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  1. Marmalade troubleshooting

    Over the years I've made a lot of marmalade batches, to just about call myself an expert. But, expert or not, I still get days, when batch of marmalade just doesn't want to set or the flavour is not quite right.  I know that marmalade making can be really puzzling, so here is a list of frequently asked questions:

    What fruit can I use for marmalade making?

    Any citrus fruit can be used - Seville Oranges, Lemons, Limes, Sweet oranges, Tangerines or Satsumas.

    When can I buy seville oranges?

    Here in the UK, seville oranges is very short. You can only buy seville oranges in January/February, when they are available in large supermarkets or your local fruit stall. It's worth buying few extra ones and freeze them or make several batches.

    500g of seville oranges will make about 5 smaller jam jars, so if you buy few kilos, you have supply for most of the year!

  2. Why do you need to temper chocolate

    This is a question I often get asked by my students at my Chocolate Courses. It’s a fair question. Tempering chocolate is quite complicated process, and it can be very frustrating if you think you’ve tempered your chocolate enough and you end up with a bloomed chocolate bars. Don’t worry; I’ve been there too!

    So, why melting your chocolate is simply not enough?

    If you just melt your chocolate without tempering it properly, you’ll end up with a chocolate that will bloom (you’ll get white streaks and lines running across your chocolate, when it finally sets). It will also take a long time to set and it will melt very quickly when you touch it. It’s not going to make a ‘snap’ when you break your chocolate bar and it will even taste slightly grainy. Saying that it’s perfectly safe to eat chocolate that hasn’t been tempered properly, but the look is not great, and the texture won’t be probably as smooth as if you temper your chocolate well.

  3. The cocoa tree story

    Where does cocoa tree grow?

    Cocoa tree was literary unknown to the Europe and Western World until about 16 century, when Spanish conquestors started to explore the New World (America).

    In 18 century, Swedish naturalist Carolus Linnaeus, named cocoa tree ‘Theobroma’, meaning the ‘food of the gods’. This was because the Aztecs referred themselves to the tree as the tree which fruits are worthy food for the gods. The full botanical name is ‘Theobroma cacao’.

  4. Chocolate Truffle Making Tips

    When I run my chocolate making courses, I get often asked questions about chocolate truffles and working with ganache. So in this chocolate blog post I wanted to look at commonly asked questions and give you the answers with simple solutions.

    But first of all, if you don't know how to make delicious chocolate truffles at home you can check out this recipe. Now that you have made your first batch of homemade chocolate truffles we can start with the questions!

    Chocolate truffle making tips

    How do you keep truffles from melting?

    The best way to prevent your chocolate truffles from melting when you are working with them is to wear catering gloves and form your chocolate truffles first with your fingertips and then roll them gently in your palms to finish shaping them into a smooth ball. It’s also useful to chill your chocolate truffle mixture before you work with it (1-2 hrs is fine or overnight if you have the time).

    When you finish making your chocolate truffles, chill them for a few hours and then store them in a room temperature (anything around 18 C is ideal).