Steve-o and the Chocolate Factory

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For special occasions (and just for the odd treat) at the Scottish Arts Club, I like to surprise Members from time to time with some of my home made chocolates on the bar.  These always go down a treat and so I've decided to make up some nice little gift boxes of chocolates to be purchased as Christmas gifts and shared with our family and friends.  And while we've all got some spare time at home over the holidays, I thought you might like to try and replicate my chocolates at home!  Ready?  Let's take a trip to the SAC Chocolate Factory, a world of pure imagination!!  

What you will need;

  • Bain Marie – pot ¼ ful;l of water obn stove on low heat, simmering.
  • Matching sized metal bowl
  • Spatula / wooden spoon
  • Silicone individual chocolate moulds
  • Palet knife or scraper
  • Food thermometer
  • Container for excess choc

Simple Chocolate are super fast and easy, but for a more attractive end result, with a chocolate snap and something that won't melt in five seconds, I recommend temping your chocolate.

When tempering chocolate, I prefer to use a large quantity of chocolate purely to make temperature regulation simpler (and so I have plenty left over for my next batch!)

Method

  1. First make sure your bain marine is contructed and the water is simmering very gently. Place your chocolate in the metal bowl and begin to melt.  Stir regularly to prevent burning.  Once the chocolate is liquid stir continuously and using your thermometer heat until you achieve 45 degrees.
  2. Next, remove from heat and set aside to cool.  5-10 minutes should be enough or a few minutes in the fridge will do.  As long as the chocolate falls to 29 degrees or less you will be grand!
  3. Now it's back on the bain marie and reheat to 31/32 degrees... Your chocolate is now tempered!
  4. Using a pastry brush or tea spoon paint the walls of the chocolate mould and leave in the fridge to set.
  5. Once cool, you can now fill you chocolates.  For simplicity you can use marzipan or fudge rolled into balls, but there are many delicious filling ideas!  Press the filling into the mould leaving space for the base of the chocolate.
  6. To create the base, simply reheat your left over chocolate to 29/30 degrees, pour over your chocolate mould and scrape clean with your pallet knife.
  7. Leave to rest and cool and then pop your chocolates out of the moulds.
Steve Morton

Steve Morton

 

I like to decorate my chocolates, but for your first time keep it simple!  Your chocolates will keep best in a room at around 18 degrees and away from direct sunshine.  They will keep for a long time so don't eat them all at once!  And remember... food is love, so share your chocolates!!

Smoke a Duck!

Hi all and welcome to my first ever entry to the new Chef's Blog section of our website.  On this blog I'll be sharing tips and tricks, some of my own recipes, new foods and techniques I am discovering, and keeping you up to date with what's happening down in depths of the kitchen.

So without further a do.... Let's get stuck in!!!

Smoke a Duck!

A few weeks ago we had an amazing night of fine dining in the Club with an 8 course tasting menu and paired wines.  One of the best received dishes of the night was my 'Duo of Duck', a smokey and sweet dish with confit then pan seared female duck leg and hay smoked and sliced duck breast, served with cherry, orange, salsify, cherry puree, potato fondant and a natural jus.

The most important technique for this dish is smoking the duck breast, and it's surprisingly easy!  So if you have a free afternoon over the weekend, why not spend some time in the kitchen and treat yourself... Smoke a Duck!!

Duck breasts smoking away...

Duck breasts smoking away...

What you will need;

  1. any old heavy duty tray
  2. a cooling rack
  3. tin foil
  4. fresh hay
  5. tea bags
  6. hardy herbs
  7. orange zest
  8. duck breast (of course)

Method;

  1. Line the tray with foil, drop in a few handfuls of hay, break a tea bag over it and add the hard herbs and orange zest.
  2. Place the tray on the stove or a BBQ and heat until lightly smoking (speed up the process with a burning wooden skewer if needed)
  3. Place the pre-seasoned duck breasts (skin side down) on the cooling rack, then over the smoker (be careful here for burns) and cover with foil, leaving a small chimney at the back corner.
  4. Smoke steadily for 12-15 minutes then rest for a few minutes over the hay (off the stove) allowing the meat juices to soak the hay.
  5. After, place the duck into the oven for a few more minutes at a medium temperature and cook to your liking (pink is best)
  6. The duck rested is ready to eat, hot or cold
  7. For the sauce, pass all the hay and dripping through a sieve into a pot and add red wine, honey and a little more zest.  Simmer and reduce by half then add a spoonful of butter and a splash of balsamic vinegar.  Reduce until emulsified.

Now you have a beautiful piece of meat and a uniquely flavoursome sauce, and the rest is up to you!  I have my own garnish as described before, but this duck would be served equally well with some good old potatoes and vegetables.

Happy cooking all, until next time!

Steve

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