Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Slippery Slope of Fame (Ahem)

So the MAD blog awards – those for which voting ends NEXT WEEK (see the badge to the right?  Please click on it and do your civic duty... At the very least I promise to post pictures from the awards ceremony of me being 36 weeks pregnant looking on in a mixture of jealousy and disgust as the Man necks free booze) - are being sponsored by various companies.  

Best Food Blog (MY category) is being sponsored by Brabantia.  Yes, the bin people.  Which, when you think about it, makes perfect sense, being where most of the food I prepare for the offspring ends up.  Out of curiosity I wandered onto their website, and am now suffering from serious kitchen envy.  Go check it out,  gaze in astonishment at a world which small people do not inhabit, long for a life where sticky hands and snot-marks on surfaces are a figment of your depraved imagination...  And then look at all the gadgetry they make.  Not just bins!  Very very cool suff indeed. Stuff that would make our Brabantia bin look a little less out of place in a sea of filthy chaos. (And if you'd like to see a guest blog I've done for them, click here.)

AND THEN THE MAGIC HAPPENED.  A very nice lady at Brabantia contacted me and asked if I’ve like some of the cool stuff. And very calmly and collectedly, I said Yes Please, then whooped and jumped about the room for a bit. A few days later a very large box indeed arrived with my name on it and I shed a tear for my old life, the one before free stuff, and the Boy asked me if it was Christmas, and I said no, it’s better than that, and I hugged him close and whispered “Stay gold, Ponyboy”, and then I had to go lie down for a bit.

Once I recovered, I plundered my loot.  Linen?  Check.  Cakestand?  Check.  Mixing bowl?  Check.  Kitchen scales?  Check check check.

Clearly someone wants me to bake a cake.  And so I did.

But first, more about the booty. Check out these scales: 

Aren’t they the dinkiest things you’ve ever seen? They’re no bigger than my hand (admittedly I have rather large man-hands) and just fabulous.  I am driving everyone mad by weighing everything out at every meal time (which, given how large I’m getting, may not be any bad thing), then pressing the buttons which resets it, and adding more, then resetting it again and again, until FINALLY I have a large portion of nutty sugary muesli, but at only a fraction of its true weight.  See?  Fabulous.  

And then the mixing bowl.  I appreciate that it’s a sad indictment of my life that I get excited about a mixing bowl, but when your old (plastic) one smells of vomit and olbas oil, it’s hardly surprising that a new one, made of titanium (ok, not really) and etched with measurements inside, and with a rubbery thing on the bottom to stop it slipping (I’m pretty good at this promotional stuff, no?*) will set me in a tizz.   

And so I put the two together – like so:

- did some bits and pieces, and eventually ended up with this:

Which I know is a far cry from all the Jubilee bakery extravaganzas going on up and down the country at the moment, but it’s the most you’re going to get out of me at the moment.   It helps that it’s utterly delicious too. 

Lemon Poppy-seed Cake (adapted from Dan Lepard;  his poppy-seedless version is quite wonderful too)
You need (for one loaf):

  • 50ml sunflower oil
  • 50g butter
  • Juice and zest of 2 large lemons
  • 150g castor sugar (for my US friends, this is just fine sugar – halfway between regular granulated stuff and confectioners’ / powder sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 150g plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 30g Poppy seeds
  • Icing:  Juice of 1 lemon + 75g icing (confectioners’) sugar.

Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 4G, and line a loaf tin with baking paper.
Melt the butter and mix with the sunflower oil in a largeish bowl.  Add the eggs, sugar and lemon zest (retain the juice) and whisk until smooth, then stir in the almonds.
In a separate bowl sift the flour, cornflour, baking powder and poppy seeds, then add half to the egg mixture.  Add the lemon juice from the 2 lemons (or more, if you like it really lemony), then the remaining flour mixture, and mix well. 
Fold into the papered tin, and stick in the oven for 45 minutes or so. 
Meanwhile mix the icing sugar with the other lemon juice (adding a couple of spoons of crème fraiche if you’re feeling decadent, as I was), and pour over the top of the cake when you take it out of the oven (I left it too late, and so the icing mix didn’t get properly absorbed, which wasn’t the  greatest calamity, but next time I’ll do it while the cake is still hot). 

Leave to cool, place on a fancy cake stand, and sit back and gaze at it as you wonder where on earth you’re going to store all the free clothes and shoes and bags that are bound to come flooding in ANY DAY NOW...

(*It really is good.  Seriously.  I may have no honour and be dizzy with gratitude for the lovely gifts, as well as happy to bang on about anything that’s sent to me [Green&Blacks, ARE YOU LISTENING??], but actually I really do rate their products.  Even if the bin isn’t cleaned as much as it could be.)

Friday, 25 May 2012

Full of it

The Boy is currently full of love.  I brought the Girl away for a few days last week, just the two of us (easy, bliss, almost fun), and since we’ve been back he LOVES everything. But mainly, he loves me.  “I LOVE YOU MUMMY”, several times a day.  It’s quite disconcerting actually - I brace myself for a thump and instead get a great big wet kiss, smack on the lips.  Unfortunately for the Boy this doesn’t always result in an act of reciprocity; big wet kisses are one of the casualties of my pregnancy, making my stomach turn (possibly a Darwinian-esque act of self preservation, to prevent self getting knocked up AGAIN).  He doesn’t seem to notice, or care however.  Off he goes, throwing his love at all and sundry.  (I LOVE YOU STRAWBERRIES!  AND I LOVE YOU LADYBIRD!   And Mr Ant!  I LOVE YOU SO MUCH I AM GOING TO SQUISH YOU DEAD.)

The Girl is oblivious to – and largely, un-receiving of – most of this.  For her part, she is now as full of words as he is of love.   To the untrained ear, it’s mainly babble.  So to prevent confusion, on the off-chance that you happen upon her, here’s an easy-to-use Girl-Speak / English mini dictionary of her most common words:

Dack? Please may I have a snack, Mummy dearest?
Dallo?  Daddy please can you move your head so I can take your pillow?  Thanks.
DALLO! Move your fucking head
Dip?  I’ve been awake for a few minutes, so I think it’s time for hummus
Dicks!  And breadsticks
Dollo?  Has anyone seen Dolly? 
Dollo!  Why! There you are, you mangy filthy scrap of Chinese plastic.  Imagine being where I left you five minutes ago.  I’ve missed you soooooooooo much.
Doos?  Please can you either put my shoes on or take them off (depending on circumstances).
DOOS!  There is something in my shoe, possibly an errand sock, causing me discomfort.  You moron.
DOP:  Stop it. Now.
EAT!  See this?  It’s my mouth.  Put something in it.
Lolo?  I rather fancy some yoghurt.  Not the stuff with bits in it.  (cf also “Yuck”)
Lolo!  Hey!  Look how cool it is when the yoghurt flies through the air like that!
Poo Poo?  Something is happening in my bottom region.  I’m not entirely sure what. It could go either way 
POO POO!  Hehehe! I’ve got  something fo-or youuuuuuuuuuuu...
Potty!  I’d quite like to circle this plastic bucket thing for a few hours, while simultaneously pissing repeatedly all over the floor.  If that’s ok? 
Woof Woof!  Look!  It’s a dog!  On a string!  Oh pleasepleasepleaseplease can I put my hand in its mouth?  What do you mean Don’t Pull Its Tail?  OW-OW-OW
Y-eye-yon:  Oh Lion, small stuffed yellow thing smelling slightly of vomit and crusted with snot, how much do I love thee, oh apple of my eye? Let me hold you tight and NEVERLETYOUGO.  You are the only one who understands me.  Fancy sticking your nose in my bottom?
YUCK:  Not for me, thanks.
YURGHARGHJA! You think you can bitch-slap me around with your big boy hands, do you? How about a hair-pull...  Oh yeah?  You’re not so tough now, are you, with your stupid kisses and your FULLOFLOVE.  I’ll show you love, MUMMYSBOY

I, for the record, as well as being full of child, am full of salads.  The sun is shining! (For non-Englanders, this is really quite a massive turn of events). I need something crispy and fresh to offset the endless ways I’ve been serving chocolate...

Here’s my current favourite, courtesy of Mr Veg himself, Hugh Fearnley-W.   It sounds a bit dull and coleslawy, but actually it’s fabulous.  Easy, quick and delicious. Make twice as much as you think you’ll eat.   Goes well with sunshine, hummus and flatbread.  And a teeny cheeky glass of rose.

Grated Carrots with Peanuts and Cumin.  Oh, and Orange.

You need (for 2, very generously)
  • Large handful of nuts (HFW uses cashews, I’ve used peanuts. I think anything nutty will work)
  • Tablespoon of cumin seeds
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 orange
  • Dash each of wine / cider vinegar, and olive oil
  • Handful of coriander (optional).

In a dry frying pan, toast the nuts for a couple of minutes;  just before they start to brown add the cumin seeds, stir a bit, and leave for another minute. 
Grate the carrots into the salad bowl (HFW has you cutting them into sticks;  I think grating is easier to do, and easier to eat)
Zest the orange over the bowl, then peel it – again over the bowl – and slice / cut into chunks. Add to the carrots.
Throw in the nuts and cumin, and the coriander (if using - which I recommend) and stir well. 
Add as much olive oil and vinegar as you like, to taste.  Salt and pepper if you want.  A dash of OJ if you have some lurking in the fridge. Mix well, gobble up, then pick-pick-pick at the leftovers.  

Et voila.  A salad guaranteed to fill you with love.   

Friday, 18 May 2012

A Tale of Two Dinners

Like many parents who dimly recall a time when they could just chose a restaurant and go to it whenever they felt like it enjoy eating out, we dream of raising our children to have great table-manners, to sit quietly throughout meal times, and to, eventually, be the perfect dinner companions.  In short, we dream of being able to bring them to restaurants where they will SIT STILL for-God’s-sake for more than 7 minutes, chose something other than pasta-pomodoro from the menu, and occasionally smile.  (Not spit.)

I think of this on the rare occasion when we – the adults – now go out for a grown-up dinner.  At some point in the evening I’ll suddenly remember I have children (usually about the same time I realise I don’t know the baby-sitter’s second name, don’t have their phone number, and in any event have left my phone at home) and spend a few seconds trying to imagine having them with us, then and there... After nearly four years of my mind going blank at this point, perhaps it’s time to give up that dream for good. 

I don’t tho’.  Stubborn and misguided that I am, I still cling to the hope that someday, we’ll spend a mealtime, en famille, somewhere quite nice.

Like the fantastic restaurant we went to last weekend, for instance, which I’ve since learnt is quite the In Place in London at the moment.  It was fabulous from start (“Oooh, glass of champagne? YES PLEASE”) to finish (“Oooh, any one of a number of digestifs, served to the twinkling of a bar-side piano?  YES PL... Actually, water is fine. Gah.”) – incredible food, cool surroundings, great service – which, on top of all that, had two stand-out events.  The first was the arrival of a man who looked exactly like Michael Caine;  and lo!  - if it wasn’t Sir Michael himself.   (And with that, I – natch - started to project fame onto every diner [and staff member]  much to the Man’s annoyance).  The second was the even more exciting arrival later on of the most sublime cookies I’ve ever tasted.  (So much so that I got some to take away, to bribe the children with the next morning - which, it goes without saying, never made it to the next morning.)   Anyway, there isn’t a hope in hell that the kids could ever fit into those surroundings.  I barely do, for goodness sakes, and I’ve had years of practice.

With this in mind, I decided to lower our eating-out standards.  And so it came to pass that we found ourselves walking through the unhallowed Golden Arches... Yes. Reader, they had their first McDonald’s experience. (Suddenly the nice people at the MADs start to twitch and mutter “Best Food Blog nomination?  I TOLD you it was madness....” ).   

I haven’t been to a McDonald’s in about 25 years (apart from a very hungover bathroom  pit-stop in Florida last year, when I was so ill that I contemplated lying down on the bathroom floor), when I was about 14 and had a mouthful of metal.   An American tourist who was sitting at a table full of BOYS - an exotic, and largely forbidden species - leant over to me and asked what would happen if I kissed a boy who also had braces – would our mouths get intertwined?  The entire table – all those BOYS, the SHAME – erupted into laughter, and I DIED A DEATH inside and don’t think I’ve ever fully recovered.  It’s no wonder really I’ve never been back. 

So there we were, just finished a class with the Boy, and I was invited along with all the other parents and kids. What was I to do - sniff and head to the pizzeria next door? (Which is what every bone in my body was telling me to do;  as well as being a complete food snob, I think that teenage trauma still lingers).  In we went. (On a side point - the arches are no longer golden!  And where’s the freaky clown man?) Being the precious little beast that he is, the Boy sat at a table and waited to be served (he must have thought he was at home).  So I served him (and her):  fish fingers, carrot sticks, and orange juice.  Oh ok, and fries.  Unbelievably, they didn’t touch a thing (apart from the ketchup, which they ate by the fingerful).   Which I wish I could say was down to their superior upbringing and innate foodiness, but in fact was a result of their sudden realisation that they could run around without their harridan mother shrieking, pointlessly, at them.  To be honest I was – most unusually - quite happy for them to run around and ignore their food, because while it was incredibly cheap - £2.50 for a meal – it really wasn’t nice what they’re used to.  Very salty FOR OUR TASTES (Note to McD lawyers: note reference to personal experience, as opposed to general statement of quality, or otherwise, of food...) and quite honestly, I thought for a moment that they’d given us strangely-shaped chicken nuggets instead of fish fingers (for those lawyers again – I THOUGHT THIS because I’m not used to the food. Not saying it all tastes the same or has a similar texture or anything...).  So anyway, they ran around like cats on fire while the other mums cast each other furtive glances and leant into each other to better hear themselves above the din, and I sat there thinking I wish I’d sat with my back to the window, when really I should probably have been slurping a chocolate milkshake and an apple pie, and been transported back to my teenage years.  (Or possibly not).  Eventually I scooped them up, and we went home and had this fried rice.

Anyway, this is the perfect time for a segue into a recipe for fish-fingers and  chips, but I think I’ll go with the other dining experience.   I emailed the restaurant to see if they’d share the cookie recipe with me and guess what?  They did! Within about 5 minutes of me asking, AND were very happy for me to reproduce the recipe on the blog.  Now that’s what I call great service. 

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies (with thanks to Phil Usher of 34 for his generosity in sharing – I think I would have kept these all to myself)

You need: (for 18 cookies;  the original recipe had twice the quantities.  I don’t need any excuse to eat 36 cookies, so for the sake of my waistline [at least let me pretend I still have one?] I cut the amount in half.  Double up if you have more self-restraint – or children - than I do. )
  • 90g flour
  • ¼  teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 60g soft unsalted butter
  • 35g dark brown sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • ½ a beaten egg
  • Heaped tablespoon peanut butter
  • 100g white chocolate buttons (smashed up) (I used milk chocolate, which worked perfectly also)
  • 50g crushed plain peanuts

Preheat the oven to 180c.
In a blender, cream the butter with the caster sugar, peanut butter and dark brown sugar until light and fluffy.  
Add the egg gradually then the sieved flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda.
Stir in the crushed peanuts and broken chocolate chips. 
Roll out the biscuit mixture into a sausage shape, as wide as you want the cookies to be,  and cut to desired thickness. 
Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper, bake for 6-8 minutes, then leave to cool.  Which, thankfully, only takes a few minutes.

Eat with a super-sized milkshake.  (Or not.) 

Thursday, 10 May 2012

And the Award for the Most Boring Post goes to...

I’ve been struggling a bit this week.  Not because of the P thing – or rather, not only because of the P thing – but I’m just a bit bored with myself at the moment.  Blah-blah-blah whine-whine-whine sober-sober-sober.  That’s about it really.  Such fun to be me.

But then I found out that I’m into the finalists for a blogging award, and so now I’m torn between rather high levels of excitement, and... well,  slight shame. 

The award, you see, is for Best Food Blog.

And while certainly some evidence might indicate that this is something of a food blog (the recipes, the photos, the, um, recipes...), when I look at the other finalists, I think – blimey.  They have proper photos and everything.  But RL?  As far as I’m concerned it’s primarily an online version of me muttering under my breath, and bossing people about (two things I do very well).  Occasionally I have it in mind that perhaps I’m performing something of a social service  (to all you parents out there (a) you are NOT ALONE,  and (b) you are almost certainly a better parent that I am) but really and truly, I’ve never thought of this as a food blog.

But I don’t want to do a disservice to all of you who voted for me.  THANK YOU.  And to the lovely, intelligent, beautiful judges who clearly felt sorry for me, given My Condition, and kept me on board - thank you too. 

Even though I feel like a COMPLETE FRAUD* (seriously – Best Food Blog???), it’s made my day.  I promise I’ll try harder with the photos in future.  (Tho' I can’t make any similar promises about my parenting.)  

So now that the ante has been upped, I thought I’d better start making more of an effort.  Not only with the presentation of the recipes on my FOOD BLOG, but actually with what I make at home.  The bottom line is, as well as being boring, I’m terminally lazy.  If a recipe calls for more than two cooking steps or makes even a bit of a mess, then I back away. 

I made an exception for this, however.  Primarily because it pulls together two of my favourite things:  puff pastry (ready-made!  ready-rolled!) and cheese.  (Ah, cheese.  How much do I love thee,  food of Satan.) 

I can’t, alas, attest to the family-friendliness of them, as I scoffed the lot in one evening.   (Who ate all the pies?  The large ravenous bird, natch.)

Popeye Pie
You need (For 4.  Or 1, Full With Child)
  • One pack of ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 500g spinach
  • 200g pack of feta cheese, cut into small chunks
  • 2 or 3 spring onions, chopped
  • Squeeze of lemon Juice
  • Handful of pinenuts
  • 2 eggs
  • Olive oil, for frying

Preheat the oven to 200 / gas 6.

Heat the oil in a large deep saucepan, and fry the spring onions until soft – about 5 minutes. 

Shred the spinach as finely as you can, wash it, and drain, and throw it in on top of the spring onions.  Cover the pan until the spinach has completely wilted, then squeeze it against the side of the pan with the back of a wooden spoon, to release excess water.  With as much dexterity as you can muster, drain away the fluid (it’s ok to pick the cooked spinach out of the sink and put it back in the pan – just don’t let anyone see you). 

Toast the pinenuts in a dry frying pan, and add to the spinach in the pan.  Throw in the feta, the lemon, and most of the egg, stirring well to prevent the eggs from cooking.  (You want to leave about a tablespoon of egg for brushing the pastry.)

Unroll the majesty that is ready-made puff pastry, and cut into 8 squares.   Place one square on a baking tray (oiled, or lined with baking paper), put a couple of large tablespoons of the spinach mix on one half, and fold the pasty over to cover.  Seal the pastry by pressing down on the edges with a fork – you can get arty with this if you like. Repeat with each of the pastry squares. 

Brush them all with some of the beaten egg, stab a hole in the top, and put into the hot oven until golden brown and crispy.

By this stage you have probably lost the will to live, and be cursing your stupidity in getting fancy with the cooking. But fear not!  Soon - about 20-25 mins - you will have your very own bundle of joy to coo over,  and then GOBBLE UP. 

Honestly, it’s all worth it in the end. 

*Which is not to say, of course that you shouldn’t vote for me... DO DO DO!  Just don’t go looking at the other finalists’ sites, because you’ll get carried away with all the lovely pictures and the way they can write about food without whinging about their horrible offspring and then, in all consciousness, you really won’t be able to bring yourselves to vote for me. 

Friday, 4 May 2012

Exclusive Interview with London Mother of Shame!

I am the subject of some mirth in the house, for my recent devouring of the Hunger Games Trilogy. Which strikes me as terribly unfair... What?   Oh.  You want to talk about that - seriously?  Oh alright then.  The floor is open for questions.  But then that’s it on the pregnancy front, ok?  Henceforth, we shall never mention it again. (Unless of course I choose to.  Which I really don’t see happening that often.)

So... Congratulations! (Imaginary interview by imaginary Hello!-type scatty blonde, full of bubbles and joy.  It goes without saying that I want to rip her head off.)

You don’t seem terribly... excited...
It’s not exactly what I had planned for my 41st year, beset as I am with 2 toddlers already, and a new business.  But all things happen for a reason, blah blah blah blah...

So are you showing yet?  (Glances down) UUUUGH! What is THAT?
THAT, sweetheart, is a belly button pushed by two previous pregnancies beyond the point of normal endurance. I accept however that, yes, it does resemble the snout of an aardvark.   

But... (shudders) ... don’t they usually pop later?
See ref to previous pregnancies in earlier comment.  Please can we drop this now?

Of course!  Well!  You look...  Um... Your hair is  very shiney!
Yes.  Shiney hair.  The great gift of pregnancy.  Luckily it’s now growing so quickly that I can bring it down over my face and tie it in a big bow under my chin – like so! – and ta-da! - hide my scary face. 

Um... (sounding disconcerted, and unsure where to look) Any other benefits you’ve noticed?

Check out these babies!  (Sticks out boobs.  Blonde happy person doesn’t look terribly impressed.)  Believe me, these are amazing.   Pert!  Big!  Big-ish!  

And... (visibly dishevelled now, quickly changing the subject) Are you getting lots of lovely attention?
Oh yes! But only if I collapse on the floor and gnash my teeth and shout I AM PREGNANT FOR FUCK’S SAKE.  Then someone might stop what they’re doing and glance over at me.  But otherwise... No, not really. 

What do the kids make of it?
Thankfully they’re not old enough to be utterly mortified by it all.  In fact the Boy seems quite excited; that’ll no doubt wear off when he realises the bay-beeeeeee won’t arrive for ages and ages.  And is due on his birthday... What a shit-storm that could turn out to be.  In the meantime he spends an inordinate amount of time trying to claw his way INTO the baby, and pressing his nose against that of the aardvark.  He’s also started coming up with names.  So far today we’ve had Marmelade (worryingly, the Man rather likes this.  So I’ve agreed to it, but only on the condition that they pull a ginger kitten out of me; otherwise it’s being overruled) and Dandelinda. I guess we could call her Linda for short.

Yup.  A she-cat.

Oh!  How fantastic!  Another little girl to dress up in  pretty dresses and bows and cute little shoes, and have manicures and pedicures with...
Indeed.  Or – not to rain on your parade or anything – alternatively, she could wear the Boy’s hand-me-downs.  Which I suppose are by now the (other) Girl’s hand-me-downs.  And play with her siblings in the muddy flower-pots out the back, side-stepping fox-shite and crushed snails.  But mainly I expect she’ll spend most of her younger life sitting in a corner trying to get some – any – attention. 

Have you been shopping for lovely maternity clothes yet?
You’ve never been pregnant, have you?

Is that a No?
Maternity clothes make me vomit more than pregnancy does.  My current plan is to wear progressively larger dressing gowns and furry crocs (warm, and good for canckles), and keep my hair over my face so no one knows it’s me. 

And finally – any handy hints for other ladies out there who find themselves in the family way? Apart from the dressing-gown. 
Yes.  Eat this.  Lots of it, throughout the day.  Every day.

Chocolate Mousse Cake
This is ridiculously easy and, thank Christ, ridiculously quick to make. On the off-chance that you haven’t hoovered up the entire thing in one sitting, it lasts for days.  Or so I’m told.  It’s so good that I’m even going to give you another picture, showing how I like it – drowning in single cream.  

The cocoa dusted on top makes the cream run off it like mercury, which is alot more fun to do than it sounds.  (Or that could just have been the hormones.)
You can make the large version, or the quicker, slightly smaller one.  I go for the latter, and have given quantities for that in brackets.
  • 300g (200g) dark chocolate (good stuff)
  • 5 eggs (3, and an extra egg white)
  • 270g (180g) sugar – any type 
  • 250g (170g) UNSALTED butter (The Man said he couldn’t taste the salt, but I could.  Unsalted was MUCH better.)

Pre-heat oven to 180c /160c fan / gas 4.
Break up the chocolate, chop the butter, and put both in a large-ish bowl over a pan of boiling water. (Usually I scorn at the whole melting-the-chocolate-in-a-bowl-over-boiling-water nonsense, but actually here it makes sense; it cuts down on washing up, and it keeps the chocolate mixture from getting scalding hot).  Leave to melt together, then stir and remove the bowl from the pan.
In a separate bowl whip the hell out of the sugar and eggs – at least 5 minutes using an electric whisk. You want it to be as close to  meringue  as whole eggs can get – pale and creamy and thick.   Fold the egg mix into the chocolate sauce, mixing gently.  It’ll take a couple of minutes for it to be properly mixed – when it’s completely dark brown then you’re ready.
Pour it into a large (24cm) round baking tim with removable ring.  You need to have greased the sides of this, and ideally put baking paper on the bottom.

Cook for 25-30 mins (larger) or 25 mins (smaller).  Alas you have to let it cool before you can tuck in.  (Can I recommend a family-sized bag of smokey barbeque Kettle Chips while you’re waiting?)

Dust the top with cocoa powder then spoon up and swamp with cream  - any type, as long as it’s FULL OF FAT – and remember:  you’re eating for two.