Dear Reader, do you remember the book and movie Julie & Julia? There was a scene in the book where Julie Powell was going to have a food critic over to her house for dinner. The critic never turned up that evening and I felt for Julie who had been looking forward nervously to the evening. A while back, I had a well known food writer come to my house. We had seen each other at events and I mentioned making a red velvet cake. We got to talking and I invited her over for morning tea.
As it happens, we discovered that she lives just near to us. I told Mr NQN that she was coming to visit. I warned him against his prolific use of The Draping Effect. This occurs when he lays clothes out over every surface so that they wont get wrinkled. Some days I wake up to find three t-shirts draped across the living room. Socks and underpants would be laid out as if a chalk drawings of a dead bodies lay across the floor. Worse still were his pants bombs. No, nothing as scary as what you might at first imagine.
A pants bomb occurs in the following situation: when Mr NQN would simultaneously step out of the shorts or pants and the underpants leaving two holes where the legs would be. As if his body have evaporated into thin air while standing in the shorts. I recall Queen Vivs bemusement and my embarrassment at seeing one. I missed it completely as he had left it around the corner near the front door.
He of course just laughed and put up his hand for a high five that I failed to return. I left him hanging so to speak which is what I wanted him to do with his clothes. It came to the day of the writer's visit. I expected a call or email cancelling at any moment. But she turned up and it all went well. I cut her a giant piece of cake as I tend to do and we had a really nice morning tea. Except errm my fridge door fell off its hinges while she was there (don't ask!). But there were no pants bombs and that was important.
Call this a preemptive strike because I know that come the day after Easter, when all of us wake up, a little bit of chocolate in the corner of our mouths, perhaps with a little in our hair after an orgy of chocolate and Easter bun eating, we will look at our kitchen and wonder what on earth we are going to do with all of those Easter eggs. Or in our case, these Easter eggs that were masquerading as caramel filled bombs. A much better bomb than a pants bomb!
And like the hair of the dog that bit you relieving you of hangover symptoms, the best way to deal with extraneous chocolate is to bake with it. I know that this isn't the most nutritionally sound advice but my next piece of advice is that you bring this to work. I had one piece and I gave the rest to Mr NQN to take to his work and to his friend Simon who is working on the new blog design (call it bribery or sugaring him up to work! ;)). The caramel is sweet but it is balanced with dark chocolate and salt and the inca berries are a tart addition to ensure that the caramel and marshmallows don't get too much of an exaggerated sweetness. And needless to say, I'd really advise eating one piece of it because it's decadent as it gets!
So tell me Dear Reader, have you read or seen Julie & Julia? And do you usually have leftover chocolate after Easter? And salted caramel...are you a fan?
Have you ever seen a chicken photobombing another?
Salted Caramel Easter Egg Rocky Road
375g/13.25ozs. dark chocolate
125g/4 ozs. caramel chocolate
225g/8 ozs. brazil nuts, toasted*
100g/3.5 ozs. mini marshmallows
100g/3.5 ozs. shortbread biscuits (or your favourite plain biscuit)
1 cup dried incaberries or dried cranberries
200g/7 ozs. caramel filled Easter eggs
a pinch of salt
*To toast brazil nuts, preheat oven to 180C/350F and place in a single layer on a baking tray. Bake for 10 minutes until fragrant
Step 1 - Line a square 19 x 19 cm / 7.6 x 7.6 inch baking tin with baking parchment and unwrap the easter eggs if they are wrapped in foil. Place the two types of chocolate in a large bowl and melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in a microwave. To melt using a double boiler place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl that sits snugly on top of a saucepan of simmering water ensuring the the bottom of the bowl doesnt touch the water-also make sure that no water gets into the chocolate. To do this in a microwave, place it in a microwave proof bowl heating it in 60 second bursts at 50-75% temperature ensuring to stir between each burst. For tips on tempering couverture chocolate see here.
And please use a bigger bowl than I did, I wasn't very smart!
Step 2 - Stir in the whole brazil nuts, mini marshmallows, slightly bashed about shortbread biscuits (mine were already a bit crushed when I got them home from the shops) and dried berries. Ensure evenly mixed and then place in the prepared tin pushing out to the edges.
Step 3 - While the chocolate remains melted, add the Easter eggs. I cut some in half to show the caramel although once you cut these into squares, you'll inevitably hit a whole Easter egg and cut that. It's up to you. Sprinkle with a little salt over the top evenly and allow to set. Cut into sixteen generous sized squares.