All posts tagged: Chocolate

Cherry & White Chocolate Bake, 21p

I made this adaptation of my original – and very popular – Peach Traybake from A Girl Called Jack, last weekend for Mrs J’s local cycling club. She reported back that it had all vanished within minutes; the most popular of the three cakes at the tea stop by far. I was very chuffed – although I had also made the other two as well! Recipes for those to follow later – for now, please enjoy this utter delight. I used defrosted frozen cherries as they come ready pitted and are cheaper than fresh ones (I long for the careless frivolity of being able to spend both time and money hurling fresh cherries into cakes!) but tinned cherries and glace cherries work just as well. I’ll also be posting a vegan edition later down the line using applesauce in place of the eggs; I just want to test it first as this is a particularly moist cake so I’ve a feeling it won’t be a straight simple swap and that the other ingredients may need …

Courgette Chocolate Cake, 16p [A Year In 120 Recipes]

Courgettes in cake came into fashion a few years ago, but I only really bothered with them when I had a glut of the green blighters one autumn. Desperate to get rid of them, I made them into wholesome soups, pestos, pasta sauces and smuggled a few into this big chocolate cake. The courgettes are virtually indetectable – a novel way of smuggling vegetables into your children or fussier members of your household – but the moisture gives a pleasurable density and a little heft to an otherwise light snack. Eat your greens, go on! Serves 6 rather generously at 16p each, (This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links and make a purchase.) 2 courgettes, 40p (£1.60/1kg courgettes, Sainsburys Basics) 50g dark chocolate or 25g cocoa powder, 21p (84p/100g, Sainsburys own cocoa powder) zest and juice of 1 lime or 1 tbsp bottled lime or lemon juice, …

Peanut Butter & Banana Superpower Muffins, 10p

What do you do when you have a pile of black bananas sitting in the fruit bowl? I don’t even know how this happens – I generally work from home, bananas are my go-to snack because I can reach them and don’t have to do anything except peel them and shove them in. Sometimes they get sliced and flung in the oven to make dried bananas for the kids, sometimes I whizz them with yoghurt, milk and oats for a breakfast smoothie, but today I fancied neither of those things. It’s freezing. And raining a bit. And I’m a bit tired and gloomy. What I wanted, was to make those black and mushy bananas into Baked Goods. I started with these, as I’m a peanut butter fanatic…and as I started jotting down ideas, I thought, I wonder if I can make them flour less… And vegan… And thus, with a bit of science and substitution, the vegan oat peanut butter banana power muffin was born. So so so soft and subtly sweet and delicious that …

Quick ‘n’ Hot Banana Pot, 18p

It would be remiss of me not to include this ‘not really a recipe’, as I have eaten it almost every day since the microwave project began. It came around by accident, like so many of these things do – I was trying to make banana chips in the microwave and ended up with a hot banana mush… Undeterred, I scraped it up with a spoon and sighed to myself in a small blissful moment, at my accidental mid morning dessert hot, sweet, meltingly soft banana. The next day, I sliced the banana straight into a ramekin dish – all thought of banana chips banished now, I had to have this again. By day three, I was stirring in two squares of dark chocolate. It’s quick, simple, naughty, delicious, virtuously vegan and a dessert I definitely wouldn’t mind feeding to the kids…if only I can relinquish my sudden fierce ownership of Every Banana In The House… Serves 1: (This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can …

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies, 3p

Last night I found myself with an urge for chocolate chip cookies. I was a bit miserable, the gas meter was running out (and even more so by the time I type this…), my tiny flat was cold and I was generally feeling a little bit grouchy and blue. Usual distractions don’t apply – I don’t own a television and nor do I have broadband to distract myself from the occasional bout of gloom (I run this blog from the internet on my mobile phone!) These are choices I have made for myself, because I am still fearful of long term financial contracts, especially as a freelance writer, especially in insecure rented accommodation in the first few months of my contract. So when it comes to mood-boosters, my options are somewhat limited. So, cookies. I put a rallying cry on Twitter, as the wonderful people who follow me are often so very generous at sharing their favourite recipes and ideas when I feel in need of inspiration – most recently inundated with over 100 recipes …

Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate [A Year In 120 Recipes]

Sometimes I make things that I love so much, I savour them slowly, wondering how I’ll ever bring myself to eat anything else again. This is one of those moments – one of those silent moments of appreciative bliss when I go all When Harry Met Sally about food. (Although this time, it’s a drink.) This time, it’s Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate. (This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links and make a purchase.) Ingredients (makes one mug, easily, dangerously doubled): 50ml water 3 squares of chocolate 1 heaped tablespoon of peanut butter 150ml milk (for vegans, almond milk is amazing in this, for an extra smooth nutty flavour…) This is really simple. Pop the water and peanut butter and chocolate together in a small saucepan on a medium heat. Stir well until the chocolate and peanut butter have melted and form a glossy, sticky paste. Add …

Bootstrap Chilli, 25p

This chilli is adapted from a beef chilli recipe by Gordon Ramsay. I simply left out the beef and halved the wine to make it cheaper – plus, of course, Mr Ramsay doesn’t use a tin of cheap baked beans in his version! I’ve tweaked and fiddled with it so much over the years that now it’s not Gordon’s chilli, it’s mine. It first appeared in A Girl Called Jack, and has since been stripped back to this even simpler recipe, where it is handed out on recipe cards at Trussell Trust food banks – minus the red wine, because it isn’t strictly essential. (This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links and make a purchase.) Serves 4 from 25p each 1 x 400g tin of red kidney beans, 30p  1 x 400g tin of baked beans, 23p 1 onion, 5p (54p/1.5kg) powdered chilli, to taste, <1p …

Chocolate Ice Cream Cake, 5p

Ice cream is my catch-all cheer-up indulgence, eaten by the pint in front of light comedic television, or crime scene dramas, depending on my mood. One Saturday evening, alone, on the turn of Autumn, I found myself partway down a tub of chocolate ice cream, wondering if I could use it as a substitute for the majority of ingredients in a traditional cake recipe. Ice cream is, after all, made from eggs, fat (the milk and/or cream) and sugar, all key building blocks in a standard sponge. I pottered to the kitchen with it in hand, and set it on the worktop to melt – an act of extraordinary willpower, if I may congratulate myself briefly for it, as I have been known to eat two tubs back to back and make generous inroads into a third. A little maths and some crossed fingers later, and I was tucking into an atrociously light chocolate loaf cake, made with just two ingredients and a dash of incredulity. I later learned that I was not the first …

Easter Egg Brownies, 22p

I probably come across as a slightly miserly parent here – and I absolutely am not one – but I detest the cheap sugar orgy this time of year. Yes, children should absolutely have treats. My son has plenty of treats. But we’d barely finished the Christmas chocolate this year when the Easter eggs started to turn up, despite me beseeching well-meaning family and friends that we really do get enough. One, in my books, is plenty enough. And so, over the years, I have declared the Saturday after Easter Sunday as some kind of Easter Chocolate Amnesty, whereby we all pool whatever is left to be squirrelled away in the sweetie tin (which comes out on Sundays after dinner), and baked into something for the household to share. I know I sound strict, but I was raised by fairly strict parents, and sometimes I open my mouth and one of them just pops out. At 31 years old, I have never needed a single filling in my teeth, and have narrowly avoided any dental …

Chillaf, 50p [Cooking On A Bootstrap]

I’m a few days into the microwave cooking project since I gave up my oven for Lent and I have to say, I’m having a blast. I’ve set up a test kitchen in a corner with a fridge, microwave and kettle, and it’s like learning to cook all over again. Today I poached an egg for lunch, and mucked it up – I am completely out of my comfort zone and learning new things all the time, but what I’m hoping to achieve at the end of it is a useful resource for people to take into their offices, workplaces and kitchens and cook simply, cheaply, and with a microwave. It’s nothing new, microwave cooking was big recipe book business in the 1970s, and I have a few rather old and slightly hilarious microwave cookbooks that I’ve spent the last few days reading – anyone for defrosted hash browns with Campbells soup and crunched up cornflakes on top? It’s a real recipe from Easy Livin’ Microwave Cookin’ by Karen Kangas Dwyer, called ‘Elegant Potatoes’… Hmm. …

Ping Porridge, 3p [Cooking On A Bootstrap]

Ping porridge is so called because it can be made in a microwave, on the move, and is perfect in its portability. Grab a Tupperware-style container with a lid, a permanent marker and some oats, and you’re good to go. The adornments and accoutrements from there on are on are up to you. I find a taller container better for this, for accuracy, but if you don’t mind using a squat takeaway carton or similar, use whatever you prefer. I like to add apple and ground cinnamon to mine in the colder months, or grated dark chocolate and a few frozen berries, or tinned pears. Have fun with it – use it as a base and play with it as much or as little as you like. Serves 1, from 3p. This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links or purchase any ingredients. All prices correct at …

Peanut Butter Frozen Yoghurt, 20p [A Girl Called Jack]

This simple recipe is a must for any peanut butter lovers. Its first incarnation was as peanut butter-flavoured yoghurt – made by mixing two of my staple food items together for a sweet treat – and it went from there. I don’t add sugar or syrup to sweeten this recipe when I make it as I like the slight tang of the peanut butter, but feel free to add a tablespoon or two if you wish. It is probably possible to make this vegan – I am going to experiment with it and report back. Serves 6 at 20p each 500g natural yoghurt, 45p (45p/500g, Smart Price at Asda) 200g crunchy peanut butter, 38p (65p/340g, Smart Price at Asda) 100ml milk, 7p (67p/1l, Long life skimmed milk, Smart Price at Asda) 2 tablespoons sugar, 1p (64p/1kg, Silver Spoon at Asda) 100g chocolate, 30p (Smart Price at Asda) Pour the yoghurt into a mixing bowl and stir in the peanut butter and milk until well combined. Add the sugar, if using. Finely chop or grate the …

Double Chocolate Guinness Brownies, 12p [Cooking On A Bootstrap]

Firstly, for the budget-conscious among you raising eyebrows at the use of a bottle of the authentic black stuff in a batch of brownies, fear not, for this recipe makes 24 of the little tinkers and uses a little over half a can at that, so you could stretch to 40ish from a single can if you’ve a crowd to feed. If that doesn’t satisfy you, well, most supermarkets sell an own-brand value range can of bitter at around £ 1 for 4 x 440ml cans. But I created this on the eve of both my birthday and St Patrick’s Day, so it had to be the real thing. I’m fussy about very little when it comes to ingredients in cooking, but Guinness makes my non-negotiable list, and I hope that you, dear readers, will note my half-Irish blood and birthday on St Paddy’s Day and gently forgive me. I first came across the idea of Guinness in cooking from the wonderful Nigella, in her book Kitchen, one of my go-to reads for comfort food …

Chocolate, Chilli & Black Bean Soup, 64p [A Girl Called Jack]

I knock up this soup whenever I find myself in the grips of a piteous cold, or just generally need a bit of a kick in the cookies. It combines onions and garlic for detoxifying goodness, with chillies to fire your engine back up, tomatoes and carrots for essential vitamin C, beans for protein and chocolate because it’s a solution to almost everything. Plus dark chocolate and red wine are good for you, don’t you know? But putting all the science to one side, this is delicious, filling and surprising – so even if you don’t have a cold, make it anyway! Serves 2 from 64p each . This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links or purchase any ingredients. All prices correct at the time of printing and are subject to change. 400g tinned black beans or kidney beans, 55p 1 onion, 5p (54p/1kg) 2 cloves …

Beetroot Chocolate Loaf Cake

This Christmas period I have so far cooked four enormous meals in four different houses as four Christmas presents for friends and family –  it’s the best Christmas present I can offer – swooping in to someone else’s kitchen and taking the stress out of catering for large groups of people, repurposing the leftovers into a pile of ready meals for the freezer, before packing my suitcase and moving on to the next one. It’s been a marvellous way to spend the week – I have so far slept in six different beds in as many days and made a lot of new friends, drunk a lot of wine, lost two knives along the way and had glorious fun. I have made a host of new recipes along the way – nothing gets my creative juices flowing like other people’s sparse storecupboards or a host of dietary requirements – and this was one of the winners. Faced with a stinking hangover from the night before’s foray into home made cranberry and orange vodka, a young …