home made cakes for special days and elevenses

Friday, 24 August 2012

Handmade Chocolates by Genevie - A Giveaway

Recently I was lucky enough to receive a box of eight delicious chocolates to sample. The chocolates came from a lady called Genevie, who has recently started a new family business based in Edinburgh. Genevie is a chocolatier herself but also sources handmade chocolates from an artisan chocolatier in Belgium. She sells these through her web site, and with the help of her mum packages the chocolates in pretty boxes hand finished with silk and ribbon. Genevie says that no two boxes of chocolates are exactly the same, making each box unique.

The chocolates that Genevie sent me came in a shiny silver box decorated simply with two ribbons. The flavours were:

  • dark chocolate coffee praline
  • dark chocolate orange praline
  • dark chocolate marzipan
  • dark chocolate vanilla cream
  • milk chocolate truffle
  • pistachio milk chocolate cream
  • white chocolate cream pistachio
  • white chocolate hazelnut cream 

All of the chocolates I tried (I let my husband have one or two!) were delicious, but my personal favourite was the marzipan.

Genevie has kindly offered to send a box of chocolates to one lucky Vanilla Frost reader. I have chosen this stylish black box filled with 24 milk, dark and white chocolates.

For a chance to win, follow my blog and leave a comment to tell me you have done so. For a bonus entry you can also like my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/vanillafrostcakes), and for a third chance you can follow Genevie on Twitter (@GenevieChocolat). Again, please leave a blog comment to tell me. The winner will be chosen by a random number generator and will receive their chocolates in the post directly from Genevie. Unfortunately this competition is only open to UK readers.

Take a look at Genevie's web site to see the other yummy gift boxes that are available to buy - http://www.chocolatebygenevie.co.uk.

The closing date for this competition is Friday 7 September 2012.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Apple and Blackberry Pie - Forever Nigella #18

Last summer I made jam for the first time. My first batch was gooseberry, made with several punnets of reduced berries from my local Waitrose. It was tasty but didn't set properly and was a touch runny. The second batch was rhubarb and nectarine (a recipe I created myself because I was short on rhubarb). The combination was delicious and this time I got the jam to set. All in all it was a great success and I felt inspired to make more jam. I vowed to make the most of locally grown fruits the following year and felt determined to forage, using my harvest to make pots and pot of yummy jams to spread on the kids' toast and fill my cakes and macarons. Needless to say, I have failed miserably, and foraging has not been high on the agenda.

I have however broken my 2012 duck (I went to cricket on Monday, can you tell?), and been blackberrying. A friend had spotted a bumper crop of big juicy blackberries in the local park so I set off with the kids and some empty ice cream boxes before all the other mums did the same. We had a lovely walk through the park and down to the canal where we found tons of fat blackberries, and picked enough to make both a pie and four pots of jam.

I used Nigella's recipe for apple and blackberry pie, from 'How to be a Domestic Goddess', and can't recommend it enough. It was delicious and simple to make. The recipe uses a tablespoon of rosewater, the perfume of which was offensive to my four year old's nose and he unfortunately refused to eat the pie. However the rest of us thought it a great addition. Although the smell was quite strong the flavour was subtle enough not to overpower the all important apple and blackberries. The pastry was ever so easy to make and beautifully short and crumbly. Cutting into it revealed the lovely colours inside, and a gorgeous fruity, flowery smell.

We perhaps should have left the pie to cool a little before cutting into it as the filling was still very juicy. The juices thickened on cooling and it was easier to cut a neat slice of pie. Unfortunately what was left of the pie was in no fit state for being photographed by the time the pie had cooled, but was perfect for picking at later on. For this reason I am submitting it to Forever Nigella, this month hosted by the marvellous Karen of Lavender and Lovage. This pie makes for a particularly good fridge raid snack if you happen to have some clotted cream sitting next to it in the fridge. Perfect to slip onto a spoon when no-one is looking!

Forever Nigella

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Racing Car Cake for a First Birthday

Just a quick post today to show you a picture of the cake I made on Friday. This was for a little Italian boy who already loves his racing cars. The cake had to travel across London on the tube during the last weekend of the Olympics, which made me a little nervous. Thankfully it was the birthday boy's Dad doing the carrying and not me. I gather it got there in one piece, which was good to know.

Happy birthday Giulio!