Easter experiments

This last week I had one of my goddaughters over.Brianna is a bright , creative person with a strong sense of identity.

I had planned ganaches, truffles, perhaps experimenting with new molds, but this girl had other ideas! 🙂

Last time she came for a short stay we made lollipops and bars and decorated them with, well, everything! Fruit, nuts, crystallised fruit, everything in the cupboard, not even sure the kitchen sink wasn’t on there 🙂 It went down so well, we made a few this time too

IMG_4918    A butterfly in dried and crystallised fruit

IMG_4919 Mango dipped in yummy, fruit flavoured chocolate

While I had grandiose plans, Brianna wanted to experiment with flavours.

She spent time smelling them, asking about them, and pairing them together to smell in batches. I think she has a possible perfumier future if nothing else works out for her! A natural at it.

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She came up with 4 groups of flavours that she wanted to work with, I think we only had the time to do 3 of them. She decided on Mango and Violet for one flavour group,  Plum, Rhubarb and Orange flavour for another, and both of theses were done in milk chocolate, and we also made Mango and Raspberry in white chocolate. She spent time thinking it all out. The mango and Raspberry would tie flavour with the red colour of blood for the brains mold ! Chocolatier and biologist, a girl after my own heart.

We tried various new and old molds ( a post going into molds to follow soon, possibly even a couple of them….)




and decorated them according to whom they were being given to

IMG_4911 each bar decorated differently

Experimenting with different decoration was fun, and the metallic shimmers went down well. They look so good on everything they decorate – even lips!


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Brianna tried her hand at dipping truffle shells that we had filled up with fruit and flavoured chocolate, or home made jams, or coconut cream, and fun was had decorating them afterwards.     IMG_4932   A picture of concentration while dipping the truffles       IMG_4930    demonstrating her piping skills.

We got experimental with my new ‘Power Flowers’ ( another post to follow on those and colourings), which are concentrated pockets of colour that you add to lighter chocolate or cocoa butter. We used the colours to decorate a small Easter egg, and, not forgetting, the BRAINS! I can hear the maniacal laughter ringing in my head 🙂

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Back in the groove!

I’ve had a block about getting down to writing – anything!.

I have been doing, but not commenting on the doing, whether that be chocolates, herbal related things, making, dyeing…etc.

I think I’ve been overdoing things – just a tad 🙂

I discovered FutureLearn, a free online course programme that gives you tasters of multitudes of different courses – so far I’ve done a course on Orion, which covered the birth and death of stars, a course on moons of our solar system, I’m on 2 currently – one on medical humanities, another on the anatomy of the human abdomen. See their courses they have on offer;  https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/categories

This is addition to (still) moving kitchens, doing an online art course (Lifebook 2015), Emmett technique course,  and beginners beekeeping.

I’ve textile courses (for the workshops and classes check them out – Big cat textiles http://textilecentre.co.uk/?page_id=4253) in the offing, a dissection 3 day course, another Futurelearn one on Hadrian’s wall, reflexology workshops I’m taking part in, and the teaching that I do for Scottish massage schools. And the clients, and the animals,….

So, okay, I’ve not been doing much facebook until recently, and I’ve not been blogging, but I think I’m keeping the balls in the air pretty well overall considering, well, considering I’m obviously a bit insane at the best of times! 😉

So on that note, I better get back to talking about things. I have a list ( when do I not – I live off of lists!) of things I want to mention and talk about, but I’m going to start small as I’m out of practice and some things I want to really look into (cocoa beans, herbs, additives etc).

Today’s ramble is about music. I’ve discovered, or rather, re discovered something weird about myself.  Someone once told me that they thought I have auditory dyslexia. Basically, this is another label to describe what I thought was normal, but not quite so much…. I have trouble hearing things – not on a decibel or frequency thing, but words get jumbled in my head, and as a result I constantly mishear things. Also called ‘Clumsy dyslexia’, and oh boy, do I tick that box – I’m an accident waiting to happen most of the time!

It physically and mentally tires me out when I have to listen to words. I cannot abide one noise over another – it almost puts me in a frenzy, almost a panic. What this means in practice is that when I’m making in the kitchen, I do like music, but no words.  Perhaps this is one reason I’m drawn to classical music these days.

The other thing  I like listening to is music in a language I don’t know, as I know I don’t understand the words, so there’s no point trying to make the effort. I can switch that part of my brain off and focus on the making. I listen to the same piece over and over. Every time I make anything in the kitchen, I play it, as it helps put me ‘in the zone’.

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I reckon it’s cross between an active meditation, and a Pavlovian response. 🙂

I’m not going to give this up, or Bach, or Spanish guitar, or cello pieces, but I think I’d like some more foreign, or world, or classical music.

By the way, bit of a NB here; I don’t do downloads as I’m not very tech savvy, and bizarre as it sounds, I know when to top up temperers, and how long to do things by where I am on a CD. I don’t want to fiddle with electronics with hands covered in chocolate. I like my CD player. I don’t like wearing headphones or ear pieces as I want to hear the tones and sounds of the machines and what I’m doing. I know if things are working right by their sounds, and the surrounding noises while I’m working put me in context.  I’m real, I exist in the real world. I want to be part of that, not shut off from it. So  the music I play should be CD-able, and not exist just in download format – either that or I need a teenage intern to make up play lists for me! 🙂

Have you any thoughts?

What works for you that you like, preferably instrumental or foreign language please… All suggestions welcome.