It's Chocolate Week...

... cue 7 days of sin

The temptation of a chocolate smorsgaboard – dive in and repent – later! (picture credit: www.itottowa.wordpress.com)

The temptation of a chocolate smorsgaboard – dive in and repent – later!
(picture credit: www.itottowa.wordpress.com)

Any excuse to gorge on gourmand goodies  and since it is renowned  as 'the food of the gods' one would not want to risk heavenly retribution by denial or refusal - would one?!

So this week I shall be blogging a few cacoa/chocolate-themed posts - many with recipes - so make room in that waistband!  I was going to start with an 'all about cacao' the bean, the pod the process etc, but I was sidetracked by a 'coffee-table' book I had on my shelf:

"The Seven Sins of Chocolate", by Laurent Schott.

The big book of sinful chocolate recipes!

The big book of sinful chocolate recipes!

It's a bit of a weighty tome, with decadently photographed and labourious recipes of  French patisserie and confectionary, the chapters are themed along the Seven Deadly Sins: Sloth, Anger, Lust, Pride, Envy, Avarice, Gluttony.  However, judging by the outrageous deliciousness of the recipes a lot of the latter will ensue, which will result in an excess of the former!

It is great fun to read, so here is a little snippet and recipe from the book:

Sloth

"Sloth is the beginning of vice"  - Dutch proverb

Homer – the arbiter of sloth

Homer – the arbiter of sloth

Recipe: Pear Jam with Chocolate

makes approximately 8 x 8oz jars

  • 2 3/4lb ripe, firm pears, peeled and cored (2 1/2lb after preparation
  • 3 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 7 oz of bittersweet chocolate, chopped (*known as Couverture, I would say 75% min cocoa solids? Try Valrhona or similar quality)
  • 2 vanilla beans, split open
  1. Finely chop the pears.  Place in a large wide saucepan with the sugar, lemon juice and vanilla beans.
  2. Bring to a boil, stirring gently, then boil rapidly until the setting point is reached**
  3. Add the chocolate, bring back to a boil, and remove the vanilla beans.
  4. Pour into sterilized jars and cover with lids while still hot. Turn the jars upside down and cool.** To test for setting, remove the pan from the heat and put a teaspoon of jam on a chilled saucer for a minute or two - a skin should form which wrinkles when pushed with the finger.  If not, return to pan to a boil and test again in short intervals.The book says, I quote " This jam is delicious with fresh crusty bread for breakfast or on plain rolls and cake for a snack."  It will keep for up to a year if stored in a cool, dry place away from light.

A year!!!! ??  NOTHING in my kitchen cupboard lasts a year.  However, if you are feeling like a gourmet goddess, it could make a nice Festive gift for friends/family etc.

So to finish on an appropriate note:

Gluttony

"Lord! Who has not eaten a little more than is strictly necessary'

- St Augustine

For more information on chocolate and events visit: www.chocolateweek.co.uk/