Posts Tagged: chocolate


17
Mar 11

Vegetables and chocolate

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Funny old cooking time of late. I’ve been surrendering to my sweet tooth. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a sucker for a pudding and for anything chocolate-based, from a Cadbury’s fudge to an Akesson’s single plantation Madagscan chocolate bar.

At the same time though, I’ve been rather virtuous, subsisting on a diet at home that is mainly vegetable based, with the odd Friday night feast of something naughty like Buffalo wings. It’s been dhal, salads (on the sunnier days), curries, soup. I’m not quite sure what’s been going on.

Oh yes, and the brownies. Yes the brownies. I keep them hidden in the freezer, ready cut, and eat them straight from there, slightly chewier and with a delicious, cool, snap.

Perhaps it’s the changing seasons – my body is gearing up for the warmer months. Mind you, I’d eat chocolate on the hottest and coldest days of the year, no problem.

I even woke up in the middle of the night the other day and snapped a few pieces of the bar(s!) I keep stashed away for a rainy day. Still, I ate my salad on the balcony in the sun the next day – getting my Vitamin D fix while I chomp through my other vitamins.


16
Apr 10

A messy Sunday afternoon

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I don’t tend to go in for house-warming parties; I’ve never quite seen the logic in getting the house all clean and spangly and then inviting a load of people round to make a mess of it!Sunday lunch is a much more sedate and enjoyable way to get settled into a new place – and saves the breakages and spills so often associated with late nights and loud music.

The Sunday lunch we had did eventually turn into a very late impromptu party, so it was rather lucky I’d made a big enough pud for the extra people who turned up over the course of the afternoon and evening.

This pear and hazelnut mess gives a nod towards the classic French dessert poires belle helene.

Click here for my recipe for Pear and hazelnut mess with chocolate shavings


8
Jun 09

Easy like sundae morning

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I love the recent trends towards old puddings. You can barely move for these luxurious, decadent classics. Trifles, summer puddings and arctic rolls seem to be cropping up on the menus of fine-dining restaurants and pubs alike.

Just the other day I popped round to a friend’s house and we had banana split for afters – a refreshing reminder about how delicious this simple dessert can be. Ice cream, bananas, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, maraschino cherries and toasted, chopped pecans sprinkled over the top. Does life get more pleasurable than that?

Nostalgia plays such an important part in the food we eat – both smell and taste are especially evocative and can transport us instantly to another time or place. The current trend to revisit our childhood classics can only be a good thing, taking modern techniques and subtleties and creating dinner party-worthy fare.

My most recent effort was a peanut butter and chocolate sundae – a trip down memory lane for some, a twist on a retro classic for others. This recipe encompasses the best in salty and sweet. Large scoops of ice cream, salted peanuts rolled in chocolate and dusted with sugar combined with a deep chocolate and a rich butterscotch sauce, topped off with a peanut butter brownie cookie. Over-the-top, but utterly delicious.

Peanut butter and chocolate sundae (makes 8)

For the chocolate peanuts

  •     50g salted peanuts (not roasted)
  •     50 g dark chocolate
  •     1 tsp sugar
For the butterscotch sauce

  •    70g sugar
  •    50g butter
  •    150ml double cream
  •    Large pinch of sea salt flakes
For the chocolate sauce

  •   100ml double cream
  •   1 tbs sugar
  •   50g dark chocolate
  •   1 tbs golden syrup
For the peanut butter brownie cookies

  •   200g dark chocolate
  •   60g butter
  •   35g flour
  •   2 medium eggs
  •   150g caster sugar
  •   4 tbs crunchy peanut butter
  •   Pinch of salt
  •   8 scoops vanilla ice cream
  •   8 scoops chocolate ice cream
Method

First, make the cookies. Break chocolate up into pieces and melt with butter over a low heat. Once melted, remove from heat. In a bowl whisk eggs with sugar until light and pale. Add salt and melted chocolate and butter mixture. Mix thoroughly and add peanut butter, beating it to incorporate thoroughly. Sift in flour and mix again.

Chill mixture for an hour or. Preheat oven to 180°C. Place a sheet of greaseproof on a baking sheet or in a tin. Divide mixture into 8-10 balls, rolling them in your hands to make spheres. Spread them out evenly on the greaseproof, leaving a few centimetres around each. Bake for around 12 minutes – you may have to do this in batches. They will be very squidgy when they come out. Leave them to cool.

Make the sauces. For the butterscotch, melt ingredients – bar the salt – together in a pan and cook for five or so minutes on a medium heat. The mixture should thicken. Add salt, stir and then set aside to cool. For the chocolate sauce, melt ingredients together in a pan. You may need to add a few tablespoons of water to get the right consistency. Set aside.

Next make the chocolate peanuts – break chocolate into pieces and melt in a bowl over a saucepan of water. Roll peanuts in the chocolate and spread onto a non-stick tray or on a lightly oiled plate. When they have cooled slightly but not set, sprinkle over the sugar and refrigerate.

To serve, take eight large glasses or bowls. Put a ball of each ice cream into the bowl. Crumble the peanuts slightly and sprinkle over. Spoon over some of each sauce, then break a cookie into three or four, placing it around. 


19
May 09

Oldie but goodie recipes from yesteryear

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The resurgence of home-baking has led me on a trip down memory lane – scouring old cookbooks, newspaper clippings, my parents’ and grandparents’ collections looking for inspiration and some edible memories from my childhood.

 

There was plenty to work through – from the fantastic to the slightly strange (the Eighties are responsible for some seriously weird kitchen inventions – crisp-topped cheesey bakes, anyone?). Whatever they are, most carry fond memories.


When I was asked to rustle up some cakes for a charity sale the first thing that came to mind were the classic chocolate cornflake cakes – quick, easy and delicious.

 

A week or so later I was invited to a bring-your-own picnic. I suspected an upmarket version of these sticky treats would do the trick and these childhood favourites became a nostalgic, grown-up treat. 

 

Grown-up chocolate cornflake cakes

 

Ingredients (makes about 30)

 

  • 160g cornflakes
  • 8tbs golden syrup
  • 200g very good dark chocolate
  • 110g butter

 

Method

 

Melt the syrup, butter and chocolate over a low heat until smooth. Remove from the heat and mix in the cornflakes, gently but thoroughly until they are all coated. Place spoonfuls of the mixture either into fairy-cake cases or just onto a plate or baking sheet and allow to cool – they will set as they do so.

 

If you like (and you want to go for a bit of kitsch-cool) decorate with hundreds and thousands or edible glitter – or both!

 

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