Malteser cake worth making another belt hole for…

Question: What sort of cake do you make a best friend who’s leaving to have a baby and wants something of a chocolate overload?

Answer: Lorraine Pascale’s blushingly good Malteser cake.

Question: Where do you find the recipe?

Answer: Right here…

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Question: Is it easy?

Answer: Embarrassingly so. Without besmirching what is a masterpiece of cocoa yumminess, it is, at heart, a chocolate sponge cake sandwiched together with excessive amounts of frosting and covered with whatever you like.

Question: What makes it special?

Answer: The addition of sour cream to the cake batter makes it lighter than you can imagine which is good because something darker, richer and more truffle-like would just be too much when combined with the icing and additional decorations. Plus, who doesn’t love a dessert that never forces you to choose between cake or sweets but rather encourages you to indulge in both?

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Question: So how does it taste?

Answer: Like the kind of cake you’d actually consider selling a) your favourite shoes, b) your best friend or c) your own left arm for. I mean it’s a little ridiculous how wonderful it tastes…moist and light and airy sponge with a deep intense cocoa flavour covered with a silky, sweet, thick frosting and, in this case, bubbly Maltesers, crunchy Nestle buttons with white chocolate in a milk chocolate shell and vice versa and tiny white pearls. It might not be the world’s most technically difficult recipe but the beauty lies in a) how user friendly it is and b) how easy it is to tailor it to your audience with any sort of chocolate, sweet or ahem, fruit decoration. Yeah, I know…as if.

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Question: Did people like it?

Answer: Err…

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Full on feasting at the altar of Chipotle…

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What do the Culinary Institute of American and the fast Mexican food chain Chipotle have in common? The first produced the man who produced the second.

Steve Ells started Chipotle in 1993 after attending the renowned US cooking school and completing a subsequent stint as a line cook in San Francisco, an area infamous for burritos especially in the Mission district and you know what? The more I learn about both Steve and his ethos, the more I like. For instance, did you know that they only have 5 items on the menu because Ells believes that ‘it’s important to keep the menu focused, because if you do just a few things, you can ensure that you do them better than anybody else.’

I. Love. That.

Seriously, in a world where growth often come at a cost, be it financial or ethical, isn’t this kind of a great thing to believe? That it’s better to be known for being the best at one or two, or in Steve’s case five things, rather than being just ok at thirty?

Or how about this for a fact with which to dazzle your peers – did you know that there are no freezers, microwaves or tin openers in any Chipotle kitchen? So wait, if you can’t freeze it, reheat it or get it from a can, where does it come from? It’s fresh! Woo hoo!

Now I’m not going to go all out and suggest that a burrito a day is the way forward (although my inner fatty is just taking a moment now to imagine how freaking fabulous that would be) because burritos are large. I mean seriously big. Often the size of your arm, sometimes the size of a 6 month old baby, with the potential to deliver 1000+ calories per portion it’s not like they’re pushing spinach or blueberries off their superfood podia BUT let’s remember that just as there are bad calories, there are also good and anything that has beans, onions, peppers, avocado, lean meat and brown rice in it can’t be all bad.

Plus, and don’t even get me started on personal accountability although it looks like it might be too late for that, aren’t we all big enough and ugly enough to take on board the facts and make a decision for ourselves? Yes, if you eat a burrito a day you will end up being very large, very uncomfortable and not someone to stand upwind of but that would be your choice. YOUR CHOICE. Y’know how Chris Rock said that guns don’t kill people, bullets do? That’s kind of how I feel about food. Everything in moderation people. Coca Cola and Krispy Kreme won’t kill you but ingesting excessive amounts of their most calorific, fate and sugar laden products might. What you put into your body is your choice and yes, it might be bad for you but it didn’t force its way in like Watson’s nightmare cake scene from the ‘Young Sherlock Holmes’ now did it? Read More

Pairing the virtuous with the sinful…a lusciously layered quinoa and black bean bake…

There’s something quite satisfying about finding something new to try that’s delicious and good for you because let’s face it, that doesn’t always happen. Often the things we like are the things that if succumbed to on a regular basis will push us slowly towards diabetes, obesity or the potential for a motorised scooter. Often the things that are good for us are the things that if succumbed to on a regular basis will push us towards utter boredom, total frustration and complete starvation.

Not this time kids. Oh no. This amazing recipe from takes so many things that are good for us, incorporates them all together in one big pot and invites you to stick your face into its consummate delightfulness.

quinoa black bean casserole (1) quinoa black bean casserole (2) Read More