Tag Archives: cocoa

Chocolate And Cherry Cake


This is a super moist cake that combines the classics of chocolate and cherry without any gluten or dairy!

I realise that adding cooked quinoa might seem very odd but it really does help here to keep the shape and certainly adds its own nuttiness.

I tend to cook a bigger quantity of quinoa, using some for a salad and reserving some for this cake.

I didn’t ice this cake as it’s for the school lunch boxes, just a little icing sugar over the top.


100g quinoa

250mls water

4 eggs, seperated

150g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

100g ground almonds

2x 415g tins cherries, drained and patted dry


Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Centigrade. Grease and line a 24cm ring cake tin.

Pour the quinoa into a pan, add the water, cover with a lid and bring up to the boil and simmer, covered for 13-15 minutes. Leaving the lid on, allow to sit, covered, for 5 minutes and then allow to cool.

Beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale and fluffy.

Fold in the vanilla and cocoa followed by the cooked quinoa and ground almonds.

With clean beaters, beat the egg whites until forming stiff peaks.

Gently fold a couple of tablespoons of egg white into the yolk mix, then gradually fold in the remaining egg white in three or four stages.

Sprinkle one third of the cherries over the base of the prepared tin.

Spoon over half of the cake batter, spreading it out gently.

Top with a third of the cherries again and the remaining cake batter. Sprinkle over the last cherries and pop into the oven.

Bake for 45 minutes until the edges of the cake are coming away from the pan.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the tin and then tip onto a baking rack to cool completely.

Cointreau and Chocolate Truffles


I am not a huge fan of desserts and puddings, but, give me a good cheese board and a chocolate truffle and I’m yours!

Once made the truffles only last for three days in the fridge but freeze really well.

Makes 16 x 2cm truffles.


175g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids

175mls cream

35g butter

45mls Cointreau

20mls Greek full fat yogurt

3 tablespoons cocoa powder


Process the chocolate until finely ground.

Heat the cream, butter and Cointreau in a pan over a medium to low heat.

Bring the cream up to the simmer point.

Turn the processor on with the ground chocolate, with the motor running, slowly pour the cream mix in, process until smooth.

Add the yogurt and process again.

Spoon the chocolate mixture onto a plate and pop into the fridge for 6 hours.

Pour the cocoa powder onto another plate, take small quantities of the truffle mix, roll into a ball and then roll in the cocoa, set aside and repeat with the remaining truffle mix.

Quick Chocolate Biscuits


Over the weekend the boys regularly have sporting commitments at their home teams court, oval or pitch. These cookies are quick to make and store well over the weekend to go to the  various sporting venues.

Recipe makes 30 biscuits. I often freeze the  unbaked dough for a quick bake when I don’t get much notice!


200g butter, at room temperature

100g caster sugar

30g cocoa powder

240g self raising flour


Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Centigrade.

Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.

Beat the butter and sugar until light.

Add the cocoa and flour, mix to a dough.

Roll small balls, 2-3cm.

Place on the baking sheet and then press gently with a fork.

Bake for 15-20mins.

Allow to cool slightly before moving to a wire cooling rack.

Bliss Balls


I hate to admit it but these might actually be reasonably healthy!

Raw ingredients and coconut oil make these little mouthfuls of deliciousness, and, did I mention, gluten free, dairy free and egg free, a winning recipe!

Makes 32.


200g ground hazelnuts

30g Dutch cocoa

120g desiccated coconut

250g dates

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 tablespoons coconut oil


Place the nuts, cocoa, half the coconut, dates, vanilla extract and coconut oil in a food processor and process until the mix is beginning to come together.

Pour the remaining coconut onto a plate.

Take small quantities of the nut mix, around 20g, and squeeze and then roll with your hands into a ball.

Next, roll in the desiccated coconut and pop into a paper case.

Repeat until all of the nut and date mix is all used up.

Red Rice Chilli with Beans


I often make this rice as a filling to go in burritos with grated cheese, grated egg, avocado and chopped tomatoes for our vegetarian meals, it also works well with some shredded chicken or left over smokey chilli, recipe in the blog.

For the gluten free free option I use corn tortillas and to make it dairy free use oil instead of ghee.

To use as a make ahead meal I fill the burritos, wrap in foil and reheat gently in the oven later in the day, I also freeze the burritos in their foil, deforst when needed and reheat in the oven.

Makes enough for 12 burritos or serves 6-8 as a side dish.


3 tablespoons ghee/butter

2 brown onions, sliced finely

3 medium tomatoes

2 chipotle chillies in adobe sauce

6 cloves of garlic

juice of 1 lime

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons cocoa power

2 teaspoons brown sugar

400g basmati rice

750mls water

2 x 400g tins kidney beans, drained and rinsed

2 teaspoons salt


Heat the ghee/butter in a large heavy based pan with a well fitting lid.

Add the onions and cook until golden and very soft, this can take 30mins plus.

While the onions are cooking, using a stick blender or processor, whizz the tomatoes, chipotle chillies with adobe sauce, garlic and lime juice to make a paste.

Once the onion is cooked add the paste to the pan with the smoked paprika, oregano, cocoa and brown sugar. Simmer for 5mins.

Add the rice and stir for 30 seconds, add the beans and water, stir and cover.

Bring up to the boil, covered,  reduce heat and cook for 15mins covered.

Turn heat off and allow to sit for 10mins, stir well to combine and check seasoning.



Smokey Beef Chilli with Black Beans


This is my all time favourite chilli dish, it can be made ahead of time at each stage, freezes well and feeds a crowd!

It is also surprisingly quick to make up before it goes in the oven for a long slow cook. I don’t brown the meat and instead leave the meat in the onion, garlic and spices overnight before throwing in the tomatoes and water, bringing it up to the boil and popping it in the oven.

I buy jarred peeled capsicums, lazy I know, I just check for seeds and then dice them, much easier than peeling fresh and saves time too!

I like my chilli quite thick so I often cook it uncovered for 90mins for the final stage but 60mins gives you a bit more liquid if that’s how you like it.

I serve it with rice, sour cream and a simple non spiced guacamole, avocado, lime and coriander.

I use leftovers to fill tortillas and top nachos or freeze in takeaway boxes as single potions with rice on the side.

Serves 10-12.

2.2kg beef, cubed into 3-5cm pieces

3 red onions, finely diced

8 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons ground coriander

1 tablespoon ground cumin

5 chipotle chillies and their adobe sauce, chopped

3 tablespoons oil

5 skinned and deseeded capsicums

2 dried ancho chillies, soaked for 30mins in very hot water, deseeded and chopped

1 teaspoon cayenne

1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika

2 tablespoons cocoa

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon salt

700mls sieved tomatoes

700mls water

4 tablespoons tomato paste

3x400g tins black beans, drained and rinsed


Combine the beef, onion, garlic, ground cumin and ground coriander in a large bowl or plastic bag, cover and leave overnight in the fridge.

Heat a large pan over medium to low heat, add the oil and once hot, add the contents of the bag except the beef.

Cook until the onion is soft and then add the beef, capsicum, ancho chillies, cayenne and smoked paprika. Stir well.

Preheat the oven to 160degrees Centigrade.

Add the cocoa, sugar, salt, sieved tomatoes, water and tomato paste, stir well and bring up to a simmer.

Cover with a piece of baking parchment and then the lid and place in the oven, bake for 3 hours.

After three hours, add the drained beans, stir well and place back in the oven for 60-90 minutes uncovered, until the chilli has thickened and the meat is falling apart.


Mini Chocolate Chip Muffins


To avoid a huge amount of waste I like to make mini muffins for school shindigs as often kids only take a bite or two of a big one and then go onto the next treat!

These muffins freeze well too so they are great for make ahead parties or for school lunch boxes.

Makes 40.


250g plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

3 tablespoons cocoa

150g caster sugar

200g chocolate chips, set some aside to sprinkle on top of the raw batter

250mls milk

100mls vegetable oil

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 180degrees Centigrade.

Line 2×24 mini muffin tins with paper cases.

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Combine the wet ingredients in a jug.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, mix briefly and spoon into paper cases.

Top with a few extra choc chips, pop in the oven.

Bake for 10-12mins, allow to cool on a wire rack.

Chocolate Chip Muffins – Gluten Free


Extra chocolatey muffins are always popular, the fact that they are gluten free is a massive bonus!

Makes 12.


125g ground almonds

75g rice flour

50g cornflour

50g coconut flour

220g chocolate chips

175g caster sugar

250mls milk

100mls vegetable oil

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Centigrade.

Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl, set a handful of chocolate chips aside to decorate with.

Combine the wet ingredients in a jug.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, mix lightly and spoon into prepared paper cases.

Sprinkle with a few choc chips.

Bake for 18mins.

Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Gluten Free Chocolate and Coconut Muffins


Light gluten free muffins with a little coconut to help them keep their shape!

The boys love them as a school lunch treat!

This recipe makes 12 muffins.


80g tapioca/arrowroot flour

80g glutinous rice flour

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

150g brown sugar

100g desiccated coconut

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

2 eggs, beaten

140mls milk

140mls vegetable oil


Preheat the oven to 170degrees Centigrade.

Line a twelve hole muffin tin with paper cases.

In a food processor, measure in the flours, cocoa, sugar, coconut, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.

Give it a whizz to get some air into it.

Add the eggs and then with the motor running, add the milk and oil.

You will have quite a runny batter! Don’t panic!

Now pour into the prepared cases.

Bake for 20mins until risen.

Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Chocolate Pudding


I seem to regularly have egg yolks left over and this is a great way to use them up.

Loved by the boys, this is a chocolate custard, served with a few strawberries in a fancy glass it can be quite sophisticated but it really is the ultimate nursery food!


150g caster sugar

40g cornflour

40g cocoa

625mls milk

4 egg yolks

50g butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


In a large pan, off the heat, whisk the sugar, cornflour and cocoa.

Slowly whisk in the milk, just a little at a time, followed by the yolks.

Over a medium heat, heat until near boiling, stirring all of the time.

Once it begins to thicken, lower the heat to low and cook for 1 minute.

Take off the heat, add the butter and vanilla, whisk until combined.

Pour into serving dishes and cover the top with plastic wrap, this will  stop a skin forming.

Allow to cool before serving, at least 3 hours.

Keeps in the fridge for 3 days.