Sunday, 27 March 2011

Chocolate truffle raspberry tartlets

I have to be honest, i did feel incredibley piggy after making these. These are meant to be served as tiny sweet canapes but they sounded so good that i had to make them dessert size. I did offset the rich chocolateyness by decorating it with a few raspberries but when i came to eat it it was so rich i ended up putting another handful of them on top! If you do want to make them as canapes the recipe makes around 24 and if you are feeling greedy like i was then it will make five individual tartlets.

The chocolate pastry is very fragile but don't worry if it falls to pieces (mine did) just patch it back together making sure there are no gaps. You could also freeze it if you end up with some left over!


For the chocolate pastry:
(makes 300g)

60g butter
60g caster sugar
30g dark chocolate, melted and cooled
125g plain flour
15g cocoa powder
1 egg yolk (free range)

1. Beat the sugar and butter together until creamy and add the cooled chocolate. 2. Sift in the flour and cocoa to the sugar and butter then add the egg yolk. 3 mix to a smooth dough. 4. Shape into the ball and wrap in cling film then leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes. 5. Roll the pasrty out on a floured surface to about a 5mm thickness (make sure it's fridge cold). Cut around tartlet tins and press into them, pricking the bottom with a fork. Place in a preheated oven at 200C for 11-12 minutes. 6. Leave in the tins for 10 minutes to firm up then place on a cooling rack.

For the chocolate truffle filling:

150ml milk
250ml double cream
250g dark chocolate (70% minimum cocoa solids)

1. Heat up the milk and 125ml of cream in a pan. 2. Break up the chocolate in a bowl and pour over the heated cream and milk stirring until the chocolate is melted and smooth. 3. Whip up the rest of the cream to soft peaks and fold into the chocolate mixture. 4. Spoon into the tartlet cases and stud with raspberries and dust with icing sugar. Serve at room temperature.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Fudgey Chocolate Hazelnut Biscuits

These really remind me of a cross between a Ferrero Rocher and a chocolate brownie, but in a biscuit. I think the only problem with making such a biscuit is that once you've eaten one, you really want another. They are super good eaten warm, when they are still all soft and gooey or eaten with some red berries! I saw this recipe first on Nigel Slaters 'Simple Suppers' and they looked divine but the recipe states that it only makes nine large biscuits. I'm not sure of his idea of large but mine made 14 very very big chunky biscuits (4 inches across large!). However i am very pleased they made extra because they were eaten very quickly indeed!


200g dark chocolate (70% coco solids or more)
75g butter
225g light muscovado sugar
2 large eggs
teaspoon vanilla extract
60g hazelnuts
150g self-raising flour


Melt the chocolate and set aside to cool slightly. Beat the sugar and butter together until creamy (it should take about a minute). Add the egg one by one and the vanilla extract, beating all the time, then add the melted chocolate. Toast the hazelnuts in a pan until golden then grind the nuts in a food procesor until it resembles fine gravel. Add the flour and nuts and mix until combined. Put big spoonfuls onto a baking sheet (it should make about 10-14) and bake at 180C for 10-11 minutes. The biscuits should be really squidgey still and have spread out. As soon as they have cooled slightly place them on a cooling rack and dust with icing sugar!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Seafood Paella and Molten Babycakes

So this was what i cooked for my boyfriend on Saturday night! I've never tried paella before but it was delicious- exactly like the paella i ate in Spain a few months ago. I found the initial recipe in 'Kitchen' and adapted slightly to recreate the one i ate in Spain. Incase the paella went wrong i opted for something i know always works for desert. Chocolate molten baby cakes are my favourite, i've already posted the recipe but i made these ones extra chocolatey so i had to put the picture up!

For the paella:

(serves two)

Good pinch of saffron threads
30ml sherry
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 spring onions
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
150g paella rice
150g prawns/tiger prawns
1 large fillet of rainbow trout (or any other fish you like. I use rainbow trout because it stays in visible pieces rather than flaking up into nothing)
60g frozen peas
1/2 red pepper, sliced
250ml vegetable stock
handful corriander, chopped to serve


Warm the saffron threads in the sherry for a minute or so. Heat the oil in a wide heavy based pan and cook the spring onions then add the garlic. Add the rice, prawns, fish, pepper and peas and toss in the oil. Heat the stock and add it to the pan, followed by the saffron and sherry. Mix well then leave it to simmer very gently, uncovered for 15-20 minutes- without stirring. Once the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender fork the rice through to seperate. Serve with fresh corriander sprinkled on the top!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Coffee and Walnut cake

I know this may be a little unadventurous but who doesn't love a good coffee cake? This recipe is from one of Nigel Slaters books i recently acquired and this is definitely one of my favourite cakes ever.

Is there anything else to say..?

For the cake:

175g butter
175g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
175g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 heaped teaspoons instant coffee granules
70g chopped walnut pieces

Coffee buttercream:

200g butter
400g icing sugar
2 teaspoons coffee granules
60g walnut pieces


Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time to the butter and sugar, beating well after each egg. Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture and mix carefully. Dissolve the coffee granules in a tablespoon of boiling water and incorperate into the mix. Finally fold in the chopped walnuts. Divide the cake mix between two (i used three) 20cm lined cake tins and bake at 180C for twenty to twenty five minutes.
When they are cooled beat the butter and icing sugar together and as before dissolve the coffee in a tablespoon  of boiling water and beat into the butter and icing sugar until smooth. Ice the cake however you like and sprinkle with walnut pieces!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Pistachio Macaroons!

Ok so these would have been surprisingly easy to make had my mixer worked and my piping bag not burst. I got this recipe from 'How to be a domestic goddess', one of the easiest, nicest sounding recipes for macaroons i've come across however the recipe said the pistachios had to be like dust. My mixer did not have the capability to make dust, only fine pistachio gravel. I thought that this was the end of my pistachio macaroons but i actually found that especially in the filling that the small pieces were rather pleasant. So that was one disaster avoided, but then my new Tala piping bag burst. Never ever ever attempt spooning macaroons onto the baking sheet- however careful you are it does not produce uniform circles! I had no other option so although the macaroons tasted delicious, they looked awful. I promise that if you use a piping bag then they will be perfect macaroons!

For the macaroon:

75g pistachios
125g icing sugar
2 large egg whites
15g caster sugar

For the butter cream:

55g pistachios
250g icing sugar
125g butter, softened


Grind the pistachios and icing sugar in a food processer until they are like dust (i am not convinced this is possible, just try make them as fine as possible). Whisk the egg whites, gradually adding the sugar until stiff. Fold in the pistachio 'dust' gently. Pipe small rounds onto a baking sheet it should make approximately 40 rounds. Let them sit for ten minutes until they form a skin. Put them in the oven at 180C for 10-12 minutes until set. For the butter cream grind the pistachios and icing sugar as before then cream this with the butter. One cooled sandwich the macaroons together with butter cream and enjoy! They should make around 20.