Here at IDEAL we realise that there’s more to this crazy dance than the accumulation of ‘stuff’. A life of accruing possessions will only accrue dust. Oiling the Capitalist wheels with your wallet won’t bring clarity, of that there’s no doubt…. But who can deny the positivity that a bit of pampering brings? There’s nothing wrong with taking a look inwards from time to time, letting go and just spoiling yourself. We’re sharing a few things bringing us a little peace of mind right now, and with Easter approaching, indulgence this week means chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. Here are 5 IDEAL things we’re into this week. Go on. You deserve this.
COCOA: AN EXPLORATION OF CHOCOLATE RECIPES BY SUE QUINN
If the author was intending to grab our attention with a bold and distinctive millennial pink front cover, well, they did. Indeed, just like a well branded, elegant slab of dark chocolate at the checkout point of a supermarket, we just couldn’t resist this book. Written by Sue Quinn, a well known name amongst foodies and awarded the British Food Award by the Guild of Food Writers last year, this is a deep dive into the good stuff. From an honest, stark look at the dark history of chocolate production, to a wonderful exploration of our relationship with it, this is a book for those who want a more thorough, all encompassing understanding of the world’s most beloved sweet treat.
MAKE YOUR OWN EASTER EGG BY CHOC ON CHOC
Easter eggs; so appealing to look at but oh so disappointing to eat. Don’t you agree? There’s something about the chalky, dull chocolate which really doesn’t do it for us. But the pleasure of unwrapping one and cracking it open is one of pure, unbridled joy, make no mistake. Time to find a resolution then, to celebrate the best of both worlds this Easter. How? Well, make your own of course. Choc on Choc’s kit is aimed at the little ones, but it’s equally as fun for adults, too. Inside you get a chef’s hat, a mould and top quality Belgian milk chocolate buttons for melting. Lovely stuff.
£12 from www.notonthehighstreet.com
LAKELAND STAINLESS STEEL CHOCOLATE SCRAPER
If you want to crank up the skill levels several notches and replicate your food heroes from Great British Menu and Masterchef, then a chocolate scraper is the tool you need to get tempering. Proper chocolate work, this, and essential if you’re attempting something fancy and decorative, like Raymond Blanc’s showstopping chocolate coffee cup. Be sure not to have any coffee before shaping these delicate, delectable desserts; shaky hands simply won’t cut it here.
Chocolate Scraper £8.99 from Lakeland
THERMOSPATULA & STIRRER
Actually, we lied, a scraper isn’t the only tool you need to get you tempering with finesse. If you’re to temper chocolate properly, the fine balancing act of heating and cooling properly requires a thermometer, or better still a thermospatula, and a rigorous attention to the mercury.
Thermospatula £14.99 from Lakeland
KENWOOD, ICECREAM MAKER
If you fancy satisfying your sweet tooth in the kitchen but you’re all chocolated out, then making your own ice cream can be a whole lot of fun as an alternative. And surprisingly easy, too; a small investment of around 30 quid opens up a whole world of flavour possibilities. Right now we’re loving making the most of our rhubarb crop with a sorbet of the perky pink vegetable. Or, a delicious salted caramel ice cream is simple to do and pairs beautifully with a sweet, tart souffle to really impress dinner party guests.