Today 2 June is Rocky Road Day. I know this because I blogged about it on this very day last year when I found out about the history of this naughty rich indulgent treat that all things considered is relatively easy to make. When I think about naughty and indulgent rich food that is achievable for a home cook, I instantly think of Nigella Lawson. I have to declare I am a huge Nigella fan. My sisters have seen her in person and I have not. I was, using my best Nigella phraseology, inexplicably and impossibly sad about that.
I have always been intrigued by Nigella. I remember when I saved up to buy my copy of “How to be a Domestic Goddess” and I have a copy of every book of hers since. I am also quite drawn to her turn of phrase – many of which I closely closely relate to “You could possibly get through life without knowing how to roast a chicken, but the question is, would you want to?” or even more prosaically “I never taste the wine first in restaurants, I just ask the waiter to pour”.
I eagerly tuned in every night to Nigella’s recent stint on Masterchef. She seemed impossibly natural and the word on the street was that she was in fact impossibly natural and friendly though by her own admission she is far from perfect, can be impatient and can also be a a little snippy. She seemed the ideal choice to work with a group of very talented amateur cooks having describing herself thus ” I am not a chef – I am not even a trained or professional cook. My qualification is as an eater.” She also seems impossibly suited to cooking shoots….” They’re not scripted and I feel it’s virtually impossible to be anything but yourself when you’re in front of the cameras and cooking so there is a measure of truth in what you see”.
I also quite like her recipes because you don’t have to spend the best years of your life searching for way out ingredients that you will stay in the cupboard for years afterwards taunting you. That’s why I went straight to Nigella for her Rocky Road recipes. First up, I considered Rocky Road crunch bars from her 2007 book Nigella Express. I like her approach to these crunch bars: “I’m not claiming them to be a health food, but when you’re talking about lunch on the run, packing quite a few calories into a small parcel can be seen as an advantage. That’s my view, and I’m sticking to it.”
Then there was her Christmas Rocky Road from her 2008 book Nigella’s Christmas where she states “It’s not that I felt my usual Rocky Road Crunch Bars needed any improvement (though fiddling with recipes is one of life’s pleasures) but I thought they would benefit from some seasonal adjustment. So, out go the Rich Tea biscuits and in come amaretti and – in the seasonal spirit – I’ve crammed in some Brazil nuts and glacé cherries (as red as Rudolph’s nose), along with snowy mini marshmallows. The fresh snowfall of icing sugar on top might seem seasonal enough, but not for me. So I add some edible glitter in Disco Hologram White”. Granted this last sentence breaks the way out ingredient rule but if you can’t have edible glitter at Christmas when can you?
Opting for the crunch bars, I proudly made my Rocky Road (where I think the genius bit is the inclusion of golden syrup). I wrapped it up in relatively small packages because it is richaroonie. When one uses cellophane bags with chocolate one ends up with smudges of chocolate everywhere even if one is being super careful. That aside, when one wraps with clear cellophane bags, it really is to showcase the contents so a fabulous matching ribbon is really all that’s required. And this pink and chocolate ribbon from Jane Means ticks that box.
Makes me think that sometimes wrapping is a bit too much about covering up and that sometimes simply embellishing with a subtle wrap touch is to way to go. After sitting down with a cuppa and unwrapping a piece of this Rocky Road slice one is minded to think “You could possibly get through life without knowing how to gift wrap, but the question is, would you want to?”