Are you sick of eating Easter eggs yet? Well, neither am I, but I am sick of my usual healthy eating taking such a a pounding (she says as she demolishes a box of luxury chocolate canapés) so I thought I would write down a few of the ways you can use up some of those chocolate eggs from friends and family!
White chocolate Baba Ghannouj Dip –
Smooth dip that uses mainly aubergines, great for dipping flatbreads or crudités for younger kids, it’s yummy and really easy to make.
- 8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 4 medium aubergines, sliced in half lengthwise
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
- ⅔ cup tahini – health food stores generally have this and some supermarkets have even got a hold of it.
- 4 oz. white chocolate, melted and cooled
- 2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
- 1½ tsp. ground cumin
- 1½ tsp. paprika
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Pomegranate seeds, for garnish (optional)
- Toasted pita bread, for serving
1. Heat oven broiler on high. Place garlic and eggplants, skin side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; broil until tender and charred all over, about 20 minutes for garlic, and about 40 minutes for eggplant. Peel garlic and peel, seed eggplants, and scoop out flesh from eggplant; transfer to a food processor with juice, tahini, chocolate, half the parsley, the cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper; puree until smooth. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with remaining parsley and pomegranate seeds; serve with pita on the side for dipping.
Dark Chocolate Chilli Con Carne
Did Great Aunt Bessie send over a dark chocolate egg for your 8 month old this year? Well the chances are you won’t be feeding it to them and unless you have a hankering for eating a pile of dark chocolate yourself you will no doubt need to find a recipe for it. Well this is my new favourite way to do Chilli Con Carne. Its amazing – you will never go backwards!
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 large onion
- 1 red pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 heaped tsp hot chilli powder (or 1 level tbsp if you only have mild)
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 500g lean minced beef
- 1 beef stock cube
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- ½ tsp dried marjoram
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 410g can red kidney beans
- plain boiled long grain rice, to serve
- soured cream, to serve
- Prepare your vegetables. Chop 1 large onion into small dice, about 5mm square. The easiest way to do this is to cut the onion in half from root to tip, peel it and slice each half into thick matchsticks lengthways, not quite cutting all the way to the root end so they are still held together. Slice across the matchsticks into neat dice. Cut 1 red pepper in half lengthways, remove stalk and wash the seeds away, then chop. Peel and finely chop 2 garlic cloves.
- Start cooking. Put your pan on the hob over a medium heat. Add the oil and leave it for 1-2 minutes until hot (a little longer for an electric hob). Add the onions and cook, stirring fairly frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft, squidgy and slightly translucent. Tip in the garlic, red pepper, 1 heaped tsp hot chilli powder or 1 level tbsp mild chilli powder, 1 tsp paprika and 1 tsp ground cumin. Give it a good stir, then leave it to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Brown the 500g lean minced beef. Turn the heat up a bit, add the meat to the pan and break it up with your spoon or spatula. The mix should sizzle a bit when you add the mince. Keep stirring and prodding for at least 5 minutes, until all the mince is in uniform, mince-sized lumps and there are no more pink bits. Make sure you keep the heat hot enough for the meat to fry and become brown, rather than just stew.
- Making the sauce. Crumble 1 beef stock cube into 300ml hot water. Pour this into the pan with the mince mixture. Open 1 can of chopped tomatoes (400g can) and add these as well. Tip in ½ tsp dried marjoram and 1 tsp sugar, if using (see tip at the bottom), and add a good shake of salt and pepper. Squirt inabout 2 tbsp tomato purée and stir the sauce well.
- Simmer it gently. Bring the whole thing to the boil, give it a good stir and put a lid on the pan. Turn down the heat until it is gently bubbling and leave it for 20 minutes. You should check on the pan occasionally to stir it and make sure the sauce doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan or isn’t drying out. If it is, add a couple of tablespoons of water and make sure that the heat really is low enough. After simmering gently, the saucy mince mixture should look thick, moist and juicy.
- Bring on the beans. Drain and rinse 1 can of red kidney beans (410g can) in a sieve and stir them into the chilli pot. Bring to the boil again, and gently bubble without the lid for another 10 minutes, adding a little more water if it looks too dry. Taste a bit of the chilli and season. It will probably take a lot more seasoning than you think. Now replace the lid, turn off the heat and leave your chilli to stand for 10 minutes before serving, and relax. Leaving your chilli to stand is really important as it allows the flavours to mingle and the meat.
- Serve with soured cream and plain boiled long grain rice.
Dark Chocolate Classic Mexican Chicken Mole
A classic mexican dish that uses up the rest of that dark chocolate, this would be the ideal opportunity to try out a cultural evening with your kids (maybe lay off the chillies a bit if you are doing so though).
- 2 chillies
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 8 bone-in chicken thighs, skins removed (in my family we tend to stick with breasts, you can substitute if you wish).
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1½ tsp cinnamon
- 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 50g raisins
- 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
- 2 tbsp chipotle paste
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 25g dark chocolate (look for one with at least 70% cocoa solids)
- 1 small red onion, sliced into rings
- juice 1 lime, plus wedges to serve (optional)
- 150ml pot soured cream
- Put the chillies in a bowl and add enough boiling water to just cover. Leave to soften for 20 mins. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a flameproof casserole dish, season the chicken, then brown on all sides. You may have to do this in batches so you don’t overcrowd the dish. Remove to a plate. Add the onions to the dish and cook for 5 mins until softened. Add the spices and cook for 1 min until aromatic.
- Remove the chillies from their soaking liquid, reserving the liquid, and discard the stalks and seeds. Put in a food processor with 4 tbsp of the soaking liquid, the garlic and raisins. Whizz to a paste, then tip into the dish. Add the peanut butter, chipotle paste, tomatoes and 400ml water (fill up the tomato can and swirl to get all the tomato bits out). Return the chicken to the dish and season. Cover with a lid and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hr.
- Remove the chicken pieces to a plate. Using 2 forks, shred the meat and discard the bones. Return the chicken to the sauce, add the chocolate and continue cooking, uncovered, for 30 mins more. If the sauce looks like it’s getting a little too thick, add some of the chilli soaking liquid or some water.
Milk Chocolate Peanut sauce for Chicken Satay skewers
My boys love satay chicken skewers, and since we have no nut allergies in our family I like to do a satay sauce every so often. Its ideal for dipping the chicken in and will use up some of that wall of milk chocolate eggs you now have in your kitchen!
For the chicken skewers:
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into strips
- 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon BBQ rub
For the sauce:
- 1 lime, divided
- ½ cup smooth peanut butter
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoon vinegar (rice wine or white)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon asian chili sauce
- 1 oz (1/2 bar) Milk Chocolate, melted
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 package wooden satay sticks/skewers
1. In a medium bowl, combine chicken with soy sauce, BBQ Rub and the juice from ½ of a lime. Marinate for 20-30 minutes.
2. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine peanut butter, juice from remaining lime, water, vinegar, soy sauce and chili sauce. Heat at 20-second intervals, stirring in between until mixture is melted and smooth. Stir in Milk Chocolate, and reserve.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken until golden brown and cooked through, 2-3 minutes per side. Insert skewers into cooked chicken, transfer to plates, and serve with peanut dipping sauce.