So as you know, I kinda lost my blogging mojo.
It all started to really bug me. I mean, what am I exactly? A foodie blogger? In which case, should I concentrate on food, and not talk so much arse? Or am I a ‘mummy blogger’ (how I hate the term)? A foodie mummy blogger? A foodie blogger who’s also a mummy? A doggy blogger? A foodie doggy mummy blogger? A blogging mummy foodie… er… dogger?
I think I’m kind of ‘none of the above’, really. I’m a blogger who happens to be a mother of two ridiculously fantastic and hilariously funny boys of whom I’m immensely proud. And I’m a foodie. But I’m also a wife, a very occasional journalist (One article this year so far, count it: one.), and a daughter of quite the most spectacularly mental parents you could wish for. I write about food, yes, and I write about kids, but then I write about all sorts of old rubbish besides those two things and an awful lot more besides: greyhounds, chickens, ‘bollocks’ pies, sexual gymnastics…
So I decided I wouldn’t pigeonhole myself. I would let my verbal vomit run free. I would practice ‘no holds barred’ blogging – ‘blogging sans frontieres’, if you would. And do you know what? My mojo came back.
The return of the missing mojo was also partly due to the lovely chaps at Green & Black’s sending me a mahoosive parcel of chocolate. I mean, whose mojo could remain missing when surrounded by about ten different flavours of the most fabulous chocolate in the world?
And seeing as we’ve got the ginormous Cupcake Challenge in the offing, I thought I’d say a few words about chocolate and a few more about ganache:
Chocolate, especially decent chocolate like Green and Black’s needs gentle treatment. That means that melting it in the microwave is a bit of a no no in my book, as the microwave can create hotspots and burn the chocolate or turn it grainy. The best way is to place it in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of hot water. Make sure the water isn’t touching the bottom of the bowl, and when the water starts to bubble, just turn it off and allow the chocolate to melt gently. I’m a bit anal, but I don’t like to stir until it’s completely melted:
Furthermore, there’s no point in bunging in a bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk (as nice as it is) – you need something good quality with a high cocoa content, and for cooking, good cocoa butter content will make for easier melting. I tried Green and Black’s Milk Cook’s Chocolate (one of many in my stash) and was really pleased with the result: melted easily? Check. Nice milky taste? Check. No hint of graininess? Check. Furthermore, each little square weighs exactly 5g. Magic!
There’s some kind of ridiculous snobbery about ganache. I mean, just because it’s got a poncy French name it doesn’t mean it has to be poncy itself: it’s just cream and chocolate for goodness’ sake. If you make it runny you can pour it over things as a glaze, or if you make it stiffer you can make truffles, you can chill it and whip it and then pipe it on things too, but it’s still just chocolate and cream.
Anyhoo, so just whisk your cream into your melted chocolate until you get the required consistency (as above), then pour or spread over your cake as required. For piping, bung it in the fridge, then give it a whisk before filling your piping bag.
Et voila. Ganache. Magnifique, n’est-ce pas?
(Oh and these little beauties are red velvet cupcakes, taken from an awesomely, beautiful new book called ‘Eat Me’ by Xanthe Milton which is due to be published on Mar 4th – and guess who’s getting a review copy?!)