The Birthday Chocolatier

I hoped to treat myself to a hot chocolate, but time slipped by whilst caught up in a morning meeting. On the way home I called in to a chocolatier. Sitting on the corner of a beautiful Victorian sandstone building with large arch windows, it seemed opulent through the glass. I assumed its speciality was Belgian or such like. I avoided it for months.

Then I stepped inside.

I was wrong!
I was in Turkish nirvana!
The assistant explained to me. Everything was from Turkey.
I pointed at her djezma on a shelf, which had a base like an electric kettle. And all the little coffee cups, prava kafa in sachets.
Yes, there was Delight too and special sumptuous dates.
I told her it was my birthday and I was treating myself.
She asked what I did.
I said I wrote sometimes.
She told me her life story.

A young woman with four sons, who had survived abuse as a child, from her father, her mother’s partner, care homes, her partner. She’d been through the mill she said, but she was as okay as she could be. She became Muslim and it helped her to find stability and security.

I told her I once worked at Women’s Aid and she said that the organisation was her lifeline, helping her flee and resettle.
I wanted to hug her, but she was on the other side of the counter. So I put my hand out to her and she took it.
You’re okay now, I said. I am, she replied.
She gave me a birthday treat and I bought a beautiful wooden egg with small praline eggs  inside.
Poignant really, am also reading Chocolat by Joanne Harris again.
I’ll go back for gifts.
Time came for the bus home.

Don’t walk past the chocolatier, there’s more than cocoa inside.

Chocolate and prune cake, muse.

I am making one. The cacao beans are roasting and prunes are soaking. It’s experimental, free of bad things – if that’s possible. It’s a cake for a food Renaissance! How’s that for some ridiculous posturing!

And if it’s a fail, I’m sure the pigeons will set upon it. Wish me luck…

I have  signed up for a serious Raja Yoga meditation class starting this weekend.

Submitted a short story to a competition which has no doubt disappeared in the ether never to be seen again. The character develops. She leads and brings me new tales. I am discovering a lot about her. I think she is a muse, but I haven’t asked her. Maybe she’s just the manifestation of my imagination.

Whatever is going on, I am giving time to writing and editing more regularly.

 

 

Chocolate and Almond Biscotti – Take 2!

This is a gluten, dairy and sugar free recipe – but there are eggs, so not vegan. It makes a gritty, bitter and sour biscuit.

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You will need:

A large bowl, a small one, baking tray and grease-proof sheet. A big wooden spoon!

Ingredients

1 cup of almond flour

1 cup general other GF flours

1/2 cup darkest chocolate powder and ground raw cacao beans

1/2 tsp xantham gum

1 tsp GF baking powder

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla essence

Some flaked almonds

2 tblsp of rice bran oil or coconut oil

Put all the dry ingredients in the large bowl and stir through thoroughly.

Put all the wet ingredients in the small bowl and mix.

Add the wet to the dry and mix using the spoon and then your hands – don’t over do it.

Place on a baking tray on a sheet and as per other biscotti recipes on this blog – bake – two times, slice and store.