It may be tacky and predictable, but I'm genuinely loving the way everyone is trying to be good for the new year. I just can't get enough of the conversations about how good we're all going to be and how great we're all going to feel, maybe because I really believe Graham and I are going to do it this year.
You may have been concerned by the picture above, but I'm not actually here to advocate laxatives as a way to lose weight. Eugh. Instead, I'm here with the even more dubious weight-loss plan of eating plenty of chocolate! Interested? Read on...
A few years back Graham and I were fatties but we managed to change our ways and lose a lot of weight - around three stones for me. One of the things that I attributed our success to was the fact that we did allow ourselves fairly regular treats, small but indulgent. I may have wobbled off the straight and narrow since (a bit - I'm still nowhere near as heavy as I was) but we did manage to maintain our healthier lifestyles for a reasonably long time. One of the treats we had on hand was cubes of the most deliciously creamy and boozy dark chocolate squares. We kept a box of them in our freezer and had one with a cuppa most days. They were so indulgent that you didn't need more than one and, even though they were ready to eat within a minute or so, having them in the freezer stopped us grabbing a sneaky extra square like we might have if they'd been in the fridge or cupboard. Also, the large batch I made lasted about a year so they were always on hand.
Today my mum and I spent the day cooking for the freezer (which we defrosted last night) so I was quick off the mark to make a batch of these chocolates to keep our dieting sweet teeth (sweet tooths?) in check this year. The recipe is a simplified version of an already very simple recipe by Thomasina Miers.
You will need:
500g of 75% cocoa dark chocolate
200g of 50% cocoa dark chocolate
400ml of double cream
30g of butter
2 tablespoons of rum/whisky/brandy
A generous pinch of cinnamon
A generous pinch of mixed spice
A small pinch of ground cloves
A small pinch of chilli powder
Here's what you do:
Grease a baking tray (about 30cm by 15cm or slightly bigger) and line it with clingfilm.
Break all the chocolate into a glass bowl.
Heat the cream in a pan with all the spices until it is really hot but not boiling.
Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir until melted.
Add the butter and booze.
Pour into the tin and pop in the freezer for one hour.
Tip the chocolate slab onto a chopping board and cut it into small squares before returning to the freezer.
When you need a sweet fix, just take a square from the freezer. You can pop it in your mouth straightaway (it will be chilly but soft and not at all like an ice cube) or leave it to get a bit warmer and squidgier for a few minutes, it's delicious either way.
And that, food lovers, is how I plan to lose weight by eating lots and lots of chocolate. Who's with me?