the world of chocolate

{a cup of jo}

It is no secret, I adore chocolate.. I have a genuine love affair with it and it is not getting boring with age. Especially when my sweet husband brings me my favourite fresh and mouthwatering hand-picked pieces from Leonidas (Manon Blanc & Manon cafe), nearly each time he travels to Brussels (which is becoming more and more often, to the delight of my children, but to my deepest frustration, as i am finding it utterly impossible to turn down the pieces laying in their pretty white and golden box).

Manon Blanc & Manon Cafe

Nevertheless, we all have one or two soft points, and better be chocolate than something else!

As spring is on its way and the ice-cream season as well, a good recipe for home made chocolate ice-cream can become very handy; this one caught my attention (from the great blogger; a cup of Jo) and will be my next project in the kitchen! It looks wicked and devilish!

{a cup of jo}

And for those living in Lebanon, I am discovering a chocolate brand called M de NOIR, made by a Lebanese women called Maya Maalouf Kanaan, who learned the “savoir-fare” from the prestigious school of Ritz Escoffier and Valrhona.

She is going to be my next visit (her atelier is outside Beirut), and her products can be seen (and ordered) by joining her facebook group, which is a delight to follow. The Easter bunnies are her latest creations!

Easter bunnies by {M de Noir}

 

Happy chocolate hunting…

 

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Step 25 to happ(y)ness

This morning I asked my kids what is happiness for them, here are the answers:

Sara: Happiness is when i can eat as much chocolate that i want!

Geo: Happiness is if I can see the 7 movies of Harry Potter in a row!

The funny part of their answer is that it relates to something they actually are forbidden to do (at least to the extent of their wishes). We love chocolate in our family, and do eat a lot of it, but it is strangely not enough for my little girl!

We are currently reading the books of Harry Potter and I have decided that they can watch the movie only after reading the book. We have read and seen the first one, and we need to read 100 pages to finalise the second one! That means that we are going to watch the movie in a week or so!

I remember that one of my biggest wishes when I was a kid (to fulfill happiness) was that I could eat as much ice-cream as I wanted when I grew up! My mother used to be strict about our eating habits;  sweets & ice-cream where a special treat, not part of our normal routine.

Bottom line: sometimes we think that happiness is linked to something we do not have, or can’t have. But is it? Will we be happy once we get that thing? or will we start wishing for something new ?

Time to teach the kids few things about happiness, while eating chocolate and watching Harry Potter movie!!! 🙂

3 chocolates

who loves chocolate?

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I do and will always do…It is my first love… (sorry husband, but c’est la verite!!)… I remember being a child and telling my mother that when I grew up I will have enough money to buy all the chocolate in the world, nothing will stop me. If I only knew that my passion would make me fight all my life with the extra kilos! kilos vs chocolate; Chocolate always won.

But chocolate is not chocolate unless it is the best. 3 criterias are a must for my taste: it has to be dark, rich and called Lindt! and believe me, I have tried thousands of different brands, from the most expensive and luxurious brands to the cheapest local brand. My favourite will always be Lindt…Their texture is smooth, soft, sweet, yet bitter, with a touch of caramel (that must be the secret ingredient), especially LINDOR, the red ball.

Merry Christmas with the LINDOR DRESS (1000 chocolate balls; 79,000 calories!)

My second best chocolate will still be from the Lindt family, it is called Excellence and is VERY DARK with a twist of salt (fleur de sel)! amazing combination. I never tire of that dynamic taste, weird I know, but oh so good!

The third best chocolate in my world would be from Belgium, from the LEONIDAS family! My first experience with their wonderfully home-made texture chocolate was from a trip to Paris, in my late teens, with my oldest friend. We were strolling the streets enjoying life and freedom, when she suddenly pulled me in to the Leonidas chocolate shop, that smelled oh so beautifully. I had no idea what to chose, so she just picked 4 pieces, all white. The square pieces were delicately wrapped in a white paper box, with a cream coloured ribbon. The price was quite interesting! It justified the choice of 4 pieces instead of a kilo!

Magasin Leonidas!

We sat outside the shop, on the side walk, opened the box, and gently put one chocolate in the mouth. It was a dream, simply and truly. White chocolate on the outside, and soft coffee and praline mixture on the inside. Just heaven for me. That was nearly 20 years ago. I still ask for Manon from Leonidas from anyone travelling to Paris or Belgium. I get it at least once a year!

"Manon" from Leonidas

Now my kids are enjoying it too…

Crunchy Chocolate cookies

crunchy chocolate cookies

This season is all about cooking and baking for me.. Today my son needed to prepare something for his last day of school before the Christmas Holidays, and we agreed to bake something instead of buying sweets. As my table is filled with cook books these days, I grabbed the nearest and started browsing, and found this delicious and easy recipe for chocolate cookies. The house is now smelling as a chocolate factory and they are yummy!

Ingredients

225 g soft butter (or 1 cup)

140 g sugar (or 1 cup)

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg yolk

225 g flour (or 2 cups)

55 g cocoa (or 4 big Tbsp)

Pinch of salt

How to

Mix butter and sugar well with a wood spoon, then add the egg yolk & vanilla extract and beat well with an electrical mixer. Sift the flour with cocoa and salt and add to the butter mixture and stir well.

Make a ball out of the dough and let it rest in the fridge, wrapped in cling film, for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven, 190 degrees, use baking paper on a large baking tray. Unwrap the cookie dough, place it between two baking sheets and roll out, to about 5mm thick. If the dough is a bit sticky, add some flour on your hands and sprinkle unto the dough.

Use a glass and stick out approx. 30 cookies. Bake in the oven (high level so they don’t burn) for 8-10 minutes.

Let them cool on a rack then place in a tin box.

You can also ice them with melted white chocolate and sprinkle them with chocolate sprinkles!

Eat and Enjoy the wonderful chocolate smell in the house for the rest of the day!