Chocolate Tasting and Marshmallows

I’m having a month off from my Chocolate Tour.

Okay, what I really mean is that I’ve run out of single-origins and haven’t got around to finding more yet. And I think my writing camp this month is going to be enough ‘travelling’ for me. One trip at a time, after all.

I have, though, got a bit of light reading for round the camp-fire which has nothing to do with my writing plans: A Chocolate Tasting Kit, which I stumbled across during a browse of the book-section in my local TKMaxx.

I (almost) couldn’t resist. I wanted to find out if the language of chocolate tasting is as pretentious as wine tasting. Going by the descriptions I’ve read, it certainly has the potential for it. I am disappointed, though, that there was a lack of a chocolate bar in the kit. Can’t have everything, I suppose.

Instead, I have a camping favourite. Marshmallows. Only, naturally, mine are chocolate-covered. Just right for the beginning of the camp…

White Chocolate, Pineapple and Papaya Cupcakes.

Do you write best at your laptop or with a pen and paper? Or at a type-writer?

I was talking about this the other day with my boss Helen. Apparently our branch of Clinton’s attracts writers. Anyway, we were discussing distractions and where best to write. See, I can write more quickly and words flow more easily when I’m sat at my laptop, Hilda (yup, I name my laptop), but I probably get more written when I’m sat with pen, paper, and ClassicFM.

But I have the best breakthroughs, and write what I think is my best work, when I’m walking and I have no pen and/or paper.

Like the other day. I finally worked out the ending of my story – something I’ve been puzzling over for months – while I was walking home from work. It was a sunny evening and my mind wandered. It wandered right to my world, and wrote for me a wonderful scene. Only I couldn’t remember it exactly when I came to write it down. Just the gist. Which’ll have to do until I’ve rewritten everything that happens before then.

Oh well.


This week’s recipe comes, again, from a Hummingbird recipe book. The number of times I use those books is probably the best review I can give them.

It was a White Chocolate and Cranberry Cupcake. But I couldn’t be bothered to find cranberries, so I used papaya and pineapple instead. And I decorated them with marshmallows, because they were in the cupboard.

So, you need to mix 70g butter, 210g plain flour, 200g sugar and 1 tbsp baking powder in one bowl and 2 large eggs and 210ml milk in a jug. The dry ingredients should be a sandy consistency before you add the wet. Oh, and a tsp vanilla extract.

Spoon into cake-cases and pop in the oven at 170C for 20-25 minutes.

I reduced the amount of sugar – the recipe actually calls for 250g – but apparently I didn’t have that much. So I used 200g, and it doesn’t seem to have harmed the cakes.

You should get anywhere between one and two dozen cakes out of this mixture.

To ice the cakes, you’ll need butter, icing sugar, a splash of milk, and 100g melted chocolate. Beat together the butter and sugar before adding the milk and then the melted chocolate. Mix it all up and dollop on the cakes. Decorate as desired.