As much as I love to cook and eat, I am often worried about bringing my kitchen experiments in to work for my colleagues to try. I have been stung too many times with the boot on the other foot − eager cook standing in front of me, asking for my opinion on dishes that are most unpleasant.
As much as we all like to say 'I call a spade a spade' or 'I would tell you EXACTLY what you look like in that lycra mini- dress you borrowed from your grandaughter', when push comes to shove, it's not as simple as that.
Generally, people who enjoy cooking take great care in what they prepare and it takes a fair amount of resilience and tenaciousness to present strangers with food. A colleague who had spent many years living in Japan once presented us with some takoyaki − octopus balls with what looked to be moving tentacles on them. They were delicious, but the young girl from finance left the table in a hurry. Or the time when a manager was extolling the virtues of her aunt's cooking and just had to bring me in a bowl of her soup which, right there, front and centre, was a dog hair (I would say Golden Retriever, maybe a Burmese Mountain Dog) just floating along, minding its own business. She sat opposite me; arms folded, and asked every 42 seconds what I thought − it was the hardest meal of my life. As home cooks, we cannot all be assured that the levels of hygiene are that of a three-hat restaurant, no matter how much we would like to think that they are.
So of course, I am happy to cook for colleagues − with caution. I’m talking hair nets, lab coats, surgeons scrub-down. I recently made this rocky road and, at the risk of leaving it at home and eating the entire lot, I inspected it for two days straight to make sure there were no French Bulldog hairs settled on any of the raspberries. Only when I was satisfied did I seal and transport it with care to my office. At the team meeting my manager said "bring out the rocky road!", but I hushed her down – I had to check for any stray hairs before unleashing my rocky road on my unsuspecting colleagues.
I snuck out early from the meeting and laid the chocolate out on the plate, then stood back, watching their faces with eagle-eye precision. There were no disdainful looks or declinations of chocolate (would there have been anyway?) and this rocky road went down a treat.
This is easy to make and tremendously delicious. Kids will love it, colleagues will love it but remember – no one loves a hairy rocky road.
Macadamia and raspberry rocky road
Makes approximately 15 pieces
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Chilling time: 2 hours
400gms white chocolate
1 packet of raspberry jelly lollies
3 tablespoons desiccated coconut
150gms crushed macadamia nuts
1 packet of mini-marshmallows
Melt chocolate in a clean bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. Stir constantly so that the chocolate doesn’t split. Alternatively, microwave in 15 second bursts.
Stir in raspberries, macadamias, marshmallows and coconut and spread on a baking sheet lined with grease-proof paper.
Leave to cool for at least two hours. Cut with a sharp knife into bite sized chunks.
Watch: Curtis Stone guides us through the different types of cream and when to use them.