Farewell Chocolates

Chocolates

You know what the French say. Partir, c’est mourir un peu. And, I have to admit, it is with a touch of sadness that I have to announce that this is the last Chocolate Budget post – evah. Katie, Amy and I have finished our degrees and are off into the real world. But for all those still at university and for all those who have left but are still students at heart, we will leave our recipes right here. So you can refer back to them. We certainly will.

To end on a happy note, we will give you the recipe of the delicious chocolates we made on our last day in Sheffield. But before I hand this blog over to our chocolate expert Katie, I would like to thank you for following us, for your positive reactions, for giving our recipes a go and of course for reading our blog.

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Pineapple Cheesecake

I have my auntie, Sue, to thank for this amazingly easy, amazingly quick and amazingly delicious cheesecake. It has become famous in our family, and is always requested at get-togethers. The addition of pineapple works really well with the luscious cream cheese filling – it reminds me of those little chunks of pineapple and cheese on toothpicks that you used to have a birthday parties in primary school. Unlike the Baked Vanilla Cheesecake, this one doesn’t require baking, making it a handy dessert that can be whipped up at a moment’s notice.

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Puddingbroodjes

Puddingbroodjes

Ever since Easter, I’ve been waiting for a suitable day to post this recipe. One that’s not too cold, but not scorchingly hot either. Not rainy, but not so bright as to make you squint. A mild spring day, with soft white clouds and sunny spells. As it happened, no such day occurred since Amy and I ventured into the kitchen to make puddingbroodjes over the Easter break. Today, however, appears perfect for introducing this bread recipe with a custard filling.

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Banana and Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies

Despite the dubious name, whoopie pies are supposed to be the new rival to the cupcake. I remain unconvinced by this, mainly because they don’t look anywhere near as attractive, nor do they have the decorating potential that you get with a cupcake. But I decided to suspend my judgement and give them a go anyway. The concept is two discs of something that is mid-way between a cake and a cookie, sandwiched together with a cream cheese filling. I found a basic recipe online, and fiddled about with it to include a match made in heaven: banana and peanut butter. Having only had this combination in a sandwich before (try it), I thought it would be fitting for my first foray into the world of whoopie pies.

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Steak ‘n Chips

As its my third year and I am making a move to the Big Smoke and this probably one of my lost posts, let’s ignore the budget just for one second.
Me and my friend Louise decided to cook this as a protest against the myriad of BBQ’s that were popping up and the smells that were wafting around. We splashed out, why the hell not. I’ve got to say, we did impress ourselves.
The steak was done to perfection (if I say so myself) and the chips were crisp on the outside and fluffly on the inside. We decided to salvage a bit of health benefits by serving it alongside wilted spinach and a griddled tomato. This meal is so worth it; even for the 10 minutes of fire alarm that ensued from the griddle, the excessive arm flapping from Louise and the 3 hours of tinnitus afterwards.

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Bacon and Courgette Quiche

When I was right in the middle of my dissertation, I began fantasising about when I would eventually be free of university work and deadlines and I could spend the whole day baking. That long-awaited time has finally arrived! A quiche is something that I always think takes a long time to make – there’s the pastry to make and chill, then the filling to bake – so I never seem to find time for them. So it’s the perfect recipe for a lazy day of kitchen pottering. This recipe is adapted from Pastry by Michel Roux, a book that lives up to its review by ‘quelling fears’ of pastry making.

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Rocky Road

Being in the middle of writing an essay, I wanted to make something that would give me much needed boosts of energy, but didn’t require too much thought. Rocky road is so simple that a 5 year old could make it. There is a certain childish excitement (at least for me, but it could have been essay-related delirium) in mixing lots of naughty things together and pouring chocolate over them. You can go two ways with rocky road – either a moderately healthy combination of nuts and dried fruit, or a more than moderately unhealthy combination of marshmallows, digestive biscuits and glace cherries. I went for the latter, with a nod towards something that might actually be good for me by adding some almonds.

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Griddled Polenta

We have a flat griddle pan in our house, which is ideal for getting those appetizing charred lines that you see in burger adverts. However, the griddle pan always, without fail, sets off the fire alarm. A fact which I forgot today, having decided to make griddled polenta for lunch. The fire alarm inevitably started its deafening screeching, and no amount of open windows, doors or extractor fans seemed to make it shut up. After what seemed like half an hour of swearing and waving a tea towel at the fire alarm (it was probably only actually about a minute) it finally stopped. I took my housemates some apology polenta as compensation for disrupting their essay writing. But fear not, you don’t have to use a griddle pan – a frying pan will do just fine.

Polenta is a new favourite – cheap, easy to cook, and can be flavoured with any number of nice things. I chose rosemary, chilli and cheese. Polenta can be made to be soft (similar to mashed potato and good at soaking up sauces) or firm, in which case it can be cut up into wedges and fried.

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White Chocolate and Cherry Cupcakes

The cherry blossom is out in Sheffield at the moment. I was going to call these ‘Cherry Blossom Cupcakes’, but  I think that’s going a bit far.  I did buy a special piping tip for the occasion, to make the icing vaguely resemble cherry blossoms. I wanted to make the icing match the delicate pale pink colour , but wanted to do it without using food colouring. So I experimented with mixing in some of the bright pink cherry syrup that the jarred cherries come in, which seemed to work well. The combination of white chocolate and cherry isn’t a particularly common one, but just think of it as a reinvigorated white chocolate and raspberry. I used the revolutionary cupcake concept of separating the eggs, and whisking the whites before adding them to the batter, giving the cupcakes a very light texture. And adding white chocolate and cream (!) to the icing gives it a pleasing creamy taste and texture. Needless to say, I learned both tips from my new best friend, the Primrose Bakery Book.

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Gooey chocolate raspberry brownies

You can never go wrong with a brownie. Ever. I made these to take round to a friend’s house for dessert, which was a great idea because these are extremely addictive and you could easily snaffle these in record breaking time.
I went to a Farmer’s Market in Sheffield recently where #brownies, a new brownie/blondie provider for Northern bellies were handing out free samples. I practically inhaled them, partly because I was feeling a bit worse for wear, but my God. ‘Unfortunately’ it was raining so I was stuck under his tent, and so I had to buy a blondie that was laced with Boost bar and banana. Divine.
So the brownie fetish continues with this recipe. It is from BBC Good Food magazine, May 2012. They taste amazing; I think it would be too sweet without the raspberries as they deliver a punch of acidity and cuts through the glorious buttery goodness. It could not be an easier recipe. I had to adjust the cooking time slightly because of the tin that I used, perhaps they could’ve done with a bit more cooking time but no one wants a crispy biscuit-brownie, so slightly underdone is definitely preferable.

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