Wednesday, 20 April 2011

It's the Silly season for Chocolate!

How many more Easter eggs do I need to buy? The Easter Bunny has to have a large bagful of eggs to hide when he arrives at Fox Barn on Easter Sunday! The entire length of the Lunch table has to have brilliant chocolate and fresh flower decorations. I have little bird nests with birds and eggs in them (from the garden centre in Sydney Street, London in about 2000!)...We were given a spectacular arrangement of wiggly pear branches which we have arranged in a huge vase and made lots of Easter chick, egg and flower decorations to hang on the wobbly branches, with guess what, hidden chocolate eggs in! Every drawer I open I seem to have hidden another packet of mini eggs or cute bunnies! My two extremely dead bay trees on either side of the front door, have now been pruned into need stick-balls, devoid of all the frazzled, brown bay leaves. They look rather cool and minimalist, so I am going to hang Easter eggs all over them for my guests on Sunday...rather fun!
As usual we will be thoroughly over-egged, so on 7th day of Easter week, ready for the Royal Wedding Day, we will be having my annual "Easter chocolate sauce" with vanilla ice cream. Simply gather up all the unwanted remnants of chocolate eggs, include if you have any, some small eggs that are too sweet, caramel or fudge style chocolates, pralines or even bits of those astonishing, excessively large bars of chocolate. Break the chocolate into small pieces and chuck them all into a  bowl ready for action. Judge how much chocolate you have, then in a suitable sized saucepan, over the lowest possible heat melt a few knobs of unsalted butter, a good sprinkling of dark brown soft sugar, vanilla extract and a good sprinkling of Brandy and black, fresh, warm coffee. Always, be cautious with liquids and chocolate, you can add more when you can see that the sauce is too thick. When the mixture starts to simmer, remove from the heat and gently stir in the chocolate. Best to use a spatula. Stir occasionally as it melts and return the pan to the heat to help it along if you are making a large quantity. When all the chocolate has melted then give it a brief simmer and bubble on the low heat, stirring in a good dash of double cream to get it to a thick pouring but smooth and glossy consistency and then serve warm with the ice cream. As I have no idea what sort of chocolate you will be using, I cannot predict what sort of sauce you will have but generally it will be either quite fudgy or soft and silky!
Now I must go and make our Easter chocolate cake and Nigel Slater's chocolate cookies although I am not sure that they will last to Easter, rather a blessing really considering how much chocolate is located around the house! Then I shall attempt an olive oil and chocolate mousse which sounds rather interesting for a birthday dinner at the weekend.
Lastly, our fresh eggs all get painted with patterns in fun colours for breakfast on Good Friday,  so I must walk up the Goggin and see if my friends have a spare half dozen for us. That is it for our Easter celebrations, unless of course you count the roasting of spring lamb with our garden herbs and wild garlic from the woods and the baking of hot cross buns dusted in cinnamon sugar!

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