This month begins with Easter and what better excuse to do lots of chocolate recipes? If you have given up chocolate for Lent, then I bet Easter Sunday can’t come soon enough. One tradition in our house is a chocolate pudding after our roast dinner on Easter Sunday.

A few years ago (actually shortly after the first grandchild was old enough to eat chocolate) we purchased a chocolate fountain. I buy lots of fresh fruit like bananas, pineapple and strawberries and prepare these into bowls on the table. The fountain has pride of place in the middle and everyone is allocated a long skewer; then the fun begins. If you havn’t got a fountain, then bowls of melted chocolate will do just as well and it’s a very easy pudding to do and also healthy! Well chocolates are made of beans so count as one of your 5 a day! Happy Easter.

Buen Appetito

Churros with Hot Chocolate

250ml water
50ml sunflower oil
½ tsp salt
200g flour
115g dark chocolate
1 litre milk
1 tbsp cornflour
4 tbsp sugar
Oil for frying

Put the water, oil and salt into a heavy pan and boil. Turn the heat down and add the flour and beat together until the mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat. In the meantime heat the oil for frying until very hot. Using an icing syringe, pipe thick strips into the oil and fry until golden brown. Place on a plate and sprinkle with sugar. Place the chocolate and half the milk in a pan and heat. Dissolve the cornflour in the rest of the milk and mix with the chocolate together with the sugar. Continue heating the mixture on a low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and whisk until smooth and serve with donuts.

Chocolate Coconut Slices

6oz chocolate
4oz sugar
4 oz coconut
2oz chopped cherries
1 large egg

Melt chocolate in glass bowl over gentle heat. Pour into cake tin and spread over bottom. Allow to cool. Beat egg and castor sugar lightly and add coconut and cherries. Mix well. Spread over chocolate base. Bake till golden brown in moderate oven for about ½ an hour. When cool cut into fingers.

Ma Millbanks Chocolate Cake

200g butter
200g caster sugar
4 eggs
150g self raising flour
50g cocoa
1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder
Oven 190º

Beat the butter until creamy, add the sugar and again beat until creamy. Sieve out flour, baking powder and cocoa powder and set aside. Add eggs to butter and sugar mixture, one at a time, together with a tablespoon of flour/cocoa mixture – this will stop curdling. When all eggs mixed in, add the remaining flour but mix only until a smooth mixture. Too much mixing will lose all the air in the mixture.

Pour into two cake tins and when oven is at temperate, cook for 20 minutes or when a sharp knife comes out clean. Do not open the oven door before at least 15 minutes or cake will drop the air.

Butter Cream for Middle of Sponge
100g butter
50g of icing sugar
50g cocoa powder

Cream butter and add sieved icing sugar and cocoa until smooth. If too runny, add more icing sugar. If too stiff, add a few drops of cold water. Wait until cake sponge is cold before applying the butter cream

Melt chocolate in glass bowl above some hot water and pour over the top of the cake and decorate or double the butter cream quantities and spread the top with butter cream and decorate.

Chocolate Crisps

¼ lb broken biscuits
4oz butter
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
2 oz plain chocolate

Crumble the biscuits. Cream the butter, sugar and cocoa all together. Add the syrup. Work until firm. Press this into a well-greased tin. Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over hot water. Remember to heat the chocolate slowly and do not stir until almost melted. Pour over cake mix and leave in fridge over night.

Chocolate Fruit

Fresh fruit like bananas, oranges, grapes, strawberries etc.
150g Chocolate
A packet of cocktail sticks

Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over a saucepan of boiling water, stirring. When the chocolate is runny without lumps, take a piece of fruit and put a cocktail stick into the top. Dip it into the chocolate and coat all over. Place on a kitchen towel and allow to set. Decorating with hundreds and thousands can be done when the chocolate is still wet. Any fruit can work, so why not try some more unusual ones?