Salami & Feta Quiche With Spinach And Chilli

Salami and feta quicheQuiche names are often a mouthful, as they typically simply list what the quiche contains. So does this one, because I couldn’t think of anything very creative. So yes, the quiche contains feta, spinach, salami and green chilli (and onion, but it doesn’t get a mention. Poor onion). Feta & spinach (with the neglected onion) is one of my favourite vegetarian quiches; salami & chilli one of my favourite meat quiches. I decided to combine them to see what happens. Deliciousness happened.


Unfortunately, as the glorious quiche emerged from the oven and was about to be photographed, it transpired that every single camera-compatible battery was empty, rendering the camera unusable. Therefore, the photo shows a less than glorious re-heated piece of quiche, photographed the next day. Darnit.


Salami & Feta Quiche With Spinach And Chilli


Your favourite 9″/25 cm pie crust



1 small onion, chopped

100 g salami, chopped

150 g frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1 (113 g) can chopped green chillis, drained

150-200 g feta, crumbled

3 eggs

200 ml cream

150 ml milk

1/4 teaspoon black or white pepper (optional)

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)

Press the crust on the bottom and sides of a deep 9″/25cm pie dish – pre-bake if your crust calls for pre-baking.

Preheat oven to 200 C.

Sprinkle chopped onion over crust (that’s right, it’s not cooked first!). Sprinkle half of the chopped salami on top of the onion.

Combine drained spinach and green chillis; dollop the mixture on top of the onion and salami.

Add crumbled feta and the rest of the salami into the crust.

In a bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, milk and pepper & nutmeg (if using). Pour the custard into the crust. If there are bits of salami sticking out, gently press them down with a fork or a spoon, so that they are covered with the custard and don’t dry out in the oven.

Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes. Allow to stand for 15-20 minutes before serving.


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Chorizo Muffins

Chorizo MuffinsI like chorizo a bit too much. It’s spicy and salty and rich and wonderful, and I’m always drawn to dinner recipes that call for it. Because it is so spicy and salty and rich, few recipes call for 200 grams of it, which is the smallest package size I can find. Therefore, after making dinner, I typically have 100 grams of chorizo left. I could, of course, save it to make another dinner, but I prefer to consider it a “leftover” that I must put into good use forthwith. Enter chorizo muffins! Muffins are always good; always needed. :-)


Chorizo Muffins (makes 12)


450 ml all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon thyme

80g butter, diced

100g chorizo, chopped

150 g mature cheddar, grated

1 egg

125 g plain yogurt

150 ml milk


Preheat oven to 190 C. Grease or line a muffin pan.

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, paprika and thyme in a bowl.  Rub in butter until the mixture is crumbly and well combined.

Stir in grated cheese and chopped chorizo.

In another bowl, combine egg, yogurt and milk. Stir into the flour mixture until just combined.

Divide batter between muffin tin holes. Bake for about 20 minutes.


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Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Almond Chocolate Chip CookiesI first bought almond butter for my sugar-free chocolate ball experiments, but I figured there was no reason why I should earmark it for “healthy” stuff only – surely it would do wonders in something pretty decadent, too? Like soft chocolate chip cookies. It would. It did. Now I can eat chocolate chip cookies and convince myself that I’m getting all the health benefits of eating almonds at the same time. Yay!


Note that the dough is not too sweet – you can add a little more sugar if you like, and using milk chocolate rather than dark chocolate also sweetens things. I really enjoy the almond & chocolate combo, and love the way almond butter gives the cookies a more rustic texture and flavour.


Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (20 cookies)


1/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup almond butter

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

100 g chocolate (milk or dark, your choice), chopped


Preheat oven to 190 C. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a bowl, beat butter, almond butter and light brown sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the egg, vanilla and almond extract, beat well.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mix until combined.

Fold in chopped chocolate.

Shape dough into 1” balls and place on cookie sheets. Bake for 7-9 minutes.



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Chocolate & Red Wine Cake

Chocolate and red wine cake

As we have already established, I do not like red wine. My VLSO does, but it’s usually not his drink of choice (a pint of stout trumps red wine hands down). When he does indulge in red wine, he is happy to have just a glass or two, and then doesn’t really feel like having it for at least two weeks. This is why our household is regularly home to that elusive oddity: Leftover Wine.*  Well, we can certainly not have it go to waste, so we shall turn it into a delicious chocolate cake. People who like red wine love this cake; people who hate red wine love this cake. It’s a very good cake: moist and intensely double-chocolatey.


I make this in a 9” x 5” loaf pan as that’s what I happen to have, but as you can see, the cake is on the flat side; I think an 8” x 4” would be a better fit.


Chocolate & Red Wine Cake


1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

115 g butter

½ cup caster sugar

¼ cup light brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup dry red wine

100 g dark chocolate, chopped


Preheat oven to 170 C. Butter and flour a loaf pan (9”x 5” or 8” x 4”).

In a bowl, combine all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, beat butter with the sugars until light and fluffy.

Add the egg and beat until incorporated. Add vanilla and beat well.

Alternately fold in the dry ingredients and the wine, until just incorporated.

Stir in chopped chocolate.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a rack to cool completely.

Dust the cake with confectioner’s sugar for a prettier presentation – and a dollop of whipped cream would not go amiss.


*I never contribute to these rare sightings, myself. If I open a bottle of wine, I will consume a bottle of wine. It’s a point of honour for me. Quite frankly, VLSO’s inability to consume a whole bottle of red within a week of its opening in my opinion indicates that red wine really is pretty bad. Indisputable evidence.

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Coconut Chocolate Mini Cupcakes

This month’s We Should Cocoa, by Choclette and guest host Laura at I’d Much Rather Bake Than … , goes coco-nutty! Funnily enough, I’ve been on a bit of a coconut chocolate roll lately anyway! My alcohol challenge recipe for December’s WSC was made with coconut rum, I just posted the recipe for Mocha Bars (which is actually a chocolate & coconut bar no matter how you look at it!), and I’ve been working on a sugar-free chocolate ball recipe that includes coconut flour and desiccated coconut (not quite happy with it yet!). Isn’t coconut just divine?


For this month’s challenge, I really wanted to use my new mini cupcake pan (Whee! Nothing better than a new baking gadget!), so Coconut Chocolate Mini Cupcakes it is! The recipe can be made into 12 regular cupcakes too; just adjust the baking time accordingly (I would guesstimate some 25 minutes?). To make this recipe, you need a 400 ml/14 fl oz tin of coconut milk – after you’ve used 1/2 cup for the cupcakes, the remainder of the tin is reduced to use in the frosting.


Coconut Chocolate Mini Cupcakes (makes 24)



25 g bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup coconut milk (from a 400 ml tin)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1/3 cup reduced coconut milk (see instructions)
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar (or extract)


grated chocolate or chocolate shavings, for garnishing


Preheat oven to 160 C. Line a mini cupcake pan with liners (or spray liberally with cooking spray).

To make cupcakes: In a bowl, microwave chocolate until melted. Mix in cocoa powder. Whisk in coconut milk. Set aside.

In a small bowl, sift together all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a larger mixing bowl, beat together coconut oil, caster sugar and brown sugar (you may want to warm the coconut oil a little first so it mixes easier) until well blended. Add the egg, mixing well. Add vanilla, mix.

Add the flour mixture in two parts, alternating with the chocolate mixture.

Divide the batter between the liners. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until the cupcakes test done with a toothpick.

Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make frosting: Pour the remainder of the coconut milk into a saucepan. Bring gently to boil, and allow to simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the milk has reduced to about 1/2 cup. Transfer the reduced coconut milk into a container and chill. The milk will reduce a little further as it cools, so you should end up with approximately the 1/3 cup needed.

In a bowl, beat together the butter, powdered sugar and vanilla sugar until light and fluffy. Add the reduced coconut milk and beat well. Add more powdered sugar if needed, until you have a nice, thick spreadable/pipable consistency.

Frost the cupcakes and garnish with grated chocolate. Transfer to the fridge to set the frosting.



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Herb Muffins



A quick, savoury muffin speckled with fresh herbs! I didn’t use shredded cheese this time, but adding a 1/2 cup of sharp cheddar to the dry ingredient mix could only make these even better.




Herb Muffins (makes 8)


1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3-4 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (I used chives and basil)

1 egg

1/4 cup vegetable oil

½ cup plain yogurt

½ cup milk


Preheat oven to 200 C. Grease 8 holes of a 12-hole muffin tin.

In a mixing bowl, combine flours, baking powder, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Add chopped herbs and stir.

In another bowl, whisk together egg, oil, yogurt, and milk.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix just until combined – do not overmix!

Divide batter between the 8 muffin holes. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the muffins test done.

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Mocha Bars

Mocha barsGoing retro! Mocha bars are a quintessential children’s favourite that have been around for decades and decades. This, like cinnamon rolls, is a classic I always come back to. Sometimes there’s just nothing better than a simple cocoa cake topped with an equally simple powdered sugar glaze!


The bars are curiously named, really, as they’re not very mocha-y at all – coffee only makes a small appearance in the glaze. Chocolate and coconut bars might be a more appropriate name, but who am I to argue with the curiosities of language. :-) The original recipe is baked in a deep cookie sheet and makes 40-50 bars, but I’m posting the 1/2 recipe I usually make. Should you need to make a bigger batch, just double the recipe!


Mocha Bars (20 bars)


2 eggs

225 ml sugar

150 ml milk

300 ml all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons vanilla sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

75 g butter, melted



150 g powdered sugar

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

2 tablespoons brewed coffee

2 tablespoons melted butter (about 25 g)


desiccated coconut (or hundreds and thousands, if you don’t like coconut)


Preheat oven to 175 C. Line a 13″ x 9″ pan with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine all-purpose flour, baking powder, vanilla sugar and cocoa powder. Set aside. Melt butter and allow to cool.

In a larger bowl, beat eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add milk and mix.

Sift in the flour mixture and mix. Add melted butter, mix.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the cake is just done.

Allow to cool.

To make glaze: Combine powdered sugar and cocoa in a bowl. Add coffee and mix well. Add butter and mix until combined. Frost the cooled cake; sprinkle with desiccated coconut.

Allow the glaze to set and cut into bars.


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Chocolate Pralines

Chocolate Pralines

This month, Choclette’s We Should Cocoa teams up with Belleau Kitchen’s Random Recipes! This was great news, as I’ve been lamenting the fate of all of my cookbooks – they sit on the shelves, unused, while I browse for recipes online. It was high time to put at least one of them to good use!


My selection process ran as follows: sit in front of cookbook shelves and, starting from the top left, count to the 77th cookbook; select the 7th recipe in the book starting with the word chocolate. The lucky book #77 was a book on Creole, Cajun and Mexican recipes by Mirjaliisa Nuuttila and Elinor Schildt (from 1993), and the index only had one recipe that started with the word chocolate. So, Chocolate Pralines it was!


Now, Finns have traditionally sucked at writing recipe instructions, and the recipe instructions of this recipe did kinda suck*. They tell you to boil sugars and cream “into caramel”, add chocolate and nuts and boil “for a minute or two”. There is no mention of what to do with the butter that is included in the ingredient list. A bit too random, for my tastes. (Security-seeking, I am.) Soo… having at least taken a cookbook out of the shelf and found an ingredient list, it was back online to see if I could find more specific instructions regarding what I was supposed to do with the ingredients in order to end up with pralines.


After figuring out the boiling process, I ventured to the shops to get ingredients, but forgot to buy the chocolate (let me repeat that: I went to the shops to get ingredients for Chocolate Pralines, and forgot to buy the chocolate). Two days later I was at the shops again, specifically to get the chocolate (yay for me for not forgetting to buy the one thing I went to buy, I guess), came back home, and found a bar of 85% chocolate that was already in the cupboard. Not only did I forget to buy chocolate, I had forgotten that I had chocolate. Sometimes I worry about me.


But, there was random chocolateness to be made, so I pushed my worries aside and made Chocolate Pralines with pecans. They are pretty divine: like delicate, cloudy fudge. The fudgey part literally melts in your mouth, and because pecans are fragile and airy, the whole confection has a wonderfully light mouth feel. These are altogether too easy to eat!


Chocolate Pralines (makes 40-50, depending on how big you make them)


500 ml white sugar

250 ml brown sugar

250 ml cream

a pinch of salt

2 tablespoons butter

100 g bittersweet chocolate, chopped

500 ml chopped pecans

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla powder


Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

In a large saucepan (the mixture will bubble up!), combine white sugar, brown sugar, cream and salt. Attach a clip-on candy thermometer to the side of the pan.

Stir over medium heat until the sugars dissolve. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches soft ball stage (112-114 degrees C/ 234-236 degrees F).

Remove the pan from heat and drop the butter and chocolate chunks on top, but do not stir. Allow the pan to sit for one minute.

Add chopped pecans and vanilla and stir with a wooden spoon. Continue stirring smoothly (not beating!) until the mixture begins to thicken, becomes lighter in colour and begins to hold its shape. This doesn’t take long: do not overstir, as the mixture goes from fluid to hard pretty quickly!

Drop by spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet. If the mixture stiffens before you have formed all the pralines, stir a tablespoon of hot water into the mixture to loosen it again.

Allow the pralines to set at room temperature.


*This is not to fault Mses Nuuttila and Schildt, whose cookbook is fantastic and got a lot of action in my kitchen in the 90s! It really is a kitchen cultural thing – this is how most Finnish caramel/fudge recipes would get written, because it would be assumed that you know what you’re doing. I, for the most part, have no idea. ;-)

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Chocolate Cupcakes With Rose Frosting – For Two

One of the most glorious ways to get a baking fix but cut down on the calories is to bake just a little. Instead of a pan-full of cupcakes, why not make just two? This gorgeous recipe is a slight modification of a recipe by Brett Bara – it’s my absolute favourite to make when I’m pining for something sweet with my cup of coffee, but can’t justify filling the cupboard or the freezer with further temptations.


I made these adorable little things on Valentine’s Day for TLSO and myself – hence the pink/heart overkill! ;-) No reason to wait for next Valentine’s Day to make them though, as a special someone in your life certainly deserves to be treated on a regular Tuesday, too! (Especially on a regular Tuesday, if you ask me – Tuesdays are such bland days.)


Chocolate Cupcakes With Rose Frosting (makes two)


For the cupcakes:

3 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder

1/6 teaspoon baking powder

a pinch of salt

2 tablespoons cold water

1 tablespoon vegetable oil


For the frosting:

25 g butter

6 tablespoons powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon rosewater

red food colouring


Preheat oven to 160 C.

To make cupcakes: In a small bowl, measure all dry ingredients: flour, the sugars, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Mix.

In a measuring cup, combine the water and the oil.

Add wet to dry and stir to combine.

Divide the batter between two cupcake liners. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until the cupcakes just test done. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

To make frosting: Melt the butter in a small bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well until a spreadable/pipeable consistency is reached. Add a touch of powdered sugar if the mixture seems too wet; add a touch of rosewater if too dry.

Frost the cooled cupcakes.

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Orange Parfait With Chocolate

It’s parfait time again! I really like parfait as a dessert, especially after a rich weekend meal, as the cool fluffiness makes it feel “lighter” than cakes or trifles. Not sure how accurate the feeling is as parfait is mostly heavy cream, but I like the feeling and I’ll, thusly, take it!


Fresh orange and dark chocolate are a classic combination, and adding it to the velvelty fluffiness of whipped cream makes things even better. The chopped chocolate is sprinkled under and on top of the parfait – can’t see why you couldn’t mix the chocolate in the parfait mixture too along with the flavourings, if that’s what you fancy!


This parfait is flavoured with orange zest and citrus liqueur – it might therefore not be very suitable for the young ‘uns. I wonder if something like orange juice concentrate might work instead of the liqueur? If you try it, let me know!


The recipe makes 6-8 servings depending on the size of the ramekins; 8 if using those pretty standard, 8 cm porcelain ramekins, as I did.


Orange Parfait With Chocolate


2 egg yolks

100 ml powdered sugar

1 orange, zested peel of

400 ml heavy cream

2-3 tablespoons citrus liqueur (such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau)

75 g bittersweet chocolate, chopped


Whip egg yolks and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.

Combine the whipped cream and the yolk&sugar mixture. Mix in the orange zest and the liqueur.

Sprinkle about half of the chopped chocolate on the bottom of the ramekins.

Divide the parfait mixture between the ramekins. Sprinkle the rest of the chocolate on top.

Freeze for at least four hours.

Bring to room temperature about 15 minutes before serving.


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