Junk Food Kids – never mind who’s to blame, what are we going to do?

I’m not usually one for “shockumentaries”, but I did watch the recent Junk Food Kids series on Channel 4.

The verdict was fairly unanimous – parents are to blame for childhood obesity and soaring levels of dental decay. A victory for the neoliberal cult of personal responsibility and “poor lifestyle choices”.

Although there was negligence, particularly on the part of the parents who didn’t bother with their kids’ dental hygiene (one mother seemingly couldn’t be bothered to get her child to a dentist or insist on her brushing twice a day, because she’d rather watch Peppa Pig) I can’t say that I wholeheartedly agreed that it was all the parents’ fault.

I’d wager there were a few people sat in their living rooms letting off steam about their taxes having to treat kids with obesity related illnesses and dental decay when the parents seem clueless as to how to rectify the situation. But 61.2 of adults are overweight or obese in the UK now. Not all of those adults will have had negligent parents who fed them the wrong foods or let them eat entire tubs of ice cream before a full roast dinner.

It’s the food, stupid.

Even in healthy foods like fruit and vegetables, modern agricultural methods have led to soil depletion, which means that there are fewer micronutrients in the food we eat. The traditional practices of rotating crops and leaving a “fallow field” every growing season in order to restore the soil is all but gone, because of the demands on farmers to grow extra crops. And that’s just the fruit and veg we eat in their natural state. Add in processing, and there’s even less nutrition left.

Our bodies aren’t daft. What do they do when they’re not getting enough of what they need? They tell us we’re hungry, of course. Our bodies don’t tell us we’re full, even though we’ve got the calories we need, because we haven’t got the nutrients. This is why many obese people are actually malnourished. It may not look that way, but obesity is what happens when the food you eat contains a ton of calories without the nutrition.

This is a particular risk among people on low incomes. The cheapest food in the supermarket is often the most nutritionally deficient – think big value bags of chips and chicken nuggets, burgers, pies, fish fingers. All these things are bulked out with low-cost carbohydrate, usually wheat rusk or breadcrumbs, and there’s not much nutrition or fibre to be found in that.

The younger parents on the show were mostly of the same generation as me, and we didn’t get much education about food or cooking in school. If I hadn’t learnt to cook at home, would I have learned things like how to prepare dried beans and lentils, and to make low-cost meals for when I went to university? Not likely. I’d probably have been a Pot Noodle-head.

As well as being cheap, all these processed foods TASTE GOOD. They taste good despite some of them being made from some pretty grim stuff, as Jamie Oliver (not my favourite TV chef due to high irritation levels, but makes many salient points on this topic) explains:

How do you make something pretty horrible taste good? Add fat, sugar and salt. Bingo.

It’s not just because we’re eating too much food in general. We’re eating too much food that kind of isn’t food, really. As Michael Pollan said in his book In Defense of Food – “don’t eat anything your great-grandma wouldn’t recognise as food“.

He might be bang on the money, but for people on low incomes, it’s not quite that simple, because the price of the fresh produce that was the staple of our great grandparents’ diets is out of reach of many low-income families today. And don’t get me started on silly health food crazes and health food preachers – telling a person struggling to make ends meet and coming home exhausted after the night shift that they should be spending their energy trying to get kale and wheatgrass smoothies down their kids for breakfast is probably going to get you smacked round the face, and rightly so.

We need to look at our priorities as well. For example, why are ante-natal classes only focused on breathing exercises and breastfeeding? Kids need looking after long before they’ve popped out and been weaned – why aren’t we teaching new and expectant parents about things like dental care, nutrition, and avoiding supermarket tantrums? In days gone by, maybe you’d have learned that as a new mum or dad from your parents and older siblings, but these days, you’re not as likely to be living round the corner from them to pop in for a bit of advice.

Then there’s retailers. Recent proposed legislation banning junk food advertising before 9pm is a start, but there’s still a long way to go in persuading retailers that they might just have some social responsibility towards their customers. In the majority of mainstream food shops, there’s still chocolate and sweets at kid-height as you walk to the checkout, for example. You could have done the healthiest shop in the world and it all comes undone as your tired three year old spies the Kinder eggs and throws a tantrum worthy of Naomi Campbell – all you want to do is get out of that store away from the glares of other customers, who understandably dislike the decibel level of a screaming toddler, so yep, you buy the egg.

One final word, though, on this subject – if I learned anything from Junk Food Kids, it’s that good parenting is a whole lot of hard work, and if you’re not prepared to put the hard yards in (like turning Peppa Pig off when it’s “teeth time” and dealing with the ensuing meltdown) then you’d probably be better off not having any.

I think I’ll stick to dogs – dental hygiene is as complicated as chucking him a Dentastick and as long as it tastes vaguely like meat, he’ll eat it!

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The Trouble with Tofu

If there’s anything that summarises the virtuous, worthy perception of vegetarianism, and its reputation for bland, tasteless food, it’s got to be tofu. Even some other vegetarians I’ve met will give tofu a wide berth. They don’t want to be seen as the “tofu-eating type” of vegetarian – you know, the ones who wear sandals and socks, and tote acoustic guitars, like Mike Leigh’s monumentally irritating couple Keith and Candice-Marie in Nuts in May.

I think tofu is unfairly maligned in the Western world. Personally, I really like the stuff. My favourite Chinese dish was always Ma Po Tofu (now I have it without the minced pork or beef), and I am a bit obsessed with inari-age sushi. I think fried tofu lends itself really well to spicy Thai curries, because it absorbs the flavours. But I have always had a hard time convincing people that tofu can be, well, even edible. And it’s even been blamed for global warming. It’s not looking good.

Part of the problem with tofu is that people’s first encounter with it is often at vegetarian health food-type cafes. In Oriental cuisines, tofu is a staple – it is used both in vegetarian and meat dishes, and often freshly made, no vacuum packing or slightly funky-smelling water – and here’s the thing, they know how to cook it. I remember as a student going to these health food cafe type places, usually where a high proportion of the staff had dreadlocks, and you could fill up on vegetarian food for next to nothing. It was hearty, sure – but often pretty lacking in the taste and texture department. You can’t just take tofu out of the packet, chop it up and chuck it in and hope for the best.

Thankfully, the bad old days of bland “wholefood” type vegetarian restaurants are fast receding, as vegetarian cuisine becomes more mainstream and more creative. Well-cooked and well-flavoured tofu is a good source of protein, and can provide calcium, magnesium and iron, as well as other trace elements, and it’s low in fat and calories. It’s easy to start relying on cheese as a vegetarian for your main source of protein – if you go on vegetarian support boards, eating too much cheese is a common worry, particularly for rookie veggies. And it makes sense. In our house, with two cheese lovers around, it’s the food we can often agree on. My partner will happily eat vegetarian dishes if there’s a generous cheese component.

The texture that a lot of people don’t like can be mitigated by using firm tofu instead of the silken kind. I used to think tofu was just tofu, until I bought silken tofu by mistake and it went to mush in my stir-fry. You live and learn. If you want it to have any chewiness to it, dare I say meatiness, you need the firm kind. Silken tofu has its place – for example, making dairy-free cheesecake. Mamma Cucina is a particular favourite with my dad’s wife Sussi, who has a milk allergy, and the main ingredient is silken tofu. It doesn’t quite taste like or have the texture of cheesecake, but it’s close, and much lighter than its cheesy counterpart. Sussi and I have actually been known to get through a whole one in one day *guilty face.

The first thing to do is dry it. It will inevitably come in water – that’s important for keeping it fresh, but conversely, the less liquid the better when it comes to cooking it. This “Tofu for Tofu Haters” guide gives step by step instructions – both a quick method, and a longer one, which takes a little more effort, but I am told is worth it, particularly if you want a good crunchy crust when deep-frying it. I particularly like this for stir fries, and I used the salted boiling water method for the stir fry I made the other day.

tofu

I coated the tofu in a mixture of gluten free flour and Chinese five spice, and then shallow-fried it in coconut oil before adding broccoli, greens, chopped garlic, ginger and soy sauce. The texture turned out pretty well. I am going to try the same salted boiling water method to make another favourite tofu dish of mine using this Agedashi Tofu recipe.

Still not confident? Maybe try some of the ready-marinated options out there. My favourites are the Taifun range of marinated, naturally flavoured tofu cutlets. The wild garlic flavour is great for stir fry, while the oregano flavour works well in a pasta dish. The pizza flavour one is strong, but a good veggie substitute for pepperoni due to its spiciness. These have a really firm texture, and the flavours mean that you don’t have to worry about the characteristic blandness.

Gluten free and vegetarian at the Wildmoor Oak, Bromsgrove

On Sunday, we were down in Bromsgrove visiting my partner’s mum for her 60th birthday. She had chosen the Wildmoor Oak, a local pub just outside their village of Catshill, for a Sunday lunch.

I’ve been to the Wildmoor Oak before, and knew they had some gluten free options, but eating out suddenly got a lot harder for me now I stopped eating meat. The Oak also does fantastic Caribbean food, so I was hoping that there would at least be something on there I could sample, and I wasn’t disappointed. The Tobago Medley, which is like a Caribbean bean stew with spices and cooked in coconut milk and served with rice and peas, was absolutely fantastic – they did it for me with gluten free bread instead of traditional hardo bread as well. The dish was perfectly seasoned, had a nice bite (and you can add Encona hot pepper sauce if you want to add some extra heat) and the rice and peas perfectly cooked. The only thing I would say is that it didn’t need the salad – particularly not plain, undressed lettuce leaves just stuck on the side of the plate. The Caribbean dishes speak for themselves.

As excellent as the dish was (and reasonably priced, too) it was the only dish on the menu that fitted a gluten free and vegetarian diet. There was a jerk halloumi option, but for some reason, the jerk dishes are not gluten free – I’m a little nonplussed by that, because I make jerk dishes at home myself, and the marinade recipes I use to make it from scratch use no gluten containing ingredients. I’ve also found plenty of gluten free jerk marinade and sauce options in the shops, so it is pretty easy to make or find gluten free jerk sauce. The other possibility is that the sauce contains barley malt vinegar – because this is made from barley, there is some confusion about whether coeliacs can eat it, but in fact, according to Coeliac UK, yes, we can – the fermentation process removes the gluten, making it safe to eat in the small quantities that we usually would do, such as putting vinegar on your fish and chips, or used in a condiment like sauce or pickles. A lot of restaurants don’t know this, as the information doesn’t really seem to have disseminated very well. Understandably, too, I’m sure a lot of restaurant owners would prefer to err on the side of caution when it comes to coeliac guests, and there is also a legal requirement to state that the product contains barley, which can be confusing.

Overall though, I applaud the Wildmoor Oak for providing good, clear menu information, giving different types of options (Caribbean as well as normal pub fare) and having staff who were able to explain how a dish is adapted for a gluten-free diner. Keep up the good work!

Vegetarianism, I hate you.

Since my “vegucation” a week ago I have not eaten any meat or fish. I’ve discovered that Waitrose Indian Bhaji burgers are a perfectly good Friday fast food dish – think a cross between an onion bhaji and a vegetable pakora, grilled and served in a gluten free roll with lettuce, tomato and Holy Cow Bombay ketchup. I made a vegetarian risotto with asparagus, courgette, peas and celery that even my committed carnivore partner really liked, and I nearly fell over with shock when he said it didn’t need bacon. I’ve made some yummy veggie pizzas using these fantastic herby pizza bases from Venice Bakery – gluten free AND vegan, no less. No animals remotely harmed in the creation thereof, and they taste great, as did the topping of grilled artichokes, black olives and Peppadew spicy peppers.

But the novelty has worn off now. I want a steak, pretty badly. However, I have yet to decide if I am actually going to have one.

The thing is, it would be an easy decision, if a) the vegetarian food I’ve been finding and making had been terrible and b) I hadn’t found that my body has responded so well to a vegetarian diet.

The second one, in particular, is irritating, because I hadn’t thought it would be the case at all. I’ve gone Paleo before, with some success, particularly in the weight loss department, and Paleo doctrine dictates that vegetarianism is unhealthy. I was pretty sold on that for a while, and I ate a lot, and I do mean a LOT, of meat. How many people are going to say no to a diet that legitimizes bacon? I sure as hell wasn’t. Bacon is great. It smells great, and it tastes great. And eating bacon and losing weight? Sign me up.

However, Paleo was hard to follow, and expensive, because to give Paleo philosophy its due, it does advocate organic or at least free range, pasture-raised meat and eggs (dairy is a no-no). But high-welfare meat, whilst if you are going to eat meat, is the best way of doing it, is much more expensive than the factory farmed flabby antibiotic-ridden stuff. And I ran into problems with Paleo in the gut department, the details of which I will spare you – suffice to say, if you have strictures, there actually is such a thing as too much protein. I also had a serious low blood sugar problem on Paleo, and I couldn’t manage any exercise without feeling like I was going to pass out. And I was a little skeptical with regard to all this stuff about grains being soooooo bad for you. Gluten? Yep, sold, that’s my enemy number one. Sugar? No brainer. But rice? Rice? Really? I’ve been to rural China, Vietnam and Cambodia. They live on the stuff, and I don’t think I ever saw an obese person around those parts. They don’t eat much meat either, because it’s too expensive, unless you catch it yourself, or you develop a taste for deep fried insects, which I didn’t. I lost weight there, living off a lot of rice, a lot of veg, fresh fruit, and a bit of meat, fish or tofu when it was around. So I don’t buy this theory that rice is evil and must be destroyed.

Following a vegetarian diet for the past week has not only improved my energy levels, reduced my joint pain (painkillers required only 3 days out of 7) and the stiffness I get in my hands and feet in the mornings, I’ve even hit on the Holy Grail – a vast improvement in dysfunctional gut behaviour, even necessitating a reduction in the medication I take to keep everything working. That is seriously worth its weight in tofu, and it’s definitely enough to keep me motivated, at least for now, to carry on with it.

Don’t get me wrong – I am definitely motivated to follow a vegetarian diet and reduce my consumption of animal products in general because I don’t want to support factory farming or cruelty to animals, and I am also concerned about the environmental impact – and in turn, the impact on people, because you can’t screw up the environment without screwing things up for the people who live there. All that is good, and noble, and I am 100% in support of veggies and vegans for whom this is enough motivation to master their taste for bacon. In fact, brain scans of vegetarians and vegans have shown that they may be more compassionate than their omnivorous counterparts – but I wonder what came first? There’s a chicken and egg theory here – do vegetarians and vegans become such because they feel more compassion to begin with, or does being vegetarian or vegan increase feelings of compassion? Are certain types of individuals more likely to become vegetarian or vegan, or could anybody develop this heightened sensitivity, if they were to be vegetarian or vegan for long enough?

I suspect for a lot of people, there needs to be more motivation than just the squeamishness factor around killing animals for food. I will admit that I am possibly one of these people, and that I probably also need the health benefits factor to keep me motivated to stay off the bacon. Without the fact that I feel pretty good on it, I’m not sure I’d stay motivated enough. It’s not that I want to kill animals – I really don’t, but being a coeliac vegetarian living with a meat-loving, eats-anything partner, that’s going to be pretty difficult. Sharing food together is powerful, and if I can no longer bond with my guy over a rack of BBQ ribs, I at least want to know that there’s a payoff. The trade, at the moment, is a flatter stomach, less pain and cramping, less bathroom trauma, and moving around easier – that, I can trade an 8oz ribeye for, and he can probably deal with me being one of those knowing that my health is better for it.

Damn you, vegetarianism. Why did you have to end up being so darn good for me and give me absolutely zero good excuses to go back to eating steak?

A Vegucation

It was a pretty hard sell to get me watching two of the hardest-hitting documentaries out there exploring our dietary choices, their impact on the animal kingdom and the planet. I might well be a bleeding-heart, card carrying leftie with a soft spot for the underdog, but I’m also a serious foodie. Despite the fact that I’ve had to give up my nemesis, gluten, it hasn’t dampened my passion for good food, cooking, and yep, eating. I wasn’t sure I wanted to watch anything that might have a further impact on my diet, any more than being diagnosed with coeliac disease already has. Being said bleeding-heart leftie type, and bear in mind I’m usually hiding behind the sofa at fictional film violence, I knew there was a high likelihood that I’d be profoundly affected by watching both Earthlings and Vegucated, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to be. I’d been vegetarian in my late teens and early twenties, which did have some ethical grounding, but was more about wanting to be different and a bit edgy. I’ve always known I didn’t like the idea of killing animals for food, but since the whole process of doing so is kept so remote from the end consumer, I’ve never really had to stare it in the face. Vacuum-packed trays of meat in the supermarket don’t really resemble their original form, do they, so it’s pretty easy to distance yourself.

I agreed to watch these documentaries after a conversation at work with a volunteer who is a committed vegan. I work in a conservation centre, and, due to the fairly high proportion of passionate environmentalists I work with, inevitably there are also quite a few vegetarians and vegans, more than I used to encounter in my previous corporate office job. I was quite impressed by this particular person’s approach to talking about veganism – not at all preachy, or proselytizing, as I had feared, but more of the attitude that people should get all the facts and make an informed decision about their diets. We discussed some other documentaries and books that had influenced our attitudes towards food, such as Fast Food Nation and Super Size Me, and during the course of the conversation, I somehow agreed to watch these two documentaries that he told me had had such an effect on him as to inspire him to move from omnivore with doubts about the ethics of the food industry to a complete eschewing of any animal products at all.

Earthlings in particular is a no-holds-barred look at American factory farming, where the very concept of animal husbandry is completely absent. Sick, injured and dying animals are not treated, but tossed out like garbage, left to suffer and die, and it’s only the lucky ones that might meet a quicker end from a bolt gun. Animals are, without doubt, not treated as living beings, but as commodities, and I found it disturbing in the extreme how people employed to care for them could bear to inflict pain and suffering on them, or be immune to witnessing it. I know we’ve been hunting, killing and eating animals since time immemorial, but there’s a bit of a difference between hunting a woolly mammoth in the wild, and capturing said mammoth, keeping it in a cage, forcing it to breed more mammoths and subjecting them to sickness, painful procedures, dirty and cramped living conditions, and traumatic slaughter.

Whilst in the UK, we don’t have the same scale of factory farming, and some of the cruellest practices are not permitted here, I don’t think that the farmers of my grandparents’ generation would recognise the kind of farming we are doing now. Midland Pig Producers have been trying to construct a large-scale piggery and biogas plant in Foston, Derbyshire, for several years now, fighting tenacious local opposition. Although they plan to also produce biogas from the waste and minimise environmental impact, and also not to carry out mutilations such as teeth clipping and tail docking, the pigs at Foston would never see the light of day. Having seen the images of factory farming in both Earthlings and Vegucated, I firmly believe that we should resist any further move towards intensification, both for animal welfare reasons, and the environmental impact. One of the things I’d always felt about the idea of being vegetarian or vegan was that it was a bit pointless, as no matter whether I ate meat or not, other people still would, so the demand would still be there. Organisations such as Compassion in World Farming are campaigning to change some of the attitudes towards factory farming, and looking at the true cost of cheap meat. Should the monetary price of meat actually reflect the environmental cost and the sacrifice of life involved in producing it? Arguably, yes.

Vegucated at least had some gentle humour, in amongst the serious messages, and I needed it after an hour and a half of the emotional rollercoaster ride of Earthlings. Director Marisa Miller Wolfson plucks three ordinary New Yorkers from their meat-and-cheese-lovin’ lives and gets them to try out veganism for size. 6 weeks, several veggie burgers, two rescued chickens and a trip to a deserted slaughterhouse later, it was interesting to see that none of the participants wanted to go back to eating meat, although one compromised on vegetarianism.

In New York, of course, you won’t find too many problems getting good vegan food. I’ve been to California a couple of times, and had no problems there as a veggie, either, and in Berkeley I ate some of the best vegan and vegetarian food I’ve ever had (thank you, Herbivore the Earthly Grill). However, none of Vegucated‘s participants had any food allergies or intolerances, and none of them were coeliac. I have enough trouble here eating out as a coeliac, but a coeliac vegan? Heads up, trendy New Yorkers – this is God’s own country of Yorkshire, and it’s sacrilege enough to have to leave Yorkshire puddings off the plate, but the beef as well?

I don’t exactly know what my long-term actions will be as a result of watching these two very powerful and informative documentaries, but I am certainly not feeling much like tucking into a steak, in the immediate aftermath. I’ll happily come out and say that I like meat, but some of the issues raised here are ones that I don’t think I can continue to ignore, particularly the environmental ones. I don’t want to see Derbyshire drown in pig shit, like the area around the Ohio piggery featured in Earthlings, to put it quite crudely. And frankly, I’m confused by the labelling in the supermarkets – free range, Red Tractor, Freedom Food, outdoor bred – no matter what the label, I still can’t guarantee that the pig that supplied my bacon wasn’t kicked and abused by unqualified, unsupervised slaughterhouse workers, and that it was really rendered senseless before being hoisted by one leg on a hook and having a knife stuck in its throat. And before we condemn the workers too much, we should also remember that this dangerous work often attracts low-paid migrant labour, and in the USA, a lot of illegal immigrants – who have little recourse to any employment rights in a dangerous job with high rates of injury. And it’s not just the slaughterhouses – think of what it would be like to have to work in an intensive chicken shed, the stench of the ammonia from the chicken droppings burning your lungs and eyes. I am leaning towards the feeling that if I wouldn’t be willing to do any of that, then I’m not sure I should be eating the products of that system.

A rude awakening for the confirmed foodie – definitely don’t watch either of these if you’re wanting to enjoy your next bacon sandwich.

Ultimate comfort food – home made smoky baked beans, cornbread muffins and the best GF brownies EVER

Because I haven’t been very well lately, I’ve found myself craving real comfort foods. Of course, it’s all the badass carb-heavy stuff that my boot camp instructor would have kittens over, but sometimes you need to do it. And there are some veggies in there…..honest!

Even though baked beans are usually gluten free, I’m not a big fan of them. I find the tomato sauce too sweet – in fact I find it all a bit sweet and a bit bland. So I decided to have a go at making my own version, with a smoky spicy twist, and made some yummy cornbread muffins with cheese and chilli and coriander to go with them.

Smoky baked beans (I added chorizo to them for an extra kick, but they would be equally yummy without if you’re veggie or on a budget)

1 tin haricot beans (you could buy them dried, but they will need soaking overnight before cooking, and then boiling/simmering in fresh water for about an hour before using)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp blackstrap molasses or treacle
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 tsp gluten free Worcester sauce
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
50g chopped chorizo sausage (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Fry the chorizo in a pan to release the flavours for a few minutes and set aside.
Drain the beans. Put in a medium saucepan along with the tomatoes and bring to the boil. Once at boiling point, turn down to a simmer, and add the molasses. Stir well until dissolved. Add paprika, chilli, herbs, Worcester sauce and Tabasco, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
Add the chorizo if using, along with the oil in the pan that will have been released when the chorizo was fried. Simmer on a low heat for 15-20 mins.
Hint: Tastes even better the next day if left overnight!

The cornbread muffins were actually a recipe that was on the back of the pack of polenta that I bought, and I thought they would make a nice change from rice or jacket potato to go with my beans.

Cheesy Spiced Cornbread Muffins

140g fine cornmeal/polenta
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
1 egg
70g grated mature cheddar cheese
220ml natural yogurt (I didn’t have any yogurt in my fridge, so I used unsweetened rice milk and it worked fine)
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1 tsp salt

It’s as easy as combine everything in a bowl and mix well. I used my trusty Kenwood Chef, but if you don’t have a mixer or food processor, just get stuck in with a wooden spoon. The mixture will look pretty sloppy, but cornmeal really does absorb a LOT of liquid, so stick with it.
The recipe makes 10 muffins – divide the mix between 10 muffin cases and bake at 200/180 fan or Gas 5 for 20 mins. Enjoy!

To make this recipe completely dairy free, you could omit the cheese or use dairy free cheese in place of the cheddar. If you don’t like coriander, you could use flat leaf parsley instead.

The result:

beans and cornbread

A yummy and comforting lunch with a smoky, spicy kick. And not too much effort either!

The next recipe I’ve been meaning to post about (ok, rave about) on here is the Holy Grail of gluten free brownie recipes. I haven’t had much luck with brownies, either finding they turn out too dry or too sticky, but these were absolutely heavenly-perfect. I like my brownies crisp on the outside and squidgy in the middle, and these didn’t disappoint. No wonder the reviews were 5-star. Thank you, Tesco Real Food for making my week! Needless to say these didn’t last very long.

These are not a diet food, be warned……dark chocolate, butter, and sugar make these a definite occasional treat, but if you need a reliable recipe for chocolatey goodness that pretty much everyone is guaranteed to love, make these. You won’t regret it. Seriously.

You can find the recipe here. Instead of chopping up the remaining dark chocolate to sprinkle on top, I used white chocolate chips for a bit of variety, and the result was…..well you can see for yourself….

I wonder who's taken a cheeky slice....

I wonder who’s taken a cheeky slice….

Having had my helping of cosy comfort food for this week, I’m off to go make a salad.