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Tag Archives: chocolate

Twisty chocolate bread, by Jamie Oliver

I have never made bread before, despite watching The fabulous Baker Brothers and Lorraine Pascale, and the other day I just thought why not ? I found a recipe in Jamie Oliver’s The return of the naked chef and it was brilliant! I mixed the yeast with the water and was fascinated when I came back to it a few minutes later and it was all frothy and then when I mixed the yeast with the flour it was like fluffing a cushion up! I was so excited when I left the bread to prove and it grew to twice the size! I felt bad rolling it out to make my bread, especially as my dad kept saying “it’s alive you know! that’s why it’s bigger!” that just made me feel guilty.  I also spent about 40 minutes cracking hazelnuts to put in the bread because we didn’t have any ready ones. Remember to buy them already shelled everyone, it’s a huge time saver.

This bread was so gorgeous, we made it at night and then cooked it in the morning and had it for breakfast like croissant, yummy yummy! If you think making bread is a pain in the neck give this a try, I found it so fun and I will definitely be making more bread in the future!

Ingredients

30 g fresh yeast/3 x 7g sachets of dried yeast

30 g honey (or sugar)

625 ml/just over 1 pint of tepid water

1 kg/just over 2lb strong bread flour

30 g/1 oz salt

extra flour for dusting

200 g soft butter

200 g hazelnuts, lightly roasted and crushed or broken up

310 g/11 oz chocolate (70 % cocoa) smashed up or grated

Recipe

Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F/gas mark 6

1. Dissolve the yeast and honey (or sugar) in half the tepid water.

2. On a clean surface or in a large bowl, make a pile of the flour and salt. Make a well in the centre and pour in the dissolved yeast mixture. With 4 fingers of one hand, make circular movements from the centre moving outwards, slowly bringing in more and more of the flour until the yeast mixture is soaked up. Pour the other half of the tepid water into the centre and incorporate all of the flour to make a moist dough.

3. Knead the dough (which was so fun) for 5 minutes.

4. Flour your hands and the top of the dough, make it into a round shape and place on a baking tray. Deeply score the dough with a knife and leave to prove until it’s doubled in size. You should leave it in a warm, moist, drought-free place for it to prove quicker. This should take about 40 minutes.

5. Divide the dough into equal parts. Prove for a second tile and then take each piece of dough and push out into a square shape on the floured board. The roll out to about 17 cm/7 inches wide. At this point, roll the other way and keep rolling to achieve a rectangle about 0.5 cm/1/4 inches thick. Using a knife, spread the butter thinly across the dough. Sprinkle tha hazelnuts and the chocolate over and roll up across the width like a swiss roll. Cut across into 2 cm/1 inch wide slices. Place the slices next to each other on a greased baking tray, cut side upwards, with small gaps in between. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Allow to cool for 20 minutes before mmmmmmming at it’s tastiness.

I reheated one of these for breakfast the next day and it was still gorgeous.

Meggy x

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Blondies, by Nigella Lawson

You may have been expecting a Valentine’s day recipe but, due to my boyfriend not being on school holidays yet, I am celebrating it next week instead and I will be cooking a 3 course meal and lots and lots of cakey snacky things to eat in front of a nice romantic film. Be sure not to miss that future post, either everything will go wrong or only a few things will.

These little treats are simply divine. Think of a brownie, then imagine it not brown and with oats et voila! Les Blondies! Nigella Lawson says that she came up with the name after baking some brownies then, a few days later, some of these. When I first made these we were amazed at how tasty they are, they’re everyone’s favourite cakey snack, even better than brownies! I have been meaning to show them to you, dear readers, for a while but I kept getting sidetracked. Once, I even got all the ingredients out and started weighing them, before realising that I was 150 grams short of oats. So FINALLY I have managed to make a batch, I highly recommend these to everyone, they are just so gorgeous.

Ingredients

200 g of oats, not instant

100 g of plain flour

1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

150 g of soft, unsalted butter

100 g of light muscovado sugar

1 x 397 g of condensed milk (my boyfriend has a strange fetish for this ingredient and insists on licking the can out when I’ve finished with it, which I find quite disgusting as condensed milk is good but mixed with other things, not by itself)

1 egg

1 x 170 g packet dark choccy chips

Recipe

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4 and line a 23 cm cake tin or a foil tray, approximately 30 x 20 x 5 cm with foil.

2. Combine the oats, flour and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl.

3. In another bowl, beat or mix the soft butter with sugar until pale and airily creamy, then beat in the condensed milk followed by the oats, flour and bicarb mixture.

4. When these are well mixed, beat in the egg, then fold in the choccy chips.

5. Pour, or spoon, the mixture into your tin or tray and smooth it down. Cook in the pre heated oven for about 35 mins. When it’s ready it will be dark gold around the edges and coming away from the tin. It might seem squidgy underneath but fear not, this is normal. Leave in the tin until it’s firm then put it on a wire rack to cool. When it’s cool cut it up into squares, then devour it.

By the way, this lovely cake stands can be found on the Etsy shop Tour de Force, click on the link or on the button in my sidebar.

Meggy x

Sandra’s Gateau au Poire

My mum goes to her friends house once a week where they sew, drink tea and eat cake. Last week she came back raving about a cake that her friend had made and wanted me to make it. It’s a chocolate cake with pears, it’s a very very easy to make and it was very nice, it’s quite dry on the outside but nice and gooey on the inside. The recipe is a bit odd, the mesurements are in tablespoons,  it’s made with an entire packet of baking powder (about 11 grams) and only a tablespoon and a half of flour, I was very skeptical but followed the recipe and it worked!

This cake is perfect for when you don’t have a lot of time to cook.

Ingredients

3 eggs

6 tablespoons of caster sugar

1 and a half tablespoons of plain flour (I know it seems odd but trust me)

1 packet (11 g) of baking powder

150 g of dark chocolate

100 g of butter

a can of tinned pears, drain the juice first

A 20 cm cake tin

Preperation

1. Heat the oven to 190 C/400 F/Gas mark 6 then grease your cake tin and line the bottom with baking parchment.

2. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a saucepan and while it’s melting beat the eggs and sugar together in a bowl.

3. Add the baking powder and flour, still mixing, then add the melted butter and chocolate. Make sure everything is mixed together properly and then pour into the cake tin.

4. Put the pears ontop of the mixture, if they sink don’t worry, then put the cake tin in the oven and cook for 45 minutes. Check after 40, just to be on the safe side.

5. Leave to cool for 10 minutes then take it out of the cake tin, sliding a palette knife round the edges if it’s stuck, leave to cool for a little longer, then serve with a good cuppa tea.

Meggy x

Rice Krispie brownies

My friends 18th birthday was on friday and naturally I was excited for her, though she didn’t seem to be. She doesn’t have many friends and is an orphan that lives with her boyfriend so she wasn’t really expecting much out of it, although she did say she was  going to go hunting and then have a birthday dinner with the hunters which, by the way was not invited to (the dinner, not the hunting) even though I am one of her closest friends which everyone else found very strange but I’m sure she had her reasons. Anyway, bad luck struck and she injured her knee in our sports class and ended up with a cast around her knee so the hunting trip was nearly canceled, but she went and ended up lying in a bush with a gun for the entire thing. I felt sorry for her because you’re supposed to have a fuss made of you for your 18th so I asked our friends at school if they wanted to throw a little surprise party. Our master plan was that on monday when we came in to school we would pretend to forget it had been her birthday and act like normal then, at lunchtime, we go outside and surprise her with a cake, sweets and “Champomi” (fake champagne for kids, basically fizzy apple juice). I was of course in charge of the cake and I wanted to make a batch of Blondies, brownies but made with condensed milk and oats instead of chocolate, but unfortunately we had not got enough oats… What had we got then? Well my mum had bought 2 huge boxes of Rice Krispies even though no one in the house likes them and so I decided to some classic Rice Krispie Brownies.

Ingredients

100g unsalted butter

5 x 15ml tablespoons (75g) golden syrup

150g good quality milk chocolate, chopped

50g good quality dark chocolate, chopped

150 g Rice Krispies

150g milk chocolate morsels or chips (or use half dark and half white choccy chips)

1 x 23cm square cake tin or 1 x foil tray approx 30 x 20 x 5cm

Preperation method

  • Line your tin with foil or get out a barbecue foil tray
  • Put the butter, golden syrup and chopped chocolates (not the chips) in a heavy based and fairly wide saucepan and melt over a low heat
  • Stir to mix the glossy mixture, take it of the heat, then quickly, pour and stir in the Rice Krispies
  • Still off the heat, quickly stir in the chocolate chips (I realised that you needed to do this very quickly so that they didn’t melt) and spoon the mixture into the tin.
  • Put in the fridge to set for about 4 hours before cutting

I didn’t have all the right chocolate for this but it was still absolutely gorgeous. I used 100g of dark chocolate, 100g of milk choccy chips, 100g of white choccy chips and some cocoa powder (not too much though I was scared it would make the mixture dry).

Everything went brilliantly until the next day when I triumphantly took the cake into school and then received a message from the birthday girl saying that she wasn’t coming in… Luckily I had put it in a Tupperware container but I was still worried as the Rice Krispie brownies should really be kept in the fridge. I left it in the locker overnight and the next day it was still there and hadn’t melted, but the (by now pretty annoying) birthday girl still wasn’t there, another day went by and in the end we decided to eat the cake and drink the fake champagne before they spoilt. Needless to say that my friend wasn’t very happy when she found out but hey, she shouldn’t’ have skipped school!

Meggy x

Chocolate digestive cheesecake with white icing

Another recipe that my Nan picked out over Christmas! This cake is very easy to make however, I have a few suggestions to make to Miss Lorraine. The biscuit base is very crumbly and she only puts it in a room to chill for 2 hours, which didn’t work. It was still quite runny and tasted too cheesy, but when I left the half that hadn’t been eaten in the fridge overnight the next day it was gorgeous! As you can see though the white chocolate design didn’t go as planned but I think it gives it a nice homemade look!

Ingredients

400g of chocolate digestives (I don’t think that 50g less would hurt though) crushed into fine crumbs

75g of butter, melted and cooled slightly

4 x 200g tubs cream cheese

icing sugar, to taste (I used about 25g)

400g milk chocolate (at least 35% cocoa solids), or a mixture of 300g milk and 100g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)

1 tsp of vegetable oil

100g white chocolate

23cm springform tin

piping bag with a very small nozzle

Preperation

1. Mix the crushed biscuits with the melted and cooled butter squeezing them together with the back of a wooden spoon until everything is well incorporated. Put the biscuits in the springform tin and use something flat to make it nice and flat. (At this point Lorraine just leaves the biscuits but I think I would put them in the fridge while the filling is being made.)

2. Put the cream cheese and icing sugar together in a bowl and mix together gently. This should only take a few turns of the spoon.

3. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, make sure the bowl doesn’t toch the water. You can also simply melt the chocolate in the microwave. Pour about a quarter of the chocolate into a jug, add the oil and put to the side. Before this is used again put it in the microwave for 20 seconds to warm it up a bit again, if you don’t have a microwave put a tea towl over it to keep warm.

4.  Add a large dollop of the cream cheese mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Keep adding the cream cheese mixture, one dollop at a time, mix it like mad until the mixture until the chocolate mixture begins to look smooth and silky. At this point, tip all of the cream cheese mixture into the chocolate mixture and mix together until everything is completely incorporated.

5. Tip the mixture on top of the biscuit base and smooth the top.  Put the cheesecake in the fridge for 20 minutes or until the chocolate at the top is beginning to firm up a little.

6. Five minutes before the cheesecake is ready, melt the white chocolate and make sure the jug of milk chocolate is nice and runny. Remove the cheesecake from the fridge and quickly pour the milk chocolate ontop of it until it is completely covered. Now drizzle white chocolate lines across the top about 2cm apart so you have a grid. Using a cocktail stick drag it across the white lines (this is how Lorraine does it but you can do whatever you want). Leave the cheesecake in the fridge for 2 hours.

Meggy x

A traditional French Christmas market

My boyfriend goes to University in a big town a few hours away and we decided to go and spend a few days over there. We went ice skating, which I am still not very good at but I managed to let go of his hand for a bit! Then we went to the Christmas market which was so beautiful, there were fairy lights everywhere, Santa Claus was giving presents to kids, lots of chalets were set up and people were selling stuff in them, mostly food like candyfloss, soup, chocolate, hot wine, hot chocolate, etc. We tried something called “chicken milk” which, believe it or not, isn’t actually from chickens, it tastes a bit like coconut flavoured pancake mixture. But the best bit was the giant food everywhere and don’t worry! I thought about you dear readers and took lots and lots of photos!

This is the fountain which, as you can see, had been turned into a giant plate stand! How cute is that?

These are the fairies that were walking about on stilts! I couldn’t get the stilts in unfortunately because they were too tall!

The magic forest lit up with beautiful fairy lights!

The elves (that I actually found slightly creepy) making some traditional madeleines in their little house.

My favourite decoration! I wanted to climb into the tree and eat them all, even if they weren’t real.

My boyfriend with some giant candy canes, he has a fetish for candy canes and was delighted with these!

 A nice lady selling macarons in her chalet, she even put a beret on so you know I’m in France!

Some lovely looking homemade soap

 Candyfloss! Or “Barbe a Papa” (dad’s beard) as the French call it.

This was interesting, it’s a bit like a chocolate christmas tree kebab if you see what I mean. They melted the chocolate onto the wooden triangle and it came off in the shape of a christmas tree!

And finally a chalet selling some seasonal (for the French) food : tartiflette, fish soup, and seafood. The French all eat seafood on Christmas day, I’m glad the English don’t because I don’t like seafood!

So there were my photos! I hope you enjoyed them! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas!

Meggy x

Saying goodbye with Brownies

I have been doing some work experience in an office in my town, I’ve been there for 7 weeks and today was my last day! I was very sad to leave, I had thoroughly enjoyed my time there, everybody had been really nice and I learned more than I think I would have at school! This will sound quite childish but I don’t want to go back to school!!! I haven’t been to school since the week before the october holidays and when I go back it will be the New Year, because of my work experience,  so I’m going to need some time to adjust to the getting up at 6am, getting on the bus, having horrible school dinners yuck yuck… Anyway, to say thank you to my “tutrice”, who took me under her wing while I was in the office, I have bought her a box of Quality Street (the perfect gift), which she loves and I also made A LOT of brownies for everybody in the office.

This is a recipe from Chocolate : Best Kept Secrets of the Women’s Institute, I wanted to use a Nigella Lawson recipe but I had the most horrible shock when I took a packet of flour out of the cupboard… Loads of tiny little mites were crawling around inside! It was so disgusting! My mum and I checked all the other packets of flour and they were all infected except one, which hadn’t been in the same place in the cupboard as the others. Luckily my neighbours lent me some flour, not the right kind for Nigella unfortunately, but I’m not complaining as everything was very rushed. Once the mixture was in the oven it took a lot longer to cook than it said in the recipe too so I was worried about that, but it turned out very nice.

This is a photo of the brownies that I finally managed to take into work, they were a big hit, everybody loved them and lots of people asked for the recipe! The gorgeous cake stand that I have used to model the brownies is a Vintage cake stand for sale on the Etsy shop Tour de Force http://www.etsy.com/shop/TourDeForce?ref=ss_profile just in case you are interested!

Ingredients :

150 g butter

50 g plain choc

200 g molasses sugar

2 eggs

A few drops of vanilla essence

Sift together 50 g of plain flour and a tsp of baking powder

150 g milk chocolate chopped into chunks

This makes 10 – 12 slices but I cut it up into chunks.

Method :

1. Preheat the oven to Gas mark 4/electric oven 180/fan oven 160

1. Melt the plain chocolate and the butter in a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water

2. In a seperate bowl, mix the molasses sugar, eggs and vanilla essence together until foamy.

3. Add the plain flour and baking powder to  the mixture, mix, then stir in the plain chocolate

4. Fold in the milk chocolate chunks then pour the mixture into a 900 g loaf tin (Save the mixture left in the bowl as a chefs perk because it is delicious!) and put the tin in the oven for 4o to 55 minutes.

5. Take it out of the oven, leave it in the tin for 10 minuted then transfer it to a cooling rack.

6. Enjoy!

Meggy x