Earl Grey Hot Chocolate Recipe

It’s so cold outside! We are having some really cold weather. This hot chocolate is flavored with Earl Gray tea. The tea gives it more depth of flavor, and scent of bergamot. I can’t think of a more comforting way to warm up at home.
Earl Grey tea is often used to infuse chocolate truffles with citrus fragrance and flavor. Why not use a similar technique to make tea-infused hot chocolate?

Ingredients
1½ cups whole milk
2 teaspoons Earl Grey Tea
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar or more to taste

TOTAL TIME: 6mins
PREP: 5 mins
COOK: 1 min

Bring milk just to a boil in a saucepan. Add the tea, turn off the heat (but keep the pan on the warm burner), cover and let stand to steep for 3 minutes. Whisk in the chocolate and sugar until melted and dissolved. Pour through a fine strainer and into a mug and serve immediately. *You can serve topped with whipped cream.

Tips
Loose tea, which is generally of a higher quality than tea found in tea bags, will give you the tastiest hot chocolate blend.
Bergamot is a fragrant orange and the essential oils in the rind are used in perfumery and for culinary.

Drink and enjoy! Get cozy!

What Does Your Coffee Reveal about You?

I drink coffee. I love the coffee. 
The type of coffee you order may reveal more about your personality than you think.
Having a good cup of coffee is more than just about milk or sugar; sometimes it is a whole ritual passed on from mother to daughter, from father to son. From the Ethiopian countryside where coffee was first discovered, to the baroque cafes of imperial Europe and the office streets of Tel Aviv, coffee has adapted to almost every culture, infiltrating even tea-loving countries such as India and UK.

Coffee is the world’s second most popular drink after water, with over 2,611 billion cups of coffee consumed daily worldwide. Within this framework, each one of us still has his/her own way of drinking their cup of coffee.
Clinical psychologist Dr. Ramani Durvasula recently conducted an observational study of 1,000 coffee drinkers. The survey assessed numerous common personality styles and psychological traits including introversion and extraversion; patience; perfectionism; warmth; vigilance; sensitivity; and social boldness, among others.
In the survey, which is described in Dr. Durvasula’s book entitled You Are WHY You Eat: Change Your Food Attitude, Change Your Life, people were given common scenarios that we all find ourselves in: how we approach waiting in long lines, how we plan dinner parties or what our typical weekends look like. Participants were asked to choose from a series of approaches to these scenarios. The survey also asked if they drink coffee and what they typically ordered. The results were not that surprising.

Research found that the black coffee drinkers were straight up, straightforward and no-nonsense individuals. The double decaf, soy, extra-foamy folks tended to be more obsessive, controlling, and detail-oriented. The latte drinkers tended more toward neurotic and people-pleasing, while the instant coffee drinkers had a greater likelihood of being procrastinators. Finally, those individuals who order sweet drinks were the overgrown kids who retained the taste buds and sensibilities of children, while being young at heart.
In a larger sense, though, the choices we make in life often speak volumes about us. Sometimes we make “choices” without thinking like robots. Sometimes our choices in life essentially shape who we are for better or worse. People pleasers, who may try to manage the bitterness of coffee with a little milk, may also try to please others, which can be dangerous if one is always selfless and unassertive when communicating their needs, wants and desires.
Our personalities influence all spheres of our lives — our relationships, our jobs, our perceptions, our attitudes — and obviously will influence our choices. Some people are afraid of making the wrong choice, so in the interim feel safer choosing inaction, which speaks louder than any potential decision rendered.
So stretch out your psyche from time to time, and become a little less resistant to change. Perhaps a great, albeit small, place to start is changing up your usual order next time you go out for coffee. Or, the next time you are in the driver’s seat, don’t be so quick to fire up your GPS.
No matter how different we are, how our history and local culture vary, our love for coffee has no boundaries. It is the most common denominator. When it comes to coffee, we are all big fans, everywhere. Coffee is an important part of our life, and so many beautiful and memorable moments are formed over a cup of coffee, that I am sure each one of you has such a moment to share! 
And if you wonder what good coffee tastes like, an old Turkish proverb says “Coffee should be black as Hell, strong as death, and sweet as love”


Now tell me, how do you drink your coffee? :)

The Coffee Lovers Gift List

  According to a 2013 survey conducted by the National Coffee Association, approximately 83 percent of adults drink coffee in the United States — the world’s biggest consumer of that beverage. That percentage translates into a little more than 200 million coffee drinkers. Plus, about 63 percent of adult Americans drink a cup of coffee every day and nearly a quarter of drink more than one cup. The average is three cups per person. But what is more interesting than the increasing share of Americans that drink the beverage is the fact coffee has become more than just a caffeine-delivery system. “You could say this nation runs on two dark liquids — petroleum and coffee,” Syracuse University popular culture professor Bob Thompson told USA Today. “Thousands of people are lubricated and made mobile by coffee every single day.”

Rok Espresso Maker
  Manual espresso makers are awesome. For starters, they need no electricity to operate, and the vintage inspired makers are absolutely beautiful. A non-electric espresso maker powered by you. It's a manual-pressure coffee maker made with engine-grade metal, fitted with two arms that you raise and then lower to pull a shot of espresso . It also comes with a frother for your lattes, cappuccinos and macchiatos.
  Equipped with rubber, slip resistant legs to protect your kitchen countertops, this is a coffee maker that you will want to put on display for the whole world to see.
  About $200 from various retailers, www.kohls.com , www.staples.com , www.wholelattelove.com . Also see www.rokkitchentools.com.

Chemex Glass Coffeemaker

Invented in 1941 by Dr. Peter Schlumbohm, the Chemex Coffeemaker brews coffee without imparting any flavors of its own and the resulting beverage is promised to be strong but without any bitterness. Known as a pristine coffeemaker, Chemex employs all the chemically-correct methods of brewing. The one-piece, hourglass-shaped vessel is crafted from non-porous, borosilicate glass with a polished wood collar serving as a insulated handle around the middle of the coffeemaker. That glass is a chemically inert material that does not absorb odors or chemical residues. It was even included on the Illinois Institute of Technology’s list of the 100 best-designed products of modern times.

To use, water must be heated prior to brewing. After the water comes to a boil, the water should be cooled slightly — for about 30 seconds — and then used to wet the grounds, which must be a regular grind so that the filtration rate is not impeded. Once the water has drained and the grounds allowed to bloom, water should be poured up to 1/4-inch from the top of the class and allowed to brew for up to six or seven minutes, for a 10-cup vessel.
A three-cup model runs $37.50 and a ten-cup vessels sells for $45.50 on www.williams-sonoma.com .

Hot Rod Heated Travel Mug
Not everyone owns a car, every car does not have a cigarette lighter, and certainly there are many Americans who do not commute by car — but if you happen to be driving in a car with a cigarette lighter, you can have hot coffee.
This thermally-insulated travel mug comes with a 12-volt power outlet and a digital temperature gauge on its side. Some people could have a problem with the small amount of coffee the mug holds; its capacity is only 8 ounces.
To some coffee drinkers, the mug — with its retro-inspired design — may be a bit of a novelty item. But the fact remains that Americans throw away 25 billion paper cups, which translates into approximately 363 million pounds of waste, and there are numerous unique, environmentally-friendly cups to replace their paper counterparts. Some are even as simple as the “cuppow,” a 100 percent recyclable and BPA-free lid that turns a canning jar into a travel mug.
The pour-over method allows coffee aficionados a greater degree of control on the finished beverage. With this method, the brewer can control the rate of extraction by how fast or how slow the water is poured as well as the temperature of the water. It also brings the focus back to the coffee being made instead of the technology used to make it.
On Amazon, list price of the travel mug is $19.70.

Peet's Coffee Chest
Yum! Coffee, chocolate, biscotti, cookies and more – this gift basket is chockfull of tasty goodies he’s going to enjoy … and want to share. Relish a lazy Sunday morning together by sleeping in, then lounge around in your pajamas, drinking delicious Peet’s Coffee, and snacking on the premium coffee treats. Use the map-themed chest as inspiration to plan the destination of your next getaway!
Measures 12" x 8" x 5
Arrives decorated with a hand-tied satin ribbon
Items are presented in a beautiful map-themed chest.
The price is $64.95 at GiftTree.

Iced Coffee Maker
Iced coffee has taken criticism. For many people, the problem is that most cafes simply put leftover coffee in the refrigerator to use as iced coffee. However, as cold brewing has become more widespread, coffee no longer has to be the beverage that started life out hot. The science behind cold brewing is simple — any ingredient that is water soluble can dissolve and therefore infuse the water with its flavor. If coffee grounds are placed in water for 21 hours, the result is coffee. Of course, heat speeds up the process, but cold-brewing makes a far tastier beverage that is less acidic.
 Bodum Bean Ice French Press runs $37.00 on Amazon.

Death Wish Coffee
There are a ton of great coffees out there that are worth your while, and we could easily make a list on just those, but there’s one thing that really stood out with these beans. Death Wish boasts the title of the world’s strongest coffee with 2x the amount of caffeine as your standard cup of joe. The beans are carefully selected and roasted to perfection in order to provide a bold, smooth and strong cup of coffee.


CapsuleKong
This is a great choice for anyone out there that owns a Nespresso coffee maker. Designed to look just like the classic Donkey Kong game, this thing will add some nice flair to your kitchen, while at the same time providing storage for up to 50 coffee pods. CapsuleKong is a wall mounted display for Nespresso® Pods, inspired by the Arcade classic Donkey Kong. Through countless design revisions and prototypes we finally achieved the perfect spacing and angles to enable the Pods to elegantly roll down the levels from top to bottom.
The design references the original game level and features beautiful scale cut-outs of the game characters, right down to a flaming barrel of Coffee that functions as the Capsule exit...
Kong is produced in gorgeous Anodised Aluminium and stocks exactly 50 Capsules - including the double-barrel shot slot to keep two favourites on hand for quick access anytime.
The price is $170.00 on hologramer.com.

Handpresso Auto Expresso Maker
The team at Handpresso make some pretty solid mobile coffee devices, and this one is a fan favorite. While it doesn’t make a huge cup of joe, its 16-bar pressure is created using nothing more than a 12v cigarette lighter, and is capable of heating up a cup of coffee in just 2 minutes. Price is $162.93 at Amazon.

Sugar Cube Skulls
Whether you’re indulging in some hallucinatory green absinthe, preparing for some epic trick or treating or just having a Halloween cuppa, these Sugar Cube Skulls help the medicine go down. 
Perfect for themed parties or special occasions, these haunting, hand-moulded sugary skulls are a great way to indulge your spooky sweet-tooth. 
Unless you’re sweet enough already. Sure you could just throw any old sugar cube in your coffee, but that wouldn’t be awesome. Made from 100% cane sugar, each pack includes 9 sugar cube skulls.

I hope I could give you ideas! ;)

How to make the Best Classic Cheesecake

Cheesecake is a sweet dish consisting of one or more layers. The main, and thickest layer, consists of a mixture of soft, fresh cheese, eggs, and sugar; if there is a bottom layer it often consists of a crust or base made from crushed cookies (or digestive biscuit), graham crackers, pastry, or sponge cake. It may be baked or unbaked . 
Cheesecake is a moist, delicious mixture of cream cheese, sugar, and eggs baked in a graham cracker or pastry crust. It's also very versatile, working well with a wide variety of flavors ranging from lemon and chocolate to pumpkin. 
Cheesecake is usually sweetened with sugar and may be flavored or topped with fruit, whipped cream, nuts, fruit sauce, and/or chocolate syrup. Cheesecake can be prepared in many flavors, such as; strawberrypumpkinkey limechestnut, or toffee.
While the prep and cooking time is generally three hours, this creamy, dreamy dessert is truly worth it. 

A few tips to guarantee great cheesecake results:
  • Use a springform pan to make it easier to remove your cheesecake after baking.
  • Keep your oven moist to prevent your cheesecake from cracking. Just put a shallow pan of water beneath the cheesecake during baking.
  • You'll know the cheesecake is done when it's puffy around the edges and jiggles a bit in the center when shaken.
Ingredients For Crust

  • 2 cups (475 ml) of Graham cracker crumbs 
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 5 Tbsp (70 g) unsalted butter , melted.
Steps for crust
1. Choose your pan wisely. Cheesecakes are notoriously crumbly, so choosing the right pan will ensure that your cheesecake comes out smoothly when you take it out of the pan. For the best outcome, use a springform pan. This sort of pan is comprised of round cake pan with a removable bottom. It is all held together by a sprung collar.
2. Cover the pan with aluminum foil. For the best cheesecake you’ve ever eaten, you’ll need to bake it surrounded by boiling water  To avoid any water leaking into your pan and ruining your crust, you will need to wrap the pan with hole-free aluminum foil. Place a piece of foil under the pan and then wrap it upwards and fold it so that the foil rests along the edge of the pan but doesn’t fold over the lip.
3. Place a rack in the lower third of the oven. Once you have done this, preheat the oven to 350°F. While the oven is preheating, place the graham crackers into a blender or food processor. Make sure that the lid is tightly secured and pulse the crackers until they reach a finely ground texture.
4.Pour the graham cracker dust into a large bowl. Use a spatula to stir in the salt and sugar, making sure that all of the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Melt the butter in the microwave or on the stove and then add it to the mixture. Wash your hands and use them to mix the ingredients together using a folding movement until all the ingredients are well mixed.
5.Pour the crust mixture into the pan. Save about ¼ cup of the mixture to use later if need be . Press the crust down with your hands, making sure that there are no holes. The result should be an even layer of crust that ever so slightly curves up along the edges of the pan.
6.Place the pan in the oven. The crust will need to harden up a bit-putting it in the oven for 10 minutes should achieve the desired texture. Once the 10 minutes have passed, remove the pan from the oven and turn the oven temperature down to 325°F. Let the crust cool for several minutes.

Ingredients For Filling

  • 2 pounds cream cheese (900 g), room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar (270 g)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream (160 ml)
  • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream (160 ml)
Steps for crust Filling
7. Cut your cream cheese into large chunks. One by one, cut away a chunk of the cream cheese and place it into the bowl of your electric mixture. Use the paddle attachment of your electric mixture to get the creamiest texture. Mix the cream cheese for four minutes on a medium speed--the result should be a smooth texture.
8. Add the sugar to the cream cheese. Pour your sugar into the bowl and mix the two ingredients together for four minutes. Your mixture should be set to a medium speed. Repeat this process with the vanilla and salt. Add one ingredient and then mix for four minutes. Then add the other ingredient and mix for four minutes.
9. Crack the eggs into the bowl on at a time. When you add one egg, turn the mixer on and beat it for one minute. Repeat this process with the three remaining eggs. Use a spatula to scrape along the insides and bottom of the mixing bowl. This is important to do because large chunks of cream cheese can get stuck in these areas. Next, add the sour cream and mix thoroughly. Follow this up with the heavy cream, which you should also mix until the ingredients are all blended together.
10. Pour the filling into the pan on top of the crust. Make sure that you scoop out all of the filling while also making sure that it doesn’t overflow the pan. Once it is in the pan, use a spatula to make the top smooth.

Baking the Cheesecake
11. Place the springboard pan into a high-sided roasting pan. Bring two quarts of water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, carefully pour it into the roasting pan so that the water reaches about halfway up the side of the springboard pan. While this might sound like an odd instruction, you are actually giving the cake a water bath that will help the filling to cook without cracking the crust.
12. Place the pan inside a pan on the lower rack of the oven. Set your timer for one and a half hours and let your delicious cheesecake bake. After the baking time has passed, oven the oven and gently shake the cheesecake back and forth to ensure doneness. The cake should wiggle slightly in the center and should be firm around the edge. The center will firm up as the cake cools.
13.Turn off the heat. Open the door of the oven so that it is about an inch open. Let the cheesecake cool in the oven as the oven cools, which should take about one hour. This sort of slow, gentle cooling will make sure that the crust doesn’t crack in the face of the cold air outside the oven.
14.Cover the top of your cheesecake with foil and place it in the fridge. You will want to leave it in the fridge for a minimum of four hours. The cold temperature will help the cheesecake to firm up.
15.Remove your cheesecake from the pan. Once it has chilled thoroughly, you can slide a spatula along the inside of the pan to separate the crust and cake from the pan. You must wait to do this until after the cheesecake has cooled or else you run the high risk of separating the cheesecake from its crust. Open the springform latch and gently remove the sides, leaving the cheesecake in all its glory.

Ingredients For Toppings

  • 2 cups sour cream (475 ml)
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar (35 g)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 12 ounces (340 g) fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (100 g)
  • 1/2 cup water (120 ml)
Steps for crust Toppings
16. Place sour cream in a medium sized bowl, stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla, until smooth. Chill until you are ready to serve the cake.
17. Place raspberries, sugar, and water in a small saucepan. Use a potato masher to mash the raspberries. Heat on medium, whisking, about 5 minutes, until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat. Let cool.

Prepare the cake to serve
18. Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Remove the foil from the sides of the pan, and place the cake on your cake serving dish. Run the side of a blunt knife between the edge of the cake and the pan. Dorie recommends, and we've done with success, that you use a hair dryer to heat the sides of the pan to make it easier to remove. Open the springform latch and gently open the pan and lift up the sides. Spread the top with the sour cream mixture. Serve plain or drizzled with raspberry sauce.

Points to remember!
  • Put the biscuits in a food bag and crush them with a rolling pin.
  • Stir through the melted butter and press the mixture into a loose-bottomed tin.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 10 minutes to ensure a crisp base when your cheesecake is finished.
  • Beat the soft cheese until creamy, then add the sugar, followed by the flour and salt.
  • Mix in lemon zest, juice and vanilla extract, then gradually beat in the eggs.
  • Add the soured cream and whisk on the lowest setting of your electric beater or by hand.
  • Pour the filling onto the base and cook in a preheated oven.
  • If it's cooked the cheesecake should have a slight wobble in the centre.
  • Turn off the oven leaving the cheesecake inside to cool.
  • Spread a mixture of soured cream, sugar and lemon juice on top of the cooled cheesecake.
  • Cover loosely with foil and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
Bon appetite! ;)

How can I make a great cup of Greek coffee?

Making the traditional Greek coffee is an art of it’s own. The process has it’s own rhythm, and there is no rushing it, while waiting for the dark liquid to brew. Ardent lovers of coffee will always be curious to find an answer to the question, "how to make Greek coffee?"

Coffee has a very old history...

It travelled to Turkey from Yemen and from Turkey it became known in Greece. It became so popular that people started calling it "Greek coffee" instead of Turkish (or Arabic) coffee.

Though a good number of people describe Turkish coffee as Greek coffee there are differences between these two types of coffee. The major difference is that Turkish coffee gets roasted higher in comparison with Greek coffee and normally, people do not add spices to the Greek coffee.


You will need some equipment to make a proper Greek coffee...
  • A gas source. In Greece most people used to have gas stove tops.  Since most people no longer have gas stove tops, here they use what you call a gazaki, it is a single camping gas burner. Traditionally this type of coffee is made in what is called hovoli, which is basically heated sand.
  • Get a small coffee pot called a briki.
  • Greek coffee, known also as Turkish or Arab coffee 
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Espresso coffee cup or Greek coffee cup.

What Type of Coffee Should you Use?
 
Now many people think that if they grind their favorite coffee beans in a fine powder they will have Greek style coffee.  Α specific combination of beans is used to make this Greek blend, with specific bean varieties, roasted at specific temperatures and used in specific ratios. If there is a place that grinds/roasts Greek/Turkish/Arab style coffee near you, then by all means get the coffee from there. If not, many ethnic super markets sell it and you can also order Greek coffee from Amazon, they carry the 2 popular Greek brands Loumidis and Bravo.

How it’s made?
1. Use very cold water, preferably the bottled type, as the chlorine in many municipal tap waters will interfere with both the flavor and the creation of a nice thick kaimaki .
2. Make sure you have a traditional briki or cezve (Turkey), or ibrick, as it known in Middle Eastern countries. The shape of the briki is crucial in the creation of the kaimaki.
3. For a metrion coffee, use a one-to-one ratio of sugar to coffee, about 1 very heaping-teaspoon of each for every cup of coffee. Obviously, how much you use will depend on the size of the briki. Be sure to use the right size briki since it will influence the development of the kaimaki. Most Greek  coffee aficionados will judge the quality of your coffee from the thickness of your kaimaki.
4 . Put the briki on a stove at medium-high heat. Make sure to watch it continuously because the moment the coffee begins to boil it will surely boil-over and make a mess of your stove.
5. The crucial part in producing an outstanding cup of Greek coffee is in knowing when to pull it off the heat source. If it boils, the coffee will be substandard. This is the “art” of coffee-making. Watch the opening of the briki and look for the surface of the coffee to begin to gently roll over at the edges. Here’s a pretty good picture. At this moment pull it off the heat and let it “rest” for 20 seconds or so. Then put it on the heat source again and repeat the process of observing, retracting, and resting, 2-4 times. Each time you do this it will thicken the kaimaki.
6. Pour a little kaimaki gently into each of the cups and then go back and fill each cup with the remaining coffee in order to make sure that everyone has some kaimaki.

Greek coffee can always be described as delicious as well as mysterious and the taste can be altered by changing the amount of sugar. A huge number of people have become ardent fans of this strong coffee and the traditional way of consuming Greek coffee is to consume it in very slow manner. So now you know how to make Greek coffee and also, why you should make it!

How to drink Greek coffee
While this is a small coffee, it is not to be confused with the espresso, which is basically consumed quickly standing up. This coffee is consumed sitting down slowly. To get the full flavor you should sip the coffee slowly. I remember the older generations taking loud sips of coffee; while this may be rude, I find that it increases the enjoyment of the coffee. Once you start tasting the first grounds you are done. Do not try and drink the coffee grounds at the bottom of the cup.
In Greece, traditionally coffee was consumed two times a day: In the morning and in the afternoon after their nap. Although the coffee seems thick and black it is not extremely high in caffeine, it is actually lower then regular filter coffee.

Enjoy your cup of Greek coffee! Serve with a cold glass of water.


How to make a perfect chocolate cake

Not a torte, not a mousse, not a pudding, but a cake which actually tastes of chocolate: fluffy and light enough to eat at tea time, rich enough to serve with a dollop of creme fraiche for dessert. What's your favourite type of of chocolate cake?
Cake is the symbol of happiness. Most o us love to eat cakes on special days of our life,It is believe that without cake your birthday is incomplete,and without cake your wedding anniversary is noting and without cake you are not able to celebrate special days of your life.Each cake has its own importance and value which is used for different purpose of life.For child birthday there are also some sort of special cake.


History
Chocolate cake is made with chocolate; it can be made with other ingredients, as well. These ingredients include fudge, vanilla creme, and other sweeteners. The history of chocolate cake goes back to 1764, when Dr. James Baker discovered how to make chocolate by grinding cocoa beans between two massive circular millstones.
In 1828, Conrad Van Houten of the Netherlands developed a mechanical extraction method for extracting the fat from cacao liquor resulting in cacao butter and the partly defatted cacao, a compacted mass of solids that could be sold as it was "rock cacao" or ground into powder. The processes transformed chocolate from an exclusive luxury to an inexpensive daily snack. A process for making silkier and smoother chocolate called conching was developed in 1879 by Swiss Rodolphe and made it easier to bake with chocolate as it amalgamates smoothly and completely with cake batters.
 Until 1890 to 1900, chocolate recipes were mostly for drinks.
Chocolate may be the “food of the gods,” but for most of its 4,000-year history, it was actually consumed as a bitter beverage rather than as a sweet edible treat.
The Duff Company of Pittsburgh, a molasses manufacturer, introduced Devil's food chocolate cake mixes in the mid-1930s, but introduction was put on hold during World War II. Duncan Hines introduced a "Three Star Special"  was introduced three years after cake mixes from General Mills and Duncan Hines, and took over 48 percent of the market.
In the U.S.A, "chocolate decadence" cakes were popular in the 1980s; in the 1990s, single-serving molten chocolate cakes with liquid chocolate centers and infused chocolates with exotic flavors such as tea, curry, red pepper, passion fruit, and champagne were popular. Chocolate lounges and artisinal chocolate makers were popular in the 2000s. Rich, flourless, all-but-flourless chocolate cakes are "now standard in the modern pâtisserie," according to The New Taste of Chocolate.

Simple Chocolate Cake

Ingredients
  • 175g (6oz) margarine or softened butter
  • 175g (6oz) caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 150g (5oz) self-raising flour, sifted
  • 50g (1¾oz) of cocoa, sifted
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt 

For the simple chocolate icing
  • 100g (3½oz) of dark chocolate 
  • 100g (3½oz) of chopped butter
Method 
           
1. Heat the oven to 180°C (gas mark 4). Lightly grease an 18cm (7in) round cake tin with a little extra butter or margarine and cut a piece of greaseproof paper or non-stick baking parchment to fit the base of the tin.
2. Put all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon or a hand-held mixer for 1 minute, or until just combined. It's important not to beat the batter too much - just long enough to make it smooth.
3. Pour or spoon the mixture into the tin, smooth the top and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 45-50 minutes. The cake is cooked when it looks well risen and golden; the top should spring back when lightly touched with a fingertip. Another test is to insert a skewer into the centre of the cake - it should come out clean.
4. Let the cake sit in the tin for 5 minutes, then gently run a knife around the edge and turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool.
5. For the icing, place the dark chocolate and chopped butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of very hot water until melted. Cool for 15 minutes, then spread over the top of the cooled cake.

I really believe this is the ultimate chocolate cake – fluffy and light enough to eat at tea time, rich enough to serve with a dollop of creme fraiche for dessert if you'd prefer. Most importantly, it actually tastes of chocolate – and that's rarer than you might think.

Popular variants on chocolate cake include:

  • "Traditional" Chocolate cake
  • Chocolate layer cake
  • Black Forest cake
  • Chocolate souffle cake
  • Devil's food cake
  • Ding Dong
  • Flourless chocolate cake
  • Fudge cake
  • Garash cake
  • German chocolate cake
  • Joffre cake
  • Molten chocolate cake
  • Red velvet cake
PS: Happy Chocolate Cake! ;)

Take a break with Cinnamon in Your Coffee!

When you drink cup after cup of coffee day after day, you might begin to get bored with what was once your favorite blend. Even the occasional coffee drinker might like to liven things up. You have plenty of options in this case; you can switch to a different coffee, add a splash of flavored syrup to your drink, mix in some chocolate for a mocha or even try adding a shot of whiskey. Not all modifications need to be so extreme, however. For a simple but satisfying shift in your routine, try adding some ground cinnamon to your coffee.
Cinnamon is a tasty herb that mixes particularly well with the flavor of coffee.
Studies show that cinnamon can lower blood glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides in diabetics .
Cinnamon  has long been considered a "wonder food" in various cultures and science has shown that its active oil components such as cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, and cinnamyl alcohol do convey certain health benefits. While medical research is varied as to the extent of cinnamon's health benefits and the jury's still out as to whether cinnamon can truly combat disease, cinnamon does have a therapeutic role in certain ailments such as digestive troubles and minor bacterial infections or colds.

Ingredients
1 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
Ground coffee to make twelve 6-ounce coffee servings
Enough water for twelve 6-ounce servings
Long cinnamon sticks
6 tablespoon(s) whipped cream
Ground cinnamon, for sprinkling

1.In the basket of an automatic drip coffeemaker, add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon to ground coffee and brew coffee with water following manufacturer's directions.
2.To serve, pour cinnamon coffee into mugs. Place a cinnamon stick in each. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle lightly with ground cinnamon.

Tips: Store several cinnamon sticks with your whole coffee beans to give your future cups of coffee the faintest hint of cinnamon flavor.


Modify the rest of your future coffees to suit the cinnamon flavor if you enjoy it. Making coffee with plenty of cinnamon and eggnog instead of milk offers a warm flavor reminiscent of the winter holidays, for example. Mixing some cinnamon into an Irish coffee (coffee with whiskey) will provide an exceptionally warming and intense drink with an extra kick of spice. For a mellower coffee with cinnamon, add a glug of vanilla syrup. Its mellowness will complement the rich flavor of the cinnamon.
A sprinkle of cinnamon adds a little kick to your brew, and it can help you use more of the beneficial antioxidants that come in your coffee. An added bonus: cinnamon may help your body control your blood sugar throughout the day.
...And finally you enjoy cup of coffee!