Today I received the long-awaited, biggest, most amazing news EVER! Yes! Awesome!
Today is the first day of the rest of my life. My true foodie, culinary life that is, yay!
I can reveal that the application I posted two weeks ago was successful, I got accepted for...
..... drum roll please .....
Le Grand Diplôme at Le Cordon Bleu London Culinary Arts Institute!!!
I know, incredible! It has been my ultimate dream to study there for a few years now and finally my dream is coming true and I couldn't be happier. When I went to London in December I visited the school too, very excitedly of course, and absolutely loved it. It was so international, people were really nice and welcoming albeit being in the middle of final exams and I was truely impressed by what they did. The development from one level to the other is incredible and all I thought was that I simply couldn't wait to be able to make all these things myself. It's such a world-renowned, professional culinary institution with lots of tradition and I can't wait to be part of it, I'm sure it's worth every penny and more. Not only will I be a fully trained chef but a pastry chef as well and I'm ready to conquer the culinary world!
But wait, there's more... A very popular, well-known tv show wants to document my move to London and the beginning of my studies, how crazy is that? It's been a whirlwind of a week, let me tell you. On Monday morning I received an e-mail from the tv production company wanting to interview me on the phone because they'd be very interested in my story. I didn't expect that at all but as I wouldn't mind having my own food-realted tv show one day I didn't midn one bit, there's only advantaged to it after all. The girl I spoke to was really nice and she seemed tobe very into my story and going to Le Cordon Bleu and honestly, who wouldn't?! ;o) Well anyway, she said they would send over a camera team to my house next Tuesday to shoot some sort of application / preview video describing my adventure ahead which they would then show to the tv station and they will either give it the green light for production or not. But I'm pretty confident they will, I like to entertain people and be the centre of attention after all, hahaha.
My family is freaking out, especially my boyfriend and sister because they will have to be on tape with me since I need somebody to interact with and they're both quite shy around new people and all that, oh boy. ;P They're both mental at any other given time so I hope they'll be able to loosen up and be good fun! I will let you know how it goes and whether it's going to get get picked up or not. Keep your fingers crossed!
What's the best way to celebrate? With chocolate, that's right. They tv crew want to film me cooking or baking something but as I mentioned before our oven is sorta broken / weird / whateva, there won't be much time and I'm a wee bit freaked out by being watched. So I guess I agree with what they said and that's that I should make chocolates, easy enough, eh? What kind of truffles though, I want them to look impressive and taste great with little effort after all...!?! If you've any fool-proof recipes, pleeeaaaasseeee let me know, okay? I need your help, seriously. Much appreciated.
Anyway, if I can't come up with anything amazing ( I was considering Mojito or Margarita inspired truffles, what do you reckon? ) I could always make the dark chocolate Balsamic Vinegar and Basil truffles rolled in cocoa. They were very good, whipped up in no time and loosely based on Giada's Balsamic Chocolate truffles. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/balsamic-chocolate-truffles-recipe/index.html
I would double the amount of ingredients though because I only made a tiny batch as I was in the middle of preparing lots of other things at the same time and I eyeballed most of the ingredients anyway, sorry. Next time I'll use more fresh basil because you coul not really taste it sufficiently I thought and it works so well with the dark chocolate and especially the balsamic vinegar. Of course you can use plain old balsamic vinegar but I actually used balsamic drizzle because I believe it has more depth and less acidity.
Dark Chocolate Balsamic Basil Truffles
Makes for 10 truffles
100 gr dark chocolate
1-2 normal teaspoons of balsamic vinegar or balsamic drizzle, to taste
ca. 5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
(pinch of salt)
cream (eyeball it but it won't be more than a few splashes)
a few spoon-fulls of cocoa powder
Chop up the chocolate and melt it in a double boiler. Set aside and let cool slightly. In a glass mix the balsamic, the optional salt and a spoon or 2 of cream until combined and add to the melted chocolate. Stir until well combined and a smooth, velvety ganache texture is achieved. If you think the mixture is too firm, carefully add a little bit of cream but you don't want the ganache to become to liquid. When you're satisfied with the texture add in the chopped basil, cover the bowl with clingfilm and let the ganache set for 2 hours in the fridge.
Dust your hands with a bit of cocoa, pick up small portions of ganache at a time and roll them in your hands until small balls have formed. Roll them in the cocoa powder and chill them for another hours. Store them in your fridge and consume within a couple of days.
These truffles weren't all though folks, I also made a chocolate bar. You can never have enough chocolate after all, can you? Last week I bought a mould for three 100 gr chocolate bars and of course I had to put them to use straight away. The possibilities for new creations these give you are never-ending and I got inspired. Big time. I wanted to start off with a simple chocolate though and as for some reason I can't stop thinking about citrus fruits and olive oil recently it only made sense to make olive oil and lemon chocolate.
Again you couldn't really taste the olive oil because if you used more in order to get a stronger flavour the chocolate wouldn't firm up and you would not be able to achieve a proper chocolate bar. Mine was still a tiny bit softer and had a silkier texture than your generic supermarket chocolate but it was still firm enough to get it out of the mould. My tip to you though, even if you're as impatient as me... wait for the chocolate to set for at least 2 hours because otherwise you will be able to see finger prints et (yep, that's exactly what you can see as something white-ish in the pictures...)
I also have to admit that I cheated or rather took a short-cut in so far that I didn't really temper the chocolate because I only bought a thermometer yesterday (for future experiments) and so just had to go with my gut-feeling. Worked out fine in the end and my family absolitely loved the chocolate and devoured it in a matter of minutes. Basically I didn't really get to try my own chocolate because by the time I wanted to it was already gone... I take that as a compliment, hehe.
Lemon and Olive Oil Milk Chocolate Bar
100 gr milk chocolate
1-2 teaspoons of olive oil (go easy on it and completely stir it in before adding more!)
the zest of a ripe lemon
Wash the lemon under hot water and zest it. You won't need the zest of a whole lemon, depending on how lemon-y and tangy you want your chocolate to be, it won't be tart though, don't worry.
Roughly chop the milk chocolate and carefully melt it in a double-boiler. Let it cool slightly and mix in some olive oil, a few drops at a time, until well combined. Only when you completely mix in the oil will you know how much more liquid it is making the chocolate so don't go overboard!
Pour the chocolate into the clean and slightly cooled mould and knock it on the table a few times to get rid of any air. Finally sprinkle on the lemon zest and chill the chocolate for a few hours before carefully removing the bar from the mould. Don't place the mould directly onto the glas in your fridge, it would be too cold. I recommend storing the chocolate wrapped in cling film and in your fridge because it might melt more easily due to the oil. The chocolate bar also makes for a nice gift!