Twelfth Night

Bubbled wrapped and packed away

With Twelfth Night this weekend drawing an official close to Christmas, holding with tradition we took down all of our decorations and lights.

I spent the best part of day negotiating my way through what seemed like a whole forest of pine needles and tissue wrapping dozen upon dozen of baubles and a multitude of assorted festive nic-nacs.

Of course with a more than occasional pause to snaffle essential nourishment, in the form of the remaining Christmas chocolates.  For surely they had to be eaten promptly for would it not have been “bad luck” to allow these to linger forgotten in the house beyond Twelfth Night too?

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Impending Crisis

A chocolate bar bigger than my head

Image via Pinterest – source unknown

Recently I have been reading, and hearing on the radio, an alarming buzz, or if you prefer shocking rumours.

Rumours with sufficient enough weight and veracity behind them to make me believe that an impending crisis really is looming.

Chocolate is in short supply…..

Apparently the drier than usual weather in Africa has hampered cocoa bean production and supplies are dwindling.  It is anticipated that the world’s cocoa bean supply will fall short of demand…..demand for chocolate!

Since chocolate has soooo many numerous (and of course proven!) health benefits the consequences could indeed be dire:

Gone will be our perfectly balance diets!

A balanced diet...

Image via Pinterest – source unknown

Gone will be our valiant efforts to eat a healthy
selection of 5-a-day!

Chocolate is a.....

Image via Facebook – source unknown

With costs set to spiral as supply outstrips demand, is it too late to get our placards at the ready and mount a campaign?

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Putting the Dairy into Dairy Milk!

A glass and a half in every bar
Image source

When I flew back from England recently, I had an “interesting discussion” at the immigration desk when I landed in Canada.

Tucked into my suitcase alongside a couple of small presents for my children, and nestling amongst my stash of teabags were several bars of Cadbury’s chocolate (I may have mentioned this before, but Cadbury’s chocolate made in Canada just does not taste the same).  On my landing declaration form I had noted down that I was bringing in approximately $50 of English bounty.  Since, after being out of the country for more than 48 hours I am allowed to bring back $800 worth, it did not occur to me that immigration would even give my documentation a second glance!

However, it seems I had made an error completing my form – such a grave error that there followed a significant amount of head shaking and tutting from the immigration official before me.

What had I done wrong?

Simply put, how could I even begin to contemplate bringing chocolate into the country without ticking dairy on my form?  This left me feeling a little bewildered to be honest.  But then I suppose it really is a case of putting the dairy into Dairy Milk…..quite literally!

Once my error was explained to me and I had apologised and promised never to make the same mistake again(!), I was allowed through and my chocolate arrived safely home with me.  It is fortunate however that I didn’t make mention of the teabags.  I imagine the assumption would have been that there was more negligent form filling out, as surely I must have collected these “leaves” when visiting a farm (another box which I had of course neglected to tick on my customs declaration).

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Chocolate Waffles

Everything tastes better with chocolate doesn’t it:

Chocolate Waffles

My children certainly think so!

These waffles were made following Eric Lanlard’s recipe which was included in the Easter chocolate recipes feature published in The Times this weekend.

Recipes © Eric Lanlard. Extracted from Chocolat, will be published by Mitchell Beazley on 8th April 2013. 

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Chocolate Fudge

Now that into January, whilst we are strictly speaking still within the official 12 days of Christmas, I am fully aware that the party season is indeed over and that any self-respecting person would this morning be up, dressed and ready to go; heading back to the office or school, spring cleaning the house and making a start on the post-Christmas declutter.

However, as none of us are due back at work or school until next week, I have been snacking on the remains of the fudge I made for yesterday’s walk.  Safe in the knowledge that once the crazy merry go-round of everyday life hits there will be no time at all for any such luxuries, so why not make the most of it!

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For this chocolate fudge recipe you will need:

350g (12oz) sugar
25g (1oz) butter
175ml (6floz) evaporated milk
100g (3 ½ oz) dried sweetened cranberries
300g (10oz) chocolate (white or milk)

  • Line a baking tray (approximately 25cm x 20cm) with baking parchment.
  • Measure the sugar, butter and evaporated milk into a non-stick saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has completely dissolved and the butter melted.
  • Stirring continuously, bring the sugar mixture to the boil.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add the cranberries and chocolate (I prefer to use chocolate chips as they melt easily, but any chopped chocolate will work).
  • Stir the chocolate and cranberries into the sugar mixture.  Once the chocolate has melted pour immediately into the lined baking tray.
  • Chill for approximately one hour or until the fudge is firm.
  • Cut into squares and eat!