Homegrown Truffles for A Paris Tea Shop

My book of the week is Vanessa Yu's Magical Paris Tea Shop, by Roselle Lim.  After reading her debut novel, Natalie Tan's Book of Luck & Fortune, which I very much enjoyed, her sequel was next on my list.  As in her earlier book there are sprinklings of clairvoyance, coming to terms with who we are and what we can be, romance and of course, lots of really good food.  Heck,  she goes to Paris, so of course!   Not too deep, but not shallow either.

Vanessa has had the gift, some call it second sight, since she was a child, but is definitely looking that horse in the mouth.  Doesn't want it, can't seem to be rid of it and at the same time is being hounded by her well-meaning family to marry, and get on with her life.  Unfortunately that idea has been  held up by the inconvenient truths she blurts out on dates, which sends them running.

From the Publishers: 

"Vanessa Yu never wanted to see people's fortunes—or misfortunes—in tealeaves.

Ever since she can remember, Vanessa has been able to see people's fortunes at the bottom of their teacups. To avoid blurting out their fortunes, she converts to coffee, but somehow fortunes escape and find a way to complicate her life and the ones of those around her. To add to this plight, her romance life is so nonexistent that her parents enlist the services of a matchmaking expert from Shanghai.

After her matchmaking appointment, Vanessa sees death for the first time. She decides that she can't truly live until she can find a way to get rid of her uncanny abilities. When her eccentric Aunt Evelyn shows up with a tempting offer to whisk her away, Vanessa says au revoir to California and bonjour to Paris. There, Vanessa learns more about herself and the root of her gifts and realizes one thing to be true: knowing one's destiny isn't a curse, but being unable to change it is."

I thought a nice batch of truffles would be a fine accompaniment to the beverages at Aunt Evelyn's new Tea Shop, Promesse de The. Plus, I found out it's National Chocolate Day!  This recipe is a simpler way of using my cacao nibs than the long and involved process of making finished chocolate.  See this post for that step by step illustration. I still haven't bought myself a moulanger, and have been using my nephew's. But for this, no need.  

My Truffles

2 1/2 cups roasted cacao nibs, ground fine (liquefied in my Sumeet Grinder)
1 tablespoon lecithin (added at the end of the cacao grinding - optional)
1/2 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped
1 cup dates or figs, seeded, chopped (I used 1/2 cup dried pineapple for this batch)
1./2 cup honey or agave nectar, add more if you like things sweeter
1/3 cup peanut butter (or almond, cashew, etc.)
1/4 teas. almond extract

Mix all well and then form into balls on parchment paper.  Chill until firm, then wrap in cling wrap. Enjoy! So, now I won't have to purchase chocolate bars for awhile.  My fix is waiting.  No special excuse is needed, they're good any time of the day.  I brought one in for my granddaughter and she had it for breakfast.  Well, she did have a smoothie too. Personally, I like mine with a glass of wine. A good book on the side.

This post will go over to Weekend Cooking, hosted by Marge the Intrepid Reader, and to Heather for her October Foodies Read Challenge. Be sure to stop by for a visit at these sites for some good food and book recommendations.


Peanut Butter Chocolate Scones for The Secret Book & Scone Society

The Secret, Book & Scone Society is our current bi-monthly pick at Cook the Books Club, hosted this time by Simona of Briciole. In my opinion this is a delightful novel, featuring not only tempting food, secrets and some magic (or call it inspired intuition), but healing and a bit of romance as well. On top of all that the new found friends solve a mystery.  From the Publishers:

"A quirky club in small-town North Carolina holds the keys to health, happiness, friendship—and even solving a murder—all to be found within the pages of the right book…

Strangers flock to Miracle Springs hoping the natural hot springs, five-star cuisine, and renowned spa can cure their ills. If none of that works, they often find their way to Miracle Books, where, over a fresh-baked “comfort” scone, they exchange their stories with owner Nora Pennington in return for a carefully chosen book. That’s Nora’s special talent—prescribing the perfect novel to ease a person’s deepest pain. So when a visiting businessman reaches out for guidance, Nora knows exactly how to help. But before he can keep their appointment, he’s found dead on the train tracks.

Stunned, Nora forms the Secret, Book, and Scone Society, a group of damaged souls yearning to earn redemption by helping others. To join, members must divulge their darkest secret—the terrible truth that brought each of them to Miracle Springs in the first place. Now, determined to uncover the truth behind the businessman’s demise, the women meet in Nora’s cozy bookstore. And as they untangle a web of corruption, they also discover their own courage, purpose, and a sisterhood that will carry them through every challenge—proving it’s never too late to turn the page and start over..."


Death Below Stairs with Soup

I do believe Jennifer Ashley, a bestselling author with a few other series, has a hit with this new debut, Death Below Stairs.  I think we all love discovering a new author with an exciting, new series.  Then, many of us would add to that a good new recipe for even more enjoyment.  

In this tale reminiscent of the old Upstairs, Downstairs TV show, a youthful, though excellent chef, in Victorian London, finds herself stretched to her limits with cooking, shopping, (earning enough to support her little girl) all while helping solve the murder of her young assistant. I thought the ambitious and feisty cook was an engaging and well-drawn character.  From the Publishers:

"Highly sought-after young cook Kat Holloway takes a position in a Mayfair mansion and soon finds herself immersed in the odd household of Lord Rankin. Kat is unbothered by the family’s eccentricities as long as they stay away from her kitchen, but trouble finds its way below stairs when her young Irish assistant is murdered.