Tue 15 Jul 2008
Why not treat yourself or a friend to a taste of luxury with a beautiful willow hamper basket complete with carrying handle. Filled with some of the most sumptuous foods imaginable to entice your taste buds the willow basket holds a bottle of Baron Bordeaux Rouge, a mouth watering brandy Christmas pudding, a decorated rich Christmas fruit cake, strawberry preserve and selections of tea and coffee from the finest tea and coffee suppliers. This luxury traditional wicker hamper is sure to delight at Christmas time and makes an excellent gift for that someone special.
Here are some suggestions:
a perfect gift for him: the worlds beers selection - surfing weekend – Deluxe wine set – port and stilton tray
a perfect gift for her: Christmas Sparkle – Chocolate Delight – Claret Gift Hamper
Thu 10 Jul 2008
Hampers Chocolate cake ingredients:
115g (4oz)self raising flour-115g (4oz) caster sugar-115g (4oz) margarine-2 small barsmilk chocolate-2 eggs-175g (6oz) icing sugar-115g (4oz) margarine
1. Preheat oven to 180c and grease to 7ins cake tins
2. Melt 1 bar of chocolate over a saucepan of boiling water.
3. Put the butter and caster sugar in a bowl and mix to light and fluffy and white in colour.
4. Add the eggs and a little of the flour and mix.
5. Then add the chocolate and the flour a little a time folding in till all as gone.
6. Add the mixture equally between the two tins.
7. Bake for a bout 20 mins.
8. Leave to cool in tins for 10mins then turn out on to a cooling rack to fully cool
9. Melt the rest of the chocolate and mix with the margarine and icing sugar.
10. Put some of the chocolate butter icing on one of the cakes and then sandwich together.
11. With the rest spread over the top and sides of the cake then leave to set. You could decorate with chocolate sprinkles if like.
Ultimate chocolate hampers cake (Cuts into 14 slices)
Preperation and cooking times : Prep 30 40 min, Cook 1 hr min 1 hr 30 min, Plus baking and cooling time without icing.
Butter a 20cm round cake tin (7.5cm deep) and line the base. Preheat the oven to fan 140C/conventional 160C/ gas 3. Break the chocolate in pieces into a medium, heavy-based pan. Tip in the butter, then mix the coffee granules into 125ml/4fl oz cold water and pour into the pan. Warm through over a low heat just until everything is melted – don’t overheat. Or melt in the microwave on Medium for about 5 minutes, stirring half way through.While the chocolate is melting, mix the two flours, bicarbonate of soda, sugars and cocoa in a big bowl, mixing with your hands to get rid of any lumps. Beat the eggs in a bowl and stir in the buttermilk. Now pour the melted chocolate mixture and the egg mixture into the flour mixture, stirring just until everything is well blended and you have a smooth, quite runny consistency. Pour this into the tin and bake for 1 hour 25- 1 hour 30 minutes – if you push a skewer in the centre it should come out clean and the top should feel firm (don’t worry if it cracks a bit). Leave to cool in the tin (don’t worry if it dips slightly), then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
When the cake is cold, cut it horizontally into three. Make the ganache: chop the chocolate into small pieces and tip into a bowl. Pour the cream into a pan, add the sugar, and heat until it is about to boil. Take off the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Sandwich the layers together with just a little of the ganache. Pour the rest over the cake letting it fall down the sides and smoothing to cover with a palette knife. Decorate with grated chocolate or a pile of chocolate curls. The cake keeps moist and gooey for 3-4 days.
Rich hampers chocolate cake
Ingredients (serves 12)-200g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped- 200g butter, softened-1 cup dark brown sugar-1 teaspoon vanilla extract-3 eggs, at room temperature-1 1/2 cups self-raising flour-2 tablespoons cocoa powder-1/2 cup milk-chocolate curls or shavings (optional), to serve (see note)-Chocolate icing-200g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped-1/2 cup thickened cream
Make chocolate icing: Combine chocolate and cream in a heatproof, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on MEDIUM-HIGH (70%) for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every minute with a metal spoon, until almost melted. Stir until smooth. Set aside for 30 minutes or until thick enough to spread.
Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease and line base and side of a 6cm deep, 22cm (base) round cake pan.
Place chocolate in a heatproof, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on MEDIUM (50%) for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every minute with a metal spoon, until almost melted. Stir until smooth. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool. Using an electric mixer, cream butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Add melted chocolate. Beat until well combined. Sift flour and cocoa together. Fold half the flour mixture into butter mixture. Add half the milk. Stir gently to combine. Repeat with remaining flour mixture and milk. Spoon into prepared pan. Smooth surface. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Stand cake in pan for 15 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Spread icing over top and side. Top with chocolate curls, if using. Serve. Notes & tips : To make chocolate curls, run a clean potato peeler down the side of a block of chocolate, allowing curls to fall onto a plate.
Double Chocolate Layer Cake (Serves 12 to 14)-any fine-quality semisweet chocolate will produce a wonderful result in either.
INGREDIENTS: For cake layers: 3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebau- 1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee- 3 cups sugar- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)- 2 teaspoons baking soda- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder-1 1/4 teaspoons salt- 3 large eggs-3/4 cup vegetable oil- 1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk-3/4 teaspoon vanilla-For ganache frosting: 1 pound fine-quality semisweet chocolate- 1 cup heavy cream-2 tablespoons sugar-2 tablespoons light corn syrup-1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter-Special equipment:Two 10- by 2-inch round cake pans
DIRECTIONS -Make cake layers:
Preheat oven to 300° F and grease pans. Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease paper.
Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well. Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature. Make frosting:
Finely chop chocolate. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.
Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (depending on chocolate used, it may be necessary to chill frosting to spreadable consistency). Spread frosting between cake layers and over top and sides. Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Bring cake to room temperature before servin.
Wed 9 Jul 2008
- Always prepare your stuffing well in advance and allow to cool
- Store the turkey at the bottom of the fridge to avoid cross-contamination.
- Don’t buy your turkey too early – two days in the fridge is plenty.
- Allow 24 hours in the fridge to defrost a frozen turkey.
- Ensure the bird is clean by running it under the tap.
- Never cook the turkey the night before, but you can marinade it then.
- Cooking time: 1/2 hour per kg plus an extra ½ hour
- Always make sure that when you stuff your turkey you only stuff the neck cavity
- Cut and slice two or three onions and place these on the bottom on the dish and place your turkey on top of them, not only will they keep the turkey from resting in the juices they will also add flavour
- Before stuffing the turkey, you could use sliced lemons, oranges or onion to add flavour by placing them in the body cavity of the turkey.
- Make sure you season the skin of the turkey with salt and pepper and smear butter all over the skin.
- Place strips of streaky smoked bacon over the turkey about half way through the cooking time.
Tue 8 Jul 2008
Posted by admin under HampersNo Comments
- If there isn’t enough seating for everyone then consider removing all seating from the party area to make more room for dancing
- Always make sure you leave enough toilet paper in the bathrooms, this saves your guests the embarrassment of having to ask
- Make sure you always have on hand some spot remover to quickly and easily get rid of spills
- Choose your music carefully, make sure that all tastes are catered for and the music matches the type of party
- Create the perfect atmosphere by choosing the perfecting lighting, decorations and background music for arriving guests
- Relax, drink a couple of glasses of wine, or do whatever relaxes you. If you are uptight, your guests will feel it and it will have an adverse effect on the party atmosphere.
- Arrange the furniture so that everyone is within comfortable talking distance. This will help conversation to flow freely.
- Check with guests before planning the menu, like to know what people like to eat – if they have food allergies, if they’re vegetarian – and to try to cook anything that you haven’t cooked before.
- Provide a range of beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic
- And there you go…some great grown up party ideas to make your party planning a little easier! Remember it is about the fun and being prepared, so you can have fun as well.
Mon 7 Jul 2008
Posted by admin under ChocolateNo Comments
Chocolate brownie biscuits
Ingredients:1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts or pine nuts-1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour-1/2 cup natural cocoa powder-unsweetened -1 teaspoon baking powder-1/4 teaspoon salt-1 cup sugar-1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature-2 large eggs-1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract-1/4 cup cacao nibs
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter 1 large baking sheet.Toast the hazelnuts on an unbuttered baking sheet for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown and fragrant.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; whisk to blend.With an electric mixer, beginning on low speed and increasing to medium-high, beat the sugar and the butter in a medium bowl until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture, one-third at a time, scraping down the side of the bowl as necessary, and beat just until blended. Stir in the hazelnuts and nibs with a rubber spatula until well blended.
Halve the dough and place both portions on the buttered baking sheet. Quickly form each piece into a 13- by 1-inch log, and place them at least 3 inches apart on the baking sheet. Smooth each log with damp fingers.
Bake for 35 minutes, turning the pan once, or until the logs are firm to the touch and cracked on top. Let cool on the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer the logs to a cutting board and cut each log diagonally into 3/8-inch slices with a serrated knife. Arrange the slices on the same baking sheet and return to the oven.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, turning the cookies over halfway through baking, or until crisp and dry on both sides. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 3 dozen cookies
double chocolate fudge brownie
Ingredients:1 lb. butter-21 oz. extra dark Pure Dark Chocolate or 62%
Dark Semi Sweet Chocolate-6 eggs-1 teaspoon vanilla extract-21 oz. sugar-5 1/2 oz. all purpose flour-1/2 teaspoon salt-15 oz. SPECIAL DARK Chocolate Chips-6 1/2 oz. toasted walnuts-1/2 oz. baking powder
Melt butter and chocolate in the microwave. Mix then set aside. In a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, whip the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt until light and fluffy. On a low speed, slowly add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture. Then add the dry ingredients and mix well. Follow with the chips and nuts. Pour the batter into a greased baking pan.
Bake at 350°F for 35-45 minutes.Let cool at room temperature.
chocolate sugar cookies
Ingredients:1 (3.53 ounce) package cacao reserve 65% Extra Dark Chocolate, chopped*-3 cups all-purpose flour-1 teaspoon baking powder-1/2 teaspoon baking soda-1/4 teaspoon salt-1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature-1 1/4 cups granulated sugar-1 large egg-1/2 cup sour cream
Melt the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of about 1 1/2 inches of nearly simmering water, whisking until smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and let cool.Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.
With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar in a large deep bowl just until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg and melted chocolate, until blended. Reduce the heat to low. Add the flour mixture and the sour cream alternately, in 3 parts, beating just until blended after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces, shape into disks, wrap in wax paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours, or until firm enough to roll.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter 3 baking sheets.On a lightly floured work surface, with a floured rolling pin, roll out 1 piece of dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut out cookies with a 3-inch scalloped-edge cutter. Transfer the cookies to the baking sheets, about 1-inch apart. Gather up the dough scraps for rerolling. Repeat with remaining dough.
Bake one sheet at a time for 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 1 minute, then transfer to a wire rack with a long thin metal spatula to cool completely.Makes about 5 dozen cookies *Note: If you don’t have the specific chocolate called for, substitute another chocolate with about the same intensity – the higher the percent of cacao solids (labeled as % cacao) in a bar, the more intense the chocolate flavor. Bars labeled simply as bittersweet, semisweet or dark can be used in any recipe calling for chocolate of less than 70% cacao.
chunky chocolate nut cookies
Ingredients: 8 ounces 62% Semisweet Chocolate, chopped*-3 tablespoons unsalted butter-1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar -2 large eggs-1 teaspoon vanilla extract -1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour-1/4 teaspoon baking powder-Pinch of salt-3 ounces 70% Bittersweet Chocolate, cut into 1/2-inch chunks*-1 cup chopped pistachios or toasted hazelnuts
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter 2 large baking sheets.
Melt the 62% semisweet chocolate with the butter in a medium heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of about 1 1/2 inches of nearly simmering water, whisking until smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and let cool.With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl until thoroughly blended and smooth. Whisk in the chocolate mixture. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt over the mixture and whisk until well blended. Stir in the 70% bittersweet chocolate and the pistachios.
Drop the batter, using a scant 1/4 cup for each cookie, about 2-inches apart, in 16 mounds on the prepared baking sheets. Bake, one sheet at a time, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the tops are slightly cracked and the surface has a dull sheen. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets on wire racks for 10 minutes, then transfer to the racks to cool completely.Makes 16 cookies.
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