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Saturday, 20 December 2014

Pineapple Christmas Fruit Cake

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Ho Ho Ho!

Tis the season to be jolly and so it should be with this simple, last minute, Christmas Cake. For those who are a little bit behind with their Christmas organisation pop this in the oven whilst throwing up the Christmas tree...its that easy! 

This recipe has been handed down through the generations hence why the measurements are in old and new weights. To be honest I've only just got used to decimal currency. 

This recipe uses light brown sugar as opposed to dark brown sugar which you would find in a rich fruit cake recipe and there is no treacle. So, probably not one for the purists!

Ingredients

10 oz (283g) Mixed dried fruit
2 oz (57g) Glace cherries (chopped)
4 oz (113g) Butter
8 oz Light soft brown sugar
1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
14oz (396g) Crushed pineapple
8oz (226g) Self raising flour
2 Eggs
Pecans halves
Glace Cherries - red and yellow
Prunes - ready to eat
Apricots - ready to eat
2 tbs Apricot Jam sieved

Method

Put all ingredients except flour and eggs into a saucepan and slowly bring to the boil and simmer. 

Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and then allow to cool.

Grease and line a 3 lb loaf tin or an 8" round tin with greaseproof paper, double lined. Some people will wrap their tins in newspaper to stop cake from burning

Heat oven to 170 degrees C.

Beat the eggs into the cooled boiled mixture followed by the sifted flour
Spoon into the tin and level off
Bake for 1 hour, then cover with two layers of foil and bake for a further 50 minutes to 1 hour. 
Test with a skewer, which will come out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.

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Allow cake to cool completely. Brush the top liberally with some of the jam and arrange the fruits. Brush with more apricot jam and tie a decorative ribbon around the edge. Voila! My job here is done.....

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Sunday, 14 December 2014

Organic Matcha Green Tea Brownies

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Organic Matcha Green Tea
Organic Matcha Green Tea Brownies.

The lovely people at KissMeOrganics invited me to try some of their Organic Matcha green tea powder in a recipe or two. 

So, with the help of the internet I found some interesting recipes including products such as Okara which I have not come across before. 

I've altered my recipe so you do not have to search the stores form Okara. This is a pulp consisting of insoluble parts of the soybean which remains after pureed soybeans are filtered in the production of soy milk and tofu.....after that description I'm probably glad its not in my store cupboard. But, have no fear this recipe can still be made without the missing Okara.

Ingredients:

225g White chocolate (Dominican Republic)

150g Butter
3 Eggs
105g Caster sugar
1.5 tablespoon of rum
75g of plain flour
A Pinch of salt
1.5 tspn of baking powder
75g Pecan nuts
15g Almonds
15g of Matcha powder (from KissMeOrganics)
30g Icing sugar

According to KissMeOrganics, Matcha tea, has some hidden health properties. Not only is it certified organic but provides additional energy and helps to boost our metabolism. Matcha tea has been around for thousands of years and 


Preparation:

Whisk eggs and sugar
  1. Heat oven to 100 degrees centigrade and toast pecans.
  2. Butter and line a tin (18cm x 27cm) with greaseproof paper 
  3. Melt the chocolate and butter in bowl using a water bath. Do not overheat the chocolate.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together the eggs and sugar. Beat them well until thick and cloud like - see picture.
  5. Add salt and rum to the whisked mixture.
  6. Combine flour, baking powder and Matcha powder. Sieve and mix well.
  7. Combine with melted butter and chocolate, mix well.
  8. Stir in pecans and almonds
  9. Bake for about 30-35 minutes in a pre-heated fan oven 160 degrees C.
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    Stir in the Pecans and Almonds
  11. Sprinkle icing sugar on top before serving hot with ice cream.
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Organic Matcha Green Tea Brownies
The finished article! The matcha tea is not overpowering and the finished article is very light and sweet, the pecans add a good crunch. A moist cake rather than brownie in my opinion but none the less delicious. Looking forward to enjoying it with some ice cream! To buy your Matcha powder click here.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Cacao and Maca Organic Bar

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Cacao and Maca Organic Bar
Cacao and Maca Organic Bar, sounds like it will do me the world of good especially as we're entering flu jab season and merry xmas, runny, snotty nose time. Isn't it compulsory for anybody over the age of 50 to be pricked by nursey? Well, you know what I mean... 

LoveRaw is a Superfood company based in Cambridgeshire founded by former investment banker, Rimi, who found inspiration on her travels to Andalucia, Spain. Whilst visiting the many farmers markets she discovered organic foods and a healthier way of life.  LoveRaw cater for a growing band  of consumers who want to enjoy products free of gluten, dairy, wheat and soya. 


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Coldpressed - Juice Tonic
As I recently discovered on a tour of Soho all strip joints have been replaced by 'coldpressed' juice bars. Everythings Naked with Energy Balls......so, no change there! Apparently, these artisan juice bars are all the rage amongst young, trendy and wealthy clientele who have deep pockets and want to keep their complexions sans spots and crater free for years to come. Coldpressed basically means that all the good stuff your body needs is extracted at low temperatures without destroying them. You can spend £6.00 for a bottle of cocoa goodness from Juice Tonic. Leaves your wallet feeling slightly under the weather but you'll feel like you've discovered the elixir of life. Ok, getting back to the main attraction LoveRaw have applied the same principle and slow dry at 38 degrees C keeping food at its optimal nutritional value.


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Naked!
Not only is this bar good for those people who suffer from allergies but it may also help boost their dwindling sex drive. Nothing sells like sex. Maca Root, looking not unlike a small sugar beet, hails from South America and allegedly has the ability to improve your libido. The only down side is you have to be careful how much Maca you use. 

It all sounds wonderful but how does it taste? When opening the packet there is a strong malty aroma running thick with dates which just happens to be the main ingredient. 


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Did you hear about this great bar?
The texture is dry and crumbly with a nutty crunch provided by almonds and cashews. Within the mix you'll find Ecuadorian raw cacao and raw cacao nuts with only naturally occurring sugars. As this was my first time I wasn't disappointed but I'm not sure I'll swap my chocolate bar overnight for a bit of LoveRaw just yet.  A box of 12 will cost you £29.88 or £2.49 for 48g.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Christmas Pudding Dark Chocolate by Rococo

The World of Chocolate
Christmas Pudding
Once again, I've been taken by surprise. No, not in the way you're thinking.....naughty. 

Christmas, Black Friday, Cyber Monday or whatever we are calling it these days has arrived, landing on my doorstep, like an unannounced Jehovah witness telling me its time to find a friend in Jesus. That's it! I've had a Mellor moment a bit like a senior moment but with more alcohol. Absolutely, I'm definitely heading for some type of chocolate hell where all chocolate bars are just tantalisingly out of reach. Unbeknownst to me a 60 ft Christmas tree, maybe a slight exaggeration, has arrived in the garden even before November has scuttled off the calendar for another year. It's all too much! Bah humbug! Fortunately, chocolate is at hand to save us....well to save me really as it is one of my few remaining vices.

The World of Chocolate
Dark Chocolate Christmas Bar
Rococo's founder and Creative Director, Chantal Coady, was inspired by Moroccan encaustic tiles which decorate the 'MaRococo' garden in their Belgravia store to create the covers. Apparently, you can visit the garden in the summer when it can be viewed at its best. Rococo has shops, sorry slip of the tongue, stores, in charming hamlets such as Mayfair, Belgravia, Marylebone and Chester the new home of football. I snipped open the silver foil packaging yesterday to get a sense of what this festive bar might have to offer. Wow! Talk about Christmas in a bar....a heady, heady aroma indeed.  Such is the strength of cloves and Cognac erupting from the packaging I wonder whimsically if I'm possibly too young to try this? Sadly, I'm not.

The Christmas Artisan selection of chocolate bars was created to celebrate 30 years changing the world of chocolate. There are three bars in the range including, Christmas Pudding, Morello Cherries and Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. 

This bar is well stacked, literally bursting with ingredients, including a number of truly festive favourites, Cognac soaked raisins, toasted almonds, cloves and cinnamon wrapped in 65% dark chocolate. The first section of dark chocolate I break off contains several whole plump raisins which don't burst as much as I had first imagined not even a dribble of Cognac.  

The dark chocolate is delicious but the 'clove hit' or should that be 'slap about the face' is a bit over the top which would be good if I had toothache. The dark chocolate is lost which is disappointing especially as it has such a good pedigree. Read about Grococo where Rococo's organic fine dark chocolate comes from.

The overall experience is not unpleasant and once the clove hit has gone you're left with cinnamon spice. The almonds provide great crunch and texture. Even after 5 minutes, if you shut your eyes tightly enough, you can imagine that you have indeed just eaten a delicious piece of spicy Christmas Pudding without the stodgy bits. Certainly an interesting bar of chocolate and I look forward to trying the Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh bar. 

These festive bars are on sale now at £4.95/70g....click here to buy. 

I think the remainder of this bar is destined to be melted over my Christmas Pudding. Happy days. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Chocolarder - Cornish Honeycomb

Cornish Honeycomb, Trinitario, Java
Handmade in Cornwall
Chocolarder, new kid on the block when it comes to bean-to-bar UK chocolate makers. One of a handful of chocolate specialists including the likes of Duffy of Red Star Chocolate Ltd, based in Lincolnshire and Pump Street Bakery based in picturesque Orford, Suffolk.

Chocolarder is an artisan bean-to-bar chocolate maker based in Penryn, Cornwall. One of Cornwall's most ancient towns and an important harbour in years gone by. Now the centre of artisan chocolate production on the Lizard Peninsula. 

Michael Longman, a former pastry chef, started Chocolarder in 2012 after deciding he'd had enough of mass produced chocolate. A small chocolate bar maker with a strong sense of social responsibility demonstrated by sourcing only organic and sustainably grown cocoa beans from family run plantations. 

The packaging is very functional with a wallet like feel which allows you to keep your chocolate treasure in safekeeping for later nibbling.



Single Origin Milk Chocolate with Honeycomb....this 70g bar of milk chocolate, 40% cocoa solids, is made using single origin chocolate, Trinitario beans from Java with honeycomb pieces. The label also tells us about 'grind length' a statement that could be misconstrued but, essentially this tells us this is a bar of quality chocolate. A longer conche effectively translates into a dream bar of the brown, sweat stuff.....well that's the theory. 

A beautiful shiny exterior glistening like polished mahogany even under these gloomy grey Essex skies. A good snap and a creamy smooth rich fudgy loveliness intermingled with honeycomb crunch. The accompanying tasting notes suggest strong earthy and floral tones from locally sourced honey which has been cold-pressed. Allegedly this process ensures all the good stuff including vitamins and nutrients remain intact and are not destroyed by heat.

I've diligently placed what's left of my chocolate bar back in the wallet to be enjoyed later. But, it keeps calling me back which means it will be devoured sooner rather than later. Good job I ordered two! So, just on this premise alone this is a good bar of chocolate and competes well with the likes of Duffy and Pump Street. Priced at £3.95 for 70g.  

Well done my lovelies!