Photography by Darren Bester
Say ‘I love you’ with this decadent chocolate dessert made for two !
Featured on The Pretty Blog for Valentines Day back in 2016, this chocolate pot of yumminess seems to have made a lasting impression.
Go on, give it a go … after all, ‘sharing is caring’
Yield: 2 large chocolate pots or 1 x 30cm quiche pan
2 Packets of Oreo Biscuits – blitzed in a food processor to form a crumb like consistency
5 tbsp Salted Butter, melted
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
500g Cream Cheese
1/2 Cup Double Thick Cream
1/2 Cup Caster Sugar
x 1 350g jar of Nutella
2 tbsp Cocoa
1 Cup Fresh Raspberries
For the Topping: 3 Ferrero Rocher Chocolates crushed & extra fresh Raspberries
Combine the Oreo crumbs with the melted butter and pour into bottom of your jar, pressing up the sides, I like to be quite generous with the biscuit base vs. filling ratio. Press with the back of a spoon to smooth down the mixture before refrigerating while you prepare the filling. In a mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, cocoa powder and Nutella until smooth. Add the cream and beat until just combined. Add the raspberries and stir by hand before gently pouring the mixture onto the Oreo base. Refrigerate for approximately 4 hours or overnight. Just before serving, top with the crushed Ferrero Rocher and fresh raspberries. Serve with 2 spoons.
Photography by Darren Bester
I’ve always loved Chocolate Mousse … light and airy, you can just about feel the air bubbles pop in your mouth and then there’s the tasty moorish decadence of dark chocolate – Heaven! It is rich though, which makes over indulging very easy to do, which is why this time round, I opted to serve them in cute little espresso cups. You can of course, serve yours anyway you want … just don’t pair large portions with a very heavy meal.
Quick and easy to prepare, it can be made a few days ahead of time thereby eliminating any stress when entertaining. Perfect end to an Easter Lunch, I’m sure even the Easter Bunny would agree.
Yield: 4 standard ramekin portions
170g dark good quality chocolate (70% cocoa solids) – Lindt is a good option
80ml full fat milk
1 egg yolk
4 egg whites
20g caster sugar
Roughly chop the chocolate and place in a heat proof bowl over a small pot of simmering water. Stir until chocolate has completely melted and remove from the heat.
Bring the milk to the boil and pour onto the melted chocolate, stirring with a whisk to combine. Add the egg yolk and mix well to combine. Set aside to cool.
Whisk the egg whites to firm peaks, adding the sugar bit by bit. Using a spatula, fold one-third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Whisk briskly, before folding in the rest of the whites (fold from the middle of the bowl up and outwards, using your other hand to steady and turn the bowl as you go). Ensure the egg whites are well incorporated but be careful to not over work the mixture.
Pour the mousse into individual ramekins or 1 large bowl. If you want to serve in espresso cups or another dainty cup, use a piping bag to fill the cups neatly. Chill for at least an hour.
Decorate with whipped cream and chocolate curls, if desired.
The eggs should be very fresh. Use them cold but not icy and not at room temperature.
Nothing says I Love You like bacon, crumpets and maple syrup … With Valentine’s Day falling on a Sunday this year, there’s no excuse not to whip this little treat up for the people you love.
Yield: Approximately 15 Crumpets
For the Crumpets
2 Cups self-raising flour
1 tbsp sunflower oil
45ml (9 tsp) castor sugar
5ml baking powder
250ml full cream milk
1 packet rindless smoked back bacon (or your favourite cut of bacon)
Mix together the milk, sugar, eggs and oil. Add the dry sifted ingredients and stir until well combined. Cover mixture with some cling film and allow to stand for at least an hour. So its best to make the mixture the night before which also means less work and less dishes for Sunday!
On Sunday morning – Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Place your bacon on a baking tray lined with foil and cook in the preheated oven until crispy. Heat a pan over medium heat, add some butter and once the butter is hot, start frying ladlefuls of the crumpet mixture until bubbles start to appear, then gently flip over to cook the other side. Place on a cooling rack while you continue to make the rest. At this point you could use a heart shaped cookie cutter to shape the crumpets into hearts but its not a must.
Plate up with a few crumpets on each place, a few streaks of bacon, some sliced strawberries and a generous drizzle of maple syrup ! Happy Valentines Day xxx
Photography by Darren Bester
Another childhood favourite that has stayed with me is Banana Bread. I can quite easily eat an entire loaf by myself (I don’t, it must be said … but I would , if I could get away with it on the scale and if it wouldn’t scare my husband quite as much as I think it would). Besides being delicious, its also just so comforting and I wonder if its because it subconsciously conjures up carefree feelings from childhood. This recipe is so quick and easy that its surprising that the loaf is as delicious as it is.
Yield: 1 Loaf
375ml ripe bananas, mashed
250ml white sugar
375ml cake flour
1tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
60ml vegetable oil
125ml crème fraîche
2 eggs, whisked
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to bake at 180ºc. Grease a 23 x 13 cm banana loaf tin with butter or ‘spray & cook’ and set aside. Mix the bananas, sugar, crème fraîche, eggs and oil until well combined. Sift all the dry ingredients into a separate bowl. Gradually stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture, until combined. Pour mixture into prepared baking tin and bake at 180 for 40 minutes to an hour. Test with a skewer, if it comes out clean, the loaf is ready.
Cooks Note: Cooking time can vary depending on your oven and its settings. Best to start keeping an eye on it from the 40 minute mark. If you don’t have a baking skewer, an uncooked piece of dry spaghetti will do the job just fine. You could add walnuts or poppy seeds for a nice variation.
This quick and easy recipe can be made in minutes and will provide a good back up act to any dessert ‘main attraction’.
Yield: Roughly 300 mls
5 cups of strawberries (fresh or frozen)
3/4 Cup of White Granulated Sugar
1/4 Cup of Water
If using fresh strawberries, chop off the top ends and discard. Place the strawberries and all other ingredients in a small pot and bring to the boil. Once boiling, turn down the heat and allow to simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring every now and then to ensure the sugar has dissolved. Switch off the heat and transfer to a blender, blend until smooth & pass through a drum sieve or normal kitchen sieve to remove seeds from the mixture. Refrigerate until needed.
Who doesn’t perk up when they hear that chocolate brownies are on the menu? It is a fail safe people pleaser … So if you are having friends round & need a quick, easy and delicious dessert … This is it ! WARNING: These brownies are addictive !!!
Yield: 25 – 30 Brownies
Chocolate Brownie Ingredients:
500grms Unsalted Butter
600grms Dark Chocolate (chopped)
200grms White Chocolate (chopped)
200grms Blanched Almonds (chopped)
3 Cups Brown Sugar
70grms Cocoa Powder
370grms Cake Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
Measure out & prepare all your ingredients before getting started
Grease 2 x 22cm square cake tins with butter / ‘Spray & Cook’ and line with non-stick baking paper – Set aside
Preheat the oven to 150ºc
On a low heat, melt the butter and 400grms of the dark chocolate in a small pot, stirring continuously until smooth.
In a large mixing bowl, stir the eggs and sugar to combine. Now add the melted chocolate and mix again. Sift in the cocoa powder, flour and baking powder and stir gently to combine. Fold in the remaining 200grms of dark chocolate, white chocolate and almonds.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tins and bake for 20 – 30 minutes. The brownies should be set on the outside and still slightly gooey on the inside, so keep your eye on them and touch them to get a feel for how firm they are towards the end of the cooking time. Once out the oven, you can allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the tin and cutting into squares. Allow to cool on a cooling rack if not serving immediately.
CLICK HERE FOR STRAWBERRY COULIS RECIPE