Baking, Catering, Cookery Classes, Food

Friends, Lovers, Chocolate……….

My father used to talk about Meitheals in the West of Ireland where he grew up – everyone coming together to help their neighbour to complete a task which would have taken forever otherwise.

I saw the Meitheal concept in operation last week when very good friends gathered round to help me photograph my food offerings. The wonderful Derick, one half of Kenmare Foodies, ventured up from the Kingdom and spent the day cooking up a storm. The lovely Fiona from Hunters Lodge arrived supposedly to potwash but was quickly put to work as a food stylist (and ironer). The fabulous Paula Ryan was photographer for the day and the results are stunning. Paul from the Shoebox arrived in the afternoon and we even got him to do some work in the kitchen! Then Jacqui & Geoff appeared that evening to make us cocktails and sample the food.

Here’s a flavour of the day…

Crab Tartlets
Crab Tartlets
Curry Pots
Curry Pots
Fish & Chips
Fish & Chips
Thai Beef Salad Cups
Thai Beef Salad Cups

And then there was the poser…..

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And I love this one  – very Downtonesque

Dining Room

Food photography is hungry work so I had to provide everyone with a treat to keep them sweet – with chocolate cake of course 🙂

This gorgeous cake is from a Nigella recipe and then topped with lovely orange and almond chocolate which turns it into a rather large jaffa cake…..

Chocolate & Orange Cake

Oven:    180°C/fan 160°C/Gas 4

What you need: 

  • 5 clementines
  • 6 eggs
  • 225g /8oz caster sugar
  • 250g/9 oz ground almonds
  • 1 tsp (heaped) baking powder
  • 2 bars Butlers Orange and Almond Chocolate

What you do:

  • Simmer the clementines in saucepan of water for 2 hours. Check occasionally to make sure you don’t run out of water! Drain and allow to cool
  • Cut each clementine in half, remove any  pips and then whizz oranges in a food processor.
  • Line the base of 20 cm springform tin with baking parchment and  butter the sides
  • Beat the eggs
  • Mix the dry ingredients – sugar, almonds and baking powder together.
  • Add in to the beaten eggs and mix well.
  • Finally stir in the puréed oranges.
  • Pour mix into the lined tin and bake in preheated oven for 50 mins to an hour or until skewer comes out clean.
  • Allow cake to cool in tin for about 10 mins before transferring to a wire rack
  • To finish, melt the chocolate bars and spread quickly over the top and sides of the cake.

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Happy Cooking !

Thanks again to Derick, Fiona and Paula for all their hard work – you were brilliant guys x.

Oh and the lover bit – well to quote Meatloaf two out of three ain’t bad – the CT was on business in the UK and missed all the fun.

Baking, Cookery Classes, desserts, Food, Recipes

Sammy the Spider

Have I mentioned that I love the variety of what I do -from catering to canapés to classes?

One of my latest ventures is Chocolate Cookery Classes at the famous Butler’s Chocolates.

So when they asked me to do a Halloween class I had to put my thinking hat on and Sammy the Spider was born …..

Meet Sammy!
Meet Sammy!

To make this cake and be the star of your Halloween Party just follow my instructions which I hope don’t ramble too much…..

The body of the cake is made using one of the most versatile chocolate cake recipes you’ll ever need. I was introduced to it about 10 years ago by Tess and Nicola when I worked in Wicklow and since then I’ve used it for cakes, muffins, mini cupcakes, sweet canapés …..and now spiders.

What you need :

  • 8oz/200g Self raising Flour
  • 9oz/225g Soft Brown Sugar
  • 2o/50g Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 pt/125ml  Milk (the full fat variety please!)
  • 1/4 pt/125ml  Sunflower Oil
  • 3 eggs , separated

What you do:

  • Preheat your oven to at 180C /170 C  Fan/Gas 4
  • Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  • Mix the milk and oil in a jug and whisk in the egg yolks.
  • Whisk the egg whites until they’re thick and glossy (as if you were making meringues).
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mix well and then fold in the egg whites – being careful not to knock out all the air.
  • And that’s it ! Now pour mix into baking tins – I used two 11.5 cm  and one 20 cm- you could make 2 large cakes or 4 small ones.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes, until firm to touch.
  • Leave to cool in the tin for about 5 mins then turn out onto a wire rack  and allow to cool completely.

Note:  It’s not worth halving the recipe to make just one small cake so freeze the extra cakes for     another day – or make a family of spiders!

Now comes the fun part – the decorating.

First you need some Chocolate Ganache:

To make this you simply heat 200ml  cream until simmering then pour over approx 125g dark chocolate chips and stir until melted. If you think it’s not thick enough you can add more chocolate but do remember it will thicken as it cools.

Place on of the 11.5cm cakes on your serving plate (you can do it on a turntable but you have to be very careful when transferring it to its final plate!)

Cover the body of the cake with the ganache then get ready to add the legs. I used wafer rolls for the legs though I think chocolate fingers might work as well. wafer rolls

You need 16 rolls – two for each leg to allow for the bend! Cover each roll in the chocolate ganache (Didn’t I warn you it could get messy!)

Stick 8 of them into the body of the cake to form the tops of the legs. Then carefully ‘glue’ on the bottom half of each leg (wafer) using more of the ganache. (I’ll repeat the picture so you can see what I mean – I hope!)

halloween 020

For the face you need some roll out icing – white for eyes, orange for mouth. Stamp out two white circles for the eyes, ‘glue’ onto the body and then attach an M&M’s to each circle with a little of the ganache.

To make the mouth cut out a smile from the orange icing and stick it on.

Et voila! Your Halloween spider cake is complete  and totally worth the mess!

Happy Cooking & Happy Halloween!

PS the best compliment I received on this was from my soon to be 3-year-old nephew – he wants a spider as his birthday cake 🙂

Baking, Cooking, Recipes

Wild Garlic Soda Bread

I know , I know. I said I was going to get back to blogging earlier in the year but between moving house, setting up a new kitchen for Hey Pesto! and my involvement in the inaugural Harvest Offaly Food Festival it just didn’t happen.

So here it is – my first blog post in months and I’m starting with an easy one! Earlier in the year Helen from  Failte Ireland asked the food champions for an Irish recipe with a ‘modern twist’ and this was mine.

My Nana was famous for her soda bread, well within our family anyway and there’s enough of us! Everyday she made two loaves in her Aga . Always two, never any more than two and to paraphrase an ad ‘when it was gone, it was gone’.

I asked her once for the recipe and she told me ‘a handful of this and a handful of that’. If I’d had the sense at the time I’d have measured the size of her hands! I’m still trying to recreate the taste of her bread and apparently I have come close once or twice though I think the real difference is that she used unpasteurized milk straight from the cow that my great uncle kept in the orchard, that was allowed to go sour naturally (the milk not the cow!)

The great thing about soda bread is that you can add flavours – such as pesto or sundried tomatoes or even chocolate chips for a sweet cake.

In this version of soda bread I have added  wild garlic pesto and dried wild garlic leaves to give the taste of summer. I also use spelt flour, an ancient relative of modern wheat, which I think gives a better, lighter loaf

What you need:

  • 450g/1 lb. white spelt flour
  • 1 level teaspoon salt
  • 1 level teaspoon bread soda
  • 340-400 ml / 12-14 fl.oz approx buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp wild garlic pesto
  • 1-2 tsp dried wild garlic leaves 

IMG_2671[1]

What you do:

  • Preheat oven to 230ºC/Gas 8
  • Mix all dry ingredients in large bowl, making sure that you sieve in the bread soda.
  • Add in the wild garlic pesto and the dried leaves if you have them ( dry them overnight in a very low oven when in season and store in an airtight jar).
  • Make a well in the centre and pour in most of the buttermilk at once. The exact amount of buttermilk can vary, even according to the weather!

IMG_2672[1]

  • Stir in the liquid until completely mixed but be very careful not to overmix.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured board and  gently form into long ‘loaf’ shape.  I know a circle is more acceptable but this is the shape my grandmother always used and it makes cutting the bread much easier!

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  • Place the loaf on lined  baking sheet.  Score a deepish line down the centre and prick the sides  to let the fairies out.
  • Bake in a hot oven for 20 minutes,  then reduce heat to 180ºC/Gas 4 for another 15-20 mins, or until just cooked.

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  • Tap the bottom of the bread; if it is cooked it will sound hollow. Cool on wire rack and eat as soon as possible!

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  • Perfect with soup or with as a base for bruschetta

I’m not sure if Nana would approve of the garlic but it went down very well here.

If you don’t have wild garlic pesto or if you just fancy a plain white soda then leave it out.

Give it a try – you’ll be amazed at how quick and easy it is to make your own bread.

Happy Cooking!

 

Baking, Cakes, desserts, Food, Recipes

Love is in the Air

My poor blog has been very neglected of late so it’s time to pay it some attention and share a recipe for Valentine’s Day.

In preparation for my ‘Cupid’s Cookery‘ class last week I did a little research on aphrodisiacs and found lots of trivia. Did you know that basil was used for seduction by women in Moldova? Or that Catholic priests in Spain banned avocados because they found them obscenely sexual?

Other reputed aphrodisiacs are honey, almonds and chocolate – so what better way to celebrate St Valentine’s Day than to present the object of your affections with a combination of all three?

This recipe is based on one I found in the course of my research….I’ve made a few alterations and  I hope you like it……

What you need:

  • Heart Shaped loose bottomed tin
  • 180g dark chocolate digestives
  • 60g butter
  • 2 tbsp. flaked almonds
  • 200ml Avonmore Fresh Cream
  • 3 tbsp. Limefield Honey
  • 300g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), in pieces
  • Generous splash of Cointreau! 

What you do:

  • Crush the biscuits finely and add in the melted butter. Then press into the bottom of heart shaped tin.
  • Toast the almonds in a dry pan.
  • Whisk the cream and honey together in a small saucepan over a low heat and then slowly bring the mix to just below the boil.
  • Pour the mix over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate melts.
  • Stir in the toasted almonds and the Cointreau.
  • Pour the mix into the lined tin and leave to chill for a few hours until set (overnight is best)
  • Decorate to your heart’s content with almonds, hearts and sparkles!
  • Serve with lots of extra Avonmore Fresh Dessert Cream

    chocolate heart -001

I also made individual ones for last week’s date night  – one with added sea salt which I preferred but The Chief Taster preferred the Cointreau version!

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Did it live up to expectations? Well, let’s just say there were no complaints ……

Happy Cooking!

 

Baking, Cakes, Christmas, Cooking, desserts, Food

Extremely Chocolatey Christmas Wreath

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas around here – the tree is up, the lights are on and I’m doing up my Christmas menus which will include this Christmas Wreath Cake as an alternative to the traditional fruit cake

I may have mentioned that I’m not really a dessert person – give me savoury any day – but I love making desserts and watching others enjoy them! I came across this wreath cake a few years ago – in a copy of Good Housekeeping I think – and have been using it every Christmas since.

I should warn you that this is a cake for serious chocoholics and not for the fainthearted, but it makes a great centrepiece on Christmas Day!

It’s an easy cake to make and it freezes well (un-iced ) so you can make it in advance and take it out to decorate on Christmas Eve.

The only special piece of equipment you will need is a ‘wreath’ tin i.e. a 23cm spring form cake tin with a but missing in the middle! I use one I bought in  Ikea  but  I know my local  shop ‘Kit Your Kitchen‘  now stock similar .

Turn your oven to 180 C or Gas 4 before you start and grease your tin with butter.

What you need:

  • 1 * 400g tin of pears (in natural juice)
  • 50 ml milk
  • 1 tbsp.  espresso coffee
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 175g cocoa (I use Green & Black ‘s)
  • 125g plain flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 340g caster sugar
  • 6 egg whites
  • 250g crème fraîche
  • 175g dark chocolate (I use 70% )
  • Christmas decorations

What you do:

  • Drain the tin of pears and whizz in food processor to a purée.
  • Mix the pear purée with the milk, espresso granules, oil and vanilla extract.
  • In another bowl mix together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Whisk the egg whites and the sugar together at high speed until stiff and glossy
  • Add in the pear purée mix  to the eggs and whisk slowly to blend
  • Finally fold the flour mix into egg and pear mix.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake in your preheated oven for 30 mins or until firm to touch
  • Allow cake to cool slightly in tin before turning out onto rack.

Cooling

  • As I said, if you’re making this ahead of time , you can freeze it at this point. Just make sure you wrap it carefully!
  • The icing is very simple : heat the crème fraîche in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.
  • Then remove from heat and add in chocolate. Allow to melt and then mix in until smooth.
  • Place pieces of parchment paper under the cake to protect your cakeboard/plate. Then using a palette knife spread icing over the cake . Remember you want it to look like a wreath so it doesn’t have to be smooth

christmas 11 006-001

Then it’s time for your (or your children’s ) imagination to take over…..

You can make chocolate leaves …..

christmas 11 008-001

…. use sprinkles ….Santas…..Robins….Snowmen……..

christmas 11 012-001

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……whatever you like!

But whatever you decide please be warned that this cake is INCREDIBLY rich and a little goes a long way!

Happy Cooking! 

PS I have been known to make this into an Easter Cake by covering it with flowers and mini eggs – you see a cake’s not just for Christmas!

Baking, Cakes, Catering, Christmas, Cooking, Food, Recipes

When is a recipe a family recipe?

When is a recipe a family recipe?  Does someone in your family have to develop the recipe from scratch or can it be a recipe that is used a few times and then becomes a family favourite?

I’ve been involved in several conversations on this topic and my maths brain tells me that there has to be a finite (albeit large)  number of recipe combinations so there are bound to be duplicates making it harder to credit the original originator of a recipe!

I believe that recipes  evolve  through sharing and experimentation. I have scraps of paper from family and friends glued into my recipe notebook  including a very precious  one dictated by my late Grandmother for her famous brown bread – once I figure out how much is in a ‘handful’ I’m sure it will work…..

I have a ‘to try’ box filled with recipes cut  from magazines and papers that I want to try …..someday

I have a vast collection of cookbooks that I love to cook from – but more often than not I’ll change something as I’m going along.

Don’t you hate it if  you  ask somebody for a recipe and they refuse to share it as it’s a ‘family secret’?

I make a lot of Chocolate Roulades – in fact it’s one of my main desserts. I love making a mini version to go on a mixed dessert plate.  I was given the recipe by the lady who owned the catering company I used to work for. I changed the quantities slightly to make it work in a bigger tin., and added the brandy! Years later I came across practically the same recipe in one of the Avoca books – so does the recipe belong to the person who first gave me the recipe, to the author or to me ???

I hate to think of myself as possessive so I’m more than willing to share this wonderful recipe, whoever it  actually ‘owns’ it.  I hope you like it.

What you need:

  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 6 oz/175g dark chocolate
  • 6 oz/175g  caster sugar
  • 3 fl oz/ 75 ml brandy
  • ½ pt /300ml cream, whipped

What you do:

  • Melt the chocolate with the brandy, either slowly in the microwave or in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
  • Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until you get to the ‘ribbon stage’ – you really need an electric whisk for this unless you have really strong arms!
  • Fold in the melted chocolate into the egg mix. Then in a clean bowl whisk the egg whites until stiff (the egg whites not your arms!)
  • Using a metal spoon fold the egg white in stages into the chocolate mix. Then pour into a lined large Swiss roll tin
  • Bake at 180 C/Gas 4 for 12-15 minutes, until firm to touch.

Leave to cool completely

  • This is the important bit – cover with a damp towel and leave to cool completely
  • Dust the top of roulade with icing sugar and invert onto parchment paper.

  • Spread the cream evenly over the surface (feel free to add fresh berries as well)

  • Using the parchment paper to help  roll it up like a Swiss roll

  • Decorate the roulade with icing sugar and strawberries or grated chocolate

  • Serve and watch it disappear!

PS This works really well as a Christmas Log – decorate it with chocolate leaves and a robin!

Anybody else got a favourite recipe they’d like to share ?

Happy Cooking !

Baking, Cakes, Catering, Cooking, Food, Recipes

Chocolatey Caramelly Cheesecake

Did I mention I’m not a dessert person? I know this may place me in a minority but in my defence I do enjoying making them for others. And sometimes I even find a recipe that tempts me to have a sliver……

I knew once I saw the Peanut Caramel Cheesecake in Good Housekeeping’s ‘Chocolate Collection’ that it was going to be one of those recipes destined to become a firm favourite. I tried it out for a family occasion but never got to taste as much as a crumb – which is always a good sign.  Then I did it for as part of dessert buffet and had several requests for the recipe.

So when some of my college friends came for a barbeque last weekend (and yes we did get to eat outdoors –  without fleeces and raingear!) there was no question about what I was doing for dessert! And it was a HIT!

I have made one or two changes to the original recipe including leaving out the peanuts in my last version cos I’m always worried in case someone has a peanut allergy. I hope you like it…..

What you need: 

  • 150g dark chocolate digestives
  • 50g butter, melted
  • 500g Philadelphia ( the full fat version please)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (vanilla paste would be even better ..)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 50g dark chocolate ( I use 70% ) , chopped
  • 60g dried pineapple pieces *
  • 2-3 tbsp of Ballyshiel dulce de leche

in the original recipe this is 75g salted peanuts

What you do:

  • Line a 22cm springform tin with butter and baking parchment.
  • Crush the biscuits in a plastic bag using a rolling pin. Mix the crushed biscuits and melted butter together and press into the base of the tin.
  • Whisk the cream cheese with the vanilla until smooth and creamy.
  • Then (in a spotlessly clean bowl) whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Gradually add in the sugar to form a glossy meringue like mixture.
  • Carefully fold the meringue mix into the cream cheese using a metal spoon.
  • Then fold in the chocolate and pineapple into the mix.
  • Finally swirl in the dulce de luche and pour the mix onto the biscuit base.
  • Leave cheesecake to set in fridge overnight – or if you’re in a hurry pop it into the freezer for a few hours.
  • Remove the cheesecake from the tin and topwith more dulce de leche and grated chocolate…….
  • Serve and watch it disappear!

I dare you not to come back for a second slice!

Happy Cooking !

Baking, Cakes, Catering, Cookery Classes, Cooking, Food, Recipes

There’s no chocolate in it honestly!

As you may have noticed  I  have a ‘slight’ addiction to cookbooks. I also have a tendency to collect recipes from magazines, newspapers etc  – I have a box of pages and clippings from various publications that I have garnered from numerous sources ………..

Some look tantalising when I’m in the hairdressers or in a waiting room but once assigned to the ‘box’ they never leave, others make it straight to the kitchen for testing and some even go on to become firm favourites.

One such find was a recipe for an Espresso Tart – I think it came from a Food & Travel magazine and my apologies for not acknowleding the original owner of this recipe but your details aren’t on my valued clipping.

I’m not really a dessert person but I do like this (must be the caffeine).  Almost everyone who tastes it is convinced there’s chocolate in it but as you’ll see there’s none.

This  tart is divine on it’s own but can be raised to another level if you serve it with a mascarpone sorbet. I often make it into individual tartlets to serve at dinner parties and it’s always well received

Individual Espresso Tart with Sorbet

I brought one of these tarts to Inishfood in May and I’ve been asked to share the recipe – so this is especially for Donal, Imen and Bríd.

Espresso Tart

Oven Setting: 180ºC/ Gas 4

What you need:

  • Sweet Shortcrust Pastry *
  • 125g butter
  • 250g muscavado sugar
  • 2 tsp espresso coffee (finely ground – I use Illy)
  • 6 tbsp Kahlua or Tia Maria
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 50g self raising flour, sieved

What you do:

  • Line a 24cm loose bottomed tin with your pastry and leave to chill
  • For the filling, heat butter and sugar until sugar dissolves, then ad the coffee, liqueur and eggs.
  • Gently fold in the sieved flour and pour the mixture into the pastry case.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 mins – you want a ‘squidgy, fudgy’ texture- be careful not to overcook!
  •  Leave to cool before serving.
* I use 1lb flour, 8oz butter, 1-2 egg yolks, 1 tbsp caster sugar and a little water to make my pastry – this should give you    enough for 2 tarts. You don’t need to blind bake the pastry for this recipe.
Espresso Tartlets
As I said this tart can be served as an excellent dinner party dessert with ice cream or créme fraiche but best of all with mascarpone sorbet which is not as complicated as it sounds – please try it as the taste combination is divine!

Mascarpone Sorbet

What you need: 

  • 250g tub mascarpone
  • 250ml  milk (the proper full fat type please!)
  • 150g caster sugar

What you do: 

  • Whisk the  mascarpone with the milk until thick, smooth and lumpfree. Then stir in the sugar.
  • If you have an ice cream maker, pour in mix and leave to stir until thick and creamy, then freeze until needed.
  • If you don’t have an ice cream maker then pour mix into tupperware box and freeze for an hour. Then whisk in frozen edges back into centre of mix to break up any ice crystals. Freeze for another hour then beat again. Repeat until sorbet is thick, creamy and frozen.

Now all you have to do is sit back and enjoy – and now you know there’s no chocolate in it, honestly!

Happy Cooking !

 

Baking, Cakes, Chef, Cookbooks, Cooking, Recipes

Chocolate Biscuit Cake

This post is especially for those of you looking for my Chocolate Biscuit Cake recipe….

I bought Tamasin Day- Lewis’  book ‘Tamsin’s Kitchen‘ a few years ago for two reasons:

1) I had watched some of her programs on TV and liked her cookery style

and

2) it was reduced in from something like €25 to €9 – who says I can’t economise?

It is a a mighty tome with the recipes arranged in sections designed to take you from ‘Easy Things’ to ‘Serious Skills’. At the start of each section there is an introduction on what to expect. She also includes little hints and tips at the top of each recipe. The downside – the recipes are written in paragraph form  rather than points making them (well for me anyway) less easy to follow and very few of the recipes have photos showing what the end result should look like.

So what have I cooked from this book in the last two years? One thing and one thing only – Tamasin’s Chocolate Biscuit Cake – and yes I know strictly speaking it’s not cooking!

I have added a few bits and pieces to the original recipe and left out the cream that she puts in the icing. These additions  may change depending on what’s in the store cupboard so my version is a cross between Chocolate Biscuit Cake and Rocky Road – but I’ve had no complaints yet!

Chocolate Biscuit Cake

What you need:

  • 4oz /110g Butter
  • 4oz/110g Dark Chocolate (I use 70%)
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 80z/225g digestive biscuits
  • 3oz/80g mini Marshmallows
  • 2oz/50g dried cranberries
  • Dark & white Chocolate to decorate

What you do:

  • Put the biscuits in a plastic bag and bash them to crumbs using your rolling pin (who you think of while doing this is your own business!)
  • Put the butter, chocolate and golden syrup in a saucepan and allow to melt gently over a low heat. Don’t allow mix to boil!
  • Add the mini marshmallows and dried fruit to the melted mix. Then stir in the crushed biscuits, making sure that they are well coated.
  • Turn the mix out into a lined shallow baking tin (approx 30 *20 cm).  Allow to cool then Leave to set for a few hours (or overnight) in the fridge.
  • Once the cake is set cover the top with melted chocolate, leave it for a few mins then cut into slices (it’s easier at this stage)
  • Then drizzle over some melted white chocolate (After a lot of trials I have discovered that white chocolate buttons are the easiest to melt – Thanks Nicola!)

Now that I’ve pulled this book from the shelves I really must try a few more recipes…….

Happy Cooking !

Baking, Cakes, Cooking, Food, Recipes

Heart’s Desire Cake

So it’s that time of the year – Valentine’s Day or should I say the ultimate Hallmark day! Time to bring out your inner romantic and make everything pink and heart shaped……..

And if my black pudding starter seems very ‘hearty’ well here is the ultimate chocolate cake to finish off your romantic meal á deux! (what you choose to have for main course is entirely up to you………….)

I came across this recipe when I was putting together a ‘Cupid’s Cooking’ class last year and it went down very well. I think it came from Delicious Magazine so I hope they don’t mind my variation on it!

It’s quick , easy and delicious so go on, give it a try………..

Heart’s Desire Cake

Preheat your oven to 180C/Fan 160C/Gas 4.  You’ll need a loose bottomed heart-shaped tin – I got mine from Kit Your Kitchen last year and I’m sure Gemma will have some  in stock this year

What you need:

  • 150g butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g dark chocolate (70% cocoa) buttons
  • 140g light brown sugar
  • 130g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 150g plain flour
  • 50g hazelnuts
  • 50g Green & Black’s butterscotch chocolate

What to do:

Put butter, vanilla, chocolate and sugars into a bowl

Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and heat  until melted.

Remove bowl from heat, add in the beaten eggs and fold in the flour

Finally stir in the chopped hazelnuts and butterscotch chocolate.
Pour the cake mix into a buttered, heart shaped tin and bake in a preheated oven for 25 mins until top is firm to touch but cake is still squidgy inside.

Allow to cool in tin for 15 mins before carefully turning out onto serving plate.

A few bits from my decorating box...

Decorate to your heart’s content ……

and serve warm with whipped cream and lots of love……..

Did I mention I had a very interested observer while all this was going on….

Happy Cooking !

PS Valentine if you’re reading this, I have the cake so  flowers or jewellery will do……….