Hot cross buns… why hello Easter

wpid-20150330_163211.jpgEaster feels very early this year it’s snuck up on me whilst spring is teasing with the warmer weather. This year it feels even less spring like due to the lack of Easter eggs at every shop I visit. In the UK Easter eggs pop out the second the Christmas decorations go away. It’s a little overkill, but as a complete and utter chocoholic this makes me happy. Earlier this year there was a fracas regarding the shrinking of Cadbury’s cream eggs and a change in the middle! What were you thinking Cadbury’s? I am still extremely disappointed. Continue reading

Advertisements

Springing forward

wpid-20150227_180337.jpg

The recent respite in the weather has reminded me of long summer days, I’m sure there is another winter storm or two to come before it’s finally time to say goodbye to old man winter, but I’ll be embracing spring with open arms. I love the change of seasons, its always kind of rejuvenating as you prepare for the next season. I quite enjoy hibernating in winter, so spring is time to dust of the shorts, open up the windows and get outside more.
Continue reading

Tea and Bakes – Make your own Chocolate

Yes that’s right, actual chocolate, you can make it yourself. I wanted to try this recipe out so figured I’d give it a go – if it didn’t work I’d just have to sit and eat a chocolaty mess out of a pan, that would be a shame. Ok so this isn’t quite Cadburys, its ‘raw’ chocolate so a little better for you and only contains three ingredients!!

This recipe is ridiculously simple, and the chocolates are really tasty and melt in your mouth. The three ingredients to make the chocolate are coconut oil, cocoa powder and honey. That’s it. Then you can add more things such as fruit, nuts etc as you please.

The cocoa powder needs to be pure cocoa, as dark as you can find, drinking chocolate – with added sugar etc wont work so well. You could use dark chocolate grated instead if you can’t find cocoa. You can use any kind of sweetener too, such as maple syrup or agave syrup. You could use sugar if you weren’t too fussed about it being ‘raw’.

I’d suggest starting with three equal parts of the honey, coconut oil and cocoa. Melt the coconut oil and cocoa then add in the honey. Stir until mixed together then put into a silicon mould – I used a Halloween one that I picked up at a supermarket, but you could use anything – I’d suggest silicone as its easier to get out afterwards, and is in handy bite size pieces. Then wack it is the freezer until its set. Once its set you can turn out the chocolates then keep them in the fridge if you don’t eat them all in one go!

I’ve been slowly reducing the amount of ‘sweetness’ it needs each time I make a batch. You still need the same proportions of coconut oil and cocoa, but the honey can be less depending on how bitter you want it. I added in small pieces of chopped apricots, apple, blueberries and raspberries this time which adds some extra sweetness anyway. It also tastes great if you drizzle a little honey on top for a bit extra. Just try not to eat them all in one go!

 

wpid-20150120_200304.jpg

 

wpid-20150120_200503.jpg

 

Banana & Chocolate muffins

Having spent a lovely Christmas visiting San Francisco – more about this later! We returned home to the cold and snow and an empty fridge. I’d forgotten about some bananas that had gone brown so this was the perfect ingredient for a leisurely bake. I hate brown bananas. I like my bananas a little green, once they have gone yellow they are almost too mushy for my liking, so banana bread, banana muffins and banana loaf are all tried and tested recipes for those pesky brown bananas. On the plus side banana is a great butter substitute so you can pretend your baking is almost healthy! I’ve tried many a fruit/vegetable based cake now, potatoes, beetroot and courgette all go wonderful in cake for a moist yummy guilt free treat. Parsnips also work well and fruit based deserts are always a winner.

I decided to bake some banana chocolate muffins this time for something a bit different, We were also out of nuts otherwise I would have done banana and walnut loaf! Chocolate and banana work really well together, and these taste great after a couple of days too!

wpid-20150101_193334.jpg

wpid-20150101_193545.jpg

wpid-20150101_192834.jpg

Chocolate banana muffins:

1 or 2 mushy bananas, 4oz brown sugar, 100ml vegetable/coconut oil, 8oz plain flour, 1 teaspoon bicarb, 2 eggs,

Mix together, bake for 18 mins on 200 degrees

Chocoholic… me?

Obviously one of the first places I wanted to visit was the chocolate cafe…. there is a chocolate factory but we were a bit late for the tour – but that’s ok as we visited the cafe instead. the cafe was random to say the least! it had three cafes, and a grill, and a huge chocolate counter. The cafe sold many hot chocolates, normal white, dark and cherry. Sadly they weren’t quite as exciting as I expected – I thought Thorntons crossed with Cafe Nero hot chocolate mmmm. But the cafe was cosy and cute so I might try again. There was even an additional chocolate shop attached, with chocolates, sweets and a giant moose in the middle of the shop…. obviously!
image

image

image