Chocolate Key Lime Pie

Dessert | 28th February 2013 | By

With so many limes in need of using up, a key lime pie was definitely going to be on the menu. As a key lime pie newbie it was just a question of whose recipe I was going to use. New to key lime pie? Yes, really. I don’t know how I’ve managed it, but in all my years of cooking I have not only never made one, but I’ve never eaten one either. There was a recipe in my new book Scandilicious Baking by Signe Johansen which I was keen to try; there was a fabulous sounding one in Tea with Bea using 13 limes; I had a cheesecake version from Eric Lanlard in Home Bake and two versions from Nigella in How to Be a Domestic Goddess. Not one of them had a chocolate version – well really! With all my limes, it would have been a good opportunity to make Bea’s version, but in the end the Forever Nigella challenge won me over and it was one of Nigella’s recipes I adapted.

This is how I made:

Chocolate Key Lime Pie and Chocolate Key Lime Tarts

  • Melted 50g unsalted butter and 100g 70% dark chocolate (Green & Blacks) in a small pan over low heat.
  • Whizzed 300g digestive biscuits in the food processor until they were fine crumbs.
  • Added the chocolate mixture and whizzed some more until all incorporated.
  • Pressed the mixture into the bottom of a 22 cm ” flan mould and into four 9 cm tartlet cases.
  • Left in my cold kitchen to set for an hour or so.
  • Whisked 300 ml double cream with electric beaters until thickened.
  • Grated in the zest of 4 well scrubbed limes and beat a bit more.
  • Added a 397 ml tin of condensed milk and beat a little more.
  • Added the juice of the 4 limes and beat for about a minute until the mixture was thick and formed firm peaks.
  • Spooned onto the biscuit base and decorated with strips of lime zest and dark chocolate shavings.

Ooh my, was this scrumptious or was it scrumptious? Nothing more to be said, except I will not be leaving it quite so long before I make these again.


The theme for Forever Nigella this month is Nostalgic Nigella. Well, I may have never made or eaten a key lime pie before, but I have heard about these American beauties for many years. Having spent my first year of life in New York, they somehow make me feel nostalgic for the American childhood I never had, I bet key lime pie would have been a staple in our brownstone apartment. Hosted this month by the The Botanical Baker, it’s home is with Maison Cupcake.

Banana, Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cake

Large Cakes | 27th February 2013 | By

With two bananas sitting quietly neglected in the fruit bowl and just about to expire, there was nothing for it but to make a banana cake. It just so happens that One Ingredient this month is bananas and I was keen to join in the fun. One of the cakes I remember being particularly pleased with last year was my caramelised banana, coconut and chocolate peanut butter cake. The combination of banana, peanut butter and chocolate worked particularly well and I wanted to try the it again, but in a different guise this time. I was also keen to try out a new cake mould sent to me for review (watch out for a forthcoming review and giveaway). It is shaped to look like a bar of chocolate and I obviously couldn’t resist. This also seemed like a good opportunity to try out the Atkins & Potts dippers which I thought would look good poured down the sides of the cake like lava. I based my recipe on one for Chocolate and Banana Cupcakes from Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery. I changed the quantities and added peanut butter to the mix.

This is how I made:

Banana, Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cake

  • Melted 50g dark chocolate (85% Green & Black’s) in a bowl over hot water.
  • Mashed the two bananas in another bowl.
  • Creamed 50g unsalted butter with 125g soft brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in 2 tbsp of crunchy peanut butter.
  • Stirred in the melted chocolate.
  • Beat in the mashed bananas and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
  • Beat in one duck egg.
  • Folded in 125g sifted flour (half wholemeal spelt, half white) and 1 spare tsp baking powder.
  • Spooned into the cake mould filling it to just over 3/4 full. I also had enough left over to fill a mini loaf mould.
  • Baked at 185C for 25 minutes until well risen.
  • Left to cool in the moulds, then turned out.
  • Drizzled the chocolate bar cake with Atkins & Potts buttery toffee dipper and the mini cake with the dark chocolate dipper.

Although very sweet, the cake was nonetheless delicious. It had a fudgy texture with crunchy bits from the peanut butter. Much to my relief, the cake turned out of the mould without getting stuck, although the definition of the embossed writing (“yum”) was not as clearly defined as I’d hoped. The buttery toffee dipper was just as delicious as it sounds and I had a hard job not to eat it straight from the jar. The dark chocolate dipper was also good and would be perfect for drizzling over ice-cream. They had both set rather solid, having spent some time in my very cold kitchen. However, when I warmed them up on the heater, they were more or less the right consistency for drizzling.

One Ingredient is a monthly challenge hosted alternately by Nazima of Franglais Kitchen and Laura of How to Cook Good Food.


Chocolate Pancakes with Blackcurrant & Rose Compote – Random Recipes #25

Pancakes & Waffles, Pudding | 25th February 2013 | By

I love Random Recipes and think Dom of Belleau Kitchen is a genius for coming up with the idea. I’ve been in from the beginning, so it always grieves me when I run out of time and don’t manage to make the challenge. Last month was such a one and I was beginning to panic that this month would turn out the same, but no, I was determined not to miss another month. Dom gave us quite a bit of freedom with this challenge and allowed us to pick our own book, a highly unusual event. I went for my Valentine’s gift from CT (itself a highly unusual occurrence); a chocolate book I have long been lusting after, Chococo chocolate cookbook by Claire Burnet. I closed my eyes and opened the book on a random page, somewhat trepedaciously – you just never quite know what you might be letting yourself in for. Sigh of relief, which then turned to one of excitment: chocolate pancakes platter. I have long wanted to make chocolate pancakes, but somehow have never actually managed it. Fortuitously, I also had a tub of blackcurrants which were in desperate need of using up. My mother’s freezer, not so fortuitously and very upsettingly, packed up unexpectedly. She ended up having to throw most of the food away. By the time we received the currants, they had been out of the freezer some time. So instead of making the cherry compote denoted in the recipe, I made blackcurrant and rose compote instead.

This is how I made:

Chocolate Pancakes with Rose, Mint and Blackcurrant Compote

  • Sieved 150g wholemeal flour into a bowl with a scant tsp of baking powder and 30g cocoa powder.
  • Stirred in 2 tbsp vanilla (caster) sugar.
  • Made a well in the centre and broke in an egg.
  • Started to mix from the middle outwards, adding 175 ml milk a little at a time.
  • Beat in 20g hazelnut oil (instead of melted butter).
  • Left to rest for about 20 minutes whilst I got on with the other things.
  • Dry fried a large tbsp of flaked almonds with 1/2 a tsp of icing powder until they were lightly browned and slightly caramelised.
  • Turned into a little serving dish.
  • Poured the blackcurrants into a pan.
  • Didn’t add any sugar as this had already been done.
  • Added the last of my rose syrup (about 2 tbsp) which also really needed using up.
  • Simmered for a few minutes, then added 2 tbsp mint vodka.
  • Simmered for another couple of minutes.
  • Heated a frying pan over a medium heat and added a slither of butter.
  • Placed a heaped tbsp of pancake mixture into the pan, spreading it out with the spoon to form a circle of about 10 cm.
  • Left for a few minutes until bubbles started to appear in the pancake.
  • Turned it over and cooked for a couple more minutes.
  • Placed on a plate and put into a warm oven.
  • Repeated the process making six pancakes in total.
  • Assembled the pancakes by layering them with a tbsp of blackcurrant compote and then another pancake.
  • Stacked them three pancakes high finishing with a layer of blackcurrants.
  • Topped with the almonds and dusted with a little icing sugar.
I decided at the last minute to experiment with using hazelnut oil rather than the stated melted butter. It was a completely pointless exercise as the hazelnut flavour could not be detected above the blackcurrants. The pancakes were, however, delicious and the blackcurrants complemented them perfectly. The pancake stacks were enormous and I struggled to finish mine. The mixture could have easily made 12 smaller pancakes for four people and these would in fact have made a much better portion size. But we are not known for our restraint in such matters and felt we deserved it, having spent the day hacking back down at the plot.

Random Recipes – the choice is yours. My choice was Chococo.

Kate of Turquoise Lemons has given us Preserves for her monthly No Food Waste Challenge. Blackcurrants preserved from the summer, mint vodka and rose syrup I made back along in need of using up,

Teatime Treats hosted alternately by What Kate Baked and Lavender and Lovage is puddings this month – well I can tell you these chocolate pancakes makes a very nice pudding indeed.

The freezer disaster also makes these pancakes eligible for Credit Crunch Munch I reckon along with the homemade rose syrup and mint vodka. A monthly challenge hosted by Fab Food 4 All and Fuss Free Flavours.

As these are American style pancakes, I’m entering them into Bloggers Around the World hosted by Chris of Cooking Around the World. The country of choice this month is USA.

Ginger and Lime Cake with Lime Curd and Whipped Ganache for Cornwall CCC and We Should Cocoa #30

To celebrate the publication of the Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook, this month’s Cornwall CCC meeting was held on the launch date itself, February 14th, at Waterstones in Truro. The theme for this month’s bake was, rather aptly, books. Visions of elaborate book shaped cakes sent me into an immediate panic when first hearing this, but then sense prevailed and a simple solution occurred to me: I would bake one of the recipes from the CCC cookbook. As I had an abundance of limes to use and needed ginger for this month’s We Should Cocoa, I chose Dark ‘n’ Stormy Cake by Rob Martin from the Leeds CCC. There was one problem, it contained no chocolate – but when did that ever stop me? The sponge was a genoise, flavoured with ginger. It reminded me of the Lime and White Chocolate Genoise that I made a couple of years ago, based on Lorraine Pascale’s Mojito Genoise from Baking Made Easy. I decided to make the sponge according to Rob’s instructions, but substituted a lime syrup rather than his rum one and replaced the lime cream cheese frosting with whipped chocolate ganache. I then drizzled home made lime and ginger curd over the top.

This is how I made:

Ginger and Lime Cake with Whipped Chocolate Ganache and Lime Curd

  • Melted 90g unsalted butter in a pan over low heat and left to cool a little.
  • Chopped 100g crystallised ginger finely.
  • Whisked 6 duck eggs with 180g golden caster sugar using electric beaters on high speed for a good ten minutes until the mixture was thick, pale and had tripled in volume.
  • Sifted in 180g plain flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp ground ginger.
  • Folded this in as gently as possible.
  • Poured the butter in down one side of the bowl and folded this in as gently as possible.
  • Gently stirred in the crystallised ginger.
  • Divided the mixture between two 8″ cake moulds and baked at 180C for 23 minutes when the cakes were firm on top and skewer inserted in the middle came out clean.


  • Grated the rind of two well scrubbed limes into a small pan, followed by the juice.
  • Added 75g golden caster sugar and stirred over a low heat until the sugar had dissolved.
  • Poured the syrup over the cakes as soon as they were out of the oven, then left in their moulds to cool.
  • Made a pot of ginger tea by cutting a 1″ piece of root ginger into slithers and pouring boiling water over the top. Left to steep for a good 15 minutes.
  • Melted 100g Cornish dark chocolate (55%) in a bowl over hot water with 50ml of ginger tea.
  • Heated 200ml double cream until just about boiling.
  • Added the cream, a third at a time to the chocolate stirring hard after each addition until all was incorporated and smooth.
  • Placed in the fridge for three hours.
  • Whisked with electric beaters on slow speed until soft peaks formed.
  • Turned the cakes out of their moulds.
  • Spread about a third of the mixture on the bottom of one of the cakes, then placed the bottom half of the other on top.
  • Covered the top and sides of the cake with the remaining ganache.
  • Drizzled 3 or 4 tablespoonfuls of lime and ginger curd over the top in a criss cross pattern.
Quite why this was called Dark n Stormy, I have yet to fathom; it was light in both colour and texture. In fact it was one of the lightest textured cakes I’ve ever made. The addition of ginger was inspired; it gave added interest and texture to what could have been a pleasant but rather generic sponge. The ganache was delicious, light, not too sweet and complemented the genoise nicely. The lime syrup and lime curd gave a welcome citrussy tang and added character. I was really pleased with the results and rather gratified by how quickly it disappeared. In fact, pleasure turned to consternation as I feared I might not get to try a piece myself. Luckily CT was on the case and saved me a piece to try later.
As if by magic the book opened at my recipe 😉

Much to my bemusement, Daphne Skinnard of BBC Radio Cornwall dragged me off (nearly kicking and screaming) along with Sarah Milligan and Ellie Michell for a quick interview. Having a microphone thrust under my nose didn’t do much for my eloquence, but there we are, we must suffer for our art. You can hear the clip here and it’s abut 1:10 minutes into the programme.

Both cake makers and passing Waterstones customers partook of the delights on offer and many a smile was generated. Some strong willed individuals, looked but didn’t try – it was Lent, after all. It was also Valentine’s Day, so just right to spread some cakey-bakey love around. Literary allusions were much more obvious in some of the other cakes as you can see from the following photos. 

Cake Expectations by our warm hearted organiser Ellie Michell
Ceci C’est Un Gateau by Jilly Ballantyne
Chocolate & Beetroot Cake inspired by Chocolat by Sally & Emma
Pistachio Cake by Emily Scott – the best pistachio cake I’ve ever eaten.
Chocolate Cobweb Cake by Emma Skilton
Buttermilk Chocolate Cake by Sarah Milligan – her own recipe from the CCC Cookbook
All Gone
Jen of Blue Kitchen Bakes is hosting this month’s We Should Cocoa and as already stated chose ginger as February’s special ingredient.

Lime, Coconut and Cardamom Loaf Cake

Loaf Cakes | 20th February 2013 | By

Having received a basket of Brazilian limes back along, I needed to start using them. This really wasn’t an issue as I do have a particular penchant for limes. One of the first things I made was based on the recipe for Lime and Coconut Cake from one of my favourite baking books, Cakes by Pam Corbin. Coconut and lime are a natural pairing and I think the flavours work to remind us over here in dear old Blighty that there is a tropical paradise somewhere. Adding a note of cardamom just seemed like a good idea at the time, although I was debating using ginger instead. Of course I had to get a little white chocolate in and I did. Pam’s recipe is a gluten free one, but as I didn’t need to do that, I went for low gluten rather than no gluten.

This is how I made:

Lime, Coconut and Cardamom Loaf Cake

  • Creamed 175g unsalted butter (left on the heater for half an hour to soften) with 175g cardamom (caster) sugar until pale and airy.
  • Grated in the zest of three well scrubbed limes and creamed some more.
  • Beat in 3 duck eggs, one by one.
  • Sifted in 125g flour (75g wholemeal spelt, 25g coconut flour, 25g white) with 1 tsp baking powder.
  • Stirred this into the mixture as gently as possible.
  • Added 50g desiccated coconut and mixed gently again.
  • Added 50g chopped white chocolate.
  • Spooned into a 2 lb loaf mould (which I put inside a loaf tin to stop it bowing out) and baked at 180C for 45 minutes.
  • Whilst cake was cooking, juiced the 3 limes and added 60g cardamom sugar. Left to dissolve, stirring occasionally.
  • As soon as the cake was out of the oven, spooned the lime juice over the cake, then left in the mould to cool.

The cake was utterly scrumptious, zesty and moist with a lovely chewy texture from the coconut and little caramel bites from the white chocolate; it was definitely a notch up from a standard lemon drizzle. Because it was so moist, it tasted just as good several days down the line as it did when it was freshly baked.

I’m sending this cake over to Javelin Warrior’s Cookin w/ Luv for his Made with Love Mondays, a weekly challenge where anything can be made, but it needs to be made from scratch.

As limes are in season, I’m also submitting this to Simple and in Season, a monthly challenge founded by Ren of Fabulicious Foods. This month is being hosted by C of Cake, Crumbs and Cooking.

Puro Fairtrade Coffee – a Review & Giveaway #23

Drink Reviews, Giveaway | 17th February 2013 | By

When I was offered some coffee to review, I was a initially a little hesitant. Coffee is not my favourite drink, nor is it my favourite flavour. But, since commencing this blog, I have been using it more and more to add an additional depth to chocolate cakes and find it works really well. I am not averse to a cup of coffee, it’s just not something I ever think to drink. The smell of roasting and brewing coffee is another matter entirely and usually has me going weak at the knees. In the end it was Puro’s ethical stance that swayed me and got me brewing.

As the name suggests, Puro Fairtrade Coffee is a fairtrade brand, certified by the Fairtrade Foundation and belonging to Belgian company Miko which has been roasting coffee for 212 years. Some of its coffee is also organic, although not certified by the Soil Association, the certifying body I trust most. Miko won an award last year for its partnership with the World Land Trust and its work in helping to protect the rainforests of South America; the trust is also supported by David Attenborough. A total of 8103 acres of rainforest in Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia have so far been saved and are now protected from logging. This may not seem a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. One new tree species, 12 orchids and one frog have all been discovered in these areas since they became reserves. One of the orchids is now known as the Puro orchid! I was also pleased to find that Miko produces all of its own electricity via solar panels.

You can find out more about the Puro story by watching this short clip.


When the coffee package arrived, I was ridiculously excited to find it all wrapped up in a hessian sack just like a sack of bona fide beans. I had a very good feeling about it from then on in. Diving into the bag was rather like a Christmas stocking; pulling out one lumpy unidentified item after another was an enjoyable guessing game. Not only did I pull out three 250g packets of coffee, but also a 3 cup cafetiere, a Pura cup and saucer, a pack of individual hot chocolate sachets and some sugar sachets too.

As neither CT nor I are coffee connoisseurs, I invited some more knowledgeable friends around for a tasting. I used the cafetiere provided to make three brews of filter coffee and we tasted them blind. First off, we breathed in the aroma, then tasted them black and finally added milk. The results were very interesting to my untutored palate – it seems quality will out. Arabica is meant to be the premier coffee species and the one with the highest percentage of Arabica to Robusta, was the one we liked best. Like chocolate, it seems that the best beans are grown in South America with the more standard everyday ones grown in Africa (Congo). That said, we liked all of them.

Each bag came with a hand written label showing type, origins, content and description – all are fairtrade and shade grown. I’ve written our tasting notes first, followed by Puro’s own in italics. We did not read the descriptions until after we’d done our own tasting, but as you can see our notes echoed theirs.

Puro Noble – 80% Arabica, 20% Robusta beans shade grown in Guatemala, Peru, Honduras and the Congo – smooth, mild and graceful – mellow and well balanced, this was pronounced (by the experts) to be a standard good cup of coffee they would be happy to drink at any time of the day. 6/10
The complex character of this blend comes from the mild and smooth yet floral Guatemalan high grown Arabica skilfully blended with the Peruvian Arabica for a perfect balance of flavour. Through the addition of premium Robusta, a hint of dark chocolate is injected into the cup.

Puro Organic – 100% Arabica beans shade grown in Peru & Honduras – lovely bouquet, chocolatey, rich, creamy, distinct smell. Chocolate taste, complex with several different flavours detected – strong but not too bitter – it would make a satisfying mid-morning or after dinner coffee 9/10
This amazingly delicate blend is distinctive in flavour. It combines beautifully soft notes of chocolate with citric overtones that gives it a fruitiness whilst adding natural sweetness.

Puro Fuerte – 50% Arabica, 50% Robusta, the beans come from Guatemala, Peru, Honduras and the Congo. Middle of the road, richer, fiercer, more bitter, richer bouquet, higher roast, robust – a wake-me-up morning coffee. 8/10
Wow, good morning and a warm welcome from this intense fiery blend. This dark roasted blend of high grown Arabica with the finest Congo Robusta creates a warm balanced cup with lively fragrant flavours, which when added to perfectly tempered milk create a bitter sweet chocolate.

To accompany the coffee, I made some coffee biscuits with whipped coffee chocolate ganache. For a change, I thought I would make coffee the star of the show rather than chocolate and much to my surprise, I found these biscuits to be utterly delicious. The Puro Fuerte, being of a robust nature, was an ideal coffee with which to flavour the biscuits. They proved to be very popular.

Puro coffee is drunk in a number of locations including all National Trust sites and Royal Parks. Each month there is a chance to win a coffee pack by entering a caption competition on Puro’s facebook page – definitely worth a try.

Puro Fairtrade Coffee have kindly offered the same coffee hamper as I received as a giveaway on Chocolate Log Blog.
To be in with a chance of winning, please fill in the Rafflecopter below. You will need to leave a comment on this post which then gives you additional chances to enter if you so wish. Rafflecopter will pick a winner at random from the entries received. Please give me some way of identifying you in the comment section as I will be verifying the validity of entries and will always check back to the comments to ensure that part has been done. Any automated entries will be disqualified. This giveaway is only open to those with a UK postal address. You need to be 18 or over to enter. Winners will need to respond within 7 days of being contacted. Failure to do this may result in another winner being picked.
Prizes are offered and provided by Puro Fairtrade Coffee and Chocolate Log Blog accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of said third party.
If you need some help to enter using Rafflecopter, here’s a quick clip to show you how.

Closing date is Sunday 17 March 2013

You might want to take a look at my giveaway page to see if there is anything else you would like to enter.

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Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook at Last and Chocolate Log Blog is Four

Book Reviews | 14th February 2013 | By

Today, the 14th February, a number of things coincide: Chocolate Log Blog is four, the Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook, featuring one of my recipes, is published and I’m off to attend my 5th CCC meeting, which just happens to be at Waterstones in Truro. This 4th blog anniversary feels like the perfect time to post about CCC.

I’m sure most of you will have heard of the phenomenon that is Clandestine Cake Club (CCC) by now. If not, it is a gathering of cake bakers and lovers who meet, usually on a monthly basis at a secret venue, to eat and talk cake. Initiated by Lynn Hill back in 2010, it has now gone global. Lynn has been working very hard over the last year or so to write a book highlighting some of the best cakes that have been made by herself and other CCC members. As any good Clandestine Cake Club member will know, cakes are the only thing on the menu, no brownies, cupcakes or muffins allowed, just full on proper sized cakes. Thus the book’s 120 recipes are all for cake and what a wondrous collection they are: classic cakes, Victorian cakes, fruity cakes, global cakes, zesty cakes, chocolatey cakes, celebration cakes and creative cakes. In it you will find a cake for any occasion from the full on Toffee Shock Cake with it’s four layers of different flavoured batter, fudge icing and caramel to the more homely and old fashioned Caraway Seed Cake. This hardback book is well laid out and importantly stays open at the chosen recipe. Pictures abound, virtually every cake is accompanied by a photograph. I submitted two entries my Chocrhutea didn’t make it but happily the other one did. I very much hope the book will be a rip roaring success, it certainly deserves to be.

Due to work commitments, I am unable to attend the Cornwall CCC as often as I’d like, but I have been known to make the odd appearance. My very first time was back in May last year where I made a Passionfruit Curd Sponge Cake for a fruit themed event held at Baker Tom’s new bakery in Pool near Camborne. This has become my second recipe to be published in a print book (though I do have a few floating around in various e-books) and I am absolutely thrilled.

My second event had a Fairy Tale theme and was held down in the woods at Cardinham. There were many fabulous creations, I went for the simple approach: a Fairy Godmother cake with basic wand decoration. More accurately, it could be described as a dense chocolate and rose cake.

My third outing took place in a tiny new cafe, Grounded, which had just opened in Truro. I made a Hazelnut and Orange Torte for this one where I experimented with my new cappuccino stencils. The theme was Italian tortes.

Ellie Michell is our hard working organiser. She has come up with some fantastic venues and themes. I only wish I could manage to get to more of them. In celebration of Cornwall CCC’s first anniversary, Ellie chose a birthday party theme down at the Watergate Bay Hotel near Newquay. For this one, I made a Cornish sea salted caramel chocolate cake.

So, thank you to all the lovely visitors to Chocolate Log Blog. I doubt I would have had the heart to carry on this long without you. I’d especially like to thank those that take the time to comment on my posts, it is this interaction which makes it so worthwhile. Whilst I’m at it, I’d also like to thank all those that have contributed to We Should Cocoa, either as a host or entrant. Once again, it is your contributions that make the whole business so much fun; I would never have dreamt of half of the things you all come up with, you are an inspiration.

Mexican Chocolate Pudding with Chilli and Lime Mango Slices – a Valentine’s Dessert

Pudding, World Cuisine | 12th February 2013 | By

This recipe from Green Seasons by Rachel Demuth has been bookmarked for a very long time. Using mangoes, limes, chillies, cinnamon and of course chocolate, it combines some of my favourite ingredients. I was given this cookbook by some dear friends at least three years ago and they hinted broadly that this was a recipe I ought to make. It took a basket of beautiful green limes, sent for review and Chris to choose Mexico for his monthly Bloggers Around the World event for me to finally take the plunge

Green Seasons is the third vegetarian cookbook written by Rachel Demuth, a leading vegetarian chef who runs the acclaimed vegetarian restaurant Demuths and the highly successful Vegetarian Cookery School in Bath. I’ve made quite a few of the recipes in the book, which include vegan and gluten free ones too; they have all been successful and delicious. You can find out more by reading my review of Green Seasons. The book has recently been made available for iPad so if on-line cookery books are more your thing, you may want to take a look. As well as the book, I can highly recommend the courses at the cookery school, at least the one I attended on Middle Eastern mezze anyway.

The pudding may be Mexican by name, but possibly not by nature. I’m not sure where the cinnamon or the chillies came from, but I don’t think there was a single ingredient of Mexican provenance. However, Latin American it certainly was: the 100% chocolate bought on a recent trip to the Eden Project was Colombian, the rum was Cuban and the limes hailed from Brazil. The chocolate, very handily, came in two 125g blocks, which made it a breeze for me to halve the recipe – after all, there was only CT and I to indulge in them and even for us, a pudding to serve eight seemed a little excessive. Sadly, the limes arrived with very little information, but they did appear to be waxed, so I made sure I scrubbed them well with warm water and washing up liquid before using.

This is how I made:

Mexican Chocolate Pudding with Chilli and Lime Mango Slices

  • Melted 125g of Colombian 100% chocolate in a small saucepan over gently heat with 150 ml of milk. Stirred until almost smooth.
  • Took of the heat and added 1 tbsp of white Cuban rum.
  • Creamed 25g unsalted butter with 75g vanilla (caster) sugar.
  • Beat in a yolk from a duck egg and put the white in a clean bowl.
  • Beat in the chocolate mixture.
  • Sifted in 20g wholemeal spelt, 10g cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/8 tsp baking powder. Stirred gently until just combined.
  • Whisked the egg white until stiff and folded into the chocolate mix. Spooned into four buttered ramekins.
  • Placed the ramekins in a tin and filled to about 1 cm with water.
  • Baked at 180C for about 17 minutes.
  • Peeled and sliced a ripe mango (rather messily)
  • Dissolved 2 tbsp cardamom (caster) sugar in a large pan with 1 tbsp water over a low heat.
  • Turned up the heat and added 1/2 tsp chilli flakes followed by the mango slices.
  • Allowed to bubble away for a few minutes until the liquid had turned syrupy.
  • Removed from the heat and added the grated zest and juice of one well scrubbed Brazilian lime.
  • Ran a knife around the edge of the puddings to loosen them, then turned out onto plates. Dusted with cocoa and added some reserved lime zest to the top.
  • Served with some the mango slices.

This may look like burnt pie and chips, but what it lacked in appearance, it more than made up for in sensuousness. It was very rich, very dark, not too sweet and it reached into places other puddings rarely do. The cinnamon supported, as well as ameliorated the strong and robust nature of the chocolate. We ate them warm whilst the centre was still gooey. The sweet, sour and fiery mango slices were delicious in their own right but also acted as a great foil to the chocolate. CT had only one thing to say about this: “sex on a plate”. In fact he was probably right, these would be perfect for Valentine’s Day.

Thank you to Chris of Cooking Around the World for choosing Mexico for this month’s Blogging Around the World – he finally got me to make this rather wonderful dessert.

Kate of What Kate Baked has chosen Perfect Puddings for this month’s Tea Time Treats. Hmmm, perfect looking my puddings aren’t but I think they might hit the perfect button for taste, smell and touch. This monthly challenge is co-hosted by Karen of Lavender and Lovage.

Bookmarked for more than three years, this has to be a contender for Jac’s Bookmarked Recipes over at Tinned Tomatoes.

Those two romantics Dolly Bakes and Laura Loves Cakes have a valentine’s theme for this month’s Calendar Cakes with My Achy Cakey Heart. Well as already described, this may not look that pretty but it’s very likely to win over your Valentine.

Finally, I think, I am submitting these to Simple and in Season as limes are in full season now. Started by Ren of Fabulicious Foods, this month’s host is C of the fabulicious Cake, Crumbs and Cooking.

Coffee Biscuits Sandwiched with Whipped Coffee Chocolate Ganache

Biscuits | 9th February 2013 | By

 Having recently received some Pura coffee to review (more on this soon), I was keen to try it out in some baking. As some of you may have gathered by now, I am currently heavily into biscuits. I typed coffee and biscuits into Eat Your Books and came up with a recipe for Manhattan Cappuccino in Cooking with Chocolate by Frederic Bau. This involved stacking bought rectangular butter biscuits into elaborate structures to mimic the Manhatten skyline. Whilst this was way too elaborate for me, the coffee chocolate ganache used to glue the biscuits together was something I did want to make. I would make some biscuits and use the ganache to sandwich them together. Fortuitously, I came across a recipe for coffee biscuits over at Blue Kitchen Bakes just as I was debating what biscuits to make. This then, would be the recipe that I based my coffee biscuits on. I chose a heart shape which seemed appropriate given the proximity to Valentine’s Day.


Chocolate Chilli Madeleines

The good folk at work gave me a voucher for a local kitchen shop for my birthday last year. It took me a while, but I finally spent it – on some silicone Madeleine moulds. Not only have I never made Madeleines before, but I don’t remember ever having eaten one either. So, it really was time to change this. I wasn’t entirely sure what they should be like, so it was Dan Lepard who I placed my faith in; I based my recipe on his Madeleines de Commercy from Short and Sweet. I used my usual half wholemeal, half white flour mix and substituted the vanilla extract for my homemade chocolate extract as well as swapping some of the flour for cocoa.

This is what I did:

  • Melted 75g unsalted butter gently in a small pan then set aside to cool.
  • Whisked 2 duck eggs and 75g golden caster sugar together for quite a long time it seemed, using electric beaters. Whisked until the mixture had trebled in volume and was pale and thick.
  • Sifted in 90g flour (half spelt, half white), 10g cocoa, 1/4 tsp cayenne and 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda.
  • Folded this in as gently as possible trying not to lose too much air from the eggs.
  • Poured the butter in down one side of the bowl and folded this in together with 2 tsp chocolate extract until just incorporated.
  • Placed a tbsp of the mixture into 12 Madeleine moulds.
  • Finding I had quite a bit left over, I divided the remaining mixture between 5 muffin moulds.
  • Baked for 10 minutes at 200C until well risen and firm to the touch.
  • Turned out onto a wire rack to cool.
Hooray, my first Madeleines were a success. They turned out well, had the classic shell like shape and looked pretty. They tasted buttery, had a nice hit of cocoa and chilli and weren’t too sweet. I have no idea what the texture is meant to be like, but these were light and spongy. Unlike Proust, they didn’t take me back to my youth, but the Atkins & Potts chocolate spread did, vraiment.