Monthly Archives: October 2012

Graveyard Cake

This was my Clandestine Cake Club cake for the Halloween and Bonfire Night event last night. I chose a Gingerbread cake with Speculoos icing and Speculoos gravestones. The dirt path is crushed Oreos. It wasn’t the most popular of cakes last night but we demolished it today at the office!!!

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I made the Speculoos icing using some Speculoos paste my mum bought me in France. You could probably achieve the sameish effect by blitzing some Speculoos with your butter for the buttercream.

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Filed under Cakes, Easy

Nigella’s Chocolate Mousse

My mum started making these chocolate desserts, having seen them in one of the colour supplements publicising Nigella’s new book Nigellisima. They are so simple and so good that they’ve been in constant rotation from that point onwards. I love them!

You can pimp them up, as I have here, and add cocoa nibs or you can keep it simple an just dollop them into pots. For everyday eating I make these in little glass pots but for a proper luxurious dessert I think big, indulgent glasses are the way to go!

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Makes 4 large, 8 small

150g dark chocolate (the darker the better!)
175g condensed milk (1/2 a tin)
250ml double cream
Pinch of salt
2tbsp Cointreau
2tsp orange juice (the juice of half an orange works too)
4tbso cocoa nibs (optional)

-Melt the chocolate in a small bowl over a pan of boiling water set aside to cool.
– In a large mixing bowl add the cream, the condense milk and the salt.
– Use an electric hand mix to whisk the cream and condensed milk mixture to soft peaks.
– Take about 1/3 of the cream mixture and add it to the chocolate and mix together really well.
– Now take the chocolaty cream and add about 1/3 of it back into the cream mixture and fold it in gently.
– Add another 1/3 of the chocolate mixture and fold in.
– Then add the final 1/3 and fold until totally combined and smooth but go gently as you don’t want to deflate it too much.
– Add the Cointreau and the orange juice and mix into the mousse until it’s nice and glossy. It should be smooth and soft and glossy.
– Spoon (or if you like things very neat and tidy you can pipe it) into your serving dishes and sprinkle with the cocoa nibs.
– If you want to be even fancier you can butter your glasses first and add 1 tbsp of cocoa nibs to each glass. Swirl the nibs around so that the nibs coat the sides evenly. Then pipe the mousse in so that it fills out to the sides properly.
– Chill for about 1 hour but technically they’re edible straight away if you really can’t wait!

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Filed under Desserts, Easy

Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Peas and Bacon

I’ve been loving this dish all summer and I think its only going to get more outings this autum and winter.  It’s a one pot dish, you simply throw everything in a large casserole and leave it for an hour and a half.  The results are delicious in every way.  The chicken stays nice and juicy and the flavours from the smoky bacon mingle with the chicken, potatoes and the freshness of the peas.  You also get a lovely gravy in there, which I frequently use as stock for a risotto with the leftover chicken.

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I am a huge fan of roasting a chicken on a Sunday and then reinventing it for the next few days.  Risotto, stir frys, pies, wraps, soup from the carcass.  The possibilities are endless!

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1 whole chicken (I usually go for ~1.5kg)
~400g new potatoes
125g smoky bacon lardons
1 cup of frozen peas

– Preheat your oven to gas mark 6/200C.
– Take a large lidded casserole dish, big enough to hold your chicken.
– Untruss your chicken and pop it in the casserole.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
– Nestle the potatoes around the chicken and then scatter the lardons on top of the chicken.
– Pop on the lid and then pop it in the oven.
– Roast for about an hour and a half but refer to the cooking instructions on the chicken.  Otherwise remember it’s 20 minutes per pound plus andother 20 minutes.
– 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time add the peas.
– Once the time is up, check that the juices are running clear, if not pop it back in for another 10-15 minutes.
– Remove the chicken to a board and let it rest while you sort out the other bits.
– Pull out the potatoes and put them in a serving dish.
– Use a slotted spoon to remove the peas and bacon bits from the gravy and put them in a serving dish.
– Either thicken the gravy or pour it off and let it set then use it as stock later in the week.
– Once everything’s ready to serve carve your chicken and plate up!

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Filed under Easy, Mains, Sides