Fortunately, I've managed to stay away from the Boxing Day sales and having cooked enough food to feed the population of Chelmsford. I thought I'd take time out from cooking and eating to sample one of my many books I received this Christmas.
Top of my list has to be Paul Young's, Adventures with Chocolate. The book is beautifully presented with lots of shiny close ups of chocolate in all its forms. The introduction gives us a great insight as to how chocolate has shaped his life and the subsequent decisions he's made. Paris certainly seems to have had a big influence especially in terms of his creative side and developing new flavours. For those of you of you who are new to chocolate or perhaps fancy making some exotic truffles this book is ideal as it provides you with the basics. Simple points such as buying the correct type of chocolate, how to taste chocolate and identify different chocolates all help to provide a good grounding for the novice.
Making ganache and tempering chocolate correctly are all covered using simple, easy to understand language that we can all understand. Once you've mastered the art of making your own chocolates Paul takes us into the world of flavours which for me is the hardest part of making the perfect truffle. It takes a lot of practice combining different percentages of each flavour to achieve the best results. So don't expect your first attempt at flavouring to be a push over!
The book includes 80 fantastic recipes including such delights as, "Chocolate-drenched cocoa-nib cookies" and "Venezuelan Chocolate Pancakes with Chocolate Maple Syrup" to name just two.
Overall Paul's enthusiasm for chocolate shines through this book and the recipes do not look too complicated. However, obtaining some of the ingredients such as ancho chilli may be a bit taxing! To be fair there are a list of suppliers at the back of the book to help you in your quest. The Home Chocolate Factory is an ideal place to start if you're serious about making chocolate.
I for one will certainly be trying some of his recipes over the next few months...I'll let you know how they turn out.
To buy this book click here!