White Chocolate Lime Mousse with Pomegranate Chia Jelly recipe for the Godiva Challenge

Final Godiva Dessert Lime White Chocolate Mousse and Pomegranate Chia Jelly
You may have seen this picture of the dessert I created last month as part of a Godiva Challenge on Instagram or Facebook.  Well, the final challenge happened whilst I was in Australia, with some very impressive looking desserts which you can read more about here: www.greatbritishchefs.com/community/godiva-chocolate-challenge-final.

A few people asked for my recipe so I thought I would post it here.  Godiva kindly sent me a bag of white chocolate callets (mini buttons) and one of dark chocolate ones too.  When I heard the winning dessert for the Godiva chocolate challenge would feature on Mark Hix’s menu for a week I knew that the creation would need to be visually appealing. From the few things I’ve eaten from his restaurants I suspected the successful entry would be quite unusual too.

When I came to thinking about what to create I’d just bought some pomegranates from one of the fruit and veg guys on Berwick St at the end of a chocolate tour and decided I wanted to incorporate them somehow.  I’d never (intentionally) made a chia jelly before but I had some in the cupboard and discovered it was ridiculously simple and the perfect accompaniment for a lime white chocolate mousse.  The sharpness of the lime and pomegranate balances the sweetness of the white chocolate and the shards of dark chocolate and pomegranate seeds on top provide great bitter contrast and texture.

This dessert is very easy, though it does require a little patience and create some mess and washing up!  It’s best for a dessert you want to be able to prepare in advance and forget about for a few hours or days.

White Chocolate Lime Mousse with Pomegranate Chia Jelly
Serves 2

Pomegranate Jelly

15g chia seeds (3tsp)
15tsp pomegranate juice (1-2 pomegranates)

  1. Cut a pomegranate in half and squeeze the juice out over a bowl. Make sure to keep some of the pomegranate seeds intact for decoration.
  2. Measure the chia seeds into two glass serving dishes. Pour the pomegranate juice over the top and stir gently until seeds are fully submerged.
Pomegranate chia jelly

Pomegranate Chia Jelly


 

 

 

 

 

 

White Chocolate Lime Mousse

2 egg whites
100g white chocolate
Zest and juice of one lime (reserve some zest)

  1. Gently melt the white chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave for short bursts on medium (20 seconds then 5-10 second periods). Take it away from the heat (/out of the microwave) before it’s completely melted and stir off the heat until it’s fully melted.
  2. Stir the lime zest through the chocolate.
  3. Whilst the chocolate cools beat the egg white.
  4. When soft peaks are reached add the lime juice and continue beating until it reaches stiff peaks.
  5. Stir a big tablespoon of egg whites through the white chocolate until completely incorporated.
  6. Gently stir through the rest of the egg white mixture.
  7. When fully mixed, spoon the mixture into the glasses on top of the set pomegranate jelly.
  8. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
  9. Decorate with dark chocolate shards, pomegranate seeds (jewels) and lime zest.
Melting white chocolate

Melting white chocolate

Grating lime zest

Grating lime zest

Pomegranate jelly and white chocolate mousse decoration

First stage of the decoration - the dark chocolate shards (or curls!)

Decoration

50g dark chocolate

  1. Melt 30g chocolate in a bowl over simmering water. Take off the water and add the remaining 20g dark chocolate and stir until completely melted.
  2. Pull a piece of cling film tightly over a plate.
  3. Spread the chocolate over the cling film in a thin layer.
  4. When the chocolate sets take the cling film off the plate, turn over and peel the cling film off the chocolate and break the chocolate into shards.
  5. Pierce the shards of chocolate into the mousse.
  6. Drop a few jewels of pomegranate and some of the grated lime zest on top to serve too.

Bon appetit!

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Chocoa Chocolate Festival in Amsterdam

Last October I travelled to Amsterdam for the Origins Chocolate event, partly as an excuse to visit a dear, equally chocolate-obsessed friend who lives in The Hague. I was so impressed with the day that I made plans to come back this March for the festival organised by the same people (the lovely Caroline Lubbers and Jack Steijn, amongst others). The Origins event was a day packed with talks and tastings with a few stands in the central area (including some fantastic savoury chocolate food). This festival was targeting a broader audience with more stands and fewer tastings. I joined just one: a wine and chocolate pairing with a selection of South African wines and ports and chocolate mostly from Original Beans range of ethically and environmentally-supportive bean to bar chocolate.

I found a fascinating new bean to bar producer: Tres Hombres, as well as some of my favourites and a selection of fabulous “confisseurs” (those who make chocolates from chocolate – or “couverture” – produced by others).  It was a gorgeously sunny day in Amsterdam so I also had the chance to check my bags and coat and pound the pavement to find other chocolate delights. If you were planning a visit to Amsterdam anyway (and it’s a beautiful city, why wouldn’t you?) I recommend arranging it for a weekend coinciding with one of these excellent chocolate events.  Keep an eye on http://www.chocoa.nl/en/ for full details and future dates.
And now, the pictures:
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Chocolate Kitchens at Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court PalaceI first met Marc Meltonville, the food historian for the Historic Royal Palaces at the Oxford Symposium of Food and Cookery in 2009 (a fascinating event if you are interested in the very geeky end of food, most of the presentations are by people who have studied food as part of a phd so are very science or research-based).  At the time he told me of how Hampton Court Palace once had a dedicated “chocolate kitchen” and invited me to visit the Tudor kitchens to see some of the old chocolate-related equipment.  I’m ashamed to say it took me four and a half years – and a follow up press invitation for the official launch of the original chocolate kitchen – to finally make good on my acceptance of the invitation and take myself to the palace today.

Last year Meltonville and his team, including curator Polly Putnam, finally uncovered a document that could tell them the precise location of the chocolate kitchen in the Hampton Court Palace.  It turned out to be a small room that was being used to hold equipment for the Hampton Court Flower Show.  They expected that once they removed the storage shelves they would have to rebuild the kitchen but were surprised to discover that key pieces, including a unique folding table and the coal stoves, were still present.

You might, like me, express some surprise that this information could only just be uncovered.  Meltonville informed us that the trouble with history of the royal palaces is less that there is not enough information but rather that there is too much.  Almost everything was written down and so there are thousands of books and papers available in the national archives on public record.  The difficulty is sifting through to find what is relevant.  This isn’t helped that the English of some periods is akin to a completely different language.  The English of the Georgian times is apparently readable without a translator, though we were informed that the odd French and German word slips in.

cocoa beans roasting in the Hampton Court chocolate kitchenThe particular piece of paper that revealed the location of the chocolate kitchen was an inventory of rooms going clockwise from the Queen’s staircase – conveniently known and still intact.  The room that is now the ladies’ bathroom was a spice storage room.  Behind door number eight: the chocolate kitchen.  Further around the building was the room where the chocolate cook to George I and George II, a Mr Thomas Tosier, would undertake the final preparations of the morning chocolate beverage before taking it personally to the King.  It was extremely unusual for a cook to personally deliver food to the royal family members and thus a position of considerable power as he would have been able to speak directly with the King.  The historians assume that Mr Tosier did little of the hard (literal!) grind of the cocoa but supervised a team.  This small room where he resided and completed the final mixing has also been renovated.  Replicas of glassware, chocolate cups, saucers and jugs line the shelves.  All were made based on pieces found in archaeological digs in the grounds, by master English craftsman using ancient methods.  The jugs and candle sticks are made of cast pewter, once one of the three noble metals and much heavier than its modern, spun version, now often sold in tacky souvenir shops.  Particularly interesting were the pewter saucers that rose up to nestle the cup so if someone knocked you the chocolate cup wouldn’t spill a precious drop.  I could probably do with one of these saucers.

The cocoa beverage that Mr Tosier made (or had made!) for the King would have been a mixture of ground, shelled cocoa beans with water, or very often milk, and then some combination of spices of which sugar was also considered a spice.  The palace has copies of ingredient order lists but the specific blend was closely guarded, quite likely because Mr Tosier also had his own shop, run by his wife in Greenwich.  Much like a celebrity chef in today’s times, Tosier and his wife capitalised on his connection with the King and Mrs Tosier had her image in newspapers, accompanied by a commentary on the clothes she was wearing.  I doubt the paparazzi were quite so intrusive then.

Spices in the cocoa drink could have included, amongst others:

  • Vanilla
  • Aniseed
  • Allspice
  • Cardamom
  • Chilli
  • Guinea Pepper (also known as “Grains of Paradise”)

spices for Georgian hot chocolateThese would have been distilled into oils before including.  As well as sugar it’s possible the “chocolate cooks” also mixed the cocoa “cakes” (the set paste of ground cocoa beans) with fortified wine and with flower and fruit essences.

Eventually it became so easy to get chocolate around town that chocolate kitchens were less common in palaces.

Hot chocolate flight at Hampton Court PalaceA neat little projected presentation accompanies the equipment and décor in the rooms and you can sample a flight of hot chocolates in the nearby café for £3.95.  This includes a version closely representing what would have been made when cocoa first arrived in England around 1665 – made just with water and including a touch of warming chilli, another water-based drink, this time featuring anise, a milky, sweeter hot chocolate that more directly mirrors modern hot chocolate and finally a sweet hot “chocolate” made just with cocoa butter, milk, vanilla, rose and orange.  They were all pleasant and definitely all interesting.  My personal preference is towards the two without milk, but I am particularly interested in picking up some Port to make my own 18th century hot chocolate at home now…

The kitchens open to the public this Friday 14th February.  Throughout the year on weekends, public holidays and school holidays there will be live chocolate making in the kitchen, though the video presentations available on other days will still be worthwhile to visit.  Tickets into Hampton Court Palace are £17.60 per adult and £8.80 per child.  It is a short walk from Hampton Court station in Zone 6, just 36 minutes from Waterloo.

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The Urban Chocolatier brings fresh chocolates to East London

The Urban ChocolatierThe Olympics did a lot for East London, made it fresher and cleaner and attracted more people with spending money in their pockets to live there.  I suppose whether you think that’s positive might depend on your perspective.  The upside for chocolate lovers is that more people with money means more reason to open specialist food shops, including – hurrah – a chocolate shop and dessert lounge.

At the end of 2013 Ali took over an old bathroom store just off Whitechapel high street and brought in the purple paint and some diner-style booths to match, not to mention the mood lighting.  Unlike most of the chocolate shops west of here, which are highly polished, there is definitely an urban edge as implied by the name.

 

See a little mini video of the inside here: http://instagram.com/p/jwe6LuBE1L/

 

Whilst there is a decent-sized selection of fresh chocolates and truffles made by Ali with Belgian chocolate, the focus here is more on dining in with a menu of hot chocolates that extends to 33 varieties, including ginger (using grated ginger), salted caramel, blueberry, chilli and coconut.  There’s also a selection of homemade desserts and cakes and freshly made waffles.

Ali has spent the last few years travelling and created this space as a combination of places he loved and experimenting with foods he enjoyed as well.  As a self-taught chocolatier and baker, I expect you’ll see lots of interesting developments from Ali as his business grows.

Hot chocolate with coconut milk at The Urban ChocolatierThose of you who don’t like to consume milk will be in for a treat with his super indulgent hot chocolate made with coconut milk.  Mine was made with a 64% Peruvian chocolate.  I only meant to try it… And then it was all gone!

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Christmas Chocolate Log at the Thane Prince Cookbook Club

This is a section from my pre-Christmas Chocolate Ecstasy newsletter that I meant to post a few weeks ago and forgot.  You might be sick of the sight of mince pies and Christmas pudding, but if you have leftover you could also mix your mince or Christmas pudding into the chocolate mixture instead of the soaked raisins and currants!

This summer, food writer Thane Prince starting organising a monthly “Cook Book Club“.  I only heard about it last month and was too late to make the “Food from a Cold Climate” gathering but I blocked my diary for the Christmas event on 4th December.  Ideally you’re supposed to bring some food to share and this month’s theme was “A Novel Christmas: food from a book you love that features Christmas”.  I couldn’t think of a single book that included Christmas and food.  I know, it sounds lame.  I love reading, I’m just not good at remembering the content of novels I’ve read.  So I stretched the theme to think of how the books I loved as a child – and my actual childhood – always seemed to involve making simple things with whatever cupboard ingredients were to hand.
Being me, whatever I made had to include chocolate and, being related to Christmas, I felt it had to include some kind of “mince”.  [Side note: I noticed this week that Fortnum and Mason's are selling mince pies the traditional way, with beef mince along with the dried fruit.] I didn’t have enough time to make (non-meat!) mince pies that I’ve made before with added chocolate (try it, they’re delicious!), so I decided to create a “chocolate log”.  I was asked for the recipe by some of this foodie crowd so I guess it is something worth sharing with you too!

This is a perfect recipe whatever the weather and, I’m told, great for people who don’t like Christmas pudding (though you will need to like raisins!).  You need to start a day or two before you want to eat it!  The actual “making time” is pretty quick, there are just long waits between stages.

Chocolate Ecstasy Christmas LogChocolate Ecstasy Christmas Log
Please excuse the garish Seventies’ serving tray in the picture on the right. This picture was also taken before I spread the white chocolate evenly over the top.  I’m sure you can make it look prettier than I can!

Utensils

Double boiler (saucepan and a glass or ceramic bowl that will sit over the top without touching the water simmering underneath). Or, a microwave.
Loaf tin (or similar)
Cling film / Glad Wrap / Saran Wrap
Food processor / blender / mini-chopper
Grater (I used my food processer)

Ingredients

100g currants
100g raisins
100g rum
300g good quality dark chocolate
50g + 20g unsalted butter
50g almonds (or other nuts)
1 small apple
2 tsp mixed spice and/or cinnamon and ginger
1-2 extra tsps of mixed spice / ginger
100g white chocolate

Method
Day 1
1. Pour rum over the dried fruits, cover and leave at least overnight.

Day 2
2. Melt the dark chocolate and 50g butter in the double boiler or microwave.
3. Chop the dried fruit and rum using a food processor, blender or mini chopper. Don’t make it into a complete paste, you want some piece of fruit as well.  (You might want to try doing this before soaking with the rum?)
4. Stir into the melted chocolate.
5. Grate the apple and chop further into smaller pieces.
6. Chop nuts into small(ish) pieces.
7. Stir the apple, spices and nuts into the chocolate mixture.
8. Line the tin with cling film and spoon the mixture onto the film.  Wrap the film over the mixture making sure it can’t leak out and then put it somewhere cold or in the fridge.
9. Leave for a few hours or overnight.

Later on Day 2 or on Day 3
10. Melt the white chocolate and 20g butter and stir the cinnamon in.
11. Unwrap the chocolate log, place on serving dish and top with the melted white chocolate.
12. Cut into slices to serve.

Enjoy!

If you don’t eat it all at once keep in the fridge because of the fresh apple.  It should last at least a few days with all that rum!  The best thing about this recipe is the quantities are pretty flexible to your taste preferences!  Happy experimenting!

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