Chocolate orange cupcakes

My boyfriend has always been a big fan of Terry’s chocolate oranges, and whilst I have always liked them, would never have ranked them all that highly on my favourite chocolate list. But after buying a chocolate orange for him the other week (and eating a couple of pieces myself) I am now newly addicted to the things and find myself frequently craving a segment, or several, (the segment shape definitely adds to the enjoyment!) with a coffee after dinner. Baking chocolate orange cupcakes seemed like the logical and natural progression for such new addictions and cravings. And I think, to prove how fond I am becoming of the chocolate orange combination, whereas I would in almost every occasion err towards less butter-cream than more, finding most to be simply too sickly sweet, and with a flavour that can only be described as ‘sugar flavour’, in the instance of chocolate orange butter-cream, more is definitely preferable to less. Continue reading

Left-over chilli risotto

My first mouthful was a definite ‘yes’ moment. Left-over chilli, stirred into a risotto, creamy, tomatoey, spicy, a little meaty-beany, with a grating of cheddar melting over the top, this was near enough as comforting and happiness-inducing as food gets. Almost as good was the sense of satisfaction I felt on having managed to transform leftovers into something special. Yes, all that risotto stirring can seem a touch tedious, a lot of work to put into left-overs. Why not just have chilli and rice? Trust me, this is not at all comparable. The chilli ensures you do not end up with a disappointingly bland risotto, and the creaminess of the dish makes it soothing, comforting and totally worth all the stirring.

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Pear and ginger cake

Finally, after a week of unseasonally hot and sunny weather, it has turned cold and autumnal. Before you misunderstand me, I do not like the cold, in fact I hate the cold. But the fact that it is cold provides the perfect excuse to curl up inside, drink too much tea and cook and bake autumny, comforting foods, just like the cake we baked this evening, a warm from the oven pear and ginger cake. This cake was nothing fancy, nothing too sweet, just simple and soothing to eat. A moist, light sponge with gently warming notes of ginger and slices of soft, juicy pear. So light and not-too-sickly-sweet in fact, that my house-mate and I managed to eat half a cake between us. Autumn, I thank you, you are the perfect excuse  to seek comfort in cake. Continue reading