Today I welcome a special guest to this blog. Her name is Rosen Trevithick, and she has written and published many books in several different genres, ranging from children’s stories about a family of trolls, to the hilarious, adult and very popular, ‘My Granny Writes Erotica’ series. I do have a personal favourite of all her previous books, and that is ‘Pompomberry House’. The action centres on a group of writers, and if there is one kind of book that appeals to me as a writer more than any other, it’s a book about writers.
Or at least, that kind of book appeals to me quite a lot, but there’s another kind that I absolutely can’t resist, and that’s a book about chocolate.
Fortunately Rosen’s latest publication is the amazing ‘Chocolate Making Adventures’, which talks you through the process of making chocolate from the raw ingredients.
As regular readers of this blog will know, I am usually reluctant to get involved in anything that relates to housework or cooking. However in this case even I might be tempted to get hold of the book and have a go. In the mean-time, in the interests of impartial research, I have sampled some chocolates that were made from the recipes in the book, and found them to be excellent, and I am even eating a chocolate (which I didn’t make myself) as I write this, just to get into the spirit of it.
I asked Rosen a few questions, and here is our conversation:
Have you always been interested in making your own chocolate creations? If not, what gave you the idea?
I’ve always made recipes with chocolate, for example cupcakes and brownies. However, it wasn’t until last year that I realised you could make chocolate itself.
About ten years ago, I looked online to see if home chocolate making could be done, but back then you couldn’t do it without complex equipment. However, a new product is on the market, which changes everything – cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is a cocoa bean extract that you can use to make virtually any chocolate you can dream up, including dark, milk and white. As soon as I learnt you could buy cocoa butter, I started making my own chocolate and haven’t looked back.
Which came first, the idea of publishing a cook-book, or the experimentation with chocolate ingredients? Or did they both happen at the same time?
I experimented purely for my own benefit. A friend told me how to make plain chocolate and it was delicious, so I wondered if it would be possible to make other kinds of chocolate. Perfecting milk and white chocolates took a very long time and I was proud of the results, so I wanted to share them.
Do you have a favourite of all the recipes in the book?
Taste wise, my favourites are peppermint creams made with plain chocolate. I love the contrast between the cases and the filling.
The one I’m most proud of is my white chocolate, as it was really difficult to crack, requiring a different kind of cocoa butter, a special kind of milk and a method that, whilst quite simple, took a long time to develop. I couldn’t find a white chocolate recipe that I was happy with online, so I’ve shared mine: http://rosentrevithick.co.uk/389/homemade-white-chocolate-recipe-that-really-works.html
Which do you prefer, writing novels or non-fiction, and why?
I prefer writing fiction. For me, developing the recipes was the only creative part of the process. After that, I had to do a lot of technical writing and formatting. Testing recipes and creating chocolate for the photographer was fun at first, but it got repetitive after the first week. I’m very proud of the cookbook, but looking forward to when I can write something a bit more humorous.
Which have you found more difficult to get to the publication stage?
It has been much harder publishing Chocolate Making Adventures than any fiction that I’ve ever put out there. The fact that it includes not just colour, but full-colour photographs, has posed a challenge when finding the right printer and print settings. Working with a photographer was much harder than working with an illustrator, because rather than sending specs, I had to make the food for the photographs.
Do you have any more ideas for recipe books? Or, would you do it again?
I do have some recipes that I could use to start a second chocolate book. Right now I am a tad tired and looking forward to trying something new. If Chocolate Making Adventures is a success, I’ll certainly consider returning to writing cookbooks.
What’s your favourite food, if it isn’t chocolate (or even if it is)?
Chocolate. Chocolate. Chocolate. I also like coconut ice cream.
Do you know what your next project will be? Any hints?
I’m working on a Smelly Troll gamebook, which is similar in format to the old ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books. I wrote it last year but because of the potential for continuity errors in a book with multiple endings, I have to keep taking breaks between redrafts.
Thank you, Rosen, and good luck with ‘Chocolate Making Adventures’.
Many thanks for having me.
Rosen’s recipe blog: http://rosentrevithick.co.uk/recipes/
Link to Kindle book: http://www.rosentrevithick.co.uk/B017WUOSOE/