When asked about Irish food producing areas the Midlands is rarely the first place that comes to mind but did you know that we have our own honey, ice cream, yoghurts, sausages, cordials, cheese, chocolate, bread, chorizo …..to name but a few products
Chocolate has always been associated with sensual and romantic properties and when we indulge in it’s silky lusciousness, endorphins are released in our brains which make us feel happy and loved.
In the last year I’ve been very lucky to work with Butler’s Chocolates, giving chocolate cookery classes in their demo kitchen in Clonshaugh. I try to theme each class around an event so naturally the February class was all about Cupid, Valentines and Love! I do 7-8 recipes per class and I’m always amazed at how quickly the tasters disappear!
I’m also doing a ‘Cupid’s Dining’ class in my own kitchen on Tuesday 4th February – a three course romantic meal guaranteed to impress that special someone in your life 😉
There will be scallops , venison and lots of chocolate among other things on the menu …and of course some pink bubbles . If you’d like more details on this or any of my classes please let me know.
One of the big hits from yesterday’s class was the salted caramel dessert and here’s the recipe of you want to surprise your loved one on Valentine’s Day
Cupid’s Salted Caramel Delight
What you need:
- 3-4 tbsp dulce de leche – I use Ballyshiel
- ½ tsp sea salt plus extra to serve
- 50g dark chocolate
- 50g milk chocolate
- 75 ml cream
- Good ‘glug’ Kahlua
What you do:
- Stir in the sea salt into the dulce de leche and divide mix between two glasses
- Melt the two chocolates together then stir in the cream until smooth.
- Add in the liqueur and carefully pour over the caramel
- Allow to chill for at least 2 hours then serve sprinkled with sea salt crystals.
Happy Cooking !
PS a message for the Chief Taster – it’s your turn to cook for me this year 😉
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!