Reviewing… Indigo Herbs Raw Chocolate Making Kit

I love chocolate.

Had a bad day at work? Chocolate. Feeling hungover and sorry for myself? Chocolate. Bored? Chocolate.

Milk, white, dark. Milkybar, Cadbury’s, Hotel Chocolat. You name it, I’ll eat it.

Admittedly, it’s an addiction that I need to try to curb. I gave it up for a month in March but as soon as we hit April those cravings were back with a vengeance. I’m aware there probably needs to be a longer term solution put in place to control my chocoholic nature. So when Indigo Herbs asked me to try out their Natural Organic Chocolate Making Kit, I jumped at the chance. Natural and organic had to mean healthier, right? 

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I have tried a couple of raw chocolate brands before, and I’ll admit the first time I heard the term I had no idea what on earth raw chocolate was.

Raw chocolate is cooked at a much lower temperature than commercial chocolate. The low temperature of 42-45 degrees allows all antioxidant and nutritional properties to be restored, including Vitamin C, Magnesium, Calcium and Iron. It typically also only contains 3-4 natural ingredients, opting to avoid the artificial flavourings found in more common chocolate.

The Indigo Herbs kit was delivered very quickly and in the prettiest packaging. The pack included all of the required ingredients: Organic Cacao Butter, Pure Organic Raw Vanilla Powder, Organic Cacao Powder and Organic Raw Agave Nectar, as well as detailed and easy-to-follow instructions.

I had a slight panic when I read that the recipe required a bain marie?! But managed to create a makeshift alternative pretty easily by filling a deep lasagne style dish with hot water and placing a glass bowl in it.

I melted the cacao butter (the lengthiest part of the process as it was solid), mixed in the vanilla powder until dissolved, did the same with the cacao powder, then poured in the agave syrup and gave it the suggested 100 stirs.

Et voila. I poured the liquid into my chocolate mould (£4.99 from Lakeland) and placed into the fridge. My fridge is very cold so after only half an hour I was able to pop the chocolates out and store in a container.

The process was easy, very quick and the chocolate smelled like chocolate. Good sign right? But I still wasn’t sure how it would taste…

The next day I shared my chocolates with my flatmate, work colleagues and my boyfriend’s family. The taste was similar to other raw chocolate I have tasted, although much less bitter. It had a smooth, dark taste that wasn’t overpowering. The texture is much softer than regular chocolate, quite biscuit-like and almost spongey but really pleasant. I enjoyed the taste so much more than expected and so did everyone I shared it with which was probably the most surprising thing! I could definitely see myself eating this more regularly, but in small doses which is perfect as it saves me from delving into a share bag of chocolate buttons and devouring the lot*.

*not an exaggeration

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If I was to have one critique of the Indigo Herbs kit, it would be that you don’t know until you’ve opened the pack that a chocolate mould of some description is not included. However you can improvise – I only had 15 small moulds so poured the rest into a sandwich bag to harden into a bar!

Overall I was really impressed with the kit and especially the taste of the chocolate – this would make a lovely gift idea and I look forward to trying more of the Indigo Herbs products.

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Have you tried making your own chocolate? What are your thoughts on raw chocolate? Let me know!

KS x

 

 

West is Best

Confession: I have only seen about 10% of Scotland.

Okay that figure is probably not completely accurate… but I hate to say that although I love Scotland and the beautiful scenery, I’ve not seen as much of it as I should have by now, or would like to.

I blame the weather. When it comes to booking a holiday, I want to be guaranteed sun and heat because I’m deprived of it most the year round. You just need to look at my ghostly complexion to see that.

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Reviewing… Mantra Thai, Newcastle

A few weeks ago, I surprised my boyfriend with a trip to Newcastle for his birthday. I planned it all well in advance (I am a bit of a loser when it comes to planning and organisation) and he had no idea where we were going until we were on the road. I booked a beautiful little apartment on TripAdvisor which I would highly recommend if you’re planning a visit to Newcastle. It can be found here – expect stunning views of the quayside.

Now I knew when planning this trip that the main event was going to be the meal on the Saturday night. I did quite a bit of research on TripAdvisor, particularly into Thai restaurants as Thai food is one of our absolute favourites. I came across Mantra Thai which, at the time of writing, is number 15 of 1,012 restaurants in Newcastle on TripAdvisor and is also up for Restaurant of the Year 2017 – a pretty good effort if you ask me! The reviews were good, the pictures looked incredible and it appeared to be special without being too extravagant. So I booked. Then waited for like… a month for the date to come round. Not even exaggerating.

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Making… Mint Aero Cheesecake

Are you that person who, when asked in a restaurant whether you would like to take a look at the dessert menu, gives everyone round the table the eyes? Because that is definitely me. Recently I have taken more of a shining to starters rather than desserts, however that doesn’t mean I don’t still have a sweet tooth and if something takes my fancy, I’m having it.

When it comes to eating at home, I am a big fan of making my own homemade sweet treats. I enjoy cooking and am gradually getting more adventurous, however my passion has always been more on the baking side of things. Whether it’s muffins, cookies, cakes or brownies, I love to experiment with different flavours and ingredients. Unfortunately finding time to bake isn’t always easy but I’m hoping this blog will spur me on to make more time over the coming months…

When baking for my family or friends, I tend to try to make crowd pleasers – something everyone will enjoy, and this recipe definitely falls into that bracket.

Introducing the Mint Aero Cheesecake.

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Reviewing… Hello Fresh

I try to live a relatively balanced lifestyle the majority of the time. Through the week, I like to cook fresh, healthy meals as much as possible because at weekends I struggle to resist a good pizza, Chinese takeaway or share bag of chocolate… (oops). I try to do a big healthy shop at a weekend to last me the week ahead, however my weekends tend to be pretty busy so there are some weekends that this just isn’t possible.

Enter Hello Fresh.

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‘burgh Bank Holiday

A couple of weeks ago, my mum and auntie visited from home for my Mum’s birthday. We had a lovely weekend of eating, drinking and seeing the Edinburgh sights. I wanted to review a couple of activities so thought an overarching blog of the entire weekend made most sense. Here’s my take on an almost perfect Bank Holiday weekend in Edinburgh…

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Reviewing… Chaophraya, Edinburgh

Since I moved to Edinburgh, I have been desperate to try Chaophraya. I’ve heard numerous rave reviews of the delicious food, stunning views and tempting drinks. I also absolutely love Thai food, so we are in the process of slowly working our way round the Thai restaurants Edinburgh has to offer.

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Reviewing… Kirk View Cafe & Bistro, Aberdeen

Having moved to Edinburgh 6 months ago, I am spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing a restaurant. No matter my need, whether I am looking for a quick and reasonably priced bite to eat, a 5 star dining experience, or something in between, Edinburgh offers plenty of options.

Last weekend, I returned to Aberdeen to take my Mum to see Blood Brothers at the theatre. You would expect that nothing much would change in a city in only 6 months, but with the downturn the oil industry has experienced in the past couple of years, Aberdeen is a hugely different city to the one I left. Researching restaurants for a pre-theatre meal, I realised that several had closed, and most of my options looked to be chains. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the odd chain restaurant but for Mother’s Day weekend, I was looking for something slightly more special, but still at a reasonable price.

Lurking around Facebook and Instagram, I came across the newly opened Kirk View Cafe & Bistro, located a literal stones’ throw away from His Majesty’s Theatre. The reviews from the first couple of weeks looked promising, so we booked.

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Making… Chilli Prawn Salad with Ciabatta

Now that the nicer weather is starting to come through (although admittedly not as quickly as I would like), I am already preparing for salad season. I love spring/summer because it means the days get lighter, the temperature increases (slightly), and my overall mood improves. It also means I can ditch the comfort food I’ve been relying on through winter, i.e no more soup every day for lunch, and can invent new salad concoctions.

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Making… Pancakes

It only seems fitting that the first recipe I post on Pancakes and Polaroids is a pancake one! I guess first of all though, I should give you a bit of a background on my blog name.

Prior to starting my Instagram food blog, I would post the odd picture of food on my personal account. This started becoming more frequent when I discovered my love of making pancakes and more importantly, making them look pretty. I felt that most of my followers probably weren’t interested in my new found hobby, so I started my Instagram food blog in June 2016 . With that, Healthkick Kirst was born (now a popular nickname with some of my friends – thanks guys). I’ve held this name until very recently when I decided to start a blog and knew it wasn’t all going to be healthy…

SO.. we’ve got to Pancakes and Polaroids. Pancakes are where my interest in food photography began so it only seemed fitting that they were in there. Polaroids is more of a reminder to myself to take more pictures – not only of my food, but of everything else too. Photography has always been a hobby of mine and one of my goals for this year is to spend more of my spare time on it.

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Reviewing… Dishoom, Edinburgh

I have been dying to visit Dishoom ever since it opened in Edinburgh back in November. I am originally from Aberdeenshire, and I am spoiled for choice of Indian restaurants in my nearest town so it has always been a popular choice for my family and I when going out for a meal.

Dishoom describe themselves as a “Bombay Café”. The original Bombay Cafés welcomed and attracted anyone and everyone – students, businessmen/women and families. Unfortunately few of these Cafés remain, so it is refreshing to see Dishoom trying to bring this back in the UK.

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