A couple of weeks ago I saw a recipe for chilli with chocolate by Chrissie aka Slow Cooker Queen as part of the Slow Cooker Sunday linky. I’ve been meaning to make a chilli with chocolate for a while. We have chilli quite often, and there’s always chocolate in the fridge, so I don’t know why I haven’t done it before now – maybe because on the surface it seems like an odd combination so I don’t automatically think about reaching for a bar of chocolate when making chilli. As we currently have even more chocolate to get through than before Easter, I thought this would be a good time to use some in cooking as well as eating on its own.
This recipe is quite different from Chrissie’s, mainly because I made it veggie, and used my usual ingredients for a veggie chilli. I don’t eat any red meat, I just don’t like it; I will eat chicken and turkey if cooked for me, but in the last year or so I haven’t cooked any meat myself. We eat fish or pulses instead.
Despite the perhaps odd combination, it actually works really well. The chocolate flavour is subtle but there, and adds something to my usual simple chilli recipe. It’s a great way to get toddlers to eat vegetables too. I’d definitely recommend giving it a go…..
Ingredients – serves 6 (3 of us ate it and half went in our freezer for another day)
- 1 onion
- 1 tin kidney beans
- 1 tin borlotti beans
- 1 tin sweetcorn
- 1 carton chopped tomatoes (approx. 400g)
- 1 tsp hot chilli powder
- 50g chocolate
- 250ml hot stock (I use low salt)
- Chop the onion into small pieces, and chop the chocolate into small chunks.
- Drain all the tins of vegetables.
- Put all the ingredients into the slow cooker and cook for 6 hours.
- Put some rice on to boil 10 minutes before it’s ready.
- Serve the chilli and rice together, with a dollop of soured cream if you like the spice toned down a bit.
This might sound a bit wacky, but I promise you it works. Baking cakes with parsnip is no different really from carrot cakes. The cupcake recipe in my calendar for this month was simply a ginger one, but I’d been meaning to have a go at parsnip cake after the success of my chocolate beetroot cake, and I thought the flavour combination of parsnip and ginger would work well. With all the chocolate hanging around at the moment (that makes it sound like the chocolate needs an ASBO – I can assure you that it doesn’t!), these provide a lighter and different alternative.
Apart from the addition of parsnip, I changed the recipe quite a bit from the calendar one: I only put a small amount of sugar in, a third of what it says on the calendar, as the parsnip adds sweetness and I wanted to make some smaller ones to be toddler-friendly as well as some big adult-sized ones with icing on; I added some stem ginger, because in my opinion, if you’re going to have ginger, you might as well have proper chunks of fiery ginger rather than just ground stuff; I used honey instead of syrup, as usual; I made a few other changes too – so it’s nothing like the original really!
The instructions on the calendar said use a cake mixer. I don’t usually bother with one when baking, unless I’m whisking egg whites (I don’t enjoy the muscle ache afterwards when I do it by hand!), mainly because I don’t have one of those super duper fancy gadgets they have on the Great British Bake Off, just a small handheld one that cost about a fiver from Wilkos when I was a student many years ago. But as the calendar put the idea into my head, I was curious to see how the cakes worked out, particularly as I was guessing it would be quite a dense, moist mixture and therefore any extra air I could beat into it would not go amiss. As I suspected, even with the aerating skills of the electric mixer, the cakes didn’t rise massively, but I like the sticky, moist texture anyway, as is often the case with carrot cakes. I would say it’s fine to use either hand or machine in this recipe – whatever mood you happen to be in.
I think that’s all I wanted to waffle on about, so here’s what you do if you want to have a go yourself. Enjoy! Tom’s verdict: de-scrump-tu-licious!
Cakes – makes 10-12 big plus 10-12 small
- 250g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 175g margarine
- 120ml milk
- 40g brown sugar
- 4 tbsp honey
- 1 large parsnip
- 50g stem ginger, plus extra for decoration
- 50g margarine
- 100g icing sugar
- splash of ginger syrup from the stem ginger jar
- Pre-heat the oven to 170ºC (fan) and prepare a muffin tin with cupcake cases and a fairy cake tin with cases.
- Grate the parsnip, and chop the stem ginger into small chunks.
- With a spoon, mix the flour and ground spices in a large bowl.
- Put all the other ingredients apart from the parsnip and stem ginger into the bowl and mix with a mixer until well combined.
- Add the parsnip and stem ginger and fold in with a spoon until evenly distributed.
- Fill the cake cases to about three quarters full.
- Bake for about 25 minutes until golden on top and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
- Meanwhile, mix the ingredients together for the icing until smooth.
- Put into a piping bag and pipe onto the cooled cakes (big ones only!) in whatever design you wish.
- Finish with a small chunk of stem ginger on top. Perfect!
This week in the veg box we got 3 different sorts of root veg – carrot, parsnip and suede. I decided to make a chunky and hearty soup, which we ate with some crusty bread. The two flavours that I picked to go with the vegetables were honey and cumin, because I think these go particularly well with root veg. Until recently I haven’t been too keen on having honey with main course dishes – I’ve always thought of it as something to put in sweet eats. But as I’ve got more into parsnips, which I used to also find weirdly sweet for a vegetable, I’ve mellowed to the idea of having a hint of honey with them. It’s funny how your tastes change as you get older (or at least that’s what I’m finding!)
The recipe is really very simple, with not many ingredients at all; you just bung it all in the slow cooker and blend it when cooked – I kept it quite chunky so didn’t blend it too much. Here it is….
- 4 medium parsnips
- 1 small suede
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 litre hot vegetable stock (I use low salt)
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp cumin seeds
- ground pepper to season
- Cut the vegetables up into rough chunks – they don’t have to be very small or even.
- Put the veg, stock, honey and cumin seeds into the slow cooker pot and cook on low for 6 hours.
- Using a stick blender, blend the contents of the slow cooker pot until some of the veg has pureed but there are still some chunks left.
- Season with a grind of pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately with crusty bread. This also freezes well if there is any left over.