Winners and Losers

The Allergy Brothers are not very well at the moment so there is going to be a reduction in posts until they recover.  In the mean time, here is a photo of our competition winner.  We’re glad she was pleased to receive her hamper!

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Some savoury catherine wheels with a child's model firework

Savoury Catherine Wheels

Today is Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Day in the UK.  You can read more about the history of this festival here.  However, for most British people these days,  it’s just an excuse to have a bonfire and set off fireworks at a community display.  Also, the more unpleasant aspects, such as burning effigies of Guy Fawkes, no longer happen widely.

Allergy Little and I decided to celebrate Fireworks Night by making Savoury Catherine Wheels.  This is an incredibly easy recipe using two of our store cupboard stars: Orgran Pizza and Pastry Multimix, and Zest Vegan Basil Pesto.

We made the pizza and pastry multimix using the same method we used to make pizzas here.  Then we rolled the pastry out thinly (about 0.5cm) and covered it with the pesto.  We made sure we covered the whole of the pastry.

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We then rolled up the pastry.

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Using a sharp knife, I cut the pastry roll into slices.

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We lay those on a baking tray and cooked them for 15-20 minutes at 200 C.

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These are best eaten straight away, but you could prepare them in advance and then cling film the baking tray until you need them.  It might be a good idea to sprinkle a little water over the pastry to stop it drying out, if it going to be a long time until you bake them.  Of course, don’t forget to remove the cling film when you put the tray in the oven!

Some savoury catherine wheels with a child's model firework

A bar of Tony's Chocolonely

Tony’s Chocolonely Dark Chocolate

In our latest order from Holland At Home, we bought a bar of Tony’s Chocolonely.  It’s a bit of an odd brand name.  Luckily, their website explains why the company is called this.  The founder of the company is called Teun (the Dutch version of Tony) van de Keuken.  He was a Dutch TV journalist, who investigated the use of slaves, and particularly child slaves, in the cocoa industry.  When he spoke to the companies that bought the cocoa, the companies were not interested.  So he decided to go it alone and set up his own slave-free chocolate company hence Chocolonely.

A bar of Tony's Chocolonely

Ingredients: Cocoa mass (70%), Sugar, Cocoa butter, Emulsifier: soya lecithin.  May contain traces of egg, gluten, milk and nuts.

Allergy Big just couldn’t resist touching this large, nobbly bar of chocolate.  It’s unusual because the pieces of the bar are not equal or regular.  Literally, the pieces are the approximate shapes of the countries of West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea.  Perhaps, the pieces are also a metaphor for the inequalities of the cocoa industry?

A little hand touching an unwrapped bar of Tony's Chocolonely.

Either way, this feature of the bar made it quite challenging for the Allergy Brothers to eat.  It was like eating Toblerone; yes, the shape is quite innovative, but it is just hard to bite without hurting your mouth.  The Allergy Brothers also found it challenging as a flavour.  This is hard core, dark chocolate.  There may be sugar in the ingredients list, but I couldn’t detect it in the flavour.  The bar is now broken up into its country-shaped pieces in the fridge ready for the times when I need a little help to get through the day.  A Togo-shaped piece for a “four o’clock and I am starting to fade” moment right up to “pass me Nigeria, the Allergy Brothers have been awake all night!”

Sometimes, we feel Chocolonely too as there are so many kinds of chocolate we can’t have.  I wonder if Tony’s Chocolonely would consider making a milk chocolate bar with almond milk then we would be able to support a company that is making a difference…

A Mummy Hot Chocolate and a Baby Hot Chocolate

Hasslacher’s Drinking Chocolate Bar (Hot Chocolate)

It is very foggy here in the UK at the moment so Allergy Little and I decided today was a “stay inside and make things” kind of a day.  I asked him what he would like to do and he replied “whisking.”  Luckily, I had a sample of Hasslacher’s solid Columbian drinking chocolate bar squirrelled away for just such an occasion.  That’s right; this is a bar of 100% cacao chocolate made from Criollo and Trinitario beans from Columbia.

A wrapped bar of Hasslacher solid hot chocolate

It was definitely different to a regular chocolate bar.  It had a matt texture and smelt savoury.

Unwrapped bars of Hasslacher's cocoa

We used 2 chunks of cocoa bar, a mug of almond milk, and a teaspoon of sugar per person.  We heated them together in a saucepan, and Allergy Little whisked enthusiastically.

Chunks of Hasslacher's cocoa with sugar and a mug of milk

We served the hot chocolate with Soyatoo Spray Soya Cream and De Ruijter Dark Chocolate Vlokken.

A Mummy Hot Chocolate and a Baby Hot Chocolate

It was fun as a one off, but I am not completely sure it was worth the faff.  I wasn’t that impressed by the first mouthful, but I think that was maybe just because it didn’t taste like I expect hot chocolate to taste.  This is a full-on, adult hot chocolate.  The cocoa has a complex flavour that isn’t savoury or sweet, and it delivers a hit of stimulant.  This hot chocolate is closer to coffee than a drink suitable for children.

On a purely practical level, I was surprised that the cocoa didn’t melt smoothly, but instead melted into grainy pieces.  Unfortunately, this combined with the graininess of the almond milk to make for an unattractive feel in the mouth.

So now I am left with a bar and a half of solid cocoa so please leave your suggestions in the comments box for other things I should cook with it!