♡ Chilli Chocolate Slices ♡


White chocolate is marketed by confectioners a...

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Chocolate is my vice, especially on days like these when you have to study.  I will do anything to put me into a mindset to open a 700 page textbook.  Luckily I don’t have to look too far.  A bar of 75% chocolate is all it takes for me.

My morning net search took me to my new favourite food blog ‘My Darling lemon Thyme’ where I found a scrumptious looking chilli chocolate slice recipe.  I can’t wait to try out more of her mouth watering recipes.  Take a look, I’m sure you will all agree.

Like any recipe I want to try out without pre-planning, there are always ingredients you never have.   In this case, I had already finished off the last of my blueberries over breaky so I used some dried fruit, and I have also never bought tapioca flour before so I used 1 1/2 tablespoons of corn flour.  There seems to always be substitutions on hand so the baking commenced and the results were just as I had expected, utterly satisfying.  Now where is that textbook of mine?

Information and image taken directly from My Darling Lemon Thyme’s blog;

chocolate, chilli and blueberry slice
This recipe is gluten-free and can easily be dairy-free by using margarine in place of butter and by making sure you use a good quality dark chocolate that’s dairy-free. I used trade aid dark chocolate. As I’ve mentioned before, get to know your chillies. I used 1 whole long chilli, but you may want to go for less or more depending on how hot you chillies are and how hot you want the end result. If you eat wheat, substitute the rice and tapioca flours for 3/4 cup plain flour or spelt flour.  Makes about 20 slices

  • 200 g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 125 g butter/ margarine
  • 1/2 cup muscovado sugar (or use soft brown sugar)
  • 1 long red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen/ fresh blueberries
  • 3/4 cup almond meal/ ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour (white rice flour is fine)
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • cocoa powder for dusting

Preheat your oven to 15o degrees/ 275-300 f. Grease yourself a slice pan about 20 x 20 cm. Line the base and sides with baking paper and make sure about 2cm of paper extends up and over the edges of the pan.
Melt chocolate, butter, sugar and chilli together in a small saucepan over low heat. Pour into a large bowl and set aside for 10 mins to cool slightly. Gently stir in flours, almond meal and eggs until combined. Fold through blueberries. Pour mixture into prepared pan and smooth off the top with the back of your spoon/ spatula.
Bake 35-45 mins or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Leave to cool in the pan before cutting into small squares, dusting with cocoa powder and devouring! Or if you have some serious restraint, hold off eating till tomorrow.
NB If using fresh berries I’d say they would take about 30-35 mins. If using Frozen like I did, allow a little longer – mine took 45 mins to cook.
Heavily adapted from a little women’s day cookbook called “Family favourites – easy biscuits and slices”.

Blueberry Porridge


It’s porridge time!!   Today brings delicious Quaker oats filled with bubble bursting blueberries.  Little bubbles of joy, just popping away in your mouth accompanied with fresh crunch from seeds and nuts.  My tummy loves me 😉

Ingredients:  2-3 portions

  1. 1/2 cup Quakers oatmeal
  2. 1 cup soy milk
  3. 1 cup spring water
  4. 100g fresh blueberries
  5. 2 tsp ground cinnamon (I love the strong cinnamon taste, so start with 1 then increase as desired)
  6. 1 banana
  7. sprinkle of seeds and nuts and raisins (I used a pre-mixed selection from the co-op)
  8. drizzle of honey (optional)

Directions:

  1. Warm 2-3 bowls in your oven at 100°C
  2. Then in a medium-sized saucepan on a med-high head, add the first 5 ingredients and stir continuously scraping the mixture from the bottle as you stir to avoid burning
  3. When it comes to the boil the mixture should begin to thicken
  4. when it has reached a soupy, but thick consistency transfer to the warmed bowls
  5. Sprinkle your seeds,nuts,dried fruit mixture and banana then serve and eat immediately.

While I Was Away


It has been a little over a month now since returning to Scotland.  Here is what I have cooked/ate whilst I have been AWOL from Bendi Benri.

Feeling a lot more settled in now I am ready to embark on my new life as a student AGAIN and get back into creating more yum.

Enjoy!

First up, home-coming welcome dinner, beautifully and deliciously prepared by my wonderful mother.  It is very clear to me now that my mum is the source for my desire to cook.  She effortlessly manages to put on amazing wholesome spreads.  What a mum.

Nutty Chocolate Brownies (heaven in your mouth) & Scones with Home made Jam

Victoria Sponge

prawn & avocado cocktail

Home Made Steak Pie

Home Made traditional Scottish Oatcakes

What I forgot to capture was the Ultimate Chocolate cake smothered in Ganache! I am gaining pounds just thinking about it! I swear that cake was to die for! Here’s a link to the recipe.

A flying visit home then back to Edinburgh to meet Izumi and Sofie, friends we met in Japan.  They had never tasted Haggis before, so Andy and I decided to take them to Urban Angel to give it a try.  I love the concept of this Restaurant, stylish and delicious, “using the best local, organic, free-range and fairly traded produce available.”

To follow I visited a three-day foodies festival, filled with freebies of scrumptious organically prepared fresh food from all over the country.  Some healthy and some just down right naughty!  I was in my element.

Salmon and potato pie!

Tiger Prawn Paella

Feeling inspired from my weekend boozing and munching, I bought a nice big bunch of fresh beetroot and put together a yummy beetroot cake smothered in cream cheese icing.  Here’s the recipe I used.  Yep, I AM growing by the day! Twice the size I was a month ago. Oops!

No time to break just yet.  The Edinburgh festival brought my folks and brother up to Edinburgh.  The weekend consisted mainly of indulgence and laughter. Good times!

Below we eat at Amore Dogs another very trendy restaurant serving Italian scrum.

tuna nicoise salad on the side of a grilled sea bass on a bed of baked tomatoes.

Goats Cheese & Sun dried tomato Risotto

Wow what a month.  Loved every minute!

I really miss Japan and crave a lot of the food we ate whilst we lived there, especially Soba noodles, so I treated us to a yummy crispy tofu soba dish.   Satisfying beyond expectation! Go me!

Ingredients; serves 2 if you really have to share.

2 portions of soba noodles

150g Tofu (drained and cut into cubes)

1 small red onion (sliced into half moons)

1 stick of celery

around 12 sugar snap peas (halved)

2 cloves garlic

Juice from 1/2 a lemon

1 T light soy sauce

1 tsp pure honey

1 T chopped fresh basil

1/2 teaspoon chilli (from the jar or fresh)

2 T olive oil

2 tsp vegetable powdered bullion

2 T corn flour

Directions:

1.  prepare all ingredients

2. evenly coat the tofu in the corn flour

3.  heat up the olive oil in a wok or frying pan then add the tofu.  When coloured a reddish brown remove from the pan and place on some absorbing kitchen paper

4. In the same pan add the onions and garlic and cook until translucent

5. add the all of the other ingredients except the soba and basil and lemon then stir through on a medium heat.

6. In the mean time boil the soba until just tender then rinse quickly under cold water to avoid over cooking.

stir through the noodles, tofu, basil and lemon juice to the vegetable mixture then serve in warm bowls.

To finish, here is yesterdays lunch…

Chilli Squash Soup accompanied with rice crackers topped with cheddar cheese (hello my long-lost naughty friend) and cranberry sauce. yummmm…..

Ingredients; serves 4-6

I small butternut squash

4 sticks of celery

1 yellow onion

3 cloves of garlic

50g low fat soft cheese

2 tsp vegetable bullion

Directions:

1.  Saute the onion and garlic until translucent

2.  In the mean time bring a med/large pot of water (2 litre) the boil

3. cut the squash into cubes then allow to boil until tender

4.  when the squash is ready add all other ingredients except the cream cheese, then mix through

5. Turn off the heat then use a hand held blender to pulse the mixture until smooth(ish) stir though the cream cheese then serve in warm bowls

Kappa Cafe + My New Camera


It was a sad day last saturday when I boxed up Benri (my side kick in the Kitchen, my rice cooker).

I shipped her home with most of my dishes, books, clothes and about a kg of the best green tea in Japan.

I have been lost without her.  I haven’t been motivated to cook and when I do, my dishes seem to miss something.    Only 3 months until I see her and we can share wonderful cooking times together again.

Safe journey little one 🙂

The rainy season is here in full force and the sun is struggling to shine in my direction.  After the departure of Benri a new baby arrived.  One in the form of a DSLR.  I have been dying to take her out and show her some beautiful sights and create great memories with her.  Sadly, it has rained every day, cloudy and grey.

What I did do is take her to my favourite Cafe.   Here are some memories we made there.

Easy Chilled Cucumber Soup


The supermarket was offering fresh cucumbers by the case load for an amazing price that I’d be silly to pass up.

The first dishes that came to mind were an Indian raita and a cold cucumber soup.

First up is the soup.

You could drink this as a savoury smoothie (after my first taste I instantly thought of gin.  I reckon this soup would work as an amazing mixer for Hendricks) in a glass, topped up with ice, or enjoyed simply in a bowl as a soup.

What better way to celebrate summer than with a cold soup and salad.

Here’s what I came up with:

Ingredients:

  • 4 large cucumbers (peeled and de-seeded) or 5 Japanese cucumbers (peeled)
  • 1 small/half clove of garlic (minced) (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups Low fat plain/Greek yoghurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Konbu dashi (or vegetable bullion powder)
  • 2 green onions (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint (chopped)
  • The Juice of one lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste (optional)

Directions:

  1. Simply add all ingredients to a blender
  2. Blend until smooth
  3. Chill in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve
  4. serve in a glass filled with Ice or in a bowl as desired.

Curried Tomato,Soybean & Rice One-Pot


I think I’ll keep this post short and sweet with a little added spice today.
Annoyingly I have come down with a nasty chest infection which has forced me to take a day off work. I suppose it’s not such a bad thing to stay at home and rest instead of spreading my smelly germs around the school. However, I really can’t handle being cooped up in the flat all day. Sadly, I have no energy to do much, but I’m sure there is a little left in me to write a post on a one-pot rice cooker dish I made last night. I really wanted to share this one. “It’s up there”, as Andy groaned in enjoyment to me last night. I hope it’s up there for you too.

I actually wasn’t so sure how this meal would turn out as I was purely experimenting, but not in an extremely adventurous way though. In saying that, I think I have a fairly good idea on ingredients and flavours which work well together without following a recipe so kind of knew it might taste half decent. I also hadn’t made a full dish in my rice cooker for a while, so thought, since I was feeling out of energy and steam, it was the perfect meal to make, offering me the goodness I need to get better.

By the time the dish was ready the sun had completely set leaving me no natural light to show off my food in a photo. Dull cooker hood lighting is what I settled for. This made my dish look not to dissimilar to a rice and baked beans combo. I swear to you though, baked beans were no where near this dish or my house thankfully.

I would have preferred to use chick peas, but I just had to use what I had on hand. Since I have been asked to make it again there will be ample oportunity for modification. Hopefully, by then, the sun will be shining to show off the goods with a mouth watering snap. For now, here’s an Idea of what it looked like last night.

This dish was so full of flavour you don’t even notice an absence of meat. It contains enough protein and nutrition without adding meat. In saying that I never miss meat, but I’m sure Andy does.
This dish was just too easy. With having such a heavy schedule at times, it’s perfect for me.

The aroma it releases whilst cooking really waters your mouth, but the true joy is in the eating. Give it a go, you’ll see what I mean. What you can’t see in the photo above are the crunched almonds I sprinkled on top before serving. They really make this one memorable for me. Those and the cottage cheese, Yummmm…

What I enjoy most about cooking is when dishes are easy to prepare, but offer amazingly delicious results good enough to impress. I also love knowing what’s in my food and the benifits it can give my body. Got to stay beautiful and healthy if I want to continue traveling the way I do.

I don’t know if it’s because of the restaurants I choose to eat in, but I never feel satisfied after a meal. Of course I’ll feel full but I either leave with over powering guilt that I’ve gone way over my calorie limit, or annoyed that there wasn’t enough goodness in what I had eaten due ti it being destroyed with butter, oil and salt. Living in Japan, does offer a lot of healthy option in restaurants adding soba noodles, sashimi and tofu and an array of salads. However, even Japanese chefs can take short cuts by adding unnecessary oil or lard to their soups for flavour, or over dress and drown their salads or by deep-frying and over seasoning their vegetables. I have found a couple of cafes which offer the goodness I look for especially he one I visited on my birthday. But finding cafes like those are like finding a needle in a hay stack.

For me I prefer to cook at home, more satisfaction for the money in my opinion. Living in the country offers you the freshest of vegetables, which you’d be a fool to pass up.

So, back to the one-pot, this dish couldn’t be easier. If you have a rice cooker and love to experiment like me, give this one go. I have never used a pressure or slow cooker before, but I’m sure it would also work in any of those. If you do like the sound of it and try it out, please let me know what you think. Or if you have suggestions to make it even better my coments box is always open.

Oops I must have had more energy than I thought as this post is possibly longer than the others I’ve written.

Appologies if I went on a bit too much.
Happy cooking 🙂

Here you, go;

Ingredients: (serves 4)

  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1 tin of organic plum tomatoes
  • 500mls water
  • 2 sachets of Konbu Dashi
  • 1 inch of fresh root ginger (chopped)
  • 2 plump cloves of garlic
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 100g soy beans (Garbanzo/chick peas would also be fabulous)
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 1 small onion (diced)
  • 2 tbsp crushed almonds (they make the dish. They beautiful flavour and texture)
  • 2 tbsp cottage cheese

Directions:

  1. Simply put all ingredients into the rice cooker leaving out the spinach and coriander
  2. Set to the porridge setting and press cook.
  3. After 20 minutes, open the cooker to stir the ingredients again. Close and wait for the music. (My cooker plays twinkle twinkle little star when the food is done :D)
  4. Stir though the herbs and spinach
  5. dish up the risotto style dish on smallish plates
  6. Top with the cottage cheese and crushed almonds and enjoy.
  7. I also squeezed a little lemon juice on my portion (only because I love citrus flavoured curries)