Chocolate and clementine heaven, oops, I mean, cake

Category: , , By panda_eyed

I sometimes get the occasional urge to bake, and that's what I did this weekend. I had been a two-day chocolate splurge already but, finding it still unsatiated, I decided that what I needed was a reeeeeally chocolate-y chocolate cake, with reeeeally chocolate-y chocolate frosting.

I warn you, this cake is extraordinarily good and HIGHLY addictive. At no time whilst making it should you attempt to put your face in the glossy melted chocolate mixture, not least because you'll contaminate the cake (not to mention burning your face). This will be extrEMEly hard to do, so a LOT of self-restraint will be called upon.

Tip: Make sure that you're the one who makes the chocolate frosting, so that you get first dibs on the saucepan afterwards. This will be messy stuff, as you'll want to get EVERY single smidgen of sauce from the bottom of the pan. It's really THAT good. I had chocolate on my forehead -- if my tongue where that long, I'd have licked that off too. I could happily eat a bowl of this on its own. In fact, next time I think I'll just skip the lengthy cake process and make this frosting instead.

That's not to say that the cake isn't good - it's more than good. The tart sweetness of the clementine is the ultimate partner for chocolate, as it cuts through the sweet, rich chocolatey-ness perfectly. It is simply deliciousness embodied. You could just take my word for it, or you could try it for yourself. Try not to eat the whole thing in one go though...

I found this conversions page, on Smitten Kitchen, useful for making conversions, especially from US to UK measurements

Chocolate and Clementine cake -- adapted from MyRecipes

350g dark chocolate, chopped
175g unsalted butter, chopped
6 large eggs – yolks and whites separated
175g sugar 200g self-raising flour
The zest of 2 grated clementines
5 small (or 4 medium) clementines, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons orange liqueur or orange juice
1/4 teaspoon salt (if you use salted butter, omit this)

- Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease two 8-inch/20cm cake pans and line bottom with parchment/greaseproof paper. Grease and flour parchment, and set aside.
- Stir together chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat until smooth, refraining from diving head first into the glossy chocolate-y mixture. Remove from heat
- Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and thick. Add melted chocolate mixture and beat once more. Now add flour and salt and - you got it - beat til smooth. Stir in zest, chopped clementines, and orange liqueur/juice
- Beat egg whites in a separate bowl with electric mixer til foamy. Fold egg white mixture into chocolate mixture one third at a time. Then, pour mixture into cake pans.
- Bake at 170°C for 30-40 minutes or until slightly firm to touch (cracks will form on top of cake). Cool on wire racks.
- Serve (warm if desired, or if you simply can’t wait for it to cool, like me!) with chocolate cream frosting

Chocolate frosting -- Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients 100g dark chocolate, chopped
150ml double cream
3 tablespoons icing sugar
25g unsalted butter, chopped

- Put cream and sugar in a saucepan on low heat, whisking ‘til sugar is dissolved. Before it boils, remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Add butter to frosting, whisking until smooth.
- Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable. You might want to refrigerate yours for 10-15 mins. I couldn’t wait til mine was cool, so mine was more of a chocolate sauce. Alternatively, put bowl in some v. cold water until thicker in consistency.
- You can spread the frosting between the cake layers or just on top of the cake. If, like me, you can’t wait, drizzle over top of cake and eat whilst warm. It's good, I promise!


Saying goodbye

Category: , By panda_eyed
There are moments when I know that I will be okay and that I'll get through the heartbreak. But there are also moments when I don't think I can live my life without him. It's so hard to say goodbye and mean it too, but that's what we did on the weekend -- one year after we first got together. I don't think it has really started to sink in yet. At first, it was a bit of a relief knowing that the cycle of breaking up and making up (cos we couldn't bear to make it final) was over. Now, I'm just numb.

We're staying friends. The friendship and support we provide each other is something that neither of us can give up. I know, I know, this will be extremely hard to do without slipping back into old habits, but I've had to give up the love of my life, and I'm not about to lose my best friend too.

The hardest thing is knowing that our relationship failed not because of a lack of love between us, but due to external factors. If those could be removed, I know that we would have our happily ever after. But, as it's unlikely that they will ever go away, this is not going to happen. Ever. It would be so much easier to get over this if we both didn't love each other so much.

What happens to all that love when you break up? I know I need to move on, but, right now, I'm afraid of letting go of the memories we made. The dreams that we had together still haunt me. No more travelling the world, raising the perfect little family or growing old together, hand in hand, kissing with wrinkled, toothless mouths.

I have to find a new direction now, a new source of happiness. I must live truly for me, and that's scary. It's hard to think that there will ever be time when I'll be truly happy again, but I have to believe that it will come and that one day, it won't hurt quite this much.


Category: , By panda_eyed

... eating Hula Hoops off my fingers. I feel 5 again -- it's brilliant!

Am going in search of KitKats so I can eat the chocolate off them before I get to the wafer.

What do you miss about being little?

Time to count my blessings

Category: , By panda_eyed
It's been a long, hard week. I am still sad, but one thing that I have learned this week is how utterly brilliant my friends and family are. I really am blessed with the bestest friends anyone could ask for - you know who you are. Bloggers too - thank you for taking the time to leave messages of support. They help more than you know. Thank you all...

I have been hibernating and hiding away this week. I just couldn't face seeing anyone. I didn't think I would be able to hold my head up and not cry when asked about the trip that I've been talking about and looking forward to for 6 months now. I cancelled my holiday leave from work, refunded my airline ticket, and have thrown away the list of things to pack. Sometimes you just need time to cry and feel sorry for yourself, and that's what I've been doing. But now, I am determined to get up and carry on. The world doesn't stop spinning, and I'm certainly not the first to have my heart broken. It may be hard to smile at first, but I know that the more I force myself to, the easier it will eventually become to smile for real. And besides, I have so many wonderful people in my life to help me along.

I have had several causes to truly smile this week, and here are some of them:

Fabulous Divastar sent me a 'care pack' - a lovely parcel of items to pamper myself with. Look! There was a lot of chocolate too, which I have to confess I ate in one go before I even thought to get the camera out (yes, I'm a piggy):

My lovely sister made me this terrific card, just to let me know that she's thinking of me. I don't know if you can tell, but it's made up of bits cut out of magazines and tiny little stickers we picked up in Hong Kong:
And then these websites never fail to put a smile back on my face (click the pics):

A massive thank you to everyone who has sent me messages of support - I love you all very much. You remind me that I have so much to be thankful for.

By the way, it's Divastar's birthday today - HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEETIE! xxxxxxxxxxxxx


Category: , By panda_eyed
Perhaps I tempted fate with my last blog, perhaps I was smug cos I was so happy, but here I am, barely able to see to type, because of the tears blurring my vision. We broke up. Or rather, he broke up with me. To say I'm devastated would be an understatement. I have this ache in my heart that doesn't feel like it's ever going to go away.

It's complicated. There are issues with family (his), and with visas. He says he's being kinder this way because he can't give me a definite time on when he can return, and that I deserve more than having to wait around for him. He will return, but perhaps not this year. When he does, and if we're both still single, then we'll reassess. I'm not flying over to see him next week.

We'll remain friends. He has always been my best friend first and foremost, and I don't want to lose that. But that doesn't make me feel any better. All our dreams, all our plans, they may never happen now. I feel like I've lost my purpose. It feels like I'll never be truly happy again.

If I'd had known that the last time we said goodbye at the airport was the last time that I'd be in his arms, I would have held on tighter and not have let go. I am broken.