Friday, 18 May 2012

Mrs. H (to be)

Just a quick blog post to say thank you to everyone for their tips, tricks and advice on planning the wedding and a huge thank you to my family and friends for putting up with me for the past couple of months when I've had epic bridezilla meltdowns. Especially the one about the mistake on our wedding invites. It's still not funny...

I'll leave you with some photos I took today whilst decorating the venue for tomorrow. And as we are jetting off to the Maldives on Sunday for our honeymoon, I hope you all have a great couple of weeks and I'll see you all on the other side in June!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

We Should Cocoa: Chocolate & Almond Swirl Rolls

This month's We Should Cocoa is being guest hosted by Laura from How to Cook Good Food and she has set the ingredient of almonds. You can see the cheese round up here.

I posted a recipe after Christmas for a Brown Butter Banana Bread. I had just taken down my Christmas decorations and the cottage felt really empty. I tried to fill it with warming, comforting smells.

The cottage didnt feel empty at the weekend but filled with tension. Tension to get things sorted in time for Saturday. Who not to sit next to who. Who is going to be where and at what time. What (or who...) potentially is going to be a problem. Who hasn't returned my emails and who did I forget to email.

I ended up beating the crap out of some dough. It felt good.

500g strong bread flour
50gr unsalted butter, chopped into little chunks
1 x 7gr sachet of easy blend (fast action yeast)
2tbsp caster sugar
1tsp salt
1 egg (medium/large)
200ml milk mixed with 100ml boiling water - you might not need all of this
50gr flaked almonds
20gr very dark chocolate, grated

1, Sift the flour into a large bowl and add in the butter, yeast, sugar and salt. Rub the butter between your finger tips until it is fully incorporated and there are no large lumps.
2, Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add in the egg with around a third warm milk and water. Start to bring this together with a fork, adding more water if necessary, until you are left with a lump of dough that isn’t sticky to the touch.
3, Turn the dough out onto a work surface that has been lightly dredged in flour and knead for between 5-10minutes until the dough is soft and elastic. Pop in an oiled bowl and cover with oiled clingfilm. Leave this somewhere warm for an hour or until it has doubled in size.
4, Punch the dough down and give it another quick knead. Roll out into a large rectangle that measures about 17inches by 8inches (ish!)
5, Sprinkle with the almonds and the grated chocolate. Roll up and cut into ten equal rolls and lay into a greased baking pan leaving a little gap around each one.
6, Cover again with oiled cling film and leave the rolls for 20-30minutes To rise again.
7, Preheat your oven to 220o/c, brush the rolls with a little melted clarified butter or olive oil and bake for 20 minutes until rich golden brown and the rolls sound hollow when tapped underneath.
When I make these again, I'd probably add a bit more sugar to the dough (and probably the filling), cocoa to the filling and toast the flaked almonds.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Han Solo (in carbonite) Brownies

Happy Star Wars Day!

Jim got a little Han Solo in carbonite ice cube/chocolate mould for Christmas. So I thought I'd put it to use and make him some brownies and using the chocolate bars as insets.


125gr dark chocolate
125gr salted butter
125gr light brown sugar
2 eggs
125gr plain flour
1tsp baking powder
2tbsp cocoa powder

Han Solo Chocolate Inserts
150gr milk or dark chocolate depending on preference (melted)

Chocolate sprinkles (optional)


1, Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a heat proof jug. Melt the butter, bring to a gentle simmer and pour over the chocolate. Set this aside for 10 minutes and then beat until smooth
2, Beat the sugar into the melted butter and chocolate. Leave this to cool.
3, Line a 7 inch square baking tin with baking paper (or foil and grease it) and preheat the oven to 180o/c
4, Beat the eggs into the cooled chocolate/butter/sugar mixture and then sift in the flour, baking powder and cocoa. Fold to combine.
5, Pour into the cake tin and bake for 20 minutes until cooked through and the top is slightly springy. This needs to be quite a firm brownine or it will fall apart when cutting. Cool through and then refridegrate for at least 30 minutes to make it.
6, Using a small paint brush, stipple a thin layer of chocolate over the mould base paying particular interest to the face, hands, feet and body cavities. Fill the chocolate moulds with the rest of the chocolate (reserve a little for later) and chill until solid. 20 minutes in the freezer will be fine.

7, Unpop the chocolates from the moulds. I was surpised how realistic they were and how easily they came away from the moulds.
8, Trim the edges off your brownies and lay the chocolates over the brownie surface and cut around them. You want to leave a gap of about 1/2cm around each of the chocolates.

9, Score closely to each of the chocolates into the top of the brownies and carve out a little hollow to sink the chocolate into. Spread a little melted chocolate into each cavity and press the chocolate Han Solo into it.

10, Using the remaining chocolate - spread around the edges of the chocolates and gentle spread the chocolate sprinkles over the wet chocolate. Chill for 20 minutes to set it all before eating