Local Heart, Global Soul

May 8, 2015

IF It Doesn’t Go Well … Eat The Evidence !!!

Filed under: FOOD,kid stuff: Birthday Cakes,PHOTOGRAPHY,Recipes — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Last year I discovered a silicone baking form that was in the shape of a train.

One of our friends has a son who is  seriously, wild & categorically addicted to anything that resembles his hero: Thomas the train, and I knew that a train birthday cake  would probably be very well received.

Since neither me for my friend has ever used silicone much before in cooking, we thought it would be wise to have a test run before the day so that we could see if the cake for really worked or not.

I’m a hopeless cake baker so stuck to my favourite cake mixture: “Lynn’s Lucious Chocolate Cake, step-by-step idiot proof cake“!

Thinking that a single batch of the recipe would do just fine, I copy this idea and poured the cake mixture into the pan. Once the cake was in the oven, it was really clear that  one lot of batter would not be enough.  My friend had used melter butter on the inside of the form so the cake came out it  rather well.

The cake form is not evenly filled throughout , and it’s a bit wobbly , but my cake is cooked and now is the moment of triumph or disaster: will the cake release easily as the manufacturing sales tell us it should. The cake left the form remarkably  easily and  it was “kind of”  a success. It didn’t take Family Kiwidutch and friends long to eat the evidence…All we need to do now is to try again!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Lynn’s Luscious Chocolate Cake, step-by-step idiot-proof cake !

November 12, 2013

Determination Means Not Ever Giving Up, No Matter What (Or How Long) It Takes…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This isn’t my first visit to Bruges.  I was last here with my parents in 1988 because we were visiting relatives in The Netherlands and made a week long side trip that incorporated London and an overnight stop in Bruges on the way back.

Back then it was literally a whistle-stop visit, we arrived in the afternoon, I was able to visit Michelangelo’s  statue of  Madonna in the Church of Our Lady. All I remember of the church was a quick glimpse of the statue because we arrived minutes before the churched closed for the day and joined at least a hundred other tourists who were also trying to get a last minute peek.

My one precious (film was very expensive) photograph was a beautifully blurred example because I got elbowed by someone as I clicked the shutter closed, but I still kept the photo for a long time afterwards because it was a reminder and proof  that I had really seen a real Michaelangelo.  You can imagine my pride as I pulled the photo out with the apology, “I know the photo’s not great but that white blurred blob really IS a real Michelangelo statue!”.  I remembered absolutely nothing else about the interior of the church, but it was something behind the church that has been the driving force behind my wish to return here ever since that d.ay

My father had a back problem and had been tired out by an incident earlier :  His mother (my Dutch Oma) had requested a special sort of  chocolate from Bruges. We had very limited time on that trip and the shops were starting to shut, but my father hadn’t managed to track down these elusive favourites and he openly admitted that he was too scared to go back to her without them.

Therefore i witnessed my father literally running from one chocolate shop to another minutes before closing time trying to find what he wanted. Finally there was a lady who was actually trying to close the shop door to lock up for the night, but had answered “yes we have those, but we are closed so please come back tomorrow” to the question my father has asked.

He was however so intent on not leaving empty handed that he jammed his foot in the door and then the rest of him, and refused to budge until the lady sold him what he wanted.  Witnessing your father physically wrestling with the door that this Belgium lady was just as intent on closing was one of those life’s images burned into my brain. My mother and I thought it was all very comical but for him it was no laughing matter. Eventually the lady gave up trying to evict him and with a lot of muttering and grumbling because the till had already been closed she sold him the chocolates he wanted.

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

Afterwards my Mother dared to ask if we could try one… the glare we both received told us that probably the second worst thing to facing Oma without her favourite chocolates would be facing her with a depleted supply, so it was more than our lives were worth to dare touch that little gift wrapped cardboard box.

After this incident we had managed our few minutes inside the church and now that all the drama and rush was over,  all my father wanted to do was to collapse back at the hotel.  It was a beautiful summer’s night and the hotel was close by so I elected to walk around the church first and set out by myself.  I remember the stillness of the evening as I stumbled upon a little bridge over the canal,  situated just behind the church: there were beautiful buildings on the canal around it and I was completely and utterly alone.

The evening light was magical and the stillness,  solitude and peace  of the moment in this beautiful spot left a lasting impression.  I spent about twenty minutes there before other people arrived and the spell was broken.

Ever since that day I knew I wanted to return one day to that one little spot in Bruges, and now decades later I have finally done it. Amazingly the details were exactly as I remembered,  even the weather was similar, but unfortunately this time there was no total solitude and silence.  A constant stream of tourists kept coming to the bridge, photographs would be taken at each end and in the middle… getting photos without “extra’s” posing in them became a the challenge that I was determined to win. It took a while but Velveteen and I were determined, patient and at least partially successful.

This post therefore has become one of persistence on many levels, and whilst I have no idea what the canal or this area are officially called, the little path across the bridge becomes a cherished trip down memory lane.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Velveteen)used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen)used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen)used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen)used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen)used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen)used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen)used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen)used with permission

October 17, 2013

Get Ready to Blow Your Taste Buds And Your Mind…

Filed under: BELGIUM,Bruges: Chocolate,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,
(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

The reason we have come to the Chocolate Line in Bruges, Belgium, is less about the fact that it sells chocolate and more about the type of chocolates they sell.

This is no ordinary plain vanilla, caramel and strawberry collection, these soft centres are all about creating individual taste sensations.

In fact the Chocolate Line aims to blow your mind as well as your taste buds, and listing just some of their flavours will give you an idea of  just how far “off  the beaten track” they really are.

All of the name cards were in Flemish, which is like a linguistic relation of Dutch so I’ve included a translation of the text you can see on the cards.

The chocolates were behind a glass window for hygiene reasons so photographing them was rather a hit and miss affair in the low light but Velveteen and I gave it a go.

Finally we emerged with a small selection, and later, back at the hotel we took a knife and carefully divided each chocolate into either thirds, quarters or fifths, depending on the flavour and if the kids were feeling brave or not. Some flavours were not just surprising, so was our reaction to them. For instance we all expected to adore the bacon flavoured chocolate, but we found we were unanimous in having mixed feelings: loving bacon flavour in general but finding it included in a chocolate rather a weird sensation that we couldn’t quite reconcile ourselves to.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Some of the flavours were very strong, some of the combination flavours started conversations like “I get the sun-dried tomato but I don’t get any… oooh,  wow!  …now I get the olive and hey! …now I get the basil!“.

It was like the flavours came in layers and hit you one after the other. Some flavours like the cola were definite favourites of the kids, the Framboise was intense: almost more raspberry than raspberry and delectable,  others like the wasabi and curry or the olive oil  were certainly an acquired taste.

Several of the chocolates included minuscule pieces of what I’ve translated as “crackling candy”, it’s a sort of sweet that pops, fizzes and explodes in your mouth,and everyone loved it except Himself, who face was a wonder to behold when he found it in his mouth.

There was even chocolate paint (But didn’t dare ask where to paint it). The only thing I need to do now is to leave you with a list of just some of the  flavours on offer.  We tried a good selection  (about 20)  but didn’t manage them all. We knew we would be travelling in a hot van and wouldn’t be able to keep them cool enough to save some of the rest of the trip without risking a molten mess so we only took what we could handle in the days we were here.

This isn’t the sort of chocolate you’d take home for comfort eating on the sofa with a movie, and possibly not ones you’d gift to anyone with conservative tastes in food, but it is certainly a taste sensation adventure if you like to try something completely and utterly different for once.

It’s certainly been an experience we won’t forget in a hurry. I’d go back for some flavours but not for the whole range… but with so many wacky choices available there’s sure to be one to suit every taste and personality. We went with an open mind and we came away at the very least highly enlightened about the magic that are flavours and chocolate.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Atlanta: Ganache, amandelpraliné, cola, knetters (Ganache, almond praline, cola, crackling candy)

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

Asian Confetti: Karamel van rijstazijn, soja praliné van sansho peper en knetters (Caramel of rice vinegar, soy praline of sansho pepper and crackling candy)

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

Saké: Bittere ganache met Japanse rijstwijn (bitter ganache with Japanese rice wine)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Julius: Melkchocoladeganache met een infusie van laurier (Milk chocolate ganache with an infusion of bay leaf)

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

Bollywood: Witte chocoladeganache gearomatiseerd met saffraan en een zachte curry (White chocolate ganache flavoured with saffron and a mild curry.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Manon cognac: Slagroom met Cognac en walnoot (Cream with Cognac and walnut)

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

Egel: Zachte hazelnootpraliné (Soft hazelnut praline)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sicilia: Bittere ganache van Italiaanse olijfolie (Bitter ganache from Italian olive oil)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Framboise: Ganache met puur frambozensap (The name of the chocolate is Raspberry)(Ganache with pure raspberry juice)

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

Madame Butterfly: Ganache met Japans kruid Chiso (Ganache with Japanese Chiso herb)

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

Miss Piggy: Melkchocolade met amandelpraliné en gerookt spek (Milk chocolate with almond praline and smoked bacon)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Appeltje: Karamel van appelazijn en lichte appelpraliné met nougatine (Apple vinegar caramel with light apple praline and nougat)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Pavillon: Ganache met stukjes Valenciasinaasappelen (Ganache with Valencia oranges)

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

Monkeys’ Favourite: Karamel van koriander en een gezouten praliné (Caramel from coriander and a salted praline)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Red earth: Confituur van rode biet en lichte hazelnoot praliné [met een crunchy van rode biet]  (Beetroot preserve and light hazelnut praline) [ and an untranslatable bit that doesn’t make sense “with a crunchy of beetroot”]

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

Bangkok: Melkchocoladeganache geparfumeerd met vers citroengras en kokosmelk (Milk chocolate ganache scented with lemongrass and coconut milk)

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

Green Tokyo: Bittere ganache, marsepein van Japanse wasabi (Bitter ganache, marzipan from Japanese wasabi)

Cebolla: Amandelpraliné met krokante, gefruite ui (Almond praline with crispy fried onion)

Italiaanse Javanais: Zongedroogde tomaten, zwarte olijven en verse basilicum (Sun-dried tomatoes, black olives and fresh basil)

Chapeau Napoléon: Marsepein, kirsch en bittere bananencrème (The name and shape of the chocolate is Napoléon’s Hat) (Marzipan, kirsch and bitter banana cream)

Espelette: Ganache marsepein met zachte chilipepers (Marzipan ganache with mild chilli peppers)

Fondant violet crème: violetblaadjes (Violet leaves)

Mava: Ganache van originele chocolade uit de regio Tabasco, Mexico (Ganache from chocolate originating from the Tabasco region in Mexico)

Soleil: Ganache met passievruchtenpurée ( (The name of the chocolate is “sun””) (Ganache with passion fruit purée)

Arthur: Lichte hazelnootpraliné met stukjes feuilletine (Light hazelnut praline with pieces of flaky pastry)

Cabernet-Sauvignon: Karamel van “Cabernet-Sauvignon” and pijnboompittenpraliné (Caramel from “Cabernet-Sauvignon” and pine-nut praline)

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

http://www.thechocolateline.be/

October 16, 2013

A Little Bit Dark, But Just Like The Products, Delectable Inside…

Filed under: BELGIUM,Bruges: Chocolate,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

Family Kiwidutch and our Singaporean friend “Velveteen” are in Bruges, Belgium, and have stopped outside the well known Chocolaterie  called”the Chocolate Line”. The shop is small and there is a steady stream of customers, so taking photographs entails waiting for gaps in the foot traffic and being quick with the shutter. Inside is  not terribly well lit but it’s impossible to miss the shelves packed with rows of chocolate delights. There are staff working out the back but in truth most of the chocolates in the shop have been made in  the companies large factory on the outskirts of Bruges.  I do have to say that I was surprised to see that they open on Sunday’s (most shops in Belgium don’t). Let’s take a look…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

So today you see the shop we are in… tomorrow you will learn why in all of  the chocolate shops in all of Belgium, we have made a special effort to be in this particular one…

http://www.thechocolateline.be/

October 15, 2013

Despite The Window, There’s Nothing Fishy About The Chocolate Line…

Filed under: BELGIUM,Bruges,Bruges: Chocolate,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another page in my last summer’s travel diary as Family Kiwidutch and visiting Singaporean friend “Velvetine” are visiting new places together.

Now we are in Brugge (a.k.a. Bruges), Belgium and whilst the whole country is is famous for chocolate, one of the most famous cities for chocolate is Bruges. In the centre of the city it almost feels like there is one chocolate  shop lined up after another, there are so many.

The chocolate shops  come in all styles, there are ultra modern ones, quaint olde worlde ones and everything in between.

Standing out from the crowds of chocolate shops can’t be easy, but one shop is steadily gaining an international reputation by being very different. Not just a little bit different, Very very different.

The chocolatier in question is Dominique Persoone, and the shop is called “The Chocolate Line”.

The outside display window is also most unusual, and features an underwater scene with  scary looking fish. I did notice however that some of the small fish laying on the “sea floor” bear a very striking resemblance to the the fish in one of iron chocolate moulds I saw in the chocolate museum and photographed a few posts ago. The chocolates are hand made, as are most of the chocolates in Bruges, and like the others these are not cheap either. Typically you pay Euro 3,75 for three pieces, Euro 8.25 for 8,  Euro  14,–  for 17 pieces, up to Euro 56,– for 70 pieces. Mind you, quality never did come cheap and we are here for quality.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Velveteen)  used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen)  used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

http://www.thechocolateline.be/

October 12, 2013

The History Of Chocolate (…Even The Kids Suddenly Become Studious..)

Filed under: BELGIUM,Bruges: Chocolate Museum,HISTORY,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another page from my travel journal of last summer : Visiting Singaporean friend “Velveteen” and Family Kiwidutch are currently in the Belgian city of Brugge (a.k.a. Bruges) and are having a look around the Chocolate Museum.

I know that Switzerland tries to take all the accolades for producing the world’s finest chocolates, but in my personal opinion Belgium is top of the heap when it comes to the fine art of chocolate making.

Part of the reason stems from their strong colonial roots in various cocoa producing countries around the equator, but also because the country specialised in the coco trade when other neighbours like The Netherlands specialised in other things like spices.

The Dutch soon cottoned on to the fact the some of the world’s best quality coco was conveniently close at hand and even today any Dutch Chocolatier desirous of keeping an excellent reputation, imports their chocolate from Belgium.

The history of chocolate is illustrated here in the Chocolate Museum in detail, far too much to feature in even a series of blog posts, so if ever you manage to visit Bruges, a visit here is a must. Velveteen loved the fact that some of the facts an figures were supported by displays made from children’s Play mobile models, I concentrated more on the display boards so our two sets of photographs ended up being complimentary.  Let’s take a look around…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

April 15, 2013

“Creative” Ways With Chocolate …

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sooo,  we have taken my Kiwi cousins and family to the De Lelie Chocolaterie in the nearby town of Delft.

After the initial shock and delight that they are here to work with chocolate themselves and not just to admire it,  and after an excellent demonstration of some of the finer points of how bon bons are made, we are given large piping bags  full of dark, milk and white chocolate, some bon bons to cover and decorate and free reign with a large baking sheet each  in order to create our own “designs”.

Not for the first time during our visit the young guy makes it look all so easy as he pipes a little bear, ducks, letters etc. and demonstrates how to hold the bag.

In general it would be fair to say that the adults amongst us at least attempted some effort of neatness and creativity, whilst the kids quickly degenerated into squirting chocolate into messy piles on their trays… but had just as much fun in doing so as their older friends and family had in attempting precision.

Certainly we disrupted the shop rather a lot with our giggles and exclamations and the ultra-wide smiles were a good indication that this addition to their Dutch schedule has been a massive all round success. We were then given a  block of chocolate each to decorate, but since most of us rather predictably decorated them also with our names, and I value our privacy,  only a few of the photographs can be shown here  today.

Naturally of course we did not manage to pass by the counter full of confections at the front of the shop without opening our wallets for a few additional treats for other family and friends, and left heavily weighted with our own De Lelie paper bags  that contained the results of our endeavours.

So… if you know you will be in the Netherlands one day, and also happen to be in the region of Delft, and you have a minimum party of (I think it was eight persons,over the age of 7 years old) then I would highly recommend that you telephone this establishment  as far as you are able in advance and ask if it’s possible to arrange your own chocolate making adventures.

It’s a sweet treat that is sure to put the biggest smile ever on your face! (interestingly too, since this is a retrospective post),  whenever now we speak to my cousin and his kids, they invariably raise the topic of this activity:  it became one of the biggest highlights of their three month European tour, and one of their most favourite memories in the years since!

http://www.chocolaterie.nl/home

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 14, 2013

Chocolate!!! … and We Don’t Just Get to Look, We Also Get to Play!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There’s a very good reason we needed a good walk before coming here… all becomes clear as soon as you see the name of the establishment and the merchandise on display as you walk in.

This is Chocolaterie De Lelie. Our guests “ooh” and “aah”  at the front counter, still completely unaware why they are really here. The marzipan fruits and vegetables create not just comments but a rush for cameras… as do the range of chocolates on display.

Himself has taken Little Mr. (then officially too young to join our group) to a play-date  with his cousin at my sister in law’s in another part of Delft, so I introduce myself in Dutch to the staff of the chocolaterie and make them known of the appointment I made earlier in the month.

With a grin a young gentleman switches to English and issuing our guests with a hairnet and plastic apron each, tells them that they need to wear these if they are going to be here please. My cousin and his family look confused, they think they are here to buy chocolate… slowly it dawns on them that they are here to make  stuff with chocolate  and when Kiwi Daughter and my Kiwi cousins kids realise this their grins almost split their faces in two.

There’s a minimum number of people needed to make up a private group, so one of our neighbours has joined us and she’s of course been in on the surprise and is laughing at the reaction of the kids and Kiwi cousins.

We file around one of the large tables  at the back of the premises and first get a demonstration of how chocolates and bon-bons are made here.

Naturally they make it look easy… there are the three vats of dark, milk and white chocolate, perfectly temperature controlled and with a wheel and fountain arrangement that keeps the chocolate moving and flowing at perfect consistency.

There are chocolate moulds in various shapes:  chocolate is scooped out of the large vat, and  the moulds are filled to the top, then the excess is scrapped off with a wide spatula.

The filled moulds are then placed upside down on the grate to the side of each of the chocolate vats and onto what I will “technically” call for want of a proper name a “trilling machine”  because it vibrates once a button is pushed and the inside filling of the chocolate drops back through the grate and back into the vat, leaving just the bottom and outside rim of the mould coated.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The mould is placed for a minute or two onto two raised bars so that air can circulate under and inside the form and the chocolate can harden.  Within minutes he picks up the form and with a  firm tap against the counter,  some of the  perfectly formed chocolate cups fall out… all evenly uniform and waiting for their fillings.

It takes a few more taps to release the rest, but it looks easy and they are all beautiful… admiring noises are emerging from all of us by now, and our next demonstration  is of some of the firmer fillings being made.

These have been made in large blocks and chilled just enough to enable easy cutting in a machine that looks like a cheese wire on steroids.

The handle is drawn down and the wire strings cut beautifully even lines of fillings which are then cut again at right angles to make perfect little rectangles ready for their dark, milk or white chocolate coats and embellishments.

Then there is a demonstration of  fondant rolling and decoration… again the chocolatier makes it look so easy,  and we all discover that indeed it is not when we are soon let loose on a block of our own.  But enough sugary text… there are delicious photos to be devoured…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 13, 2013

Chocolate or Caramel, Chocolate or Caramel? … aw Let’s Combine the Two… Yum!

Filed under: FOOD,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I did too much on my feet yesterday, resulting in a swollen foot,  terrible night’s sleep, a ton of pain killers and instructions from my physio to keep my foot elevated,  not walk on it for a day and put on ice-packs every hour.

In between counting down the hours until the next pain pill could be taken I slept  a lot and accomplished nothing, but at least this evening as I type the swelling and pain have done from reducing me to tears, to manageable.

From my archive stash of photos here is a chocolate caramel slice recipe I made a few months ago:  there is a similar  “slice’  biscuit (a.k.a. bar cookie) that’s a staple of  New Zealand bakeries but they are unknown here in the Netherlands so I decided to have a bash at making it myself at home.

I hunted for a suitable recipe on the internet (actually in practice that meant looking at the nicest photo I could find that had a recipe attached and going “yum that’ll do” …) and set to work in the kitchen.

It’s an easy recipe that you put together in three simple stages: cook the biscuit base, add caramel mixture to the base and cook a little more, and then add the chocolate topping as the pièce de résistance on the top. The original recipe can be found here:    http://www.exclusivelyfood.com.au/2006/07/chocolate-caramel-slice-recipe.html

My efforts didn’t turn out as neat and tidy as the slice in the recipe photo but no one cared a jot because it tasted brilliant.  Maybe I should have left it to set overnight in the fridge:  but fat chance,  it was spied by my children who licked their chops in anticipation who repeated the phrase “is it ready yet?” so often that I ended up cutting slices of it to stuff in their little mouths to keep them quiet.

Needless to say their tactic worked well and it disappeared rather quickly. it’s a very sweet treat that combines chocolate and caramel and where it’s hard to have just one slice. Here are my step by step photographs to the recipe in the link above.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

.. . photograph quick before little fingers reach into the frame to whisk it away!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 5, 2011

Don’t just Caramel coat it, get the Chocolate out as well…

Filed under: Blogging & Writing,FOOD,LIFE — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m often inspired by posts from other bloggers. One such, Nic, from http://www.cherrapeno.com/  is a friend from my days as a Recipezaar member (now Food.com)  and I enjoy reading her foodie posts a lot.

Way back in February f this year, Nic posted about some chocolate covered caramel popcorn: http://www.cherrapeno.com/2011/02/wordless-wednesday-chocolate-covered.html   and I got curious, so I emailed her and asked if there was a recipe, because I wanted to make it as a surprise for Kiwi Daughter’s Birthday Party.

It turns out this while you can make your own caramel to cover your popcorn, that in the United Kingdom there is a company that produces it for sale ready-popped-and-coated, so  Nic was kind enough to mail me some. (Three packets in fact).

I did aspire to making the super-cute little individual balls  as Nic had done in her blog post photo, but my literal pain of a foot has been giving me grief in recent months and my concentration levels have been around floor level, so I decided to take the short-cut lazy route improvise instead.

My method was simple in the extreme:

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Melt some milk chocolate on a double boiler,  let it cool just a little, pour in the caramel popcorn, mix well and then press the coated mass as evenly and carefully as possible into a sponge roll tin lined with greaseproof paper.

Put into the fridge to set and break into chunks for the party.

Himself is not a lover of popcorn, well, I now need to rephrase this .. he was not a lover of popcorn but it appears that he is responsible for the strangely frequent sounds of the fridge door opening and closing as he kept going back  “for just one more piece“.

It’s also a little bewildering that whilst this is indeed sweet, it’s only a fraction as sweet as I would have expected from a caramel/chocolate combination, so it disappeared in a day and a quarter. Yep the whole tray!

Directly after making this a “certain someone” in our house  decided that he needed to resume his regular runs (there had been a period of hiatus as renovations and work took over) so it didn’t take any degree of sleuthing skills to determine who helped polish it off so quickly.

I still have the last bag of caramel popcorn in the cupboard, and am delighted to know that  I can make this again quickly and easily for the next Birthday party coming up soon.

When I’m back on my feet and have the energy to stand stirring caramel, I will try again with a “from scratch” recipe but in the meantime, this one is very much a hit,  albeit a very decadent one indeed.  Many Thanks indeed  Nic for the popcorn, ( Kiwi Daughter loves you!) and the surprise that turned out to be a very popular Birthday party treat.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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