Thursday, June 12, 2008
Red shoes, chocolates and Vianne Rocher
I own 2 pairs of red shoes, both which I dearly love. In fact, I don't believe that I have worn anything else on my feet for the past 8 months.
The first is a red satin pair with a pointy front, and black grosgrain trimming round the sides which ends in a neat a ribbon in front. I believe that my feet wore nothing else that summer. This pair has finally been put to its final resting place a few months ago, when the holes and stains from rain, mud and wear have been too obvious to hide. It was still my favourite pair.
Its demise was succeeded by a more ostentatious pair--round-toed flats covered in brilliant scarlet sequins with a red velvet ribbon--much in the fashion of Dorothy's ruby slippers in the 1939 take of the children's novel The Wizard of Oz. This pair is in its stages of retirement--the sequins have dulled, and holes have materialised. But still I hold on to them with dear life until I could find another red pair to take their place.
I don't know what reason propels my intense attraction to them. Perhaps I just love red shoes. Perhaps it's because they make excellent conversation starters, or because they are so different, so unique and so dazzling. But also, perhaps, because I tend to fancy myself as a modern-day, real-life Vianne Rocher--the heroine in Joanne Harris' acclaimed novel Chocolat--who wore red shoes while attempting to make chocolate that heal the ills of people's hearts and minds.
Of course, my thoughts are as far-fetched as it could be. At work, I am obliged to wear black safety shoes that are the ugliest things I've ever bought. At home, I usually go bare-footed. It seems that fate does not approve of me wearing my red shoes while I'm making chocolates. Oh well, one day maybe, when I can finally call all the shots....
Lemon and Thyme Truffles
(from the Australian Women's Weekly Chocolate)
250 g white chocolate, chopped
60 ml cream
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind, plus extra
1 Tblsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp finely chooped thyme leaves
250g white or dark couverture chocolate, tempered
Stir chopped chocolate, cream, rind and juice in a small heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until smooth. Remove from heat, stir in thyme and refrigerate overnight. Working with a little of the mix at a time (keep remainder refrigerated), roll rounded teaspoons of the mixture into balls; place on foil-lined tray. Freeze until firm. Repeat with the rest.
Temper couverture chocolate. You can use eating chocolate too, but I always find them unsuitable for enrobed chocolate as they are too thick even in liquid form. Working quickly, using 2 forks (or a fork and an offset palette knife), dip truffles in melted chocolate. Place truffles on a pre-chilled tray and sprinkle with extra rind.
The recipe recommends refrigerating truffles, but I find this unnecessary, as the chocolate sets pretty quickly due to the cold from the frozen truffles. Also, refrigerating tempered chocolate is a big no-no as it creates condensation which leads to blooms forming on the surface of the chocolate. (Happened to me with the dark chocolate---something to do with high humidity and cold temperatures outside and a blasting heater; plus, I stupidly kept them on the dining table overnight...) Oh, and remember to wear gloves when lifting them up; couverture is much more sensitive to heat than eating/compound chocolate. It does sound scary, but for me, the taste, texture and finish of couverture chocolate justifies all of it.