Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chocolate Beetroot Cake

This cake was inspired by a dream I had where Stephen Fry made a chocolate and beetroot cake for me. I had never heard of that combination before, but a little digging came up with this recipe. Sadly, Stephen Fry didn't serve it to me when I made it!

It's not for the fainthearted as the uncooked beetroot has quite a strong, earthy taste but it makes a change from plain chocolate cake.


250g butter, softened
325g dark muscavado sugar
4 medium eggs
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp cocoa
300g fresh beetroot, finely shredded
115g 70% cocoa chocolate, grated
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 180C.

In a bowl, mix together the softened butter and muscovado sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat the eggs and add them to the butter mixture gradually, mixing well.

Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder into the cake batter and stir well.

Add the grated beetroot to the cake mix together with the grated chocolate. Stir well to combine and add the vanilla essence.

Transfer the mixture to a buttered 23cm round cake tin and bake for 50-65 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes away cleanly.

This is quite a moist cake so depending on your oven, it may take a bit longer - don't worry, just cover the top of the cake loosely with foil to prevent it from burning.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Beefy dog biscuits

This was the special treat that I put into my Christmas hampers for Jasper, Bruno and Daisy (aka Moog). By all accounts, they loved them and as there is nothing particularly strange in them they can be eaten by anyone brave enough!

This recipe makes about 60 dog biscuits but they last forever in a ziplocked bag. The brewers yeast is essential and can be found in any health food shop. Baking yeast cannot be substituted as it is harmful to dogs.


375g plain flour
360g wholewheat flour
240g coarse wheatbran
120g cornmeal
8g garlic powder
15g brewers yeast
60g milk powder
710ml beef broth

Preheat oven to 150C

In a large mixing bowl combine the white flour, whole wheat flour, cracked wheat, cornmeal, garlic powder, brewer's yeast and instant milk.

Stir in 500ml of broth and mix the ingredients well using a wooden spoon. The dough should be very stiff. Gradually mix in the remaining 210ml broth to make a bread-dough consistency.

Roll the dough out to about 1cm thickness on a floured worktop. Cut out biscuits into any shape you want, cat shapes will probably go down well!

Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 45 minutes.

Turn oven off and leave the biscuits in the oven for at least 6 hrs or overnight so they are really hard.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ho-Ho-Hot Chocolate

I had never thought of making my own hot chocolate mix before. Which is crazy as I love the spiced hot chocolates that come out at Christmas time and have panic-bought loads of packets in the past so that I have enough to take me through January!

This is so easy as to almost not be a recipe. You do need a food processor to make it otherwise the chocolate would be a nightmare to grind finely enough.


150g good-quality 70% cocoa chocolate
125g Green and Blacks cocoa powder
140g granulated sugar
1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground clove

Break up the chocolate into individual squares.

Place all ingredients in a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process until mixture is powdery.

Be careful not to overprocess as the mixture will get hot and begin to melt!

Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
To turn it into hot chocolate, add 2 tbsp of the mix to a mug of hot milk.