CHOCOLATE BANANA CHIA SEED SWIRL

bcp

I’m more than a little obsessed with Chia Seeds right now. I love the pudding texture they give you when you soak them for a little bit. The recipe here called for almond milk but I felt that coconut milk makes the pudding even thicker and creamier.

This is a breakfast for serious dessert aficionados. The combination of the honey smashed bananas with the deep, dark chocolate chia swirls is intense. If you’d like to layer the 2 components more clearly then stick your cup in the fridge after pouring in the chia mixture and let it set for another 15 minutes. Then add the banana on top. I prefer just glopping all of it together.

Recipe adapted from A Beautiful Mess

Serves 2

What you’ll need:

1 ripe banana
2 teaspoons honey (or whichever sweetener you prefer)
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 cup almond milk
1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

 

How to:

 

1. Mix together cocoa, chia seeds, almond milk and cinnamon in a small bowl. Refrigerate for 45 minutes, stirring the porridge once in the middle.

2. Blend the honey and banana together.

3. Pour chia pudding into a mug and spoon the smashed banana on top.

 

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER BANANA CUPCAKES

Recipe adapted from Kevin and Amanda

Serves 4

What you’ll need:

 

For Muffins

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

½ cup mashed banana (about 1 medium banana)

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

For Topping

2 tablespoons peanut butter

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

1-2 tablespoons milk

½ cup chocolate chips or chunks of chopped chocolate

 

How to:

1.  Preheat oven to 180 C. Line the cupcake tray with muffin liners.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar and egg. Then add banana, oil, and vanilla extract, mixing until thoroughly combined. Stir in the flour mixture, stirring until there are no lumps.

4. Pour batter into muffin tray and bake for 12 -15 minutes. Do the toothpick taste, once your toothpick is out clean take the cupcakes out and let cool.

5. Whisk together peanut butter and 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Slowly add 1 tablespoon milk, whisking constantly until you get a smooth frosting. Add remaining tablespoon of milk and / or sugar if needed to get the right consistency.

6. Dip the top of each cupcake into the frosting and transfer to a wire rack. Then dip the top of each cupcake into the chocolate chips and press to coat.

 

 

 

NOW PLAYING: WITCHES OF EAST END WITH DOUBLE CHOCOLATE ESPRESSO COOKIES

 “Most people buy the highest quality television sets, only to watch the lowest quality television shows.
” ― Jarod Kintz
 

Next in my list of shows I’m watching is Witches of East End, a sort of Charmed beta version. I loved Charmed when I was a pre-teen with no friends and an embarrassingly high CGPA in New York. Alyssa Milano’s crop tops and wedge heels held more sartorial significance for me than Sarah Jessica Parker ever would.
So back to Witches of East End, 2 sisters with little in common (one works in a library, the other at the local dive – yeah they aren’t subtle on this show) discover they’re actually witches. Their powers have been kept secret by their mother for a very complicated reason I’ll let you watch the show to figure out. Unsurprisingly, upon discovering these powers the sisters set about trying to navigate love and life while fulfilling their destiny to be super-duper queen bee witches. A process which costs them a few friends – people die quite regularly on the show but the tone never dips below cappuccino froth. The show would drown in its own clichés if it wasn’t for the hot, hilarious (and oft naked) Aunt Wendy who lights up every scene she’s in.

The women are the usual, as witches on TV go, but their characters are more full and funny than most. Unfortunately the men are mere props for them to cast spells on, around or for. Basically a good old fashioned soap that doesn’t take itself too seriously for when you want to swap out your day to day drama for some magical gobbledegook.

 

Will you be entertained? 4/5
Does it make sense? 2/5
Is it full of good looking people? 4/5
Is anyone going to get an Emmy? 1/5

Just like Witches of East End, these double chocolate espresso cookies make for a great guilty pleasure. The coffee offers a nice, strong, background for the crunch of the cookie and the puddles of chocolate chunks to play.

Makes more than a dozen big cookies
Recipe adapted from the Naptime Chef

What you’ll need:

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
2 eggs
2 ½ cups flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp espresso powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

How to:

1. Preheat oven to 170°C.
2. Throw butter and sugars into a big bowl and whisk till light and fluffy. Add an egg at a time, mixing till you have a smooth batter.
3. Mix together all the dry ingredients in another bowl and whisk nicely so it’s all well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet slowly making sure everything is nicely mixed in.
4. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Foodnote: I don’t use chocolate chips because I find them too waxy. This might be because I haven’t found a good brand to use yet. I prefer taking cooking chocolate (try Morde) and chopping it up as small as possible. If you don’t want to chop so much then put the chocolate slab in a bag and beat it with a hammer till it splinters into small enough pieces. This has 3 benefits – 1. You can use up the chocolate sitting in your fridge and don’t need to buy another product because lord knows baking is expensive enough, 2. The random shapes give the cookie a much more grown up and rustic look instead of the preciousness of those silly little chocolate chips, and 3. The uneven chunks melt into puddles of chocolate within the cookie for a much richer taste.
5. Roll into cookies and bake for 10 to 12 mins.
Foodnote: I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, rolling these bastards into cookies isn’t as easy as it seems. Stick them in the fridge for a little while to firm the batter up, use a spoon to scoop the batter out and keep your hands floured. With all these precautions you’re still going to end up making a mess but you’ll realize how much harder it would have been without doing all this.

6. Let them cool completely before devouring.

 

NOW WATCHING: GRIMM WITH CHEWY OATMEAL AND RAISIN COOKIES

 “The average TV commercial of sixty seconds has one hundred and twenty half-second clips in it, or one-third of a second. We bombard people with sensation. That substitutes for thinking.”
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

 

Remember that article on how if you wanted to do something well you have to do it for atleast 10,000 hours? I even write about it here where I whined about how I didn’t know what I should spend my time on. On further reflection, I realize I’ve probably already spent way more than 10,000 hours watching TV. I suppose master of the idiot box is better than nothing at all.

My favorite genre of TV show is the police procedural and I watch an unholy number of these. On a day where I don’t have much to do I might be witness to an easy 10 -15 murders. On occasion, if I’m in the mood I can be persuaded to watch comedy, some drama or even supernatural mumbo jumbo (okay so you can see I’m not too fussy). A lot of the great shows out there obviously don’t need an introduction from me but I thought I’d write about some of the more oddball shows I’ve caught.

 

Currently playing on my screen is Grimm, a police procedural based on the brothers behind all the fairytales. The premise is that the Grimm brothers were actually hunters of supernatural beings (known as Wesen) and hunky Portland detective Nick Burkhardt is one of the few remaining successors of these “Grimms.” Their job is to hunt down Wesen who misbehave and chop off their heads (Nick takes a softer stance on this but there’s plenty of head chopping anyway). Turns out our favorite fairytale villains are real, more vicious and apparently all over Portland.

While the plot is cute, the adorkable cast of characters really carries the show forward. Monroe, Nick’s reformed, gentle giant, Wesen sidekick; the sexy, the delectable Captain Sean Raynard; and the girlfriend Juliette are each very likable. As are the less often seen but also captivating Rosalee, the beautiful apothecary and Adeline, the relentlessly scheming, evil Hexinbeast.
Unfortunately, the show is too loyal to the police procedural format with Nick insisting on solving a case per episode at the cost of getting into the meat of all this supernatural crazy that’s going on. I have a lot of fun trying to identify which characters relate to which kid’s story (got Rumpelstiltskin and the 3 Little Pigs so far) and it’s comforting because you know Nick is always going to triumph over whatever fanged beast comes hurtling his way.

Will you be entertained? 3.5/5
Does it make sense? 3/5
Is it full of good looking people? 3.5/5
Any chance anyone will get an Emmy? 2/5

Much, much better for your mind and body are these oatmeal and raisin cookies. This is my first stab at making these and I quite liked how they turned out, chewy and chockfull of sweet, golden raisins.

Foodnote: Stick the batter in the fridge for a little while to freeze up the butter and make it easier to scoop on to your baking tray or you’ll just end up with mush all over your hands.

Makes about a dozen cookies
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

What you’ll need:
½ cup butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
1 ½ cups rolled oats
¾ cup raisins

How to:

1. Throw the sugar and butter into a large bowl and mix well till light and frothy. Add egg and vanilla – mix some more.
2. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Whisk into the butter batter. Stir in the oats and raisins.
3. Chill the dough for a bit in the fridge to firm it up, scoop it out with a spoon and plunk on to a greased baking tray, leaving some space between them because they’re going to swell.

Foodnote: Chilling the dough helps make the cookie chewier.

4. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely before devouring.

 

GOOEY CHOCOLATE FILLED CHOCOLATE COOKIES

“To do good is noble. To tell others to do good is even nobler and much less trouble.” ― Mark Twain
There’s nothing more exciting for a writer (even a lowly food blogger) than somebody appreciating your work. Thank you so much to everyone who’s ever bothered to call/ write in/ message words of kindness. You have no idea how much motivation it offers to someone who spends most of their time worrying about spoons and spatulas. It’s easy to feel stupid or like you’re wasting your time while everyone’s employed at something more lucrative but every compliment lights the way.To spread the sunshine, here are some food writers I love to follow, who are doing amazing things out there in the big, bad blogosphere:

1. Tongue Ticklers: Also run by someone who juggles foodblogging and a day job, this site has incredible vegan recipes with some mindblowing food photography. There are lots of Indian food blogs out there but very few with this level of aesthetic polish.

2. Sugar and Charm: An old favourite, I’ve been following Eden Passante and her beautiful family’s adventures in California for over 3 years now. A very pretty, very pleasant, very feminine blog filled with design inspiration, photographs and mouthwatering dessert recipes.

3. M Loves M: Mara puts together some really charming outfits, simple recipes along with some great photos on this simple but elegant blog.

4. Passionate About Baking: Another Indian blog and this one has some hardcore, over the top desserts! Delightful to look at but a little intimidating to try, a lot of these recipes are on my ambitious to do list.

5. Sinfully Spicy: I realize I gravitate towards girly, dessert blogs and since we can’t survive on cookies and cobblers alone, I’m going to end with this blog that has some seriously delicious savoury dishes.

One thing all these blogs have in common is the superlative food photography, I wish I could intern with one of them to figure out how they do it! These are of course just 5 out of the hundreds of food blogs out there and maybe I can make this into a more regular series where I get you more lovely links.

The only problem with the world wide web is that it stretches so far and while I’d like to send each of these talented blog owners a batch of these decadent chocolate cookies with gooey chocolate filling, I can’t. I made these for a lunch my parents threw and realized that you never grow out of the desire for a crumbly, chocolaty, overload. Or at least my parent’s friends haven’t. And I haven’t either. These are their own reward.

 

Makes about a dozen cookies
Adapted from Good Food magazineWhat you’ll need:

200g dark chocolate
2 tbsp butter
1 egg
¼ cup sugar
¾ cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
About a cup of NutellaHow to:

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
2. Melt the chocolate and butter together.
3. Whisk the egg and sugar till light and fluffy.
4. Stir the flour and baking powder together. Sieve it in batches into the egg mixture.
Chill the dough for 30 minutes to firm it up.
5. Now for the tough part, make 2 inch balls out of the batter and roll it into a fat little circle. Spoon the Nutella into the centre and fold it up like a gujiya. Try to ball the batter into a little bit of a circle so that it bakes into a cookie shape.
Foodnote: As you know, as I repeatedly say, there’s no great value in making food very pretty. It’s best to focus on making it delicious. This cookie is going to be a gorgeous, deep chocolate beauty and nobody is going to judge you if it’s not a perfect circle.
Try to work the Nutella in the best you can, the more you can fit in, the better the cookie will be. Don’t worry about getting the shape perfect. I started out trying to make a dimsum sort of shape but I wasn’t able to work that one out so I picked this half moon instead. Eventually I’d manipulate the half moon into a sort of circle but you can see the cookies aren’t perfectly round even in the end.
6. Seal your little chocolate dimsums and refrigerate them again for about 10 – 20 minutes.
7. Plonk the cookies on a greased baking tray and bake for 10 minutes.
8. Let cool completely before devouring.