Friday, 30 May 2014


Chilli spiked Chocolate pudding, Nasturtium blooms, Watermelon Radish greens, Olive oil and Aged Balsamic vinaigrette and vanilla salt. 

                    This creation came about from a conversation I had with mum about a week ago or so at my cousins sons first birthday celebration. We were talking about our common interest food, and how she feels so strongly about the Mediterranean food culture, the simplicity, the whole food ethics and so on but how times are changing even over there. People are becoming more willing to participate in the unusual or the un-tried. How our children's tastes have been exposed to a greater number of food combinations than any generation in the past. The conversation went on and mum made a reference to how chocolate is being applied in many different ways now from just the humble chocolate bar, and she went on to state that we are now seeing chocolate in beer and wine, who knows whats next. At the time I'm looking a bowl of fresh garden salad on the table and mind starting ticking. When I got home I got onto the laptop to see if there were any chocolate salad recipes out there and low and behold there was a photo of a chocolate salad in a blog entry from years back by the food ideas group. So with a bit of improvisation and my adaptations I came up with this simple chilli spiced chocolate salad.                    
                    For this prep I started with the base for the chocolate pudding by gently heating some cream in a saucepan and adding cocoa powder, chopped de-seeded red chillies and melted bitter sweet chocolate, mixing to incorporate. Allowing time for the chilli to infuse, I then strained the mixture removing the chilli and placing the mixture back into the saucepan. To set the pudding I wanted something to be able to cut cubes but also have a velvet mouth feel, so I used carrageenan both iota and kappa which gave me tenderness with rigidness. I added the gums to the chocolate cream and while whisking, I brought the mixture to 80 degrees C. before removing from the heat and pouring into a plastic mould. This was then placed in the fridge to chill and set. To accent this pudding I foraged the vegetable garden for some nasturtium leaves and baby radish greens, both having a peppery bite to them each. Once the pudding was set, it was un-moulded, diced into bite size cubes and dressed in a vinaigrette of olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar, then all the ingredients were tossed together and plated. The salad was then seasoned with a little vanilla salt, something I had prepared some months ago by infusing salt with vanilla beans in a container sealed over time, bringing out a delicate sweetness and aroma to the salt.


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