Summer Chocolate and Hidden Garden

1 August 2006

Even though chocolate is something I can’t live without, you don’t really want a big bar of it in this weather (well some people may do) and these ‘cold chocolate’ drinks with a little twist are a good way both to cool down and satisfy your chocolate cravings.

I found the recipes in Japanese Elle à Table (no.26) and they are taken from new Jean-Paul Hévin book, Délices de Chocolat (I’m not 100% sure if these recipes are included in the book as it sounds like he made some especially for the magazine. I took a look at his book when it came out but can’t remember if those were included…)

I tried two recipes this time – the first is basically a vanilla flavoured milk drink but the chocolate content is by way of chocolate ice cubes. Tastewise not very surprising (I’m thinking of adding coffee flavour or even spices next time) but you can enjoy the texture – as you drink the milk the ice cubes start melting (they aren’t hard like normal ice) and blend in with the milk nicely.

The other one has a tropical twist – adding some banana puree into the chocolate drink as well as coconut milk in the whipped cream; the flavours are quite subtle and I loved the combination. Both recipes are quite adaptable to your taste – so feel free to adjust the quantities, but make sure to use good quality chocolate/cocoa powder and serve them chilled (and preferably in small portions) otherwise they would taste a bit, um, dull :)

Since we did our garden last year, I’ve been enjoying growing things – our not-so-big flower bed is getting covered with all sorts of herbs, fruit trees and I’m warming to the idea of growing vegetables in our friend’s allotment (under his supervision :)) I was never interested in gardening (and thought I never would be) but it’s definitely growing on me and spending time in the garden really lowers my stress level :) I still have a problem every time I stumble upon slugs/snails (or anything else that slithers) but hopefully will learn to live with them one day…

Last weekend I had a lovely time with some fellow food bloggers – Anna and Valentina, they are both very sweet and their blogs are my inspiration. They kindly accepted my rather short notice suggestion of visiting a ‘garden centre’ for lunch – I’ve been curious about this place since I read some articles about its restoration a few years back and am glad I finally paid a visit.

The Petersham Nurseries is in the leafy London suburb of Richmond, set on the grounds of Petersham House, a 17th-century mansion. Italian banker Francesco Boglione and his Australian wife Gael’s transformation of this run-down nursery is gorgeous, the huge greenhouses and garden are filled with beautiful things.

You will find not just loads of plants and gardening paraphernalia, but also lovely furniture, antiques and interior accessories among them – the place itself has a sort of colonial feel, everything on display from exotic Balinese furniture to delicate French glasses makes this place feel even more original.

They have a restaurant and cafe which is perfect for an alfresco summer lunch. Unfortunately we couldn’t book a table this time (and were told that there was quite a long waiting list), but from various reviews and the menu we checked on the day, I know I would love the Australian chef Skye Gyngell’s unfussy food focused on seasonal, fresh local ingredients – most herbs, fruit and vegetables are grown in their own organic garden (you can read more stories in their press page including some of her recipes that she has written for various publications).

Instead, we enjoyed a long chat with some tea and cakes in the ‘tea house’ – actually there isn’t any specific area, just lots of wobbly reclaimed tables and chairs all around the nursery so you just take a seat wherever you like and watch the world go by. I never thought having tea in a greenhouse would be such a relaxing, fascinating experience :)

This is a place where simplicity and elegance come together, and I’ll be going back soon for sure (oh and I had to pre-order her new book :))

After tea, we enjoyed a walk along Richmond meadow and the Thames (and some local shops in Richmond town) – thanks again, Anna and Valentina, for a lovely day out.

Glaçons chocolat d’été

serves 4

for the chocolate ice cubes
200ml milk
50ml water
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
70g dark chocolate (finely chopped)

for the vanilla flavoured milk
600ml milk
1 vanilla pod (seeds scraped out)
40g sugar

For the chocolate ice cubes, place the milk, water, sugar and cocoa powder in a pan and bring to the boil. Take from the heat, add the chocolate and leave to melt. When cool, pour into ice cube trays and freeze.

For the milk drink, place the milk, vanilla pod & seeds and sugar in a pan and bring to the boil. Set aside and cool, then chill in the fridge (preferably overnight).

To serve, place the chocolate ice cubes into the glasses and pour the milk over. You can serve with some whipped cream and shaved chocolate on top if desired.

Chocolat des îles

serves 4

for the chocolate drink
500ml milk
90g cocoa powder
60g sugar
50g banana puree

for the coconut cream
120ml double cream
30ml coconut milk
10g sugar

shredded coconut (lightly roasted)
cocoa powder

To make the chocolate drink, place the milk, cocoa powder and sugar in a pan and bring to the boil. When everything has blended, take off from the heat, cool in ice cold water and chill in the fridge.

Whip the cream and sugar lightly in a bowl and add the coconut milk.

Add the banana puree into the chilled chocolate mixture. Pour the chocolate into glasses, top with the coconut cream, and finish with the lightly roasted coconut dusted with a little cocoa powder.

Food - Sweet    Places    47 comments    Permalink

  • Sounds like a lovely outing Keiko. The photos are wonderful.

    Posted by Barbara | 1 August 2006 #
  • Wow, these sound interesting, it does sound like adding spices may liven them up a bit. BTW, I ordered the "Accidental Foodie" book from Japan and am awaiting its arrival! Thanks for your advice!

    Posted by Kat | 1 August 2006 #
  • Ahah, no matter the weather, on my hand, I cannot live without chocolate every day! I think this is called addiction. Your chocolate drinks are beautiful. I will have to try my hand at them. I love the play of the melting ice cubes in the milk. I know I would adore watching it happen!

    Posted by Bea at La Tartine Gourmande | 1 August 2006 #
  • as usual your photos are gorgeous ! nice chocolate recipes as usual but I agree it’s a little to hot at that time far chocolate!

    Posted by mercotte | 1 August 2006 #
  • Gosh, Keiko,

    I so envy your ability to dip into a whole other world of recipes found in Japanese magazines and books. These look gorgeous as always. The nursery you’ve featured also makes me miss gardening so much! Thank you for sharing the lovely afternoon you had.

    Posted by S | 1 August 2006 #
  • Keiko, these chocolate drinks sound heavenly. I have never prepared anything like it before. PErhaps your post will send me in a new path. Must do some research. It was really lovely to see the post with all the pictures from Garden centre. Brought lovely memories of a very nice day back. It was lovely of you to invite me as it all combined to a great day.

    Posted by Valentina | 1 August 2006 #
  • Gorgeous photos as usual. I agree that a block of chocolate, though heavenly melting in one’s mouth, just makes me think of sticky hands in this heat. Thanks for the recipes. I can’t wait to try them out to help cool off.

    Posted by Mochene | 1 August 2006 #
  • MMmmm banana and chocolate together in a cool creamy drink -- fantastic! Tell me Keiko, do you entertain at home often? If so, how do you ever manage to get your guests to leave? :)

    Posted by Kevin | 1 August 2006 #
  • Beautiful photos Keiko, you’re such an inspiration :)

    Posted by Mae | 1 August 2006 #
  • I really lovo your photos! What equipment do you use?

    Posted by thefoodtraveller | 1 August 2006 #
  • Keiko-san,




    で、私も先週 実はお近くまでいってました!

    Lavenhamでクリームティーしてきたんですよ。Bury St Edmondも通りました。今度はぜひ伺いたいわ!


    Posted by Sagam | 1 August 2006 #
  • I see I’m not the only one who likes chocolate even if it’s during summer time ! Great recipe, I’ll try.

    Posted by Elodie | 1 August 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko,

    Amazing photos. I especially liked the one with the horse (is it made of stone?). Your recipes are very cool too. I can’t wait to try both of them. Whenever I try a recipe for a chocolate drink I almost always add a bit of cayenne pepper. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

    Posted by Cenk | 1 August 2006 #
  • Wow, what can i say to this one, chocolate drink with choco ice cubes? This I can try definitely...I’ve heard about making ice coffee with coffee ice cubes, but not chocolate...Yum in this hot ’canicule’ days...

    That garden/nursery seems a very interesting and peaceful place in the middle of bustling busy city...I’d love to go to London right now to visit it myself :-) Lovely photos...

    Posted by Maya | 1 August 2006 #
  • I don’t know what to say anymore. Your art (food become art by Keiko san) is just stunning and extraordinary!!!!! I wish I could try your chocolate dessert :-)

    Posted by juju | 1 August 2006 #
  • I love the garden pictures, Keiko - just what I thought an English summer would be like, green and elegant. I love the idea of melting chocolate ice cubes too - I echo the envy above at your access to a whole other part of pastry I can’t reach yet!

    Posted by Anita | 1 August 2006 #
  • Sounds like a wonderful outing Keiko! Beautiful photos! And both of the drinks sound like an excellent ways to keep cool and endulge a little! I love the concept of a chocolate ice-cube!

    Posted by gilly | 2 August 2006 #
  • Chocolate ice cubes is a great idea ! Definitely need to try this. I am pretty sure my kids would love it. I too like to visit garden centers. Thanks for sharing the pics which are great as usual.

    Posted by krithika | 2 August 2006 #
  • Merci Keiko, tes photos sont incroyablement belles : moi qui aime tant Londres... Elles me rappellent plein de bons souvenirs et cette ambiance si particulière à London! Merci aussi pour cette délicieuse recette de crème aux glaçons-chocolat. Bravo & see you soon...

    Posted by Camille | 2 August 2006 #
  • hi keiko, beautiful post...the jph recipes sound so wonderful and your pictures look so fabulous that i simply must try them ;) - they are totally perfct for the heatwave we seem to be experiencing right now...i feel refreshed just looking at your lovely creations! as for the nursery and the divine things to be found there, it’s all so thrilling it just sends shivers down my spine :)

    Posted by Joycelyn | 3 August 2006 #
  • I’ve been following my nose through various food blogs with a Paris theme, and came upon yours. Keiko, your pictures are stunning, and your ability to turn out bewitching desserts is, frankly, awe-inspiring. Your blog is an absolute delight!

    Posted by Margaret | 3 August 2006 #
  • these photos capture too many beautiful things to count ...

    Posted by lisa | 3 August 2006 #
  • keiko, this is beautiful! I keep saying that about your posts but there really is no other way to describe them.

    And as a chocolate addict those Glaçons chocolat d’été are a must. I am going to have to try them, perhaps when it gets warmer down here.

    Posted by jenjen | 3 August 2006 #
  • Your pictures are wonderfull !

    Posted by Cécile | 3 August 2006 #
  • I must admit that I can have chocolate at anytime and any temperature :)

    As always, you have an impeccable eye.


    Posted by Jasmine | 4 August 2006 #
  • just lovely!

    Posted by ana | 4 August 2006 #
  • It looks superbe, i am a chocolatlover, it’s true that these days eating were not eating much chocolat. But these drinks seem very good.

    Sorry that i didn’t post new thiongs on my blog but i’m so busy (again) and i didn’t had the time to put anything on it. I’ll try to post something in the very near future :-)



    Posted by shanna | 4 August 2006 #
  • チョコレート、私もなくてはならない存在かな^^


    特に最後の写真・・・! なんて素敵なのでしょう。



    Posted by seiko | 5 August 2006 #
  • This is my first visit to your gloriously beautiful blog! There’s such freshness and clarity and elegance everywhere here. I can see where I’ll be spending lots of time from now on.

    Posted by Laura | 5 August 2006 #
  • I’m enjoying the glacons chocolat d’ete right now, it’s lovely! The vanilla milk is very good on its own. I think the chocolate cubes might also work frozen on a stick, like a fudgesicle? Thank you for such an easy, beautiful and fun recipe.

    Posted by Nerine | 5 August 2006 #
  • wow, everything looks so delicious, i’m really hungry for chocolate now.

    Posted by debbie | 7 August 2006 #
  • I stumbled across your blog while I was doing some online research.I also love chocolate but find it less appetizing in warm weather. Those drinks sound like a wonderful way to get one’s chocolate fix without the mess of melted chocolate on one’s fingers!

    Posted by thebizofknowledge | 7 August 2006 #
  • CHOCOLATES .... one of the few dark stuffs i simply must have. i always have a few bars kept in the smallish wine chiller (hmmm .. not too sure it’s the proper place to store chocolates)

    the recipe looks absolutely divine & so easy to make.perfecto nice warm drink on rainy days. beautiful photography that’s really making me longing for one now

    Petersham House Garden are so lovely. I always drean to have my very own (tropical) herbs garden. btw, have you visited KEW gardens yet?

    Posted by slurp! | 7 August 2006 #
  • I made the chocolate des iles today- and i like it even better than the glacon chocolate d’ete. The banana puree adds so much!

    Posted by Nerine | 8 August 2006 #
  • Chère Keiko,what a nice post, everything looks so refined

    Thanks for sharing the recipes.

    The Petersham Nursery seem’s to be fantastic!

    I’m in Tokyo now, and i love to visit the bookshops, there such a big choice of food books, i can’t believe it!

    Everything is so beautiful...

    J’aime le japon!

    A bientôt

    Posted by ooishigal | 8 August 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko,

    The photos of the garden are beautiful and conveys a very peaceful sense. The chocolate ice cubes and vanilla milk idea is fantastic. I will definitely give that a go when the weather gets warmer down under.

    Posted by ilingc | 8 August 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko

    What a lovely account of your visit. And how lucky you are to have such a gorgeous centre near you! We have plenty of garden centres around here, just on the other side of the M25 in Essex, but nothing as lovely as this!! As for the recipes - oh my word. Chocolate ice cubes... chocolate ice cubes... I’m sorry - that’s where my brain stopped functioning... ;-)

    Posted by Jeanne | 8 August 2006 #
  • such a lovely post, which lift me out from my melancholy today, and chocolate, yum... (nibbling on some right now!)

    Posted by Lil | 8 August 2006 #
  • Beautiful chocolate drinks, Keiko, and that garden restaurant looks very appealing! I wish I could have paid a visit there:)

    And there’s definitely something about chocolate and weather. I must have chocolate every day here in Scotland, whether I didn’t even think of buying any while in Greece in June...

    Posted by Pille | 8 August 2006 #
  • I am one of those people that can eat chocolate EVERY single day - even if it’s 30°C outside.

    These drinks look beautiful and i can’t wait to try them.

    Regarding the nursery it sounds lovely - i am going to Kingston Upon Thames next week, so i might go there.


    Posted by fanny | 9 August 2006 #
  • Lovely pictures for a nice promenade. I am sure you had a great time. The chocolate ice cubes are great, I will sure try it.

    Posted by bonheursdesophie | 10 August 2006 #
  • oh wow... chocolate galore... thanks

    Posted by shaz | 10 August 2006 #
  • I cannot wait to try these chocolate ice cubes. This sounds like a great recipe, and i’m glad you had a great time around the Thames. Thanks Keiko!

    Posted by Kelli | 10 August 2006 #
  • Every time there is an update on your blog I get filled with excitement to read of your adventure in the culinary world.

    I made the chocolate ice cubes this past weekend for a dinner party. I served it with freshly made espresso straight from my stovetop espresso maker, a bit of coffee liqueur, and a splash of milk. It was a big hit!! Thank you so much~

    Posted by Jacquie | 15 August 2006 #
  • I love innovative recipes like this. Inspiring me to get off my chair and into the kitchen, where I should be!

    Posted by Scott | 31 August 2006 #
  • Keiko, this is abosolutely fantastic! i so want the chocolate drinks! beautiful photos as always :)

    Posted by shereen | 3 August 2007 #
  • hi
    I can not fill your page to visit
    everything looks perfect

    Posted by Esra | 11 September 2009 #

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