Madeleine: Starting school, friends’ babies arriving, Autumn coming and moving to Kenya around the corner – it is a time of change. We have been sorting and packing our cupboard of doom (the one under the stairs – I’m sure you all have one!), weighing and calculating our luggage allowance. It has been a full-on week of staying up late, packing and being woken up regularly throughout the night (by Lucas who seems to have a mouth full of teeth working their way through all at the same time). After a good coffee this morning, I surveyed our garden with Lucas in tow. We picked a handful of fresh mint and a ripe, home-grown courgette and made for the kitchen. My inspiration for this recipe comes from one of my new favourite recipe books ‘Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache’ by Harry Eastwood. Andrew loves these delicious cupcakes, so with Lucas “helping” we made some for him and for our friend whose son had just started school… We thought ‘healthy’ chocolate would sort out those new term blues…and they’re yummy!!
Mint Choc Chip Courgette Cakes
This has made the list of 100 for Kenya…once I’ve found a courgette substitute!!..exciting!
Ingredients (for 12 muffin-sized cakes cooked in a muffin tray).
3 eggs (Lucas runs down to the bottom of the garden in the morning and picks them from the coop. More make it back to the house then they used to. We will miss the girls! At least Granddad will look after them!)
160g castor sugar
200g finely grated courgette
90g rice flour
100g ground almonds
2 heaped tsp good cocoa powder
A handful of finely cut fresh garden mint 2 tsp baking powder Pinch of salt 100g 74% (or similar) dark chocolate
50g softened, unsalted butter
200g icing sugar
50g quark (fat free soft cheese)
3 tsp good cocoa powder
Small handful finely chopped fresh mint
1. Pre heat oven to 180°C.
2. Line the muffin tray with paper cases.
3. Whisk up the eggs (yolk and white – I use my beloved Kenwood Mixer) with the sugar for approximately 5 minutes until quadrupled in volume.
4. Add the grated courgette and whisk again.
5. Whisk in the flour, ground almonds, cocoa powder, mint, baking powder and salt ’til all are well mixed in.
6. Use scissors to chop the chocolate into small chips and add to the mix with a wooden spoon.
7. Evenly distribute the mixture to the cases.
8. Place in the oven for 20minutes; don’t worry if they come out a bit flat.
9. Whilst they are cooking make the icing.
10. Whisk up the butter until pale and fluffy. Add the icing sugar, quark and cocoa powder and beat together. Mix in the fresh mint and then put the icing mix in the fridge.
11. Once the cupcakes are cooked and cooled, spread the icing evenly (no more then 5mm thickness needed).
12. Finish with a sprig of fresh mint. Enjoy… These are as close to fat free chocolate cakes as you can get.
Andrew: Times of change indeed. Things seem to be happening so quickly that I rarely get chance to reflect on it. I’ve always found myself in that tension between wanting life’s comforts yet feeling quite stagnant and bored with all that brings, and wanting to be challenged and out of my comfort zone. Well, I am certainly out of my comfort zone at the moment and feel this constant buzz (might just be all the coffee we’ve been consuming) as things are piece-by-piece coming together. It’s going to be a close call having all the equipment ready in time (never mind the airline being okay with it all!) and the house emptied and cleaned.
This moment is one of those rare occasions where I have had 5 minutes to reflect, the unbelievable mint choc chip cake in my hand is making me very comfortable and very happy. This is definitely one of my favourites.