Ocelot Chocolate & Banana Loaf

It's a summer's morning and the sun is blazing through the blinds: you put on your shorts and t-shirt, grab your sunglasses and roll up your rug for the park. You're just at the door when you hear someone throw a handful of stones at the window... Except it's not stones, it's just icy rain. Out of the window you watch as impenetrable grey clouds descend and shiver as the temperature drops 10 degrees. That's British Summer for you. But don't let a rainy midsummer's day get you down, it's a perfect excuse for curling up with a piece of warm buttered banana bread, a cup of tea and a good book. This chocolatey version is extra good, super easy to whip up on a whim (or at the first splash of rain) and the best bit is, you don't have to wait ages for it to cool - it's all the better when it's warm from the oven!

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Makes 1 medium loaf/ approx 8 thick slices
INGREDIENTS

250g Self Raising Flour
Pinch of Salt
75g Caster Sugar (you can increase this to 100g if you have a sweet tooth, or if your bananas are not super-ripe)
1tsp baking powder
100g butter, softened
75g dark chocolate (e.g 1 bar of Ocelot Chocolate 75%), broken into small pieces
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large or 4 small, very ripe (even black is good) bananas (approx 500g).

1 x (approx) 5 x 9inch loaf tin

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 170C /325F. Grease and line your loaf tin.

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a large mixing bowl and stir well. Add the sugar and butter, and using your fingers, rub everything together until it resembles bread crumbs. Stir in the pieces of chocolate, making sure they are dispersed through the mix.

In another mixing bowl mash the bananas to a pulp (you can use a potato masher or a fork). Next add the eggs and the vanilla extract and using the fork whip everything together really well.

Create a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, and pour in the banana mixture. With a wooden spoon, gently bring all the ingredients together, making sure you don’t miss any little pockets of flour.

Tip the mixture into your prepared loaf tin, smooth the top, and place in the oven for around 1 hour, or until a sewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Allow to cool for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack and remove the paper.

Slice a piece and eat warm, with (ideally unsalted & organic) butter. Coconut butter or chocolate spread also work well. The loaf will keep in an airtight container for up to a week - eat it toasted as the week goes on.

 

Shanghai

OCELOT X SHANGHAI -- JULY 2016

A city mixing 1000 years in the future with 1000 years in the past. A city of beautiful people, new friends, delicious food and happy times.

Chocolate Cherry Cake

With cherry blossom in full bloom, now is the perfect time to celebrate the fruits of summer with this rich and gooey, flour-less chocolate cake. The deep, sweet and earthy flavour of black cherry has to be one of the greatest partners for dark chocolate. Sliced and served with fresh cherries and a dollop of creamy yogurt, this is the ultimate summer indulgence.

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Serves 10-12
INGREDIENTS

250g soft light brown sugar
50ml water
250g unsalted butter, cubed
250g dark chocolate (75%, or your preference), broken in to small pieces.
4 large eggs, separated
100g pitted cherries (defrosted if frozen)
Pinch of sea salt (around 1/4 teaspoon)
Cocoa powder, to dust

METHOD

Set the oven to 170°C and grease and line a 10" springform cake tin.

Place the chopped butter and dark chocolate into a large heat-proof mixing bowl.

Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring often, until you have a bubbling but still liquid syrup.

Carefully pour the syrup into the mixing bowl over the chocolate and butter, and stir until everything has melted together and you have a smooth chocolate sauce. Next mix in the egg yolks one at a time until well combined, then fold in the cherries and add a pinch of sea salt. Leave to cool.

While you wait, whisk the egg whites in a clean glass or metal bowl until it holds stiff but still silky peaks.

Using a metal spoon, lightly fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, 1/3 at a time, making sure to keep as much air in the mixture as possible. Don't worry if there are some small bits of white still visible, it's more important to keep it light.

Quickly pour the mixture into the cake tin and lightly smooth the top. Place in the oven and bake for around 50 minutes. A skewer inserted into the centre should come out almost clean, but with a little mixture clinging to it.

Place the cake on a rack and leave in the tin until completely cooled.

Once cool, remove from the tin. This is a soft and gooey cake, so you may need a spatula to lift it from the base of the tin. It may have some sink holes or cracks, but the taste makes up for that.

Place on a serving plate and dust with cocoa powder. Serve sliced with fresh cherries and creme fraiche or yogurt.

Ocelot Hot Chocolate

Treat someone you love to a steaming mug of chocolate this Valentines Day. Be it for your GF, your BF, your BFF, your Mum, your Gran, or just two for yourself, make this and cosy up in a blanket on the sofa for a perfect Sunday.
P.S You can easily make this dairy-free by using Almond or Oat milk instead of whole milk.

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Makes 2 cups
INGREDIENTS:

150g good quality 75% chocolate (try Ocelot Piura Porcelana)
500ml whole milk
Small pinch of sea salt
Optional extra: a piece of card with a heart shape cut out.

METHOD:

1. Find a medium size heatproof bowl that will sit comfortably on top of a saucepan, without touching the bottom. Put some water in the pan and place on a medium heat. Break the chocolate into smallish pieces and place in the heat proof bowl.

2. When the water is gently steaming, place the bowl of chocolate over the pan, making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water.

3. Allow the chocolate to melt in the bowl slowly, stirring from time to time. Add a small pinch of salt and stir.

4. While the chocolate is melting place the milk in another saucepan over a low-medium heat. When the milk is hot (but before it boils) and all the chocolate is melted, remove the bowl of chocolate from the heat and place on a tea-towel.

5. Slowly begin adding the hot milk to the melted chocolate, a little at a time, mixing all the time with a balloon whisk. At first the mixture will be very thick and paste-like, but as you continue adding the milk it will loosen up. Once you have added all the milk you will be left with a lovely creamy hot chocolate.

5. Return the hot chocolate to the milk pan and gently heat until it is at your desired drinking temperature, frothing with a whisk (or a hand-held milk frother if you have one).

6. Transfer the mixture to your favourite mugs. If you want to create a cocoa heart on top, simply place the square of card with the cut-out heart over the mug, dust with cocoa powder and remove the card to reveal your heart. Or just top with your choice of whipped cream, marshmallows, chocolate flakes... Yum!

Ocelot Chocolate Doughnuts

A perfect celebration of Chocolate Week, these light-as-air doughnuts hide a rich unadulterated chocolate centre that allows the nuances and unique flavour notes of the chocolate to sing. The recipe requires some time and effort, but a freshly made doughnut is a delicacy worth working for. As featured in Telegraph Food and Drink.


Makes 9 to 10 doughnuts

INGREDIENTS

For the dough:
250g strong white bread flour
1 tsp ground sea salt
20g caster sugar
7g  (1 sachet) of dried yeast
75g water
2 eggs
80g unsalted butter, cubed and softened, OR if mixing by hand, gently melted and mixed with the water

For frying:
2 litres sunflower or vegetable oil
A thermometer suitable for hot oil

For dusting:
Coconut or caster sugar (storing your caster sugar in a jar alongside a vanilla pod makes for an extra special sprinkle).

For filling:
225g of 70% or over ‘bean-to-bar’ or single origin dark chocolate, such as Ocelot Chocolate Piura Porcelana
200ml water
Ice

METHOD

Knead
Place the flour into the bowl of a free-standing mixer fitted with its dough hook. If you do not have a mixer, proceed undeterred with a large bowl and clean hands.

Place the salt and sugar on one side of the flour, and the yeast to the other. Pour in the water (mixed with the melted butter if mixing by hand), add the eggs and then combine everything at a low speed, or with a clawed hand. Turn up to a medium speed for around 8 minutes, or scrape and squish with your hands until you have a glossy and elastic ball of dough that although moist, has mostly freed itself from the sides of the bowl. Turn off the mixer.

If you are mixing by hand, at this stage transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and start kneading like there’s no tomorrow (it helps to see each ten minutes of kneading as your ticket to an extra doughnut). Otherwise turn the mixer to a medium speed and add the softened butter, a few cubes at a time, until it is thoroughly lost in the dough.  Turn your mixer (or arms) to high speed and mix for 5 minutes or until you have a deliciously shiny, stretchy dough that slides suggestively off the hook and quivers in the bowl. 

Cover the bowl with clingfilm and place in a warm place for approximately one hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Knock the air out of the dough with a quick knead, before re-covering the bowl and placing in the fridge for at least 6 hours, or overnight.

Next day, tip the dough on to a lightly floured surface and divide it into 50g portions – you should get 9 or 10. Roll the pieces into smooth balls and place on a floured baking tray, leaving a good distance between each. Drape with clingfilm and leave somewhere warm until they have doubled, or at least noticeably increased in size (an hour or so). Once they’re looking swell, gently loosen them from the tray, being careful not to lose all the lovely air.

*tip: if you struggle to find a suitable proving spot in your house, turn your oven on for a few minutes until it is gently warmed, turn it off and place the bowl or tray inside, leaving the door open.

Fry
Now dig out your deep fat fryer or a large heavy-based saucepan and fill to half way with oil. Before turning on the heat, clear all children, pets and clumsy people from the room – hot oil is a fearsome foe and should never be left unattended: have everything ready so you don’t get in a flap once you start frying. We suggest a production line of plates next to the stove - one with kitchen towel, one with sugar and one for finished items.

Heat the oil to 180 C. This is important because much less and they will soak in the oil, more and they will burn, so a metal-tipped or infrared thermometer is necessary.

Using a metal slotted spoon, very carefully and one at a time place 2 – 3 doughnuts into the hot oil. Cook for a minute or two on the first side until they are puffed with air and a lovely golden brown colour, before turning and dunking them if they are frisky.

Remove on to the kitchen paper, check the oil is still at the right temperature and repeat until you have a big pile of warm doughnuts. Turn off the oil, and while the doughnuts are still warm toss them in caster or coconut sugar.

Allow to cool while getting on with the filling.

Fill
N.B. This is a miraculous technique, which once learned means that wherever there is chocolate, there is dessert.

Place the chocolate and water in a pan and melt over a low heat.  Meanwhile, find one large and one medium sized bowl. In the large bowl place some ice and water, and then sit the medium bowl on top – the icy water should come about halfway up its sides.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the medium bowl and using an electric or balloon whisk, whip until you have a chocolate mousse the texture of whipped cream. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag.

*If you over-whip or split just return the mixture to the pan and start again.

Now for the really fun bit: Peirce a hole in the side of each doughnut with a knife and wiggle your finger in to create your chocolate chamber. Push the snout of the piping bag into the hole and fill with a greedy squeeze of the mousse. Briefly admire all your hard work, and then devour.