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If you have Nutella but no chocolate mousse, dnt panic. We can fix that right away. All you need is a brilliant recipe for Nutella mousse like this one from Purewow. To use what I had on hand, I substituted the cream cheese for a tub of mascarpone and used only a quarter of the amount of sugar stated. I can imagine that you can totally go without any added sweetener as the Nutella should be enough for any seasoned sweet tooth. If you are patient enough, leave it to set in the fridge for a couple of hours to achieve the distinctive mousse-like texture but if you cannot keep yourself waiting for so long, grab a dessert spoon and simply dig in after topping with fresh cream and chocolate shavings [from the photos you can guess this is exactly what I did!]

NUTELLA MOUSSE

Ingredients:

250g mascarpone, room temperature

3/4 cup Nutella hazelnut spread

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 cup heavy cream, chilled

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts

2 tablespoons chopped dark chocolate

Whipped cream, for topping

Method:

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese with the Nutella.

  • Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until light and fluffy for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer it to a medium bowl.

  • Wipe out the bowl. In the bowl of the electric mixer, fitted with whip attachment, whip cream to soft peaks.

  • Add sugar and vanilla extract, and whip to medium peaks. Add a third of whipped cream to Nutella mixture.

  • Fold with a rubber spatula to combine. Add another third of cream and repeat, folding it until incorporated.

  • Add the final third and fold to combine. Divide mousse among serving dishes and chill for 30 to 45 minutes.

  • Top mousse with a dollop of whipped cream, garnish with chopped hazelnuts and dark chocolate. Serves 4.

Happy Women’s Day, my dear bloggers!

Today we celebrate the achievements of women all over the world and from all walks of life – from the dedicated homemaker to the independent career woman – who deserve to be honored for their significant contribution in shaping our present and future. As a spouse, daughter, sister, mother, co-worker or friend, a woman has an influential role in society, which is still unfortunately not acknowledged by many. While issues of gender bias and abuse persist at large, we still hesitate to take steps to raise awareness and empower women to recognize and stand up for their rights.

This year’s campaign theme, Be Bold for Change, aims at bringing the contribution of male and female to equal value and closing the gender gap but is it an impossible dream? We are always under constant pressure to comply with the norms society imposes on us that we fail to express our true selves. I deem myself lucky to have escaped this coercion, having always been free to speak my mind and do what I feel right. Today, I choose to be bold and take some time out for myself. To recover from my horrible period cramps and post viral symptoms and to bake a simple chocolate cake from Nigella Lawson, one of my baking inspirations and a remarkably gifted woman.

CHOCOLATE OLIVE OIL CAKE

Ingredients:

50g cocoa powder, sifted

125 ml boiling water

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

150g ground almonds

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 pinch kitchen salt

150 ml regular olive oil

200g white caster sugar

3 eggs, room temperature

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 170°C/325ºF. Grease a 23 cm/9-inch spring form cake tin with a little oil.

  • Line the base of the tin with baking parchment. Measure and sift the cocoa powder in a bowl.

  • Whisk the boiling water into the cocoa till you have a smooth and chocolatey but runny paste.

  • Whisk in vanilla extract, set aside to cool. Combine ground almonds with baking soda and salt.

  • Put sugar, olive oil and eggs in a mixer with paddle attachment, beat vigorously for 3 minutes.

  • You should have a pale-primrose, aerated and thickened cream. Turn the speed down a little.

  • Pour in cocoa mixture. When all is scraped in, slowly tip in the ground almonds and scrape it.

  • Stir it a little with a spatula. Pour batter into the prepared tin. Bake cake for 40 to 45 minutes.

  • Bake until the sides are set and the centre on top still looks slightly damp. Cool for 10 minutes.

  • Serve the chocolate cake cut into thin slices with vanilla ice cream, like a pudding. Serves 8-10.

Nigella’s Olive Oil Chocolate Cake

Flan makes a delightfully elegant summer dessert without all the effort and expenses you would normally incur in the creation of something way more complicated but with no guarantee of turning out the way you want it. Flan spares you the pain of spending hours planning, baking and assembling; you can actually just whip it all together well in advance and whip it out at the very last moment and still expect a pat on the back for your culinary flair. Taken from Kitchme, this Spanish flan ditches the regular milk and eggs custard to derive its rich, velvety smooth texture from a mixture of condensed and evaporated milks. My tin of condensed milk had an almost dulce de leche consistency, which added to the pronounced caramel flavour I was hoping for in this simple yet ‘sophisticated’ dessert.

SPANISH FLAN

Ingredients:

1 cup white granulated sugar

3 large eggs, room temperature

1 can (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk

1 can (12 fluid ounce) evaporated milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.

  • Melt the sugar in the pan until liquefied and golden in color. Be very careful when handling syrup.

  • Pour hot syrup into a 9 inch round glass baking dish, turning to evenly coat the bottom and sides.

  • In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Beat in condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla until smooth.

  • Pour egg mixture into the baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake in oven for 60 minutes.

  • Let cool completely. To serve, carefully invert onto serving plate with edges when completely cool.

Spanish Flan

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