Date Archives June 2015

Chocolate Mint Tart with Sugared Pistachios



y recent adventure to the colourful delights of Morocco has naturally fuelled my blogging obsession once again. I have, for this week at least, exhausted the classic tagine and now have only sweet treats on the mind. Green & Blacks recent emphasis on colour in our taste and perception can not only be reflected in their packaging but I couldn’t help but see this mirrored in Morocco which is a country that is summed up by colour and flavour. A feast for the eyes. With teasing fresh mint tea available in Morocco at any opportunity (whether requested or not) I stole this flavour inspiration using Green & Blacks new ‘Mint Crisp’ bar.

If you’re a chocolate connoisseur you’ll already have noticed Green & Blacks new bars – ‘Thins’ – so this won’t come as surprising news. Long ago I spotted the ‘Mint Crisp’ flavour and stocked up. I love this new format or bite-sized slices of flavoursome chocolate. Ironically here I’ve used the new ‘Thins’ bar in this recipe….which won’t make you that. But hey, the mint brings back the buzz of the Medina’s and Riads.


This tart is rich and dense. If you’re not a mint fan then feel free to make this soley dark or try using G&B’s salted caramel thins in stead. The crunchy topping adds a lovely texture but again can be substituted with pecans, walnuts, or almonds (which would go particularly well with the salted caramel bar). Devour with some clean simple ice cream or fruit.


  • 1 x quantity of shortcrust pastry (see here for recipe) made with additional small handful of desiccated coconut.


  • 150g Green & Blacks ‘Mint Crisp Chocolate’
  • 100g Green & Blacks dark 70-80% chocolate
  • 100ml single cream
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • 50g pistachios
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 1 large lime, zest only
  1. Start by making the pastry case according to the link above and using a deep 20cm wide pastry case. Add a handful of coconut to the flour if you like.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Set aside your blind baked pastry case while you make the filling.
  3. Mix the cream and milk together in a saucepan and heat until just about to come to the boil.
  4. Remove from the heat and break in the chocolate in small pieces. After a few minutes mix together until the chocolate is smooth and fully melted into the cream. Use a whisk to throughly combine the cream and melted chocolate.
  5. Leave to cool until lukewarm.
  6. When lukewarm, beat in the eggs and vanilla.
  7. Place the tart case on a baking tray and fill ¾ full with the chocolate filling.
  8. Place the tray on the oven shelf and once its stable, fill the tart to full with the remaining mixture (or as much as will fit int your tin! I had a little left over)
  9. Bake for about 20 minutes until just set and shiny.
  10. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.
  11. Meanwhile make the topping. Crush the nuts in a pestle and mortar until finely crushed but with a few chunks here and there.
  12. Toast the coconut in a dry hot frying pan until just beginning to colour golden and then add to the nuts. Stir in the lime zest and the sugar and combine.
  13. Once the tart has cooled, use this mixture to scatter over the top of the tart.

Amaretto Almond Brownies


hen my recent package of Green & Blacks experimentation chocolate arrived at my desk word soon transfused around the office that there was chocolate around. That said, with a weekend of chocolate haven on the cards, it wasn’t long before the first brownie request was publiszesd. Chocoaltes a perfect match for many wine ‘don’t you know’. All the more reason to open a bottle of something vintage then…?

Working within the wine industry my brownies naturally had to contain some form of alcohol! Amaretto and crunchy almonds to the rescue.

(Adapted from Brandt’s recipe)

Makes about 15 large brownies

  • 185g unsalted butter
  • 100g Green & Blacks ‘Butterscotch’ bar
  • 100g Green & Blacks Dark chocolate
  • 3 large eggs beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 260g caster sugar
  • 65g ground almonds
  • 40g plain flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 50g toasted flaked almonds
  • 8-10 amaretti biscuits, roughly crumbled
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line a brownie tin or tray (around 20cm x 20cm)
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan and then snap in the chocolate in small pieces and stir. Once the chocolate has thoroughly melted, whisk to combine. Leave to cool to room temperature
  3. Combine the sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, mix on high speed for a minute or so until pale, fluffy and aerated.
  4. Sieve together the flour, cocoa and almonds.
  5. When the chocolate has cooled whisk it into the sugar and eggs.
  6. Finally fold in the flour mixture until well combined
  7. Stir in the flaked almonds and all but a handful of the crumbled amaretti biscuits which you can save for the topping.
  8. Pour into the prepared baking tin and scatter over the remaining biscuits.
  9. bake int he centre of the oven. Timings are now a bit up to you. I baked mine for about 25-30 minutes (as I’m always scared of having a really raw brownie!) But these are a particualry gooey sort so won’t suffer too much from a few minutes longer and end up ‘cakey’ at the edges. Bake for 20-25 for a soft centre.
  10. Leave to cool completely in the tin before cutting. Ideally (I know this could come as a shock) leave for a few hours or in the fridge overnight to firm up a little to make them easier to cut.
  11. Devour with a rich strong coffee or amaretto shot. I’d suggest the former if its a Monday back at work in the office.

Roast Poussin, Creamy Leeks and Smoked Salt Fried Gnocchi

I’m no pasta lover (sorry Italy…and Nigella) but I am an occasional fried gnocchi lover. OK I may have been a tad patriotic on the cooking method but it turns out that fried gnocchi are a bit like mini roast potatoes. Bitesized. Dangerous. But delicious. After a continuous dose of Thai and Asian inspired dishes recently, followed by a delicious and flavour packed trip to Morocco, I fancied a bit more of a classic this evening. French poussin and mustardy creamy leeks were a delicious and comforting contrast to my ‘Englishly’ cooked Italian potato dumplings. Crispy and golden and seasoned with smoked salt.

Serves 2

  • 250g gnocchi
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp smoked salt (optional)
  • 2 large leeks
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 250ml single cream
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • Handful flatleaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 x poussin
  • 50g unsalted butter, softened
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place your poussin on a baking tray and smother the skin and legs with about 30g of the butter and season well.
  2. Place in the centre of the oven and roast for about 40-45minutes until cooked. Baste with the juices a few times during cooking.
  3. Once cooked, leave to rest before serving.
  4. Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter with a splash of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Slice the leeks in halve vertically and slice into chunks. Gently and slowly soften the leeks for about 15 minutes of so until really soft. Add the garlic and cook out for another few minutes.
  5. While the leeks are softening and the poussin is cooking, cook the gnocchi. Boil in salted water for 2 minutes and then drain well. Leave to dry out a little for a few minutes.
  6. Heat a frying pan on a high heat and add the sunflower oil. Fry the cooked gnocchi with the smoked salt in the oil until crispy and golden. Keep warm.
  7. When the poussin is nearly cooked and ready, turn the heat up a little with the leeks and add the cream. Simmer a little to thicken.
  8. Season well and add the mustard and all but a handful of parsley and stir thoroughly. Keep warm while you carve the poussin.
  9. Remove the meat from the oven or from where it has been resting. Carve off the breast and wings.
  10. Serve the creamy leeks in a warmed serving bowl and top with the poussin. Scatter round some fried gnocchi and sprinkle with the remaining parsley.
  11. Drizzle with a dash of lemon infused or plain extra virgin olive oil and serve!

WINE: This dish being creamy and weighty is delicious served with a classic wine pairing. Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc with some oak ageing and some natural acidity. Try this Mulderbosch, 2013 Faithful Hound White from Stellenbosch available at Armit Wines.

Jess - Mulderbosch

Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins

A recent speedy meal before an evening out for cocktails with my sister. Cocktails are pricey so it was a ‘use up the fridge’ meal….cheap, and always pleasantly surprising I find. What started as a quick bite consequently and unsurprisingly turned into my need to photograph and blog the whole scenario resulting in me having to wolf them down and then jump out of my running gear and into something more bar worthy….

Speedy meal for one!

Serves 1

  • 1 large sweet potato, stabbed all over with a knife
  • 1 red onion, sliced into half moons
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • A few slices of goats cheese, crumbled
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Heat a frying pan to a medium high heat. Add a splash of oil and soften the onions for about 10 minutes until soft and just beginning to brown. If they are catching, turn the temperature down.
  3. Meanwhile, cheat cook your potato in the microwaves for 7 minutes or until the middle is soft.
  4. Cut in half and leave to cook slightly. It will be very hot!
  5. When the onions are soft, turn up the heat and add the balsamic. Simmer gently until the onions are sticky and syrupy. Add the cumin seeds and remove from the heat.
  6. Scoop the flesh of the potato into a large bowl.
  7. Place the skins on baking tray and drizzle with a little oil and season. Crisp them up in the hot oven for a bout 5 minutes or so (check to make sure they don’t burn!)
  8. Meanwhile, season the potato flesh in the bowl and add the chopped parsley, onions and crumble in the goats cheese.
  9. Mix thoroughly. When the skins are crisp, remove from the oven and stuff with the mixture.
  10. Place back in the oven for 5 minutes or so to warm through.
  11. Devour with a crisp fresh salad.