Do you ever face the dilemma of whether you should take photographs or just put the camera down and join in the fun? This is a tricky one for me. I’ve talked before about how my passion is to capture memories, and this makes it hard for me to accept that a moment won’t be recorded. Not all moments, of course, but the ones that feel like they deserve to be memorable. Happy moments, laughter, bonding…
When my children were still fairly small (primary school aged) I was looking through the photos of them, and realised I wasn’t in hardly any of them. There were photos of them with just about every family member except me. The only ones I was in were the ones of them when they were babies. It was a pretty rude shock. I realised that I was watching my children live their lives, recording it all, but not participating. I was standing on the sidelines. That revelation is what led to the ‘family’ part of my bucket list, where I set myself a challenge of participating in a whole bunch of different childhood activities with my kids. Not watching, participating. I also became more aware of it, and started putting the camera down or passing it to my husband or another family member so I could be in the shot.
On March 11th, we had another of our family creative days. So far we’d made cheese in January and soap in February. The previous ones were just the girls – my daughter, my mother, my mother-in-law and me. And my sister joined in the soap making. But this time we got the boys there too – my son, my husband, my father-in-law and my nephew. We did it at my mother’s house, as she had plenty of room for everyone.
In the end, it was mostly just us girls making the chocolates, but the guys did get involved a little. Obviously they were all keen for taste testing (!) but my husband helped make the ganache we used for fillings, and my father-in-law helped us with getting the chocolates out of the plastic moulds (something we struggled with!).
The reason I mentioned the photography dilemma at the start of this post was really to explain why I have no decent photos of the day. I know, a poor excuse, but I was honestly too busy making chocolates to take photos. And man, your hands get messy when you’re making chocolates! I should have remembered to ask one of the guys to take photos for us, but I just forgot. Oh well.
We made three sorts of chocolates – hollow eggs, solid eggs and filled chocolates.
The hollow ones were a big fat fail because we couldn’t get them out of the moulds without breaking. We’d made them too thin, plus we were using older plastic moulds that were brittle. So yep, those were a fail. Lesson learned though!
The solid ones worked well. We used white chocolate which we coloured and painted into the moulds, then filled them with white chocolate. I enjoyed making these ones, and so did my daughter. My mother and mother-in-law found them a bit tedious I think. They didn’t look quite as stunning as I’d hoped, but they were okay. We stuck some of the egg halves together to make solid eggs, but that made them difficult to eat. And too much chocolate in one go. Halves were better. Again, lesson learned.
The filled ones were the most experimental of the bunch, but turned out quite well considering. We made a batch of ganache (cream and chocolate combined in a roughly 50/50 mix). When I say we, I mean my husband made the ganache. Ha ha! He was a commercial baker for 10 years, and ganache is the icing used for most commercial cakes, so he had plenty of experience with that. We used a variety of things to flavour different portions of the ganache:
– coffee syrup
– Baileys cream liqueur
– peppermint flavouring
– orange flavouring
We also made some raspberry truffle filling, and some blue curacao liqueur jelly. They all worked quite well. I don’t like coffee, so I didn’t like the coffee ones. My mother really liked those ones though. The Baileys ones were my favourite. The only ones I felt didn’t really work were the raspberry truffle ones which were waaaay too sweet. The kids liked those ones though.
I made some with Caramilk chocolate, which is a caramelised white chocolate that I like. They turned out delicious.
It was a fun day, and I enjoyed it, but making chocolates is very time consuming. If you’re going to do it, you need a lot of fridge/freezer space and a lot of time. It’s fun though!