A balanced diet is a piece of chocolate in both hands

The Rice Krispies have been bought, the scot bloc has been broken from the original whole bar into a little mountain of neat, if somewhat waxy and already blemished looking squares and placed into a plastic bowl touching the top of the water in an overfilled pan. In later years I learned that this process is called Bain Marie or Mary’s Bath. A process that refers to the gentle heat of the water. However, the boiling over the side method that I was apply was far from any delicate touch, thus leading to that split, gritty mass that forms in the bowl and that sure indication that you actually bastardized it even further. A product that you didn’t know at the time was now in a better form than when it came out of the packet and is now in the bin. Good old scot bloc!

So, after this new learning curve, another attempt was had at the said crispy cakes with what I believe to be was some kind of success. The batch yield was more than anyone would have expected from a recipe with very few processes, as I wanted to make as many ‘cakes’ using as much from the box of krispies as humanly possible where the finished result almost resembled a peely wally cluster that if I was more on the ball with my alchemy at the age then of quite young, I could have got away with giving them the quirky new name we give some items today known as blondies and not my fine batch of peely wallys.

Things did improve batches later. If I recall, Kellogs had the bright idea of selling boxes of cereal with some kind of cooking chocolate stuck to the side along with a recipe. I’m not sure how true this last sentence was as I might have dreamt this, however for me, dream of not, this was to coin the phrase – game changer – as one of my first unrecorded recipes that until now as I write this, that back then I wouldn’t realise that a love for cooking was starting to form which I never even dreamt would years later turn into a career in which that time has come to love but at times came to hate and did end up also walking away from briefly.

The phrase that I use today and still pass on in relation to how we treat chocolate is – chocolate in pocket equals melted chocolate. That is how temperamental chocolate is. I think it’s safe to say that we all love, well at least 99% of us enjoy chocolate in one form or another. Whether it’s formed into hot drink with milk, our favourite chocolate bar or perhaps you’re a little connoisseur who operates only on a certain cocoa percentage range. This is not an ‘I’m going to tell you to eat only xyz kind of chocolate’ as I don’t think that would be fair. As long as we stick to the ‘only a treat’ theory, we should be fine. Yes, there are some health benefit in eating chocolate with a decent cocoa percentage but only in small consumption. These treats still come with calories and sugar contents but here is something else that might make us feel good. Some type of dark chocolate hold the same polyphenols as some fruits and the same amount found in a small of some red wines and certain teas. Polyphenols are micronutrients that we get from certain plant based foods. They are packed with antioxidants and other potential health benefits which could help and improve digestion issues, weigh management difficulties, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease and cardiovascular diseases. I am no doctor or scientist and I only offer the little advice that I have conjured over the years but I strongly believe things in moderation and balance to be the key.

I have chosen this pudding as it is a classic. It’s easy to prepare and can be made in advance so it’s ideal for entertaining. If your not keen on dark chocolate then use your favourite chocolate. There is no hard rule for this, after all it’s what you enjoy at the end of the day. This can be prepared into individual ramekins or family style bowl in the middle of the table, finished with some chocolate curls you have prepared with a peeler.

Chocolate Mousse with Shortbread Biscuits

250g Dark Chocolate

50g Unsalted Butter, softened

6 Medium eggs, separated

3 egg whites

40g Caster Sugar

150g Plain Flour

100g Unsalted Butter

50g Caster Sugar

2-3 flavoured drops – drop are optional for a little twist to the biscuits.

Preheat the oven to 170°c

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Once melted, remove from the heat and beat in the butter. Whisk 6 egg yolks until pale and set aside. Whisk the 9 egg whites with the sugar. Fold in the whisked egg yolks and then fold the egg mixture into the chocolate. Pour into suitable dishes and chill for at least 2 hours.

Now for the shortbread, knead the ingredients together in a bowl until it forms a dough. This does not take long. Roll the dough out to a thickness of about 5mm. Using the desired cutter, place the shortbread circles onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly golden. Place onto a cooling wire and dust with some caster sugar and serve along side the Chocolate mousse.

I’d love to see what you create! Upload a picture to Instagram and tag me at @TheNiseachChef or use the hashtag #TheNiseachChef

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