Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Of Food Blogging and Chocolate Sauce

The rose in my herb garden, just because
Since I was chopped from the Freshly Blogged competition I haven’t posted a recipe here at all. Partly because I relapsed into cooking old favourites after all the adrenaline of coming up with something new and fabulous every single weekend for six weeks. But there is also that element of failing self-confidence that inevitably creeps up on you when you ‘’lose”. Self-doubt – am I really a food blogger? Am I good enough... all that niggling inner voice stuff that is the enemy of creativity. I was starting to second-guess myself – would it be revealing my lack of real food blogger-ness if I shared my latest exciting discovery of a really simple way of making chocolate sauce? Surely I should already have known how to do that if I was worth my Khoisan sea salt?

But then I go back to the basics of what a blog is. It’s a personal space to write about anything in the world you choose. There are no qualifications needed, no job description, no rules. People are free to read or not read.

I take issue with the tweet I read in the course of the Freshly Blogged competition along the lines of “how irritating my friends in the food industry find food bloggers who’ve had no formal training.” How crass, arrogant and just plain stupid. Of course there are food bloggers who are trained chefs. But most of us become food bloggers because we like food. We have other day jobs and write about our kitchen triumphs and disasters for fun.Not all food writers are chefs, not all chefs can write.

The last thing in the world I’d want to do would be to work as a chef – I’d freak out working amid all the stress of a restaurant kitchen. I’d not enjoy catering for 300 people at an event either. But give me a festival with 40 people to make soup, quiche and puddings for and I’m quite happy, or a Sunday roast for 12. I’m a home cook and that’s what I share on my blog.

A blog is about finding your own voice and staying true to it – the minute you try to conform to someone else’s rules or expectations you lose that spark of individuality that is what blogging is all about, on any subject. And to that anonymous tweeter – Nigella Lawson had no formal chef training -  she started out as a writer who loves food, and that is why I love her books, because they are enjoyable to read and written for home cooks, without a soupcon of cheffiness.

I hope that all my fellow honourable society of the Freshly Chopped are emerging from the frenzied whirl of competition and settling back into their own blog pace and rhythm. One of the up-sides of taking part in the competition was the fun of getting to know and chat with many other bloggers, the camaraderie and proof that the world of food blogging doesn’t have to be stabbing everyone else in the back with kitchen knives at dawn, but about friendly support and cheering each other on. And so good luck to the last nine bloggers who have just completed their last challenge of the competition.

And now for that chocolate sauce.

I made profiteroles a few months ago for the first time and was beset by set-backs and hiccups, one of which was my chocolate sauce cooling all lumpy and not sensuously glossy as it should be. I didn’t attempt profiteroles again until last week, because I knew that my dodgy kitchen scales were one reason for the initial choux pastry disaster. But then my birthday brought forth a zooty new set of digital scales, fetched all the way from Yuppiechef by my kind husband. This time with the to- the-last-gram accuracy of my new scales the choux pastry worked perfectly. I made the crème patissiere without any hassle whatsoever. And I went back to basics for the chocolate sauce and it was perfect.

So just in case you haven’t yet got your own favourite way of making chocolate sauce, I’m sharing my not-at-all-secret method. It’s too basic to be a recipe but here we go.

Chocolate sauce
100g of dark chocolate
60 ml water

Over a low heat, melt the chocolate in the water, stirring continuously.

That is it, instant chocolate sauce, as dark and rich as the chocolate you use to make it. (I used half Lindt 70% and half a cheaper non-specific, not quite so dark chocolate).

Allow to cool slightly before pouring over whatever delectable dessert you choose.

And if after a few hours it cools to a semi-solid goo, just add a dash more boiling water, heat a little and stir it back to a sauce consistency.

I had some sauce left over after our profiteroles and it made a wonderful soft chocolate spread to indulge in on crusty white bread.

If you are hankering after a chocolate sauce and don’t have any chocolate in the house, but do have some good cocoa (and let’s face it Nomu cocoa is an indispensable pantry item for any chocoholic), try making my chocolate avo parfait and instead of freezing it, use it as a sauce. It’s different but just as decadently chocolatey!


  1. Beautifully written Kit. I too saw that tweet and was horrified at its unkindness, it simply smacked of arrogance. I am delighted that you have returned back to your first love. Those eclairs look fabulous and I am celebrating their success!

    1. Thanks, Sam. Holding thumbs for you in this last crunch time of the competition.

  2. Beautiful pictures Kit. That sauce looks amazing.

    I know what you mean with Mojo, I wasn't feeling my happiest after I was chopped, but there are bigger and better things out there for us!

    1. Thanks, Jessica. I do believe there are, it's just that the competition was so intense while it lasted, it was hard coming out of the adrenaline fueled hothouse!
      Anyway, all back to normal now, which probably means pictures of the puppy in the next post!

  3. I appreciated your thoughts on what constitutes a food blog. You are absolutely right. The only thing required is a passion for food, and the ability to put a few sentences together. It does not have to be the best blog in the world. It just has to be your blog. Which is all that matters at the end of the day.
    I blog about food, because I love it! I know it will never be seen by scads of people, but really that does not matter as long as I have it for myself.


Thanks for your comments - I appreciate every one!