Candy Cane Brownies

I made these for a children's party, having been given the recipe to try. I buy candy canes every Christmas, and then always have some left over, so this is a good use for them.

You need:
125g butter
75g chocolate of your choice, milk or plain
200g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tspn vanilla extract
75g chopped nuts
3 candy canes - chopped

Preheat oven 150C/gas2                        Grease a 20x24cm cake tin

Melt the chocolate and butter over simmering heat. Don't let the mixture boil or the chocolate will be grainy.
Take pan off the heat and add the sugar, mixing quickly.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each.
Spoon in the flour, half at a time, beating well, then add the vanilla and nuts. Mix together well.
Spoon the batter into the tin and sprinkle over the chopped candy canes.
Bake for 20 mins.

I love this plate - I found it in a charity shop.
The children loved them, but were only allowed one each. They could be cut smaller, into bite-sized pieces. I like nuts in a brownie - gives a bit more texture - and the topping was sweet, but for an occasional treat they are great.


Spicy Chocolate Puddings

Thought I'd make a pudding instead of a cake, and this French one is a family favourite. It has my favourite spice, cinnamon in it, but you could change the spice to ginger, or maybe cardamon, both of which go well with chocolate,  or even add a bit of chilli powder.

 It's made in individual portions in ramekins.

You need: 200g dark chocolate, 4 tspn cinnamon, 50g plain flour, 100g butter, 50g caster sugar, 40g single cream and 4 eggs.

Preheat oven 200C/gas6                Grease 6 ramekin dishes well.

Break the chocolate into chunks, then add to a pan with the cream and butter over a bowl of simmering water. Beat the eggs with the sugar then add the melted chocolate mixture, cinnamon and flour and mix together well.
Spoon into the ramekins and bake for 9 mins. Leave to cool then turn out onto a plate.

It turns out like the infamous molten chocolate pudding, which has been the bane of contestants lives on Masterchef! The cinnamon gives it a lovely spicy flavour, and I love the smooth, runny chocolate centre. I always serve it with ice cream to give another texture.

Gratin de choux-fleur

 I was given a medium sized cauliflower and as it's not my favourite vegetable, struggled to know what to do with it. Have kept a few Fr...