Friday, June 19, 2009

More choclatey goodness and the strawberry patch.

So, in the name of perfectionism I have been furthering my hot chocolate quest. Today was the Best By Far. Slightly more complicated that the recipe before, but not much.

Hot Chocolate the French Way
Makes 2 servings

1 ½ cups milk
2 ½ Tbsp. water
2 ½ Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 oz. dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)
2oz. milk chocolate (best you can get)
Put the milk in a saucepan and add water, and sugar.
Place over medium heat and stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved.
Bring to a boil.
Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the chocolate.
Then blend the mixture for about a minute.

Serve immediately
This tastes amazing, just like the Chocolat chaud you get in France. Its incredibly rich, I can only make it through one cup at a time (I KNOW). And a more traditional version wouldn't have any milk chocolate in it.

Spectacular path I built so that there is some form of lighting up to the front door.
And this is the strawberry patch. Yes. Also spectacular. I agree.
Postman: What yer doin?
Me: Planting a strawberry patch.
Postman: Great. Your husband is a lucky man. I wish I had a wife like you.
Me: Trust me. You don't.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Vegies, Clafoutis and the Perfect Hot Chocolate

Extremely cold. Two degrees at 6am and its crept up to nine now. Have spent the morning sitting still sorting out paperwork and now I'm so cold I'm having nipple spasms. Which men think is HILARIOUS but in fact it bloody hurts. Am wandering around the house with a heat pack shoved down my bra - note to self: remove heat pack before going to the shops.

Anyway, enough about my nipples. I think we all heard enough about them during the breastfeeding years of this blog.

So first to the garden. The apple trees are all planted and no sign of anyone popping-their-clogs as yet. To get good apples, apple trees need chilling hours (ie hours where the temperature is under 15 degrees). Its a bit iffy if I'll get enough chilling hours for some of the northern European types of apple I've planted, such as Cox's Orange Pippin, so I am presently haunting weatherzone and becoming ecstatic with excitement when the temp drops below 15. I expect I'll get over this fairly soon! Why did I not plant ALL low chill apples in my temperate garden such as Granny Smith? Excellent question. I shall do a post on it one day. A long, long post.

My quest for at least some degree of self-sufficiency by the end of the year continues. We've expanded the two vegie gardens on the left and right, and are getting the area around the pool ready for growing things as well. Total growing area is now 38 square metres, and books I've read reckon you can be pretty productive on 30 square metres, so we're getting there.

Just in the last couple of days the Snow Peas have started producing.
And next time I do a beef casserole I'll be harvesting these little beauties - they're Turnips...
I also have two quests on the go at the moment as well. The first is all about clafoutis and the second is all about Hot Chocolate.

Clafoutis is a dessert that at its simplest is baked cherries in a pancakey batter. Only it is SO MUCH MORE. The combination of fruit/s and flavouring in the batter are limited only by the confidence and imagination of the cook, from figs to white chocolate. Also it is tops with custard.

So, to the delight of my husband and children I am presently on a quest to find my signature clafoutis. Today its simple raspberry with vanilla.

And after...Hot Chocolate. So its cold. We've established that. And when the kids get home from pre-school/day care I'm giving them some hot chocolate now and then as a treat (and a way of getting something/ANYTHING into Miss Three). Hot-chocolate-at-home is milo and microwaved milk plus child's bodyweight in marshmallows.

Well, yanno, I tasted some the other day and it really isn't that nice. I mean, its just a bit cocoay and whilst the variety I have has Vitamin B in it (to make my kids SMARTER - yeah right), I was just unimpressed.

So I've been fossicking about in search of easy hot chocolate recipes. And guess what. They're even easier than milo and my GOD do they taste good. This morning (for hubby's birthday) all I did was melt Lindt milk chocolate with some hot milk and voila. The best damn hot chocolate you have ever tasted.

It goes like this... Heat milk to simmer (microwave or stovetop). Place 20g chopped up chocolate in bottom of cup. Fill cup up to half way with milk. Stir. Lick spoon. Stir next cup. Add rest of milk. Serve sprinkled with chocolate dust from chopping unless you've already licked it up off the counter top. AHEM.

Now I have the sweetest tooth ever. I can happily eat condensed milk out of the can. But, I did find the above recipe a bit sweet. Am presently experimenting with a combination of milk chocolate and dark chocolate.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Ah Gardening.

So after an excessive amount of hole digging I planted the apple trees in the front lawn. I'd decided that it was going to stop raining at any moment.How wrong I was.

It was also appallingly cold.


Meanwhile work goes on apace with The Bunker. Did I mention a while back that I'd decided to chop 25K out of the finished manuscript? Well that painful job is now complete and I'm trying to tie the rest of the book together in a way that makes some sort of sense, meanwhile wondering how on earth I'm going to find 25,000 more words.

I cannot describe how dreadful it is to rename chapter 11 as chapter 8.