and thoroughly mixed in, and then a flour thickener added before the mixture is cooked further until it’s so thick you can only just pour it from the pan to a plastic box.

I was keen to see if I could adapt the recipe to make it in my Froothie Optimum 9400. This power blender has such a jet engine of a motor that it not only blends but heats too – there’s no heating element but the friction of the blades at top speed will generate enough heat to make your mixture piping hot. Having already made an ice cream custard base in the Optimum 9400, for my silky smooth white chocolate vanilla ice cream, I was hopeful my adaptation would work.

When I took the ice cream out of the freezer,  I belatedly remembered how dense this ice cream is and how hard it is to scoop. We ended up popping the entire block out of the plastic box and cutting a slice off the end with a knife. It doesn’t look pretty, as the photographed side shows where it slid out of the box and the other side looked even stranger, from where the knife pushed through it.

That’s when I realised this recipe would  be utterly perfect for individual chocolate ice cream lollies, or fudgesicles as Americans call them. As soon as you cut into the ice cream with a spoon, it reveals it’s beautiful smooth texture, utterly silky in the mouth and with a hint of chewiness that reminds of the wonderful mastic ice creams of the Middle East. I took a bite straight out of the slice and oh yes indeed, this would be perfect on a lolly stick! Too bad I didn’t think of that 24 hours ago!

So please use your imagination to see past my appalling photo and trust me when I tell you that you should give this recipe a try.

Dense-Chocolate-IceCream-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-fulltext

Rich, Dense & Dark Chocolate Ice Cream | Made in a Power Blender

Ingredients
200 grams sweetened condensed milk
100 grams whole milk
100 grams double cream
100 grams very dark chocolate, grated or finely chopped*
0.5 scant teaspoon instant coffee granules or powder
1 scant teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
Small pinch fine sea salt
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 tablespoon cold water

* Note: To save on washing up, use your power blender to “grate” the chocolate, then pour/ scrape it out of the jug and set it aside.

Method

  • Into the jug, pour the condensed milk, whole milk and double cream. Blend on high power until the mixture is steaming hot.
  • Add the chocolate, instant coffee, vanilla bean paste and salt. Blend on high power again until the chocolate melts and is fully mixed into the cream and milk.
  • In a small bowl, mix the flour and water into a smooth paste, then add to the blender.
  • Blend on high power for 4-5 minutes. The mixture should be thick and glossy.
  • Pour / scrape into a shallow freezer container, or better still, into individual lolly moulds or small paper cups, with lolly sticks inserted.
  • Transfer to the freezer overnight or until solid.
  • To serve, take out of the freezer 10 minutes ahead of scooping (or slicing).

This is my entry for the joint Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream and We Should Cocoa challenge, hosted by myself and Choclette.

IceCreamChallenge

As I’ve mentioned before, I was given my Optimum 9400 along with the opportunity to be an ambassador for the Australian brand, as it breaks into the UK market. Hand on hearts, Pete and I have been enormously impressed with the blender, especially given the price when you compare it to market leaders like Vitamix; (you can read a comparison of the two, here). We’ve made super quick frozen fruit sorbets, delicious vegetable soups (which are blended and heated so quickly that they retain the fresh taste of the vegetables, an unexpected bonus), quick custards (both to enjoy as they are and freeze into ice cream), and we’ve also used it to grate, puree and blend. And yet we’re only at the start of our learning about all that it can do. I’ll continue to share my favourite Optimum 9400 recipes with you here on Kavey Eats. You can access them all via my Froothie tag.

Like this recipe? Here are a few more power blender recipes from fellow bloggers that caught my eye:

Kavey Eats received a review Optimum 9400 power blender from Froothie. Please see the right side bar for a special offer on buying the Optimum with an extended warranty via my affiliate link.

 

With the exception of long-ago childhood excitement (mingled with dread) about whether (or not) I would receive a card from a secret admirer, I’ve never been a particularly gung-ho participator in Valentine’s day. I guess I’m one of those who tend to prefer the little everyday demonstrations of love and romance over the idea of a societally assigned day of cliché. I have dearly appreciated the romance of an electric foot warmer over flowers, I am thankful for the lovingly made soft-boiled eggs with neatly buttered and cut soldiers when I’ve come home hungry after a late night event and I prefer daily kisses, cuddles and kind words to a showy profession by way of a girly necklace or glittery ring,

I’m particularly glad Pete isn’t given to ostentatiously public displays; gaudy (and visibly expensive) bouquets sent to the office rather than given in person strike me as little more than showing off or worse, proprietarily staking a claim. Since when did romance require grabbing the attention of anyone other than the object of one’s affections?

That’s not to say I don’t like flowers; it’s simply that the unexpected bunch of bright yellow daffodils for no particular occasion is a far bigger delight than scentless red roses on the 14th February.

All that said and done, we never entirely bypass Valentine’s day because of a little addiction of mine. Hey, it’s not a problem, I’m not hurting anyone, I can stop anytime I want, I am totally in control!

Who am I fooling? I’m addicted to greeting cards. Yes, those little folded rectangles of card with cutesie images and anodyne statements;  I adore them. I love buying cards, I love sending cards and I am joyous to receive cards. (In seriousness, I have reined in my habit by agreeing not to buy more if my allocated greeting card drawer is already full. This is more challenging to stick to than you might imagine). So, there must always be cards, on Valentine’s day and through the rest of the year as well.

What else? Let’s take a look at a couple of offerings that have caught my eye.

Chocolate

We both adore chocolate so it’s often part of our birthday, Christmas and anytime gifts to each other. We seldom buy boxes of chocolates (it’s usually bars, far better value), and very rarely on Valentine’s day. But I confess I would be more than happy to be given this big chocolate Hotel Chocolat Love Birds chocolate heart! Featuring a very pretty love birds design, half is salted caramel chocolate and the other half 50% milk praline. (£26; 650 grams).

310303_Valentines 2015_Large solid heart_in box with ribbon_flat-2

Better still, Hotel Chocolat are kindly giving away one beautiful Love Birds chocolate heart to a Kavey Eats reader. Click here to enter.

Image 260 503341-cocoa-gin-250ml Image 138

Other products that have caught my eye in this year’s Hotel Chocolat Valentine’s range include:

  • The Valentines Goody Bag (containing chocolate and passion fruit truffles; a pack of caramel sweethearts; two 50g milk chocolate Mellow Heart slabs; Champagne Truffles; and a Valentine’s truffle duo of Caramel Gianduja and a Strawberry Cheesecake; £18).
  • This bottle of Cocoa Gin made in small batches in traditional copper-pot stills; roasted cocoa shells contribute to the rich flavour. (£15, 250ml).
  • A box of six balsamic caramel hearts (£3.75).

Drinking In

The last two years have seen a surge of specialist food and drink subscription services (such as the Carnivore Club cured meat and Beer 52 craft beer boxes I reviewed previously).

The latest to come to my attention is Tipple Box, a monthly cocktail subscription created by founder Sonny Charles. After launching just last month with the help of crowd-funding, Sonny is now ready for cocktail lovers to sign up. Each month, he sends out two cocktail recipes with ingredients (spirits, mixers and anything else in the recipe) and mixing jar. All you need to add is the ice.

Tipple Box-2759 small Stacked-TippleBox-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015

Pete and I enjoyed the two cocktails in our Tipple Box, one a combination of gin, marmalade and mixer, the other a blend of vodka, strawberry jam and mixer, though it’s a shame the two recipes were so similar. I’d like to see a little more creativity in future boxes (small batch spirits and mixers, rather than mainstream brands, and the addition of intriguing bitters, fruit and herb syrups and cordials, flavoured salts and sugars – the kinds of things a keen cocktail maker might not readily be able to source themselves in the supermarket).

But it’s a great start for a new business, very nicely presented and a rather lovely idea for an intimate night in making and drinking cocktails together. Of course, you can buy this to give to your loved one in person but I think it would also be a charming gift to send via the post to a LDR lover, ready and waiting to make cocktails the next time you get together.

One box costs £24 including delivery in the UK, with reductions in price for longer subscriptions.

Better still, Sonny is kindly giving away a one month Tipple Box to a Kavey Eats reader. Click here to enter.

Whether you win the competition or not, all readers can make use of discount code KAVEY10 for 10% off the monthly subscription price, valid until end of March 2015.

Eating Out

I can’t think of much worse (in terms of Valentine’s day celebrations) than booking a typical table for two on Valentine’s day. I know, I know, you already thought I was a killjoy when you read my introduction, now you are convinced I’m utterly heartless. But let me explain myself…

The idea of wasting money to order from a limited-choice, overpriced “special” Valentine’s menu, often laden down with so-called aphrodisiac ingredients at the expense of coherence and tastiness… sitting amongst a sea of couples, many of them looking like startled rabbits when suddenly faced with the prospect of actually spending an entire evening talking to their chosen “loved one”, some of them singularly failing to say a word… service rushed as waiters struggle to handle a higher volume of finicky small tables, customers even more demanding than usual as they claw for the evening to live up to their unrealistic expectations… uugh, it really doesn’t bear thinking about!

Our usual habit is to cook a tasty meal at home, settle down on the sofa to watch a good film, or to read our kindles in companiable and comfortable silence.

DrapersAr,s
Image courtesy of Nick Gibson, used with permission

This year, we shall be making our way with friends to The Drapers Arms, a wonderful pub in Islington. Not only are we guaranteed good food and a merry time, landlord Nick Gibson is once again donating 100% of the night’s takings to Refuge, a charity helping women in need of support. Read his eloquent post on why he’s doing this and book for a non-valentiney Valentine’s dinner with your partner or friends.

 

Kavey Eats received sample products from Hotel Chocolate and Tipple Box.

 

We’re welcoming in the new year with a joint blogger challenge between Kavey Eats Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream and Chocolate Log Blog’s We Should Cocoa: #WeShouldBSFIC!

shutterstock_123746647 shutterstock_188150696 shutterstock_99266363 shutterstock_140110885 shutterstock_184166999 shutterstock_217524868
Images from Shutterstock

The theme is easy. Your recipe needs to be frozen (ice cream, sorbet, gelato, semi-freddo, ice lolly…) and it needs to include chocolate (white, milk or dark, as you like). That’s it! The rest is up to you! You could create a simple chocolate ice lolly or sorbet, mint choc chip ice cream or vanilla stracciatella, a pile of chocolate cookie ice cream sandwiches or a grand black forest ice cream gateau or baked alaska! Whatever your taste, time and fancy dictates!

 

How To Take Part In BSFIC

You are welcome to submit your post to as many blogger challenge events as you like.

If the recipe is not your own, please be aware of copyright issues. Email me if you would like to discuss this.

Both Choclette and I will post a round up showcasing and linking to all the entries and share posts via Pinterest, Stumble and Twitter.

If you tweet about your post using the hashtag #WeShouldBSFIC and/or #BSFIC I’ll retweet any I see. You are also welcome to share your posts on my Kavey Eats Facebook page.

BSFIC-WeShouldCocoa

For more ideas, check out my my Pinterest ice cream board and past BSFIC Entries board.

 

Some people are quick to blame the internet for the downfall of courtesy, culture, community, the breakdown of society… you name it. Social media in particular is singled out as a poor substitute for “real” social interaction, dismissed as a tool beloved by the socially awkward. But many of us know this for the fallacy it so clearly is; having supplemented rather than replaced our real world social lives with a global web of friendships based on shared interests and discussions held online, we understand that the internet has simply opened up more of the world to us. Instead of struggling to find people within our local communities that share a love of the topics that arouse our interests, we can look further afield and make connections with folks from far-flung places. I know that these connections are true and meaningful; having met in real life many very dear friends I first found online. To me, it feels like a modern version of penpals; I enjoyed corresponding with several when I was a little girl.

Celia, based in Sydney, Australia is one such friend. The chances of us meeting in real life are probably remote (though I live in hope), but somehow we connect via our shared love of food, growing our own fruit and vegetables and our family experiences. I adore Celia’s blog, Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. And in the few short minutes that we’re both online at the same time, early morning for one of us, late at night for the other, we exchange a snatch of giggled messages before one of us starts their day and the other heads to bed.

celiabanner

Hello and welcome, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about the kind of content you share.

Morning lovely Kavey!

My husband Pete and I live with our now adult sons in an old house in the Inner West of Sydney, Australia. We bake our own sourdough bread, have chickens in the backyard and try to make as much as we can from scratch. A few years ago we ripped up the backyard lawn that no-one ever mowed and converted the space to large vegetable beds – we now have a messy, occasionally productive garden with mutant squash, rampant tomatoes and a resident frog.

We share our adventures through our blog Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. It’s an inconsistent rambling record of our lives with recipes, photos and the occasional post about cats pouncing on testicles.

Is there a story behind your blog’s name?

Not really! We were making fig jam and lime cordial the weekend that I started the blog, so that became the name!

celia

Tell us the story of your most spectacular kitchen failure!

Oh the infamous “Apricot Lamb”. For some reason, I decided that since I’d enjoyed my mother’s apricot chicken as a small child, I was sure to love apricot lamb made with tinned apricots in syrup. It’s become a standard warning now whenever my food combinations get a little too “creative” – “beware the apricot lamb”…

cb6 099 heart-012
sunday-010 star2 tb1

You blog regularly about bread baking and chocolate-making; what is it about bread and chocolate that appeals to you so strongly?

You know, after tempering and baking for nearly ten years, I *still* feel clever whenever my chocolates pop out of their moulds cleanly, or when a loaf of sourdough rises and browns to perfection. I find it incredibly soul-satisfying – there’s something very rewarding about seeing the finished products lined up on the bench!

Which food writers / chefs do you find most inspirational and in the same spirit, are there any particular cookery books you cherish more than the others on your shelf?

I’m a big Jamie Oliver fan from his Naked Chef days – I find his recipes work consistently well. Adore Hugh FW – his River Cottage series inspired much of our lifestyle. Lately I’ve been drawn to chef authors such as April Bloomfield, David Tanis and Fergus Henderson. Oh, and I’ve always been a Jacques Pepin fan – the very first cooking show I ever watched was his Today’s Gourmet series. In bread terms, I’m particularly fond of Dan Lepard’s The Handmade Loaf and Richard Bertinet’s Dough – both were integral to my baking journey.

If I were coming for dinner, what would you cook for me?

Ooh, now there’s a question Kavey. Hmm. Chestnut flour brownies for dessert, and I’d work backwards from there. Lots of sourdough, baked that morning. Maybe a pulled pork based main – I’ve been a bit obsessed with pulled pork this year!

gfb2 doughnut1 025

What’s the single piece of kitchen equipment you wouldn’t be without? (It doesn’t have to be electrical)

I had the perfect silicone spoon – it had a wooden handle with a silicone head with *just* the right amount of resistance in it when pushing food around a frypan. Eventually the head cracked and the handle splintered, and I spend a year looking for a replacement. I eventually found the perfect substitute by Chasseur – and bought six of them. As one does.

What’s your kitchen white elephant?

The bloody box grater. It’s not a true white elephant in that it does get used, but we can’t seem to get one that does what we want! The first one was sharp, but all the plastic cracked when it went through the dishwasher, and the one we bought to replace it was rubbish. The quest continues…

a5 cwct2 flowers31
lcm4 mend61 xm-012

Is there a particular cuisine or style of cooking that you seek out most often when dining out? What about when cooking at home?

When we do dine out, which isn’t very often, we look for culturally interesting cuisine – something new and interesting that we haven’t tried before. I would happily never eat at a fine dining restaurant again – I’d much rather have large shared platters and pots of stew!

Which single dish could you not live without?

Hainanese Chicken Rice

What do you love about eating out?

I’ve finally figured out that I don’t like eating out much at all. I love spending time with friends, but honestly, we could eat in a food court for all I care. I’m rarely excited about restaurant food, and even when I am, I often can’t remember what I ate the next day. Cooking at home is different – those taste memories seem to be stored in a different part of my brain.

What are the biggest turn offs for you, when eating out?

Snobby service first, followed by bland food.

032 chrchks-007 harvest-004
crabap gard-004 garlic-006
angel chooks 015

Since you started blogging, has your style and content changed over time, and if so, in what ways?

I think I’ve become better at structuring a post, but I don’t think the style has changed much. My friends often tell me they can “hear” my voice in my posts, which makes me very happy. I’m not very consistent with content – I’ve always just blabbed on about whatever I’m interested in at any given time, and that’s not always food. Or it might be three bread posts in a row, which probably bores many of my readers silly (the ones I know ring me up to tell me).

What are you absolutely loving cooking, eating, doing right now?

Playing with crystal beads and turning loops in wire – I’m having a brief jewellery making revival at the moment. I’ve sent out a heap of sourdough starter to friends and we’ve all been baking virtually over Twitter – I’ve been loving that! I’ve discovered the most perfect candied orange segments and have been dipping them in tempered origin dark chocolate – I can’t seem to stop because I keep eating the ones I’m making to give away.

ttb

Spread the love

Blog URL: http://figjamandlimecordial.com/
Twitter handle: https://twitter.com/celiafigjam

 

Enjoyed this interview? Read the rest of my Meet The Blogger series, here.

 

Every year, I’ve had great fun choosing prizes from Hotel Chocolat’s Christmas Gifts range to giveaway to readers. This year, the choice was just as hard, as there’s so many tempting products that it’s hard to narrow down to three fabulous prizes.

I’ve chosen a Collection box jam-packed with goodies, the impressive Christmas Truffle Tree, which I think would make a lovely dessert centrepiece, and the adorable red and white stocking filled with moulded chocolates.

Christmas Collection Christmas Collection-2

The Christmas Collection is a generous selection of Hotel Chocolat treats. It contains an H-Box of Christmas Chocolates, a bag of Butterscotch Puddles, the Dasher’s Dream slab, a Hazelnut Bûche and 6 Christmas Eton Mess truffles.

Truffle Xmas Tree Truffle Xmas Tree-2

The Christmas Truffle Tree is a rather impressive solid chocolate centre piece. The alternating layers are 50% milk praline feuilletine chocolate and sea salted caramel chocolate. On top are baubles of milk, vanilla white and dark chocolate.

Mini Stocking Mini Stocking-2

The rather sweet Dinky Christmas Stocking has a ribbon hook to hang it up on the tree, mantelpiece or a bedpost and is filled with caramel chocolate presents, milk chocolate santas and white chocolate bells.

COMPETITION

It’s my pleasure to give away these three prizes to readers of Kavey Eats!

  • First prize is Hotel Chocolat’s Christmas Collection (£35).
  • Second prize is a Hotel Chocolat Christmas Truffle Tree (£26).
  • Third prize is a Hotel Chocolat Dinky Christmas Stocking (£10)
  • Each prize includes delivery within the UK.

HOW TO ENTER

You can enter the competition in 3 ways – the more ways you enter, the higher your chances of winning:

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
Leave a comment below, sharing your favourite story about wrapping or unwrapping presents.

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow @Kavey on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the (exact) sentence below.
I’d love to win @HotelChocolat Christmas prizes from Kavey Eats! http://goo.gl/DzymeS #KaveyEatsHotelChocolat

(Do not add my twitter handle into the tweet; I track entries using the competition hash tag. And please don’t leave a blog comment about your tweet either, thanks!)

Entry 3 – Instagram
Share an image of your favourite Christmassy wrapping paper (opened out, not rolled up!) via your Instagram feed. In the caption include my username
@Kaveyf and the hashtag #KaveyEatsHotelChocolat.

RULES & DETAILS

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 5th December 2014.
  • Kavey Eats reserves the right to alter the closing date of the competition. Changes to the closing date, if they occur, will be shown on this page.
  • The 3 winners will be selected from all valid entries (across blog, twitter and instagram) using a random number generator. The first name selected will win the first prize. The second name selected will win the second prize. The third name selected will win the third prize.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • First prize is Hotel Chocolat’s  Christmas Collection. Second prize is a Hotel Chocolat Christmas Truffle Tree. Third prize is a Hotel Chocolat Dinky Christmas Stocking. Each prize includes delivery within the UK.
  • The prizes cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prizes are offered and provided by Hotel Chocolat.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. One Instagram entry per person only. You may enter all three ways but you do not have to do so for your entries to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, winners must be following @Kavey at the time of notification. For Instagram entries, winners must be following @Kaveyf at the time of notification. Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contacting the winner.
  • The winners will be notified by email, Twitter or Instagram so please make sure you check your accounts for the notification message. If no response is received from a winner within 7 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

Kavey Eats attended the Hotel Chocolat Christmas preview event and received samples of items in the range.

Winners: 1st prize KellyJo Walters (blog entry), 2nd prize Anna Ibbotson (blog entry), 3rd prize @loeby (twitter entry).

© 2006 - 2014 Kavita Favelle Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha