After a second wonderful summer in a row, although as is so often the case August wasn’t very nice, we had an Indian summer with record lack of rainfall and high temperatures in September and early October; and now it’s really cool and Autumnal. Some have forecast really cold weather ahead this winter. After last year’s exceptionally mild one, we could do with a slightly crisper one.
Sloes are in very good supply in our hedgerows and the blackberries were as good as I can remember them. Our walnut trees had plenty of nuts on them and the squirrels had a wonderful time plundering most of them! The leaves are only just starting to show their autumn colours, and the beech trees in particular are very pretty with real displays of autumn gold. Our Virginia creeper was spectacularly red for a while, but the heavy rain knocked its soft leaves off rather earlier than normal. For once our farmers have had a good year and a good harvest. There has been plenty of forage for livestock farmers too.
As usual at this time of year, we are exceptionally busy at Trencherman’s. We had a very good trip to North-West Spain and then drove back up through France. For the first time we took the ferry from Plymouth to Santander. This proved a very worthwhile experience as we were in Spain 24 hours after leaving home. Fortunately the infamous Bay of Biscay was very calm. More of our trip later elsewhere but we are ready to offer you yet another fine selection of foods, drink and other ideas for Christmas and the New Year.
We have combined with The Present Finder to send everybody a hard copy of the Newsletter and Christmas Order Forms. Our thanks to them for sponsoring the postage. Do have a look at their catalogue where you will find lots of unusual presents for Christmas.
A Trencherman’s recommended restaurant.
This was Winston Churchill’s favourite recipe. It is actually a French recipe and is called Crème Marie-Louise.
- 6oz dark chocolate
- 5 eggs
- 1 small coffee cup of very strong sweet black coffee
- 1oz Caster Sugar
- 5 fl oz double or whipping cream
- Take a pyrex (or similar) dish and a saucepan in which the dish can sit without its bottom touching the water.
- Fill the saucepan with enough water so that you can boil the water to melt the chocolate in the dish.
- Pour the cup of strong coffee (good instant will do) into the bowl, add the chocolate and heat until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Remove from the saucepan.
- Separate the egg yolks from the whites and beat them.
- Whisk the yolks into the chocolate mixture. Leave to cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites and sugar until firm.
- Whisk a third of this into the chocolate, gently folding in the rest.
- Whisk the cream until light and airy and also fold this in to your mixture (you can omit the cream if you’re watching the calories).
- For individual mousses, pour into ramekins or tall stemmed glasses. For a single mousse pour into a suitable dish.
- Place in the fridge for at least an hour or so until well set.
- Remove from the fridge 20 minutes or so before serving, to give the chocolate a chance to soften a little.
- Decorate with chocolate leaves or curls (see separate recipes) if required, and serve with a light biscuit such as an Amaretti.
What can we say – just delicious!
Serves 4 to 6
- 2 oz dark chocolate
- 2 fl oz milk
- 5 fl oz double cream
- ½ a vanilla pod
- 1 whole egg and 3 egg yolks
- 3 oz caster sugar
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 °C, 325 °F, Gas 3.
- Put the chocolate, milk, vanilla pod (split lengthways) and cream into a heavy based saucepan.
- Bring to the boil.
- Meanwhile, in a bowl, cream the egg, egg yolks and sugar together, using a wooden spoon.
- Pour in the melted chocolate mixture and blend.
- Strain into a jug removing the vanilla pod. Pour the mixture into oven-proof ramekins.
- Place them in an oven dish and pour in hot water to within ½ inch of the tops of the dishes.
- Bake for about 30 minutes until the mixture is set like a custard.
- Remove the ramekins from the dish and allow to cool.
- Decorate with white chocolate curls or serve with some cream.
Serves as many as you can make!
- Go into the garden and find some pretty leaves. Rose leaves are good, as they have nice veins and are shiny.
- Wipe clean and allow to dry.
- Melt the chocolate in a bain marie, or in a dish over (but not in) some boiling water.
- Remove from the heat.
- Using the underside of the leaf, because they are better veined, paint the chocolate on to the leaf with a small paintbrush.
- Allow to set, then peel the leaf away from the chocolate.
For adding that professional touch to your dessert. Serves as many as you like!
- A bar of good quality chocolate. Make sure it is cool or this gets very messy!
- Simply run a vegetable peeler down the side of the chocolate as if you were trying to peel it, and you have your chocolate curls!