Almond Milk Hot Chocolate with Raw Cacao

I don’t know where I’d have been these last few weeks without hot chocolate. It is has been getting cold outside and life has been busy. James and I have been on some lovely coffee shop dates though, that have been so very needed, for quality time together (and sanity) with a shared slice of cake. I’m completely in love with Hot Chocolate Orange and I was lucky to get a free sample of a Black Forest Hot Chocolate. I’ve still got Praline Cappuccino and Gingerbread Latte on my to try list though, thank the lord for loyalty cards. Sadly though, hot chocolate is not great for health or the waistline.

This hot chocolate though, is a gift from the gods. It is rich, creamy, decadent and nutritious. The recipe is courtesy of Deliciously Ella (an incredible blog, if you haven’t already checked it out) and I’ve been meaning to try it for ages; I can’t believe I’ve missed out on so many weeks of having this in my life. You can buy almond milk in the shops but it is easy enough to make your own. I posted a recipe for hazelnut milk (which would also be great in this) but if you substitute almonds for the hazelnuts then, voila, almond milk.

Hot chocolate

One more thing, this mug is one I spent ten months pining for and I’m delighted it is finally mine! As for the rest of the collection

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Autumn Muffins – Carrot & Ginger

I’ve been so desperate to mark the start of October with a seasonal bake and then I saw this post by Gingerbread Jenn and I absolutely had to make them the very next day. The strangest thing was a couple of days before I’d been in a supermarket when I saw some ginger preserve. I’m a really big ginger fan but given my propensity to pour my pay cheque into supermarkets and my over flowing kitchen cupboards, I bravely walked on by. One thing life has taught me, and the thing I usually tell my easily persuadable self, is that you’ll always regret the things you didn’t buy. I think a lot of people have this motto when it comes to shoes. For me it is, seemingly, preserves. This makes much more sense if I explain that this recipe calls for ginger preserve.

Autumn cakes

What I liked most about this recipe, once I’d got over how gorgeous the muffins looked and how much I loved the ingredients, is that they were a little bit guilt free, there is no refined sugar or butter in the muffins (I put some in the cream cheese frosting though). This did mean though that they stuck pretty solidly to their paper cases, possibly not helped by making them gluten free. If I make these again (highly likely) I think I’d just grease and flour my muffin tin really well and not bother with the paper cases. This may be a huge error and I will leave the choice up to you. They were still edible (and delicious) but you had to fight to get them out their cases.

What I loved about this recipe was that I could make it with a wooden spoon, hand whisk and a bowl. It was simple back to basics baking and I needed that. Nothing makes me feel better and relax like a traditional, elbow grease baking session. Feel free to use an electric mixer or hand held electric whisk if you’d like, especially for the frosting.

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Sour Cream Strawberry Ice Cream

I’ve never been a fan of strawberry ice cream because I’ve only ever tried cheap, supermarket strawberry ice cream. My best friend loves strawberry ice cream though (and doesn’t like chocolate, in any form!), so in her honour I decided to make some proper strawberry ice cream. I have been MISSING OUT, strawberry ice cream made with actual strawberries is incredible, especially when made with sour cream! I am a big sour cream fan, especially when in ice cream. I recently acquired, after months of hankering for it, David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop. My oh my, I am about to gain approximately ten stone in the next few months, it is a fantastic, delicious, decandent book. I highly recommend you go and buy it, immediately. This recipe is from that book and is a recipe well worth keeping up your sleeve for emergencies. Nothing solves an emergency like good strawberry ice cream!Sour Cream Strawberry Ice Cream I served this ice cream with the Cherry & Strawberry Crostata, a winning combination. Continue reading

Cherry & Strawberry Crostata

I’ve been wanting to make a cherry pie for a while now and finally had the perfect occasion when my best friend came to stay. I knew the kind I wanted to make when I saw this recipe by Joy the Baker but chose to swap the raspberries for cherries, this time around. I used paleo pastry and it worked well.

Cherry & Strawberry Crostata

It was delicious and that hint of sweetness from the paleo pastry worked really well too, highly recommended for a summer dessert. I paired it with Sour Cream Strawberry Ice Cream, such a winning combination, but more on that later!

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Banana, Chocolate & Almond Cake with a Coffee & Chocolate Glaze

Before I get to this pretty delicious and rich recipe, I have a few bits of exciting news. The first is that some months ago James & I entered a design a chocolate competition with Hotel Chocolat, and won, the second is that I had two recipes published in a cook book!

Banana, chocolate and almond cake with a coffee & chocolate glaze

About the chocolate: James and I went on holiday to Plymouth, in February, to stay with my lovely grandparents (I don’t get to see them anywhere near enough). Whilst there, and with the luxury of spare time (long since forgotten), we designed a chocolate, submitted it and then never gave it a second thought; I mean, as if we would actually win! Fast forward to May and we got a letter in the post informing us that we’d won and that they were going to make our chocolate to go into their chocolate tasting club selection boxes! We were over the moon, even more so because they said once they’ve made them, they will send us 5 kg of them. 5 kg!! The Hotel Chocolat blog has just written the official post announcing the winners, so you can see our chocolate (Hazelnut, praline and burnt salted caramel) along with the other 5 winners. It means a lot to win a competition like this because Hotel Chocolat produce exquisite chocolate with incredible quality ingredients and also have a great business model. James and I are booked to go for dinner in their Rabot 1745 restaurant in August, such a treat! I cannot wait.

About the cook book: Now, despite me being very excited about this, it isn’t quite as impressive as it may at first sound. My best friend Jen is involved with an MS charity and they wanted to publish a cook book to sell to make some money for the charity. Jen asked me if I’d write a recipe or two and I was more than happy to have an excuse to get creative. The two recipes have appeared on the blog too and are lemon, rosemary and chicken tray bake, along with tahini, lemon and pomegranate tagliatelle. The best thing is that the tray bake photograph was used as the photo for the front cover!

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