Thursday, 2 September 2010

Stress relief and nostalgia chocolate

The boiler in the house (yeah, house and not home, because Burt Bacharach's quite right about the difference between the two) I live in is broken.
Has been so, since Monday evening.
Ah, the joy of cold showers! Nothing better to (ass) kick start a morning!
I really hope things will get fixed by tomorrow, but so far I'm not very happy, positive-thinking and I just feel quite irascible about the whole thing. Why can't we just call the standard reliable Polish electrician, instead of placing our morning showers into the hand of a bank call center? Oh yeah, because they sold us a service and we're going to use it, even if it means we won't see a shadow of warm water until next summer.

So, as I said, I'm upset, nervous, quite irritable, feel my teeth grinding against each other and on the verge of sending to hell innocent people. Not so innocent people, do not worry: I'll get your voodoo dolls pinched as soon as possible and as soon as I remember where I put the pins.

So what I do to calm myself? There are only 2 way I know of: binging and baking.
I admit I indulged in a little bit of overeating. Some rye bread, some chocolate and oat flakes, nothing at the level I used to reach some years ago, but still, a clear and bad signal of what this life is doing to my balance and I know I will pay the consequences of it tomorrow.

Baking on the other hand, baking is really good to make me forget all the bad stuff happening to me and around me.
It makes me forget stupid remarks and conversations, it takes away upsetting memories, it soothes my soul.
So, I just asked myself, why should I bake? What do I want to try? Mmmh... strudel!
But in the end, I didn't bake strudel. No matter the harsh feelings I cradle right now, I will mainly use them against myself (i.e. binging) and not on other people, like some people from the office that I know hate and loathe raisins... and let's face it: raisin-less strudel is not strudel, to me at least!

Then... just like a Blues only child, I was the light! A sudden idea that has been, I think, lurking in the back of my mind for a while, from the moment I saw this picture on Irma's photostream.

Oh my! I used to love cremini as a child! If you haven't noticed it so far, I'm quite nostalgic about my past and childhood. Perhaps not the happiest past one can be blessed with, but still I wouldn't change it.
My childhood memories are mostly sweet: partially because of the amount of sugar implied, but mostly because of the love bestowed on me by all the sweet people I grew surrounded by.
Cremini are a sweet memory of when I still lived with my grandparents in La Cassa, so before I started elementary school. Cremini are a Thursday treat: that's because my granny, Ida, would buy them only on Thursday. No ritual involved, but my granny would buy them at a market stall selling all kind of sweets and the market would happen only once a week, at Thursday.
The white paper bag with the cremini looked huge on Thursday, who cares how many we have today? Hey, there are so many that they could last for ages! But the eating rate my granddad and I could keep up would reduce the volume of the bag so quickly, that by Monday we would be looking at it quite worried. All crunched on itself, looking so dangerously empty, so thin! 
I still don't know whether the Monday Cremini tasted better than the Thursday ones, but I know they tasted different from one another.

So with all this thoughts twirling in my mind, I went online to look for the recipe Irma pointed me to. The recipe's on an Italian blog called "Menta e Cioccolato" (Mint and Chocolate) and it's taken from a post on an Italian cooking forum.
It's not really "baking" as no oven is required, but I was so happy to crush, blend, melt and freeze that I just forget almost all my problems!


And now the cremini are wrapped and ready to be taken into office and given to my colleagues and on Thursday, the right day for cremini! 

wrapping the cremino

If you want to have it a go, here's the translation of the recipe:

300 gr milk chocolate
150 gr white chocolate
112 gr circa hazelnut paste (or hazelnut)

If you can't get the hazelnut paste, you will need to blend the hazelnut up to the point of making a cream. you will need to sieve the cream. (I used about 150 gr to get up to the required 112 gr)
Line a tray with some cling film (I used a tupperware).
Melt the milk chocolate and add 25% of its weight of hazelnut paste (so 75 gr). Once they're blended together pour half of the mix in the tray (use a scale to try to be as accurate as possible) and make sure it's all leveled.
Put in the fridge for about 10 minutes (I left it for 20, but my fridge doesn't keep the temperature cold enough
Keep the remaining milk chocolate warm in the oven.

Melt the white chocolate and oce more add 25% of its weight of hazelnut paste (so 37.5 gr).
Pour it over the first level of chocolate, put it back on the fridge and leave it there.
Wait once more for 10-20 minutes and put the final layer of milk chocolate. Cover with some foil and once more, back into the fridge, for at least 1 hour and half. I left it for about 4 hours then cut it into small cubes and wrapped it in aluminium foil.


  1. Non capisco nulla di inglese ma dalle foto vedo che ti sono venuti benissimo i Cremini..!! Brava!!

    ciao Morena

  2. Grazie! I cremini per me sono sinonimo di infanzia: mia nonna li comprava sempre al mercato il giovedì e quando ho visto le foto mi è venuta una nostalgia tale, che non potevo resistere! :-)