Sugarbird's Sweet Nothings

I am passionate about food. And cooking. And baking. And running. Come and find a new recipe, a funny story, some strong opinions and whatever else I feel like throwing in the mix today.

Archive for the ‘Chocolate’ Category

February 24th, 2012 by Clarabella

Caramelised White Chocolate

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I’m back. With a new look, and a new style. Style as in look, and style as in content. My blog is all about me, my food, my work, and my running. I have struggled to keep my blog active over the last few months as my work has kept me busy and after baking all day (I made 19 sponges in 4 hours the other day) I just didn’t feel like all the food-based blogging when I got home. So I have decided to vary things a bit. Blog about food and cooking and baking still, but add variety with work stuff, running stuff and any other stuff that comes to mind. So I hope thats ok. Let me know what you think. I do it for you, my invisible audience.

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So I was home this afternoon. I worked this morning, then I took the pooch running in the woods. 10k later and my legs are feeling it. I am not as fit as I used to be. Its a shame. But I still love it. It was warm today too. Like a whole 12 degrees. I had actual sweat in my hair and all over my t-shirt. could it be the first vestiges of spring? Or is it just mother nature teasing us with the wonderful warmth, just to dump a foot of snow on us again at easter? Who knows. I will enjoy it while it lasts and try not to speculate.  Read the rest of this entry »

October 10th, 2011 by Clarabella

The Best Chocolate Ice Cream in the Universe

No matter how old I get, there is something comforting about ice cream. Something in its cool velvety creaminess that calms my very soul. A little melodramatic you say? Well, it does. And this chocolate ice cream is the epitome of comfort food. I don’t have chocolate ice cream very often. Its never the first flavour that I’ll choose when faced with an ice cream parlour full of options. Normally the vanilla raspberry, the pistachio or the creme brulee flavours get the first look in. But when I came across this recipe quite accidentally while browsing online, something about it spoke to me. It said ‘make me. you won’t regret it’.

Apart from the completed deliciousness of the finished product, the actual making of this ice cream is a divine process. The chocolatey mixture bubbling on the stove will fill your entire house will the blissful aroma of deep, rich, chocolate. It does this to such an extent, that the nice lady coming to pick up her birthday cake, will walk in, sniff, and goo ‘ooooohhhhh, what IS that gorgeous SMELL?’. Its true. It really happened.

 

So, being the rushed-off-my-feet self-employed mad workaholic that I am now, I neglected to take any photos of the making of the ice cream. I am sorry. Truly. Very. Please forgive me. So please settle for a few images of the finished product, and let me assure you that the making of this ice cream, is silly easy, and every sublime scoopful of it will make you smile and forget your worries for as long as it touches your tongue. I promise.

 

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Chocolate Ice Cream

Slightly adapted from David Lebovitz

You’ll notice this recipe doesn’t call for eggs, which makes it suitable for people who are avoiding eggs for various dietary reasons. For best results, sift the cocoa powder to remove any lumps and use good chocolate, one in the range of 55 to 70% cocoa solids.

What you will need: 

1 cup (250 ml) full cream milk
4 teaspoons cornflour
1 cup (250 ml) double cream
1 cup (250 ml) evaporated milk
2/3 cup (130 gr) sugar
1/3 cup (35 gr) good quality cocoa powder
3 ounces (85 gr) dark or milk chocolate, chopped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 generous shot of creme de cacao (dark or light)

What to do:

1. Mix a few tablespoons of the milk with the cornflour in a small bowl, until smooth.

2. In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the rest of the milk, cream, evaporated milk and sugar. When the mixture comes to a gentle boil, whisk in the cocoa powder, then let it cook at a modest boil for 4 minutes, whisking regularly.

3. After four minutes, whisk in the cornflour/milk mixture then continue to cook for one minute, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened.

4. Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate and salt, stirring until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the vanilla and liqueur.

5. Transfer the ice cream mixture bowl then sit that bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice and a bit of water, and let sit until cool, then refrigerate until cold.

6. Pour the mixture into the canister of an ice cream maker, then freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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August 22nd, 2011 by Clarabella

Wilmslow Market – Cake Pops Debut

Saturday was Sugarbird Cupcakes’ debut appearance at Wilmslow Artisan Food Market, offering our lovely cake pops to the people of Wilmslow. My very first market stall experience was a fantastic one. We arrived bright and early at 8am ready for set up, and after a little confusion managed to find out stall and start making it pretty. The table was dressed with first a white tablecloth and then a pink and white polka dotted wipe-clean tablecloth. The stand for the cake pops matched the tablecloth well, being polka dotted and checked, and all the little pops looked adorable in their stands. Somehow I managed not to forget anything, thanks to the checklist I’d made and the day ran smoothly.

I did receive wonderful feedback on the cake pops as people nibbled on the tasters, and although I think that many people still do not know what cake pops actually are, I think I have won over a few hearts and tastebuds to the world of the cake pop.

The flavours I took along were strawberry cheesecake filled, caramel apple, cappuccino and lemon and the strawberry turned out to be a firm favourite, selling out long before the other flavours. Mental note: make more strawberry next time!

 

One thing I loved about doing the market stall was seeing people’s reactions to cake pops. They are not nearly as well known here in the UK as they are in the States, but people were very open to trying them once they realized that they were not in fact lollipops! I especially loved seeing how the children respond to tasting new things. A few little boys and their mums/dads would end up in front of the sample plate on my stall, and although I could see that they wanted to taste, they were often overcome at the last minute by bouts of extreme shyness that left them hiding behind their mum’s skirts or their dad’s jeans, with just one big, nervous eye peeking out, looking nervously between me and the cake. Sometimes the desire for sugar would overcome and they would reach a tentative little hand out and quickly snatch a (always the largest) piece before retreating back to the safety of their parents shadow to devour the treasured morsel.

 

It was a lovely day and I met many lovely people and hopefully scored one point for the cake pop on UK soil. I look forward to the next market which I have been told I am allowed to bring cupcakes to as well as the regular cupcake vendor sold out this time, so there seems to be a large market for the cupcake. Excellent! Hope to see you there.

X Claire

August 2nd, 2011 by Clarabella

Strawberries and Cream Cake Balls

I am doing a market stall next month, for the very first time. I am a little nervous. And I am work hard to decide what I am going sell, so that I can plan for what I need. I initially went for a stall with a view to doing cupcakes, but the market already had a cupcake supplier so they were not interested in another one, but asked if I can do anything else. Can I do anything else? I certainly hope that I can. So now the task of deciding what I will do, and getting all the supplies I need in order to execute that plan. Nervous? Oh yes.

 

My initial thought was brownies. Inspired by my Fat Witch Bakery book of Brownies, Blondies and Bars. Its gorgeous and the brownies are fantastic. And who doesn’t like a chocolate brownie? So I have picked a couple of types of brownie, they will be good for chopping up into little tasters to lure passers by towards my stall. Then i need something else, something different. Having been to this market a few weeks ago, to scope out the competition, I know what will be on offer, and more importantly, what won’t be. So the second pretty and delicious offering is the cake ball. These little gems are terribly in fashion at the moment, and I think that they (in their cake pop on-a-stick version) will be perfect for the market. They appeal to kids as they are like lollipops, they appeal to adults as they are good looking and easy to eat as one walks around a market. They are in fashion so appeal to those ‘in the know’ and they are delicious, so will hopefully generate return business.  Read the rest of this entry »

July 22nd, 2011 by Clarabella

Modelling chocolate, and new and sticky experience

As I try to teach myself new techniques and how to work with new mediums in my hopeful new field, I sometimes come across interesting and fun things. Like modelling chocolate. Its interesting. And its fun.

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