Thursday 22 March 2012

CHOCOLATE – Hi Everyone! Introducing.... the food dept.

We are passionate creatives from the food industry.

Editor and Creative art director Anne Marie Cummins
mazing food editor Sally Courtney

Together… We are the food dept.

We will tempt you to cook our delicious new recipes and
inspire you with our beautiful food photography. Welcome to the first edition of the food dept's new online food feature – "Hot Chocolate" – and don't forget to tell us what you think. 

Cook, create + laugh
Anne Marie and Sally

Self Saucing Chocolate Puddings
Serves 4
Chocolate nirvana here we come! It's everything you expect from a chocolate pud and a whole lot more. For more

• 1 cup self raising flour
cup castor sugar
2 tablespoons Dutch cocoa
½ cup milk
40g butter, melted
1 free range egg, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon pure vanilla essence
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons Dutch cocoa (extra)
1 cup boiling water
Double cream, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 180˚C (160°C fan-forced). Grease a 4 cup ovenproof dish.
2. Sift flour, sugar and cocoa into a mixing bowl.
3. Combine milk, butter, egg and vanilla in a jug and pour into the dry ingredients. Mix gently until just combined. Pour into the prepared ovenproof dish. Combine brown sugar, extra cocoa and boiling water into another jug, mix well.
4. Gently pour the sauce mixture into dish and bake for 20-25. Serve warm with a dollop cream.

food dept fact: This recipe can easily be doubled to serve 8, use an 8 cup ovenproof dish, bake for 35-40 minutes or until pudding batter is set and springs back when touched. For individual serves, divide the recipe between ¾ cup ovenproof ramekins, these will only take 15-20 minutes.   

Hazelnut Meringues with Rich Chocolate Sauce
Makes 6  
Try these crisp meringues with a scoop of our Dark Chocolate Ice Cream. For image.

4 free range egg whites
Pinch salt
1¼ cups caster sugar 
2 teaspoons cornflour 
1 teaspoon white vinegar 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
½ cup roughly chopped hazelnuts 
300mls thickened cream, whipped 
1 quantity Rich Chocolate Sauce 

1. Preheat oven to 120˚C. (100°C fan-forced).
2. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites and salt with an electric mixer until they form soft peaks. Gradually sprinkle in the sugar a quarter at a time and beat until glossy. Add cornflour, vinegar and vanilla and beat on low until just mixed through.
3. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Using a 1 cup measure, place mixture onto baking trays to form large oval meringues. Sprinkle over hazelnuts and bake for 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow the meringues to cool in the oven with the door ajar. They should be crisp on the outside and marshmallowy in the centre.
4. Serve with a drizzle of Rich Chocolate Sauce.

Rich Chocolate Sauce
Makes 1½ cups

½ cup cream 
250g dark chocolate -70% cocoa, roughly chopped

1. Place cream in a saucepan over a low heat until simmering. Remove from the heat and stir through the chocolate until dissolved.
2. Serve warm with Hazelnut Meringues 

food dept fact: If the sauce is made ahead, it will set at room temperature. Gently warm again over a low heat until smooth and glossy.

Chocolate and pistachio coated brittle with vanilla salt
Makes 1 slab 
Package this up for a great hostess gift. It should also come with a warning – you won't be able to stop at one piece! For image.

Vanilla Salt
1 vanilla bean
2 teaspoons flakey sea salt 
2 cups sugar 
1 cup water
2 tablespoons liquid glucose 

15g butter, melted 
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 
1 teaspoon, vanilla salt 
200g dark chocolate, melted 
1 cup pistachio kernals 
1 teaspoon vanilla salt (extra)

1. Greased a 20x30cm slice pan and set aside.

2. To make vanilla salt, cut vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrap the seeds from the pod into a bowl. Lightly rub the vanilla seeds through the salt and set aside.
3. In a saucepan dissolve sugar in water, add glucose and stir over a medium heat until sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook without stirring (stirring a boiling sugar syrup will cause it to crystallize), until mixture is golden brown. Remove from heat and stir in the butter, bicarbonate of soda and vanilla salt. 
4. Pour into slice pan and allow to completely cool. Once cold remove from the pan, spread over melted chocolate and sprinkle with pistachios and vanilla salt.
Allow chocolate to set before breaking in to bite size pieces.

food dept facts: Vanilla salt is available from Simon Johnson’s or you can make your own. Alternately, just use flakey sea salt.  The unused vanilla pod can be placed in a container with some sugar, allow it to infuse to your own liking and you’ll have delicious vanilla sugar to use in baking. The pod can also be removed from the sugar and used to infuse custard.

Best ever fudge brownies with sour cherries and white chocolate chunks
Image Makes 16 pieces 
Delicious white chocolate chunks balanced by the burst of sour cherries in these Best Ever Brownies. Substitute the cherries and white chocolate with your favourite dried fruit or nut and chocolate combination.

200g butter, roughly diced 
150g dark chocolate – 70% cocoa, roughly chopped 
3 free range eggs, lightly beaten 
1½ cups brown sugar 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla essence 
1 cup plain flour 
½ cup dried sour cherries 
100g good quality white chocolate, cut into chunks

1. Preheat oven to 180˚
C (160°C fan-forced). Grease and line a 20cm square cake pan.
2. Combine butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over a low heat and stir until butter and chocolate have melted. Set aside and allow to cool. 
3. Combine eggs, sugar and vanilla essence in a bowl and add cooled chocolate mixture. 
Place flour and cherries in a bowl. Add chocolate mixture and stir until just combined. Pour into the pan and evenly place over the white chocolate chunks. 

5. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until cooked when tested. Allow to cool completely in the tin. Remove and cut into 16 pieces.

food dept fact: For an even ‘fudgier’ brownie, reduce the cooking time by 5-10 minutes, experiment until you find ‘fudginess’ you like.

Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Mousse Icing
Serves 10–12  
This is the ulimate chocolate layer cake, it's super dense and moist, but not too sweet. For image.

1¼ cups Dutch cocoa  
3 cups plain flour 
2½ cups caster sugar
3 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda 
1½ teaspoons baking powder 
3 free range eggs 
1½ cups water 
1½ cups buttermilk 
200g butter, melted 
1 teaspoon, pure vanilla extract 
1 quantity Chocolate mousse icing 
Dutch Cocoa, for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 180˚C (160°C fan-forced). Grease and line 2 x 20cm deep round cake pans. 
2. In a bowl, sift cocoa, flour and combine with sugar, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on low to combine. 
3. In a large jug, combine eggs, water, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla essence. With the mixer on low gradually pour in the liquid ingredients and continue to beat for 2 minutes.
4. Divide the mixture evenly between the 2 cake pans and bake for 50-55 minutes or until cooked when tested. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pans.
5. Turn the cakes out and allow to cool completely. Using a serrated knife, trim the top of the cakes and then cut each cake evenly into 2 layers. Divide the Chocolate Mousse Icing evenly between the layers and top of the cake. Sprinkle with cocoa powder.

food dept fact: This recipe is also great for cupcakes, it makes approximately 24 good size cupcakes.

Chocolate mousse icing
Makes 3 cups 

250g unsalted butter softened
200g dark chocolate – 70% cocoa, melted and allowed to cool 
300ml thickened cream 
2 tablespoons caster sugar 

1. Beat butter in a bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, add chocolate and continue to beat for 2 minutes.
2. In another bowl beat cream and caster sugar until soft peaks form. Add cream to the chocolate mixture and beat for a further 2 minutes.

food dept fact: For best results use the icing at room temperature as soon as it has been made. Icing can be refrigerated or frozen for later use. Allow it to come back to room temperature and beat again until smooth.

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream
Makes 1½ litres  
A luscious velvety ice cream perfect on its own or with your favourite dessert.

2 cups milk 
600ml cup cream 
400g dark chocolate - 70% cocoa, roughly chopped
1 cup caster sugar
8 free range egg yolks 

1. Combine milk and cream in a saucepan over a low heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and stir until the chocolate has melted, allow to cool.  
2. Combine the sugar and egg yolks in a bowl and whisk until pale and creamy. Gradually whisk in the chocolate and cream mixture to make a chocolate custard. Return the chocolate custard mixture to the saucepan and stir over a low heat until slightly thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Do not allow the custard to boil or it will curdle.
3. Chill the custard and then churn in an ice-cream churn according to manufacturer’s instructions.
4. Place into a freezer container and freeze for 4 hours or overnight.

Rum and raisin icecream, Soak 1 cup of raisins in 1/3 cup dark rum overnight until raisins are plumped. Combine with the chocolate custard in the ice cream churn and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

 food dept facts: If you don’t have an ice cream churn, freeze the custard in a freezer container until firm. Break up the ice cream and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Return to the freezer container and freeze for 4 hours or overnight.

Chocolate kahlua shots
Makes 6 shots
An instant chocolate quick fix, doubles as the perfect after dinner drink or dessert.

100g dark bittersweet chocolate - 80% cocoa 
½ cup Kahlua 
300ml cream 

1. Cut the chocolate across the block into thick shards and divide evenly between 6 heatproof shot glasses. Pour 1 tablespoon of Kahlua into each glass. Place cream in a small saucepan and heat on low until simmering.
2. Pour approximately 2 tablespoons of hot cream into each glass and serve immediately with a small spoon.

the food dept fact: Substitute the Kahlua for your favourite liqueur.

Recipes: Sally Courtney


  1. WOW Sally is this AMAZING. I can't wait to try the recipes! Congratulations on a wonderful project. I'm looking forward to following your work. xoxxo Lisanne

  2. What a stunningly lush site! Such beautiful inspiration. Best of success, Heidi

  3. Technical Note. As a soon to be friend I must let you know that on my laptop at screen res. 1366x768 the left side of the page is off the screen. Look forward to this :)

  4. Very nice!!!! all around nice - thanks - Mari

  5. Gorgeous photography and the food looks fabulous and it seems doable for the non-masterchefs like me! Well done everyone!

  6. fabulous new site! Congratulations to all and continued success.

  7. Wow! And Yum! The site is mouth-wateringly shot and the recipes seem easy enough for baby-cooks like me. Can't wait to get started! Charlotte
    PS Please could you clarify whether you are using Aussie sized tablespoons (ie 20mls) or the UK equivalent (15mls)? Thanks

  8. Oh my gosh! This is amazing! GORGEOUS photography! What a great team you have! x

  9. I am loving the colours, presentation and mouth watering pictures. The chocolate themed recipes are fantastic!!
    Well done food dept.! Keep it coming because it is a delight to the senses. Elizabeth McDonaldxx

  10. What an amazing job by 4 brilliant people, thank you !
    So elegant and wickedly delicious only one thing is I seriously need that cake NOW;-(
    Am going to make it ASAP if not tomorrow
    Cannot wait for the second 'issue'? 'blog' !!
    Thank you beautiful

  11. Oh...four lovely people creating a lovely blog...I feel like I have over-indulged just looking at those images! cannot wait to see more beautiful posts from you guys xx

  12. i am your newest fan!! fabulous styling and photography. it reminds me of donna hay!!

  13. I am a complete cooking novice/ idiot, but I feel inspired to make the self-saucing chocolate pudding. It could be a disaster, but I will give it a go! It looks so beautiful.

  14. Absolutely beautiful in every way. Wonderful pics, styling, recipes - WOW.

    Cant wait for the next instalment. Yum!

  15. This is the most beautiful food site I've ever seen... It goes to show what happens when 4 talented, passionate people get together to play! WOW. I'm not very computer connected (not on fb etc) but I'm sending this to everyone I know who loves chocolate, so EVERYONE I KNOW. Thank you thank you thank you. It's raining a grey drizzle this morning in London but I don't care: I'm in a chocolate dream (with flecks of indigo). Harry x

  16. Congratulations all, What a great idea... I'm hooked...

  17. I am so glad I found this site! Everything about it is wonderful, beautiful, delicious and inspiring!

  18. Inspiring food, inspiring styling and inspiring photography, this is all just so incredible! You guys are what I aspire to be one day!

  19. I just loved this post!! I've just discovered this blog and haven't seen the rest of it, but it sure promises to be a good surprise! Inspiring :)

  20. Wow, just discovered your blog and I am in love with every single one of your photos! So inspiring!

  21. Wow this is absolutely gorgeous!! Beautiful styling and I can't wait to try the recipes. Wait??? Why? I'm running right now to the kitchen to make your self saucing pudding for tonight's dessert. Thank you and keep
    On the good work!

  22. Just found this site. Everything about it is great. You couldn't have started with anything better than chocolate. I can't wait to try the recipes. Keep them comming(chocolate, that is)!

    All the best,


  23. wow delicious recipes, can't wait to try some of these chocolate recipes soon!!

  24. Thank you so much for these lovely recipes! The pictures are just absolutely scrumptious. I've made the chocolate layer cake twice for both my boys birthday, once in Dec and another just recently last week. The consensus is everyone has raved on how tasty it is and how they love that it's not overly sweet. I've also passed on the website to others who have asked for the recipe. Can't wait to try the other chocolate recipes. Keep up the fantastic work! - Jules

  25. The four of you ... your blog ... your food ... and your photos ... bring absolute joy. Even your text is tasty!

  26. Hi guys - congratulations on an awesome job - I'm sure this will go really well! :)

  27. oh dear!! this is so not the post to be looking at 4 pm in the evening!! you guys are just plain evil!! :))