| December 22nd, 2011
A classic British Christmas Dish , Mince pies made up of a mincemeat filling ( without the meat! ) and a soft pastry outside dusted with sugar. This version has an additional twist—a bit of cocoa for a deep, rich flavor. Try adding 2 clementines to the mincemeat ingredients to add a bit of tang!
For the pastry
- 280g plain flour
- 25g ground almonds
- 175g butter
- 85g golden caster sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 egg yolk
- 3 tbsp whole milk
For the mincemeat
- 100g sultanas
- 100g raisins
- 100g currants
- 100g semi-dried apricots
- 50g cacao, finely grated
- 3 apples, such as russet or cox, peeled and grated
- 1 tbsp each light brown and dark brown muscovado sugar
- 1/2 tsp each ground cinnamon, grated nutmeg and mixed spice
- Zest and juice of 2 lemons or oranges
- 5 tbsp rum or Calvados or Grand Marnier or cognac
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Icing sugar, to finish
How to make Willie’s chocolate mince pies
1. Prepare the pastry by putting the flour and almonds into the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until it looks like very fine breadcrumbs.
2. Sprinkle in the sugar and add the lemon zest, egg yolk and milk and pulse until the mixture starts to clump together. Tip the mixture onto a board and gently squeeze the pastry until it comes together into a ball – add water if it feels dry. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
3. Heat oven to 190°C. Roll the pastry on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of few millimetres. Using a 7cm fluted cutter, cut out 24 discs and line 2 x 12 hole bun tin with them. Use a 6cm fluted cutter to cut 24 discs for the lids.
4. Make the mincemeat by putting the sultanas, raisons, currants and apricots in a food processor. Blitz until evenly chopped. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
5. Spoon 2 tsp of mincemeat into each tart, dampen the edge of the pastry bottom with water and sit a smaller pastry disc on top. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown and cool on a wire rack. Finish with a dusting of icing sugar.
| December 3rd, 2011
It’s always good to know what the Nutrition Facts are for the products you are buying. People with Type (I) or (II) Diabetes especially need to monitor their carbohydrate intake to keep their blood sugar level as low as possible due to lack of insulin. Below is the Nutritional Information for 70% and 100% Cocoa!
50g of 100% cocoa
13g Carbohydrates (0.5g sugar, 8g fiber)
24g Fat (16g sat fat)
50g of 70% cocoa
16.25g Carbohydrates (13.75 sugar, 2.5g fiber)
21.25g Fat (12.5g sat fat)
The lower percentage the Cocoa , the more Calories, Carbohydrates and Sugar and the less Protein and Fiber
| October 28th, 2011
A study in 2008 proved that “Venezuelan cocoa beans had the highest percentage of Epicatechins”. So what are Epicatechins? Epicatechins are a good for you! They are flavenoids ( Antioxidants ) which prevent damage to major organs such as the liver and coronary arteries in the heart . People who also consumed dark chocolate ( rich in Epicatechin) have an improved glucose metabolism, as well as lowered blood pressure.
‘Henriette van Praag, PhD, of the Salk Institute, and colleagues there and at Mars, Inc., showed that the combination of exercise and a diet with epicatechin also promoted structural and functional changes in the dentate gyrus, a part of the brain involved in the formation of learning and memory’
Flavanols like epicatechin are removed from commercial cocoas because they tend to have a bitter taste, so make sure you keep it 100% Pure Cocoa!
| October 22nd, 2011
Christmas around the corner – Blueberries, raspberries or blackberries make an excellent alternative to the Clementine or mandarin.
For the base
• 200g of oatmeal biscuits
• One tablespoon ground almonds
• 75g melted butter
For the cheese mix
• 1 packet Philadelphia creamed cheese
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 125g caster sugar
• 6 egg yolks
• 1tbsp corn flour to help it set
• 3tbsp of grated cacao butter
1. Preheat oven to 120 degrees.
2. Line a round cake tin with greaseproof paper.
3. In a food processor, blend the biscuits, melted butter and almonds.
4. Press the biscuit mixture into the tin and allow it so set in the fridge.
5. Place all the ingredients for the cheese mix into a food processor and whiz until all ingredients are mixed well.
6. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and allow it to set in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours.
7. Finish your cheesecake with caramelized Clementines (or fruit of choice), and some painted edible gold leaf for a truly exquisite finish.
| February 12th, 2011
- 180g grated Cocoa
- 150g caster sugar
- 4 tablespoons water
- 300ml double cream
- 15cm spring-form cake tin or small loaf tin
. Line your chosen tin with greaseproof paper, or cling film.
. Melt the cacao by placing it in a large heatproof bowl, set over a pan of simmering water, ensuring that the base of the bowl is not in contact with the water. Set aside to cool slightly.
. Place the caster sugar and water in a saucepan, over a low heat, – stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
. Beat the cream until it forms soft peaks, then, gradually beat into the sugar syrup. Add a tablespoon of the cream mixture to the melted cacao and stir until just combined. Gently fold in the remainder of the cream mixture.
. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Smooth the top and place in the fridge until firm.
. To serve: turn-out of the tin onto a serving plate, peel away the greaseproof paper, or cling film, and slice. Serve with berries for a delicious contrast.
Leave the melted cacao to cool slightly before adding to the cream – for smooth results (so that the cream won’t ‘collapse’).