If you asked me what sweet thing I couldn’t give up, the answer would have to be chocolate. I don’t have to have a lot of it. I couldn’t manage a whole bar, let alone a box of chocolates, but I need my daily chocolate fix. Even on our five two diet days there has to be room for a tiny sliver after supper.
No wonder then that chocolate plays a part in my stories and novels in “Picking up the Pieces” it is what the three friends Liz, Elsa and Bernie resort to when things start going badly wrong. Meeting at Liz’s …
“Elsa thrusts a bunch of slightly overblown roses into her arms and kisses her on both cheeks. Liz has only just put the flowers into water when Bernie arrives with a large Tupperware container.
“Chocolate time,” she announces, lifting the lid on a cream and chocolate confection.
“Perfection!” Elsa breathes. “Just like the old days.”
“Chocolate was always the drug of choice,” Liz says dryly. They had worked their way through four packets of Maltesers, when Derek Mason had dumped her in favour of that slag Julie Myers. They had stuffed themselves with Toffee Crisps and Mars Bars on the morning of the O level results when Elsa had failed Latin, which meant that she would not be able to join them in the sixth form. Only Bernie’s morning sickness was proof against the power of chocolate and even then Liz and Elsa had been so upset that they devoured a whole box of Milk Tray, then another of Belgian chocolates, that Elsa had lifted from her parents and they had all ended up feeling sick together.”
If I’m not eating chocolate, or drinking it, then I’m baking and one of my favourite cakes is this Chocolate and Raspberry flourless cake. A staple for my book launches it is good too if you have friends who are gluten free.
Flourless chocolate cake with raspberries
200g (7oz) good quality dark chocolate, broken into small pieces; 200g (7oz) unsalted butter ;4 large eggs, separated;200g (7oz) caster sugar;350g (12oz) raspberries. You will need: 23cm (9in) springform cake tin, greased and base-lined with baking parchment.
Method: Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan oven, 350°F, gas mark 4). Place the chocolate and butter in a large bowl over a pan of simmering water until melted. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with half the sugar until thick, pale and creamy. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then gradually add the rest of the sugar until thick and glossy, like a meringue. Fold the chocolate and butter mixture into the egg yolk mix, then gently fold this into the beaten egg whites. Pour into the tin, tap lightly to level the surface and bake in the centre of the oven for 35-40 mins until well risen. Remove and leave to cool in the tin. When cold, invert onto a plate, remove the paper and arrange the raspberries on top or serve them on the side. Dust with icing sugar.