The killer combo – Chocolate, banana & almond tart

Chocolate banana almond tart

Recently I’ve had a ton of birthdays. I don’t know why, but March seems to be a popular month amongst people near me to turn older and remind me that in a few more months I will also be adding a year to my belt. This of course, after you’ve passed the 25 mark, is always catastrophic. And while I know that I’m not ancient and that not only the blogging world but the world in general is full of articles praising your late 20’s and telling you how it’s the best time of your life, it still panics me a bit to be reminded I’m also getting older. But. Birthdays also remind me that I have an excuse to eat tons of dessert, have too many drinks and in general be merry. Because as we get older our celebrations evolve with us, and, to my great enjoyment, increasingly involve better food and more importantly, more dessert. (And thankfully, more wine and less tequila shots). But the truly great thing about birthday desserts, is that you get to enjoy them like a little kid, because when you get a killer combo of sweet ingredients that take you back to that very first birthday when you put bananas and chocolate in your mouth, and realised the world was in fact a great place worth making a life in, we all become little kids. And in that moment the crow’s feet round your eyes are purely from smiling. (Except for those unfortunate souls who don’t like chocolate.). This tart, with it’s chocolate ganache, fresh bananas, toasted almonds and whipped cream topping, will actually make you wish you had even more reasons to feel old, just so you could whip one up once a week.
Note: while this tart is very easy to make, if you’re not comfortable making tart shells or are in a hurry, feel free to swap the one in the recipe for a store bought one. Just make sure it’s chocolate! Recipe after the jump. Continue reading

Pack a punch – Almond cocoa energy squares

Almond cocoa energy squares
My ankle (which has been out of order on and off this whole year) is finally healing a little bit. Which means I can start running again. And even though I haven’t done more than 20 minutes on the treadmill and I’m not allowed to jump yet (I know. It’s catastrophic) I can make energy bars. These delicious little squares will satisfy your morning sweet tooth while giving you a full energy boost; they’re made of oats, which are a great source of slow-release energy and fiber.  Almonds, your classic super food (is there any body system they’re not good for?). Raisins, full of the good kinds of sugar to give you an up and which also help absorb vitamins and proteins, along with promoting a healthy digestive system. Flaxseed, also for great digestion but adding omega-3 and tons of other good side-effects such as fighting liver disease and lowering cholesterol. Cocoa powder, which is suspected of boosting endorphins and serotonin (aka, make you happy!) apart from being highly antioxidant. Wrap all of these up with some honey (which has, apart from all it’s other properties, been proven to increase athletic performance and reduce recovery time) and you get ultra healthy, sugar free bites of delicious fitness. I cut up mine small because I like bite-sized things, but feel free to turn these into bars to take on the go, or to add some protein powder! Read more for the recipe.

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Indulge every morning – Chocolate rye bread

chocolateryebread

Second warning of the day: This might be the best bread I’ve ever baked. And I know bread is one of those things (like cookies) which you can’t say there’s an absolute winner, because that choice will always depend on what you’re eating it with, whether it’ll be eaten cold or warm, what time of the day you’re having it, etcetera, etcetera. But this recipe turned out to be so rich in flavor, with a slightly bitter bite from the rye and cocoa, balanced out with sweetness of the cranberries and raisins, and soft and fluffy on the inside but crusty on the outside. What more could you ask for?? Nothing I say. Plus, you can bake it as a sandwich loaf, as baguettes, as diner rolls, whichever way you like! Because the dough is so easy to manipulate once kneaded, you don’t have to struggle a lot to get it to stay perfectly shaped.
And then once you bake it, you can have a thick slice with gouda, spinach, and a poached egg on top. And if you cover that with creamy mustard sauce, then you might just forget it’s monday and that you have to hurry up to get to work on time.
Read more for the recipe!

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Crispy rounds of deliciousness – Nutella thins

crispy nutella thin cookies

So I know it hasn’t been that long since I rambled about nutella. And I know that the last time I didn’t just use nutella once in the same recipe, nor twice. It was three times (Yes, because how else would you get nutella cupcakes stuffed with ferreros and nutella frosting?). And yet here I am with another recipe. Our love for each other isn’t special, I know a lot of people out there share the same passion for chocolate-y spread. Our love isn’t secret, I’ve been known to eat spoonfuls of the stuff in front of small crowds. It isn’t fleeting either, I have always loved it and always will. It isn’t moderate…and I don’t need to explain that bit. The one thing our love is, is delicious. Because yes. That’s what nutella is and there’s no amount of elaborate words I or anyone else could say to explain it better. So why not channel that delicious love into a thin, crispy cookie? The kind you put on a scoop of vanilla (or chocolate) ice cream. The kind you store in a tin and when you open it you say “only one” but they’re so thin and crispy that you end up having three (or four). Yes, that kind of cookie. Because apart from being delicious, nutella is so incredibly versatile. From creamy to crispy and all the colors in the rainbow in between. So here’s another recipe for all you nutella nuts (no pun intended) out there. Read more to find it. Continue reading

Chocolate is happiness overload – Cookies, cookies, cookies.

White chocolate shortbread

So I’ve got everything I love: my (very soft and lovable) dog is sitting beside me, it’s raining outside, I’m listening to Stacey Kent, and I’ve got a glass of insanely good wine right next to my computer. Does it get better than that? Mmmm…yes. I also just ate some of the most chocolatey-rich-gooey-intense-cookies I’ve ever made (Can’t say the best ever because that doesn’t really exist. All home made cookies are equally great in the eyes of god just for being cookies. Ahem) with a glass of cold milk. There really is nothing that could top that right? Except maybe two chocolate cookie recipes all in one post. Yup, two. And they couldn’t be more different from one another. Let me tell you about the first one. It’s a a recipe of my own which I can dare to call the perfect cookie to accompany your espresso. A rich in cocoa chocolate shortbread topped by a thick layer of white chocolate, the ideal combo of sweet and chocolate-y, just what you want after a long sip of good dark coffee, right? And not only that, they’re lovely looking AND easy to make. And they keep for more than two weeks. (can’t tell you how much longer because I’ve never actually been able to have shortbread lying around uneaten for that long). Just what you need when you have company over for coffee, trust me. And the second recipe: double chocolate cookies which are gooey inside, crumbly outside, warm from the oven and have to be had with a glass of really cold milk? Yes, a dozen please. That recipe comes courtesy of Kim at Strawberry Ginger, a great blog with tons of delicious recipes. This double choc recipe is one of the best I’ve tried, or at least they turned out really well for me! I highly recommend warming them slightly in your toaster oven before eating them, the chocolate chips will melt blissfully in your mouth. But enough talk about chocolate, go read the recipes.

Double chocolate chip cookies Continue reading