Claudia Roden’s Gateau au Chocolat – Random Recipes #45

Free From, Gluten Free | 23rd November 2014 | By

November can be a bit of a miserable month, so thank goodness for Random Recipes which lights the darkness on the downhill run to Christmas. Dom tasked us this month with rifling through our magazine cuttings and other such clippings to pick a random recipe. I was hoping to strike lucky with something suitable that I could make as a thank you to our fabulous next door neighbours. Not only do they take most of our parcels when we’re away, but they helped us out in a real crisis last Saturday; part of our bedroom window fell away, ripping off some tiles in the process – not great at the best of times, but especially not in all the wind and rain we’ve been experiencing this month, with a lot worse to come.

So I gathered together my various ‘chocolate’ clippings and asked CT to close his eyes, have a root around in them and pull one out. I couldn’t have wished for a better recipe, it was Claudia Roden’s Gateau au Chocolate torn out of an old issue of the Food Magazine.

Coincidentally, Chocolate Log Blog has been shortlisted for the Food Reader Awards from this very same magazine and I would of course love to have your votes. It’s a very quick process, you do need to leave an e-mail address, but you don’t have to sign up for anything.

This is a rich flourless chocolate cake, so perfect for anyone on a gluten free diet. It is also simple to make and quite delicious. Although I have made similar cakes to this in the past, I put a little of the batter into a muffin mould so I could try it – quality testing is sooooo important. I decided to use my chocolate cake mould for this and to top it with a chocolate sauce, the idea being for it to run down the gaps and look shiny and decadent. Things didn’t quite go according to plan and I have to confess this is not a looker. However, our neighbours were very happy with it and the empty plate came back in less than an hour along with a beaming smile and a report that it was very good and had been polished off rapidly.

This is how I made:

Claudia Roden’s Gateau au Chocolat with my Chocolate Sauce

  • Melted 125g 70% dark chocolate in a pan over gentle heat along with 50g unsalted butter and left to cool a little.
  • Separated 3 duck eggs.
  • Whisked the yolks with 35g cardamom sugar (golden caster sugar) until the mixture was thick and pale.
  • Folded in the chocolate butter mixture along with 50g ground almonds
  • Whisked the egg whites in a clean bowl until stiff, then folded into the cake batter.
  • Scraped into my silicone chocolate mould (an 18cm or 20cm pan would probably be about right) and baked at 180℃ for 20 minutes when the cake was well risen and a skewer inserted into the middle came out clean.
  • Allowed to cool in the mould for a few minutes, then turned out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Melted 50g of 70% dark chocolate in a pan with 75ml water and 1 scant tbsp golden syrup.
  • Brought to a simmer and let bubble for a couple of minutes.
  • Removed from the heat and added a small knob of butter.
  • Allowed to cool a little, then poured over the cake. Annoyingly I had allowed my chocolate to bubble away for a little too long, so the mixture was a bit too thick to pour well.
I am sending this off to Random Recipes over at Belleau Kitchen.

Chocolate Pear Cardamom Upside-Down Cake

Cake, Large Cakes | 27th September 2014 | By

Harvest festival meets Random Recipes meets Clandestine Cake Club in this post. As we had a hard challenge for August, Dom has gone easy on us this month and it’s back to the basics of picking a random book from our collection and then a random recipe from that book. I used my usual Eat Your Books method of selection and came up with a recipe for a simple chocolate pear upside-down cake in Jennifer Donovan’s book Chocolate. Happily this pick coincided with a Cornwall Clandestine Cake Club gathering on Thursday where the theme was harvest festival. And to tie it all together in a nice little bundle, my mother turned up with a jar of pears that she’d just poached. All sorted.

I had to add my own twist of course, so apart from using poached pears rather than raw ones, I substituted the vanilla for cardamom. The cake was fudgy and chocolatey, but the cardamom and pear stopped it being too sweet and sickly. It was in fact a delicious cake I will be repeating and the good folk at cake club seemed to enjoy it.

This is how I made:

Chocolate Pear Cardamom Upside-Down Cake

  • Melted 200g butter with 200g of dark 70% chocolate in a large saucepan over low heat.
  • Stirred in 150g cardamom sugar (golden caster sugar) and left to cool a little.
  • Beat in three duck eggs (large hens eggs will be fine) with 1 drop of the excellent Holy Lama cardamom extract (or the ground seeds from 1-2 cardamom pods, depending on how subtle you want the flavour).
  • Sifted in 120g self-raising flour and stirred gently until just combined.
  • Sprinkled 3 tbsp of dark brown sugar over the base of a 9″ round silicon mould.
  • Lay 12 pear quarters on top of the sugar then poured the batter over the top.
  • Baked at 180℃ for 30 minutes until just done.
  • Left to cool for about ten minutes, then turned the cake upside down onto a serving plate.


The harvest festival theme resulted in a bounty of fruit and vegetable cakes. The cake shown here completely stole the show, but they were all very tasty and yes, I did manage to try a piece of each! An independent wine merchant with accompanying champagne and coffee bar, Bin Two in Padstow, was our venue and some of the participants seemed much more interested in the wine than they did in the cake. The shop included a cafe bar, so we all crowded and got up close and cosy. Thanks as always to Ellie Mitchell for organising another splendid cakey gathering.

Bin Two were hosting a Macmillan Coffee Morning the following day, so I also brought along a few oaty ginger biscuits. These were quite fiery as they were not only flavoured with ground ginger but included crystallised ginger too. CT got almost grumpy when he was only allowed to try one.

So this is another success I put down to Dom and his Random Recipes over at Belleau Kitchen – such a fun and interesting challenge – most of the time anyway!

I had a bit of a dilemma trying to decide which of this month’s seasonal recipes should be sent to Simple and in Season – there have been so many good ones. But despite the rather prosaic nature of pear after the colours and flavours of blackberry and plum, this cake deserves recognition. Nazima of Franglais Kitchen is hosting this month on behalf of Ren Behan.

Chocolate Lavender Parfait – Random Recipes

5 Star, Ice Cream | 25th August 2014 | By

This month Dashing Dom has joined forces with Krazy Kavey in a chilling combination of Random Recipes and Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream. Now that Autumn has descended on us rather earlier than expected, ice-cream is no longer top of my list of desired desserts. However, ice-cream and frozen desserts are what we’ve been tasked to make, so I gritted my teeth and went to interrogate Eat Your Books. This is my preferred method of selecting my books for these Random Recipe occasions.

This time I limited the search to my chocolate books, which I was somewhat surprised to see has reached the grand total of seventeen. Ultimate: the Green and Black’s New Collection was the book randomly selected. I haven’t looked at this tome in such a long time that I was pleased to renew my acquaintance. It turns out it contains quite a few ice-cream recipes as well as a recipe for chocolate parfait – a frozen dessert which I’ve never made before. I decided to make half the quantity as I didn’t have much space in the freezer; this meant I needed about 60g of dark chocolate. Now it just so happens that I had 70g of dark lavender chocolate lying about; I’d found this too strong and soapy to eat on its own, so it was awaiting just such an occasion as this. Lavender chocolate works wonderfully well when incorporated into other recipes, I reckon. The parfait recipe included coffee, but as I was adding lavender, I omitted this.

This is how I made:

Chocolate Lavender Parfait

  • Whipped 150g double cream to soft peaks using hand beaters.
  • Separated two large eggs, putting the yolks into a bowl and the whites into the fridge for some future use.
  • Warmed 75 ml water in a small pan and dissolved 60g golden caster sugar in it.
  • Notched up the heat and boiled the syrup for 2 minutes, then turned the heat off.
  • Added 70g chopped dark lavender chocolate (72%) and left to melt.
  • Beat the egg yolks with the hand held beaters, then slowly poured in the chocolate syrup beating all the while. Carried on beating until the mixture was almost cool.
  • Beat in 1 dessertspoon of cognac, then folded in the whipped cream.
  • Divided the mixture between four ramekin dishes and placed in the freezer.

To be honest I’m not terribly sure what the difference between a parfait and ice-cream is technically, but it’s a very good way of making a no-churn frozen dessert. It was velvety smooth and not a shard of ice crystal could be detected. It’s very rich and truly decadent, but the soupçon of lavender keeps it tasting fresh and prevents it from cloying on the palate as some creamy confections can do. The cognac gave a welcome hint of sophistication and brought out the other flavours. This is a perfect use for lavender chocolate and a brilliant make ahead dessert I can now knock up for future dinner parties.

This chocolate parfait is being entered into random ice cream – the joint Random Recipes and Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream event hosted over at Belleau Kitchen and Kavey Eats.

A healthy dose of cognac makes this dessert crazy enough for me, so I am entering it into Baking with Spirit over at Cake of the Week where Janine has asked us to all go crazy.

I’m also sending this off to Lucy’s #CookBlogShare over at Supergolden Bakes.

Pomegranate Choctail – Random Recipes #41

Drinks | 22nd July 2014 | By

Dom’s been drinking too many cocktails recently and in his own words has become obsessed. And now he’s trying to lead us all astray by getting us to make cocktails for Random Recipes this month. Shame on you Dom 😉 Actually, it’s good to have an excuse to make a cocktail, they are rather lush.

Surprisingly, I don’t seem to have many cocktail recipes, so instead of choosing a book randomly, I entered cocktails into Eat Your Books and came up with a chocolate bramble cocktail from Adventures with Chocolate by Paul A Young. I know Dom tells us not to tinker with the recipe, but he should know by now that I’m incapable of following this instruction. In any case, I didn’t have any blackberries or Crème de Mûres, but I did have some pomegranate juice, or juice drink to be more precise. I didn’t even follow Paul’s exact recipe for the chocolate liquor part as it seemed rather sweet and the pomegranate drink was quite sweet enough. However, I did follow his method – more or less.

The cocktails went down a treat – dark and velvety, very adult and not too sweet. If you prefer your drinks sweeter, just add a little more sugar to the chocolate liquor or use a less dark chocolate. CT was rather disappointed I’d only made enough for one each. The chocolate and red pomegranate didn’t quite layer in the way I’d hoped, but I liked the way they swirled together as they slowly mixed;  I was reminded of a lava flow.

So it’s cocktails for Random Recipes over at Belleau Kitchen. Dom has upped the anti this month by offering a bottle of vodka as a prize for the best entry.

This also goes off to Baking with Spirit where the theme is Alcohol for Parties. This event from Janine of Cake of the Week is this month hosted by Laura of I’d Much Rather Bake Than …

print recipe

Chocolate Pomegranate Cocktail

by July-22-2014
A dark chocolate fruity cocktail that has depth and bite.
  • 25g golden caster sugar
  • 40g 80% dark chocolate + a couple of squares to serve
  • 50 ml Plymouth gin
  • 200 ml pomegranate juice drink
  • 10 ml lemon juice
  • 4 ice cubes
1. Warm the sugar and chocolate in a pan with 100 ml water until the sugar has dissolved and the chocolate melted.2. Simmer for a couple of minutes, then take off the heat.3. Shake the gin, pomegranate and lemon juice together.4. Place two ice cubes in two glasses. Pour the gin concoction over the ice, then slowly pour the chocolate sauce in.5. Top with a square of chocolate.

Prep time: Total time: Yield: 2 glasses

Burnt Butter Cupcakes – Random Recipes #40

Cupcakes | 11th June 2014 | By

Burnt Butter Cupcakes

Once upon a time, many years ago, I made Nigella’s burnt butter cupcakes using jaggery instead of the prescribed sugar. They have lived on in my memory ever since as one of the most delicious cakes I’ve eaten. The reason I haven’t made them subsequently is because on the rare occasion I visit an asian shop, I forget to look out for jaggery. Jaggery is one of the most natural and least harmful forms of sugar and is traditionally eaten on the Indian subcontinent. Natural cane juice is dehydrated and formed into blocks. It has a slightly fudgy texture and a unique caramel flavour. It is also high in minerals and has a much lower GI than refined sugar.

Random Recipes has reached the grand old age of 40 this month (months, not years), so Dom has ingeniously tasked us with finding our 40th recipe book and cooking whatever comes up on page 40. I can’t tell you how delighted I was when I got burnt butter cupcakes from Nigella’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess. Doubly delighted because I had recently come across some jaggery and bought it with the very intention of trying these cakes out once again.

Because I needed to get some chocolate into the bake and wanted to use jaggery, the recipe for the cake is somewhat adapted. The recipe for the icing is quite different. I was intrigued recently when I saw a recipe for old fashioned flour frosting over at Delightful Repast. This is a basic sweetened white sauce which is then whipped up with butter and uses a lot less sugar than buttercream. This was my chance to try it out using burnt butter of course.

This is how I made:

Burnt Butter & White Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Melted 75g unsalted butter in a pan over moderate heat then allowed to bubble for a few minutes until the butter smelt nutty and flecks of brown appeared.
  • Sieved the butter to clarify it and take out the burnt solids.
  • Added 65g of jaggery and 25g of finely grated white chocolate (I used Mortimer’s white couverture powder). This allowed the chocolate to melt, the jaggery to soften and the butter to firm up. Left for about 10 minutes.
  • Creamed the butter, jaggery & chocolate together until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in 2 small eggs (1 duck egg or extra large would be fine) and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
  • Sieved in 90g flour (half wholemeal, half white) and 1 tsp baking powder.
  • Stirred this in as gently as possible followed by 1 tbsp water.
  • Spooned into 6 cupcake cases and baked at 180℃ for 20 minutes.
  • Melted 75g unsalted butter in a pan over moderate heat then allowed to bubble for a few minutes until the butter smelt nutty and flecks of brown appeared.
  • Sieved the butter to clarify it and take out the burnt solids. Left to cool and solidify.
  • Whisked 45g plain white flour in a pan with 100 ml of milk and a pinch of salt until there were no lumps.
  • Added 50g jaggery and cooked over a low heat whisking all the time until the mixture was very thick. Left to cool.
  • Creamed the butter until light then beat in the custard. I added some extra milk at this point as the mixture was too thick I thought. Beat until it had the consistency of whipped cream.
  • As it turned out, I’d added a little too much milk as my icing didn’t hold its nicely piped shape. Or perhaps my impatience got the better of me as it firmed up later – I live and learn!
Burnt Butter Cupcakes

Despite the disappointment of the shapeless icing, I was really pleased with its taste and mouthfeel. Smooth, creamy and quite delicious, it was not nearly as sweet as your average buttercream can be. I shall most certainly be trying this again. The cupcakes were nearly as good as I remembered them – time, like absence, tends to make the memory fonder.  The burnt butter worked a treat and they were rich, caramelly and delectable.

Rhubarb and Almond Cream Pasty Pie

Tarts & Pastries | 22nd April 2014 | By

With Easter fast approaching and any number of Easter bakes and posts to write, time was running out for this month’s Random Recipes. Now it just so happens that RR has joined forces with the new round of AlphaBakes and it has been decided to start at the very beginning this time, with the letter A. Using my usual Eat Your Books method of selection I came out with the book Pasties by Lindsey Bareham. I must confess at this point that I felt a bit jittery. I may well come from the Land of Pasties, but my pasty making skills lean towards the imperfect end of the spectrum. I was hoping the book would fail to provide me with a suitable recipe, but in this I was foiled. A recipe for plum pasties with almond cream leapt up from the index and my heart skipped a beat.

OK, no need to panic. In my usual style, I would adapt the recipe. My mother had made a recent delivery of some rhubarb from her garden (for some reason our plot seems incapable of growing any), so I would substitute that for the plums. I would add some grated white chocolate to the pastry, some orange zest to the almond cream and most importantly of all I was going to make one large pie, not six individual pasties – I really just didn’t have the time to faff around. My concession to the pasty would be to crimp the edges of the pie in true pasty style – hence the name pasty pie.

This is how I made:

Rhubarb and Almond Cream Pasty Pie

  • Cut 150g cold unsalted butter into 250g flour (half wholemeal, half white) with a knife then rubbed it between my fingers until the mixture resembled breadcrumbs.
  • Grated in 20g white chocolate.
  • Mixed in 2 tbsp Greek yogurt and 1 tbsp water with a knife, then brought the mixture together with my hands to form a ball. Covered with a plastic bag and placed in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Creamed 100g unsalted butter with 100g cardamom (caster) sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in 1 tsp powdered orange rind (or zest of an orange).
  • Beat in a duck egg (or large hen’s egg).
  • Stirred in 100g ground almonds.
  • Washed, trimmed and chopped 350g of rhubarb into smallish pieces.
  • Divided the pastry into two portions, one slightly larger than the other.
  • Rolled the larger portion out into a round to cover a deep 20 cm pie dish.
  • Covered the pastry bottom with the rhubarb, then covered the rhubarb with the almond cream.
  • Rolled out the smaller piece of pastry to cover the top of the pie.
  • Crimped the edges together, brushed on a little beaten egg mixed with milk and sprinkled about a dessertspoon of cardamom (caster) sugar over the top.
  • Baked at 200C for 15 minutes, then turned the oven down to 180C for a further 20 minutes until the top was nicely browned.

So how did it all work out? It was pure heaven and although you couldn’t expect an angel to bring this down from on high during Lent, it sent CT and I into raptures. It was a truly indulgent dessert. I’ve not made pastry with white chocolate and yogurt before, but I will most certainly be doing it again. The rhubarb cut through the rich creamy filling and it all hung together very nicely.

It just so happened that I’d recently had delivery of a bag of Rodda’s goodies which I’d won in their #crownyourpuds competition for my Chocolate Pots. So to crown my rhubarb and almond cream pasty pie, sat a dollop of Cornish clotted cream. Show me a pudding that isn’t improved by clotted cream and I’ll eat it, quipped CT – a man after my own heart.

So this Rhubarb and Almond Cream Pasty Pie is my entry to the joint Random Recipes and Alphabakes challenge with A for Almond. Dom of Belleau Kitchen, Ros of The More Than Occasional Baker and Caroline of Caroline Makes have put their heads together this month and come up with this fun and clever challenge.

As everything is made from scratch, I’m sending this off to Javelin Warrior for his Made with Love Mondays.

We Should Cocoa – The Random Recipe Round-Up

We Should Cocoa | 28th February 2014 | By

Having joined forces with Dashing Dom this month, I was excited to see what random chocolate recipes everyone selected. Combining my two favourite challenges meant the result was more than the sum of its parts or, as CT put it, had hybrid vigour. Two for the price of one; you can take a look at this round-up and then go over to Belleau Kitchen to see how differently it’s done there. Variety is the spice of life after all. Thank you all 37 for taking part, it’s been fun.

Pop over to I’d Much Rather Bake Than … tomorrow to find out what March has in store for We Should Cocoa.

Here we go:

And the very first to get randomly cooking was Dom himself over at Belleau Kitchen with this rather good looking chocolate courgette cake taken from the Riverford Farm Cook Book. Dom admitted he was a tiny bit disappointed with this bake as it wasn’t sweet enough. I don’t like overly sweet cakes, so I think this would have suited me fine. He says though, that eaten hot with custard, this would make a great pudding.

After first getting a book without a single chocolate recipe in it, Galina of Chez Maxima got lucky on her second attempt. She dipped into the glorious Green & Black Ultimate Chocolate Recipes and pulled out chic chip madeleines which proved to be very popular with the little ones. I have the book, I haven’t made the recipe – yet!

Gerbeaud slice is a new one on me, but it sounds absolutely heavenly. It was named after the cafe that created them in Budapest apparently and is a layered yeasted dough filled with apricot jam and nuts, then topped off with chocolate. Cheryl of Madhouse Family Reviews was lucky enough to pick this from the Hairy Bikers’ big Book of Baking.

Of the two chocolate book’s in Ren Behan‘s collection, she selected Rococo Mastering the Art of Chocolate. Poignantly, vegan chocolate cake that was selected had been dedicated to Mott Green, the found of The Grenada Chocolate Company who died so unexpectedly last year . Made with prunes and plenty of chocolate, it is a fitting tribute.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Debby of Cooking up a Storm in a Teacup picked a recipe for Nigel Slater’s chocolate truffles from his book Real Food. These, her first venture into chocolate making, were a complete success – chocolate truffles at their simplest and their best.

It seems that many people’s first whoopee pie experience comes with making their own. This was true for me and also for Corina of Searching for Spice when she got a recipe for Made-In-France-Whoopies from Le Cookie. French whoops? Really? Goodness, these chocolate caramel whoopee pies sound good though with their caramel mascarpone filling.

This chocolate and beetroot cake is another random pick that turned out to be a perfect Valentine’s recipe. Caroline from Caroline Makes selected this from the Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook and baked it in a lovely heart shaped bundt mould and decorated it with pink icing – perfect for Valentine’s Day and healthy too 😉

The next pick was made for a tree hugger’s pot luck dinner. I love the sound of this and would have loved to go along to try out these adorable  chocolate rugelach. Susan of The Spice Garden had the luck to get this recipe from Nigella’s book Feast, a book I’ve heard a lot about, but haven’t yet seen.

Manjiri of Slice of Me also picked Feast. She decided to modify her  random recipe, Nigella’s Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake, to make it into a Coconut Cake with Coconut Flavoured Icing for a Valentine’s treat as well as a birthday and wedding anniversary cake.

Another Valentine cake was picked by Grace of Life Can Be Simple. Taken from Carol Walter’s Great Cakes, this deceptive looking simple sour cream chocolate loaf cake has a not so simple surprise inside. BTW Grace, I was unable to leave a comment on your blog as you have Google+ turned on.

And the Valentine theme rolls on with more chocolate truffles. These were also a first for Vikki over at The Kitchen Adventure. Her recipe came from Sweets & Chocolates, one of the few books she could actually get at.

Kate over at Veggie Desserts made red velvet beet chocolate mousse, using the beetroot as her red velvet colouring – so much preferable to artificial colour.

A charming story involving florentines comes from Elizabeth’s Kitchen. These came after a first recipe was selected, baked and deemed not to pass muster. With true dedication Elizabeth selected another recipe from the same book, Green & Black’s Chocolate Unwrapped and found these florentines to be much more successful, if rather time consuming to make.

Some more stunning dipped chocolate biscuits were the result of Rebecca’s selection over at Bake n Quilt. I’m Dreaming of a Chocolate Christmas by Marcel Desaulniers is only just out of season and perfect for the month of chocolate. Her chocolate dipped pistachio lace cookies also proved to be a bit fiddly, but worth the effort.

Over at Culinary Adventures with Camilla, we have a very swish looking Chocolate Truffle Tart. Chosen by Camilla’s boys from Chocolate: Cooking with the World’s Best Ingredient by Christine McFadden and Christine France, they were more than happy to help her eat it too – this despite forgetting to put the cocoa powder in the tart case – oops!

I got very lucky and picked chocolate brownies from Chantal Coady’s Real Chocolate. Brownies have to be one of the easiest and tastes chocolate bakes ever and these were no exception. In fact they were some of the best brownies I’ve made.

I am so enjoying all this chocolate decadence. This deep dark chocolate cake over at The Law Student’s Cookbook looks to continue the theme, but looks can be deceptive. This cake replaces the butter with cashew nuts and beetroot are used too. I’m not sure the scoop of chocolate ice-cream won’t have undone the good work though! Taken from Cook Yourself Thin.

Laura from I’d Much Rather Bake Than … has found a full proof recipe for dark chocolate muffins. Her only concern was that there maybe wasn’t quite enough chocolate, but with 275g of the stuff in only six muffins, it sounds fairly well stuffed to me. Her pick came from Roger Pizey’s World’s Best Cakes.

Much as I love chocolate, it’s nice to see a bit of fruit. Chris from Cooking Around the World picked Peach Shortcake from Jamie’s America. He didn’t have any peaches, which is not really surprising at this time of year, so substituted apples instead to make apple shortcake with chocolate chip cream. Some mascarpone in need of using up found it’s way into the chocolate chip cream which sounds like a wonderful dessert in it’s own right.

Karen of Lavender and Lovage  picked a bake that is very close to her heart – Yorkshire puds. Only these mixed berry and chocolate popovers, taken from the Reader’s Digest Baking Bible, come in a sweeter American form. I’m rather taken with the perles de prune and the forks as well as the popovers themselves. Do take care when checking out her post though, you will find so many stunning photographs to gaze longingly at, you might never leave.

I never imagined Pooh was going to make an appearance in this round-up, but fabulously he does with these chocolate rock cakes over at Dragons and Fairy Dust. I foolishly thought I was the first to add chocolate to rock cakes, but I should have known better. These “provisions” were randomly selected from The Pooh Cook Book by Katie Stewart.

This chocolate tea bread from Antonia of A Little Bit Greedy, sounds as though it should work, but sadly didn’t.  It was taken, rather reluctantly, from Chocolate by Jacqueline Bellefontaine. However, the flavours sounded good and I suspect with a little adaptation, this would be a delicious loaf.

True dedication to this month’s challenge was shown by Nat of HungryHinny who picked chocolate pithiviers from Green & Black’s Ultimate Chocolate Recipes. This not only involved making her own puff pastry but also creme patissiere. Luckily, all the hard work paid off as you can see from the gorgeous photo – now if only I’d got to try one …

I’m desperately hoping that Hannah of Corner Cottage Bakery will not be put off joining in again as her magic chocolate mud pudding proved to be anything but magical and was in fact a total disaster. The recipe’s fault not hers she assures us. Taken from Chocolate Ecstasy by Christine France, I suspect she might not be using it again.

Alexandra from The Lass with the Apron, was at first disappointed with her random recipe as she thought it a bit boring. Luckily, she soon saw the error of her ways and ended up really enjoying both the process of making and of eating this maple-chocolate roulade taken from American Cooking: New England, part of Time-Life’s Food of the World series.

Ooh chocolate fig cakes. This is a recipe I’ve had my eye on for a while. It’s from William Curley’s Couture Chocolate and I have the book. Jill over at Lapin d’Or and More has given a very favourable review and being the chocolate master she is, I’m inclined to take her word for it. After all figs soaked in red wine has got to be good.

That Nutty Tart ended up with a recipe that assumed when it comes to making caramel, you pretty much know what you’re doing, which isn’t a good start when you don’t. Add to this the lack of chocolate in the house when you are specifically making a chocolate recipe, things didn’t quite go according to plan. However, all came right in the end and these chocolate pralines from Creole, Cajun and Mexican Recipes by Mirjaliisa Nuuttila and Elinor Schildt were by all accounts like delicate cloudy fudge that were far too easy to eat.

Undiscovered in Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries Craig from The Usual Saucepans was both shocked and delighted to have it selected as his random recipe. Shocked because he thought he knew this book inside out and delighted to discover such an excellent recipe as chocolate melting pots complete with nutella and amaretto – mmm.

Lime and chocolate is a favourite combination of mine. Combine that with salted chocolate and I’m sure I’d be in foodie heaven. Gary from Exploits of a Food Nut was lucky enough to pick salted chocolate lime mousse from River Cottage Fruit Every Day. Not having made mousse before, he was rather pleased to be made to do so.

My eyes opened wide when I read chocolate-filled chocolate cookies, the recipe picked by Stacy of Food Lust People Love. As you know I don’t believe there is such a thing as too much chocolate. The results, not surprisingly, were pronounced to be delicious. The pick came from Jamie Oliver’s Happy Days with the Naked Chef. Amazingly, I don’t have a single JO book.

Taken from a NZ vintage 70s Woman’s Weekly Cookbook, this recipe for chocolate cornflake roughs, is one I suspect we can all relate to. This was Lucy’s lucky dip over at The KitchenMaid. She suggests NOT sharing them with the children and I think I’m with her on that 😉

And here is a recipe very much in the style of my own recent baking, although this one is without yeast – chocolate stout bread. Jenny over at The Lazy Vegan Baker picked this from one of her favourite vegan baking books. Luckily for her stress levels, it was a simple mix and bake affair.

Beetroot must be an incredibly popular ingredient, for here is yet another chocolate beetroot cake. Admittedly, this is more of a random recipe than a randomly picked one, but I think we’ll let Mr Pork Belly off as he has long wanted to try making a dairy chocolate beetroot cake. You can read all about it over at Rosemary and Pork Belly.

Kate over at Gluten Free Alchemist selected a recipe she was luckily able to adapt easily to a gluten free one. The Chocolate Box from Marks & Spencer gave her chocolate-peanut butter oath slices. Strangely I made something similar myself recently and can attest that it’s truly delicious.

Is it a cake or is it a Yorkshire pudding? Having just moved into a new house Sally of Recipe Junkie had rather a lot on. Amazingly, she dipped into this challenge and ended up not having quite enough time to bake the cake she’d selected from her Great Aunt’s notebook. The resulting slightly stodgy cake, she has renamed Chocolate Yorkshire Pudding.

And here is yet another chocolate stuffed recipe – my cup floweth over. Amanda from Dancing Veggies selected these chocolate stuffed muffins from 1000 vegetarian recipes. Having made them, she thought they might work even better stuffed with Nutella or brownie batter or any number of other things. Inspiring ideas all.

Chocolate scones I have made many a time, but never chocolate chip scones with marmalade in. This was the recipe picked for Nikki over at Yummy! Mummy Cooks the Books by her teenage son. The recipe came from Great British Bake Off Everyday, but Nikki wasn’t too impressed and reckoned her own version was better. Having baked for her brother’s coffee shop, she sounds like she knows what she is talking about.


Real Chocolate Brownies – We Should Cocoa #42

As some of you have probably gathered, this month We Should Cocoa has teamed up with Random Recipes for a decadent extravaganza of chocolatey love. My pick really was decadent. I decided to put all of my books into the mix as most of them will have a chocolate recipe or two. I adopted my usual method of generating a random number and then used Eat Your Books to get the selection. Real Chocolate by Chantal Coady was the result. CT did the honours of picking a page number and low and behold I got a nice easy recipe, Chocolate Brownies – hooray. Not only do I love to eat brownies, but they are a joy to make too. Simple and quick, but with delicious results. The recipe originated from someone called Mandy who married an Italian and went to live in Italy. All I can say is, if she took this recipe with her, she will have made herself one very popular woman.


We Should Cocoa – The February 2014 Challenge

We Should Cocoa | 1st February 2014 | By

It’s exciting times for We Should Cocoa this month. What ingredient, you are wondering will it be for February? Or is it a theme? Maybe a bake? Well it’s an ingredient and that ingredient is chocolate – it is the month of Valentine after all. Chocolate? But we all know about the chocolate bit, you are probably proclaiming. Ah, but there’s a bit more to it than that. We are joining forces with Dashing Dom and his Random Recipe challenge over at Belleau Kitchen.

Random Recipes is a hoot and my favourite challenge – after We Should Cocoa of course.  It gets me to use some of the recipes and books that are sitting on my shelves that might otherwise not get a look in. Sometimes it gets me to make things that are well outside my comfort zone. Mostly it’s a bit of fun. I’m chuffed to be playing a part in it this month. The idea is for you to pick a random chocolate recipe (see below for details) then make it, blog about it and link to us. At the end of the month, you get not one, but two round-ups, one from Dom and one from me.

We Should Cocoa Meets Random Recipes – The Rules:

1. Randomly select a book from your cookbook collection (you can group them into all the books that contain dessert recipes or all the books about chocolate if you want to make it easier…) … you can do this any number of ways, Dom likes to count them all, assign each one a number and then randomly draw a book out of the hat but you could throw them all up in the air and select the one that hits you… we leave the selection process to you.

2. Take that book and either open it at a random page (try towards the back of the book) or, you can go to the index of the book and look up all the chocolate recipes which you should find under C and then randomly pick one of these chocolate recipes

3. Cook the recipe on this page… and don’t cheat… do it with a friend in the room who will make you stick to it… it’s a challenge after all and you’re only cheating yourself… this is specifically designed to take you out of your comfort zone…!

4. You may change the recipe for dietary or monetary or seasonal availability reasons only.

5. Post it up on your blog, with a link to Belleau Kitchen and Chocolate Log Blog and then you can either email Dom dominic(@) or use the linky at the bottom of this page so we know you’ve joined in, you can also attach the badge to show people you’re taking part.

6. Tweet your entry including the hashtag #randomrecipes and #weshouldcocoa and we will retweet all we see

7. Taking part in this challenge automatically qualifies you for entry into the Random Recipes challenge and vice versa.

8. Challenge deadline is Feb 26th.

Oaty Chocolate Chip Cookies – Random Recipes #36

Biscuits | 19th January 2014 | By

This month’s Random Recipes challenge is to make something from a recipe book received this Christmas. Well I didn’t receive any recipe books this year as such, but my aunt has been having a good clear out recently and happened to be staying with us over Christmas. In my stocking I found a Woman and Home magazine supplement from 1986 entitled Irresistible Ways with Chocolate – a real vintage publication and I was delighted with it. Interestingly many of the bakes that are in vogue now seem to have been revived from that era – cakes with meringue, different coloured layer cakes, marble cakes and differently flavoured Battenburgs; lots of fresh fruit and nut recipes too. The other interesting thing is that, by and large, the recipes have less sugar in them than many of our more modern ones do. The sweeter bake has slipped over from the US I suspect.

As there were so many recipes on one page it was a bit difficult to be completely random, but I ended up with a recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies. These were made with rolled oats and I do like a good oaty biscuit. They are also simple and quick to make which is an added bonus after so much Christmas baking.

This is how I made:

Oaty Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Chopped 170g mixed chocolate (mostly dark) into bits.
  • Creamed 110g unsalted butter with 85g dark brown sugar until very pale.
  • Beat in a medium sized egg and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
  • Added 60g wholemeal flour, 110g rolled oats, scant teaspoon of baking powder.
  • Stirred together with the chocolate until all combined.
  • Placed teaspoonfuls onto lined baking trays placing them well apart. I made 27.
  • Baked at 180C for 11 minutes until golden then placed on a wire rack to cool.

These were not only simple to make, but thoroughly delicious – chewy and very chocolatey. They lasted well in an air tight tin for a few days, but could also be frozen and taken out individually as needed.

Random Recipes is a funtastic blogging event from Dom of Belleau Kitchen which can be very challenging at times. I particularly like it as you never quite know what you are going to get and it stops my recipe books gathering dust on the shelves.

For this bake, I rounded up all my odds and ends of chocolate which had been sitting in the cupboard looking untidy and taking up space. These included some blackberry flavoured dark chocolate, some 56% and some 70% dark chocolate. Other than the chocolate, these are cheap and cheerful biscuits to make so I am sending them off to Credit Crunch Munch with Camilla of Fab Food 4 All and Helen of Fuss Free Flavours.