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Chocolate torte

I have a confession. You know those pretty macaroons I made the other day? I sort of maybe didn’t tell you the whole story. Confession time

Gingerbread chocolate

Hotel Chocolat makes some of my favourite chocolate (milk chocolate with chilli, sticky toffee-centred chocolate, cookie choc chip slabs… the list goes on!). I visited the Birmingham Bullring branch of Hotel Chocolat the other day for a “browse” and ended up with a bag full of chocolate. Oops. So obviously I was thrilled to be sent a giant slab of their Nibbly Noel from their Christmas range to review! Come in, you might win chocolate!

Chocolate Tia Maria parfait

I hadn’t planned to make this and it isn’t often that I spontaneously bake. Usually because I don’t have time in between all the planned baking! But after making macaroons I found myself with some spare egg yolks and it seemed a shame to throw them away. I knew I’d seen several recipes in my new Green and Black’s cookbook that only used egg yolks, and, as they all contain chocolate, I knew I’d want to make pretty much all of them! It was difficult deciding which to make (dark chocolate and cardamom ice cream? buttermilk and bitter chocolate ice cream? gooey chocolate puddings?) but I’ve never made parfait before so I decided to try something new. It was a good decision! Give me parfait!

Vanilla macaroons

Vanilla macaroons

I hate almonds. A lot. The taste of them in sweet things is just utterly unpleasant. So why exactly did I think it was a good idea to make some? Well, I know that they’re supposed to be difficult to make, a little prone to throwing a tantrum in your oven and breaking your heart, and I felt like taking on the challenge. I was absolutely thrilled when they emerged from my oven all pretty and not an exploded mess (don’t get me wrong, I’m not pretending they’re perfect, but I think they look pretty damn good for a first attempt). But now I have 14 macaroons sitting in a tupperware tub which I have no intention of eating. Come inside for more pretty macaroon photos

Chorizo and thyme fougasse

Chorizo and thyme fougasse

I can’t imagine that there’s even one person in the whole world who doesn’t love the smell of freshly baked bread. When I do my weekly grocery shop I have to stop myself scoffing all the bread on the way home. And, as with pretty much everything (except maybe things like cars), homemade is even better. (Perfume isn’t better homemade either. Remember when you were a kid and you made perfume with water and rose petals? At first it smelt really nice, but after a few days the water went really yellow and it smelt kind of sickly sweet verging on rotten. Homemade perfume definitely isn’t better than shop bought. Nuh uh). Click here if you love homemade bread (homemade perfume, not so much)

 

Chocolate sticky toffee pudding

You didn’t think he only got a main course, did you? Every birthday meal needs a dessert! Chris is rather fond of this sticky toffee cake and that is what I was originally going to make for this birthday. But then I ordered a copy of Green and Black’s Ultimate Chocolate Recipes and came across this recipe. Sticky toffee pudding AND chocolate? Yes please. So I suggested it to Chris (because I was just thinking about what Chris would like for his birthday, obviously. Not because I really, really wanted chocolate sticky toffee pudding. No no no. Not at all.) and he agreed that it sounded like something he’d want to put in his face. So I made this and we put it in our faces and I was so happy I could have exploded. Get in my face, toffee!

Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday dear Chri-iis, happy birthday to you! Come in for birthday calzones!

Halloween cupcakes

Happy Halloween! Did you go to a halloween party? Did you dress up? Did you make halloween-themed baked goods? Did you, did you, did you? Where was it? What did you wear? What did you make? Hmmmmm? I did not go to a party or dress up, but I did make these pretty orange and black cupcakes 🙂 Enter if you dare… it’s only cupcakes, silly

Caramel apple loaf cake

I have a soft spot for loaf cakes. They’re not flashy. They don’t need to dress up all pretty. They’re happy just the way they are, simple and tasty. And everyone else is happy with them the way they are too, because they totally rule your face. I wish I were a loaf cake. Or something. Click here if you wish you were a loaf cake too!

 

 

Sometimes The Book People come to my office. When this happens, I accidentally part with money in return for more cookbooks and then I sneak them home and put them on the bookshelf so that I can claim I’ve had them for ages when Chris asks where they’ve come from. Shh. Don’t tell. What has this got to do with soup? Well, not loads. But I got this wonderful soup book last time The Book People came (don’t you think The Book People sounds kind of sinister? Like The Pod People. They’ve come to take over your… cookbooks! I guess it doesn’t sound that sinister. I do love my cookbooks though. What if they took over my Nigella books?! I am experiencing high levels of confusion right now). Come inside if you want (your cookbooks) to live!