After spending as much time in Brick Lane as I do it’s quite impossible to not be tempted by the huge piles of Indian sweets that call to you as you walk down the road from Aldgate East. I’d never been a massive fan of Asian desserts when I was a kid, or rather my mum wasn’t such a big fan of Asian desserts so by default neither was I, but as starting from when I got to travel on my own I’ve become steadily more and more addicted to everything sweet and Asian. It started off in Japan maybeand has steadily been advancing Eastwards from there at a steady pace moving from mochi, to mooncake to orhnee to kueh talam and everything inbetween so it was inevitable that at some point when I had a craving for something sweet that instead of searching out the nearest place that sells chendol and dardar I would reach for some laddus or jalebis.

At the moment I’m a complete addict, I just can’t stop eating spiced sugared cheese stuff or the lovely balls of sugar coated deep fried milk. I’ve always had a soft spot for condensed milk and things that taste sort of like it and these have just sent it over the edge.

Now the bit which comes back to chocolate (because everything has to come back to chocolate) is that the addiction has lead me to a fantastic new source of ingredients… Asian supermarkets. I really don’t know how I managed to miss that considering how much I spend in them every month, but they’re a treasure trove of awesome bits to put in chocolate and ideas to use; I can finally find decent floral infusions and gulab jamen flavoured white chocolates are the shit.

Also, possibly more importantly, they’re a really good source of dehydrated milk products which means that soon I can start making my own milk chocolate from couverture, yay! I don’t really like the idea of dehydrated milk, but apparently it’s what the good chocolatiers do and I have to admit I haven’t had much success adding fresh milk and then trying to get all the added water out of the mix. The only real alternative to powder is to use fresh milk and mix it with sugar before basically turning into milk syrup which you mix with chocolate and that’s far too sweet for my liking, so for the moment, powdered milk it is. 45% cocoa, 40% milk, 15% sugar, 100% awesome, barely sweetened milk chocolate here I come!

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