Disclosure: I attended this event courtesy of The Langham and Media Moguls.
So it’s July, and you know what that means, don’t you? Time to think about Christmas! Okay, perhaps it’s not quite time to plan for Christmas, but it will be right about the corner before you know it. Isn’t that a scary thought?
Last week I headed to the Langham with several other food bloggers and food media for a Christmas in July event. I was particularly excited by the fact that we would be having a Christmas pudding making session.
After a series of canapés and glasses of bubbles (I didn’t take pictures of the canapés, but check out some of the other bloggers linked below for details), we put on aprons and chefs’ hats and headed down to the pastry kitchen. Being a food geek, I was very excited at taking the big elevator down and checking out the commercial kitchen. Oooh. It was so shiny! And clean! And bright! And shiny! Plus you should have seen the massive commercial mixer – ahhh. It was almost as tall as me – which is not saying much, to tell you the truth. I wish I had thought to take a photo of it!
We were split into two groups and into two different kitchens. My group were introduced to pastry chef Zara, who talked to us about tempering chocolate and about chocolate truffles.
Zara dipped pre-filled truffles in melted white chocolate, and showed us how to make the spiky pattern – by rolling it around on the rack with a fork. Easy! Well, she made it look easy anyway.
The white chocolate truffles were filled with elderflower liqueur and raspberry ganache. I always say that I don’t really like white chocolate… but I made an exception for these truffles! They were delicious and the sweetness of the white chocolate really highlighted the elderflower and raspberry.
Zara had also prepared some rum balls that she dipped in Lindt milk chocolate and decorated with cocoa nibs. She confessed that she put rather a lot of rum in them. She certainly did! Wow wee. They were great!
And… can you believe she told us we were free to taste the items on this bench?!
I would have loved to have spent more time listening to Zara but we had to move on. We swapped with the other group and headed into the kitchen next door to make pudding. Chef Anthony Ross was in charge of this session, and he started things off by tipping a large amount of butter, almond meal and hazelnut meal on to the bench.
After the butter and almond/hazelnut meal were well mixed, the fruit was tipped in. The fruit had been prepared earlier, and had been macerating in a brandy mixture. When it was tipped out, a heady scent of brandy and spices wafted around the room. It smelt amazing!
After more mixing, it was all piled up and a well was formed in the middle, into which liquid was poured – I think it was a combination of juice, milk, eggs and spices.
Plus a couple of cans of stout and a touch more brandy.
After more mixing, we had pudding! Well – almost.
We each selected a charm to put into our puddings (the charms were wrapped in tinfoil for hygiene reasons) and then the pudding was placed on top. For some reason I selected a ballerina (?!).
And look – all the puddings ready for steaming! They were taken away to be steamed for a couple of hours, and we’ll receive our puddings in about five months time. Pretty cool, huh? I’ll let you know how it tastes in December!
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