Sunday, 28 February 2010

Chocolate Snowballs

A little while ago I had a sudden craving for a long unused recipe. When I was young we made these quite a lot but it's been many years now since I last made a batch. They are called Chocolate Snowballs but the nuts and coffee provide the more dominant flavours. I suppose you could call them a truffle of sorts and are great served after dinner but they're not so rich that you wouldn't be happy giving them to children aswell (although beware of those nut allergies!).

And the source of this recipe - Delia? Nigella? A food magazine? Er no. Although it pains my inner food snob slightly I can reveal that this recipe was, in fact, sourced from...

...a Mr Men Annual circa 1985.

What can I say. Judge me when you've tried them!

Chocolate Snowballs
(adapted from...ahem...a Mr Men Annual)

100g/4oz porridge oats
100g/4oz soft margarine
75g/3oz caster sugar
50g/2oz chopped mixed nuts
3 tsps cocoa powder
1 tsp instant coffee
icing sugar

1) Mix together the oats, margarine, caster sugar, chopped nuts and cocoa

2) Mix the coffee with 3 teaspoons of cold water. Add to the mixture and stir together

3) Roll the mixture into walnut sized balls. Sieve some icing sugar onto a plate and rolls the balls in it to coat.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Plum, Apple and Almond Crumble with Amaretto Cream

I love crumble of all types and in all weathers. They're pretty easy to assemble, even if you suddenly fancy one at the last minute, and the presence of the fruit makes them practically healthy too (just don't think about all the butter and sugar!).

This particular recipe is a cut above your average crumble, which is not too surprising at it comes from In the Mood for Entertaining by Jo Pratt. Instead of plain old apple, there's a few plums thrown into the mix and the crumble topping is tarted up with some oats and flaked almonds. All in all a very nice combination.

And then of course, there's the Amaretto cream. Oh, the Amaretto cream! I'll just say that it was lucky we had guests otherwise I would have eaten the whole lot myself, straight from the bowl. What was left of it also went very well with some fruit salad the next day.

Plum, Apple and Almond Crumble
(adapted from In the Mood for Entertaining by Jo Pratt)

For the filling
600g plums, stoned and cut into wedges
450g eating apples, peeled cored and cut into bite-sized chunks
25g soft brown sugar
grated zest of 1 orange
3 tablespoons apple juice

For the topping
125g softened unsalted butter
150g plain flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
a pinch of salt
75g flaked almonds, crushed lightly in your hands
40g rolled oats
100g soft brown sugar

1) Pre heat the oven to 200c/fan 180c/gas 6

2) Toss the plums, apples, sugar, orange zest and apple juice together. Tip into an ovenproof dish about 1.5 litres in capacity

3) Lightly rub together the butter, flour, cinnamon and salt, then stir in the almonds, oats and three quarters of the sugar. Keep it fairly chunky and crumbly

4) Scatter the topping over the fruit and then sprinkle with the reserved sugar. Place on a baking tray and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. If the topping is becoming to golden cover loosely with a piece of foil. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes.

The writer says that this serves four (albeit generously) but I can only assume that she was referring to four people who hadn't eaten for a week as we were left with close to half of it at the end of the evening. Not that I'm complaining mind - I do love cold crumble!

Amaretto Cream

275ml double cream
3 tablespoons amaretto

1) Whisk the cream until it is just starting to thicken

2) Stir in the Amaretto and continue to whisk until it forms soft peaks.

3) Serve in a bowl alongside the crumble. Seriously.....stop sticking your finger in it - it's not hygenic.