I've noticed blog has been gathering new followers despite my extreme lack of posting.
This has been for a few reasons, one of which is that reviewing cakes make you fat. Who knew?
Secondly it's that I now concentrate my blogging efforts on my photography sideline which I like to think is pretty much nearly as sweet.
You can visit my main website (sorry my idevice peeps - it's flash) on www.elliegillard.com or the blog at http://elliegillardphotography.blogspot.com
Friday, 25 February 2011
I'd heard lots about Paul A Young, he did a tutored tasting and talk at the Chocolate Week event in London back in the autumn, which a cheeky but horrid cold kept me away from. In addition blogs like Wee Birdy (by the way, if like me you love beautiful shops then check out this blog) have raved about his Islington store. I've recently rediscovered my love for Camden passage, partially fuelled by rediscovering Loop, and decided to pay their small London flagship a pilgrimage.
I'd heard about the brownies, and frankly, they're not what you would expect a chocolatier to produce - too cakey, not distinguished enough etc, but Paul's shop is a homage to everything and anything related to the cocoa bean; offering chocolates, truffles, sauces, brownies and even ice creams as well as their tasting nights.
Initially arriving in the store on a quiet Thursday afternoon I was ignored by the assistant and I was prepared to seriously mark them down in a Portas-like fashion as I browsed the carefully edited selection of treats, however as soon as he noticed me the service was fantastic and we talked for a considerable length of time about salted chocolates from the various producers stocked in the store and my new found love of salted caramel. The level of knowledge was akin to a good wine shop, like Hackney's Bottle Apostle, I even got a free salted caramel truffle and nearly got away without paying, so carried away the coversation about chocolate and food in general became.
Now the reason you're here is to hear about the goodies, and they didn't disappoint. I picked up a milk chocolate salted chocolate, two small salted caramel truffles (plus one free) and the brownie. Both of the chocolates were a marvel and I ate them shortly before heading off to the Bistrot Bruno Loubet (and I wonder why my thighs aren't skinny). b Their particular sea salted caramel has a different sort of taste, and a more honey like texture than Artisan's, slightly sweeter and more fluid, but still salty and delicious. Asking me to say which I preferred would be like picking your favourite child, but they are both delicious. meanwhile I saved the brownie for a time when I could appreciate it fully.
Man, I'm glad I did. This is a brownie force to be reckoned with, and I think there's something to be said for being made by a chocolatier instead of a baker. It was moist and not a bit cakey, more like a solid and deliciouss mousse. This was the kind of cake this blog was set up to appreciate, and a worthy contender for the Ottolenghi brownie which had been my previous favourite. In fact I tried it with my favourite sauce (well, it doesn't last long in the cupboard!) and I thought I'd gone to heaven.
At the time of the visit, which was a few days after valentines day, they still had a valentines version of the brownie in store, which I'm sure had a few more bells and whistles but the original version is awesome, and any fan of chocolatey cakes should give it a whirl.
Paul A Young is based at 33 Camden Passage and also has a store in the Royal Exchange near Bank.
More information about the ranges can be found on the website.
...By their Flickr favourites.
A worrying number of pictures of animals, but a distinct theme nonetheless!
Check them out and enjoy them all too. Such an amazing abundance of talent.
Tuesday, 22 February 2011
Look what Time Out has to say about La Ditch. Now none of this is cutting edge by any means, bit being a neighbour to any place that swings is why I can never give up and move to the burbs. Also the cakes aren't as good, but that's besides the point.
Thursday, 17 February 2011
My love for Ottolenghi goes all the way back to when I was a student at Kingston University and doing an internship with a now gone bust fashion label. The owner, at the time on maternity leave brought in some cakes which were some of the most delicious I've ever tasted - a bitter sweet chocolate tart and some gorgeous fruit patisserie. Where had these cakes come from? All that was left was a small piece of the sticker used to seal the box.
When I finally moved to central London about four years ago I happened to be walking past and the penny dropped. Ever since Ottolenghi has been a go to venue for fantastic, delicious cakes and the most wonderful salads too.
I want to do the place full credit, with multiple pictures of the spectacular theatre they create with their food but in the meantime I'll have to describe it cake by cake.
Today I happened to have a little wander in Islington, a day off work prompted a visit to Paul A Young and then a jaunt further up Upper Street.
Although, at nearly 5pm, they were tidying away the selection of cakes still looked fantastic. The chocolate cupcake, complete with a generous dollop of mascapone caught my eye; dusted with cocoa, it looked more like a torte than any run of the mill cupcake.
I've never, ever had a cake from Ottolenghi's which disappointed and this was no exception - goey and with a moist centre, this was the most exquisite of cupcakes and comes highly recommended. It required a fork, after an attempt at hand eating left me covered in chocolate.
Also recommended are the brownies, the baileys cake, the flourless sponge cake, the other cupcakes, the tarts... You get the idea.
Back soon with a full post.
Saturday, 5 February 2011
I thought it was only fair to post a quick update here about what I've been up to lately.
Firstly, although I originally planned to diet my way through January I failed miserably. In fact after five days of eating tuna omelettes on the attach phase of the Dukan diet I found myself on a wild goose chase in and around a freezing, rainy Oxford Circus and had to get myself a sandwich from Pret, in fact I had their posh cheddar and pickle and a millionaires shortbread, both of which tasted divine and the damp, miserable, hungry me was suddenly revived.
Secondly, I've started a new job; it's been flat out busy and I've been stupidly tired. I've snuck some supermarket cakage in but nothing really to blog about. I've gone flat out against my mantra that if it's not worth getting fat for then don't eat it. A trip to Ottolenghi or similar will soon sort that out.
And then the most exciting development is that I've finally launched my photography website. I've wondered for a while if I could make a little money out of it, I've had really positive feedback from family and friends so I've set up a blog to track my journey. I'm looking to build my portfolio too and looking for anyone who wants a free photoshoot, or to pose for portraits.
Currently I'm planning a couples shoot with my friends Tilly and Lee, which will hopefully be fun and creative, and then one to help my good friend Kathy of 5678 Vintage to promote the work she does selling vintage clothing and accessories.
So please pop over there and say Hi. I just need to work on getting a link embedded into this site too. Let me know what you think about the layout and the design of the blog too, as well as the logo. I'll be getting some business cards printed up soon and need to finalise what the look of the brand will be.
I'm really excited about this new venture but I don't want to neglect LROC like I have been, I'll just be keeping some of the stuff separate; blogging about food (mostly sweet stuff) here, and about picture taking shenanigans over there.
It's been quiet on the blogging front lately, not to say that I haven't been eating. In fact my five days on the Dukan diet, coupled with a wild goosechase around Oxford Street in the rain culminating in me eating a Pret 'Artisan cheese' or whatever they call it, but regardless, man that's a good sandwich. The Whistles trousers still don't fit.
I've started a new job too, and not going to say much other than it has been very busy.
However, the main focus of this post is to wax lyrical about the wonderful birthday presents I received and in particular, Artisan du Chocolat's Salted Caramel sauce.
I mentioned previously how much I loved their salted caramels encased in dark chocolate and bitter cocoa but this is in another league of pure unadulterated loveliness. Despite the label's proclamation that the sauce 'contains molluscs' (yum) this is the most delicious thing, and finding an excuse the pour it on something is half the pleasure.
Last night, Mr LROC was at some middle management conference, so I bought two slices of baked NY cheesecake from Marks and dowsed it in this stuff. Heaven on a plate. Forget the 'taste the finest' gateux with salted caramel shenanigans, this is the real deal. So bitter, so sweet.
My love for salted chocolate seems to know no bounds, maybe I just need to get a cuttlefish in my cage!