Tag Archives: chocolate

No-bake Christmas rum balls

It’s the first of December! The first day of summer is here and now the countdown is on to Christmas so I thought I’d share a tasty recipe for those planning their menus in advance.

These rum balls are divine and can be adapted to suit different dietary requirements. Note that the quantities are indicative – I made these last year and didn’t measure the quantities out, but in short, use lots of rum!

To make about 20 you’ll need:
1 cup of sultanas
5 dates – pitted and broken into pieces
1/2 cup rum
100 grams almond meal
1/3 cup desiccated coconut and a little extra for rolling
4 tablespoons cacao
1 tablespoon honey
4 sponge finger biscuits, broken into rough chunks (or you could use arrowroot biscuits or similar)
1 block of chocolate for melting – I use Nestlé Plaistowe 70%

Steps:
1) Soak the sultanas and dates in rum for at least 2 hours. The longer, the better!
2) Mix the coconut, cacao and biscuit chunks together.
3) Drain the sultanas and dates, but leave a few tablespoons of rum, and process until a rough pulp forms. It won’t need long – you want it rough.
4) Mix the sultana and date mix with the dry ingredients, and stir in a tablespoon of honey.
5) Mix really well, and taste to see if it needs anything extra.
6) Roll into balls slightly smaller than golf ball size.
7) Roll in the leftover coconut.
8) Melt the chocolate in bain marie.
9) Dip/coat some of the balls in the chocolate, lay the balls out on a plate, and drizzle the rest of the chocolate on all of them to decorate. Add strawberries or other garnishes if you like.

To make this gluten-free: skip the biscuit or use a gluten-free option
To make this sugar-free: leave out the chocolate and use a cacao and coconut oil mix to glaze
To add more texture: add chopped nuts
To make this nut-free: Leave out the almond meal, use more coconut

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Top 5: Tim Tam Slam, start a business checklist, Melbourne sunrise, food blog, Australian Writers’ Centre

Came across some delicious, pretty, funny and useful stuff this last week. The world is pretty awesome!

1) Tim Tam Slam
How did I not know about this? Maybe because I don’t habitually enjoy biscuits, but had to make an exception for this. You basically bite off little bits from diagonal corners, use the Tim Tam as a straw until you can taste your hot drink, then EAT! I’m going to have to try this again because I was laughing too hard from excitement the first time. Thanks Kimmy for introducing me to this wonder in Melbourne last week!

Image from Baking for the Office blog

2) Starting a Business  – The Great Big Checklist of Everything
Came across this fantastic post on docstoc.com. It lists off everything you need to know about starting a business, including:

  • Ideation and Protecting Ideas
  • Forming your Entity
  • Identity and Branding
  • Financing and Business Planning
  • Operations
  • Financial Planning and Accounting
  • Business Mentors
  • Building a Team
  • Human Resources
  • Sales
  • Marketing and PR
  • Insurance
  • Legal
  • Service / Retail / Online

The ins and outs will change for each country, but the pointers are a great place to start. Read the post here.

3) Sunrise in St Kilda, Melbourne
I was in Melbourne last week for work and enjoyed a jog in St Kilda during sunrise. Say no more!

4) We Call Him Yes! Chef! – food blog
I love this blog – it’s written well and has wicked photos! Although I haven’t yet made any of the recipes, I’ve taken many ideas from this blog and I have certainly got some of the meals on my ‘to try’ list. YUM.

Photo from the They Call Him Yes! Chef!

Photo from the They Call Him Yes! Chef! blog

5) Australian Writers’ Centre 
I’m 3 weeks into a 5-week Screenwriting Stage 1 course, and loving it! I’ve been a fan of good script for a while, but I didn’t realise that this course would give so much insight into effective storytelling. In turn, it’s a course that I’d recommend to anyone who needs to tell stories (or is in marketing/advertising/PR).

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Recipe: Raw Chocolate & Nut Easter Cups

Raw Chocolate & Nut Cup
I came across this raw food blog last week. ‘This Rawsome Vegan Life’ is a blog by Em, a 19-year old student in Vancouver. She shares leads of amazing recipes along with awesome photos and lovely words. One recipe that caught my attention was her Giant Peanut Butter Cups. Sounds and looks amazing, right? Well, today I decided to give them a try, but I put an Easter spin on them with allspice, and made them a bit smaller. Here’s the recipe I went with, based on Em’s:

Raw Chocolate & Nut Easter Cups (makes about 10)
Crust
1 cup nuts (I used a combo of hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds)
6 soaked dates
2 tablespoons raw cacao
splash of agave
Chocolate Layer
1 avocado 
8 soaked dates
2 tablespoons raw cacao
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons almond butter
4 tablespoons agave
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon and allspice
Nut Butter Layer
3 tablespoons natural peanut butter
3 2 tablespoons almond butter
pinch of salt
Crosses
desiccated coconut

Chocolate layer mixture

For the crust, process all the ingredients together until it’s crumbly but firm to press together. Press into the sides and bottom of small or medium sized cupcake molds and place in the fridge.

For the chocolate layer, blend all the ingredients together until smooth and thick. Spoon a tablespoon or so into the cupcake molds, making sure you have about a third of the mixture remaining.

For the nut butter layer, mix the nut butters and the salt until smooth. Add a spoonful on top of the first chocolate layer in each cupcake mold, then top with the remaining chocolate mixture.Smooth over, then top each one with a cross made from desiccated coconut. This would work best with a template – I just practically poured it on top!

Set them in the fridge and then NOM NOM NOM!
Setting in the fridge
Ready to eat!
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Île Saint-Louis and its wonderful shops

Map

Back in 2004 I fell upon Île Saint-Louis after visiting the nearby Notre Dame Cathedral. Due to it being mostly residential, it is relatively quiet and far less touristy than its neighbour, Île de la Cité. The other day I went back and there are three shops in particular that caught my eye.

1) Berthillon – I can’t vouch for it as yet, but supposedly this is an ice-cream haven and there is always a queue outside. What caught my eye? The store typography and the wooden exterior.

Berth

2) Clair de Rêve – A quaint little puppet store that also houses themed watches, collectible cars and French character statues.

Puppets1
Puppets2
Puppets3
Puppets4

3) La Cure Gourmande – A chocolate-lover’s dream. The Olives Au Chocolat are to die for and the biscuits and nougats also look incredible. To top it off, they package your purchases in beautiful bright yellow bags.

Cure2
Cure1after2
Cure3
Cure4
Cure5
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