Double Chocolate Brownies with Hot Chocolate Sauce


I was never really The World’s Greatest Chocolate Lover.  I liked it but my snack of choice was usually something savoury, if out at a restaurant I would never pick a chocolate dessert over something fruity and I would never find myself making chocolate cake unless it was by request (always from my boy).  But over the last few years this has slowly been changing and now I find it hard to turn down a bar of Green & Blacks and I absolutely cannot resist temptation in the form of a warm chocolate brownie especially if bathed in hot chocolate sauce and served with a scoop of cold creamy vanilla ice cream on the side.

Luckily for me this is also my son’s absolute favourite dessert in the whole wide world so when it is his turn to pick what we make for dinner I can rest assured that I am in for a treat too.  My favourite recipe for brownies is this one from River Cottage Family Cookbook and I make just one teeny adjustment in that instead of using all dark chocolate, which is a little bit too bitter for my son’s taste, I swap half for good quality milk chocolate.  They are so simple and easy to make, perfectly fudgey and like any moist cake they last really well wrapped in foil for a few days.

As for the chocolate sauce, to me this is pretty much the perfect accompaniment and is handy to have in the fridge to warm through and pour over ice cream even when all of the brownies are gone.  It will solidify when chilled and should last a while – I never really get to test how long as it is usually used up pretty quickly but I would think a couple of weeks at least. [Read more…]

Ballotine of Chicken

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Ballotine of Chicken is something I have been meaning to try for ages.  When I say ages I mean about ten years and after finally getting around to it last Sunday I really can’t work out what took me so long. From what I gather Ballotine is usually made using chicken thigh stuffed with forcemeat or pork of some kind or other but to make life simple I used chicken breasts and stuffed with nice flavoursome sausages, with a little fennel and rosemary thrown in for good measure.  The chicken is flattened and wrapped around the filling, shaped in to nice neat parcels and cooked by poaching and then unwrapping and finishing in a frying pan for colour so the result is soft tender meat with a beautifully bronzed exterior.  I was really pleased with how they turned out and my husband and son declared them a winner.  I think Ballotine is ideal if you have people coming over for dinner – they can be wrapped up and kept in the fridge well in advance and the ingredients couldn’t get any simpler.   Next time I think I will buy some pork and whizz it up in the processor together with some herbs (sage would be nice) and try that too.  I served with sautéed Savoy cabbage with bacon, spring onion mash and a very simple gravy made with some sherry and chicken stock. [Read more…]

The Wedding Cake


It’s been a while and I must admit I have missed this place.  I have checked in every once in a while and I know some of you out there have been doing the same and for that I thank you.  The time is right for me to get back in the blogging saddle.

This cake had to be my first post after my absence. Last November my brother and his then partner asked me to make their wedding cake.  I was both thrilled and terrified in equal measure and the first words from my mouth were “You do know I’ve never made one before don’t you?!”.  Luckily the happy couple were so chilled about their Big Day and their only instruction was “something simple to cut for the photographs” so I pretty much had carte blanche to do what I wanted.  Making a homemade wedding cake is quite daunting as it is such an important day for the couple and I definitely lost a few hours sleep close to the day itself but it is without doubt something I am very glad I did – there are lots of things I learned along the way and definitely a few mistakes that I would do differently if I could rewind. [Read more…]