Rocky road with honeycomb

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Rocky Road is one of those simple recipes where the sum of the parts are greater than you expect it to be. Every single thing that goes into rocky road is nice in it’s own way, but together you have these amazing crunchy, soft, sweet and salty clusters that are just to die for.

I altered the recipe I normally use when I made it in December for my Christmas drinks party and, I must say, the addition of honeycomb was just genius. I love honeycomb as it is, but I often find it a bit too sweet, so here where the buttery sweetness gets to mingle with salted nuts and semi-bitter chocolate it really comes together.

I usually use Scandinavian Dumle toffees (which you can now buy from Ocado) but they were sold out so I opted for Reisen instead. They’re a bit harder (so be careful of your teeth) but not as sweet, which worked well with the other ingredients.

Rocky road with honeycomb, makes 20-25

100 g marshmallows, cut in 4

135 g Riesen toffees, cut in 2

150 g roasted and salted peanuts

1/2 batch honeycomb, in pieces

200 g dark chocolate

100 g milk chocolate

snowflake sprinkles and edible glitter  

Line a square 20 x 20 cm tin with parchment paper. Melt both types of chocolate together in a bain marie. In a bowl, mix marshmallors, Riesen, peanuts and honeycomb. Pour in the melted chocolate and mix well, making sure everything is coated with chocolate. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and smooth it out. Scatter with sprinkles and glitter and leave to cool. Let it set in the fridge. Cut into cubes and serve. Keeps in the fridge for up to two weeks.  

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NYE 2013

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My bestie Emma and I have always liked a good party and quite often organised New Year’s Eve parties ourselves. Although it has always been lots of fun it takes quite a lot of time and effort to do it well so, in lieu of a big NYE party to go to, we decided to go back to basics for once. Just a few people, four in fact. Easy but classic and very tasty food, champagne and nice wines to drink and just lots of fun because you’re among great friends.

I wouldn’t mind a repeat this year, guys!

After watching some ice hockey in the afternoon (the Junior World Championship was on in Malmö) we started our evening with Champagne and canapès consisting of crispy bread fried in butter topped with creme fraiche, Swedish caviar (löjrom), red onions, dill and lemon slices. It doesn’t require much cooking but it is so delicious it still impresses your guests!

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Our starter was lobster with melted garlic butter and puff pastry twists. Again very simple, but absolutely gorgeous!

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The even bigger hit was the main course with incredibly tender fillet of beef that I managed to buy in a regular (but very good) supermarket (where I also found bone marrow  – I was in heaven!). Served rare with a wonderful mushroom crème, tenderstem broccoli, caramelised shallots, Hasselback potatoes and creamy red wine sauce, I think this was everyone’s favourite dish. So so delicious!

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I made the same dessert as last year, as it was such a success! Fluffy parfait with chopped dark chocolate and caramelised hazelnuts served with honeycomb and butterscotch sauce. Delicious!

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Just before midnight we walked down to the Opera in Malmö where the fire work display was going to be, toasted in some more bubbly, watched the fireworks and went back inside to eat and drink some more. It was a great evening!

The Recipes

Swedish caviar with butter-fried bread, serves 4

4-6 slices of nice white bread

2 tbsp salted butter for frying 

1 packet Swedish caviar (löjrom – bleak roe)

200 ml creme fraiche

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

dill lemon slices to decorate

Heat up a frying pan on medium heat and melt half the butter but don’t let it burn. Fry the bread slowly first on one side and then on the other until crispy and golden brown. Add more butter when you turn the bread. Cut into smaller pieces. 

Chop the red onion and let it soak in icecold water a few minutes before serving to lose some of the sharpness. Drain before serving. 

Either place a dollop of creme fraiche, caviar and some red onion, dill and a small lemon segment on each bread piece or serve in bowls and let people assemble their own canapès. 

Lobster with garlic butter and puff pastry twists, serves 4

2 fresh lobsters

100 g salted butter, at room temperature 

1 medium garlic clove, pressed

1 handful fresh parsley, chopped

white pepper

1 roll all butter puff pastry 

sea salt flakes

lemon slices to serve

Start with the puff pastry twists. Cut the roll of puff pastry into 2 cm wide strips. Twist each strip a few times and place on a lined baking tray. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and bake in 225C oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden and crisp. Leave to cool. Keep in an airtight container. 

Mix the softened butter with garlic, parsley and some white pepper.

Cut the lobsters in half lengthways with a sharp yet sturdy knife. Remove the black vein and any roe. Rinse very carefully. Remove and open the claws and keep the claw meat on the side. Place the lobster halves on a baking tray, spread with butter and place in a 200C oven for about 10 minutes. Serve with a lemon wedge, a fresh claw each and the puff pastry twists. 

Fillet of beef with Hasselback potatoes, tenderstem broccoli, mushroom crème, caramelised shallots and creamy red wine sauce, serves 4

1 kg good quality beef fillet, trimmed of any tendons and cut into 3-4 cm thick medallions 

1 kg medium Maris Piper potatoes (or another firm type)

2-3 broccoli stems per person

1 batch red wine juswith approx 400 ml liquid

200 ml double cream

Start with the sauce, crème and onions (recipes below). Add the cream to the red wine jus, let it thicken and season to taste. Can be reheated before serving. 

Peel the potatoes and cut in half lengthways. Put them flat side down and make small incisions creating a ridged effect with a sharp knife. Don’t cut all the way through and leave 1-2 mm between the incisions. Place the potato halves on an oiled baking tray, drizzle with mild oil and add salt and pepper. Bake until crisp and golden brown, approx 30-40 minutes in 200C. 

Brown the meat on all sides. Season well with salt and black pepper. Place in oven on 150C until the inside temperature of the meat is 55C (for medium-rare). Rest the meat a few minutes before serving. 

Cook the broccoli in salted water until soft but not mushy. Drain and add some more salt. 

Plate with the mushroom crème underneath the meat. 

Mushroom crème, serves 4

125 g chestnut mushrooms

1 handful dried ceps (porcini) in pieces 

1 shallots, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, pressed

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp Cognac

50 ml double cream

salt, white pepper

Soak the ceps for a few minutes then squeeze out the excess liquid. Chop all the mushrooms roughly. Heat up a knob of butter in a frying pan/sauteuse on mediun heat and add shallots, garli and mushrooms. Fry slowly adding more butter if needed. Once the mushrooms have browned, add the mustard and Cognac and let the liquid evaporate. Add the cream and let the mixture thicken. Blend to a smooth paste using a stick blender. Adjust the seasoning. Heat up again before serving.

Caramelised shallots, serves 4

10-12 shallots, peeled and cut in half

1 knob salted butter

200 ml red wine

100 ml beef stock

2 tsp Acacia honey

salt, pepper

Use a non-stick pan. Caramelise the onions in the butter on medium heat, it takes about 5 minutes. Add red wine, stock and honey and let the liquid evaporate (without a lid) until you have sticky dark brown onions. Add salt and pepper. 

Easy chocolate mousse

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When making the parfait with lots of egg whites for New Year’s Eve, I had a lot of yolks left over. And as I really despise wasting food, we used  some in bearnaise sauce and my mother decided to make a chocolate mousse out to the remaining once.

There are several different ways of making chocolate mousse, and this is an easy version. You only need chocolate, egg yolks and whipped cream.

The most important thing when making chocolate mousse is to make sure the ingredients are similar in temperature. So after melting the chocolate, let it cool down a little before mixing it with the egg yolks, that need to be at room temperature, otherwise you end up with a scrambled chocolate and egg mixture, and frankly that’s a waste of a pudding!

The whipped cream doesn’t have to be at room temperature though, once the chocolate and eggs are combined the mixture is more stable. If the mixture would scramble slightly though, my best tip is to pour it through a sieve before letting it set in the fridge.

We served the chocolate mousse with honeycomb pieces, and it worked really well. I like to combine different textures and a fluffy and smooth mousse needs something crunchy and with more bite to make it interesting, I think.

Easy chocolate mousse, serves 4

200 ml whipping cream or double cream, I would actually prefer whipping cream as it gives the mousse a lighter texture, but double cream works too

2 egg yolks, at room temperature

150 g chocolate, we mixed some milk chocolate with a lot of dark 

Melt the chocolate in a bain marie. Leave to cool slightly. Whip the cream until soft peaks. Add one egg yolk at the time to the chocolate and stir to combine. Then fold in the whipped cream. Pour into glasses, cups or bowls and leave to set in the fridge. 

NYE 2012 – the dessert

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Being more a savoury than sweet person, I must admit, that when it comes to this particular dessert I may have changed sides. Because it has everything I like! Sweetness of course, different textures, creaminess and lightness and the lovely combination of sweet and salty in the sauce.

Ladies and gentlemen I present to you my favourite dessert: Iced chocolate nougat parfait with honeycomb and butterscotch sauce.

Neither one of the recipes are my own, although I have altered the nougat parfait a bit. But even so, I am just proud for bringing them together. As the last of four courses and plenty of wine on New Year’s Eve people still asked for seconds and loved it. I think that illustrates just how good this is.

You can also prepare it all ahead of time, and just heat up the butterscotch sauce, which makes it ideal for dinner parties. With that said, I must admit that although most of this dessert is fairly straight forward, one element can be rather tricky; caramelizing the hazelnuts.

But fear not, Delia can provide help with this very useful tutorial.

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Iced chocolate nougat parfait with honeycomb and butterscotch sauce, serves 6

Adapted from Michel Roux Jr’s recipe.

I doubled this recipe too serve nine, but you could easily stretch just one batch to eight or nine people.

150 g caster sugar

150 g blanched hazelnuts

200 g chopped dark chocolate, not too bitter

6 egg whites, at room temperature

225 g caster sugar

2 tsp vanilla

375 ml double or whipping cream, whipped until soft peaks

Start by melting the sugar in a saucepan (use Delia’s guide for a good result) until golden brown. Add the hazelnuts and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Spread/pour the mixture onto a tray lined with baking parchment. Leave to cool and set. Then roughly chop or break up the caramel by using a wooden spoon. 

In a bain marie, beat egg whites and sugar frothy until the sugar has melted. Then remove the bowl from the heat and continue to whisk until the bowl has cooled and you have stiff peaks in the meringue.

Fold in the hazelnuts, chopped chocolate, vanilla and whipped cream using a spatula. Pour the mixture either into individual containers or one large container, lined with clingfilm. I prefer to use a bread tin. Cover the mixture with cling film and tin foil. Freeze over night.  

Honeycomb, 1 batch

I used about half of this to serve nine people, but no point making half a batch, the honeycomb is so tasty and can either be eaten like sweets or used as sprinkles for icecream or other puddings.

Adapted from this recipe.

80 g butter

160 g caster sugar

80 g golden syrup

2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Line a 20 cm tray with parchment paper. Heat up butter, sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan on low-medium heat until the sugar has melted. Turn the heat up and let the mixture boil rapidly, without stirring until golden in colour, about 5 minutes. 

Add the bicarb and stir, but take care as this makes the mixture bubble a lot. Pour the mixture into the lined tray and leave to set. Then cut into pieces.

Chop or crumble in a pestle and mortar for rough crumbs for the parfait. 

Butterscotch sauce, 1 batch

One batch sauce is enough for two batches of nougat.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s recipe.

60 g butter, I used salted

110 g soft light or dark brown sugar, not Muscovado

120 ml double cream

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix butter, sugar and cream in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and let it boil for 5 minutes until the mixture has thickened. Stir occasionally. Add salt and vanilla after taste. Can be kept in the fridge for three days and can be reheated. 

Spongecake with meringue, dulche de leche and honey comb

I’ve had the fridge full with egg whites, as I mentioned before, and I wanted to use them up rather than throwing them away and decided to bake a cake for work. This would be a bit much for Christopher and myself to share…

The cake starts with a regular sponge as the base, which is covered with meringue, then a layer of dulche de leche, a layer of lightly whipped cream and honeycomb, and then the same again

Dulche de leche is easy to make, all you need is a can of condensed milk. Put it in a pan and cover it with boiling water, let it boil on medium heat for 2 hours. Top up with boiling water as the water disappears. Leave to cool, open the can and inside you have the loveliest toffee. If you cook the can for less time it will be paler and more runny, if you cook it for more than 2 hours it will be darker and thicker. I think the 2 hours one is perfect, but it is quite thick, so slightly runnier would make it easier to assemble the cake but it would taste less toffeey.

The cake was gorgeous (if I may say so myself) and the colleagues described it as decadent. It is definitely a cake I will make many times over.

Spongecake with meringue, dulche de leche and honey comb, 10 pieces

Sponge:

175 g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

3 eggs

175 g caster sugar

175 g very soft butter

1 tsk vanilla

Sift the flour into a bowl. Add the other ingredients and beat it all together with an electric whisk. Divide between two rounf springforms covered in baking parchment.

Meringue:

5 egg whites

250 ml caster sugar

400 ml rice krispies

Beat the egg whites foamy. Add half the sugar and beat until stiff peaks. Add the rest of the sugar and continue beating until you can turn the bowl upside down without anything falling out. Fold the rice krispies into the meringue. Divide between the two springforms and spread it out onto the unbaked sponge. Bake in 150C for 35-40 mins. Leave to cool completely.

Filling:

1 can (397 g) dulche de leche

300 ml lightly whipped cream

honeycomb

Place one cake on a plate. Spread/place dollops of the dulche de leche on top. Spread half the cream on top. Sprinkle with honeycomb. Place the other cake on top and repeat the procedure. Serve straight away.