How Do You Like Your Eggs In The Morning?

Happy Easter everyone!

Easter for me means only one thing, and sorry Christians, it’s not Jesus. It means chocolate! The only other time of the year apart from Christmas day when it is acceptable to eat chocolate for breakfast.

I’m fussy about my Easter eggs. They have to be Cadbury. There’s something about a Cadbury Easter egg that reminds me of childhood. The purple foil wrapper peels away to reveal that milk chocolate egg embossed with the famous Cadbury logo. I like to smash my egg into shards and put them into a Tupperware box and store it in the fridge. Literally the only time I like fridge cold chocolate. My friends and I had a debate about how to eat an Easter egg this week. One likes hers at room temperature dipped into a big mug of steaming tea whilst the other likes to melt hers and have it with ready salted crisps. Both were very against my fridge cold offering.

The chocolate of an Easter egg just tastes so different to a standard bar. It melts beautifully in the mouth and the thickness varies throughout the egg, with some parts being really thin and delicate and others being chunkier and more toothsome. Its like a two in one deal.

Year after year Easter eggs become more and more extravagant. Good Housekeeping named the Co-Op’s Single Origin Ecuadorian Milk Chocolate Cocoa Pod as the best Easter egg in the milk chocolate category this year. It’s not even an egg! Marks and Spencer have a few showstoppers available, including a camper van shaped treat (why?) as well as a huge chocolate bunny. Hotel Chocolat have provided a quirky option in the form of an ‘egg’ sandwich, presented in a classic triangular shaped sandwich box. Waitrose launched an avocado Easter egg which has sold out across the nation. When will this avocado hype end? We can’t even get through Easter without one of the little green gremlins popping up.

Don’t get me wrong, if I were presented with one of these Easter eggs come Sunday morning I will gladly eat it, but sometimes tradition wins out and the good old reliable Cadbury egg is all I really want. It’s unassuming, simple and never changing. You know what you’re going to get. There’s no risk of biting into it and finding popping candy or salted peanuts. It’s just pure, sugary sweet milk chocolate. And on Easter Sunday, when it will likely be raining and a bit chilly, that is just the perfect breakfast to eat in my dressing gown whilst reading a good book.

My cats are even getting in on the Easter action this year. Yes, you can even buy Easter eggs for cats. Apparently, they are purrfect.

Whatever you are doing this Easter, enjoy!

Tania x

 

 

What I Ate In A Day #12

I went to an amazing wedding on Saturday, probably the best wedding I’ve ever been to even though the lovely couple already got married officially abroad last month. The weather was gorgeous and set off the beautiful venue perfectly. Of course my main concern was the food. I’m pleased to say that it was absolutely delicious, all Indian in style and really tasty. I ate a lot and drank a lot of Pimms. Like, a lot. Naturally, I was feeling a little worse for wear the following day so dragged myself to my local Wetherspoons for breakfast. I went for the vegetarian option as I like the sausages better than ‘real’ ones and washed it all down with an ice cold apple juice which worked wonders for the hangover.

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Watermelon is also a pretty amazing hangover cure so I munched on some of that as an afternoon snack, followed by some cherries.

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It was another hot day on Sunday so we wanted a simple, light dinner that didn’t involve the oven as we just aren’t coping with the extra heat that generates into our kitchen. Lazy admission – we bought a ready cooked chicken and had that with new potatoes dressed in butter and lemon and thyme sea salt, mixed salad with Caesar dressing and a little bit of Blackstick’s Blue cheese. This cheese is amazing, a little goes a long way as it’s pretty powerful stuff but the taste is unlike any other cheese.

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After dinner I had a watermelon slushy made by whizzing some frozen watermelon chunks with a little sugar syrup and a splash of water.

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And then, my favourite part of any Sunday. Putting my comfy clothes on, tying my hair up and relaxing on the sofa with a naughty snack. Tyler and I shared this Cadbury Dairy Milk with Daim bar. No really, I honestly did share.

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I love a selfie me.

Recipe: Peanut Butter Brownies

Brownies are one of my most favourite things to eat and are also one of the easiest things to make. If you’re a kitchen novice or don’t have a successful track record in the baking department, give these a go. They are squishy, gooey and super chocolatey. You can either serve them warm by way of a dessert or have them at room temperature with a nice cup of tea as an afternoon pick me up.

I can’t take full credit for the recipe as actually I’ve only adapted one that I’ve been using for years. The basis of my recipe comes from Lorraine Pascal’s Cookie and Cream Fudge Brownie recipe in the Baking Made Easy cookbook. These are brownies with crushed Oreo biscuits baked in to them and are a revelation. I’ve made them so many times and they’re always successful but I wanted to try something different so I’ve adapted the recipe to remove the biscuits and replace them with spoonfuls of peanut butter.

Makes 16

What you need:

  • 170g unsalted butter
  • 200g dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 170g soft light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter

What you do:

  1. Line a 20cm square baking tin with foil and pre-heat the oven to 180°c.
  2. Melt the butter in a large pan on a low heat. Once it has melted, add the chopped chocolate, stir to combine then remove from the heat and leave to sit to allow the chocolate to melt completely.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the 3 whole eggs with the 2 yolks and the vanilla until light and fluffy. Once you reach the right stage of fluffiness, add the sugar half at a time, whisking well between additions. Keep whisking until the mixture stiffens.
  4. Now, add the melted chocolate and butter mixture and stir well.
  5. Spoon in the flour and cocoa powder and fold the mixture until everything is evenly combined. Pour this into your prepared tin.
  6. Take small dollops of peanut butter and place them evenly on top of the brownie mixture, then use a flat knife to swirl the dollops into the chocolate batter. Bake for around 25-30 minutes.
  7. Once the brownies are cooked but still gooey in the centre, remove them from the oven and leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack. Cut into squares when cool and give them to your friends or eat them all yourself, I’m not bothered.

You can serve them up all fancy shmancy style on a plate that’s far too big with some raspberries, icing sugar and double cream if you like. Or you can just eat them.

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What I Ate In A Day #9

Welcome to the great British Summer! What happened to the bright, sunny days and long, balmy nights of my childhood where I would be playing with the hosepipe from dawn till dusk and only stopping for some al fresco feasts? Will we ever experience the sun on our shoulders again or were those couple of days last month the start and end of our summer season? Lest we forget.

Despite the downpours and plunging temperatures I refuse to go back to slow cooked stews and porridge. I refuse I tell you! This particularly wet day started with some fruit compote made with a chopped peach and a large handful of frozen summer berries, topped with Greek yogurt and some homemade sultana and almond granola. You can find the recipe for that here. It’s super easy, tasty and great to have on hand for a quick, filling breakfast. As usual on a workday most of my food was eaten out of plastic containers ‘al desko’.

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This surprisingly got me through until lunch, where I chowed down on some potato salad. To make this you just boil some Jersey Royals or other salad potatoes then drain and cool. Once cooled, combine the potatoes with some chopped ham, tomatoes, gherkins, shredded spinach and salt and pepper. Mix through some extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and a little mayonnaise until well coated then box up and leave in the fridge until you’re ready to eat. It was pretty good.

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I had a banana at lunch too. Boring but true. It wasn’t the nicest banana. Shame.

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Then this angelic little voice from the other end of the office said the words that everyone likes to hear on a gloomy afternoon: “does anybody want anything from the shop?” “YES!” I shouted, as if I had just been offered a date with Jason Statham. I put in my order for a bar of Galaxy and 5 minutes later was greeted with this baby. My naughty colleague had bought me the big one as I ‘looked a bit stressed’. I vowed to only eat half. I failed.

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We went food shopping after work so needed something quick and easy for dinner. Cue the quiche. No, its certainly not homemade, I mean who has time to make quiche from scratch? It was lovely though and I had it with another helping of salad potatoes with butter and cheddar cheese melted on them plus some tomatoes marinated in extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a pinch of smoked sea salt. Simple but delicious.

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In keeping with my ‘screw the weather it IS summer’ theme, I had my first strawberries from Kent. They were absolutely amazing and didn’t even need to be dunked in Nutella.

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This weather might be rubbish but it has reminded me of one thing: IT’S NEARLY CHRISTMAS!!!

Recipe: Rocky Roads

I’ve been experimenting with recipes for rocky roads for years now and everyone I feed them to loves them. I honestly think my rocky roads are the only reason I’ve had a marriage proposal. If you don’t know, rocky roads are like chocolate bars full of yummy things, usually some kind of biscuit with marshmallow, nuts or fruit. They are very naughty but very delicious.

Makes 16 bars

What you need:

  • 450g milk chocolate
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 200g digestive biscuits
  • 2 x 37g packets of Maltesers
  • 50g mini marshmallows

What you do:

  1. Break the chocolate into pieces and throw it into a large saucepan along with the golden syrup and butter. Put the pan on a low heat and leave the mixture to melt, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, put the biscuits and Maltesers into a sandwich bag or similar and use a blunt, heavy object (meat mallet, rolling pin, frying pan, boxing glove as you pretend the biscuits are your bosses head…) to smash them into pieces. You want a mixture of crumbs and chunks.
  3. Once the chocolate mixture is melted and combined, remove it from the heat and stir in the biscuits and Maltesers as well as the mini marshmallows. Make sure you combine the ingredients thoroughly.
  4. Tip the lot into a suitable sized tin that has been lined with foil and press down firmly with a spatula. Leave the mixture in the fridge to set for at least a few hours before cutting into bars and distributing to anyone who you need to get on the good side of. Keep any leftovers (pah!) in the fridge and eat them cold for the best experience.

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I dusted these with cocoa powder to make them more photogenic. There’s really no need, just eat them and avoid the faff.

Recipe: Churros French Toast

I like churros. They’re those Spanish style doughnut things that you dip into chocolate sauce. I also like French toast. So, I thought, why not combine the two delicious things and make something that has elements of both without the faff of deep frying or making a chocolate sauce. And so my churros style French toast was born. It came into this world as an unknown, but shall remain as a heavenly figure gracing my kitchen table on lazy Sunday mornings. It’s really very good.

Serves 2

What you need:

  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • 2 slices of good bread
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp Nutella
  • Some fruit, if you fancy it

What you do:

  1. Whisk the egg, milk and vanilla together in a shallow bowl until combined.
  2. Dunk the slices of bread into the eggy mixture and allow them to soak it up before turning the bread over and repeating the process on the other side. I like to use a good bloomer loaf, sliced thickly.
  3. Heat the butter in a frying pan and once frothy, add the bread in. Cook for about two minutes until it’s lovely and golden, then flip over and do the same on the other side.
  4. Once the bread is golden and crisp at the edges, it’s done. Mix the sugar and cinnamon on a board or plate and immediately dunk the hot eggy bread into it, coating evenly on both sides.
  5. Warm the Nutella in a microwave for about 10 seconds to loosen it, then drizzle over the French Toast and add some fruit on top if you wish. Strawberries go surprisingly well with cinnamon, raspberries would be good too. Now tuck in.

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Recipe: 3 Ingredient Chocolate Bark

Oh dear. What have I discovered? The easy route to an early grave perhaps? Chocolate, sweets and pretzels all in one gloriously sweet and salty mouthful. It’s like fireworks going off with every bite and is entirely worth the blocked arteries that are due to follow. Just drink some green juice after and go for a brisk walk, you’ll be fine. Hey, what is life if we can’t live it on the edge? There was a time in my life that living on the edge was going out drinking and dancing three nights a week and still managing to hold down a job, now I consider it exciting when I can stay up late enough to watch the 10 o’clock news in my jimjams.

This recipe is the second in my three ingredient series. If you missed the first instalment, featuring a very naughty Oreo milkshake then give yourself a telling off and go see it here. These recipes are proving to be rather devilish and I like it.

Makes a decent sized slab, i.e. enough for two people to eat during the opening credits of a movie.

What you need:

  • 200g chocolate (I used milk chocolate, use whatever takes your fancy)
  • a big handful of M&Ms (I used the Crispy ones because, frankly, they are the best, but again, use whatever. The world is your oyster, so they say)
  • 30g salted pretzels, smashed up a little bit

What you do:

  • Melt the chocolate whichever way you prefer. I use the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until solid becomes liquid. You could temper the chocolate, but really, why would you prolong the gratification of eating this just to give it a nice shine and whatever else tempering does. Suck it up. Spread the melted chocolate onto a lined baking sheet, making it as thick or thin as you like.
  • Scatter over the M&Ms, then the smashed pretzels, ensuring the goodies are evenly distributed. Pop it into the fridge to set for as long as you can bear.

Now, admire the beauty that is chocolate bark.

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Smash it up and dish it out to anyone who needs a little extra love in their lives. You will be everyone’s best friend after this. Kid having trouble making friends at school? Send them in with a lunchbox full of this. Girlfriend mad at you for spending all of Friday night on the X-Box? You know what to do. Mad at yourself for being too fat to fit into any of your dresses? Sod it, just crack on and worry about it later.

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I will leave you with this gloriously chocolatey post as I am now on holiday for a week. See you next Sunday!

Tania x