If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you’ll know that I shared some very (read: VERY VERY VERY) exciting news late last year. Before I get to that news here, on my blog, however, I need to start at the beginning.
I started my blog two and a half years ago when my twins were about 10/11 months. I was a stay-at-home-mom who had been a make-up and hair artist before I fell pregnant and had to stop working/studying due to being pregnant with twins (standing 12 hours a day is not exactly healthy when you are carrying twins). My blog was a way to not only share my recipes with friends and family but also to break away from that routine. The feed, change, play, sleep, repeat routine my husband and I found ourselves in (even though we loved it).
My blog started very small and when I look back at some of the content now, I am almost embarrassed at how bad the photo’s were but everyone has to start somewhere right? I learnt an awful lot that first year and my photo’s slowly got better and then at the end of 2010 I won two awards at the SA Blog Awards which was a bigger surprise than finding out I was pregnant with twins. After that I made a permanent move into the food world and I was over-the-moon about that. You see, I’ve always been a good cook and food lover and my family often asked me why I never went to chef’s school. That really was just not for me (I’m way too lazy), but this way of making food my career was just what I always wanted, I just never knew how to make it happen.
I started doing freelance styling for magazines and started thinking about a cookbook (which has always been my ultimate dream). In April 2011 I approached Penguin Books SA with a proposal and they said I have a few weeks to get a manuscript together before they can even consider it. This was just before Easter weekend and I spent an entire week in the kitchen baking, testing and tasting and within 8 days had my manuscript together. I, very hesitantly, sent it off and crossed my fingers behind my back. A few e-mails back and forth and a meeting or two followed and I soon got an e-mail with the subject : “Offer to publish Simply Delicious”.
I had to sit back for a few minutes and take it all in. I felt over-whelmed at the thought that I would be a published author. Me, the girl who always struggled to finish my essays in English, would be a published author. Soon after though the actual work started. The contract was signed and they told me they would like me to shoot and style the book myself. Which is wonderful of course but wow, what a big task for a non-professional photographer and stylist. I quickly acquired the necessary lenses and started sourcing props. With my amazing husband, Chris next to me, I started shooting and basically didn’t stop for 3 months straight (this was when I took my blogging hiatus at the end of 2011. Shooting a book and keeping a blog running is an impossible thing to do).
On the 1st of December I handed in my finished manuscript and now, we are busy with the proofs, cover design (which is GORGEOUS) and all those little bits and pieces. We ran into some trouble with the name however as Sharon Glass (amazing cookbook author) already has a book named Simply Delicious. We went through all our options and at the end decided to call the book : Simply & Delicious – Recipes From The Heart. Isn’t it just so beautiful? I find myself saying it over and over again, I love it so much. The book will be released in September 2012 and will be available in all major book stores as well as online (at Kalahari and Amazon if I have it correctly) so my International readers can also get their hands on a copy. More information will follow later as I’m not allowed to share any of the actual details yet, but I’ll keep you posted, promise!
And now, I leave you with this recipe for Chocolate truffle tarts with chocolate glaze in an Oreo crust. Decadent, delicious and easy. Just the thing to celebrate the biggest news of my professional career so far! Have a wonderful weekend!
Makes 8 mini tarts or one large tart
for the crust
350g (12.35 ounces) oreo biscuits
50g (1.76 ounces) butter, melted
for the filling
375ml (12.68 fluid ounces) (1.5 cups) cream
300g (10.58 ounces) dark chocolate, chopped (you could also use 200g (7.05 ounces) dark (70%) and 100g (3.53 ounces) milk chocolate)
5ml (0.17 fluid ounces) vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs (I use free-range)
for the glaze
100g (3.53 ounces) dark chocolate
30ml (1.01 fluid ounces) cream
30ml (1.01 fluid ounces) honey/corn syrup
30ml (1.01 fluid ounces) boiling water
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°c and grease 8 mini tart cases or one large tart case.
- To make the crust, crush the oreo biscuits in a food processor until they are very fine.
- Add the melted butter and blend until the crumbs resemble damp sand.
- Press the crust into the tart cases and place on a large baking sheet.
- Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
- To make the filling. Bring the cream to a simmer in a saucepan and pour over the chocolate. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before stirring until the chocolate is completely melted.
- Add the vanilla extract and stir.
- Beat in the eggs and mix well.
- Pour the filling into the tart cases (I pour the filling through a sieve). Place the tart in the oven and allow to bake for 7-10 minutes until the edges are firm but the centre is still wobbly (it will continue setting as it cools).
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- To make the glaze, heat the chocolate and cream together and stir until the chocolate is melted.
- Add the honey/corn syrup and boiling water and stir until well combined.
- Pour the glaze over the tarts and swirl to coat.
- Place the tarts in the fridge for an hour before serving.
- Serve with fresh raspberries.