No, with the arrival of snow, I felt a welcome affinity with all of you out there who have been hit by the white stuff recently. Not that I want any of us to suffer but there is a firmly-held belief that Spain is hot - always hot - and I am pretty sure no one believes me when I'm asked what the weather is like over here and I say, "oh, a bit chilly". Here - it snowed on Thursday - look!
Look, I'm not trying to compete. I know there is a minimal covering here - but that morning, when I took Nemo out for a walk, was one of the coldest I have encountered anywhere. And at least now, my children don't feel like they are missing out either! How they have envied the thought of their English friends their snowball fights, sledging, skating and snowman-making - to say nothing of the days off school! (Though I do know their old school has remained open more or less throughout - nothing closes Rowley Lane!) So they made the most of the snow and icy conditions here - having great fun chipping away at the icy bits with hammers and throwing some rather dangerous 'ice balls' about until we decided that someone might get hurt that way.
My great joy yesterday wasn't the snow, but the fact that I made some chocolates. (I have to say that again..) I.. made.. some.. chocolates... I'm savouring the sound of that sentence. I made some chocolates yesterday. A special recipe for Amelia with a centre of chopped walnuts, dark chocolate, thick cream and an orange liqueur.
I made the centre in the morning and let it set:
This is when I really start smiling - I just love the smell, the sensation, the texture and the process of stirring chocolate!
The next stage is to temper the chocolate, to get it to set nicely with a shine and a 'snap' - which I do over a large bowl of cold water to bring the temperature down to almost setting again. Then the slightly risky period getting it back to ultimate temperature for dipping - risky because I was doing this without any of my usual equipment, including my super accurate laser thermometer. Would I get it right??
|I think I did OK!|
|I'm happy enough to show a close up, though I can see a couple of air bubbles in the chocolate itself....hmmm|
|Soft creamy centre with a little walnut crunch and a slight alcohol kick!|
I am SO happy to have made them and so pleased they turned out delicious. I can't wait to get settled somewhere with all my proper equipment around me to make some more!