I have used red wine and chocolate before, in a stew with beef, served with fried potatoes and prunes in brandy, stunning. This I tried after watching a videoclip of Gordon Ramsey cooking venison backstrap. No quantities were given, but I have found some clues elsewhere. I added rather too much chocolate the first time. I also struggled to find all of the ingredients he used, so I had to substitute a little.
- Venison back-strap – allow a piece of meat around 5cm x 5cm x 2.5cm, approx 200g or similar for each person. I took one piece of the back-strap and cut it into three. I used local red deer venison.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tsp butter
- 3 shallots or one white onion if shallots are not available – finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic – finely chopped
- 2 bayleaves
- 5 sprigs of thyme, or a tsp dried thyme
- 12 black peppercorns, ground
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar (the original recipe uses raspberry vinegar, but not available locally
- 300ml chicken stock
- 300ml red wine
- 30g unsweetened dark chocolate, finely chopped or grated.
- 100g smoked pancetta or streaky bacon
- Heat the oven to 220C. Cut some grease-proof paper, one section for each serving, and large enough to wrap up a portion of venison.
- Lightly season the venison with salt. Heat the oil in a pan until it is very hot, and then sear the venison on all sides.
- For each portion of venison, place on a piece of grease-proof paper, add a teaspoon of butter, wrap and put onto a small roasting tray. Put into the oven for eight to nine minutes.
- To make the sauce, fry the onion and pancetta in a small pan with a little olive oil , thyme, bayleaves and black pepper. As it starts to brown, add the garlic until that too is cooked.
- Add 300ml red wine, and reduce to a thick sauce by simmering.
- Add 300ml stock, and reduce by simmering.
- Strain out the solid ingredients. To the hot sauce, add a teaspoon of vinegar, and then whisk in the grated chocolate over a low heat. Do not bring back to the boil, just hot enough to melt the chocolate and no more.
- Take the venison from the oven, slice and then pour over the red wine and chocolate sauce.
I served this with roasted brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes. This is definitely good with mash and green vegetables.
This recipe uses up the egg-whites left over from making hollandaise sauce. It is really chocolatey.
- 170g butter
- 170g 70% dark chocolate
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 30ml cold coffee
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 75g caster sugar
- 100g soft brown sugar
- 30g unsweetened cocoa powder (not drinking chocolate)
- 4 egg whites
- 125g plain flour
- Preheat the oven to 190C. Prepare a 20cm square cake tin – grease with butter and line with greaseproof paper.
- Put a bowl over a pan of boiling water, and put in the chocolate and butter. Heat until all the butter and chocolate have melted together.
- Add the vanilla, coffee and salt, stir and set aside for 15 minutes to cool.
- In a large bowl, mix the caster sugar, soft brown sugar and cocoa powder. Add the egg whites, and use a beater to whisk the mixture together. The volume should increase by more than double and the mixture should go pale.
- Stir in the cooled chocolate mixture and the flour.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and put it in the oven. Turn the heat down to 175C and bake for 30 minutes.
- Set the cooked brownies to cool in their tin. Once the are cold, lift them out and cut into squares.
These are spicy and delicious. My children like to make them.
- 100g plain flour
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 50g muscovado sugar
- 50g butter
- 1/4 tsp mild fresh red chilli, or chilli flakes
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- 75g dark chocolate, cut into small chips
- Stir the flour, cocoa, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, chilli and sugar.
- Rub in the butter to achieve a fine breadcrumb texture.
- Add the syrup and mix into a dough. Squeeze the mixture into a dough.
- Kneed in the chocolate chops
- Divide into 12 balls, and space evenly onto a greased baking sheet.
- Bake at 180C for 8 to 10 minutes.
- When they are out of the oven, lift them off the baking sheet onto a cooling rack as soon as possible.
I made this last night. We ate quite a lot of it today. It is very rich and most delicious. If you don’t have ratafia biscuits, you could use amaretti, or any other small almond biscuit.
- 125g butter
- 125g caster sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 250g plain chocolate
- 125g ratafia or amaretti biscuits
- 150ml milk
- cream the butter and the sugar together
- beat the milk and egg-yolk together
- melt the chocolate with a spoonful of water
- Stir the melted chocolate into the mil mixture, and then beat this into the creamed butter and sugar.
- In ramekins, put a layer of the chocolate mixture, then a biscuit and a teaspoon of brandy, and then another layer of chocolate.
- Allow to set; store in the fridge.
The number of dishes is dependent on the size and number of ramekins – this is so rich that the smallest ramekins work the best.
This is madly delicious. The original recipe is in Honey from a Weed by Patience Grey.
- 1 kg beef, cut to about the size and shape of a large thumb
- 1 onion, halved and finely sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes
- 1 glass of spanish brandy
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 50g dark chocolate
- a pinch of cinnamon
- 1 bunch of herbs, include thyme, bay, parsley
- 200ml white wine or noilly prat
- 300ml water
- 12 fine prunes
- olive oil
- 2 potatoes per person, peeled and cubed.
- Soak the prunes for an hour.
- Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a pan, and brown the meat. When it is browned, put it in a casserole dish.
- Fry the sliced onion in the olive oil, with the unpeeled garlic cloves, until the onions are soft and beginning to brown.
- Add the tomatoes to the frying pan, with the brandy, and wine. Simmer for around 20 minutes
- Add the paprika, bitter chocolate, and the cinnamon, and the herbs.
- Stir in the water, and cook for a few minutes, before pouring this over the meat in the casserole dish.
- Simmer in a moderate oven, around 140C, for 2 hours.
- Cook the prunes for 1/2 an hour in a very little water, and drain them.
- Fry the cubes of potato in hot oil until they are golden.
- Serve the stew on a platter, with the fried potatoes at one end, and the stewed prunes the other.
We had poached pears with ice-cream and chocolate sauce tonight, inspiration from Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries.
- 4 pears
- 2 heaped tbsp caster sugar
- a vanilla pod
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 200g dark chocolate
- Pour a litre of water into a large saucepan, add the sugar, vanilla and lemon juice and bring to the boil.
- Meanwhile peel the pears, halve them and remove the cores with a teaspoon.
- Add the pears to the boiling syrup, and poach for 15 minutes
- Allow to cool in the syrup
- To serve, take 200ml of the syrup, and boil this with the chocolate.
- Serve the pears over the ice-cream with chocolate sauce poured over the top.
We had some ground hazelnuts, so we tried this recipe. It was delicious, and it would have been even better if I had a cake platter. It also keeps well, and can be frozen. If you don’t have ground hazelnuts, you can start with whole nuts. The recipe is from ‘Chocolate’ by Patricia Lousada.
- 90g Hazelnuts, toasted and rubbed to remove skins, or 90g ground hazelnuts
- 140g fair trade caster sugar
- 90g fair trade continental plain chocolate (70% cocoa solids minimum)
- 90g fair trade dark cooking chocolate (50% cocoa solids minimum)
- 180g organic salted butter, chopped
- 4 free range organic eggs, separated
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 30 organic plain flour
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 90g fairtrade continental style dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids minimum)
- 90g plain cooking chocolate (50% cocoa solids minimum)
- 125g salted butter
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
- Prepare a 23cm springform tin: grease the tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.
- Heat the oven to 190C
- Grind the hazelnuts with 2 tbsp of the sugar.
- In a double pan, melt the two chocolates with the butter
- Whisk the egg yolks with 90g of the sugar until pale, thick and creamy
- When the chocolate mixture has cooled a bit, mix it with the egg yolks and sugar
- Mix the flour and salt with the hazelnuts, and fold that into the chocolate mixture as well
- Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until ’soft peak’ and then add the remaining sugar and continue to beat until the peaks are stiff.
- Fold the egg whites carefully into the chocolate mixture, and scrape into the prepared tin.
- Bake for 35 minutes; the centre will still be moist, and the torte should not have risen much, if at all.
- Cool the torte in the tin on a wire rack. Quick note: at this point, you could cool the torte, turn it out of the tin and then freeze it for up to two months.
- When the cake is cool, make the glaze. Melt the two chocolates with the butter and golden syrup in a double pan.
- Spread about a quarter of the glaze over the cake, and then chill: this stops annoying crumbs getting into the surface of the glaze later on.
- When the first bit is set, rewarm the glaze a little, and pour over the cake. This is best done on a wire rack over a large plate.
- If you are feeling really creative, melt 1 oz white chocolate and 1 oz milk chocolate separately, and pipe designs into the setting glaze. Circular stripes feathered with a skewer are suggested in the book.
We served this with pouring cream.