Raspberry, Rose & Chocolate Pavlova

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So this is it guys, my party piece! This is my go to dessert for celebrations. I made it on Valentine’s day, I made it when I hosted Christmas (the follow up to an absolutely delicious slow roasted duck) and I made it when a couple of friends came to my teeny tiny flat for a sofa-based dinner party. And let me tell you, it never fails to put a smile on people’s faces.

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Maybe it’s the chunks of chocolate hiding in the meringue, maybe the lashings of rose scented cream or maybe just the fact that it looks pretty darned irresistible. For me the best thing about it is its simplicity. As long as you have access to an electric whisk of some description, the meringue is an absolute breeze and the cream will be whipped in moments, then it’s just an assembly job, where you can be as flamboyant as your heart desires. (continue reading…)

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Avocado Chocolate Mousse

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Not only is this pretty much the simplest of all the recipes on this blog, it’s also both one of the tastiest and one of the healthiest. When you’re after a sweet treat, but don’t want to utterly throw aside your healthy eating good intentions, this is the perfect recipe to turn to. Creamy, intensely chocolatey and highly satisfying.

Avocado Chocolate Mousse 2

 

It’s dairy free and easily made vegan (use maple syrup instead of honey) and also contains a hefty dose of raw cacao, with its numerous health benefits, and 2 helpings of fruit and veg per portion! Guilt free and gorgeous! (continue reading…)

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

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For a while there I lost sight of why I started this blog. Swept away by a preoccupation with views, foodgawker and a need for validation, I forgot the reason for this blog’s existence: motivation to cook something new and to improve my photography. I spent a disproportionate amount of time evaluating whether a chocolate cookie or a quinoa salad would get me more views, rather than thinking about what I actually wanted to cook and eat. Suddenly it all felt like too much work and the enjoyment was gone. Combine that with a couple of summer holidays and moving to the other side of the Thames and you’ve got 3 months without a blog post.

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It’s time for a new beginning. From now on, I’ll cook what I want, when I want. If I don’t post every week, it’s not the end of the world. If foodgawker don’t like my photos, I’ll cope. If no one reads my posts, admittedly I’ll be a tiny bit sad but I know my mum will still tune in and that’s good enough for me.

Coconut Macaroons Ingredients

To celebrate this new attitude, I decided to whip something up using one of my favourite foods, the coconut. Coconut macaroons are my idea of heaven, mainly when accompanied with dark chocolate, rendering them reminiscent of a Bounty bar. For those unfamiliar with the Bounty (you poor things!) it’s like an Almond Joy bar but without the almond and soooo much better! (continue reading…)

Marcona Almond, Cherry & Chocolate Blondies

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Blimey these blondies are good. They’re so good that I only had time to snap a couple of incredibly dull pictures before I had to tuck in, my willpower falling to the wayside.

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The secret here, as in a lot of good things, is the almond butter. In much the same way as it adds richness to a bowl of overnight oats, here it adds an irresistible depth of flavour that blondies can sometimes lack.

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Crunchy almonds, dried sour cherries and chunks of deeply dark chocolate add just the right amount of interest and variety to every bite. (Chocolate, almonds and cherries are always a fantastic combo, see also my cherry chocolate frangipane tart, ridiculously good.) (continue reading…)

Cherry Chocolate Frangipane Tart

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This Monday is the first anniversary of Scaredy Cat Kitchen’s inaugural blog post, my ‘anniblogary’, if you will. It’s been an exciting and slightly terrifying year for me. There have been highs (did someone say Oreo Topped Chocolate Chunk Cheesecake?) and there have been lows. (man, those tastespotting rejections hurt!)

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To celebrate this momentous occasion,  I decided to bring together 3 of my all time favourite things, bitter dark chocolate, frangipane and cherries.

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Crisp chocolate pastry, filled with rich almond and melted chocolate frangipane with bursts of bitter sweet cherry and crunchy flaked almonds.  I am so bloomin’ happy right now. (continue reading…)

Double Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

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Last time I visited New York, I frequented a lovely Soho restaurant called The Dutch. After a very tasty meal, of which I no longer recall the detail, the bill arrived with a couple of petit fours which stuck in my memory much more clearly.

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Super chocolatey cookies with a little thumbprint of white chocolate in the centre. Immediately thumbprint cookies were added to my blog to do list.

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This weekend I finally got a chance to whip some up and not only were they scrumptious, (if not quite what I’d had in NYC) but bagged up and decorated with a bit of ribbon they made an ideal hostess gift! (continue reading…)

Cherry and Dark Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

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Hot cross buns are a major Easter tradition here in the UK. The cross, which symbolises the crucifixion, means that they are traditionally consumed on Good Friday. Every year the supermarkets are jam-packed full of every type you can imagine, from super sophisticated, generously sized buns, (supposedly designed by Heston Blumenthal) to regular own brand, slightly sad and flat looking buns. Whatever the type, if I get through the Easter period without consuming at least one, I always regret it.

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Hot cross buns, for the uninitiated, should be sweet, sticky and light, with a good helping of dried fruit and fragrant spices. Best served split through the middle, lightly toasted and slavered in butter, they should be soft, fluffy and warm in the middle and slightly crisp on the outside.

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Sadly, shop bought buns don’t always deliver on this score, so I decided it was time to brave the complicated process of making my own. The secret to light and fluffy buns is leaving the dough to rise and prove 3 times, this makes the cooking process take roughly 4 hours, but trust me, it’s worth it. And who doesn’t love a spring morning in the kitchen, baking up a storm? (continue reading…)

Chocolate Hazelnut Buns

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Pat me on the back, I have officially sorted your Christmas breakfast. Well, that is provided you like chocolate for breakfast, and given that my all time favourite breakfast cereal is cocopops, you know I do.

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Can you imagine, getting up on Christmas morning and opening your stocking as the beautiful smell of baking drifts around the house. Then sitting down to a soft, warm, chocolately breakfast bun, punctuated with the crunch of hazelnuts? Let’s make it happen!

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And best of all, you can do the preparation the night before and all you’ll have to do in the morning is pop them in the oven. I can’t imagine anything more perfect! (continue reading…)

Oreo Topped Chocolate Chunk Cheesecake

Oreo Cheesecake

I don’t wish to appear immodest, but I simply must say, this is quite possibly the most scrumptious cheesecake that I have ever eaten.

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A perfectly smooth and tangy baked cheesecake, punctuated by chocolate chunks, with a crumbly chocolate biscuit base and an utterly insane crumbled Oreo topping. Heaven.

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It’s my birthday weekend folks, and if that isn’t an excuse for an incredibly decadent cake, then I don’t know what is. (continue reading…)

Salted Pistachio & Dark Chocolate Biscotti

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Salt and sweet, for me it’s a life long love affair. Despite the fact that I’m as British as bangers and mash, my childhood lunch of choice was most definitely the all-American peanut butter and jam sandwich, PB and J if you will / must. (I’m sorry, I just can’t call it jelly, you have to draw the line somewhere!)

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As I’ve matured (umm…) and developed a mildly crazy peanut phobia, so my tastes have evolved, but my salty/sweet love has not abated. I could eat chocolate covered pretzels until they’re coming out of my ears, but my most recent obsession is the salted chocolate chip cookie.

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Having previously whipped up a very tasty batch of salted pistachio and dark chocolate cookies, I was keen to find out whether a salted biscotti would work equally well. And let me tell you, salted chocolate seems to work in just about anything! (continue reading…)