36 Hours in York

6 weeks ago I had the unexpected pleasure of some time off, with my other half. We decided to make sure it was quality time together and to get away from the humdrum of home for a bit.

We stayed at the rather lovely Principal York Hotel which, despite it’s elegant appearance, was not quite as smoothly run as I’d have hoped, but it all got sorted in the end!

After checking in, we headed out to explore.

I think I must have a Christmas-sensor embedded in me because I can sniff it out anywhere and was quickly drawn into this store.

Our next stop was to The York Museum.

By the time I’d been dragged out of Christmas-land, time was ticking on a bit… The very kind attendants at the museum reassured us that we would have time to do one wing and helpfully, gave us a pass so that we could return the next day for the other half of the museum.

The museum was formerly a Prison and we spent our first day in the Women’s Wing – which housed a number of historical exhibits and (most impressively) a full scale replica of a Victorian Street, complete with back alleys and stores for you to wander in and out of.

After all that time-travel we were feeling a bit peckish so headed to Betty’s (a Yorkshire institution!)

Dinner was a little disappointing so I’ll skip over that and move on to Day 2…

We returned to the Museum bright and early, ready to tackle the next wing. This holds an eclectic mix of modern day history (1960s – Present Day) and a centuries-old history of the prison.

Once back outside we headed for the Shambles. (Perhaps the most instagrammed street in York.)

A few people have assumed it influenced the Harry Potter stories or was used in the film (there’s actually very little to link the two) and as a consequence Potter-mania has invaded the street.

By far the best of these shops is The Shop That Must Not Be Named.
People quite literally queue up to shop here…

After all that horcrux-hunting I was hungry again.

York is famous for it’s history with Chocolate (and with fruit pastilles – but as I’m a chocaholic that’s of little interest to me.)

Monk Bar is just the sort of shop to fulfil any craving you might have. But I can particularly recommend the liquid chocolate shot in a chocolate cup!

Our visit to York was choc-a-block and I will be back again soon!

Pot Au Chocolat

This is a super simple recipe for little chocolate pots that will rival anything you can buy on the desert aisle in the supermarket.

It’s no-bake, no-hassle and uses only 4 ingredients.

Make 8 when using ordinary sized ramekins as pictured.

1 standard pack of Oreos (154g)
Unsalted Butter (50g)
2 packs of Dark Chocolate (300g)
1 tub of double (heavy) cream (300ml)

Step 1) Blitz the Oreos in a blender.

Step 2) Melt/soften the Butter and add this to the Oreo-mix in the blender. Blitz again.

Step 3) Using a teaspoon, line the bottom of your pots with the Oreo mixture (approx 4 teaspoons worth) and compress it.

Step 4) Warm the cream in a saucepan until it just bubbles.

Step 5) Break up the chocolate and put in a heat-proof jug. Pour the cream over the chocolate and allow to sit for 30 seconds.

You’ll need to work quickly for this next bit…

Step 6) Stir the chocolate/cream mixture until all the pieces have disolved.

Step 7) Once you have a smooth creamy mix it will begin setting so quickly pour it into each of the pots – distributing evenly so that you have at least the same amount of cream as biscuit base.

Step 8) Smooth out the surface then leave to set in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

If you prefer a softer, less rich mixture add more cream in or decrease the amount of chocolate. Alternatively, leave the deserts to stand for 5-10 minutes at room-temperature before serving and the ‘set’ will loosed up slightly.

Easter Nests with a Twist

It’s finally here. The weekend chocaholics dream off all year… Well, since Christmas anyway!

I’m talking of course about Easter. Ever since I was little I’ve made Easter nests. They’re one of the first things you learn how to make in school, and a super fun activity for kids (my favourite bit was licking the bowl!)

For those who haven’t made them before, simply melt chocolate, stir in cornflakes, put into paper cases and leave to set in the fridge. Yum.

But now that I’m a “grown up” I’ve started experimenting a bit… and today I’m sharing some twists on an Easter classic.

Change up your Chocolate
Easter nests are traditionally a milk chocolate affair, but as we all know Dark Chocolate is healthier so why not change it up a bit? Or melt two batches and go half and half – the best of both worlds!

Get Fruity
I love Chocolate Raisins – they’re my snack of choice on road trips. Try mizing them in with your cornflakes, the mixture of textures is great too.

Another combination I like is Chocolate and Orange. After you’ve melted the chocolate, grate in some orange zest and stir in before coating the cornflakes. You could even try grating ginger in for a bit of spice.

Go Nuts
I always finished the nests off with Cadbury’s Mini Eggs but chocolate and yoghurt coated nuts would make a great addition.

Cookies & Cream Chocolate Brownies

Brownies are something I consider myself to be a bit of an expert on. I’ve been experimenting with different recipes for a long time and this has to be one of my all-time favourites.

Lorraine Pascale’s cookery show was addictive viewing for me and I couldn’t wait to buy her books afterwards. These brownies seemed a little fiddly at first, but it was surprisingly easy once I got going. They came out perfectly textured and full of fudgey goodness – perfect for a chocoholic like me!

You can find the recipe here and you can buy Lorraine’s book here.