Friday, 30 November 2012

Let's Make Christmas 2012

Raspberry (,Cranberry and Orange) Marshmallows from Rococo: Mastering the Art of Chocolate. (I messed up the shopping list a little...)

Cinnamon Spritz Cookies with White Chocolate Ganache Filling

Full posts to follow.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

We Should Cocoa: Chocolate Monkey Bread

This months We Should Cocoa, the creation of Choclette and Chele, is hosted by Nazima of Franglais Kitchen who has challenged us to use our loaf (pun intended) and come up with a bread and chocolate creation. Last months round up featuring all things pumpkin from Nat at The Hungry Hinny, can be found here.

I wrote all the narrative for this post. Left it to one side. Had a flick about on the Internet about the subject and landed on a blogpost on exactly the same subject about what I had written. This has happened before. I think I've come up with something witty to say and then BAM! I find someone has beat me to it. Someone has probably beaten me to this too.

People do come up with the same ideas. If you've ever been near anyone who deals with patents, they'll give you examples.

Which made me think about this bread. It's not new, or amazing*, or never been done before. The quantities and methods are different but the end result is the same. I don't think I can find anything new to say.

Apart from the fact that I know someone who calls it "Monkey Brain Bread", and that made me laugh, loudly and uncontrollably.


Bread Dough
400gr strong bread flour
1 x 7g sachet of easy blend yeast
10gr cocoa powder
50gr caster sugar
50gr butter
250ml lukewarm milk
1/4tsp vanilla powder or 1tsp vanilla extract

50gr caster sugar and 25gr melted butter for the dough glaze

50gr dark chocolate, melted for the top


1, In a large bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, yeast and salt together. Stir in the sugar and rub in the butter until it is all uniform in texture.
2, Slowly incorporate the milk to form a dough and turn out into a floured work surface. Knead for around 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
3, Place in a greased bowl and cover with cling film. Allow to rise, in a warm place, for an hour or until doubled in size.
4, When the dough has risen, knock it back with your fist and knead it briefly. Flatten the dough out and cut into pieces that are just smaller than a ping pong ball when rolled into balls.
5, Dip the balls of dough into melted butter and then roll in the sugar. Place them in a 1lb greased loaf tin. Cover with clingfilm and return to the warm place until doubled in size again.
6, Preheat your oven to 220o/c and bake the loaf for 20-25minutes until the underside of the load sounds hollow when tapped.
7, Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before drizzling the melted chocolate on and eating. It's best served slightly warm with doughy aromas and sticky chocolate covered fingers. We're all friends here..

*It begs to be torn apart and shared. That means it doesn't have to be new, or amazing. You get to share it with people you love. Perfect.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Spiced Plum & Sesame Seed Galette

Some great things have been discovered as the result of accidents.

I'll do you a quick timeline:-

1853 - George Crum creates the humble crisp after a customer complains his fried potatoes were too soggy.

1878 - Constantin Fahlberg accidentally discovers saccharin because, after doing some lab experiments, he didn't wash his hands properly before eating dinner.

1928 - Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin because he didn't wash up some petri dishes before going on holiday.

2012 - Hannah Hearsey accidentally creates a sesame seed galette because she wasnt paying attention and dropped sesame seeds in her pastry when digging around in some seriously disorganised cupboards for some table salt.

OK. So it's not going to be written about in science journals or become hugely mainstream and be bagged and sold across the world as beverage sweeteners or crunchy snacks. Accident or not, spiced plums and sesame seeds imparting their delicate nuttiness to light, tender buttery pastry are a winning combination.


200gr plain flour
125gr cold unsalted butter, chopped into cubes
40gr sesame seeds
Pinch of salt
100gr caster sugar
1 egg
8-10 plums
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
5 cloves
1/2 star anise, split into segments
Zest of half a lemon
2tbsp honey


1, Make the dough first by rubbing the flour and the butter together until they look like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sesame seeds, salt and sugar.
2, Add in the egg and bring together into a doughy ball. Wrap this in cling film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
3, Prepare the plums next by washing and then cutting them in half. Add the spices and zest on top and drizzle with the honey. Bake in a preheated oven at 200o/c for 20 minutes or until just soft.
4, Stir the plums and the allow cool completely before removing the stones and whole spices and putting the galette together.
5, When you're ready to make the galette, preheat your oven to 200o/c, roll out the pastry on a floured work surface into a round about 25-30cm. Shift onto a lined baking sheet.
6, Add the plums in a single layer in the middle of the pastry in a circle formation. Trim the pastry so you have a border around the edges of about 4-5cms and fold it up and over the outside plums. Pinch together any cracks or splits.
7, Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the fruit is bubbling.
8, Cool slightly before serving in slices.