Those ‘Top 10’ lists make fascinating reading, from the top-grossing movies, to the highest-paid stars, to the best-selling books (books? how quaint!) and the most-visited blogs.
Then came the news that the ‘richest chef in the world’ is likely to be Jamie Oliver (this), ahead of other famous pot-rattlers such as Alain Ducasse, Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal. Gosh, pushing out a couple of TV shows, endorsements and cookbooks each year certainly pays off, though it must take a lot out of you. Not that I’d know, but it’s probably a good guess.
So where does that leave lesser-known, but popular food stars, like Nigel Slater? Nigel has a lovely TV series on called Simple Cooking, and he has a more gentle approach than the sometimes manic Jamie Oliver. His shows features dishes that are so easy to prepare that even a disorganised amateur (like me) will be inspired and enticed.
Here’s my take on one of his creations. Super easy to whip up, beautiful to look at and makes you want more. That makes him number One on my hit list at the moment.
Chocolate Snaps with Sea Salt
makes approx 9
100g dark chocolate
2 tblsp flaked almonds
½ tsp caster sugar
¼ cup unsalted pistachio nuts, chopped
Sea salt flakes, to sprinkle
Dried rose petals (optional)
1. For the chocolate: Break up the chocolate into small pieces and place into a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir the chocolate until it is almost all melted, then remove from the heat and stir to fully melt.
2. For the almonds: Put the almonds on a baking tray and place into a moderate oven (180C/350F) until golden, about 3 minutes. Remove the almonds from the oven and sprinkle over the caster sugar, then return to the oven until the sugar melts, about 2 more minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
3. Place a sheet of baking paper onto a tray, then spread a heaped teaspoon of some melted chocolate onto the paper, into a circle shape. Scatter over the almonds, pistachios, sea salt and rose petals. You may need to press the nuts and petals into the chocolate so they stick.
4. Chill the chocolate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before peeling the chocolate snaps from the paper to serve.
recipe adapted from delicious (July 2012)
From top: dried roses, flaked almonds, pistachios
The roses are from a pack of rose tea that I got in an Asian grocer; I just rubbed the petals off the roses for this recipe.
The almonds are sprinkled with sugar to caramelise before being dropped onto the melted chocolate together with crushed pistachios, rose petals and salt flakes.
Take my word, these chocolate snaps are really easy to make and even easier to eat.
The sprinkling of sea salt flakes is an inspired touch. I used 'Lindt dark chocolate with Sea Salt' to give an extra boost of saltiness.