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!

Homemade Ketchup

A super tasty and easy to make tomato condiment made from scratch, which locks in all those summer flavours for the winter months to come.

Be advised though, once tried there is no going back to any shop bought ones.

A super tasty and easy to make tomato condiment made from scratch, which locks in all those summer flavours for the winter months to come.

The recipe can be tweaked to suit everyone’s needs. As presented below, it will provide you with a super-rich but mellow flavoured ketchup, which can be enjoyed by all family members. If you fancy something spicier, add more chillies, something sweeter pop a few more apples into your pot… My suggestion, make it once just as stated and then add or reduce to your heart desire to perfect for your taste buds. Have fun!

The recipe will yield around 2.5 liters of yummy ketchup.

Ingredients:

  • 4kg tomatoes; ripe and preferably organic
  • 5 onions; large
  • 3 apples
  • 2 carrots; large
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 entire head of garlic
  • 1 parsnip; small
  • 1 chilli pepper
  • ½ celeriac
  • 3tbsp sunflower oil

Spices:

  • 60ml apple cider vinegar
  • 10tbsp sugar
  • 5 juniper berries
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves
  • 3tsp salt
  • 1tsp black whole peppercorns
  • 1tsp mustard seeds
  • 1tsp paprika
  • ½tsp cinnamon
  • ½tsp allspice
  • ½tsp ground ginger

A super tasty and easy to make tomato condiment made from scratch, which locks in all those summer flavours for the winter months to come.

Method:

Wash, peel where needed and roughly chop all the ingredients, pop them all into a large stock pot or heavy based saucepan with a solid well-fitting lid, add the oil and bring to a boil. Simmer away for 2-3 hours, stirring well from time to time.

In the meantime prepare all the dry spices by placing them in one bowl and set aside.

Once the time is up, use a hand blender to mix our cooked veggies into one smooth sauce. Add all dry spices and vinegar, return to a gentle boil and cook on a low heat for another hour. Now the bad news, the ketchup will require constant stirring, so don’t leave it alone.

A super tasty and easy to make tomato condiment made from scratch, which locks in all those summer flavours for the winter months to come.

Good news the next part is the fun part… you need to pass all your ketchup through a very fine mesh sieve, to get rid of any remaining pieces of skin or whole spices. Add some ketchup into the sieve and using the back of a wooden spoon push it through… if you are doing this for the first time, it will seem like this task is impossible, but trust me, it works you just need to put some muscle into it.

Once all the ketchup has travelled through the sieve mesh, pack it into clean sterilized jars and pasteurise for 15 minutes (stand in a saucepan of water so they are not submerged and bring to the boil slowly). Once finished remove from the water and stand the jar upside down to let them cool. The next day when they are at room temperature then move the jars into your winter storage area (cool, dark and dry).

Enjoy!

A super tasty and easy to make tomato condiment made from scratch, which locks in all those summer flavours for the winter months to come.