Fruit vinegars make a wonderful addition to many dishes. Vinegar captures the essence of the fruit beautifully reminding us of the season in which it was harvested. This blackcurrant vinegar gives a flavoursome tang to sauces, salads and desserts. It goes particularly well with beetroot. A little poured over simple vanilla ice-cream gives a real wow factor and mixed with water, it makes a refreshing drink.
This Chocolate Sundae Royale is a decadent chocolate ice-cream extravaganza. It’s made with dark and white chocolate ice-creams, chocolate caramel fudge sauce, blackcurrant brownies and some blackcurrant sauce to cut through the richness. All you need is a suitable celebration to justify the calories.
If I need to make brownies in a hurry, my go to recipe these days is for chocolate fudge brownies from Charlotte Pike’s wonderful book Easy Baking in The Hungry Student series. I first made these for an event last summer where they proved to be extremely popular. Then, last week, I made some for my birthday party. This week, I’ve omitted the coffee, used some different sugars and added blackcurrants. I also always use wholemeal flour or wholemeal spelt which I feel gives me a few brownie points (haha). The method I use is my favourite one pot wonder.
Blackcurrant Buckle is one of the cakes I grew up with, but I haven’t made it for many many years and indeed I don’t even know where the recipe is – buried in one of my mother’s piles of clippings somewhere I suspect. When I was unexpectedly given a punnet of blackcurrants the other day, I decided on the spur of the moment, now was the time to try chocolate blackcurrant buckle or blackcurrant crumble cake if you prefer.
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.
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,
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.
The letter for this month’s Alpha Bakes is N. Apart from nuts, I could think of nothing else other than Nonnettes and as I haven’t made any of these wonderful eggless French honey cakes for a while, this seemed like a good opportunity. I decided I’d adapt and use half the amount of the original Nonnette recipe to make 12 smaller cakes using my new muffin cases. A half eaten jar of my mother’s delicious blackcurrant jam was sitting in the cupboard and I still had a bit of rose syrup that really needed using up. Blackcurrant and rose proved to be a nice combination as evinced by the blackcurrant, rose and white chocolate ice-cream I made in the summer.
Here’s what I did:
- Melted 40g unsalted butter in a pan.
- Added 100g local Cornish honey and 50g light brown sugar.
- Turned off the heat and added 50g milk and 50g rose syrup.
- Stirred until smooth then left to cool.
- Sifted 100g plain white flour, 50g rye flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda into a bowl.
- Added the grated zest from 1/2 a small orange.
- Stirred in 25g chopped white chocolate.
- Made a well in the centre and poured in the honey mixture.
- Stirred until just combined.
- Divided the mixture between 12 silicone muffin cases and left in my cold kitchen for half an hour.
- Placed a small teaspoonful of blackcurrant jam on the top of each one.
- Baked at 180C for 16 minutes.
- Left to cool
- Mixed 1 heaped tbsp icing sugar with about a tbsp of rose syrup to form a slightly runny icing.
- Drizzled these over the cakes whilst they were still slightly warm.
These were as good as I imagined they would be, that is to say, thoroughly delicious. They were sweet, sticky and flavoursome with a lovely smooth texture. The blackcurrant was a good strong flavour and its tartness helped to counteract the overall sweetness. CT was surprised by the little bits of white chocolate, but enjoyed them. Licking fingers is an occupational hazard with these, although CT didn’t seem to be unduly bothered.
Chris over at Cooking Around the World has started a new challenge Bloggers Around the World. Sadly I didn’t manage to join in last month with Germany as the selected country. This month, it’s France so I’m submitting these Nonnettes.
As these honey cakes are eggless, I am also submitting them to Cook Eat Delicious Desserts where the theme this month is honey. It is being hosted this month by Nivedhanam.
If you’re ever stuck for recipe ideas when it comes to blackcurrants, you have come to the right place. Here you’ll find 37 creative blackcurrant recipes from a whole host of bloggers. They all involve chocolate in some way, shape or form.
When I set this month’s We Should Cocoa challenge for blackcurrants, I couldn’t get that fruit out of my head and various ideas kept coming and going. One of these was to make semifreddo using blackcurrants and white chocolate – somehow blackcurrants and dark chocolate just didn’t seem right. I’ve been wanting to try semifreddo for a long time now as I keep hearing various bloggers rave about it and more importantly it doesn’t need churning. As I have no ice-cream maker that has got to be a good thing. However Kavey set condensed milk for her Bloggers Scream for Ice-Cream challenge this month and as this is also a no churn ice-cream, I had a rethink. Semifreddo would have to wait for another time.
As it happened, although I’d already made blackcurrant and white chocolate biscuits for We Should Cocoa, I still had blackcurrants in mind for ice-cream. I also had some left over that needed using up. I’ve never tried rose with blackcurrants before, but as it works so well with rhubarb, strawberries and raspberries, I thought it would do the same for blackcurrants and was keen to try it out. Ren Behan actually got there before me with this delicious looking ice-cream. However, it was too late to change my mind and I was going to do things a little differently anyway. I based my recipe on this Good Food one, but changed it quite considerably.
This is what I did:
- Simmered 110g of blackcurrants in a small covered pan with a dessertspoon of rose sugar and a desertspoon of water for about 5 minutes.
- Squished this through a sieve to remove the tops and seeds.
- Added 1 tbsp of rose syrup.
- Left to cool.
- Melted 40g vanillary white chocolate (G&B) over a pan of hot water then stirred in a 100ml condensed milk.
- Whipped 300ml double cream until soft peaks formed.
- Added 100ml condensed milk and whipped again.
- Stirred in the white chocolate mixture until all incorporated.
- Poured in the blackcurrents and tried to stir it through the mixture to cause a ripple effect.
- Spooned into containers and placed in the freezer.
This ice-cream really surprised me. Not a hint of ice crystals and a beautifully smooth unctuous feel to it. I had been expecting it to be sickly sweet with all that condensed milk. Although it was sweet however, the blackcurrants balanced it out nicely and it was absolutely delicious. The main flavour was of course blackcurrants, but the richness of the white chocolate gave it body and just a hint of rose pervaded the whole in a delightful way. As I’d hoped, rose pairs very well with blackcurrants too. And of course I just loved the colour of the blackcurrants. All in all I was really satisfied with this easy to make ice-cream and will be making it again for sure. Next time I might try adding less condensed milk and a bit more cream to make it less sweet, but no other adjustments needed.
I am also submitting this to Fabulicious Summer Ices over at Lancashire Food where there is an Emma Bridgewater cool bag to be awarded to one lucky entrant.
When I set blackcurrants as this month’s We Should Cocoa challenge, I had vague thoughts of making my mother’s Blackcurrant Buckle recipe. Neither of us have actually made this in more years than I care to remember, but it has lived on in my memory as a good one. A bit of adaptation in my usual way to include chocolate would have been a cinch. However, although I remembered to raid my mother’s blackcurrant bushes on my last visit there, I sadly forgot to raid her pile of recipe scraps for the neglected Buckle. All was by no means lost however, I did have something else in mind – two in fact.
One of the many surprise presents I received from CT on my birthday was a copy of Biscuits by Miranda Gore Brown, she of Great British Bake Off fame (1st series). This now sits in pride of place on my bedside table and forms my bedtime reading, giving me plenty of sweet things to dream about. When I first looked at the book, it just happened to open randomly on a recipe for blackcurrant and white chocolate biscuits – well really, how could I ignore that sign? The other idea I had was for ice-cream and frankly, that could wait for another day.
I only made half the quantity given and just as well. Miranda’s recipe was for 16 biscuits. All I can say is, I’d be delighted to be invited around to her house for tea; my half amount produced 15 large biscuits – I can only assume hers are absolutely ginormous. Other than rounding up the odd measures that halving the recipe entailed, I reduced the sugar slightly and used my usual half wholemeal flour mix.
This is how I made them:
- Creamed 115g unsalted butter with 100g cardamom sugar (caster) until very light and fluffy.
- Beat in about 80g condensed milk.
- Mixed in 175g self-raising flour (half wholemeal, half white).
- As mixture was a little stiff, added a tbsp of milk.
- Mixed in 75g chopped white chocolate (G&B).
- Carefully mixed in 90g blackcurrants.
- Placed 15 large dollops on a tray covered with a silicone mat and baked at 180C for 10 minutes at which point the biscuits were golden and crisp around the edges.
- Left on the tray for ten minutes then transferred to a wire rack to cool completely.
These were crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside and were what I would term cookies rather than biscuits. They spread more than I anticipated, so most of them merged into each other, which was a bit annoying. Oh, but they tasted good! Sweet biscuits with little caramely bites of white chocolate which contrasted with bursts of tart juicy berries giving a great taste sensation.
So, although these were made primarily for We Should Cocoa, they happen to fulfil the criteria for several other blog challenges. So I am also entering them into:
Alpha Bakes – a monthly challenge run by The More Than Occasional Baker and Caroline Makes. The randomly generated number this month comes from Caroline and is W for White chocolate.
Made with Love Mondays – a weekly challenge set by Javelin Warrior’s Cookin w/Luv to make something completely from scratch.
Simple & In Season – a monthly challenge created by Ren of Fabulicious Food which is guest hosted this month by Fleur of Homemade by Fleur
Bookmarked Recipes – a monthly challenge run by Jac of Tinned Tomatoes, but originally created by Ruth’s Kitchen Experiments to make something you’ve bookmarked from a book, magazine or online.
My posts have got a bit out of sync lately and I actually made this a month ago.
Hey ho, the picture I had in my head before making this roll, was very different to the one it actually turned out to be! You’ve heard of Eton Mess, now look as the mess I made. After the last one I attempted, I tried to be more careful, but it turned out to be even more of a disaster than the first one. I was impressed by the Jam Roll Celia made recently, which looked so good and so perfectly formed. When my mother turned up with a bowl of blackcurrants from her garden I knew exactly what I wanted to make with them. I had thought maybe the Christmas roulade didn’t roll well because it was too thick, so I made a different recipe and used less ingredients to make a thinner version – that was the plan anyway! The sponge actually rose really well and turned out to be nearly as thick as my first attempt.
- Simmered 250g blackcurrants and 50g natural granulated sugar in 100ml water until soft.
- Mixed 1 tbsp arrowroot in a little water and stirred into the blackcurrants then left to cool.
- Whipped 150ml double cream until peaks formed.
- Folded cream into blackcurrants.
- Meanwhile, melted 100g 70% dark chocolate in a bowl over the cooking blackcurrants.
- Whisked 4 eggs with 100g vanilla sugar until pale and very thick.
- Added 15ml of just boiled water and continued to whisk until incorporated.
- Folded in the chocolate.
- Folded in 75g white spelt flour.
- Poured mixture into a lined Swiss roll tin and baked at 200C for 8 minutes.
- From here on in, things started to go wrong. Decided it might be better to roll up the sponge whilst still warm so turned it out onto a baking sheet sprinkled with caster sugar and rolled up. Left until cool.
- Unrolled the sponge which promptly proceeded to break up.
- Covered the inside with the blackcurrant cream then tried to re-roll. It didn’t like this treatment at all and broke up big time.
- Lifted it onto a plate in order to take a photograph where not only did it break up some more but the filling squidged out from all sides.
- Took a photo of the gory mess anyway.