Sometimes I feel like a good healthy cleansing soup. This recipe is adapted from one of my Mum's. I like to make my own stock for this. Don't be put off - its easy peasy and takes less than 30 seconds. Honestly, you just throw a few things in a pot and cook them gently for 30 minutes, then strain through a sieve. Making your own stock ensures that you control exactly what goes into your soup, making it even more nutritious and delicious. It also ensures this soup is vegan and gluten free.
My daughter breaks up from school today and is having a friend over to celebrate. She put in a request for her favourite pudding, chocolate surprise pudding, earlier in the week. So really I have no excuse for discovering at 5pm, when I already have the butter sugar and flour measured out, that I haven't got any cocoa powder - the essential ingredient which creates the surprise.
There follows a moment of panic in which I flick through pudding cookbooks in search of a similar pudding recipe that doesn't use cocoa powder. This moment is followed by the realisation that all decent chocolate pudding recipes contain cocoa powder OR ridiculously large amount of chocolate, which I also don't have. Whilst weighing up the choice of jumping in the car and driving to the supermarket, ten minutes away, which would be, let's face it, a 30 minute round trip at least, for 2 tbsp of cocoa powder, or facing the disappointed faces, I suddenly had a brain wave. What is the closest thing to cocoa powder that I have in the house? Green and Black's Organic Hot Chocolate Drink. I decided to take a risk and substitute this for the cocoa powder - and face the consequences if it didn't work!
Well, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, of course. The verdict? This version was given 8/10 whereas the normal version always has 10/10, so if you have cocoa powder, use it! However, if not, then Green and Black's is a good alternative.
This recipe is one my Mum used to make all the time when we were kids, and I believe it came from her mother, so the actual origin is unknown. I am giving away a very special family secret by sharing this one with you. I hope you enjoy it!
Chocolate Surprise Pudding
1. Place all the Cake Ingredients, except for the milk, in a food processor or whisk together with an electric whisk. You will need to stop and scrape everything into the centre with a spatula half way through. When thoroughly combined, add the milk and whisk again until mixed in.
2. Tip the mixture into the prepared dish and smooth over with a spatula.
3. Sprinkle the dry sauce ingredients over the pudding to cover.
4. Pour over the boiled water. In preparation for placing in the oven, put a baking sheet on the bottom shelf of the oven (this catches any drips).
5. Place the pudding on the middle shelf of the preheated oven and bake for approx 30 mins. Check after 20 mins. If the sauce is bubbling up the sides and the top is browning too quickly turn the oven down for the last 10 minutes.
The pudding is ready when the sponge is firm all the way through. You can test this with your finger in the centre of the pudding and it should spring back. It should also start to split to reveal the sponge beneath. If you are not sure, carefully insert a skewer into the centre. It should come out without liquid sponge mix on it. (it may have sauce on it though).
Spicy and Fruity Couscous Salad
Half way through the week the contents of my fridge tend to be a bit random. Lunch today was therefore an improvised effort made with leftovers and bits and pieces found in the cupboards and the fridge, but it was so good I have to share it. I ate it first to check it really was as good as it looks.
The basis of the recipe is the spicy dressing and the couscous. You can vary the other ingredients combinations depending on what you've got available, but try and pick a combination of fruit, seeds and salad veg.
I'm crazy about yarn, Scotland, food, my husband and my three girls, and I live in a perpetual state of organised chaos. Some just call it creativity.