Last week I wrote about one of my favourite authors for mentioning food in books, Freya North. The food she describes completely suits her characters. The homely taste of shortbread, the retro, childhood favourites of Chocolate Krispie Cakes and the way food is used to celebrate or even seduce (more of that to come in future posts!).
Marian Keyes has done something similar in her creation of the Walsh family. But at the opposite end of the foodie scale. She has built up a fully formed picture of these characters using conversations, actions...and their food choices. We know they aren't cooks, at least, Mammy Walsh isn't. They don't do home baking - most of their deserts come from the freezer in the form of a Cornetto. But food is still mentioned. And the following line is possibly one of my favourite food related lines from a novel:
"Did something as benign as a box of chocolates alter the entire course of my life?"
In Angels, the truffles signify the end of Maggie's marriage to Garv. It was a normal day at work. A normal evening was promised. Maggie bought frozen pizza (there's that frozen food again) and truffles on her way home from work for dinner. Yes, there had been a funny atmosphere between the couple for a while, but they were talking.
Then her husband saw the chocolates and landed himself right in it.
Something so simple. Something so beautifully moreish and decadent. A sweet you use as a celebration was the catalyst for the downfall of her marriage.
Here's the recipe for Chocolate Truffles, inspired by Marian Keyes' Angels.
I've used vanilla to flavour my truffles. You can use anything you like. Orange liqueur, peppermint, rose. Anything. Or nothing at all.
- 200g dark plain chocolate
- 100ml double cream
- 25g unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Cocoa powder, for coating
Baking parchment lined over a baking tray or plate, electric mixer or whisk, heavy based saucepan, melon baller (or two teaspoons) and jug.
1. Break up the chocolate into a heavy based saucepan and pour in the cream, butter, syrup and vanilla.
2. Stir every now and again.
3. Once melted and combined, pour into a jug and place in the fridge.
4. After a short while it will start to thicken (10 – 20 minutes). Remove from fridge and beat with a whisk for two minutes. The mixture will become slightly lighter in colour.
5. Place back into the fridge until it has solidified.
6. Using a melon baller (for best shape) or teaspoons, scoop out rounds of the truffle mixture and place onto your baking sheet. You can also use your hands - personally I find this a lot easier, though undoubtedly messier.
7. Roll in cocoa powder.
Hopefully they will only bring good things to you!