Archive for Chocolate

Christmas Dinner 2008

Posted in Baking, Chocolate, Cooking, dessert, Dinner, events, Food, Home Cooked Food, recipe with tags , , , , , , , on December 28, 2008 by helenphillips

Christmas Dinner this year was just the 2 of us. A Turkey would have been impractical, and neither of us are big fans. Goose was under consideration, but again deemed too big. So we had Gressingham Duck, cooked very simply using guidelines from Delia – roasted on a rack, with plenty of seasoning on the skin.

I retained some of the drained off fat, and used it to roast the potatoes, carrots and parsnips. In addition, there was the compulsory Sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and red cabbage (boiled and then sauteed in butter, red vinegar and sugar). There was no worries about not getting our 5 a day! The gravy was made from a stock made from the duck giblets, some red wine and cranberries. And finally, on the side was the cranberry sauce that I prepared on Christmas Eve.  Unbelievably, we forgot to do the sausages wrapped in bacon, and so ended up having them for supper on Boxing Day!

For pudding we had chocolate Souffle – the recipe comes from The Green & Blacks Unwrapped cookbook, the source of so many of my favourite recipes. It’s a simple recipe, as long as you don’t open the oven door mid cooking, then it should successfully rise.  The quantities quoted are to serve 6, but I managed to get 4 portions out of half the quantities – so I guess it depends on the size of your ramekins!

Ingredients:

  • 100g (4oz) dark chocolate (min 60% cocoa)
  • 60g (2.5 oz) cocoa powder
  • 8 egg whites
  • 60g (2.5 oz) caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 190ºC / 375ºF / Gas Mark 5.

Melt the chocolate and butter using a basin over a saucepan of simmering water.

Put the cocoa into a saucepan, along with 150ml of cold water. Whisk to blend well, and heat until it boils. Boil for 10 seconds, and then add to the mixing basin of melted chocolate.

Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the sugar, and whisk until the mixture is smooth and glossy.  Add a quarter of the egg white to the chocolate mix, and gently fold in until completely mixed. Fold in the rest of the egg white, keeping it gentle to keep air in the mixture.

Prepare the ramekins by brushing the insides with melted butter. Fill each ramekin to the rim, and level off.

Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

You can also make a caramel sauce using caramel chocolate and thick cream, but I cheat and use Dulce De Leche Caramel Toffee from Merchant Gourmet.


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Chocolate Mousse

Posted in Chocolate, Cooking, dessert, Home Cooked Food, recipe with tags , , , , , , , on December 24, 2008 by helenphillips

We had friends over for dinner last night, and needing little encouragement to use chocolate, I decided to make some chocolate mousse.

I took my inspiration (as always from the Green & Blacks Cookbook) but as none quite fitted my needs, I made my own adjustments.

My recipe uses a combination of dark and milk chocolate, giving a good dose of high quality chocolate without it being too bitter. The quantities serve 4:

  • 50g Dark Chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
  • 50g Milk Chocolate (cooking)
  • 40g Unsalted Butter
  • 2 large eggs (separate the yolks from the whites)
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar (I used my vanilla sugar)

Melt the chocolate and butter using a basin over a saucepan of simmering water.

In the meantime, whisk the eggs white until they form soft peaks. Add the sugar, and whisk until the mixture is smooth and glossy.

Remove the melted chocolate from the heat, and stir in the egg yolks until the mixture is smooth.

Add a spoonful of the egg white to the chocolate mix, and gently fold in until completely mixed. Fold in the rest of the egg white, keeping it gentle to keep air in the mixture. Once completely mixed in (so that there are no white spots), the mixture can be decanted into serving bowls. You can use 1 large one, or individual portions.

C is for Chocolate

Posted in Baking, Cooking, Food, Home Cooked Food, recipe with tags , , , , , , on October 10, 2008 by helenphillips

Next week is ‘Chocolate Week‘. Very few of us need encouragement to eat chocolate, but the website details offers and events to look forward to. The Kitchen Goddess website is also getting into the spirit of things, with lots of chocolate recipes. Last week’s Recipe of the Week of ‘White Chocolate Mousse with Spiced Raspberries‘ particularly caught my eye.

This ties in nicely with a blog entry I have been working on for some time, as I seem to have been doing a fair bit of chocolate ‘cooking’ recently.

It started whilst I was reading ‘The Lollipop Shoes‘ by Joanne Harris, the follow up to her popular novel ‘Chocolat’. Throughout the book, characters indulge in rich home-made hot chocolate. The descriptions of the spices used made me think about trying it myself, an adventurous change to powder from a jar.

So, I decided to do a bit of research, and see what recipes I could try. My first port of call was ‘Green & Blacks Chocolate Recipes‘ which has a wonderful array of chocolate recipes from ‘Italian Venison’, to the wonderful ‘Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake‘, and chocolate souffle with Caramel Sauce.  Although the book details the origins (and how to make Kukuh), it didn’t have quite what I was looking for. So, I turned to the internet.  I was fascinated by the mention that the Mayans drank their chocolate with chilli, as do some of the characters in ‘The Lollipop Shoes’. The recipes I found seemed quite heavy on the chilli, so being the wimp I am, I reduced it a little, and experimented with what ingredients I had.

Hot Chocolate

  • 230 ml milk
  • 22 g chocolate – chopped finely, or grated
  • 3 g chilli
  • 1/2 vanilla pod – split down the middle
  • 1/2 stick Cinnamon
  • teaspoon nutmeg

I added the chilli, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg to the milk, and heated it gently (take care not to let the milk boil).  Once the milk was simmering, I stirred in the chocolate. I used skimmed milk, which makes this drink quite healthy(!) but still tasty (and quite spicy enough for me).  I imagine that made with full-fat milk and some cream it would make a very decadent treat.

Chocolate Truffles

A few days later, I found myself in possession of some good quality chocolate (Divine 70%), and decided that now was as good a time as any to start practicing making truffles for Christmas time. These can be made in advance and frozen, or alternatively scoffed in 3 days.  I’ve used Delia’s recipe before, and did again this time. The first batch was made with Brandy – and you can’t miss it in the taste. For the second batch I used Orange Essence, which I personally preferred.  Which ever recipe you follow, prepared to get messy!

Chocolate Muffins

Last weekend my husband asked me to make some muffins to take to his MBA tutorial. Again I turned to the G&B chocolate recipe book. They have a recipe for ‘Banana, Cherry and White Chocolate Muffins’, but I wanted something more chocolately. I used their recipe as a guideline for quantities, and added in some cocoa powder and milk chocolate drops. The recipe told me that it would make 10 large muffins. It lied. I suspected as much when it also said to fill the case 2/3 full, and there wasn’t enough. So, instead I got 10 small muffins. (and then looked at another recipe that used double the amount for 12 muffins!). They were delicious anyway. So, if you decide to try this, either share it between 6 large muffin cases, or double it to go for 12!

  • 150g (5 oz) plain flour
  • 0.5 level tablespoon baking powder
  • 0.25 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium egg
  • 40g (1.5 oz ) caster sugar
  • 125ml (4 fl oz) milk
  • 50g (2 oz) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 100g milk chocolate drops

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas Mark 6.

Melt the butter (it really needs to be entirely melted to mix well, says the voice of experience). Whisk it together with the egg, sugar and milk. Then add the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder. Make sure the texture isn’t too smooth, so you get that lumpy look muffins are known for. Add the chocolate drops, and mix in.  Finally, share the mixture between the muffin cases, or muffin tray if you have one. Remember, you are aiming for 2/3rds full! Bake for approx 20 minutes. The tops should spring back when you touch them.

Enjoy!

I found this article to be interesting reading on the Origins of Chocolate, and today I came across ‘Chocolate Source‘ – a whole site dedicated to chocolate, fantastic. So I’ll leave you with that, and with ‘10 things you didn’t know about chocolate‘ from the Ethical Superstore website – an excellent source for Divine Fairtrade Chocolate. Oh, and as a final note, at a Beer tasting session at Taste of Bath last year, we were advised that Leffe Brune is the perfect accompaniment for chocolate.

Raisin out! The Revels Eviction

Posted in Chocolate, Food, News with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 9, 2008 by helenphillips

News for chocolate fans! In a Big Brother style eviction, Mars are letting consumers decide which flavour should be given the boot. This is just a short term expulsion, as a limited edition flavour will be introduced for a short time. The flavour has not yet been announced.

The current flavours are:

Coffee, Orange, Chocolate, Caramel, Malteasers, and Raisin.

Personally I have voted to get rid of the Raisin – bleugh.  It recently replaced the Peanut flavour, which is a big mistake as far as I’m concerned. As I write this, Raisin is in 2nd place with 28% of the votes. Coffee (which I would be voting for if it wasn’t for the Raisin) takes the lead with 36% of the votes.

Voting is here, so go on, VOTE RAISIN OUT! Your selection will be disposed of in the fashion of your choice, my particular favourite being the Thelma & Louise drive off the cliff.

For the more dedicated fans, you can join in the debate on Facebook. And let’s wait and see what the new flavour is. Strawberry maybe? Bleugh again!