Everyone seems to be talking about Chia seeds at the moment so I thought it was time to see what all the fuss was about. As a rule I try to restrict puds to weekends and then treat myself to whatever I fancy but it’s no bad thing to look for heathier alternatives to processed sugars. Although this recipe is made with natural ingredients it’s still incredibly sweet and perfect for an occasional treat.
I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather recently so I’ve turned my attention to getting my health in order, filling up on lots of wholesome, natural food and taking lots of nice long walks on the Downs.
Sometimes the simplest desserts are the tastiest, and if you’re not very confident in the kitchen but want to make a quick sweet treat to serve to your Valentine, you can’t go far wrong with this cheats recipe using coconut yogurt.
For me, the perfect chocolate brownie should be rich (but not sickly), dense (but not too heavy) and, without doubt, moist in the middle.
I’ve tried a fair few recipes over the years (all in the name of research!) and my favourite by far is this one by Nigel Slater – with my own little seasonal twist.
The English cherry season is so very short,so I get really excited when the first of the Kent cherries start to make an appearance. Fat, juicy and the most beautiful deep red, they really are in a different league to the smaller, tasteless imports available all year round in supermarkets.
I invested in an ice-maker a few months ago. Just a cheap and cheerful one, nothing fancy. Not sure it was the wisest move in terms of keeping my waistline trim, but I’m trying to be really good and use only occasionally (by occasionally, read twice a week so far – eek! Excitement gets the better of me some times. Must do more cycling…). The difference a machine makes is quite remarkable: no crystals or lumps. I’m a very happy camper indeed.
My recipe is currently featured in Crumbs Magazine too, but I’ve slightly tweaked the cream/milk ratio here.
So, here’s my current seasonal fav. The combination of sweet cherries & bitter chocolate is pretty special.
You will need
250g fresh cherries
3 tbsp golden caster sugar
80g good quality dark chocolate (70%)
150ml semi skimmed milk
150ml double cream
50g caster sugar
1.) De-stone the cherries and cut into halves. Place in a saucepan with the caster sugar and cook over a low heat until softened. Set aside to cool.
2.) Once cool, blend in a food processor until you have smooth puree.
3.) Break your chocolate into tiny pieces (alternatively, place it in a sandwich bag and crush gently with a rolling pin if easier).
4.) In a large measuring jug, add the milk, cream and sugar and cherry puree and mix gently until combined.
5.) Pour the mixture into your ice–cream machine and allow it to churn for a few minutes before gradually adding your chocolate pieces, one spoonful at a time. Timings will vary depending on the type of machine you have.All photography © Heather Elizabeth Wilkinson 2012
All images ©Heather Wilkinson 2011-12
Filled with enthusiasm after my marmalade success, I decided to try my luck at making jam. I’m literally obsessed with Forced Rhubarb at the moment, and I really liked the idea of being able to still enjoy it after the season finishes.
I opted for Pam ‘The Jam’ Corbin’s (River Cottage) recipe. According to Pam, this is supposed to be a soft jam, but that seemed open to interpretation. I mean, how soft is soft? To me, that seemed like crucial information for a novice jam-maker.
I followed the recipe to the letter and soaked my rhubarb in layers of sugar and orange juice overnight. The following day, boiling the jam and setting it literally took less than 30 mins, although it might have been quicker if I hadn’t spent so much time fiddling about while trying to sterilise my jars.
My finished jam was indeed soft, but so not much that it slides off your bread. And the taste, my goodness this stuff is heavenly! Add a generous spoonful on top of your morning porridge for a scrumptious start to the day.