Rich Chocolate and Pear Cake

The perfect fusion between a brownie and a cake – crisp, crumbly outside meets moist, yet fudgy and gooey middle; deep rich chocolate meets sweet aromatic pear… a match made in heaven!

This recipe came to be as an experiment after trying a simple apple and walnut cake at my friend’s house a few weeks back. The cake was perfect but as we have 100s of pears from our tree at this moment I wanted to create a pear version of it. Simple swapping the apples for pears and losing the nuts wasn’t going to cut it as the pears are so juicy, so I baked and baked until I achieved the perfect chocolate and pear cake, which is quick and super easy to make.

The cake is very chocolaty and indulgent. I used both dark chocolate and raw unsweetened cocoa powder. The taste of your cake will depend on the quality of these two ingredients, so please have it in mind whilst out shopping. I have found through my baking that some cakes are much more forgiving about swaps than others are. I tried to bake it with drinking chocolate instead of the raw cocoa but it simply doesn’t work, you can taste that something is off… also, I found using milk chocolate instead of a dark one is also a no go… the cake really becomes way too sweet.

Total time: 1h

Baking time: 35min

Serves: arguably 9 large portions

The perfect fusion between a brownie and a cake – crisp, crumbly outside meets moist, yet fudgy and gooey middle; deep rich chocolate meets sweet aromatic pear… a match made in heaven!

Ingredients:

  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 125g butter
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 3 medium-size ripe pears
  • 2 eggs
  • 2tbsp raw unsweetened cocoa
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4tsp ground cloves
  • Pinch of salt

The perfect fusion between a brownie and a cake – crisp, crumbly outside meets moist, yet fudgy and gooey middle; deep rich chocolate meets sweet aromatic pear… a match made in heaven!

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Line with baking paper one 8”x8” brownie baking tray.

In a small saucepan over very low heat melt the butter. Once melted add the chocolate and stir making sure it is totally melted and combined then set aside to cool.

Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; add a pinch of salt and mix well.

Wash, peel, core and then chop the pears into 1cm x 1cm cubes, then pop them into the bowl of dry ingredients mix and gently stir so that all the pear pieces are coated evenly.

In another small bowl beat the eggs; then add the vanilla essence and beat some more. Add this mixture to the cooled down butter and chocolate mixture and stir well until fully combined.

Finally, add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and with a silicone spatula gently mix until everything is combined and forms an even mass. You are after the texture of your cake being similar to a cookie dough – firm and pliable.

Move your mixture into the earlier prepared baking tray and again using a silicon spatula spread out the mix till it is even and flat then pop into the oven.

Bake at 180C for around 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when poked.

Remove from the oven and leave in the tray to cool completely.

Enjoy!

The perfect fusion between a brownie and a cake – crisp, crumbly outside meets moist, yet fudgy and gooey middle; deep rich chocolate meets sweet aromatic pear… a match made in heaven!

The perfect fusion between a brownie and a cake – crisp, crumbly outside meets moist, yet fudgy and gooey middle; deep rich chocolate meets sweet aromatic pear… a match made in heaven!

Elderly and Pets

Some studies have shown the benefits of owning a pet as a senior. The findings indicate that the relationship is a match made in heaven. Love is the ideal prescription for solitude, and there’s no better way to get that love than by having a happy bundle of fur also called a pet. Many live-in carers can testify to seeing benefits associated with owning a pet as an older adult, they really can benefit our lives.

“Anyone who thinks money can’t buy happiness has never owned a cat [or any pet].”
Arya Riverdale

So what are the main positive benefits that come from a relationship between the elderly and pets?

  1. Health

From a purely medical perspective, having a pet will decrease blood pressure, anxiety, and depression. After a heart attack, there is normally reduced rehabilitation time for seniors who own pets. They visit the doctors less often and have better muscle strength and endurance.  A number of these physical advantages are traced back to an increase in activity such as walking with the pets. Walking provides a restoration effect, thanks to the nature surrounding the neighbourhood.

  1. Stress

As an elderly person, sometimes you might be going through a tough time and need someone to talk to. Your children could be grown up and too busy living their own lives to be there for you when you need them. Owning a pet can distract you and get your mind off overthinking.  Stroking animals alleviates stress. Because pets are non-judgmental, they are a good companion when it comes to getting rid of loneliness. Pets reduce depression, which can be caused by isolation or loss of a loved one.

  1. Having a Routine

Older people also get a feeling of self-worth and self-confidence when they’re responsible for the feeding and care of another life. When you know that you have to give care to another living being, it automatically makes you want to take good care of yourself. A visit to the supermarket to stock up on essentials or planning a meal might appear problematic to some elderly folks. However, once they get into the habit of preparing a meal for their cat or dog, it becomes routine, and they do it without complaining. That constant activity is good for their bodies as a way of exercising, as opposed to sitting back and doing nothing.

  1. Mental Alertness

Pets excite the mind because they are so playful, relieve boredom, and improve mental alertness. When a senior owns a pet, they somehow feel like they are not alone and feel more secure in their homes.  Human beings like it when their egos are boosted.  And owning a pet is one way of doing this. Imagine receiving all the love and adoration from a pet; it sure feels great and makes you feel loved and appreciated!

  1. Making New Friends

Meeting new people is hard especially as an older person if you spend most of your time indoors. Many pet events and organizations deal with catering to animals. These are a good place to meet people who have the same shared interests as yours. Plus, pets are a good way to break the ice.

 

As a pet owner, I can’t imagine not having fur babies in the house. Yes, I do moan sometimes… yes, I get cross with them from time to time but at the end of the day, they give more than they take and this is why we love them so much.

12+ Delicious Beetroot Recipes

Beets, those sweet and earthy tasting, red, yellow or white root vegetable are packed with nutrients and vitamins. They have amazing health benefits and can be incorporated into our diet in a variety of ways from salads, soups to smoothies or even cakes.

Today I would like to share with you a round-up of delicious beets based recipes, which hopefully will inspire you as much as they inspired me.

Baked Beet Falafel

Beet & Blueberry Bruschetta

Beet & Spinach Tart

Beet Banana Breakfast Smoothie

Beet Hummus

Beet Lentil & Quinoa Burgers

Beet Pizza with Beet Leaf Pesto

Beetroot & Garlic Sauce Zoodles

Beetroot Goat Cheese Salad

Borscht – Healthy Beet Soup

Detox Kale and Beet Salad

Raw Beetroot and Caper Salad

Roasted Garlic Beetroot Soup

 

How do you like to eat your beets?

What’s your favourite beet-based dish?

Chicken Livers with Pomegranate and Coriander

Super quick and simple yet extremely satisfying dish which combines some wonderful flavours creating an unforgettable dining experience. Soft livers, slightly sour hard pomegranate seeds finished off with the citrusy aroma of fresh coriander leaves… what’s not to love?

Super quick and simple yet extremely satisfying dish which combines some wonderful flavours creating an unforgettable dining experience. Soft livers, slightly sour hard pomegranate seeds finished off with the citrusy aroma of fresh coriander leaves… what’s not to love?

If you like livers (and even if you don’t) you should really give this recipe a try. I know your first reaction might be “meh” but trust me, give it a try and you will love it.

I am a huge fan of quick meals. Often there is nothing better than a yummy dinner or supper on the table ready within minutes, not hours.

Livers cook quickly but they can be tricky… The longer you cook them the tougher they become, so overcooking them is a big no-no. Another tricky part relates to salt… added to soon makes them tough in the same way as overcooking, so salt goes always last when it comes to cooking livers.

Super quick and simple yet extremely satisfying dish which combines some wonderful flavours creating an unforgettable dining experience. Soft livers, slightly sour hard pomegranate seeds finished off with the citrusy aroma of fresh coriander leaves… what’s not to love?

Serves: 2

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 400g chicken livers
  • 1 large pomegranate
  • 1 large bunch of fresh coriander
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 1tbsp butter
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 1/4tsp pepper

Method:

Wash and chop the livers into smaller, bite-size chunks.

Wash and finely chop the coriander.

Deseed the pomegranate.

Preheat a heavy bottom frying pan, once hot add both butter and oil.

Once piping hot add the chopped livers, cook for 7 minutes stirring and tossing them continually.

Then add ¾ of the pomegranate seeds; cook for additional 2 minutes, continue stirring.

Add salt and pepper and ¾ of the chopped coriander; cook for an additional 1 minute.

Serve onto a plate or shallow bowl. Garnish with the remaining coriander and pomegranate seeds.

Serve with some nice buttered bread or best of all some nice hot buttered toast.

Enjoy!

Super quick and simple yet extremely satisfying dish which combines some wonderful flavours creating an unforgettable dining experience. Soft livers, slightly sour hard pomegranate seeds finished off with the citrusy aroma of fresh coriander leaves… what’s not to love?

The 3-Step Solution to the Dog Jumping Up Issue

There is nothing worse than a dog that jumps up on people when they walk into a room or enter your home. You want to prevent a dog from jumping up as early as possible to keep it from becoming a serious problem as the dog grows.

It is in a dog’s nature to greet people enthusiastically, particularly when they are puppies. They want to smell the new person’s ears and head and get to know them. That’s just what dogs do. They want to do the same to you and let you know they are happy to see you and would love your attention.

This may be cute when they are a puppy, but once they are full grown it is not so cute. That is why it is important to nip this behavior in the bud and learn to prevent a dog jumping up as soon as possible. Training your dog when he is a puppy is much easier for everyone and faster.

It’s easy to inadvertently give positive feedback to a puppy that jumps up on you. He’s happy to see you and you greet him by petting his head. We don’t realize until it’s too late that what’s cute in puppyhood can be annoying when the dog is older.

A full grown dog that is a large dog has the ability to knock a person to the ground, especially the elderly and children, and this can be dangerous.

Preventing Dog Jumping Up in Three Easy Steps:

  1. Start from the very moment you decide to break your dog of this habit and to make it clear to the dog that this is not appropriate behavior. The best way to do this is to turn your back on the dog and ignore him. Do not make eye contact with the dog. A dog who jumps up on someone is trying to get their attention. Do not give him what he wants and it will begin to deter the behavior. Do this consistently to prevent dog jumping up on you and your guests.
  2. The second step to prevent dog jumping up and make it a consistent behavior is to reward the dog for good behavior. When the dog calms down, tell him to sit and kneel down to his level and give him lots of praise. He will learn that good behavior is rewarded with attention.
  3. If you can gain the support of a visitor or two that comes to your home on a regular basis while you’re working to prevent dog jumping up behavior, ask them to follow the same routine when they come to the house. Reinforcing the lesson in this way will speed the process along and reinforce the lessons he is learning with you.

Final thoughts. As always, when teaching your dog new behavior, be gentle but consistent. Don’t forget to consult your vet about what your dog’s dietary and exercise needs as well and stick to any prescribed pet meds you receive from your vet, remember a dog not in full health will also not want to learn new behaviours willingly.

Making sure your buddy doesn’t jump on everyone he meets is part of responsible dog ownership and is as important as making sure your dog is free from parasites and always on some flea killer product like Frontline plus for dogs . Basic dog care that is sensible and appreciated by others you meet.

* This is a collaborative post.