Chocolate Pudding with Blackberry.

This is becoming one of my favorite recipes. It’s pretty quick and not too hard, and the outcome is completely delicious. I also use slightly lower-fat ingredients than Nigella’s original recipe calls for—hers is a perfectly rich chocolate pudding made with whole milk and heavy cream, where I’ve turned the fat content down a bit with skim milk and half-and-half and added a hint of berry flavor. I’ve tried this one with raspberries too, and it’s equally out of this world. I’d love to hear if anyone tries it with other berries, or other chocolate-and-fruit combos that might be delicious. What’s your favorite? Can you even choose? Maybe not. Either way, yum! Billy Madison and your snack packs, eat your heart out.

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INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp just-boiled water
3/4 cup skim milk
3/4 cup half-and-half
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp corn starch
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 egg yolks
about 3/4 cup blackberries
splash of vanilla extract
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
more berries and cream, for garnish

Just the Recipe link: Chocolate Pudding with Blackberry

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DIRECTIONS

Gently warm the milk and half-and-half in a saucepan. Don’t let it come to a bubble – just let it slowly heat, stirring occasionally.

Put the blackberries in a food processor and puree.

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In another pan, sift together the sugar, corn starch, and cocoa powder. Whisk in the just-boiled water until combined. Then whisk in 1 egg yolk at a time. Slowly whisk in the warm milk/half-and-half mixture. Then, pour the blackberry puree into a sieve, place the sieve over the cocoa mixture, and stir the puree to push through all the juice, leaving behind the seeds. Add the vanilla extract and whisk it all together.

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Turn the heat on medium. Whisk vigorously for about 30 seconds, and then continue to stir pretty consistently for the next minute and a half. Repeat this process for about 8-11 minutes, until the pudding has thickened slightly and will thickly coat a spoon. Turn off the heat.

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Next, add the chopped semi-sweet chocolate and stir in to melt.

Pour the pudding into ramekins or other cute little cups.

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Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap or tinfoil, being very careful to make sure that the covering makes contact with the surface of the pudding. This contact will prevent a skin from forming on top of the pudding – blech. However, if pudding skin is your thing (you and George Costanza have that in common) feel free to cover just the top of the ramekin, without making contact with the top of the pudding itself – you’ll have a pudding skin in no time. Either way, put the pudding in the fridge and chill for at least 4 hours.

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Then, enjoy!

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If you like, garnish with a bit of lightly whipped cream or some berries, or both.

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Eggs in Purgatory Soup.

This is one of those magical dinners that happen sometimes. You aren’t sure what to make, so you just start cooking, and about halfway through the meal prep, it comes to you. The night I made this, I had set out to make a vegetable-packed egg drop soup. But when I saw that the fresh veg we had at hand weren’t particularly thrilling, I raided the pantry. There, I found some inspiring cans of things, tomatoes among them, and altered our course to tomato soup, a la this recipe from 101 Cookbooks. But lo, as I was opening the can of tomatoes, I had a culinary-spiritual-visitation from Nigella Lawson, who in her intervening wisdom reminded me of her eggs in purgatory recipe that I’ve been wanting to try. And so, long story long, this spiced Eggs in Purgatory Soup was born, and it was a delicious surprise. I had two big helpings and as I write this, I am stuffed. No regrets. Make this soon, folks.

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INGREDIENTS

olive oil
butter
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flake
1 can (28 oz) canned tomato (crushed, diced, whatever – if you use whole, give them a chop first)
14 oz water
3 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
4 eggs
Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Just the Recipe link: Eggs in Purgatory Soup

DIRECTIONS

In a soup pot (or if you have them, individual skillets), heat olive oil and butter over medium and add onion with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent and just starting to brown.

Add the garlic, cumin, curry powder, and red pepper flake. Stir in and cook a minute or two, until fragrant.

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Pour in the entire can of tomatoes and juice. Then fill the can up halfway with water and swirl to make sure you get all the juices out of the can, and pour in. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer for 15 minutes.

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When the tomatoes have simmered, stir in the Greek yogurt and turn the heat down nearly as low as it can go – you want to see just the tiniest bubbles floating to the surface.

Gently crack in the eggs, nestling them into the soup so that no eggs are touching. Don’t stir or agitate the soup as the eggs poach for a few minutes, until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny.

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Use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs to their bowls, and ladle the soup over the eggs.

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Sprinkle with Parmesan and, if you have it, fresh parsley (I was out, boo). Enjoy!

And here is my second bowl. I’m a big fan of the Parmesan.

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Rosemary Lemon Roasted Brussels Sprouts.

Let’s keep this simple: I love Nigella Lawson.

I love her recipes. I love her witticisms. I love her energy.

My approach to cooking is strongly influenced by something she once said: “Don’t worry if bits of eggshell get into the bowl. It proves it’s homemade.”

So when I made her recipe for roasted brussels sprouts and discovered that a few lemon seeds had made their way into my final product, I wasn’t bothered in the least.

All is right with the world. Try these Rosemary Lemon Roasted Brussels Sprouts a la Nigellissima yourself, and just be sure to mind the pips!

Rosemary Lemon Roasted Brussels Sprouts | KellyintheKitchen | olive oil, lemon zest, 1 clove garlic, 1 sprig rosemary, 100 g brussels sprouts, 1 tbsp parmesan cheese, salt and pepper

INGREDIENTS

olive oil
1 lemon, zested to taste (I go lighter on lemon zest but Nigella’s recipe calls for the zest of a whole lemon)
1 clove garlic, grated or finely minced
1 sprig rosemary
a few handfuls of brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (you want enough to form a single layer on the bottom of a standard sized cast iron skillet)
1-2 tbsp parmesan cheese (to taste)
salt and pepper
NOTE: this recipe doubles and triples easily if you’re cooking for a bigger group!

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 425 F.

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Drizzle olive oil on the bottom of a pan (I used my cast-iron skillet). Grate the garlic and lemons zest into the pan and, tearing the rosemary leaves apart roughly, strew them about the pan. You can leave them large enough to remove at the end if you like. Add the brussels sprouts and toss to coat.

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Roast for about 15 minutes, until starting to become tender. Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with parmesan and salt and pepper at pop back in the oven for another 5 minutes. They’re ready when they’re tender but still have a little bit of bite in them.

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Pull out the rosemary leaves and serve ’em up! These make a fantastic side dish to an herby roasted chicken, but we ate almost all of them straight out with our fingers. Yeah, they’re that good!

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake.

This is Nigella Lawson’s recipe for old-fashioned chocolate cake – I haven’t changed a thing! Except to cut the recipe in half, since hers makes a nice big double-layer cake. My sister and I decided to exercise some self-control and make just a small one for our little dinner party. We used a pretty big pan and then cut the unfrosted cake in half and stacked it, so that we had a two layer half-cake, but you can of course play around with shape and stacking if you like. And feel free to double my amounts for a full-sized, two layer cake. Either way, you’ll get a light and fluffy cake with a sweet, chocolatey frosting – an old-fashioned dessert that would make our chocolate cake-inventing foremothers good and proud!

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INGREDIENTS

for cake:
3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/6 cup cocoa powder
6 tbsp butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup sour cream, room temperature

for frosting:
3 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
3 tbsp butter, softened
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream, room temperature

Just the Recipe link: Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Combine all cake ingredients in a food processor and blitz. Pour into a greased springform cake pan (or two pans, if you’re doubling the recipe).

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Bake for about 15 minutes for a small cake, and up to 30 minutes for a larger cake. The baking time will change depending on the size pan you use, so use a toothpick to check the middle for doneness every once in a while.

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Let the cake cool completely. Then, make the frosting. Melt the chocolate and butter together over a double boiler. When smooth and cool, stir in the vanilla, corn syrup, sour cream, and powdered sugar.

At this point, we cut our cake in half, right down the center, so that we had a half moon-shaped cake with 2 layers. However you’re doing it, frost the cake to your liking.

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Nigella topped this cake with cute little sugar flowers. I didn’t have any (though it would have been pretty adorable), so I used pomegranate seeds. You really don’t need to garnish with anything – either way, it tastes awesome and is maybe the easiest from-scratch cake I’ve ever made!
*Serving tip: I think cold chocolate cake is pretty unbeatable. We put our cake in the fridge for 2 hours before serving it, and it makes a huge difference. The frosting becomes thick and almost ice cream-like, and the cake itself also takes on a creamier quality. Give it a try!

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