If you follow me on Twitter you will have seen my panic about the fact that tomorrow is St. Valentine’s. And the fact that I am totally not prepared to shower my loved one with a card, small gift, romantic dinner for two, a glass of something bubbly, …
But if I’m totally honest, P. and I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s. OK, I admit that he usually buys me something small which of course I appreciate but if he didn’t I wouldn’t mind. Why? Let me paint you a romantic picture of our relationship. Be sure to find the humour and sarcasm in this list.
Point 1: P. celebrates his birthday 2 days after the feast of love and we prefer to celebrate that. Why don’t we celebrate both days? See point 2.
Point 2: We have a nearly 2 year old and a 3 1/2 year old running around. If you have kids, you’ll need no more explanation on this subject. If you don’t, here’s how it is in our house:
“Want to go out for (insert event) tomorrow? There’s a new restaurant on the other side of town serving the most amazing (insert favourite food).”
“Sure… I wonder if the babysitter is available at such short notice? I’ll give her a call.”… “She can do it! I’ll book a table.”
“They only have a 20:30 slot for us. What do you think?”
“By the time we get there, have a 3 course dinner and get back it’ll be midnight or possibly later if the place is amazing… Who is going to get up tomorrow at 6am when the kids decide it’s time to do arts and crafts? You or me?”
Why don’t we plan ahead? See point 3.
Point 3: Planning ahead is almost impossible if you are a family with small kids. If you try, no doubt one of the following will happen: 1 child is sick OR more than 1 child is sick.
So, in our house, romantic gestures are a very much a spontaneous thing. Sort of like: “The kids are in bed, they are actually asleep, quick, get the take-away and I’ll get 2 cold beers out of the fridge.” or “I walked past this shop the other day and they had a book I thought was perfect for you but I couldn’t go in and get it because our son was having a tantrum and our daughter decided walking was overrated and sat down in the middle of the pavement.”
So, for all of us who’s life a matter of last minute decisions and last minute plans, here’s my recipe for Belgian style truffles. 3 ingredients, very little effort involved and I bet you have everything in the house.
Belgian style truffles
(makes 20-30 truffles depending on size)
For the truffles:
200g good quality dark chocolate
100 ml whipping cream
optional: 1 tbsp of your favourite liquor (i.e. whisky, Amaretto, Grand Marnier)
For the coating:
200g good quality dark chocolate, in pieces
Chop the chocolate into very small pieces and put in a bowl. The smaller the better as they will melt quicker.
Heat the cream in a saucepan until it nearly starts to simmer.
Add the butter and stir until it is completely melted.
Pour the cream-butter mixture over the chopped chocolate. Stir as the chocolate melts. At first it will look spotty but it will all come together and you will end up with a shiny, smooth mixture. Add the liquor if using.
Cool in the fridge for about an hour. The mixture will set.
Belgian truffles tend to be oval and not round. Use a teaspoons to scoop out a truffle. Irregular shapes are OK, if not a must.
Put the truffles on a silicone mat or baking paper. Refrigerate while you make the coating.
For the coating: Fill a saucepan with a small amount of water, about 3 cm/1 inch. Let it get warm but not beyond simmering point. Put the chocolate pieces in a glass or metal bowl and let the bowl sit on the pan without it touching the water. Stir as the chocolate melts. Once all the pieces are melted, take the bowl of the pan. Be careful of the steam coming out from under the bowl and use oven mitts to hold the bowl as it will be hot.
Use a fork on which you rest a truffle and dip it in the chocolate. Let excess chocolate drip back into the bowl.
Place the coated truffle on a silicone mat or baking paper and let it set. Repeat until all truffles are coated.
These truffles will not only melt in your mouth but also in your hand so eat fast! That’s the beauty of good quality chocolates, they will cover your hands and fingers. And since these are made with fresh cream and butter they will not last too long either. But try not to keep them in the fridge. As a Belgian and lover of chocolate, storing chocolate in the fridge is a big No-No.
Have a lovely Valentine’s whether you are celebrating or not. P. and I will be in IKEA buying our daughter a toddler bed… maybe we’ll hold hands and steal a kiss as we browse the duvet cover aisle.