Mayan chili con carne

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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. It’s because I make this chili at least once a week, so I forget who I have been shouting about it to from the rooftops.
I can make this with my eyes closed, and although there are quite a few ingredients, you’ll see that it’s super easy to learn. It’s a blend of many different recipes, but it has one very important secret ingredient. I debated for a long time whether to tell you about my secret weapon, but I will – it’s dark chocolate. Apparently it’s how the Mayans used to make it, and it adds a depth and a richness that has people wondering what it is that makes this so special, without ever being able to completely put their finger on it.
And who doesn’t need another good reason to have some chocolate?

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Comments: 2, Author: Jessica, Category: Mains, Published: 13 June 2014

O for Oscar carrot cake

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My boy knows just exactly what my boy wants, so when he turned four last weekend, he of course had his word to say about the choice of cake. When he turned one, he wanted elephants; at two, he wanted gruffalo cupcakes. When he turned three he wanted a cake in the shape of the letter b (the reason for which we are still stumped today) and this year, he wanted not one, but two cakes.

One of those two requests was a cake shaped like an O, for Oscar (his name), and it also had to be orange, his favourite colour. Cue one happy mummy who had not only an excuse to make a healthy carrot cake, but an actual order for one from the little man himself. Win win.

I made the buttercream frosting orange by adding 3 drops of red and 7 drops of yellow colouring to the frosting, but the natural white option is much more elegant, so see what the occasion asks for. And don’t let anyone ever tell you that a cake with vegetables in it sounds vile, this beauty is just sweet enough, just moist enough, just spicy enough to make even my caramel-toothed grandmother melt and ask for a second helping.

Happy birthday, then, my little big Oscar man. Here’s looking forward to next year’s order.

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Comments: 0, Author: Jessica, Category: Cakes & Cookies, Published: 12 May 2014