Chocolate cravings… Festive experiments. 

I’ve always had a sweet tooth, but over the last couple of years I have developed a mini addiction to dark chocolate, albeit in smaller doses over my previous preference of the milk variety. I’ve explored many different flavour variations with dark chocolate, but one of my all time favourites is ginger with dark chocolate. I love the sweet, spicy,  warmth that the ginger imparts in a good dark chocolate.

As the festive season is upon us, I very much get into holiday baking/gifting mode. One of my favourite things to do around Christmas is to make personal gifts for people with flavours I think they may enjoy. It’s the perfect time for experimenting, sharing and giving a gift made with love. 

So far I have my a Christmas cake ready to be decorated, my mincemeat ready to make pies and numerous biscuits, cookies and crackers are ready for gifting.  One thing I hadn’t attempted so far was anything chocolatey, which is unusual for me! Last night whilst flicking through my new favourite Ottolenghi cookbook “Sweet” , I came across a truffle recipe that I’d had my eye on since I recieved the book. Alas,  I had no pecans! But chocolate truffles were on my mind and there was a jar of stem ginger staring at me….so I started to look for ginger truffle recipes online. As is usually the case I wandered all over the Internet with many distractions along the way and ended up deciding that ginger was not enough. The bag of figs on the counter was going to find at least some of its way into my truffle concoction! And so it came to fruition… Dark chocolate, ginger, fig truffles…. Sweetened with jaggery. A lot of different flavours… But trust me…. They all work so well together! The fig adds a texture and fruitiness that pleasingly complements the slight bitterness of the dark chocolate. The  ginger adds a lovely sweet,  spicy warmth and to bring it all together the jaggery embraces all those flavours and adds a distinctive but understated molasses sweetness that just makes this flavour combination perfectly festive. You can adjust the jaggery in this recipe to your taste. Jaggery in its pure form is unrefined sugar and so it has more flavour than sweetness. If you prefer a sweeter taste, you may add more jaggery or alternatively you can add some honey which would also complement the flavours, but give a slightly sweeter result. I made the ganache  firmer than I usually would because I was going to coat my truffles in cocoa. This was mostly due to knowing I would not have enough chocolate to coat them all, but next time I would try these coated in chocolate. Either way I think the flavours are fabulous. Dark chocolate lovers… This is for you.
Dark Chocolate Ginger, Fig & Jaggery Truffles

Makes about 40 truffles

115g dried figs – soak these in hot water until soft… About 10 mins and blitz them in a blender to a paste

2-3 stems of ginger 35-50g (the one in syrup) chop these as finely as you can. I added 3, but I like ginger a lot so you can go according to your taste. The great thing about truffles is that you can taste the ganache and add more flavour before it sets. I suggest adding less first as you can add flavour…but you cannot take it away! 

200g of good quality dark chocolate

160g double cream – for a slightly softer texture you can add another 20-40g of cream if you want to coat the truffles in chocolate

30-45g jaggery – adjust to your taste

25g unsalted butter at room temperature 

1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp vanilla powder or a tsp of extract

Good quality cocoa for dusting or about 250g dark chocolate for coating. 

Method

  1. First prepare the figs and ginger as directed above. 
  2. Next chop the chocolate finely and add to a heatproof bowl along with the ground ginger and vanilla powder. If you’re using extract add that to the cream instead as it’s liquid and may cause the ganache to split. 
  3. Now take a small pan and heat the cream and the jaggery (and vanilla extract if using) bring to a boil and pour straight over the chocolate. 
  4. Stir the cream and the chocolate until you get a glossy lump free ganache. Don’t stir to add air as this will cool it too quickly and it won’t allow for the chocolate and cream to emulsify properly. 
  5. When you have a good emulsion add the butter and stir well to incorporate. 
  6. Next stir in your figs and chopped ginger. Mix this in well and taste. Remember the flavours will develop as the mix sets, but at this stage you can adjust the sweetness with honey or add more ginger of you want a little most of a ginger hit… Either the chopped stem or the ground. 
  7. Now leave the mix to set at room temperature overnight or if you want to make them quicker, leave for a couple of hours in the fridge. If you put the mix in thr fridge take it out 10 mins before rolling so thr bowl comes to room temperature. It will be easier to roll them. 
  8. When you’re ready to roll them, take a teaspoon or a small cookie scoop to make the balls and either leave the balls in the fridge to set for 30 mins or roll them immediately in cocoa. These can be kept in the fridge for at least a couple of weeks and if it’s cold about 5 days on the counter.
  9. If you’re dipping them in chocolate, once dipped leave to set before putting them in the fridge. 

Enjoy! 

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A recipe worth coming back for to share- Tandoori roasted chicken stuffed with black cardamon scented rice and barberries


Although this blog has been dormant for some time, my passion and love for cooking have not faltered one bit! My desire to share my recipes and start this blog came shortly after my father passed away in 2009. It was a kind of therapy in a way and a connection to my father as we shared a love of good food and generous hospitality. Since I began the blog, much has changed and my culinary curiosities in other cusines have certainly widened and have immersed themselves within my day to day cooking.

I have been cooking and baking for friends and family for years as well as enjoying doing this professionally in the past. Recently,  I have been encouraged /badgered by friends to start sharing my cooking again via a supperclub. And so this in turn has triggered my desire to start blogging and sharing recipes again! The supperclub will be coming…. more information on that soon. I also have a new instagram account @amuseyobouchesupperclub  so please do join me there for lots of recipe testing and deliciousness!  In the meantime here is a Punjabi style roast chicken recipe that has been a family favourite, but this time I decided to stuff it and in this I discovered the brilliance of barberries in rice- a typically Persian way to utilise barberries.  Oh and the way their sweet/sourness complements the tandoori chicken with the smokiness of the black cardamon in the rice is just perfect!

My Tandoori Roasted Chicken Stuffed with Black Cardamon Scented Rice & Barberries 

Serves 3-5 depending on the size of the chicken 

Ingredients

1 medium to large roasting chicken deskinned (skin is almost always removed in Indian cooking, but the marinade will keep it moist in place of the skin)

50g melted butter for basting

The marinade 

25g ginger grated (1.5 inches)

25g garlic grated (about 6 cloves)

3-4 green chillies minced (remove seeds to reduce heat)

100g thick Greek yoghurt

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 heaped tsp ground coriander

1 1/2 tsp medium hot red chilli powder or to taste (my preference is Kashmiri deggi mirch)

1 heaped tsp ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp garam masala (a punjabi style one works best)

1 heaped tbsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)

2 tsp salt or to taste

1 – 2 tsp beetroot powder (this is optional and for colour rather than flavour)

The rice

You will have some leftover after stuffing the bird , but you will be happy for that and you can serve it with the meal as everyone will want more!

150g basmati rice

30g barberries soaked in water for 10 mins

2 tsp sugar

20g fried onions (you can use store bought or fry your own. About half a  medium onion fried until golden will do)

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 black cardamon pod

1 inch cinnamon

1 bay leaf

2 tbsp ghee

1 tsp salt or to taste

285g water (I would usually add 300g for 150g of rice, but I don’t want the rice to overcook so I reduce it a little)


Method

First marinate the chicken. It’s best to do this overnight for the flavours to seep into the flesh of the chicken.

1. Take all the marination ingredients and put them into a food processor and blend to a paste. If you don’t have a food processor ensure the garlic, ginger and chillies are minced finely and mix them well with the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.

2. Stab the flesh of the chicken all over to allow for the marinade to seep into the meat. Then slather this thick marinade all over,  inside and out of the chicken. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hrs, preferably overnight.

You can make the rice in advance as it should be cool when you stuff the chicken.

1. In a pan heat 1 tbsp ghee and add the cumin seeds, black cardamon, bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Let the cumin pop and add the rice. Stir to coat the rice.

2. Add the fried onions, salt and water. Taste the water to check the salt. Bring to the boil, cover,  turn the heat to the lowest setting and cook for 10-12 mins. You don’t want the rice to be overcooked. Firmer is better as it will absore more moisture from the chicken.

3. While the rice is cooking in another pan heat the remaining tbsp of ghee and on medium heat add the drained barberries and the sugar. Cook until they plump up. If you are adding the cashew nuts you can add them in now and turn off the heat.

4. Once the rice is done, use a fork to separate the grains and fold in the barberry mixture to incorporate. Leave rice to cool.

Once you’re ready to cook the chicken heat the oven to 160c. You will cook the chicken depending on the weight of the chicken. I usually cook it at the lower temperature for most of the required time, but for the last 15 mins I crank up the heat to the highest or put the grill on for 10 mins to create a tandoori bbq look.

Take the chicken from the fridge and put it into a roasting pan.  Carefully pack the cavity with the cooled rice, tied the legs together to keep the rice in (toothpicks also work!), tuck the wings into the bird and baste the bird with the melted butter without agitating the marinade too much. I usually pour it over with a spoon. Put the chicken in the oven for the required time as I have mentioned above. When it’s done allow it to rest for 10 mins before serving. Serve with the remaining rice, and vegetables of your choice. Butter roasted potatoes with a sprinkle of cumin will make this a proper Sunday (or any day) roast. Check my Instagram feed for a delicious way to use up any left over tandoori chicken!

Enjoy!