Casa Rosales

Casa Rosales

Saturday, 4 December 2010

First chocolates in Spain

First things first - it is cold here, it is really very cold. We've had a week of falling temperatures where the walk to the bus stop to collect the children at lunch time has resulted in ears that hurt, despite scarves and various 'wrappings'. And on Thursday evening, as Cesar and I were driving back (again) from the garage - more car fixing - it started to snow. Swirling, big-flaked, blizzarding snow. And by coincidence, we were listening to AC/DC's 'Highway to Hell' as it began.  (However, we made it back home without incident despite my still lingering sense of doom every time I get in the car.) That's not my story here.

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:

Then, later in the evening, I melted several blocks of rich dark chocolate using the microwave method. (Half power, a minute at a time, stirring to speed up the melting and distribute the temperate across all the chocolate - otherwise, it can burn and spoil.)

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!

1 comment:

  1. I can hardly be concerned with an air bubble... I am too impressed seeing, and practically smelling-tasting-feeling, those gorgeous confections!
    We do not get snow, and our weather reports never compare with the rest of the world's, so I know what you mean about convincing people you have had cold weather. It's all relative, right? Anyway, now you have solid, icy, proof! It sure looks fun!


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