Chocolate Sunday

Rose, pistachio and cardamom chocolate bark

Isn’t it great that there’s a whole day dedicated to chocolate?!

Okay, okay, I’m not being serious. And I certainly don’t mean to be insensitive to any religious folks out there. I do realise that for a great many people, Easter is about much more than chocolate. However as I’m an atheist to the bone, this weekend is pretty much ALL about the brown sticky goodness. That and having four days off work of course, could there be a better holiday?!

Almond and apricot chocolate bark

So this week I tried my hand at making chocolate bark; because a chocolate-melting project is always fun and you can really get creative with the flavours and appearance. For a few pointers I checked my infallible The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who like me is a little unable to stick to recipes; basically it helps you to mix and match flavours and gives you pointers and ideas as to what works well together (and why) without actually giving any recipes. I love it. After some flicking I decided to dress up some super-dark chocolate with almond and apricot and also rose, pistachio and cardamom. And what can I say? The Flavour Thesaurus never fails, although when you start with excellent quality, rich, dark chocolate, you would have to have a very serious fail for it not to taste like more, oh so much more.

Rose, pistachio & cardamom chocolate bark

Many thanks need to go to The Fella for helping me out with these photos. I made these on quite a hot day and struggled to take any decent shots in good light before the chocolate began to melt. He’s a bit of a creative whizz with the camera and help me tonnes. He did have quite the incentive though and obviously I rewarded him well! If you’re interested in checking our more of his work check out his website.

Happy chocolate day!

Almond and apricot chocolate bark & Rose, pistachio and cardamom chocolate bark

Almond and apricot chocolate bark & Rose, pistachio and cardamom chocolate bark

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Sweet chicken tagine with minted couscous

Like every other person on this planet, I love to travel. It’s funny isn’t it, how people nowadays think of ‘travelling’ as a hobby? Yet another thing we can thank the intrepid Mr. Michael O’Leary for, I guess. Anyways, everyone loves holidays, no surprises there. But I’m the only person I know who picks a destination based on what kind of food you’ll get. Feck culture, I’m hungry.

Paris may have the Musée d’Orsay, but it also has dark and interesting brasseries and a boulangerie on every corner. Yumo! As for Barcelona; yeah, yeah, Gaudí was great, challenged modern architecture like never before, but is it nearly time for paella? I could continue but I may be labelled a philistine, or worse yet, a lush.

Anyway, the point of this is that when I go away, I try to take a cookery course if I can. These types of courses generally include a trip to the local market to buy ingredients, where you can learn, see and smell all kinds of weird and wonderful things. It can be really interesting, however you are likely to come home with a handful of recipes that call for pandan leaves or galangal root or other such exotic items you don’t generally come across in Dunnes Stores.

Not so with my trip to Marrakesh a few years ago. This recipe only calls for things you generally would have at home, or at the very least could easily find in the local shop. And it is de-lic-ious. I was taught to make this by a woman at a riad (I’ve been looking for the website but can’t seem to find it unfortunately). Riads are small courtyard houses, many of which have been converted into amazing boutique hotels. I spent a few hours at the riad, learning all the tricks and tips the cook had to offer. Later that evening, The Fella and I came back to be served our meal by the plunge pool on the roof and feel totally decadent!

Sweet chicken tagine (or tajine) with minted couscous

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