Tag Archives: chocolate

Chocolate chickpea chilli in jacket sweet potato

28 Feb

Putting cocoa powder into foods counter-intuitively is so much fun. It’s a little bit like playing the mad scientist on a dreary Thursday night. It kinda proves the hypothesis that chocolate makes everything good. Everything.

The cocoa in this does give the dish a suggestion of cocoa, but mostly it makes it all luscious in glossy darkness and provides depth. Also, it helps chip away at the box of Cadbury’s we’ve had in the cupboard since August 2009. Let’s not look at expiry dates, eh? Let’s not.

  • 1 medium sized sweet potato, cut in half lengthways

Chile chocolate chickpea

  • 1 tin of chickpea
  • 2/3 tin of tomatoes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 one ancho chile
  • 1 small chipotle chile
  • 3/4 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • chili flakes
  • oregano
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice

Pre-heat oven to 200C. When hot chuck sweet potato halves, wrapped in foil or baking paper, in there for 40 minutes – or until easily pierced with a toothpick.

Soak dried ancho and chipotle chiles in hot water for about 1o minutes.

Meanwhile (it’s always meanwhile), heat oil in a pan and add cumin.

Mash up chickpeas slightly, leaving about half un-smashed, and then throw them in the hot cumin oil. Add tomatoes, chili flakes, oregano and cook for 15 minutes.

Once thickened, add whole dried chiles and cocoa powder and about a tablespoon of chile soaking water.

Add a dash of lemon juice and salt to taste.

This here chocolate chickpea chile (aside from being swathed in glorious alliteration) is really versatile. We chucked it into our very first jacket potato eaten in England – true –  but I imagine it could be great as ‘beans on toast’ for brekkie, or just in Mexican dishes like enchiladas or burritos.

Estimated cost: £2.50

Musical accompaniment: Traditional Moroccan music on BBC Three


Dark chocolate panna cotta with fresh raspberries

23 Sep

Ah, panna cotta. Ah, any gelatin-based dessert. Yum.

This was our first foray into using agar flakes, a seaweed substitute for gelatin, although the packet was mysteriously already open, so I think perhaps we had tried something before and I’ve blocked it from my memory.  It probably wasn’t as delicious as this little experiment.

This is one of those desserts you can prepare well in advance of your friends coming over so you can, in our case, sit in the living room and look at their pictures of a long trip through South America without feeling resentful that you have to cook as well as resentful for your lack of ever having been to South America.

Anyway, I really recommend using very dark chocolate for this, because with all the cream and milk it gets quite diluted. In future I want to experiment with making a think layer of berry jelly to go on top of this, but for the meantime this is rather good enough.

Chocolate panna cotta (serves 4)

  • 270ml whole milk
  • 4 tsp cocoa powder
  • 35g sugar
  • 170ml single (pouring) cream
  • 1.25 TBSP agar flakes (or gelatin)
  • 30g very dark, very good chocolate (we used 85% Pierre Marcolini)

Heat the milk and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat slightly and add cocoa powder and broken up chocolate. Throw in the agar flakes and keep stirring over low heat for a few minutes. Add cream, turn off heat and keep stirring until the agar (or gelatin) is dissolved.

Pour into small glasses and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. If you want a panna cotta that you can turn out and will stand on its own, make sure you grease the glasses and you’ll have to leave the panna cotta to set overnight to be sure.

Top with fresh raspberries (or something tart to cut through)

Estimated cost: £2.50

Musical accompaniment: CW Stoneking.

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