Pasties, Pilchards and Gin – The Kitchen Cabinet comes to Cornwall

The Kitchen Cabinet

Apologies for the hastily snapped iPhone pic. This was taken at the end of the show and two minutes later the entire audience was between me and the panel!

Two weeks ago I was lucky enough to secure tickets for Radio 4s “The Kitchen Cabinet”.  I love this programme.  The panel are always good value and I am a definite fan of Jay Rayner’s wit and wisdom.  Plus, and it’s a big plus, I always learn something I didn’t already know about food.

I have never been to a live recording before – of radio or television – so I was intrigued to see how it all works.

We arrived (unfashionably early to be sure of a seat) and were surprised and delighted to be offered complementary wine and canapés courtesy of the Truro College catering team.  The canapés were all really tasty but the mini crab tarts and tiny chocolate brownies were stunningly good and I got my first taste of asparagus of the year.

Whilst waiting we were all given slips of paper and were encouraged to write out questions for the panel and to give an example of a time when we over-indulged on a holiday.  My bizarre and somewhat garbled story involved drinking beer at altitude, a Peruvian restaurant and some Diddy Men but, as it wasn’t picked, that remains a story for another day…

Finally we entered the lecture theatre and settled down.  There before us was the set – a table for the panel (laden with food and water and mysterious packets of unidentifiable stuff) and a separate table for our compere and out front was a table with a bottle of gin, a cocktail shaker and what looked like a mini still!  That was about it; relaxed and simple – this was radio after all.

Being in Cornwall the themes were Pasties, Pilchards and Gin.  I couldn’t have been happier!

The people whose questions had been selected (not me!) were invited to sit at the front, we were all briefed on what would happen and off we went.  I wasn’t disappointed.

The panel consisted of food historian Annie Gray, Masterchef Winner and food writer Tim Anderson, Rachel Mcormack the Scottish founder of Catalan Cooking (who is described on twitter as being “Like a crack ridden, Glaswegian, Sister Wendy Beckett”) and columnist and restaurateur Tim Hayward.  They were all every bit as cheerful, funny and knowledgeable as you could want them to be.

Besides the panel there were three local guests (plus children in one case).

Rob and John from Trevethan Gin talked about how they perfected a family recipe for handcrafted gin and made cocktails for the panel (I want to be a panellist!).  Those mysterious packages on the panel’s table turned out to be bags of juniper, cassia, coriander and angelica; botanicals used in the distilling process to flavour their gin.  I haven’t tried it yet but it’s definitely on my shopping list!

Nick Howell from The Pilchard Works talked about the history of pilchard fishing in Cornwall and how he transformed the market through rebranding the humble pilchard as the altogether more exciting sardine.  I strongly recommend that you follow the link and watch the short video on The Pilchard Work’s website – I found it fascinating.

The final guests were Louisa Eade and her two sons who all won prizes at The World Pasty Championships this year.  Louisa may have been the best guest ever as she brought samples of pasties to hand out to the audience.

To complement the pasties Tim Anderson had made pasty inspired gyoza.  You have to imagine little japanese steamed dumplings filled with minced up pasty filling.  These were passed around the audience so I got to taste one and, I have to be honest, I don’t think he would have won Masterchef with them!

Throughout the programme specific members of the audience were invited to ask their questions. One woman asked for ideas for desserts made using gin – clearly a lady after my own heart.  The first suggestion was a lemon drizzle cake with gin in the drizzle.  I recently made a gin and tonic cake for a friend which went down well (Victoria sponge using tonic instead of milk and lemon instead of vanilla, sandwiched with gin laden buttercream and topped with a gin syrup drizzle) but I will definitely be trying the drizzle cake idea too.

Another suggestion was lime sorbet with a shot of chilled gin to pour over it.  I made a gin, lemon and lime sorbet (because I like gin with lemon or lime) and it could be the perfect summer dessert.  Check out the recipe below (I actually used Elemental Cornish Gin (which I love) because we had some in the cupboard.

All too soon the show was over bar a couple of little “re-takes” and we headed home.  If you get an opportunity to go to a live recording I suggest that you grab it!  You can register with the BBC who will notify you of upcoming shows in your area and tickets are free.

The show was first broadcast on Radio 4 (92 – 95 FM) on Saturday 7th May 2016 at 10.30 but, if you missed it, you can listen on-line here.

Gin and Lime sorbet recipe

Gin, Lemon and Lime Sorbet

There’s a bit of science involved in making a sorbet:  Too much sugar will make your sorbet taste too sweet but sugar lowers the freezing point so too little sugar will give you a harder freeze – more ice cube than sorbet. Don’t forget that the fruit you add contains sugar too so this will affect the freeze.  There is always a tension between flavour and texture.  You could buy a refractometer or saccharometer if you want to be really precise (and if you make lots of sorbet it might be worth it).  If you just make it occasionally you might have to wing it a bit.  Start off with a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water (1g:1ml) and adjust accordingly depending on the fruit you use.  Lemons and limes are much lower in sugar than many other fruits so I have added a little extra sugar in this recipe.

Too much alcohol can stop a sorbet from freezing at all but a little bit can help to give a softer freeze.  Alternatively, adding a whisked egg white towards the end of the freezing process will also give you a softer freeze.

If the ice crystals are a little too big in your finished sorbet you can tip it into a big bowl, break it up a little and use an electric hand mixer to whisk it until it is smooth again then return it to the freezer as before.  Alternatively, you can serve it as it is and call it a granita!!!

Ingredients

400ml Water

450g Caster Sugar

4 Unwaxed Lemons (Juice of all 4 and zest of 2 limes)

4 Unwaxed Limes (Juice of all 4 and zest of 2 limes)

Craft Gin (2 tbsp plus a shot of Gin for each serving)

Method

First make the sugar syrup.  Place the sugar and water in a pan and bring to the boil, remove from the heat and stir until all the sugar is dissolved.  Set aside to cool.

Zest two of the lemons and two of the limes and juice all of them.  Sieve the juice to remove any pulp and add the strained juice and zest to the cooled sugar syrup.  Stir in 2 tablespoons of the gin.

You can now make the sorbet in an ice cream maker by following the manufacturer’s instructions.

If, like me, you don’t have an ice cream maker, pour the lime syrup into a shallow container, put the lid on and place it in the freezer.  Remove it every half hour and stir it with a fork to break up the ice crystals as they form.  Keep doing this until you have a light, smooth sorbet.

You can now keep the sorbet in the freezer until you want to use it (or up to three months).

To serve.  Place a shot glass per person in the freezer to frost for a couple of hours before you want to serve.  Spoon the sorbet into a serving bowl and serve with a shot of chilled gin on the side.  You can either eat the sorbet and sip the gin alongside it or (in my mind much more preferable) tip the gin over the sorbet and eat them together.

If you enjoyed reading this and would like to see more please visit and like the bun scuffle facebook page or follow @bunscuffle on Twitter for updates and more.

Save

Apple Pie

 

Apple Pie

It is British Pie Week and it seems like the whole country is celebrating the joy of cooking (and of course eating) pie.  I have been following a few other bloggers and everyone seems to be doing very clever pies but I just couldn’t make my mind up.

I asked my lovely Facebook followers for their ideas and actually, most people suggested the classics; cheese and onion, steak and ale, pork or apple.  I went to bed thinking steak and ale but woke up this morning wanting apple.  As always my belly won.

Apple pie always reminds me of visits to my maternal grandmother’s; my nana’s.  My nana always had pie in the house.  Open the pantry door and you could guarantee to find a choice of fruit pie or treacle tart and probably a cake or two.  You will probably be surprised to discover that there was only my nana and grandad and one uncle living in the house by this stage but she was permanently ready for visitors which may well have included a number of her seventeen grandchildren.  We all loved nana’s pantry.

As an adult I know that her apple pie was way too sweet with thick pastry and not enough fruit but as a child I really didn’t care.

I like my pie to be made with a sweet pastry rather than shortcrust and with lots of fruit.  I tend to use Bramley apples because they add a sharp element but if you use eating apples add less sugar.  I also start cooking the apples before I put them in the pie.  I find that if you put them in raw they can still have too much bite when the pie is baked.  Don’t cook them too much though or you will have apple mush in the pie and it really is better to keep some texture.

I also like to add additional flavours to my pie.  This recipe has cinnamon and raisins but sometimes I add chunks of fudge (use less sugar) which melt in the pie and give it a toffee apple flavour and I also make a delicious blue cheese and apple pie.

Yes, you heard me right – blue cheese.  Many years ago I worked for a large food retailer and we had promoters in store cooking with Torta Dolcelatta.  This was a fabulous cheese made from layers of dolcelatta (a soft Italian blue cheese) and mascarpone and the promoter made an apple pie with chunks of the cheese in it and it was heavenly.  I can’t find anyone who sells this cheese anymore (please let me know if you find it) but I still make the pie by mixing the cheeses myself.  You may just have to trust me on this one…

The recipe below is for a 9″ pie but you will notice that, in the photo, I have made individual pies.  That’s because I don’t have 17 grandchildren and I was just cooking for two.  If I made a 9″ pie we would eat a 9″ pie!  If you want to make a smaller pie/pies just halve the ingredients.

Ingredients

For the Pastry

425g / 15oz Plain Flour

100g / 4oz Caster Sugar

250g / 9oz Butter

1 Egg plus 2 Egg Yolks

For the Pie Filling

6 or 7 Large Bramley Apples

Juice of 1 Lemon

15g Butter (plus extra for greasing the flan tin)

100g Demerara Sugar

100g Raisins

2 tsp Cinnamon

To Glaze

1 Egg (beaten)

Method

To make the pastry

Whizz the flour, sugar and butter in a food processor until it resembles breadcrumbs.  Add the egg and then each of the yolks, one at a time with the food processor running.  Stop as soon as it is all combined.  Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and bring the pastry together with your hands.  Shape into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4 and grease a 9” / 23cm deep flan tin.

Prepare the filling.

Put the butter, lemon juice and demerara sugar in a large sauté pan over a low heat.  Peel, core and slice the apples and add to the pan once the butter has melted.  Add the cinnamon and raisins.  Toss the apple slices in the mix and cook for two or three minutes.  Don’t let the apple slices break down, you just want to give them a head start.  Turn the heat up high to dry off any excess liquid.  Set aside to cool.

Roll out 2/3 of the pastry into a rough circle about 13/14” in diameter (re-wrap the rest and put it back in the fridge while you work).  Lift the rolled out pastry using the rolling pin and use it to line the flan tin.  Press the pastry gently but firmly into the corners and leave a little extra hanging over the rim.  Roll out the remaining pastry into a circle about 10” in diameter.

Pile the cooled apple filling into the pastry case and level.  Top with the pastry circle, trim off any excess and crimp the edges.  Re-roll the trimmings and cut out decorative shapes.  Place the decorations on the pie top and brush the whole thing with the beaten egg,

Bake in the centre of the oven for 35-40 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and crisped.

Eat it hot, warm or cold, served with double cream, ice-cream, clotted cream or custard – whatever takes your fancy.

If you enjoyed reading this and would like to see more please visit and like the bun scuffle facebook page or follow @bunscuffle on Twitter for updates and more.

 

 

Cranachan

Cranachan

Tonight is Burns night, a night when all Scotland celebrates the life of their National poet; Robert Burns. Scottish people the world over will be celebrating with Haggis and a wee dram. Food & drink, poetry and good company are such a wonderful way to while away a long winter evening – add in some music and it is nigh on perfect.

I am not Scottish. In fact I have never been further North than Ben Nevis (although I have been to the top) but as a Celt and a poetry lover I certainly feel some affinity with this celebration.

If you want to eat Haggis tonight then I suggest that you go out and buy one, if you want neeps and tatties (swede and potatoes) with it then you really don’t need a recipe, but if you want a dessert then I recommend cranachan and I thought some of you might appreciate a recipe for that.

Cranachan is a lovely, whisky laced dessert of cream, honey and raspberries with a little texture added by some toasted oatmeal.

Now, I realise that I am on shaky ground here: Traditional recipes are always a challenge because every cook claims to have the most authentic recipe, passed down through his or her family for generations and yet all of these recipes differ in some small way. The original cranachan recipes were made using crowdie (a kind of cream cheese) as well as (or even instead of) cream. Today most people would consider raspberries to be an essential ingredient although in 1929 Marian McNeill suggested using blackberries or blaeberries in her book The Scots Kitchen.

I am claiming no particular authenticity for this recipe, in fact, the only claim I make is that it is delicious.

cranachan (2)

Ingredients

Serves 4

75g Pinhead Oatmeal

300g Fresh Raspberries

500ml Double Cream

3 tbsp Honey (heather honey is good)

3 tbsp Whisky

Method

Toast the oatmeal in a non-stick frying pan until it has some crunch and tastes nutty – it may not brown much until it burns so watch it carefully. Set aside to cool.

Whisk the cream until just thickened but not stiff. The cream will get thicker as you add the other ingredients. Stir or gently whisk in the whisky and the honey. Taste and add a little more if you want to!

Reserve a few raspberries to top each dessert. Divide the remaining raspberries into thirds. Push 2/3 through a sieve to make a smooth puree.

Prepare 4 glasses or dessert bowls.

You can now either swirl the raspberry puree, whole raspberries and oatmeal through the cream to create a ripple effect before spooning into the glasses or you can layer up the various components straight into the glasses.

Top each glass with the reserved raspberries and a drizzle of honey. Serve with a glass of whisky and don’t forget to toast the bard.

My favourite Robert Burns poem:

To A Louse On Seeing One on a Lady’s Bonnet, at Church

Ha! whare ye gaun, ye crowlin ferlie!
Your impudence protects you sairly:
I canna say but ye strunt rarely,
Owre gauze and lace;
Tho’ faith! I fear, ye dine but sparely
On sic a place.
Ye ugly, creepin, blastit wonner,
Detested, shunn’d by saunt an’ sinner,
How dare ye set your fit upon her,
Sae fine a lady!
Gae somewhere else, and seek your dinner
On some poor body.
Swith, in some beggar’s haffet squattle;
There ye may creep, and sprawl, and sprattle,
Wi’ ither kindred, jumping cattle,
In shoals and nations;
Whare horn nor bane ne’er daur unsettle
Your thick plantations.
Now haud you there, ye’re out o’ sight,
Below the fatt’rils, snug an’ tight;
Na, faith ye yet! ye’ll no be right
‘Till ye’ve got on it,
The vera tapmost, tow’ring height
O’ Miss’s bonnet.
My sooth! right bauld ye set your nose out,
As plump and grey as ony grozet;
O for some rank, mercurial rozet,
Or fell, red smeddum,
I’d gie you sic a hearty doze o’t,
Wad dress your droddum!
I wad na been surpris’d to spy
You on an auld wife’s flannen toy;
Or aiblins some bit duddie boy,
On’s wyliecoat;
But Miss’s fine Lunardi! fie!
How daur ye do’t?
O Jenny, dinna toss your head,
An’ set your beauties a’ abread!
Ye little ken what cursed speed
The blastie’s makin’!
Thae winks and finger-ends, I dread,
Are notice takin’!
O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An’ foolish notion!
What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,
And ev’n devotion!

 

Delia Smith’s Traditional Christmas Pudding

Christmas pudding

Stir up Sunday is always on the last Sunday before advent and this year falls on 24th November – i.e. this coming Sunday.

The term was originally taken from the collect for the day in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer

“Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

It is also the day when, traditionally, the good housewives of the parish go home and make their Christmas puddings, ensuring that every member of the family gives it a good stir for luck.

However, I have a confession to make. I have never made a Christmas pudding before. I know, it sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? I love Christmas and everything about it, I love the shopping and the cooking and especially the eating and I particularly love Christmas pudding. But here’s the thing – my mum usually makes it. Well, ok, I have also been known to buy one… (shock horror).

This year I decided to make one so my first port of call was to my mum’s house for the recipe. She has always made one using the recipe from her Good Housekeeping Cook Book. This book was ancient and very well used so my mum had recently replaced it with a new edition. We were both disappointed to find that they have changed the original recipe and the new one was full of ingredients we didn’t feel were properly traditional. Clearly, I was on my on with this.

I started looking through recipes. Oh my goodness chefs do like to put their own mark on a traditional recipe don’t they? Chocolate? Ginger and pears? Not for me – I just wanted a deep, rich, dark, traditional pud. So I eliminated some of the risk and settled on that most conservative and trustworthy of cooks; Delia.

I liked the fact that her recipe packed in lots of fruit, added treacle for extra dark richness and used more alcohol than most of the others.

Delia says that this recipe will make one large (2 pint) pudding, two smaller (1 pint) puddings or 8 individual puds. Steam the one pint puds for the same length of time as the 2 pint but the individual puds will only need three hours to start off and then a further hour on the big day.

I have replicated the recipe exactly as Delia had it but you don’t have to put holly on top of the pudding. I probably won’t but, if I do, I don’t think I’ll leave it there when I flame the brandy.

Now, here’s the thing, I don’t yet know what this pudding will be like. I took the photos after the first steaming and it looked and smelled heavenly so I am hopeful but I can’t really recommend it yet. However, you could take a risk and try it with me. Just one more surprise on Christmas day?

Delia's Christmas Pudding

Ingredients

110g / 4 oz Shredded Suet (Beef or Vegetarian)

50g / 2 oz Self Raising Flour

110g / 4oz White Breadcrumbs

1 tsp Ground Mixed Spice

¼ tsp freshly grated Nutmeg

A good pinch of Ground Cinnamon

225g / 8oz Soft Dark Brown Sugar

110g / 4 oz Sultanas

110g / 4 oz Raisins

275g / 10 oz Currants

25g / 1 oz Mixed Candied Peel (it’s best to buy whole peel and chop it yourself)

25g / 1 oz Almonds (peeled and chopped)

1 small Cooking Apple

Grated Zest of Half a Lemon

Grated Zest of Half an Orange

2 tbsp Rum

75 ml / 2 ½ fl oz Barley Wine

75 ml / 2 ½ fl oz of Stout

2 large Eggs

Method

Begin the day before you want to steam the pudding. Take your largest, roomiest mixing bowl and start by putting in the suet, sifted flour and breadcrumbs, spices and sugar. Mix these ingredients very thoroughly together, then gradually mix in all the dried fruit, mixed peel and nuts followed by the apple and the grated orange and lemon zests.

Don’t forget to tick everything off so as not to leave anything out.

Now in a smaller basin measure out the rum, barley wine and stout, then add the eggs and beat these thoroughly together. Next pour this over all the other ingredients, and begin to mix very thoroughly.

It’s now traditional to gather all the family round, especially the children, and invite everyone to have a really good stir and make a wish!

The mixture should have a fairly sloppy consistency – that is, it should fall instantly from the spoon when this is tapped on the side of the bowl. If you think it needs a bit more liquid add a spot more stout.

Cover the bowl and leave overnight.

Next day pack the mixture into the lightly greased basin, cover it with a double sheet of silicone paper (baking parchment) and a sheet of foil and tie it securely with string (you really need to borrow someone’s finger for this!). It’s also a good idea to tie a piece of string across the top to make a handle. Place the pudding in a steamer set over a saucepan of simmering water and steam the pudding for 8 hours.

Do make sure you keep a regular eye on the water underneath and top it up with boiling water from the kettle from time to time.

When the pudding is steamed let it get quite cold, then remove the steam papers and foil and replace them with some fresh ones, again making a string handle for easier manoeuvring. Now your Christmas pudding is all ready for Christmas Day. Keep it in a cool place away from the light. Under the bed in an unheated bedroom is an ideal place.

To cook, fill a saucepan quite full with boiling water, put it on the heat and, when it comes back to the boil, place a steamer on top of the pan and turn it down to a gentle simmer. Put the Christmas pudding in the steamer, cover and leave to steam away for 2¼ hours.

You’ll need to check the water from time to time and maybe top it up a bit.

To serve, remove the pudding from the steamer and take off the wrapping. Slide a palette knife all round the pudding, then turn it out on to a warmed plate. Place a suitably sized sprig of holly on top.

Now warm a ladleful of brandy over direct heat, and as soon as the brandy is hot ask someone to set light to it. Place the ladle, now gently flaming, on top of the pudding – but don’t pour it over until you reach the table.

When you do, pour it slowly over the pudding, sides and all, and watch it flame to the cheers of the assembled company!

When both flames and cheers have died down, serve the pudding with rum sauce, or rum or brandy butter.

If you want to make individual Christmas puddings for gifts, this quantity makes eight 6 oz (175 g) small metal pudding basins. Steam them for 3 hours, then re-steam for 1 hour. They look pretty wrapped in silicone paper and muslin and tied with attractive bows and tags.

If you enjoyed reading this and would like to see more please visit and like the bun scuffle facebook page or follow @bunscuffle on Twitter for updates and more.

 

Churros y Chocolate

Churros y ChocolateIn the corner of my living room is a little piece of technology which makes me very happy.  Surprisingly it’s not the TV, it’s my digital photo frame.  I love the way that it presents me with random memories whenever I happen to glance at it; my daughters as toddlers, the early days of my romance with Martin or maybe a favourite holiday snap.

A few days ago I looked up just in time to see a photograph of the Cathedral in Burgos in Northern Spain and I was immediately transported back to July 2008 and a sunny Sunday morning about 170 miles into my walk along The Camino de Santiago.

I had decided to take a day off from walking in order to explore the city (birthplace of El Cid) and to give my boots a much needed airing.  The previous evening I had booked myself into a small hotel, rather than the usual hostel or refugio, and had luxuriated in a long, hot bath in complete privacy before falling into clean sheets and a comfortable bed.  On Sunday morning I woke feeling refreshed, full of energy and decidedly ready for breakfast.  I left the hotel and found myself in the Plaza Major sitting outside a cafe bar ordering Churros y Chocolate.

I have never really been a city girl but as I sat in the sunshine waiting for my order, gazing at the beautiful architecture; the town hall, colourfully rendered town houses and the rising towers of the cathedral peeping over the rooftops, I thought I could settle quite happily in Burgos.  Then the cathedral bells started up and I rapidly changed my mind!  My goodness they are loud.

However, my equilibrium was very rapidly restored when my churros arrived.  I had only ever read about this Spanish treat before and they are usually described as long, thin doughnuts which are served with hot chocolate for dunking.  Now if, like me, you were expecting a jamless English doughnut and a cup of cocoa be prepared for a very pleasant surprise.  Churros are more dense and less sweet than the doughnuts we are used to which means that they hold up well to dunking and Spanish hot chocolate is as far removed from cocoa as it is possible to get.  It is thick and rich (think warm ganache) – more of a sauce than a drink and, as if it wasn’t rich enough, mine came topped with whipped cream and grated chocolate.

My little trip down memory lane promted me to make my own churros y chocolate so I started looking for recipes.  It is interesting to note that most English chefs who offer a recipe add eggs to the dough mix which I guess would make them more like choux pastry in texture but the Spanish recipes left the eggs out.  I finally settled on the recipe below which was from Modern Spanish Cooking by Sam & Eddie Hart.

The churro dough is really quite firm and is difficult to pipe from a disposable piping bag – the Spanish use a Churrera (a plastic piping tool) – but I found that a cloth piping bag worked well.  You will also need a wide, star shaped nozzle if you want the traditional shape – the recipe suggests a 2cm nozzle but mine was smaller because it was all I had.

I enjoyed these homemade churros immensely (in fact so much that I will invest in a churrera) however, if I eat them regularly I may have to make that 500 mile walk again just to burn off the calories…

Ingredients

For the Churros

250g Plain Flour

50g Butter

200ml Cold Water

Vegetable Oil for deep frying

About 50g Caster Sugar for dusting.

For the Hot Chocolate

150g Plain Chocolate (at least 70% Cocoa solids) plus a little extra to top.

300 ml Double Cream

1 Vanilla Pod, split

1 Cinnamon Stick

100ml Whipping Cream

Method

To make the Churros:

Put the flour into a mixing bowl.  Heat the butter and water until the butter has melted then bring to the boil.  Pour into the flour, mixing constantly with a wooden spoon to make a smooth paste.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

To make the Hot Chocolate:

Grate 150g of chocolate into a bowl.  Pour the double cream into a saucepan, add the split vanilla pod and the cinnamon stick and bring to the boil.  Remove from the heat, take out the vanilla pod and the cinnamon stick then add the grated chocolate and stir until it has completely melted.  Keep warm.  Whip the whipping cream until firm.

To cook the churros:

Heat the oil in a deep fat fryer, or large pan, to 180 C.  Spoon the churros mixture into a churrera or icing bag fitted with a 2cm star shaped nozzle (see note above).  Squeeze out a tiny amount to check the flow.

Pipe out lengths of the churros mixture directly into the hot oil and deep fry for 7-10 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon (or basket) and place on kitchen paper to drain.  Dust generously with the caster sugar.

Pour the hot chocolate into smal glasses and top with the whipped cream  Grate over the remaining chocolate.  Serve immediately with the hot churros.

NB:  You can make the hot chocolate in advance and gently re-heat it when needed.

If you enjoyed reading this and would like to see more please visit and like the bun scuffle facebook page or follow @bunscuffle on Twitter for updates and more.