Tag Archives: Chocolate

The oven’s back in town!

Well I’m glad to report that the oven is back in action!  Yes!  So naturally, I’ve been hoarding a couple of recipes over the past week that involve the use of an oven.  So on Saturday, I was in the kitchen for a good part of the day.  I made a gluten free chocolate cake, some deliciously rich chocolate cookies, and even tried my hand at roasting chickpeas for a crunchy snack.  

It was indeed topped off as a food filled weekend when I went to the Christchurch Food and Wine Festival with my BF’s mom.  Oh it was a glorious couple of hours filled with tasting different kinds of olives, to munching on strawberries from France, and yes, even speaking French with the vendors!  I guess I still remember some French after all! Ha ha.  There was so much to take in and see and do and eat!  I bought some locally made biscotti from the New Forest, Italian corn and rice couscous, French forest honey, dried apples covered in cinnamon, Italian cookies, and a German sausage for my lunch!  My BF’s mom bought lots of goodies too for all of us to try–green olives stuffed with lemon, pâté, Italian cheese, and even a calzone.  It’s the season for asparagus and rhubarb right now, so we picked up a bunch of asparagus for some soup for tomorrow night’s dinner.  Tonight’s dinner will be some Sicilian stuffed rice balls and a ham and cheese calzone with a salad.  My BF’s mom grows various salad greens in her garden out back, so we’ll be picking our own salad for dinner.  You can’t get any fresher or more local than that!  Delicious!

There is something so inspiring and engaging about going to food festivals/markets like these.  I like seeing some fresh produce or fish and then thinking of a great meal to make with them.  I like meeting the people that are the faces behind the product and knowing that I’m supporting the local guys.   

Here’s some pictures I took at the market/festival with my mobile camera phone:

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Some winners and some pictures

As I’ve been in the kitchen quite a lot recently, I thought I’d pass along some recipes that have turned out as delicious success stories as well as some pics I’ve taken lately while out and about with my camera phone.

Ok, first some Vegan Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cookies.  These took a bit of time to put together, but nothing too difficult by any means and the results were yummy.  Thanks to MAC & CHEESE, I got the recipe here

Here’s my picture of the finished product:

Tower of cookies

Tower of cookies

My next recent success comes from the gang at Martha Stewart.  I bought the Everyday Food: Great Food Fast cookbook (you can buy/look at the cookbook here) atleast a year ago and have only recently started using recipes from it.  I made their Tortilla and Black Bean Pie, and since I’m not a fan of black beans, I substituted pinto beans instead.  I also used an ale as my beer choice.  You can find the recipe on page 236 of the cookbook or online here

My BF loved this dish and I thought it was both original and economical. We will certainly be making this again as we both loved the flavors of it too!

 

Dinner last night

Dinner last night

 

For the side dish, we made Spanish Rice and an excellent recipe for it can be found at Simply Recipes, an excellent food blog/website that I’ve been using for quite some time now.  Elise’s Spanish Rice recipe is again not only economical in this day and age, but also very delicious!  I’ll never go back to using pre-made packages of it when it’s so much better and healthier for me to just make it myself.  You can find the recipe here. Add some sour cream and salsa on the side, and you’ve got yourself an excellent meal that’ll easily feed 4 adults for very little money.  

And now, some more foodie photos taken with my camera phone:

 

And since I can’t seem to get rid of the tortilla pie or vegan cookies pictures in this section, you get to see them again!  I’m still new to blogging, so bear with me–think of it as doubling your photographic viewing pleasure. Ha ha.

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Mmmm…Monday….

Like I said in my previous post, I’ve got a lot of blogging catching up to do!  Or would that be called blatching?  Ha.  I’ve made a couple of things in the past couple of days that I would like to share!  Ok first, is what is known in England as Millionaire Shortbread……Mmmm…like the title isn’t delicious enough?  It had me at shortbread!  What is it you may ask?  It’s a base of shortbread covered with a gooey layer of caramel followed by a layer of chocolate! Mmmm………It’s a square of goodness!  

First I must share the recipe, which you can find here:  Millionaire Shortbread  Please note:  instead of spending a ridiculous 3-4 hours boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk to make the caramel, why not just save yourself the agony and just buy it already made?  I made mine with Dulce de leche which is basically caramel in a can and followed the recipe from there.  I found it almost too easy!  So you know what that means–I’m putting it in the yummy file!  

One more thing I must say to all of my non-UK readers–if you need help converting any of the recipes I post on my site from Metric to Imperial measurements than feel free to turn to the internet for help.  There are lots of conversion resources and websites!  

Now I can present you the pics!  I do think the pictures don’t do it justice in my opinion, they somehow ended up like pictures from a 1970’s cookbook, but I guess you’ll just have to make it to find out what you think of them, my beautiful pics aside.

caramel  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note the caramel gooeyness!  

layers

 

 

 I like the shortbread base too!  If only this was fat-free…..ha.  

 And now I must also share a recipe that is on the opposite side of the      food spectrum–Mikki’s Magically Delicious Vegan Cookies.  Now these  cookies came to me via a family member who is vegan.  I’m not a vegan  and would usually not be so keen to try a baking recipe that is.  I’ve been  through my gluten free phase before and couldn’t help but speculate that  somehow vegan would be the same—dry and tasteless.  These cookies  could not be farther from the truth!  They are SO DELICIOUS and addictive it’s not even funny!  And the best part is, you can eat the cookie dough too!  They contain no butter or eggs, so eat away without fear of salmonella!  Mmmm….salmonella free cookies!  Yes please!  So without further due, I present you Mikki’s Magically Vegan Cookies, but please don’t thank me, thank Mikki!  Thanks Mikki!

1/3 Cup Peanut Butter

2 Tblsp. Canola Oil

1 Cup Sugar (I used 1/2 C white, 1/2 C brown)

1/3 Cup Soy/ Rice/ Whatever kind of milk you prefer (I used regular milk)

1 tsp. Vanilla

Mix that together and in a seperate bowl mix:

1 Cup All-Purpose Flour

1/2 tsp. Baking Powder

1/4 tsp. Salt

1 Heaping tsp. of Cinnamon (that’s the secret ingredient!)

Mix those two concoctions together and then fold in 1 cup of Rolled Oats and 1 HEAPING cup of Chocolate Chips (I found this worked well with even a 1/2-3/4 C of mini chocolate chips). Now, the dough gets thick and it’s hard to get the chocolate chips to fold in. I end up getting a ball of dough and stuffing as many chips into each cookie as I can. That’s where the LOVE comes in! 

Bake on an GREASED cookie sheet at 375F/180C for 12-14 minutes (if using a fan assisted oven like me, bake for 8-9 mins, turning half way through baking time).

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Chowin’ it in Suburbia

Well a lot has happened since my last post. I’ve moved into suburbia with my BF.  We’re living with his parents to enable us to save up some money.  We’d like to be able to travel a bit more as well, something we have not been able to do living in the city.  So I’ve moved away from the city and into the countryside.  Things here aren’t as accessibly easy to come by as they were obviously in the city.  So now when I bake/cook, I have to be certain that I have enough ingredients on hand because it’s not as easy as popping into the shop around the corner.  

It also is beginning to feel a little bit more like England here in suburbia.  It reminds me a lot of Harry Potter’s Aunt and Uncle’s house in Surrey–that’s how the neighborhood looks and feels here.  It’s much more quiet than living in the city.  Noisy packs of foreign students have been replaced with cars driving by.  Instead of church bells tolling, now I hear pigeons.  There’s a whole host of new sounds that I have to get used to here.  I know that eventually I’ll make it out on bus somewhere and on foot to the nearby village.  

It’s been an interesting experience squeezing a whole flat’s worth of stuff into two small rooms, but with help from the loft up above, we’ve managed to do a pretty good job fitting it all in.  

I’ve baked quite a few things since my last post as well.  Here’s one that is a total favorite and might be one that you haven’t made in a while!  It’s not technically something that’s baked, but rather microwaved, and it can easily be done using a microwave.  Some people call it Monkey Chow, Puppy Chow, Human Chow, or Muddy Buddies, whatever you call it, here’s the recipemuddy buddy recipe

Since they don’t make Chex here, this is the closest I could find–

meerkat

The delicious finished product–warning: may cause Monkey Chow addiction!  I find people are often leery of trying it, with a name like Monkey Chow, I can only guess why! 

monkey chow

So on another note, I was on my way to the village of Wimborne today on the bus for the first time ever.  My BF and I usually walk there, but seeing as it’s quite a walk to get there and the fact that I haven’t done it in over a year, I wasn’t about to choose today to be my day to venture out on foot.  Plus, the fact that it looked like it was going to rain wasn’t helping.  So out on my bus adventure it was!  I got into the village just fine, in fact I enjoyed looking around at all of the shops and just having a good look about.  I found the local haberdashery shop (the place where they sell yarn, ribbons, knitting/crochet stuff, buttons, etc…) and I did a bit of shopping.  I felt proud of myself for not getting lost and making good progress exploring everything around the village.  

So when it came to going back home, I figured the process would be just as easy! Oh no it wasn’t!  Little did I know that I was in for an adventure!  I got on the bus, same number and location as the one that brought me to the village.  We’re going along and things are starting to look unfamiliar to me….in fact it’s been about a good 15 minutes and we’re not anywhere near where we should be at this point….I ask the bus driver where we’re going..he says Corfe Mullen…uh, NOT where I need to be going.  Yes, it was the same bus number, but entirely different route!!!  So he drops me off in a town I’ve never been in before, and I wait for a good half hour…I felt like I was in the twilight zone with weird people coming up to me and asking me where I’m going and seeing the same red van go past me three times….  *cue weird music*  I was starting to get cold and worried that this once in a lifetime bus wasn’t going to show up!  FINALLY it did, and I managed to make it home.  I’ve never been so happy to get on a bus in my whole life.  I did however feel relatively calm during my long detour…but it’s not something that I want to repeat any time soon.  

Now I just want to ask–who puts the same bus number on two completely different routes?!  So in my distress after my adventure, I ate some 5 or 6 mini chocolate chip cookies….some people smoke, I eat cookies.

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A new day, a new recipe

When I asked my BF what he wanted for dessert one night, he said, “chocolate cake.”  So chocolate cake it was.  There was one problem–I didn’t have a chocolate cake recipe to call my own.  So to the internet I went.  I know that deciding on a recipe isn’t exactly like naming your first child, but somehow I feel that selecting a recipe carries that sense of weight.  If it doesn’t turn out, than you’ve wasted some precious ingredients.  However, if it does succeed as the following recipe did for me, then it’s a happy success!  See recipe here: Black Magic Cake 

I made the Hershey’s Black Magic cake in a bundt pan, and as I couldn’t be bothered to make my own frosting, I used some Betty Crocker frosting instead.  I also sprinkled some coconut on top for some character.

Once frosted, this cake lasted my BF and I nearly a week! It is unlike any chocolate cake I’ve ever had; it has an incredibly fudgy in texture and a beautiful dark color.  I will certainly be filing this one away under favorites.  Give it a try!  You never know, after trying the first two bites of this cake, you just might be naming your first child after it.

Black Magic Cake

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