Sunday, 17 June 2012

Quicksilver Chocolate. Better living through alchemy.

Oh the unbearable excitement! My chocolate bars (Quicksilver Chocolate) will be on sale at Bristo Yoga!

Want to know more?

Tell me about your chocolate!

-I call it Quicksilver Chocolate because chocolate making is more alchemy than chemistry. Despite being formally trained in chemistry, there's an element of chocolate making that feels more like turning lead into gold than pushing electrons. Quicksilver is the element associated with transmutation and changeability and general awesomeness.
-Each and every bar is made by hand, and is full of good stuff. All of my chocolate is vegan, organic, and raw. A few of the add-ins (matcha, for example) are not raw, and no raw version exists. These ingredients are organic where possible, and always the highest quality that I can lay hands on.
-I only make chocolate I want to eat. This means I don't bother with making stuff that looks and tastes like something I could just go buy in a shop. It also means that I don't make bars that I don't like, or that bore me. My chocolate is an adventure for me, and I hope you enjoy coming along for the ride! If my chocolate isn't your thing, feel free to ask me about other options. I'd be happy to point you towards other ethical and high-quality bars made by other wonderful people.
-I spend my time and money on chocolate, not packaging.

Why Bristo Yoga?

-Because they rock and I love them. 

What sort of bars are going to be at Bristo? How often is the stash replenished?

-I'll bring what I make when I make it. Think of it as a chocolate lottery. While I would looooove to keep everyone supplied with their favorite of my chocolates at all times and sincerely believe that the world would be a better place if everyone were chocolate-replete every day, I have a (more than) full time job as a researcher, and chocolate is something I do on the side.  If there is a particular bar that you fall in love with and want me to make more of, let me know, and I'll increase the quantity of it next time I make it.

How do you set your prices?

-I don't make any profit on the chocolates sold at Bristo. I recoup my costs, and donate a bit to the The Good Samaritan Suite Trust.
-Slave-free, organically produced chocolate, made by hand in small batches and with high-quality ingredients, costs money. Ask me about the ethics of chocolate and chocolate slavery. When you get a "good deal" on chocolate, it can be because someone isn't being paid, or is being sold into slavery. It can also be because corners are being cut on ingredients, or (and there's nothing wrong with this last one) because bigger operations can make economies of scale that one-woman operations can't.

 I want more!  Do you do bespoke orders?

Sometimes. If you tell me what you want, I'll tell you if I can do it and the earliest date I can have it done by. Depending on your order and my schedule, this will probably be 1-8 weeks. Bespoke orders will be sold at a profit and priced accordingly. Some of the profit will be donated to The Good Samaritan Suite Trust. Fancy wrapping in handmade Japanese paper is an option for bespoke orders.

Dancing and chocolate-making to: Love for sale, tempered and made shiny by Jane Birkin this time. 


Monday, 4 June 2012

(un)cook my life

Another post on practice. Some days people ask how my yoga practice has gone. Usually I just say "It went". I figure that it's like asking "how are you?", where, let's be honest, only your closest friends actually want to hear anything other than "fine, thanks, and you?".  This is because even though some mornings are kind of like pulling a ton of limp lead-based spaghetti uphill through sludge (missed filling up at the prana petrol station, and my bandhas are m.i.a), and some mornings are like floating through a magical dance whilst serenaded by a choir of angels that somehow don't detract at all from my focus (jump through. good lady. full benefits). But the actual point is the practice. It's the showing up, day in, day out, that is transformative. I don't always want to practice before I start, but I never regret it once I haul my ass onto the mat.

Ditto for cooking. Sometimes it's not very exciting. Sometimes I have grant applications to write and the mere thought of anything more complicated than a "chop everything into a bowl" salad seems impossible, or I just feel uninspired. Sometimes I have people over for a fancy dinner party at the end of a blissful day spent at the farmer's market and then in the kitchen creating edible art that turned out just so.

Usually things are somewhere in between. And in between days are often soup. I never regret soup.
1/2 head fennel
1 large carrot, chopped
1 cup sweet sweet baby tomatoes from heaven
2 tbs of shelled hemp seeds
splash of balsamic vinegar
pinch of aniseed
about a cup of water

blend all that up, will you?

now add
another cup of ridiculously sweet tomatoes
baby chard (lots)
rocket (lots)
a handful of fresh basil leaves
a little bit of tarragon 

Blend just enough to chop everything, but you should have tomato chunks and recognizable bits of leaf. A food processor would probably work better than a blender. I do not own a food processor, and a blender works just fine.

Add 1/2 orange worth of juice, and a splash of ume plum vinegar (or salt, if you've not got any ume products handy)

If your tomatoes are only sweet instead of ridiculously sweet, you might need to add a bit of agave. go for it, you rebel. 


A practice is only sustainable if it is very simple, and if you enjoy it. And let's face it: a girl's gotta eat, and so my kitchendancing practice continues, and is usually very simple.