The secret of perfect chocolate brownies: use a hairdryer!

I’m standing in my kitchen aiming a hairdryer at a pan of uncooked brownie batter and feeling like I might have finally lost my mind. I’ve done a lot of strange things in pursuit of recipe perfection, but even for me, this is an odd one. Brownies are a funny old beast. We think of them as quite straightforward, both in the making and in the eating. But actually, that’s not fair. There are countless variables which can produce anything from a dry chocolate cake to uncooked fudge. And – more importantly – for a glorified traybake, they’re pretty damn expensive to make. A whole pat of butter, lots of

The art of chocolate pairing

The Mesoamerican Mayans exchanged it as currency; botany boffin Carl Linnaeus christened it ‘food of the Gods’; and fictional fatso Augustus Gloop loved it so much he ended up in a river of the stuff. Yes, if Easter is about anything, then we’re pretty sure it’s about chocolate. And just as chocolate triggers serotonin, so too will a sip of a sophisticated spirit release a dose of dopamine. So, what with all the relentless gloom in the world, we suggest you double down on the indulgence this Easter and pair your favourite sweet treat with a delicious and discerning distillate. Chocolate contains over 600 flavour compounds, which is a lot,

This year’s best Easter eggs

Here to separate the good eggs from the great eggs, we’ve tasted the Easter treats from the UKs favourite retailers. The 2022 eggs range from the innovative to the slightly baffling but the good news is there’s great options here for every taste and budget. Autore Milk Chocolate Egg with Pistachios, £19.70 – Delicaro Upper crust food merchant Delicario is selling a selection of eggs made by Campaian cocoa ultras Autore Chocolate. This is the sort of website where you can buy Japanese beef that was pampered to death and special tuna fed exclusively on truffles (probably) so expectations are high. The thick, milk chocolate comes with a generous pebble-dashing

My £50-a-week chocolate habit

As I’ve got older my tastes have generally become less refined. During my youth I dutifully slogged through Kafka, Camus and Sartre, but my current bedtime reading is Sharpe’s Trafalgar by Bernard Cornwell. With movies, I used to feel obliged to watch subtitled masterpieces like La Règle du jeu and Le Salaire de la Peur, but now I’m perfectly happy with the latest Marvel blockbuster. However, when it comes to food and wine, I’ve become more snobbish – insufferably so. My last meal on death row would be the twice-baked cheese soufflé from Le Gavroche washed down with a bottle of Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. For some reason, this is particularly

A total mess: BBC2’s The Watch reviewed

Last Sunday on Channel 4, a man called Eric Nicoli proudly remembered ‘the bravest thing I’ve ever done’. In November 1975, Rowntree was poised to launch the Trek chocolate bar. The packaging was ready, along with an advertising campaign featuring, for some reason, potholers. But as the company’s new product manager, Eric couldn’t rid himself of the niggling feeling that Trek was boring. So — and this is the brave bit — he went to the boss and said that Rowntree should think again. ‘You better be bloody right, young man,’ the boss replied. And with that, Eric returned to the drawing board where he came up with the name

How to find the perfect Easter egg

I unironically love Easter eggs. I love the posh, fancy ones, the high street ones, the budget ones. From the sublime to the ridiculous, I have time and space in my heart for all of them. My husband is sick of hearing my grand theory that Easter egg chocolate is, in fact, the best of all chocolate, probably because the theory really only extends to the fact that Easter egg chocolate is thinner and snappier than that of chocolate bars. When it comes to trends this year, we’re seeing more Russian doll-style eggs (which rose in popularity last year), which as well as being visually impressive mean a variety of