Dark Chocolate Truffles with Sichuan Pepper and Orange

I have always enjoyed making truffles at home – they are simple and quick to make (especially if you skip the step of coating your truffles in tempered chocolate) and just make the perfect present, and not just for Valentine’s Day. I mean, who does not like to receive a box of chocolates to eat all by themselves? Besides, chocolate goes well with most things so truffles are a perfect way of playing around with your favourite flavour combinations. I love the combination of chocolate and orange – the bitterness of dark chocolate contrasts nicely with the bright citrus flavour. Being naturally zesty and lemony in flavour, Sichuan pepper pairs equally well with all things citrus. A sichuan pepper, orange and chocolate truffle was thus the logical next step. And while Sichuan pepper is most famous for that tingling feeling it can leave on your lips and tongue, in terms of heat, it is actually quite mild. The recipe for

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Moroccan-inspired Cubeb Pepper Mince Pies

As promised, here is the link to the second recipe I developed for the Peppermongers – a recipe for Moroccan-inspired mincemeat using Cubeb Pepper.  I am clearly a fan of giving mincemeat my own unique twist and this version is inspired by Moroccan Tagines that I so adore and that often include dried fruits like prunes or dried apricots. The mincemeat gets a bit of kick from a generous pinch of cubeb pepper – a key ingredient in Morocco’s famous Ras el hanout spice mix and whose woody ‘Christmas tree’ aroma lends wonderful warmth to the mincemeat.  For our first batch of mince pies this year, I made a rich almond and orange zest pastry filled with this spicy mincemeat and served it with a dollop of crème fraiche flavoured which I had flavoured with orange blossom water.  This is also the mincemeat which made its way into copious batches of mincemeat scones, another delicious way of using up a glut of

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German Peppernuts with Indonesian Long Pepper

If you have been reading my blog for a while now, you will have noticed that I am a big fan of bold and unusual flavours and that I don’t shy away from baking with ingredients we typically associate more with savoury preparations. So it was only ever going to be a matter of time before I started playing around with all the wonderful and different types of pepper. In fact I have been playing with pepper quite a lot over the recent months as I have been developing some recipes for the Peppermongers using their incredible range of different types of pepper, including lesser known varieties like Indonesian long pepper and cubeb pepper. I first came across the Peppermongers when I read their interview in CEREAL magazine last Christmas and it was that interview which really sparked my interest in creating sweets with pepper and kick-started what is still an incredible learning experience. Armed with Christine McFadden‘s Pepper bible and a whole plethora of different types

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Sumac and Pomegranate Molasses Cookies

Do you sometimes find yourself in a supermarket or delicatessen holding a new-to-you ingredient in your hands, maybe even a quite pricey one, pondering whether to buy it or not and asking yourself how often you are likely to actually use it before it will go off? Admittedly I try not to let such rational thinking interfere with my buying what are surely the key constituents of future delicious food. But then the other day Alessandro decided the day had come to find a new home for all our pasta.  I counted and we currently have over 10 different shapes of pasta – that might seem a lot to most people but is in fact fairly modest to what I have seen at some friends’ places here in Italy.  While the door of our pantry still closes without forcing it shut Alessandro could be right in saying that my baking supplies have taken over our pantry.  As much as I

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