Monday, December 28, 2009

Chocolate Teas and Salmon Terrines

Several months ago I used up the last crumbs of Dark Chocolate Tea made by genius confectioner Lan Wong of Petits Noirs in Milton Freewater, Oregon. This was black tea blended with yellow rose petals and infused with the dark chocolate- a really delicious treat when you want a little taste of chocolate but nothing so heavy as hot chocolate.
I thought I might not find another for a long time, but just last week I stumbled upon a very good facsimile in Toppers Chocolate Teas- a blend of chocolate, coconut, almond, vanilla, rooibos and black tea. I found it in West Hampstead at the Kitchen Stores on Mill Lane, a great little gourmet food boutique that carries items ranging from recent harvest olive oils, to fine charcuterie to responsibly sourced meats.
Of course, the Petits Noirs tea is much more caffeinated but the lovely warm mug of subtle flavors wrapped in earthy chocolate flavor is still there in the Toppers tea. What better thing to curl up with midday when you're in need of a warm beverage?

Especially in your new MR Tea mug from Folksy...

Back in 2007 I first became aware of St├ęphane Reynaud when a good friend gave me a spare copy of Pork & Sons, she's a food writer so always seems to have spares of amazing cookbooks sent by the publishers, lucky girl. I immediately pored over the recipes wishing I had access to a fresh whole hog so I could make my own black pudding and when I found myself at a good friend's farm a few weeks later I was able to successfully roast pork shoulder in hay with jerusalem artichokes... the pork frenzy went on for months. So it should come as no surprise that when it was hot off the presses I bought the next cookbook installation- Terrine. But the end of pregnancy and the beginning of being a parent what they are I found myself a little too busy to put my beautiful lapis Le Creuset enameled work horse to, em, work. But in the past weeks I have brought the cookbook off the shelf and given it the coveted position of window ledge of the kitchen, where only a few other books reside. Just ask me for the list, it's short.
For Christmas Eve dinner, I wanted to have something involved that we could all enjoy, but that wouldn't produce too too much food. I do have one of those very tiny refrigerators and leftovers during the holiday season have to compete to the death for storage space with the fresh, raw ingredients that have yet to be made into holiday memories.

I bought some lovely smoked salmon, fresh salmon and turbot from my fishmonger, some asparagus from our local produce stand and tore into the recipe with grand results. Some fresh grated horseradish and creme fraiche poured over the top of slices and it was the perfect meal. And the perfect snack on Boxing Day!

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