When I chose butter as this month’s We Should Cocoa ingredient, I didn’t have anything specific in mind. But when I woke up yesterday, I wanted to bake and I wanted to bake something decadent. It’s been a long time since I made a full on layer cake and this triple chocolate cake is perfect for Valentine’s Day or any other occasion when you want to show how much you care for the ones you love (if not perhaps their waistlines).
Porridge was a breakfast mainstay when I was growing up and it’s given me a love of oats that’s never left me. I use them in porridge, in my smoothies and in baking. But I rarely think about soaking them overnight and having a bowl of raw goodness for breakfast. Bircher muesli or overnight oats, call them what you will, is another tasty addition to have in one’s breakfast repertoire.
A couple of months or so ago, I decided we needed a change from fruity smoothies for our morning breakfast. Delicious as they are, I’m more used to having something savoury at this time in the morning – it just feels right somehow. This cucumber and celery smoothie is so versatile it doubles up as a cooling summer soup.
After all that Black Forest Gateau, something healthy was definitely in order. It was time to use one of the mangos that CT had picked up at a knock down price. This fruity, veg filled, colourful mango carrot smoothie was the result.
Following on from the success of my Red Berry Smoothie in a Bowl, I thought I’d try a smoothie in a sundae glass and eat it with a spoon. If you are going to eat something with a spoon, it encourages you to sit down – and a sit down breakfast is a rare treat for me.
As some of you will know, smoothies are a regular breakfast item in the Tin and Thyme household. They are a tasty way of packing in a lot of healthy nutrients and generally keep us going for hours. It was not until I had a conversation with some fellow food bloggers yesterday, however, that I heard about the smoothie bowl. As soon as the concept was explained, I realised that smoothies in a bowl were quite a different thing to smoothies in a glass.
Grapefruit is grown in many places and although there’s plenty of sunshine here at the moment, Cornwall isn’t one of them. Florida, however, is a different story. Citrus fruit thrive in Florida’s sub tropical climate and grapefruit have been grown there since 1823. Many of us in the UK blame rain and cold weather for making us feel dull and unproductive in the winter, but perhaps we just need some of that captured sunshine to give us a much needed boost? Cue sunshine grapefruit smoothie.
Despite my love of chocolate, cakes, biscuits, puddings and most things sweet, I do not, as it may seem, indulge all day long or even every day. Most of the time, I try to eat healthily. One of our regular breakfast ingredients is kefir, which CT has been making for many years now. We drink it as it is, use it in smoothies, on muesli and add it to porridge. I woke up one Sunday morning thinking, why don’t I try making pancakes out of it – not a revolutionary idea I’m sure, but I’d not thought of it before. Spiced kefir pancakes with manuka honey and crème fraîche chocolate sauce it was then.
Dom has put a jinx on me. He left a comment about finding my misreading of recipes rather endearing. The cheek of it! Mostly, I choose not to follow the recipe. But ever since he said that, I have indeed misread them and today was no exception! The friends we visited last weekend (who munched through my chocolate courgette cake), gave us a bag of Victoria plums from their holiday let garden – mmmmmm. I wanted to make something a little more interesting than CTs suggestion of a crumble – not that I have anything against crumble. I was looking for a way to get both rose and chocolate into it as a Plan B for We Should Cocoa, just in case Plan A didn’t happen. This Plum Traybake from Waitrose sounded interesting, especially as we had some of CTs homemade kefir cheese that needed using up. All I needed to do, was to substitute the vanilla for rose and make the cheesecake a chocolate one. However, as it turned out, I didn’t do it quite as I’d meant to:
- Stoned and chopped 400g of Victoria plums.
- Melted 125g 46% milk chocolate in a bowl over hot water an left to cool.
- Mixed 200g kefir cheese until smooth.
- Beat in the melted chocolate and set aside.
- Creamed 175g unsalted butter with 200g cardamom sugar.
- Beat in 4 eggs one by one.
- Sifted in 200g flour (1/2 spelt, 1/2 white) and 1 tsp baking powder.
- Stirred in 1 tbsp rose water.
- Spooned half of the cake batter into a 9″sq cake mould. This proved to be rather difficult as there wasn’t a huge amount of batter.
- Spread the cheese mixture over the cake batter, then scattered half of the chopped plums on top.
- Spread the remaining half of the cake batter over the top and scattered the remaining plums over this.
- Baked at 180C for 35 mins.
- Left to cool then cut into 16 squares.
It wasn’t until I’d made the cake and re-read the original recipe, that I realised I was meant to put one of the eggs in the cheesecake – oops! Despite, the mishap with eggs, the result was truly scrumptious. It started with a lovely fruity hit, both sweet and tangy, then came the unctuous creamy chocolatey bit. The rose was very subtle, but left it’s mark in the mouth long after the cake had disappeared – in a nice way.