All posts tagged: dark chocolate

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, …

Red Wine Poached Pears, 46p [A Year In 120 Recipes]

This recipe is so easy that it’s hardly a recipe at all. I use tinned pears, because they’re cheaper and easy to tuck away at the back of a store cupboard, and serve them in a bowl with ice cream and a little grated dark chocolate. Serves 4, from 46p 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.) 1 x 400g tin of pear halves, 79p (79p/410g) 1 large glass of red wine, 92p (£2.75/750ml) 100g sugar, white or brown, 12p (£1.19/kg) a scant 1⁄4 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1p (59p/34g) dark chocolate, to serve, optional Drain two-thirds of the juice from the pears and pour the remainder into a saucepan with the pear halves. Pour over the red wine, then add the sugar and cinnamon. Cover and poach for 15 minutes. Remove the pears and set to one side. Bring the cooking …

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 …

Peanut Butter Granola, 8p

I first made this for myself as I love peanut butter in the mornings, but not having a toaster, popping bread under the grill inevitably goes wrong when you have a child to get washed and socked and shoed in the mornings – so I cobbled this together and bunged it in a big jar. Perfect with hot milk, or cold, or even pop it in the microwave for a minute for a warm, soft, stodgy, comforting start to your day. There are endless variations to this too, just add a good oil, like coconut, in place of the peanut butter to hold your oats together (oo-er) and the possibilities are endless. I recommend dark chocolate with toasted or ground almonds if the purse stretches. Dark chocolate and marmalade is similar to a famous round chocolate orange in a bright blue box, and for breakfast, such fun! Golden syrup can be replaced with treacle, sugar, or any sweetening agent of your choice. If you feel like erring on the side of virtuous, chop a banana …

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 …

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. …

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 …

Peanut Butter & Jam Thumbprint Cookies, 4p [A Girl Called Jack]

Here I have brought together two of my favourite cookies into a classic combination of peanut butter and jam. My small boy loves making the thumbprints in these and spooning in the jam, and it’s a happy rainy-day activity to do together – although having such tiny little thumbs, he does his with a teaspoon! Makes 12 cookies from 4p 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. 50g butter or baking block, plus extra to grease the baking sheet, 11p (55p/250g) 2 tablespoons sugar, 2p 1 egg, 15p (89p/6 free range) 2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter, 8p (70p/340g) 8 tablespoons self-raising flour, plus extra to dust your hands, 2p (45p/1.5kg) 4 tablespoons jam, 5p (30p/454g) Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4, and lightly grease a baking sheet in …

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 …

White Chocolate Tea Bread [A Girl Called Jack]

This came about because I LOVE chocolate chip brioche – so I decided to try to make some chocolate chip bread as a replacement. Unfortunately, though, the chocolate chips all melted into the dough as I added my usual boiling water and I ended up with this Chocolate Tea Bread instead – but it was still delicious! I eat mine in chunks, warm with spread and a cuppa. I’ll make true chocolate chip brioche another day, but this is no apology – I’ve stumbled on something heavenly. Bliss! Makes 1 small loaf 275g self-raising flour (or 275g plain flour and 2 teaspoons baking powder or bicarbonate of soda), plus extra to knead the dough a 7g sachet of fast-acting dried yeast 50g sugar 200g white chocolate 25g butter, plus extra to grease the loaf tin 150ml boiling water with a tea bag steeped in it and allowed to cool (Trust me on this one!) Measure the flour, yeast and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Break the chocolate into chunks. It’s up to you how …