Tag Archives: chocolate

Ten big ones…

Oh yes. As it turns out, this week saw the 10,000th page view on dad at the weekend – which, while I am intelligent enough to know is minuscule in most blogging terms, still managed to give me a not insignificant amount of trouser excitement as I watched the counter tick over into quintuple digits.

And what better way to mark ten thousand views on the blog than to cook ten over sized chocolate cookies with the boys? (Yes, I know there are only 9 in the photo, but I defy you to cook these and not nab one – impossible).

So, without wanting to support the trend for upping the ante on the amount of different types of chocolate you can cram into a single cookie (M&S are certainly the worst offenders here), but still trying to build some sort of connection with the monumental blogging achievement I had just reached, I thought quintuple chocolate cookies would be rather apt. But then the thought of sending my children to an early suger-and-fat-induced grave (and the fact that each cookie would probably cost over a tenner) I decided to tone it down a little and keep it simple. “Shame and poop!” I hear you cry, and I agree, not exactly a great celebration, but thinking about it, it’s not really a great achievement so probably fitting…

Ten big bastard chocolate cookies (with M&Ms)

Loosely based on a Nigella recipe this one – and very simple:

In a mixer, beat 125g of butter and 100g of golden caster sugar until the mix is light and has almost lost its colour. Now, into the mix add 100g of melted chocolate, an egg, 100g of plain flour, 50g of ground almonds, 40g of really good quality cocoa, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. Gently bring the mixture together (you can still use the mixer for this) and once it has reached a sooth consistency, add a large bag of chocolate M&Ms.

Give it a final whizz and spoon out the mix in large blobs onto a baking tray covered in baking parchment. Make sure you give them room as they will spread out during the cooking process. Stick them in the oven at 175c for about 19 minutes. When you take them out they will look undercooked – that’s good – you must make sure you don’t overcook them as you want them to be a little crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle – all this will happen when they cool (on a rack please).

If you can make these in secret without the kids seeing, smelling or most importantly, tasting them, all the better…

An attempt at healthy biscuits

Whilst I think being single is healthy on so many levels, I’m starting to wonder whether there is something about living alone that makes me eat and drink far less healthily than I should. Firstly, I’m out more, which needless to say leads to eating and drinking in quantities that I’d like not to think about. But also, when I’m at home I tend to wander between the living room and the fridge, substituting my desire to constantly spew forth banalities with other ways of keeping my mouth full – the most popular of which I’ve found to be stuffing food into it (to be honest I’m not sure there are many other options but I’m open to suggestions).

And so it was that I came upon the novel idea of making biscuits that would fill said mouth while maintaining some sense of healthiness and still, hopefully, tasting rather good.

Chocolate chip ginger oat biscuits

I’ve never been very good with measuring quantities, so every time I’ve made these, they have been slightly different. I think the key is just to get a good balance between sweetness (syrup & honey), ballast (flour & oats), moisture (oil or butter) and interesting bits (chocolate chips & raisins).

Anyway – start with a mixing bowl, into which you put the following: at least two inches of fresh ginger, grated finely (more if you like it spicy), a handful of raisins, 100g of green and blacks dark chocolate broken into little pieces (before you open the pack, smash it a few times on the kitchen counter – that should do it), three handfuls of organic porridge oats and one of plain flour. Now add four tablespoons of honey, a tablespoon of syrup and a few good glugs of sunflower oil (this is me trying to be healthy by avoiding butter, which to be honest would probably taste much better, but as the whole point of this was to be healthy, bear with me and use oil (or ignore me completely and substitute for butter, then tell me how much better yours are than mine). Thinking about it, you could use a little butter and a little oil. You decide. Mix it all together well (I use a kitchen aid mixer at this point).

Now this is where you come in – what you are looking for is a moist but not too sticky biscuit dough that comes together in your hands in one big ball. It should also taste good, so this is the time to add more honey/sugar/syrup/oats/oil to get the flavour and consistency you prefer.

Once you have it, flour a suface, roll out the dough to 8mm thickness (I think the ones in the photo are a little too thick), and cut into biscuits. Bake in the overn at 180c for about 10 minutes, but keep your eye on them – they are inedible if you overcook them. They should go golden brown but still be a little soft when they are done. They’ll continue to harden once you take them out. And be careful of the burning hot melted chocolate when you put them on the cooling rack. If you like, sprinkle a little caster sugar on top of them while they’re still hot.

Once cooled, they are like a cross between a flap jack and a chocolate cookie. But without the butter. So they’re healthy. Kind of.

Random tortes

We’re a week away from launching The Week. James Murdoch has just been labelled the only mafia boss in history who didn’t know he was running a criminal enterprise (you may think me biased but Tom Watson really is a nasty, chippy little man – is it possible to be any more bitter?). Oscar just had his 11th birthday party. Frankie cockosa was just thrown out of the X factor in a last-ditch attempt by the producers to bring a grain of intrigue into a programme that would be more compelling if the entire roster of artists were replaced with a selection of week-old cow pats. Geeks around the world have just celebrated the fact that 111111×111111=12345654321 (including me). Siri can’t tell the time in Enfield – can it do anything? I have the shorts with me (upstairs) and I’m reminded of a really good pudding that Immie and I made together a few weeks ago –

Chilli chocolate torte

The chilli works really well in this recipe – it gives it a depth and intensity that really appeals to me. I thoroughly recommend giving it a try – embrace the heat…

Start by greasing a loose bottomed cake tin (about 10cm in diameter) and lining the bottom with greaseproof paper. Now for the base – I’m not sure I have this completely right yet, so I’ll update this bit when have the best bottom, but so far two options: One is to finely crush amaretti biscuits and the other is to use galettes au buerre. The key is to get a rich, crispy base that will give the torte a little crunch. You need just enough for a base of about 1.5mm, no more. Next time I’m going to add a little melted butter too so that it binds together. Spread the crushed biscuits evenly on the base of the tin and put it in the fridge.

Now break up 100g of Green and Blacks milk chocolate and 100g of a good 70% cocoa dark chocolate into a bowl above very gently simmering water along with two tablespoons of dark rum, a small fresh medium hot red chilli, very finely chopped (with all the seeds removed) and three teaspoons of liquid glucose. Turn off the hob so that the bowl doesn’t get too hot – the latent heat from the steam in the pan will be enough to melt the chocolate.

Whip about 300ml of double cream into soft peaks. Take a large spoonful of the cream and mix it gently into the melted chocolate (make sure the bottom of the melting bowl isn’t too hot at this point – if it is, you can dip it into cold water) – this will loosen it a little so that you can now very carefully fold the remainder of the cream into the mixture, ensuring mix the cream and chocolate thoroughly (best done with a large metal serving spoon).

Now pour the chocolate over the top of the base, smooth the top with a knife and leave it in the fridge for a few hours. Before serving you can either dust it with cocoa powder, or grate more chocolate over the top (I prefer the latter). Oh and make sure you take it out of the tin before you do this – I find removing the torte from the edges of the tin, turning it upside down onto a plate, lifting the tin base and baking paper from the bottom of the torte, putting your serving plate on top of the upturned torte and then flipping the whole thing back the right way around is the best approach. Hope that didn’t sound too confusing.

Serve with single cream and eat with gusto…