20 October 2016

How to Make The Easiest, Lushest Chocolate Dessert Ever!

I’ve been making (and selling) this for years almost beyond number!

Dark Chocolate Pots – makes 8

500ml double cream
80g soft light brown sugar
250g dark chocolate – coarsely chopped
2 eggs

~   Heat together the cream and sugar stirring till the sugar has dissolved.
~   Bring just to a boil and pour over the chocolate.
~   Whisk (or if you’ve chopped the chocolate in a food processor add the hot cream and re-process) till smooth.
~   Cool a few minutes.
~   Whisk or process in the eggs.
~   Pour into a jug and then into attractive dishes (ramekins, cups or pretty bowls) and chill till cold.

The chocolate pot will set but is still soft and idea for dipping goodies into such as wafers, biccies, fruit or even fingers.


Variations …

~   Vanilla – add a drip or two or a little vanilla paste together with the eggs.
~   Finely grated orange zest.
~   Finely chopped stem ginger and just a little of the syrup.
~   A little spirit or liqueur – I’m serious when I say “a little”, just a tablespoon because otherwise the finished chocolate pot will be too runny.
~   Add a little chilli syrup, recipe here, or use Lindt’s Excellence Chilli Dark Chocolate.
~   Melt a teaspoonful of coffee granules in with the cream and sugar.
~   Put a little something in the bottom of the dish (salted caramel sauce, raspberries, um … alcohol soaked fruit, etc) before pouring in the chocolate.
~   Add a topping but nothing too sweet or rich as that would be over doing it. Grated chocolate would be good or chopped toasted nuts, for instance.
~   Your go – let me know of any good ideas you have.

This is a lovely Christmas dessert as you can prepare it a day or two in advance and, as I said, it is so easy. 


Speaking of Easy Christmas Food ...

I am in the midst of cunning manoeuvres to make my the ebook version of my Easy Festive Food for a Stress-Free Christmas free for a week or two in November to help with Christmas planning.  

There is also an option to have Sudden Lunch delivered straight to your inbox but you can ignore that if you find me too boring!

In totally other news …


I recently read such a good book ~ Lily’s House by Cassandra Parkin. The book was sent to me for review by the publishers, Legend Press but that is not why I am extolling it – I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Read my review and those of others here 

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8 October 2016

No-Bake Cheesecake Recipe ~ a very flexible doddle!

You may remember my mentioning that I am back in the kitchen (not mine, I mean professionally!) making the desserts for a rather foodie pub.  The aim is to have a choice of six or so desserts every day including, naturally, something (or even two somethings) chocolatey. Fruit crumbles are a given at this time of year, crème brulée of course is a no brainer and cheesecakes are always popular.

I have started using the same basic (or genius) recipe every time I make a cheesecake and it’s so easy maybe you’d like to start using it too!

Genius No-Bake Cheesecake Recipe

In the pub many of the desserts, cheesecake included, are served in a glass (assembled in advance) to make service much quicker.  This quantity makes enough for 6-8 glasses depending on the size or  one 23cm cheesecake.

NOTE:  Although I say “150g icing sugar” and “120ml something else” these are advisory. Both depend, to an extent, on what the “something else” is; if it’s sharp you might need more sugar, if sweet the opposite. Also when adding the something else please feel free to use your judgement, adding a little more or a little less to create a cheesecake exactly the texture you like it.

Base ...
250g crushed digestive biscuits
100g melted butter

Filling …
600g cream cheese at room temperature
approx. 150g icing sugar – sifted
approx.. 120ml something else – see below!

~   Mix together the digestive biscuits and melted butter and sprinkle over the base of a 23cm loose bottomed cake tin, press out into an even layer (or divide between your chosen glasses). Chill for half an hour or so to set.
~   Beat the cream cheese till smooth and creamy.
~   Add half the icing sugar spoonfully whisking in between additions.
~   The mixture will be rather thick so add the something else till a lovely creamy consistency.
~   Taste and add more sugar till delicious.
~   Spread evenly over the base or, if using glasses
***, spoon or pipe into the glass.

*** By this I don’t mean you've been to Specsavers!

Something Else

The something else should be liquid in form such as a fruit coulis, syrup, coffee, fruit juice, possibly a spirit or liqueur or simply double cream. The addition will soften the mix to the right consistency. 

Here are some of the cheesecakes I have already made using this recipe …

~   “Plain” Vanilla Cheesecake – add a drop or two of vanilla extract or the tip of a teaspoon of vanilla paste to the cream cheese plus double cream. This is lovely served with soft summer fruits.



~   Cappuccino Cheesecake – beat in 30ml of cool espresso or double strength coffee (maybe a little Kahlua or Tia Maria) plus 90ml of double cream. Dust with cocoa to serve.

~    Orange, Lemon or Lime Cheesecake – add the finely grated zest and the juice of one orange, two lemons or three limes.  Depending on the size and juiciness of the fruit you may need to add a little cream till the cheesecake is the right consistency.


~   Mango and Lime – add 100ml of mango purée and the juice and zest of one lime. (A pleasant addition to this is a little chilli syrup, the recipe is here , you’ll have to scroll down a bit.


~    Banana & Baileys – peel and slice 3 ripe bananas and cook them in 30g butter together with 30g soft light brown sugar.  Cool and then beat into the cheesecake mix together with 25ml (or more if you like that sort of thing) of Baileys. Soften the mixture to your chosen consistency with double cream.

~    Rum and Coconut – simply flavour the cream cheese with 60ml of rum and layer with toasted coconut. See here for a great way to radically improve on desiccated coconut.



~    Maple Syrup with Pecans – for this I use Clark’s Original Maple Syrup which is blended with carob fruit syrup; it is utterly delicious and cheaper than pure maple syrup.  Add the syrup to taste and layer the cheesecake with toasted pecans or, even better, sugared pecans – see here for how to make them replacing the walnuts with pecans.  A pleasant alternative cheesecake would be honey and sugared walnuts.

~    Strawberry or Raspberry  – add 120ml appropriate fruit coulis (recipe below). A bit of vanilla extract or paste would be a good addition to either of these or maybe some orange zest in the strawberry version. Top with some fresh fruit or more coulis.

Fruit Coulis - another slight recipe!

        soft berries such as strawberries or raspberries
sugar (approximately
half the weight of the fruit)

~   Put the prepared fruit in a small saucepan.
~   Add the sugar to the fruit.
~   Simmer the fruit, helpfully giving it a squash now and then – you could add a dribble of water to encourage the sugar to melt if the fruit isn’t very juicy.
~   Strain through a fine nylon sieve pushing on the fruit debris to extract as much coulis as poss.
~   Cool, cover and chill till needed.


~    Peach Melba – make raspberry cheesecake as above but add a layer of diced fresh peach in the middle of the cheesecake.  (Best to toss the peach in a little lemon juice and caster sugar first to make it sweeter, juicer and less prone to browning.)

~   Your Turn – let me know what you come up with, I might copy!

I do love a genius recipe, don’t you? Some basic flexible guidelines that can be varied to create exactly what you want.  Read more about genius recipes here. 

Baked Cheesecake, incidentally

Whilst on the subject of cheesecakes, baked cheesecakes are deeply wonderful, are they not?  I used to work for an American lady during one of my stints as Chef of the Tamarind Club who, although she was not much involved in the kitchen side of the business made a wicked New York Cheesecake with a deliciously different crust. 

The strange thing is that although I fancy myself as a good cook and even if she stood over me during the entire process of making her cheesecake the result whilst perfectly delicious and saleable  was never quite as good as hers!  If you fancy a try – here is the recipe.  Let me know how you get on.

Mary’s New York Cheesecake

“Leave all the ingredients out one hour and No More and No Less before making.”
Mary Granfeldt

Base …
60g butter
120g plain flour
50g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling …
900g cream cheese
5 whole eggs plus 3 yolks
250g caster sugar
15g plain flour
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 heaping tablespoons sour cream

~   Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/180ºC fan/gas 6.
~   Lightly grease a 23cm springform cake pan.
~   Manually mix together the ingredients for the base and sprinkle, every evenly, over the bottom of the pan.
~   Bake for 15 minutes.
~   Cool a little while making the filling …
~   Reduce the oven temperature to 120ºC/250°F/100ºC fan/gas ½.
~   Beat the cream cheese on medium till smooth and then one at a time add the eggs and the yolks and beat till smooth (again!).
~   Add the next three ingredients and beat in.
~   Add the sour cream and, still on medium, beat till fluffy which takes about a minute.
~   Pour onto the base and bake for 1¼ hours. 
~   Run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake and cool.

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27 September 2016

Have You Ever Had A Mango?

When I was in my 20s lots of new-to-the-UK ingredients were appearing; avocado, aubergine, chillies and so on. Exciting times!

 One day, after an interesting shop, I said to my Mum ...

“Have you ever had a mango”

To which she replied ...

“No, Suzy, all my men stayed”

I miss my Mummy.

I recently had occasion to fiddle with a mango as part of an article I am contributing to for Men’s Health Magazine (the article comes out in the Jan/Feb edition, therefore in December, and is about Christmas leftovers).  


This put me in mind of times gone by when, living and cheffing on the beautiful little island of Tortola in the Caribbean; mangoes grew all over the place and so were frequently on my menu.

Some of the things I did with this luscious fruit …

~   Added mango to seafood and chicken salads.
~   Chargrilled slices of fresh mango and served them together with my Seafood Mixed Grill.
~   Added to fruit salads – the best kind of fruit salad in which to incorporate mango is one of tropical fruits tossed with freshly squeezed lime juice and a little Chilli Syrup (the recipe is here).
~   Added diced mango to breakfast cereals and to yogurt.
~   Tossed with sugar and lime juice (and sometimes chilli syrup) to top Pavlova.
~   Shredded under ripe mango into coleslaw.
~   My friend Roberta used to make a wicked Mango Jam 

Here are some actual recipes! ...

Mango Vinaigrette

75ml of fresh mango purée
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
60ml olive oil
60ml cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

~   Whisk together the first 5 ingredients and season to taste.  If too thick dilute with a little warm water.  

Spicy Mango Salsa – I served this with seared fresh tuna.
2 tablespoons fresh mango
2 tablespoons red onion or spring onion
2 tablespoons red pepper
1 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
1 teaspoon minced fresh chilli
juice of one lime
salt to taste

~   Finely dice everything but the coriander, chilli, lime juice and salt.
~   Mix all together but the salt then taste and add salt till it tastes right.
~   Chill till needed.


Sweet and Spicy Mango Dip

This I usually served with coconut shrimp.

175g fresh mango – coarsely chopped
80ml thick coconut milk (tip)
juice of half a lime
2 or so teaspoons honey
a drip or two of Caribbean hot sauce

~   Purée together the first three ingredients.
~   Add honey, hot sauce and salt till it tastes delicious.
~   Chill till needed.

 Simple Sweet Potato & Mango Curry – serves 4 as a side dish
½ tbsp cooking oil
2 tsp mild curry paste
1 medium sweet potato – peeled and diced
1 firm mango – peeled and diced to the same size and the sweet potato

~   Cook the curry paste in the oil over medium heat for 3 minutes.
~   Add the sweet potato, stir to coat with the paste and fry stirring frequently for 15 minutes till almost tender.
~   Add the mango and continue cooking and stirring till all is tender.  If anything is sticking add a splash of hot water.

Mango Daiquiri for 2


½ a ripe mango, peeled and diced
juice of 1 lime
60ml golden rum
crushed ice
maybe a teaspoon of the chilli syrup mentioned above!

~   Fill two tall glasses with crushed ice.
~   Purée together all the rest of the ingredients and pour over the ice.

Mango-Lime Ice Cream – serves 4-6

The fruit flavour in this is so fresh and sparkling that the ice cream tastes almost fizzy!

2 large ripe mangoes – peeled and coarsely chopped
2 washed and dried limes
100g sugar
500ml double cream
200g condensed milk

~   Finely grate the zest (just the green skin, none of the white pith underneath) of the limes and set aside.
~   Squeeze the juice into a small pan and stir in the sugar.
~   Bring to a boil stirring till the sugar has dissolved then simmer together for 3 or 4 minutes.
~   Add the reserved zest to the simmering lime juice and cook another minute or so.
~   Add the chopped mango, return to a simmer and cook until you have a bit of a syrupy situation going on – about 3 minutes
~   Mash or purée as you prefer – for a chunky or smooth ice.
~   Cool completely.
~   Whisk the cream till thick.
~   Fold in the condensed milk and then the mango sauce.
~   Freeze.

This recipe is made using my Genius Ice Cream method which I developed whilst working in Tortola. It was difficult to get good ready-made ice cream there and ditto for ice cream machines. Naturally, however, in all that delicious hot sunshine iced desserts were much in demand and I managed, indeed more than managed to come up with the goods without using an ice cream machine. I wasn’t messing with ice and salt either!  Read more about this genius method here. 

In Other News …

We saw this very informative sign whilst walking on the stunning North Cornwall Coastal Path the other day – I'm sharing as I thought it might be useful to others.


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3 September 2016

What to do with the Most Wasted Foods in the UK

I have just read another article in the Huffington Post about food waste in the UK.

According to point 8 in the article the most-wasted foods and drinks are bread, potato, milk, fizzy drinks, fruit juice and smoothies, poultry, pork, ham and bacon, cakes and pastries. Well, let me tell you something …

… actually several somethings.


See here for 7 Interestingly Different Ideas for Leftover Bread, for instance this Melted Onion Panade.

melted onion panade made from leftover bread

krumplinudli, potato dumplings, noodles, leftover mashed potato

8 ideas for leftover baked potatoes are here  and how to make wonderfully named and delicious Krumplinudli from mashed potato is here.


Interestingly milk seems to last way, way longer than its Use By date to no detriment whatsoever.  See here for details and you might think again before throwing the stuff away!

~   Leftover milk can be frozen – it is not great for drinking once thawed but is fine in recipes which is easier if you freeze in ice cubes.
~   Make milkshakes – especially useful if you also have “leftover” ice cream!
~   Add to mashed potatoes
~   Make rice pudding
~   Poach some fish in it.
~   Turn leftover milk into buttermilk for baking by stirring 1 tablespoon of lemon juice into 240ml milk.

If your milk has separated, lucky you – it is surprisingly easy to make lovely cheese, see here

homemade cheese, leftover milk

Fizzy Drinks

~   Freeze leftovers in ice cube trays and use them to cool down further fizzy drinks without diluting them!
~   Make Sorbet - partially freeze the fizzy beverage then either break up the crystals with a fork or similar or run through the food processor. Add a little suitable alcohol (it must be a spirit and use 50ml per 250ml of fizz) such as rum with coke or Cointreau with fizzy orange and re-freeze.
~   Rumour has it that using soda drinks in baking works but I haven’t tried it. If you have let me know how it went!

Fruit Juice

~ Freeze, as above, as ice cubes for the same reason.
~ Mix in a little icing sugar and use to glaze cakes.
~ Toss summer fruit in a few spoonsful of orange or other suitable juice 30 minutes before serving.
~ Cocktails - many cocktails include fruit juice, see here and have fun!
~ Make a delicious sauce for your dinner! See point 8 here for deglazing a pan and use whatever juice goes well with your meat or fish eg. apple juice with pork, cranberry with turkey, lemon with fish etc. 

Tomato juice is a rather special case, I suggest you either add it to soups and stews or make a …

Bloody Mary `

Per person

90ml tomato juice
45ml Vodka
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Worcestershire sauce
black pepper
a stick of celery with leaves

tomato juice, bloody mary recipe, vodka cocktail, leftover fruit juice

~ Fill a tall glass with ice.
~ Mix together the tomato juice, vodka and lemon juice and season to taste (as us food writers say) with the Worcester sauce, Tabasco and black pepper.
~ Pour over the ice and bung in the celery!


I’m afraid I am flummoxed with this one, other than freeze it, and don’t think I am alone. Here are someone else’s ideas but they are somewhat tongue in cheek!

Poultry, Pork and Ham

Throwing away leftover meats of any kind is absurd, there’s so many ways to use them; sandwiches, stir fries, soups, salad, risotto, pasta, pizza and so on. Why anyone would chuck it is beyond me –

As a taster, so to speak, here is a lovely way to use up ham – Haluski. 
haluski, leftover ham, noodles,

Bacon – a rather special meat!

See here for an utterly wonderful use for leftover bacon – Bacon Salt which is great for making all sorts of dishes bacony! I am absolutely delighted with this.

leftover bacon, bacon salt, seasoning salt

Cakes – ridiculous, who throws away cake?

Good ideas are – add crumbled cake to ice cream, trifle, make cake pops, cake truffles (details in The Leftovers Handbook) or make cake croutons (dice the cake, toss in melted butter and then bake in a medium oven till crisp and golden) to serve with desserts.
cake croutons, leftover cake, ice cream and chocolate sauce

Although it’s not quite time yet, Christmas Cake makes wonderful ice cream – see here.


Now this is a tricky one, especially without knowing what sort of pastries, but if I had such a thing leftover I would probably freeze it and have a think. Or maybe eat it and have a coffee.

Do croissants qualify as pastries? They make lovely French Toast (much better than made with bread), good in bread pudding of the custardy sort, as are Danish pastries, and they also make great croutons.

homemade soup, croissants, leftover croissants, croissant croutons

Now then, don't you wonder what ideas I have for the other 450 potential leftovers in my book The Leftovers Handbook?

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26 August 2016

8 Lovely Ways to Make Little Ice Cream Go A Long Way

I was going to call this post Leftover Ice Cream but that sounds like an oxymoron. That is what it's about though!

A few years ago I wrote a book, The Leftovers Handbook, in which I explained that for my purposes the term ‘leftovers’ covers a variety of situations which are:

leftovers definition types reference book

It is the Snippet situation to which I am referring here and these are my suggestions …

ice cream coffee affogato

1.   Affogato

This is a cross between a drink and a dessert. Affogato is Italian for “drowned” and in the foodie world usually refers to ice cream ‘drowned’ in coffee, in which case its full name is Affogato al Caffe.

Per person ...

1 scoop chosen ice cream
1 shot /30 ml espresso or strong coffee or whatever your choice is
1 tablespoon brandy or some other spirit or liqueur – also optional
2 amaretti or something suitable and crumbly – optional

~   Chill serving dish(es).
~   Put a scoop of chosen ice cream into each dish and return to the freezer for a few minutes.
~   Brew coffee or espresso.
~   Have ready chosen liqueur if using.
~   Crumble the crumbly thing if using.
~   Remove ice cream from freezer and swiftly and immediately pour optional liqueur and coffee over it.
~   Sprinkle with optional crumbly thing and serve.

2.   Ice Cream Truffles

This is a good way to use up bits of leftover ice cream and impress people at the same time.

~   Have equipment and ingredients other than ice cream ready before you start.
~   Work quickly.
~   Get ice cream out of the freezer and scoop into small balls.
~   Immediately coat in something delicious and complimentary eg. cocoa, hot chocolate, crushed biscuits, ground caramel, chopped nuts, sprinkles, grated chocolate and so on.
~   Immediately refreeze till needed.

To be even more impressive serve with a little dish of chocolate sauce for dipping purposes.

ice cream truffles chocolate sauce

3.   Profiteroles

I used to have a husband that called these “poovy boirays” – no idea why, bless him. Traditionally, of course, these little choux pastry puffs are filled with cream and topped with chocolate but why not replace the cream filling with ice cream and drizzle the tops with a complimentary sauce?

4.   Ice Cream Sandwich

~   Choose a very crisp and crumbly cookie/biscuit or one that is soft and cakey as these will both be edible from the freezer. Chewy biscuits might freeze too hard.
~   If purpose baking cookies slightly undercook to keep the texture right when     frozen, and …
~   … sandwich whilst still warm with very cold ice cream which will slightly melt and soak into the cookie before setting solid in the freezer – even more goo-some!

~   Fill generously.

Here’s one I made earlier.

ice cream sandwich cookies biscuits fruit

5.   Ice Cream Cake

This is a kind of last minute thing.

~   Shortly before serving use a softened complimentary ice cream to fill and top a cake.
~   Pop back in
to the freezer for a few minutes for the ice cream to firm up.
~   Slice and serve.

ice cream cake

 6.   Milkshakes – of course

Basic milkshake per person ...

2 scoops vanilla ice cream
250ml milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract – the real thing

~   Blend together in a liquidiser or food processor.
As I say, it is basic but of course you can do what you like with it, e.g.
~   Use different flavour ice cream.
~   Add honey, maple syrup, flavoured syrups or whatever would go well with the ice cream flavour.
~   Add fresh fruit.
~   Add fresh herbs or maybe a bit of chilli (particularly good with mango and/or lime).
~   Use less or more milk depending on how thick or runny you want it.
~   Top with whipped cream and/or chopped nuts, grated chocolate etc.
~   Add an appropriate alcohol – best if it’s a spirit, lager probably wouldn’t be that yummy!

leftover ice cream fruit

7.   Ice Cream Soda - or Float which is also known as a Spider in Australia! 

As with the other suggestions the ingredients will be dictated by the type of ice cream you are using.

~   Put a spoonful or two of your chosen sauce or syrup into a tall glass.
~   Loosen it with a splash of your chosen soda.
~   Stir in a spoonful or two of milk or cream.
~   Add a couple of scoops of your chosen ice cream.
~   Top up with more of your chosen soda; hopefully the mixture should fizz and froth delightfully.
~   Top with whipped cream and your chosen decoration be it a flake, sprinkle or a cherry on top.
~   Serve with both a straw and a long spoon.

8.   Ice Cream Cocktails

Basically blend together complimentary liqueurs, fruits, sauces and ice cream and give it a suggestive name such as Lose Your Cherry (vanilla ice cream, cherry brandy and cream soda) or Fuzzy Navel (peach ice cream, , peach schnapps and orange juice).

This is an Ice Cream Mojito – mint ice cream, a good sloosh of golden rum topped up with soda water and garnished with a sprig of mint.
ice cream cocktails mojito recipe

So now, if your little darlings are about to go back to school, leaving you with the responsibility of using up leftover ice cream you now have some ideas for what to do with it.

easy no churn dairy ice cream recipes

If however you haven’t got any leftover ice cream and would like to make some I have written a book on an easy peasy no-churn method which makes deliciously smooth and luxurious ice cream.  In the book I give 60+ recipes plus every piece of information I can think of to help readers create their own gorgeous ice creams.

In Other News ...

1.   Firstly I'd be flattered if you've noticed but I haven’t posted for ages because, all of a sudden, I seem to have become very busy.  Part of this is working in a pub during high season in Cornwall, part due to sorting books for Cornwall Hospice Care and partly because I have just discovered Slideshare!

This is a part of Linkedin where you can post a slideshow to make a point, promote yourself or just because you want to!  I’ve done two and for some reason I really enjoy it which is just as well because they really do take up some time.

Here are the two I have done so far ..

genius soup recipe

slideshow of the fundamentals of good cooking

My next task is to find out how to actually embed the slideshow in my blog post!

2.   Some generous git has given me these and now I have to do something with them!  I think I shall have to refer to my post on apples! 

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