A recent trip to visit my lovely friend Smita in London made me realise how little I have focused on my surroundings recently. Thoroughout my visit, had Smita not spotted and pointed out the array of celebrities we walked by, or the huge Armani underwear advert on the bus featuring a very buff Rafael Nadal, I would have been non the wiser to their nearby presence. It made me wonder, what else have I failed to notice?
My field of vision seems to have gone askew lately, too busy thinking about plans for the future. What I've come to realise is that I need to take more time to really see what is right in front of me, otherwise I could risk missing out on the wonderful opportunities that life has to offer.
Photography is something that helps me narrow in on the finer details of certain subjects. But, I've been abit shy about wielding my Canon 40D in public, favouring photography in the comfort of the indoors and with people I know. Again, this very blinkered approach has only recently come into my awareness. I need to overcome the embarrassment, either that or buy a smaller, less conspicuous camera.
For now, here are afew delicious treats I sampled during my London trip:
Earl Grey Cupcake at Primrose Bakery, so posh you even get a doily with it
Portugese Custard Tart from Borough Market, flakey buttery pastry and smooth, sweet, burnished custard, heavenly.
Laduree Macarons - Chocolate, Coffee, Salted Caramel and Praline, delicate and devine.
Now back to the profiteroles, which was on the agenda at this months Cake Club. Chocolate profiteroles are a dessert I can rarely resist ordering at a restaurant. Who knew how little ingredients are needed and how easy these were to make?
The original recipe called for us to also make a caramel sauce, which unfortunately completely defeated us, even after 3 attempts. Luckily Caroline had some spare chocolate and knocked up a decadent chocolate sauce to drizzle over the cream filled choux buns. All I can say is that these were incredibly good and will need to be made again.
Recipe - Chocolate Profiteroles by Gary Rhodes
- 75g plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 55g butter, finely diced
- 150ml cold water
For the filling:
- 300ml double or whipping cream
- 2 tsp caster sugar
For the sauce
- 150ml water
- 250g caster sugar
- 250ml double cream
- We melted some chocolate and butter and stirred in some double cream to make the chocolate sauce.
1) Dampen the baking tray under the cold tap after greasing it - this creates steam and helps the buns to rise. Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees C / 400 degrees F.
2) Fold the grease proof paper in half and unfold to leave a crease. Sift flour and salt onto the grease proof paper.
2) Bring the butter and water to boil. Add all the flour in one go and beat to a smooth dough over a low heat. Cool for 10 minutes.
3) Gradually beat in the egss with a wooden spoon until the paste is smooth and stands in peaks. Make sure each amount is fully blended before adding any more egg.
4) Spoon 16 individual teaspoons of the paste onto the tray. Bake for 20 minutes, until crisp and golden. If your oven is very hot, reduce to 190 degrees C / 375 degrees F halfway through baking.
5) Slit the sides of the cooked choux buns with a sharp knife. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack. This lets any steam inside escape and keeps them crisp.
6) For the sauce, dissolve the sugar in the water, then simmer until brown. Remove from the heat. Warm the cream separately, then stir into the hot caramel. Simmer for 5 minutes.
7) For the filling, whip the cream and the sugar in a bowl until stiff peaks form. Spoon into the buns, then arrange on plates and serve with warm sauce poured over the top.
Notes - The choux paste and caramel sauce can be made a day in advance and the cream whipped up to 4 hours ahead of serving. The choux pastry cases should not be filled more than 30 minutes before serving or the pastry will become soggy.