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Monday, 22 September 2008

Chocolate Custard Muffins

Yep, that's right!



M U F F I N S ! ! !

You are about to see a batch of superlicious muffins.
Soft, dark and luxurious...

But don't take my word for it, try them yourself. The recipe comes from The Guardian Weekend magazine, 26th April 2008 issue, and is by artisan baker Dan Lepard.

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PS. If you go to the recipe here, don't bother entering the competition because it's closed, and I've already won the book. ;)

Chocolate Custard Muffins

Adapted from The Guardian Weekend by Dan Lepard

50g cornflour (or cornstarch for those in the US)
3 level tbsp cocoa
100g dark soft brown sugar
225ml cold water
75g unsalted butter, cubed
125g dark chocolate, broken small
75ml sunflower oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
125g caster sugar
125g plain flour
2½ tsp baking powder

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.

Begin by making the custard. In a large saucepan, put the cornflour, cocoa, brown sugar and cold water. Whisk together over a medium heat until boiling, very thick and smooth.

Remove from the heat and beat in the butter and dark chocolate until both have melted and been absorbed.

Add the oil, vanilla and one of the eggs - beat until combined. Add the remaining egg and the caster sugar and beat until the mixture is smooth and combined.

In a mixing bowl, measure out the flour and baking powder and stir together. Sift this onto the custard and beat again until the flour is thoroughly combined.

Spoon into 12 paper muffin cases that have been put into a muffin pan and bake for 25 minutes.

You do not need any topping on these, they are rich, dark and sinful!

(Printable Recipe)

Click photo logo

The photo in this post is my entry for this month's 'Click', a monthly theme-based photography contest hosted by Jugalbandi. This month’s theme is: Crusts.


This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2008 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.


Monday, 15 September 2008

Balsamic Tomato Bruschetta with Grilled Blue Cheese

After a dismal summer, our garden tomatoes are finally beginning to ripen. The cherry tomatoes are really sweet and just about perfect for this recipe. I've mentioned my love for party food before, and - as if I really needed an excuse - couldn't wait to make some bruschetta with the tomatoes.

Susan, from Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy, is having a 'blogiversary bash'. Her food blog is turning one and I am going to the party. I can't wait to sample all the different dishes that have been cooked by food bloggers from around the world. Hope you are going to join in too!

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Balsamic Tomato Bruschetta with Grilled Blue Cheese
The recipe is easy, you can add different herbs to the tomatoes, and use your favourite cheese.
Measurements are just a guide.

8 oz of tomatoes, diced
A large pinch of dried herbs, e.g. oregano or mixed Mediterranean herbs
A large pinch of chilli powder, optional
A large pinch of sugar
1 tablespoon good balsamic vinegar
6 oz blue cheese crumbled, I used Stilton
½-1 French stick, sliced into ½" rounds
Fresh basil leaves

Dice the tomatoes and place in a bowl.
Add the herbs, chilli powder, sugar, balsamic vinegar and mix well. Season with salt and pepper and leave to marinate while grilling the bread.

Grill the bread slices on each side until golden.
Crumble the cheese over the grilled bread slices and grill until bubbling.

Remove from the grill. Using a slotted spoon to drain the balsamic vinegar, put a spoonful of the tomato mixture on top of the grilled cheese.
Pop a fresh basil leaf on top of the tomatoes and serve.

(Printable Recipe)

SGCC Blogiversary Bash logo

This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2008 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Calling all passionate UK cooks!


Are you a talented cook who is looking for that big break? Are you fiercely proud of your county and want to see it go all the way? Do you want to learn from some of the country’s finest chefs?

If the answer to these three questions is yes – then read on!

ITV Productions is looking for contestants to take part in a brand new, day-time cookery series called Taste the Nation. If you have a passion for food and want to represent your county in a national cookery knock-out, then this is the show for you.

But it gets better, you will be mentored and masterclassed by one of the Nation’s finest celebrity chefs and your cookery skills will be pushed to their max. You will also be judged by some of the country’s fiercest critics so this show is not for the faint hearted!

You can be an amateur or professional – but have one thing in common your talents in the kitchen could impress a celebrity chef.

We will be filming the series from November 2008 to February 2009. If you are not the one then perhaps you might come into contact with just the sort of people we want to find!

Please register your details on our phone line 09011 986 986 or email clearly stating your name, county and daytime contact number.

Terms and Conditions

You must be 16 years or older to apply. Calls cost 10p per call from BT landlines. Calls from other networks may be higher and from mobiles will be considerably more. Callers must be 16 or over. Lines close on Thursday 20th November 2008 at midday. Calls made after closing time won’t be counted, but may still be charged. We cannot guarantee that all applicants will be called back. Terms & conditions at

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Banoffee Cupcakes for SHF!

On a recent trip to Cambridge, I had to be pushed out of a bookshop which was closing for the night. I had been thumbing through a cupcake book, when I glimpsed a recipe titled 'Banoffee Cupcakes'.

Oooooooh...... banana..... toffee..... cake!

I needed those cupcakes, like right now, and on getting home, (before you could say World Wide Web), had found the recipe.

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If you like sticky, gooey and creamy - these are for you! The sponge has moist banana, intermingled with chopped, chewy toffees - and the topping... drool... has freshly whipped cream and caramelised banana dribbling with dulce de leche.
Gone are tasteless, dry cupcakes full of colouring, topped off with sickly buttercream. These cupcakes are modern, delicious and interesting!

I made mini ones, just the right size for a slice of banana, which I caramelised - because my blowtorch doesn't see the light of day nearly enough. I also made a larger sized cupcake with plain banana slices.

And you know what? I'm going to go back and buy that book!

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Banoffee Cupcakes
Adapted from Cupcakes by Susannah Blake
Makes approx 8-10, more if making mini ones

60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
70g light soft brown sugar
1 large egg
1 ripe banana, mashed
115g self-raising flour
50g chewy toffees, chopped

To decorate:
180ml double cream, whipped
3-4 tablespoons dulce de leche
1 banana, sliced
1-2 tablespoons caster sugar if caramelising the bananas

Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until creamy. Beat in the egg and fold in the mashed banana.

Sift the flour into the mixture and fold in. Gently fold in the chopped toffees.

Spoon the mixture into well greased muffin tins, or tins lined with cupcake cases.

Bake for about 16-18 minutes, until risen and springy to the touch. Mini cupcakes will take less time to cook, keep your eye on them.

Remove from tins and cool on a wire rack.

To decorate, pipe or spoon the whipped cream on the top of the cakes, top with slices of banana and drizzle with the dulce de leche.

If caramelising the banana, sprinkle some caster sugar on the slices and melt the sugar with a blowtorch or a hot grill. Leave to cool before using - the sugar should be crispy.

(Printable Recipe)

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This is my submission for the September edition of Sugar High Friday, being hosted by Fanny at Foodbeam. She's calling for creative, exciting cupcakes and I hope she's going to love this one.

This event was created by Jennifer at The Domestic Goddess. You can see all the previous themes here.

SHF Cupcakes


This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2008 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.