Did you know there’s such a thing as a National Chocolate Week? There is, and it’s right now. Not that I need an excuse to celebrate or eat chocolate any day of the year! In this household the chocolate we buy regularly is Lind’ts 85%. That’s dark, very dark. But the little Tapita absolutely loves it. The other day I had the chocolate next to the beef I was buying in my basket at the supermarket and I thought to myself: “well, husband does add cocoa to his chilli, doesn’t he?”.
This Chocolatey Beef Stew makes a luscious sauce, enjoy with a nice glass of red wine if you can. Or a beer. Can you tell I am still off the alcohol due to my meds? At least I can eat chocolate, in everything it would appear.
I made this in my Instant Pot, you can make it in your stove-top pressure cooker if you have one. I like the Instant Pot because I don’t have to babysit it, I just leave it to it and I get on with life (or with putting my feet up). You will find all my Instant Pot recipes here and, if you’re a newbie, you will find my guide to get started here.
Ready to give it a go?
– 1 onion, large, chopped
– 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
– 1 stalk of celery, chopped
– Extra virgin olive oil or oil of your choice
– 1 tin of plum tomatoes
– 150 ml vegetable stock
– 100 ml red wine
– 600 g beef, diced (I used braising steak)
– 7 g porcini, a handful, add more if you have more (I was down to my last 7 g)
– 280 g mushrooms, quartered
– 220 g carrots, sliced in half cm coins
– 40g Lindt 85% chocolate (4 squares)
Note: if you have a Thermomix just stick in the bowl the onion, garlic and celery and chop on speed 5 for 5 seconds.
1. Press Sauté, add a dash of the oil of your choice, and fry the chopped onion, garlic and celery.
2. Add the beef and, if you have time, brown it using the Sauté button (if you do brown it, make sure you deglaze by adding a bit of red wine or stock and scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon at the end). Add the rest of the ingredients, stir. Lock the lid in. Steam release handle pointing to Sealing. Press Manual and programme 25 minutes, do a natural release at the end (the natural release is important).
3. If you would like to thicken the sauce, press Keep Warm/Cancel then press Sauté, then Adjust to set it to More and let it bubble with the lid off so that it reduces, stay near your pot as it happens quickly.
Tip: really nice served with mashed potatoes.
It was the fantastic Dave who put me onto a moist recipe for chocolate cake last week, it used beetroot and I just had to try it! I reduced the sugar a fair bit and adapted it to my use my Thermomix. This Dairy Free Chocolate Beetroot Cake is delicious and easy peasy.
I posted a photo of a slice of this cake on my Thermo Cooking UK with Feisty Tapas group and there were many requests for the recipe so here is what I did because you should all try this Dairy Free Chocolate Beetroot Cake as soon as you can and, in fact, if one of you could make it with your favourite GF stuff, I’d be most grateful for the feedback.
You can find all my Thermomix recipes here.
PS- If you are in the UK with your Thermomix, Kenwood KCook, KitchenAid Cook Processor, Tefal Cuisine Companion, Lakeland Multichef, Lidl Monsieur Cuisine, Aldi’s Multi Chef, etc, make sure you come join my Thermo Cooking UK Facebook group. It’s full of lovely people who support each other and it will get you using it regularly, we will also hold your hand during those first few weeks of ownership and through the difficult dishes because my Facebook communities have two mottos: there are no silly questions and we all learn together!
We also bake cake together so here we go, ready for the recipe?
250 g cooked beetroot, peeled (there is a G’s Fresh pack that is perfect for this as it’s the exact weight, or use your pressure cooker to cook beetroot quickly). If you cook your own from raw, cook extra and have it sliced with good extra virgin olive oil and a bit of salt, so good!
Half teaspoon vanilla extract
180 g caster sugar
250 g vegetable oil or do like me and realise half way through that you don’t have enough sunflower oil so used 130 g sunflower oil + 120 g extra virgin olive oil, Filipo Berio which is very mild in flavour and works well. You could try it with your favourite vegetable oil or all sunflower or all olive oil. If someone fancies it with coconut oil, please give it a go and report back.
225 g plain flour
One and a half teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda
One quarter teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cocoa (I used Green and Black’s)
You’ll need a baking tin slightly bigger than 20 cm. If using a 20 cm baking tin you will have enough mix for the tin and for 6 regular-sized cupcakes.
1. Preheat oven to 180ºC, mine is fan (so 200º for a conventional oven or gas mark 6, remember that every oven is different). Grease your tin, or line with parchment paper.
2. Place the cooked beetroot in your Thermie bowl to purée: first turbo it for a couple of seconds (in the TM31 you need to close the bowl and hold the Turbo button down for 2-3 seconds). Scrape down: 1 minute, speed 10 (get to speed 10 gradually). Scrape down.
3. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, sugar and oil in your Thermie’s mixing bowl: 1 minute at speed 4.
4. Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cocoa: 30 seconds, speed 4.
5. Pour mix into your greased / lined mould and bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes. Check that it has cooked through with a skewer, when it comes out clean (or get one of these Nordic Ware Cake Thermometers that the Feisty Tapas crew rates highly), it’s good to go. Let it cool down completely (although I must admit I pinched a bit while still slightly warm and it worked well).
Turrón de chocolate de Suchard is a Spanish classic. No nuts. No fancy pants ingredients. This one is fantastic to make with the children as a Christmas treat. Particularly easy in your Thermomix or thermo cooking gadget.
Now, the little Tapita quite likes darker chocolate so you may want to adapt this to have for example 225 g chocolate and 150 g Nutella instead of course (and then run back and tell me how it worked out).
For more Christmas Makes, make sure you check out this post with a list of things that the members of my Thermo Cooking UK with Feisty Tapas Facebook group have been making.
Of course you could make this in a bowl on the stove over a pan of hot water, it will be very easy to work out what to do.
If you have a Thermomix and you are in the UK, don’t forget to join my Facebook group here.
– 250 g Lindt Cooking Chocolate 70%
– 125 g Nutella or equivalent hazelnut chocolate spread
– 50 g Rice Krispies or equivalent (I used Waitrose’s Rice Pops)
If you have a rectangular silicon mould, you’re quids in. If you don’t line a rectangular tin like mine with non-stick parchment paper. Rectangular is best because that is the traditional shape of turrón.
1. Add the chocolate in chunks to the Thermomix bowl and chop: 15 seconds, going slowly from speed 5 to 9 (be ready for the noise!).
2. Lower any chocolate that may have climbed up the walls: 5 minutes, 50º, speed 2.
3. Add the 125 g chocolate spread: 20 seconds, speed 4.
4. Add the Rice Krispies: REVERSE, and on soft speed or 1, let them mix in with the chocolate for about 25 seconds. Lift the measuring cup and keep eye through the hole (use your phone’s flashlight if you don’t have enough lighting).
5. Spread evenly on your chosen mould, tapping against the surface a few times, fold the paper over to cover it and let it rest for a few hours until hard to the touch. No need to place it in the fridge, it will harden on the kitchen counter (unless you live in very hot climates and then you might have to use the fridge of course). When ready to serve cut into smallish rectangles with a very sharp knife.
Let’s face it, it doesn’t have to be perfect, we’re going for the homemade rustic touch here, above all if the children have helped you make it!
This is a favourite of every Spanish kid! Turrón de Suchard!
50g rice malt syrup
50g coconut oil
20g chia seeds
Speed 10, 5 seconds
Scrape down sides, add 20g water and mix again speed 3, 10 seconds.
70g rice malt syrup
70g coconut oil
Speed 2, 50 degrees, 2 minutes
Scrape down sides and give another quick mix if necessary.
Bring slice out of fridge and pour the chocolate on top. Spread it over the bottom layer evenly and place back in the fridge.
100g rolled oats
70g rice malt syrup
70g coconut oil
20g chia seeds
Speed 10, 10 seconds. Scrape down sides, repeat if you still have lots of large nut chunks (although if you like this texture feel free to leave the large chunks – personal preference!).
Pour onto the top of the slice and spread out evenly. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Remove, cut and serve. Store in an air tight container in the fridge.
I don’t often do reviews on the blog (despite being offered many a thing) but when Hotel Chocolat offered me an Easter Egg I had to say yes. By a review I mean that I received the Easter Egg free of charge in exchange for this post expressing my honest opinion.
I have known Hotel Chocolat ever since it was Chocolate Express in the late 90s. I joined their Chocolate Tasting Club in the early 2000s back in the day when I lived on my own and there was a whole drawer in my kitchen dedicated solely to chocolate. But I cancelled my membership last year (I think it was last year), I can’t remember exactly why but I think I was generally pissed off at deliveries and payments.
Ever since I’ve known Mr Tapas our Easter eggs have been Hotel Chocolat’s but then a couple of years ago we noticed a drop in quality and started buying them at the end of Easter/after Easter when they were half price, so I had an ulterior motive for accepting the egg: will I myself want to buy an Easter egg from Hotel Chocolat this year?
I received a Cow Beastie Egg, which retails at £15. I received it in the post and it arrived intact. First impressions once I opened the outer box were: is this all you get for £15? I knew they were expensive compared to other chocolate Easter eggs but I didn’t remember them being that expensive.
I put it away in a cupboard and a few days later I let the family dig in, my husband was very excited to be able to eat Easter Egg BEFORE Easter and it got a wow from LittleT who hadn’t yet seen it.
It includes one biggish hollow milk chocolate egg and six smaller eggs (three are salted caramel and three are praline).
Taste: there is no denying that it is good chocolate (I especially loved the salted caramel eggs).
Price: after trying it I would say it is slightly overpriced and, if I was buying it for myself or for us as a family, I would have probably bought a different egg from the range.
All in all, a rather pleasant chocolatey experience.
For those of you with allergies, it contains milk and nuts (no surprise there given that it is a milk chocolate set with praline), it also contains soya.
You can buy Hotel Chocolat’s wares online or in their shops dotted around the country. The one the Tapas household visits most often is the Cambridge one.
For those of you outside the UK, they deliver abroad.
Si os habeis quedado con ganas: envían al extranjero y si venís al Reino Unido a visitar, encontrareis tiendas repartidas por todo el país, no os las perdais, son excepcionales.