About the Author

Claire Preen Chocolatier

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  • The Fastest and Healthiest Chocolate Bites Ever!

    rawbrowniecropI’m a simple girl at heart, and I like to keep my recipes that way too. So here is the simplest, the fastest and the healthiest chocolate bites you will ever make: 4 ingredients, a blender and 2 minutes (including weighing the ingredients out)!

     

    Ingredients

    1 cup of dates

    1 cup of walnuts

    1 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes

    1/2 cup raw cacao (this is not a spelling mistake for cocoa – you can buy raw cacao from your local health food shop; it makes a great addition as a staple in your larder)

     

    Method

    Place all ingredients in a blender and blend!

     

    You can then do many many things with these delicious little chocolate bites. Press into a small tray and leave in the fridge for half an hour and serve up as brownies. Sprinkle the mixture over your ice cream or Greek yoghurt or even sprinkle a bit into your trail mix. Mix it with some mushed-up banana and some chopped, toasted nuts for breakfast, or you could even use it a decadent base for a cheesecake. It’s the full chocolate taste without the guilt, the mess or the time!

  • Super Simple, Super Fast Chocolate Dessert

    An extremely quick and easy dessert when you are short of time but still want to WOW!

     

    imageChocomint Cups

    Ingredients

    200 g milk chocolate

    200 g cream

    150 g dark chocolate

    Mint essence

    6 tbsp mascarpone cheese

    Chocolate decoration

     

    Method

    1. Bring cream up to a gentle boil, take off heat and stir in broken up pieces of milk chocolate until all chocolate has melted. Pour equally amongst 6 cups and place in the fridge.

    2. Once the ganache in the cup has hardened, break up dark chocolate and melt 3/4 of it over a double burner until chocolate reaches 50C. Add a 1/4 tsp of mint essence. Take off heat and stir in the rest of the dark chocolate. Keep stirring until temperature reaches 30C. Spoon dark chocolate over ganache and place in refrigerator.

    3. When ready to serve, place a tbsp of mascarpone on each cup and decorate.

     

    This is such an easy and quick dessert to make – you can’t go wrong!

     

    For the chocolate decoration in this picture, I tempered some chocolate and poured it over some roasted chopped nuts, allowed it to set and then broke shards off for decoration.

     

    This recipe will work just as well without tempering the chocolate (bringing it up to heat and then bringing it back down), it just means that the chocolate won’t have a shiny finish – however, clever use of the mascarpone, some chopped nuts and maybe a mint leaf will cover any dull finishes.

     

    If you don’t like mint, change the essence to a flavour you do like. Just test the flavouring before you pour the flavoured chocolate over the ganache.

  • Toronto Tour

    Day 2 of the Diva Tour included an interview on Global TV. Sure am loving it here!

     

    http://globalnews.ca/video/1777075/learning-to-cook-for-divas-at-dinner-parties/

     

     

     

  • Toronto TV

    Woohoo! Started my Toronto marketing campaign for Diva’s Guide to Dinner Parties! Loving it (though it’s mighty cold here)!

     

    See my Canadian TV debut here!

     

    http://www.chch.com/divas-guide-dinner-parties/

     

    If you are in Toronto, come and see me at the Indigo store at the Eaton Centre on Saturday between 1pm and 3pm for my book signing!

  • Chocolate Mince Pies


    image

     

    Ingredients

     

    Pastry
    280 g/10 oz plain flour
    125 g/4½ oz icing sugar
    50 g/2 oz cocoa powder
    Pinch salt
    200 g/ 7oz cold butter, diced
    2 egg yolks

     

    Filling
    500 g/1 lb 2 oz ready-made mincemeat
    Juice and zest of an orange

    100 g/4 oz chocolate callets

    ½ tsp allspice

    1 egg

     

    Method
    1. Sift and mix the flour, icing sugar, cocoa powder and salt together in a bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
    2. Mix in the egg until the mixture comes together. Add a little water if necessary. Knead into a disc, wrap in cling film and place in fridge for 40 minutes.
    3. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
    4. Mix the mincemeat, orange zest and juice, allspice and chocolate callets together in a bowl.

    5. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to 3mm thick, cut out 11cm-diameter rounds with a pastry cutter, then cut out the same number of small stars as there are large rounds.

    6. Line muffin tins with rounds and add a large tsp of the mincemeat chocolate mixture. Top with a star. Brush the top with beaten egg.

    7. Bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes, or until the pastry is cooked through.

     

    50 Shades of Chocolate – bringing chocolate and good cheer to you this Christmas!

  • Chocolate Makeup

    image

    What can be better than looking drop-dead gorgeous? Looking drop-dead gorgeous wearing chocolate makeup, of course!

     

    For chocolate eye shadow, mix 1 tsp corn starch with 1 tsp potato starch. Add 2 tbsp of cocoa powder. And that’s it! How easy is that?

     

    Check out this YouTube video of a girl using hot chocolate powder as blusher.

     

    For more fabulous chocolate recipes, check out 50 Shades of Chocolate on Amazon.

  • Chocolate Lava Cake

    Serves 4

     

    Ingredients

    100 g/4 oz butter

    100 g / 4 oz dark chocolate callets

    2 eggs

    2 egg yolks

    ¼ cup sugar

    ¾  tbsp all-purpose flour

     

    Ramekin dusting

    Oil spray

    1 tbsp cocoa powder

    1 tbsp all-purpose flour

     

     

    Method

    1. Preheat oven to 230C /450F.

    2. Melt chocolate and butter over a double boiler and allow to cool.

    3. Whip eggs, egg yolks and sugar.

    4. Mix the egg and sugar mixture into your melted chocolate.

    5. Fold in the flour.

    6. Spray four ramekins and dust with the cocoa and flour.

    7. Pour mixture into ramekins. (You can refrigerate these at this stage and bake later.)

    8. Bake for about 7 minutes.

     

    moltencakeblog54594868965

     

    Serve with ice cream and a saucy smile.

  • Thanksgiving Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie

    Chocolate-Pumpkin-PIe

    A delicious way to bring chocolate into your Thanksgiving this year (though obviously true chocoholics need no help)!

     

    Ingredients

     

    Pie Crust

    1¼ cups plain flour (or all-purpose)

    Pinch of salt

    Pinch of sugar

     ½ cup cold butter, chopped into small squares

    Cold water

     

    Filling

    10 oz dark chocolate callets

    12-oz can evaporated milk

    2 oz butter

    14-oz can pumpkin

    4 oz brown sugar

    3 eggs

    1 tbsp cornstarch

    1 tsp ground cinnamon

    1 tsp ground ginger

     ½ tsp ground nutmeg

    ¼ tsp ground cloves

    Pinch of salt

    1 tsp vanilla extract

     

    Method

    1. To make the pie crust, add all ingredients to a mixer (except the water) and whiz until most of the butter is worked in. Then add a couple of teaspoons of water until the pastry binds together. Flatten into a disc, wrap with cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

    2. Heat oven to 425F

    3. Roll out pie crust and place it in a sprayed pie dish. Place some parchment paper with pie weights (or rice) over the pastry and blind bake for 15–20 minutes till the pastry has started to firm and turn light brown.

    4. Reduce to temperature to 350F

    5. To make the filling, melt the chocolate and butter over a double boiler. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix in the chocolate and egg mixture and pour into the pie crust. Bake for about 45 minutes until the filling has set.

     

    Allow to cool. Serve with whipped cream.

     

    Now tell me what you are thankful for!

     

    For more fantastic recipes like this one, try 50 Shades of Chocolate (purchasers outside Europe or America, go here) and Diva’s Guide to Dinner Parties (purchasers outside Europe or America, go here).

     

  • Fact or Fib – Is Chocolate Good for You?

    Choc syringe

     

    Stimulaton?

    FIB (just)! Yes, it has caffeine and theobromine, which can have an effect on fatigue and concentration – but the levels in chocolate are so low that they won’t make any difference.

     

    Well-being?

    FACT! The endorphins released from eating chocolate can increase feelings of optimism. This is probably why you can manage to talk yourself into eating the whole bar (and perhaps even another!) and believing it will have no effect on your diet!

     

    Included in the healing food pyramid

    FACT! Having found out it is in the healing food pyramid, you may want to skip this next line… Recommended serving size is 1 oz a day, and it should be dark chocolate.

     

    Causes acne

    FIB! Yay! The Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the U.S. Naval Academy have concluded that chocolate does not cause acne – heredity, stress and overall diet are to be blamed for the pesky skin condition.

     

    Can kill dogs

    FACT! More chocolate for you, less for Fido. The theobromine in chocolate can poison the pooch. Humans can metabolise the theobromine a lot easier than dogs (thank goodness) – you can eat about 22 lbs before it kills you! (Please don’t try this out at home!)

     

    Is addictive

    FIB! There is no physical addiction component to chocolate. It’s willpower, and if you don’t have willpower, then it’s just not your fault!

     

    Chocolate quite clearly is good for you – go forth and eat and enjoy!

  • Diva’s Guide To Dinner Parties!

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    The fun and amusing guide to cooking and hosting your own dinner party. With 12 different dinner parties, there is one for each month of the year, and each comes with recipes, how-tos, timetables and humor to keep you smiling as you prepare!

     

    This essential guide to entertaining includes a gastronomic buffet for 20, a Super Bowl (or other suitable sporting event) gourmet spread to wow your bloke and his mates, and even a dinner party that you can rustle up in 45 minutes.

     

    It’s all there with a concise timeline for each one, a shopping list (even comes with a handy hint of what you should be buying for yourself as well as the food!), plus additional helpful comments from the panel of experts like Cost Cutting Cathy and Barman Bill.

     

    Whether you are a diva in the kitchen or your skills are more specialised elsewhere, this guide will inspire and keep you giggling as you prepare your fare as any diva should!

     

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    Website: www.divasguidetodinnerparties.com