When I looked up the aetiology of this event I discovered that we also have a "Bittersweet Chocolate With Almonds Day" later in the year, on November 7th...and yesterday was "World Chocolate Day" which happily passed unnoticed. I can see we are going to have to pace ourselves...
Interestingly, in regard to the topic for today, in one Chocolate Almond Day celebration site, (I didn't study very many), the health benefits of almonds are linked as being able to reduce the risk of heart attack, lower bad cholesterol, provide healthy fats and aid in weight loss...even to lower blood sugar and insulin production after meals. All true to a point, however, the author totally fails to include the effects of the chocolate which would pretty much guarantee to counter each of the almonds positive health benefits evidenced when eaten alone, and unsalted.
Still, chocoholics can make their own deductions, can't they...
I do love almonds, far more than chocolate. They grow well here in Tasmania, although protecting the developing nuts from the possums was a task beyond me back in the days when I had a tree mature enough to produce nuts, in a previous garden...they just loved them more than I did and got up much earlier.
When I was working in Sydney years ago, a colleague with a husband from the Middle East told me of his family's penchant of eating these nuts while still soft and immature, before the outer shell develops it's woodiness. After trying them this way a couple of times, deliciously crisp and tartly flavoured, I was able to understand the possum's actions in getting in early. However, I still prefer to eat them mature, and use almonds in cooking in many ways. I was not too enamoured with the fuzzy outer coat of the green almonds...I also usually peel or dampen fresh peaches, also, to remove the mouthfeel of the downy skin.
My son has been hinting gently for some weeks now about wanting chocolate cake, so I decided today was the day. Mind you, he is perfectly able to make his own but as he provides me with coffee on demand and accompanies me to swimming each week without complaint, I decided a treat was in order.
When I think of chocolate and almonds, my thoughts fly instantly to Elizabeth David's recipe for Gateau au chocolat et aux almandes...a wonderfully simple dessert cake that has been my go-to recipe whenever I needed to produce a sweet contribution to a shared meal, a poshish pud, bribery for a staff meeting, or whatever.
There are many recipes for her cake, usually called something like 'flourless chocolate almond cake" which have been slightly altered by cooks - adding more chocolate, additional flavourings etc. of which I have on occasion tried, but I always revert to her original version printed in "French Provisional Cooking" , as it's so reliable. It is not a large cake, as it settles to about half it's height as it cools, to a dense, rich almost mousse-like texture, but with a delicious flavour.
For the matting layer I used a scrap of almond coloured card stock.
They make a good snack with an afternoon cuppa, or after dinner instead of dessert...as long as he sticks to just one or two, that is.
Bye for now,