Chocolate Please!

 I first thought of writing about Nigella Lawson’s How To Eat when I joined the Soup’s On! Challenge as it’s one of her books that I have used a lot. It’s a long book – over 500 pages, nearly all covered in words, with just a few pages of photos. I love just dipping into it and reading for pleasure even if I don’t cook from it that day. 

But today I want to write about another one of her books – Nigella Bites. Sharon has already written about it – see here – but she has not written about the recipe that I made at the weekend.

On our recent visit to Suffolk we stayed near Peasenhall, which is where you can find the most wonderful shop – Emmett’s, which has been trading since 1840. You can order on-line too. They specialise in Suffolk ham and bacon but there are also other delicious goodies for sale – Spanish Charcuterie, a fantastic selection of British cheeses, honey, dried fruit and Greek olives, the best olives I’ve ever tasted in England. The aroma is simply stunning as you enter the shop and most enticing of all for me was the display of chocolate – plain, milk and white chocolate, chocolate with almonds or hazelnuts dried apricots coated in chocolate, crystalised ginger in chocolate, orange and lemon peel strips in chocolate – simply divine handmade Spanish chocolate. I bought some, ate some and brought some home.

Nigella Bites has some unusual recipes, such as Ham in Coca-Cola, Elvis Presley’s Fried Peanut-Butter and Banana Sandwich and Deep-Fried Bounties with Pineapple, none of which I’ve tried. There are more traditional recipes, including mashed potato and rice pudding, Sunday lunch and Sticky Toffee Pudding.

But the recipe for me is her Chocolate Pots, which is so easy to make and tastes out of this world (sorry about all the cliches). You use 175g of the best quality chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids (Emmett’s sells this and the 80% as well!), double cream (150ml), milk (100ml), 1 egg, real vanilla extract (half a teaspoon) and allspice (half a teaspoon).

Nigella writes – “Crush the chocolate to smithereens in a food processor ” – this is a satisfying if noisy process. Then you heat the milk and cream add the vanilla and allspice to the chocolate and wait 30 seconds then whizz up for 30 seconds, add the egg and process again for 45 seconds. Pour into little pots (Nigella says it makes 8 little pots of approximately 60ml, but I used 4!) and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight. Take them out about 20 minutes before eating.