We’ve entered into April – the critical month. This is the make-or-break for those who made the ‘this is the year when I keep my diet’ promise when the clock struck twelve on New Year’s Eve. How are you all doing? Hanging in there?
If you are, stop reading this post.
If you’re not, or if you’re open to occasionally sinning just a tiny bit, then stick with me, because I’ve had a lot of fun cooking these dishes.
So my boyfriend, who is my fiancé by now, and I hit magical three years not long ago, and what better way to celebrate than to cook up a delicious meal, drink home-made cocktails and get drunkenly emotional over Glee ending? (I’m not kidding.)
I had a lot of fun planning the meal. Basically the idea was to make chocolate the theme of the dinner, meaning that everything had to involve chocolate in one way or another. (See why I discouraged dieters?) I mean have you ever seen the movie Chocolat? If you don’t crave the dashing young Johnny Depp, then you sure as hell will crave chocolate…
So for starters we had 6 pan-fried scallops each, in a butter, parsley and white wine sauce – with a grating of dark chocolate on top, more like decoration, but just enough to give it a bit of adventure.
(I don’t have a good enough picture of this, but just believe you me, it was delish.)
The main dish, which I was most proud of, involved a gorgeous piece of silverside beef – seared in a pan, then finished in the oven with a basting of beef stock. Although the marinade is worth mentioning, here is what I used:
3 tbsp olive oil
1 whole dry chipotle chilli, seeds and all, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp Chinese five spice
This I rubbed onto the beef and let it stand for approximately 3 hours. At this point, I picked off all the dry chilli and garlic pieces, and was left with a beautiful, spicy piece of meat.
To go with the beef, I made sautéed potatoes á la Gordon Ramsay, and also pan-fried some fresh asparagus with a tablespoon of olive oil and basic seasoning.
However the star of this dish was the chocolate sauce I made to go with the beef – and you wouldn’t believe how delicious it was! The self-made recipe goes:
Approximately 200g dark chocolate, broken up into pieces
3-4 tbsp butter
1 dry chipotle chilli, chopped
1 tsp sugar
A very generous pinch of salt
And finally, for Chef John, a tiny shake of cayenne pepper
So to make this sauce, simply melt the butter and chocolate together in a bain-Marie as you would for any chocolaty dessert. When starting to look liquid, add the rest of your ingredients with a dash of water to make it a bit more liquid, and cook until you are happy with the spiciness. What you will get is a sense-inducing, deliciously sweet and savory sauce that could pretty much go with anything.
And the result was fantastic…
Naturally, to finish the meal, we had to have more chocolate – so just to lighten things, I made a chocolate decadence cake. It got me a proposal on Valentine’s Day, so I’m telling you, you can’t go wrong with this…
So the moral of the story today is – if you’re looking to cook something special (or for someone special), be adventurous! It was totally worth it!
Posted in Blog, Desserts, Main meals
Tagged asparagus, beef, cake, Chef John, chocolate, chocolate sauce, cooking, delicious, dessert, dinner, easy, food, FoodWishes, Gordon Ramsay, ingredient, meal, potato, quick, recipe, romantic, scallop, silverside, special
It’s pretty insane that Christmas is already over, isn’t it? I know this post might come just a little bit too late, but hey – there are distant relatives, Valentine’s day, post-Christmas friendly meet ups, and thousands of other excuses as to why make this delicious fudge. (Not to mention simply because you want to.)
I’ve never made fudge before. I was told it is hard, needs a candy thermometer (just mentioning that will discourage many) and all kinds of rumours. Well, bah humbug. This fudge recipe is super easy to get right – and here are the ingredients:
500g brown sugar
250g peanut butter (I prefer crunchy, but whatever suits your fancy)
1 dash of vanilla extract
300g icing sugar
Ingredients and method are taken from this recipe – decorated below with my own tips and tricks.
So first off, just melt the butter. Then add the brown sugar and the milk and bring it to the boil. It may look like it’s too thick, too much sugar, not enough liquid, but that’s actually okay. Now, the original recipe says to boil it for only 2 or 3 minutes, but here’s what I found out in retrospect – boil it until your sugar is kind of melted. So instead of 2.5, don’t panic; boil it out for at least 4 minutes. Besides, boiling this sugary mix is going to look super entertaining.
When that’s done, turn off the heat and add your peanut butter and vanilla. Mix until smooth and nicely melted too. Put your icing sugar in a bowl, and pour your hot mix on top of it. This too will look like it’s too liquid, but just keep stirring until you get a nice, shiny paste. (Can you hear those calories sing?)
To make my fudge look awesome, I used some silicone ice cube trays to shape my pieces – they’re really awesome. I had a flower and a heart-shaped tray, so I filled those up, wiping away any excess on the top. If you don’t have those, just use any baking tray, like square or rectangle. Or whatever suits your fancy. Whack it into the fridge for a loooong time – I left it overnight to make sure.
I was pretty positive that no one in my family would like the fudge – you know, too sweet, too fatty, too meh. To my surprise though, half of my huge batch was eaten on Christmas eve; and the shaped fudge made such an awesome present! If you’re stuck, broke or lazy, this really is the recipe for you. I mean, in the end, who doesn’t like this kind of sin?
Posted in Desserts, Snacks
Tagged chocolate, Christmas, cooking, dessert, dinner, easy, edible, food, fudge, ingredient, meal, present, quick, recipe, sugar, sweets