You can get a crisis of conscience eating seafood nowadays.
Our love of cod and chips may be responsible for causing the extinction of entire species. Cod has been overfished to dangerous levels but it is possible to buy cod and not worry about its future. Armed with the information in this infographic you’ll be able to enjoy cod with a clear conscience in future!
Infographic courtesy of Great British Chefs
To celebrate a second day of sunshine, an elegant lunch @gbchefs was required. Top of the list was @nathanoutlaw Mackerel, tomato & samphire salad. #foodporn #salad #healthy recipes #sunshine #dinnerrecipes #alfresco
#Veggie dish of the day @gbchefs HQ, spinach & ricotta tortellini cradled with Parmesan shaving! #foodporn #vegetarian #therewillbefood #alfrescodining #lunch
Going. Going. Going. Gone. Lunch @GBChefs was Beef Wellington served with roasted veg. #GreatBritishBeefWeek
If the weather’s wet and cold outside and you’re looking for a fun way to entertain your children, why not throw a cooking party? Karen’s held many in the past and has great tips and themes to base your party on.
I am an expert on creating cooking parties for children; every sleep-over or birthday party for my daughter was linked to some sort of cooking party, and they were always immense fun as well as being creative in a culinary sense! From Midnight Feasts (usually served at about 10pm!) to Picnics in the garden, I have embraced the party side of cookery soul with children, and have the “massive clean-up t-shirt” to prove it! Children LOVE to be involved with creating and cooking food, and what better opportunity than a birthday party or just a wet Sunday plays session indoors.
So, how do you create a cookery party for your children? Planning is essential of course; you need to know what type of food you are serving based on the theme, how they can become involved safely (given that you may have lots of children to entertain) as well as planning the “cooking party” area and space. I will list some cooking party ideas below, and give suggestions about how to host them, but for now, let’s go with my themed party for this article, a Teddy Bear’s Picnic or Tea Party.
The first thing is the invitations, if this is a party for a special occasion or a sleep-over; if it is just for your children, then invitations are STILL a lovely idea! Get the kids involved in designing and making the invitations, and then accompany them when they “post” them through the letterboxes (or by mail). Plan where the party is going to take place – you may need two areas, the cooking area and possibly the party area, such as the living or dining room. For a Teddy Bear’s Picnic or Tea Party, gather all your kid’s teddies and soft toys together and set them up in the party area, with a tablecloth of course, and any other props to make it seem fun, such as a miniature tea set, rug, cushions and a picnic hamper; in the summer, this can be set up outside in the garden or even the local park.
The food: For a Teddy Bear’s Picnic or Tea Party, the cookery party can be making the sandwiches for the event; the cakes and biscuits can be made beforehand, and then all of the children can make an assortment of sandwiches with different fillings. Arrange ham, cheese, egg mayonnaise, tuna salad, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, pickle, mayonnaise, sliced bread, bread rolls and the butter or spread on the table and give each child an apron (you can buy disposable plastic aprons at party suppliers) along with a small spreading knife (not sharp) and a mat. Get them to make the sandwiches and then arrange them on a plate, or wrap them up as if going on a picnic. If the children are over five years old, they can also grate the cheese, slice the tomatoes and peel the eggs for the egg mayonnaise. Once the sandwiches are made, make some “tea”, which can be squash or fruit juice and get them to pour it into a teapot or a flask.
It’s now time to party, allow the children to set the food out with the teddy bears, and let them sit amongst the stuffed animals on the floor (on cushions) or rugs if outside. Provide lots of napkins and put some appropriate music on!
The idea of the Teddy Bear’s Picnic or Tea Party is simple and may not involve any “cooking” as such, but it’s ideal for little children, and they will love making sandwiches, or even icing pre-made cakes before the party commences. Other ideas for cookery parties, all tried and tested by me and many children are:
Make the pizza dough with the children and then allow them to “design” their own pizzas by adding toppings that are on the table such as: grated cheese, ham, olives, onions, tomato sauce, tomatoes, pineapple chunks, salami, mixed herbs etc. Make sure you have enough pizza baking stones or trays and enough room in the oven to cook at least four pizzas at a time or more.
Burger or BBQ Parties
Get the kids to make their own burgers – have minced beef and seasonings at the ready; get them to make their own burger patties, and then with supervision, cook them. Have assorted bread buns, cheese, bacon, salad leaves tomatoes, relishes, mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard available on the table so they can “build” their own burger!
A sure way to have lots of fun, and makes a great cooking party for the little ones as well as older girls, for a “girly” party. Have lots of different cake cases, cake stands (those cardboard ones are ideal), sprinkles, sweets, icing bags and such like ready for decorating the cakes. Let them work in pairs to weigh the ingredients and mix the cake mixture before you bake the cakes for them.
Midnight Feast Parties
Anything goes here, but I used to let my daughter and her friends make cocoa (hot chocolate) with supervision, as well as sandwiches, stuff on toast and salads to take up to the bedroom for a special midnight feast! I used to let them pack it all up on containers and give them a tablecloth for the floor and lots of napkins.
Ice Cream Sundae Parties
Easy to organise and totally fun! Suitable for all ages, even adults! Have tubs of various ice cream flavours on the table, with sauces (these can be made with the children), squirty cream, mixed fruit, nuts, chocolate flakes, cones, wafers, sprinkles and other sweet treats for the children to make their own ice cream sundae, or even a banana split! Don’t forget to have lots of bowls handy for their masterpieces, and napkins!
Great fun and easy too! Allow them to make the batter, older children can make the pancakes with close supervision, and then allow them to add their own ingredients such as classic lemon, sugar, jam, honey, golden syrup and Nutella. Savoury pancakes can also be made too.
Just as it says on the box, a party which involves cooking pasta; sauces can be prepared and made, and fresh pasta can also be attempted, with a pasta machine, or just a rolling pin! Great for older children, and especially if they make ravioli and other types of stuffed pasta.
Great for simple biscuit and cookie recipes, and also perfect for little ones. Rolled and drop biscuits and cookie recipes are best. Allow the kids to take some of their baking home with them in little cellophane bags or boxes, and don’t forget to let them go wild with the decorating!
Creating a cookery party with children is all about creativity and imagination – most types of food can be cooked in a part type atmosphere, even down to breakfast parties, soup and bread parties! The main tip is to plan ahead and know who many children are attending. Have plenty of bowls, pans, trays, aprons and warm soapy water for dirty little hands to be washed in! Props can be used, like my featured Teddy Bear’s Picnic and Tea Party and the usual suspects such as balloons, goodie bags to take away (maybe with the recipes and some fun ingredients inside), individual party boxes (for cold food), place mats etc.
For teenagers, Chilli and Wraps parties are hugely successful, and can be supervised with a minimum of involvement too – just leave them with the recipe, the ingredients and a basic set of safety rules.
I hope this has inspired you to host some cookery parties with your kids; they are fun as well as educational and entertaining. I have to get back to my Teddy Bear’s Picnic Party now……before the bears scoff all the cakes and sarnies!
For more fun kids recipes for cookery parties visit Great British Chefs Collection.
Are you considering making your child a birthday cake? If you are feeling nervous about this great undertaking, don’t panic! With three kids Antonia has made more than 20 birthday cakes and has some tricks and cheats to help you.
Don’t panic if what you make doesn’t match up to the picture in the recipe book. Kids don’t need the cake to be perfect. Your child’s imagination will ensure that they see the cake as just what they wanted, even if it looks wonky to you.
Do cheat! There are lots of short cuts to help you create a stunning birthday cake. I belong to a number of baking forums and communities and I used to be surprised how many of the great bakers I know were unashamed to start with a box of cake mix. So, if you are worried about getting the cake to rise, starting with a couple of boxes of cake mix can give you a guaranteed great basis for your birthday cake. Making the cake yourself is easier than you think though: I have a basic recipe for plain sponge on Family Friendly Working that I use time and time again.
A few ‘dos and don’ts’ for if you decide to bake your own:
Do look out for silicon cake moulds: they make it super-easy to turn out the cake and come in all sorts of fabulous colours, shapes and sizes now.
Don’t overfill the cake tins: about 2/3rds full is plenty, and burnt cake is a pain to scrape off your oven!
Don’t open the oven while baking the cake as this will allow the air bubbles that will make your cake lovely and light to deflate while the cake is still too runny.
Do have a skewer or thin knife ready to test the cake when the timer rings: I test while the cake is still on the oven shelf. If the cake mix sticks to the skewer I put the cake in for another 5 minutes.
Tip! Once your cake has cooled, pop it in the freezer for an hour or so. This makes it easier to cut into shapes, and to ice without getting crumbs everywhere.
Do accessorise! Once your cake has baked and cooled, you’ll need to get creative. I’m sure your child has given you lots of ideas for the cake: I’ve made farms, castles, trains and a giant cupcake for birthdays. Spend a little time at the shop looking at which foods might help you create the effect you need. Chocolate biscuits make great wheels, chocolate fingers can be used for train tracks. I’ve used inverted ice-cream cones as the basis of towers for a castle. Buy some tubes of writing icing for highlights, and small sweets for decorations. I’ve used liquorice for the fireman’s hose for a cake for K! Do plan in advance for this part. If you can’t see what you need in the shop, look online: there are hundreds of cake decorations available nowadays.
Do know when to get help! I’m not afraid to try most things: I’ve created a Spiderman cake for J, and a Fireman Sam fire engine for K. However it is fine to admit that you can’t do it all yourself. The Spiderman cake involved a plain round cake with white icing. I used writing icing to add a black web with around 15 small plastic Spiderman figures on top and around the edge. The farm cake used plastic farm animals to similar effect. And you can get all sorts of photos transferred on to icing ‘cake toppers’, allowing you to really personalise a cake for your child.
My final tip is to always aim for ‘simple and effective’ rather than complicated! D and K’s birthdays are 2 days apart, so this year I looked for some inspiration on Pinterest and I’ve made plain round sponges for both. Each has a border of chocolate fingers, and K’s is topped with Smarties, while D has decorated her own with flowers. I even used readymade buttercream this time for speed. I’m really pleased with the results.
Inspired? You’ll find easy cakes to make with your children over on Great British Chefs kids recipe collection.
Easter’s the first Spring Bank Holiday of the year and the long weekend is an excellent opportunity to get cooking. Karen has some wonderful Easter cooking and baking recipes to share, as well as the history behind them.
(Because Easter is so much more than just chocolate!)
I am a follower of culinary fashion, insofar as I love embracing new food trends and exciting ingredients, but, I am also an ardent keeper of British traditions and customs – both the well-known as well as the more unusual and forgotten feasts and festivals. High days and holidays are a time to be with family, not work, and the erosion of some of our “bank holidays” during the Easter period is extremely sad, as we will never “get them back” the longer they are allowed to be marginalised by commerce. However, I am pleased to say that as a nation we are starting to cook and bake more at home, with special holidays being the highlight of the home cook’s repertoire……and with that in mind; I would love to share some wonderful Easter cooking and baking recipes with you, as well as the history behind them.
Hot Cross Buns: Sold all year around now in some supermarkets, which I think is a shame, but a wonderfully spiced and fruited bun with an interesting history. The mark of the cross on baked goods going back to pre-Medieval times, it was a visible sign that the bread was “blessed” and had the power to ward off evil spirits, as well as stopping it becoming stale so quickly.
The first buns with crosses that were attributed to the festival of Easter came along a little later, as Kate Colquhoun states in her excellent book ”Taste: The Story Of Britain Through Its Cooking“……….“In honour of Eastre, goddess of spring and the dawn, [Anglo-Saxon] bread dough could be studded with dried fruits and baked into small loaves that, as Christianity spread, began to be marked with a cross by monks: the earliest form of hot-cross bun”. It can be said that these were the earliest examples of what we know to be Hot Cross Buns today, and from the late 1600′s onwards the custom grew that special spices buns known as “Good Friday Buns” were to be marked with a cross and were to be eaten for breakfast on Good Friday.
I have an old family recipe for Hot Cross Buns, and I remember both my grandmother and mum making dozens of them in the week preceding Good Friday and Easter weekend. On Good Friday, we had Hot Cross Buns for breakfast served with fresh butter, boiled eggs, home-made bread and a big pot of tea, with freshly picked daffodils on the table in an old china jug. Meat wasn’t eaten on Good Friday and a large family Fish Pie was always served with a cheesy potato topping, filled with smoked and fresh fish, salmon and prawns.
My latest recipe invention for Easter are “Hot Cross Buffins” – using my family recipe for the buns, but baking them in a Muffin tray for smaller more “brioche” like buns, perfect for the Easter tea-time table. I see it as merging tradition with a modern day recipe for Easter muffins, and I have had requests to make many more of these “Hot Cross Buffins” already! (If using my recipe for Hot Cross Buns above, just cut the proved dough into twelve pieces, put each piece onto a greased muffin tin, prove a second time and bake for 20 minutes in a hot oven)
Pace Eggs: Another family tradition and “recipe” – Mum taught me how to make Pace Eggs when I was little; onion skins, leaves, flower petals and even beetroot juice was used to make patterned eggs, and then mum used to “butter” the boiled eggs to give them a shine; she would then pile them all up in an old (large) egg coddler in the middle of the table. I remember sitting at the old kitchen table, wrapping onion skins around fresh eggs, and then tying them with string, before hard boiling them.
Then, there was the excitement of “unwrapping” them, and seeing the marbled patterns emerge! The name Pace is thought to derive from the French word for Easter, Pâques……and in some parts of Britain – mainly Lancashire in the North West, these eggs are rolled down a hill, the winner being the owner of the egg which goes the furthest and has the least cracks or breaks in it.
It is also traditional to give one of these eggs to each person who visits your home throughout the Easter period – what a wonderful alternative to the commercially over packaged chocolate eggs.
Simnel Cake: The Simnel Cake is well known as the classic cake for Easter, but in fact it is a Mothering Sunday cake, originally baked by young girls in “service” to take home to their mother’s on “Refreshment Sunday”, which is another name for Mothering Sunday. The cake is a rich fruit cake with a layer of marzipan running through then middle, as well as a marzipan topping; eleven marzipan balls adorn the cake, to represent the twelve apostles, minus Judas of course.
It was the Victorians who started to decorate the cake with the “apostle marzipan balls”, prior to that, the cake was decorated with fresh and crystallised spring flowers, such as violets and primroses. Any cake baked for Easter can be decorated with flowers, as well as the ubiquitous chocolate cake, made and decorated with lots of mini eggs, chocolate flake “nests” and sprinkles!
Fairy cakes (cupcakes) are perfect for an Easter tea time treat, and my recipe for Little Easter Egg and Daisy Cakesare easy to make, plus the children can help decorate them, as well as make them.
Spring Lamb: Lamb, or spring lamb, is a popular choice for most families who eat meat, as well as ham and sometimes turkey. Lamb is particularly good at this time of year as it has a sweet “grassy” flavour and is very tender. It’s (lamb) usually roasted and served with traditional accompaniments such as roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables, gravy and mint sauce, but, why not be a little adventurous this year and go Middle Eastern with Persian Lamb, served with spiced cauliflower and saffron rice? As well as lamb, another Easter tradition is to bake a ham, with plenty of leftovers for sandwiches, salads and pies. My sister and mum, who are vegetarians, usually make a Cheese and Spinach Pie for their Easter centrepiece, and it always appeals to the carnivores in my family, as it’s so good!
I am cooking a fabulous Sarah Raven recipe this Easter, Ham in Hay with Parsley Sauce.
Chocolate! I couldn’t end without mentioning chocolate! And Easter Eggs of course.
I have made my own Easter eggs in the past, but whilst perusing the web, I discovered some amazing recipes for home-made eggs here: Chocolate Easter Eggs; Chocolate Eggs, Chocolate Krispie Chick,Chocolate Button Eggs and Chocolate Lolly Pops. Don’t forget, Easter Sunday is the day that Easter Bunny leaves the eggs, and maybe if the weather is better, you can have an Easter Egg Hunt in the garden or nearby park! Happy Easter, and I hope you have enjoyed my recipe ideas.
What are you baking this Easter? Are you inspired by Karen’s traditional recipes? Fancy making your own Hot Cross Buns? Will you and your family try some more chocolately delights? There’s plenty in our Easter Recipe Collection at Great British Chefs
What are you baking this Easter? Are you inspired to try making bread or your own Hot Cross Buns? Will you and your family try some more chocolately delights? There’s plenty in our Easter Recipe Collection at Great British Chefs
A fresh, light and creamy treat that will be a great Easter afternoon tea - especially if you’re looking for a break from all of that chocolate. Madeleine shares her recipe for mini Tarte au Citron.
This is my favourite dessert. I have eaten it for my birthday almost every year of my whole life. So fresh, light and creamy.
Since quitting sugar I’ve become very experimental with dessert, making treats that taste amazing without the sugar! Stevia has been my new best friend. Stevia is a great natural sweetener that is 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar (so please be very sparing with it). Stevia has been used for centuries by the Guarani Indians of South America. Not only is it a sugar free sweetener but is also acts as an anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic agent.
I have used desiccated coconut in the base which gives it more sweetness and a slightly tropical feel to the dish. This is the perfect Easter afternoon treat to serve after lunch. It goes really well with some fresh raspberries and cream.
Tarte au Citron (makes 10 tarts)
6 tbsp of coconut oil or butter
300 g of almond meal
150 g of desiccated coconut
A pinch of Stevia
A pinch of salt
2 egg whites
2 egg yolks and 4 eggs
2 tbsp of coconut oil
2 tbsp of almond meal
A large pinch of Stevia
Set the oven to 180 C
Base: Melt the coconut oil in a pan on a low heat, take it off the heat and add in the almond meal, desiccated coconut, stevia and salt and mix this together.
Crack two eggs and add in the egg whites (leave the yolks for the filling.) Stir well until the mixture forms a slightly gooey texture, press the mixture in small tart molds, ½ a cm thick, to make crust shapes.
Place in the oven to cook for 15 minutes.
When the base is done pour in the filling into each one. Then bake for 15-20 minutes until the edges get crispy.
Allow the tarts to cool for ten minutes before you dig in.
Inspired? What willl you be baking this Easter? There’s plenty of ideass in our Easter Recipe Collection at Great British Chefs.
Great British Chefs – Cooking with Kids – Infographic
Here’s a sneak peek at our Cooking with Kids Survey Infographic - full results coming your way on Tuesday 27th March.
Bacon – an essential part of the Full English Breakfast and the delicious filling in a bacon butty, a meat so delicious and enticing that when Karen became a vegetarian for a couple of years; it was one of the hardest foods to resist! She now explores a week dedicated to this cured delicacy and staple.
I eventually gave up vegetarianism and pledged only to eat meat with provenance, but, I do remember that I could have happily eaten a bacon sarnie in a flash during my enforced meat-free period. And, I am glad to report for all of you bacon lovers out there, we in the UK have a Bacon Connoisseurs Week, a week dedicated to this cured delicacy and a time to promote British pork as well as explore new recipes.
The seventh annual Bacon Connoisseurs’ Week takes place from the 18th to the 24th March 2013. The week has been established to communicate to consumers that “Not all Bacon is the same”. It also aims to highlight our rich heritage of bacon curing and how many different varieties of premium bacon are available. Under the theme “Great Bacon Revolution” there will be lots of activity during the week to promote the availability and range of quality bacon such as that produced under the Red Tractor logo.
One of the first activities is the hotly contested competition for producers of bacon to compete to see who is best. The Great Bacon Revolution Awards 2013 results are out, and for those of you who are interested, you can see the results here: The Great Bacon Revolution Awards 2013 Results.
In the supermarket section, it was nice to see Cranswick Gourmet Bacon in the finalists (Morrison’s Old Fashioned Cure British Back Bacon); with their bacon that uses an Old English recipe. This style has been used for over 100 years, and is cured with juniper, cloves, muscavado sugar and a hint of black pepper, which gives this bacon has a very distinctive flavour.
In the Butcher’s finalists list, there are bacon cures with smoked cherry wood, beetroot and black pepper as well as Traditional Dry Cured Back Bacon from Cheerbrook Quality Farm Food which is made from loin of Free Range Pork, rubbed with traditional dry salts, then gently massaged and turned for 10 days before slicing and serving. Food Service finalists also boast innovative bacon with an Oak Smoked Dry Cure, Maple Cured and a Wiltshire Cured Back Bacon flavoured with Sweet Chilli, thus proving that bacon can be exciting as well as tasty and versatile.
There are many styles of bacon, and American bacon is very different to our own home-grown British bacon, which also comes under the same banner as Irish and Canadian bacon. American style bacon has a higher ratio of fat to meat, and comes from the belly (or side) of the pig – it’s nearer to what we call “streaky” bacon in the UK. British and Irish Bacon, plus the style of bacon that Americans call “Canadian Bacon” is quite lean and comes from the loin of the pig, and has a higher meat to fat ratio. The only other difference is the slice and rasher debate – we call individual pieces of bacon “rashers” in the UK, and the Americans call them “slices”.
I am a bit if a bacon fiend, I love bacon for breakfast as well as for tea, lunch and supper too. One of my favourite meals is an “All Day Breakfast” which comprises bacon, eggs, sausage, black pudding, tomatoes and a slice of naughty fried bread. I have a slightly healthier Baked Full English Breakfast Recipe, which is just as delicious, but as the title suggests, the whole meal is baked rather than fried, so you have all the taste but not as many calories. And, you cannot beat a good old-fashioned bacon butty, (Bacon Sandwich) which is suitable for any time of the day, or night! Another bacon favourite is an old family recipe for My Grandma’s Traditional Yorkshire Pudding Recipe (for Breakfast), which is Yorkshire pudding batter with bacon, sausages and tomatoes in it, similar to Toad in the Hole.
However you like your bacon, Bacon Connoisseurs Week is a great way to embrace our own home-grown piggy produce, along with Red Tractor farmers, producers and lots of celebrities, such as Faye Ripley. Red Tractor bacon is bacon with quality and provenance, and I am a big supporter of them, as critical step of the food supply chain is independently inspected to ensure food is produced to quality standards by assured farmers, growers and producers in the UK, from farm to pack.
The Red Tractor logo is basically a guarantee of quality and origin, and with the recent horsemeat scandal, we need this guarantee more now than ever.
Before I go, I thought you might like to see a few Bacon Facts, as shared on the Bacon Connoisseurs Week website:
Interesting Bacon Facts:
According to a survey of 2000 Brits by UK Food Network, Bacon takes the number one spot in Britain’s Top 100 Foods, closely followed by chocolate and steak
The Bacon sandwich remains the most popular out‐of‐home snack with 324million servings in the 12 months to September 2012, an increase of 2.9% (year‐on‐year)
Bacon – more than any other protein – is at the top of the consumers’ shopping list. Seven out of ten bacon shoppers have made the decision to buy even before they enter the store
The reason that bacon has been such an important food for so many years is simply because ‘cured’ or ‘preserved’ bacon provided many of our ancestors with their only source of meat during the long and often harsh winters
The country’s earliest traditional breakfast of bacon and eggs dates back to 1560
British Bacon is part of our national heritage; there are records of the Romans salting sides of bacon as early as 200BC and Julius Caesar brought his own bacon with him when he landed in ancient Britain in 55BC
To bring home the bacon – there are several possible origins to this saying. One goes back almost a thousand years to the Essex village of Dunmow where, it is said, in AD1111 a noble woman offered a prize of a side of bacon, known locally as a flitch, to any man from anywhere in England who could honestly say that he had had complete marital harmony for the preceding year and a day. In over 500 years there were only eight winners. An alternative explanation comes from the ancient sport of catching a greased pig at country fairs. The winner kept the pig and ‘brought home the bacon’
This Bacon Connoisseurs’ week, I am going to investigate new cuts and cures of bacon, as well as develop some new recipes, and enjoy bacon! What will you do? I hope that you will be able to enjoy of our excellent British bacon, and serve bacon for tea, lunch and supper as well as breakfast. You can find more recipes on the Bacon Connoisseurs’ week website, as well as a handy recipe booklet that you can download here: Bacon Recipes & Recipe Booklet. Bon Appetite!
Inspired? You’ll find many tasty bacon recipes in Great British Chefs collection.
What better way is there to celebrate St Patrick’s Day than by dressing in green and drinking a pint of the black stuff? Well, how about eating it instead? Victoria shares a delicious chocolate and mousse recipe, which even if you’re not a fan of Ireland’s famous stout, you’re sure you’ll be tempted.
A Pint of the Black Stuff for St Patrick’s Day
In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to admit that I can’t think of many drinks I’d rather drink less than a pint of Guinness. A cup of Rooibos tea, possibly… I find Guinness ferrous to the point of bloody, which is almost certainly why it makes such a happy marriage with beef in a succulent slice of pie. For my money, Guinness is at its best when slugged into a stew or baked into a cake and it sings beautifully when paired with chocolate too.
If you haven’t yet tried a damply dark and decadent chocolate and Guinness cake, I can’t help but wonder what you’ve been doing with your time. Make it and eat it, and I promise you’ll not regret it – even if you’re not much of a fan of black Irish stout.
I often make chocolate and Guinness cake, but this year, after a steaming bowl of Irish stew, instead of raising a pint of Guinness to St Patrick, I’m planning on raising a glass of chocolate and Guinness mousse. It’s deliciously moreish and the Guinness adds an extra depth and darkness that elevates this simple pud to something a bit more special. For extra fun, I added an extra swirl of Guinness just before pouring it into the glasses, to give it that just “waiting to stand” look you get when you pour a pint. I tried to beg, borrow or… er … buy some half pint glasses, but unfortunately I couldn’t get my hands on any in time, so had to make do with Duralex. If you have more luck, these are even more fun when served in half pint glasses, or even a full pint for the most gluttonous gourmand in your life.
Chocolate and Guinness Mousse
Makes 4 half pints
4 large eggs, separated
120g dark chocolate
1 – 2 tbsp. golden syrup (depending on how sweet you like it)
60g unsalted butter
2 leaves of gelatine, soaked in water
A pinch of salt
300ml double/whipping cream
A generous splash of vanilla extract (optional)
Icing sugar to taste.
Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Remove from the heat and whisk in the squeezed out gelatine until fully melted, before adding the Guinness and golden syrup, followed by the egg yolks. In a separate and spotlessly clean bowl, whisk the egg whites and salt together to the soft peak stage. Vigorously beat one spoonful of the whites into the chocolate mixture to slacken it slightly, before folding the remaining whites into the mixture with a large metal spoon. Pour the mousse into your glasses, making sure you leave enough room at the top for the creamy “head”. Pop the glasses in the fridge overnight to set.
Once the mousse has set, whisk the cream, add a splash of vanilla and sift over some icing sugar and whisk again. Taste for sweetness, adjusting if necessary. Use a palette knife to smooth the cream over the top of the chocolate and Guinness mousse before popping them back in the fridge until ready to serve.
Which recipes would you suggest for a St Patrick’s Day dessert? Let us know here or over on Great British Chefs Facebook Page.