Categories
Chocolate Food General Recipes

Dark Chocolate Strawberries Sprinkled with Toasted Brazil Nuts (a Quick and Healthy Dessert!)

Strawberries dipped in dark chocolate and coated in toasted nuts

I decided to stay in town for the long weekend because I wanted (had) to work on my thesis (it’s taking over my life!). So while it seemed like the whole world was outside enjoying the lovely spring weather, I was indoors all day, sitting at my desk, staring at this computer screen.

Earlier this afternoon, I felt particularly overwhelmed, and needed a little something to cheer myself up and keep me going on the chapter I was working on. So I went over to my pantry and picked out some snacks. I set out some dark chocolate covered biscuits and chocolate cream filled wafers on a plate and was about to walk away, when it occurred to me that I needed to add something more healthy to the mix. So I decided to make some chocolate covered strawberries!

Strawberries dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with toasted brazil nuts

The process is so simple that I don’t think it even makes sense to post a recipe. But, if you’ve never made chocolate covered strawberries, here are some simple tips.

Start off by melting some dark chocolate; you can use a microwave, just make sure to use a low heat setting, so as not to burn the chocolate.

If you’d like to sprinkle some nuts on the strawberries, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and toast some brazil nuts or hazelnuts on a baking tray for about 5-7 minutes, until they are fragrant. Once cooled, place the nuts in a tea towel and rub them against each other through the towel, in order to remove their skins. Then, crush the nuts with a mortar and pestle and set the crushed nuts aside.

In the meantime, wash the berries and dry them with a paper towel. Then, dip the berries in chocolate. I decided to leave the leaves on the strawberries as it’s easier to work with them that way, and I also think it’s easier to pick them up by the leaves when you want to eat them 🙂

You can use your hands to coat the strawberries in chocolate, like this:Dipping strawberries in chocolate

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If you don’t want to use your hands, or you’d like to take the leaves off, you can also use a fondue fork.

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After you’ve dipped each berry in the chocolate, place it on a plate covered in wax paper or parchment paper.

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If you’ve decided to add nuts to the mix, coat the chocolate covered strawberries in the crushed nuts. Let the berries be for a while, until the chocolate hardens, and then serve them. And there you have it, a simple and quick snack or dessert that’s very healthy!

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Categories
Food General Reviews

“Celery is an Insult to Human Dignity”

A while ago, I came across a diatribe against celery written by Mallory Ortberg that I could have written (I mean by this, that I feel as strongly about celery as the writer does, not that I could deliver as captivating and successful an attack on this horrid and depraved little vegetable as she does); it captures my feelings about celery, but could easily apply to many (most) vegetables 😛

Some gems from it include:

“Celery eater Martha Rose Shulman writes: “I’m a big fan of celery, both raw and cooked, as the main ingredient or as one of several featured ingredients in a dish,” and then proceeds to instruct her readers on how to cook and eat the thing, as if celery were capable of being eaten and digested, when everyone knows it just rolls around in the mouth, becoming more and more fibrous, until one is obliged to spit it out in a napkin.”

And in response to another writer’s claim that celery makes for a great main ingredient in a risotto because it stands up to the creamy rice Ortberg writes:

“Celery has two forms: a stiff and watery stalk that splinters into a thousand tangled splinters, or a brown and flaccid, steaming mush-corpse bristling with tender hairs. Creamy rice does not need to be “stood up to,” creamy rice is pleasant and inoffensive. Celery tastes like bundles of floss that have achieved sentience through anger and banded together to jam themselves permanently into your teeth.”

And the coup de grâce:

“Celery is an insult to human dignity.”

You can find the whole article here.

Categories
Baking Chocolate Food General Recipes

Whole-Wheat Double Chocolate Cookies

As I wrote in a previous post about my chocolate chip cookie recipe, cookies haven’t always been my favourite dessert or snack. I don’t mean that I don’t like them, I DO like them, and I certainly would never say no to a chocolate cookie. But, they aren’t usually the first thing I think of when I walk into my kitchen wanting to bake something. This has changed gradually, since my last cookie post, and I’ve been thinking and fantasizing about cookies more. I’ve been thinking, nay, dreaming especially about gooey, rich, chocolate chocolate chip cookies that are crisp on the outside, and gooey on the inside. (Really, over the past few weeks, I’ve actually taken a break from working without realizing it because my mind has wandered off from copyright law, meandered through various foods, lingered on fish tacos, and finally settled on visualizing chocolate cookies.)

So today, I finally decided to give it a shot and bake some double chocolate cookies! But, because I wanted an adventure and a challenge, I decided to try and bake the gooey-est, yummy-est cookies that I possibly could, using whole-wheat flour. It’s healthier than all-purpose flour you see. Also, I ended up buying 10 kilos of the stuff when my mother visited (she makes delicious Indian rotis for which we needed the flour), and haven’t used much of it since she left.

I was nervous at first; it seemed ill-advised. I wanted something decadent and delicious, and whole-wheat based baked goodies don’t usually taste very decadent or delicious. In my experience, they taste kind of, well, healthy. And by that I mean, rough, dry, and most importantly, the opposite of rich. But, I decided to give it a shot.

I was going to use chocolate and butter in the recipe, that was a given. But, using whole-wheat flour and brown sugar seemed like a good way to make the recipe a wee bit healthier than usual.

“Did they turn our well?”, you ask. Oh yes, indeed they did.

Healthy Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

They turned our so well that I was forced to resort to expletives to describe how good they tasted, when I first bit into one.

Healthy dark chocolate cookies

If you’d like to try baking them too, here’s what you’ll need:

1 cup whole-wheat flour (I used chapathi flour) (if you’re not a stickler about making the cookies completely whole-wheat, you could mix in 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, just so the cookies are a little smoother)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup dutch processed cocoa

1 teaspoon salt

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (be warned that using unsweetened chocolate instead results in a sour, bitter, dry and brittle cookie)

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated white sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon instant coffee

3 handfuls of dark chocolate chips (substitute some of the chips with toasted hazelnuts or macadamia nuts if you like)

Method: Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (you can also do this in a microwave, in which case, make sure to use a lot heat setting so as not to burn the chocolate). While the chocolate is melting, in a medium bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together. In a small bowl lightly whisk the eggs, sprinkle the coffee on top of the eggs, and set the bowl aside.

In a separate bowl beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Then, add the two types of sugar, and beat until smooth. Now, add the eggs, followed by vanilla extract, and finally the melted chocolate, all the while beating the mixture. Continue beating at medium to low-speed until the mixture is smooth.

Next, at a low-speed, beat in the dry ingredients. Once they’re mixed in, fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula, or your hand, until they are somewhat evenly distributed.

Your dough is now ready! (If you used your hands to mix the chips in, this is a great time to give the dough a taste.)

The final step involves dividing up the dough. It’s best to move to the dining table for this last step as it takes about 5-10 minutes, and you don’t really need access to things in the kitchen or the sink for this. Place a sheet of parchment-paper or wax-paper on a baking sheet. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out a little portion of the cookie dough on your palm and roll it into a ball. The size of this portion can very, depending on how large you want your cookies to be; I scooped out about a ping-pong ball sized amount. Roll the dough up into a ball, then flatten it a bit, into a little disc. Place the disc on the sheet. Continue doing this until all the dough is used up.

How to freeze cookie dough

You’re almost done! You can bake the cookie dough at this point. But, if you want to eat warm, fresh cookies everyday, whenever you want, just freeze the dough instead. If you’re having a party, and want to serve warm cookies at it, but can’t be bothered with baking them on the day of the party, then this freezing method works perfectly for that too. When the party starts, you can just pop the frozen dough-discs into the oven and then chat with friends over wine/martinis/etc., until they are ready.

To freeze the dough, place the baking sheet in the freezer for about 2 hours, until the dough is frozen. Then take the sheet out, place the balls in a freezer bag and pop them back into the freezer. Whenever you’re ready to eat a cookie (or three), pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees farenheit, place a dough-disc on a baking sheet covered with baking-paper and bake for 12 minutes, until the edges, and top seem firm. You might want to turn the tray around mid-way through, to ensure even baking.

It’s best to let the cookie cool a bit on the tray and then on a cooling rack. But if you’re impatient, that’s probably not going to happen.

Mmmm… these cookies were pure deliciousness!

Healthy, whole-wheat chocolate chip cookies

You could also enjoy it, all warm and gooey, with a glass of cold milk!

Categories
Food Recipes

Crabcake Burger

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I was swamped with work and feeling a bit out of sorts tonight, so I did the unthinkable, and decided to eat frozen crabcakes for dinner. The store downstairs sells them, which meant I could go down in my track pants and slippers and grab some.

I wanted to spruce the crabcakes up a bit though, with some fresh ingredients.  So I also grabbed some lettuce and a fresh ciabatta bun, and ended up throwing together a crabcake burger. It made for a pretty good, quick dinner tonight.

Here’s a close-up:

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The white stuff is sour cream, yoghurt,  rock salt, pepper, fresh chopped onions and a pinch of garlic salt- all whipped together.