Tag Archives: cocoa

Another emergency storecupboard pudding

Lovely roast dinner on Sunday night and, having spent the afternoon in a local country park, getting intermittently drenched and steamed, we were pretty hungry.  A warming pudding was called for but the cupboard was bare.  I didn’t even have any custard powder, can you imagine?

So I went to the larder to see what was there.  I only had two eggs, no cream, no fruit and precious little butter.  But I had cocoa and raisins.  I made a basic 4442 chocolate sponge mixture to which I added raisins and this went in with the roast.  I then made some chocolate custard to go with it and this is how it was made:-


1 x medium mixing bowl
1 x electric food mixer
1 x ovenproof pudding bowl
1 microwave proof jug or a medium saucepan
1 stick blender to be on the safe side

4oz / 120g butter
4oz / 120g white sugar
2 eggs
4oz / 120g white self raising flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 good handfuls raisins (this makes it health food)
a little milk to thin it down

2oz / 60g butter
1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
1 heaped tablespoon cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 brimming tablespoon golden syrup
½ pint / 300ml  milk (full fat makes it creamier)

Grease the pudding bowl
Pre-heat the oven to 180 / 360 / 4
Beat the butter and sugar until it is pale and fluffy
Beat in the eggs
Beat in the flour and cocoa
Add the raisins and a little milk if necessary
Put the mixture into the pudding bowl and bake for 30 minutes or until a knife poked into the middle comes out clean

Chocolate custard:
Melt the butter in the jug or pan
Stir the flour in briskly
Then stir in the cocoa
Add the golden syrup and vanilla extract and mix together as well as you can
Gradually add the milk using a brisk figure of eight stirring action
Heat, stirring constantly on the hob until it thickens
Alternatively pop into the microwave for 3 minutes, stir thoroughly then heat for another couple of minutes until nicely thick
If any lumps persist, take the stick blender to it to get a lovely creamy consistency
Serve poured over the hot chocolate pudding.
Have a lie down.


Filed under Food, Recipes, Storecupboard

A very rich and very versatile Chocolate Cake

I developed this recipe firstly because we are a chocolate cake kind of family, but secondly to cope with celebration cakes that may need to last a while.  It is really rich and sticky and is easy enough to make for a tea time favourite, but because it is quite dense in texture, it can be shaped quite easily for special occasion cakes.  This can be made from storecupboard ingredients.

The engagement cake

A friend of mine is having an engagement party tomorrow, so I’m using this recipe (x3) for the cake.   I will show it to you when I’ve finished it.


1 x medium mixing bowl
1 x measuring jug
1 x electric mixer
2 x 8” cake tins
1 x wire rack for cooling

6oz / 180g self raising flour
2oz / 60g cocoa
¼ tsp baking powder
6oz / 180g white sugar
4oz / 120g butter
2 eggs
6tblspns golden syrup
¼ pint / 150ml milk

1 quantity of buttercream or mock cream for the filling

Pre-heat the oven to 160/325/4
Grease and flour the two cake tins
Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder into a bowl
Stir in the sugar
Rub in the butter until the dry mixture is like very fine breadcrumbs
Beat the milk, eggs and syrup together
Beat the liquid into the dry ingredients until smooth
Divide the mixture equally between the two tins
Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean
Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

When completely cold, sandwich together with the buttercream.

A nice treat is to pipe butter cream shells or stars to form a circle around the top edge, then pour melted chocolate in the middle.  Spread it out so that it goes right up to the edge of the buttercream circle.


Filed under Entertaining, Food, Food Presents, Recipes

What you need is a nice Milky Drink: a comparison of bed-time drinks

I’m a bit of a purist myself. Every night I have a hot mug of Ovaltine, which I mix with hot (skimmed) milk and drink it while I’m reading my book.  Occasionally, if I’ve run out of Ovaltine, I’ll have a mug of cocoa, made with milk and half a teaspoon of sugar, but I prefer cocoa during the day, perhaps to warm up after a brisk walk in the cold and preferably accompanied by something with jam in it. 

I have only strayed into the realm of the Instant Hot Chocolate in cafes where one is hard pressed to get anything else.  Sister the Second only drinks the instant varieties and, on close questioning of my friends, I find that loyalties to the hot, ostensibly milky, beverage are strong and divided.  I have not ventured into the badlands of the ‘flavoured’ chocolate drinks – orange, mint, caramel etc or we’d be here until Domesday and I would be sick in a bucket.

With so many variables, I think it’s time to Compare and Contrast! 
BTE means Boy the Elder who tried some of them.




Type Calories with water Sugar Comment
Cadbury’s Hot Chocolate Instant – add hot water 120 16.3g Slightly burnt smell, quite chocolatey, aware of a thickener, tastes nice, not too sweet but the sweetness tastes artificial
BTE: This is what we have a Scouts. Lovely
Ovaltine original Light Instant – add hot water 102 9.3g “Nutritiously delicious” “for an instant break in your day”
Nice colour but no smell. Rather watery with an indistinct but not unpleasant flavour. Slightly metallic aftertaste.
BTE: Nice enough, but real Ovaltine is nicer
Horlicks Light Instant – add hot water 114 16g approx “Unwind for a good night’s sleep”
The beige colour really put me off. It was very thin and I’d be hard-pressed to tell you what it tasted of.  Not too sweet though and it went down easily.
Galaxy Instant – add hot water 98 17.3g This almost tasted like real hot chocolate with milk. It was very chocolatey, thick but not gloopy. Not too sugary.
BTE: Too much like hot chocolate with milk – didn’t like it.
Cadbury Highlights – Fairtrade Instant – add hot water 40 3.1g This tasted of soya and sugar and chocolate ‘flavour’. Didn’t like it.
BTE: Gorgeous, just like real chocolate
The Skinny Cow
Instant Indulgent hot chocolate
Instant – add hot water 37 3.9g This had a nice dark colour but no smell.  It felt powdery in the mouth and the overall taste was of cardboard with an aftertaste of saccharin.  Nasty.
Weight Watchers Hot Chocolate Drink Instant – add hot water 50 3.2g “With real chocolate”
This smelled of chemicals, had a nice colour but looked very thin and powdery. Strong chocolatey flavour which was nicer than expected. A bit sweet, but no nasty aftertaste.  Not bad.
Options Belgian Chocolate(Interestingly, made by Ovaltine) Instant – add hot water 37 4.4g “Some stupid pseudo-sexual phrase” on the front.  Smelled of chocolate and developed a ‘crema’ type froth. Really chocolatey, quite thick but not gloopy.  It was not too sweet and the sweetness seemed to come from the chocolate not sugar or sweetener.  I really liked this and would have it again. 

Type Calories using semi-skimmed milk Sugar Comment
Cadbury’s Hot Chocolate Add hot milk 165 22.9g This was how I remember it as a child; great jugs of it at break-time in the Junior Com. (with jam doughnuts on Wednesdays). Comforting, gentle on the palate and unexpectedly not too sweet. Lovely. And if you don’t stir it, you get a nice chocolatey sludge at the bottom.
BTE: Nice at bedtime but not sweet enough.
Ovaltine Original Add hot milk 191 22.5g Lovely froth, smells malty. Nice malty flavour, creamy and comforting. Surprisingly un-sugary.  It does contain barley, malt, eggs and added vitamins and minerals so I guess this is where the extra calories come from.
Horlicks Original Mix with a little water and hot milk 187 19.1g “Unwind for a good night’s sleep”
I’ve always had a thing against Horlicks, no reason, just didn’t like the idea of it, but it was lovely.  It smelled nice, it was a wholesome, wheat-y colour with a nice froth, and it tasted creamy and malty.  It contains barley malt and added vitamins & minerals.  Really comforting. I am converted.
Cadbury’s Bournville Cocoa Mix with a little water and hot milk 112 0.5g Nice rich colour, smelled chocolatey. Strong cocoa flavour, bit powdery, slightly bitter. Very nice.
Green & Blacks Cocoa
(Organic & fair-trade)
Mix with a little water and hot milk Don’t tell you ? Purply brown colour, smells of chocolate, slightly powdery texture.  Tastes of rich chocolate, no bitterness.  My favourite.
BTE: Too rich and gritty
Sainsbury’s Cocoa (Fairtrade) Mix with a little water and hot milk 113 0.5g Rich reddy-brown colour and chocolatey smell.  Rich, cocoa flavour although the texture was a little powdery.  Really nice.


Filed under Food, Product comparisons

Leicester Tigers v. London Wasps: Stripey Shenanigins

On Saturday, The Boys and I went to Welford Road to watch The Leicester Tigers play rugby against The London Wasps.  I haven’t watched a live rugby match since I was at school, so it was with great enthusiasm that I took up the rather good deal offered by the Scouts.  I booked four tickets, the fourth being for Sister the Second who is a rabid, dribbling Wasps supporter.  Sadly, she is completely snowed in at her Buckinghamshire home and couldn’t come.  This picture is for her.

The atmosphere in the ground was terrific.  Everyone was really friendly and in good spirits and I think the extreme cold was tremendously bonding.  We were sitting in the most exposed stand in the ground, behind the goal, and I swear I could hear the strains of a balalaika on the Siberian wind sweeping across the second row from the front.   However, we had dressed for an Arctic Expedition and had brought a large flask of hot cocoa, so we were ready for anything.

Wasps scored fairly early on.  There were lots of muddy  men in heaps on the ground, more men running around, some of them very tall whilst others were stocky and shorter.  Toby Flood did sterling work and we won 34:8. 

I would like to give you a searing breakdown of every minute of play, but from our position in the ground, I couldn’t make head or tail of what was happening half the time. 

A bit blurred but a nice action shot bearing in mind I was 1/2 mile away

The line-outs were pretty clear, as was the goal scoring but other than that, it was a perfectly acceptable 80 minutes of muscle bound men running about getting muddy.  Coupled with that, the plummeting temperature meant that Boy the Younger had to be given intravenous cocoa and chips every ten minutes to prevent him sliding in and out of consciousness with hypothermia and that does somewhat take one’s attention.

After a short frenzy in the gift shop, we headed home, tired and happy.  My first task was to e-mail a photograph of the final score (no message, no subject) to poor, snowed-in, Sister the Second.  Victory is a dish experienced very, very cold indeed.


Filed under Leisure, Outdoor Activities

Chocolate Brownies (and tomorrow how to caramelise a Boy Scout)

These are so quick and so very, very good.  Very, very good. 
God they’re good…
And guess what?  Storecupboard Ingredients!

1 x large mixing bowl
1 x12″ x 9″x 1″  baking tray
1 x food mixer
1 x wire cooling rack

10oz / 250g butter
13oz / 380g sugar
4 eggs
3oz / 90g cocoa
4oz / 120g self raising flour
4oz / 120g plain chocolate chips

Pre-heat the oven to 180 / 360 / 4
Grease and flour the baking tin
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl
Bake for 40-45 minutes
Remove from the oven and cut into square in the tin.
Place the tin on a wire rack and leave to cool slightly before removing.

And that’s it!

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Filed under Food, Recipes, Storecupboard