So my birthday has come and gone. I’m 30. It’s funny, most birthdays pass without me giving them much thought, I’m not usually one to fret and think about getting older. But here’s the thing, I remember my own mother turning 30. I remember her party, I remember the band that played up at my Dad's shoe workshop that night at the top of our driveway, I remember my mum drinking her rum and Herbal cola and us kids freaking out seeing her drunk (poor mum, after having four kids by 27, it was probably her first night “out” in years!) I remember my friends being there too.
Does that mean I am an actual real grown up? That I am old enough to remember my Mum being my age?
With one sick child and another going stir crazy being cooped up indoors there wasn’t a whole lot of celebrating going down yesterday. It’s Father's day on sunday, so we thought we’d wait till then to eat cake. But me being me I had to at least make something lovely and sweet to eat with the kids for afternoon tea. Chocolate and chilli is for me a match made in heaven. Bitter dark chocolate with a touch of heat from the chilli just tickling your tonsils is just what the day needed.
I came across are recipe for chocolate, chilli and cherry slice in a little Women’s Day cookbook I picked up years ago from a supermarket in Australia. You know those little cute books they sell at the checkout? I’m a sucker for them, mostly just the baking ones….especially if they have a cute little pile of pink iced slice on the cover! I’ve been meaning to make it for years. Here I’ve adapted it to be gluten-free but if you eat wheat, just use 3/4 cup of plain or spelt flour in place of the rice and tapioca flours. I also used blueberries in place of the cherries as this is what I had at hand. But I reckon this would work with any berries. Blackberries, boysenberries or raspberries would be my pick.
The chilli in this is subtle; you don’t really know it’s even there until you finish your mouthful. What you are after is that slight tingle in the back of your mouth that walks its way up and around to the top, hanging out there for a bit in a lovely understated kinda way. I’m a real chilli freak so I love this feeling (I could have even gone for more of a kick, but knowing the kids were eating it too I held back), but if you aren’t so keen, leave the chillies out altogether and I’m sure it would still be delicious. Something I discovered is that while it was pretty moorish about 30 mins after being pulled from the oven, it was even better cold the next day, after chilling out in the fridge overnight. By this stage it had turned from being a soft, moist, crumbly brownie-like-slice, to a dense, super-rich fudgey loveliness.
Next time I make this I am going to play around with spices and chilli powder in place of the fresh. I think you could get more of the chilli heat without the actual chilli flavour using chilli powder, and a touch of cinnamon. I'm also thinking black pepper would be a lovely addition. I assume this would keep for about 5-7 days in the fridge but ours didn't make it past the second day! I have plans for a super special belated birthday cake for myself…. (sad I know, but I really don’t mind) so all things going to plan I will post that recipe early next week. Have a lovely weekend all and Happy Fathers Day for Sunday Papa. xx
chocolate, chilli and blueberry slice recipe
This recipe is gluten-free and can easily be dairy-free by using margarine in place of butter and by making sure you use a good quality dark chocolate that’s dairy-free. I used trade aid dark chocolate. As I’ve mentioned before, get to know your chillies. I used 1 whole long chilli, but you may want to go for less or more depending on how hot your chillies are and how hot you want the end result. If you eat wheat, substitute the rice and tapioca flours for 3/4 cup plain flour or spelt flour. Makes about 20 slices
- 200 g dark chocolate, chopped
- 125 g butter or dairy-free margarine
- 1/2 cup (100g) muscovado sugar (or use soft brown sugar)
- 1 long red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups frozen/fresh blueberries
- 3/4 cup (75g) almond meal (ground almonds)
- 1/2 cup (60g) fine brown rice flour
- 1/4 cup (25g) tapioca flour
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- cocoa powder for dusting
Preheat your oven to 150 C/300 F. Grease a 20 x 20cm slice pan and line the base and sides with baking paper, making sure about 2cm of paper extends up and over the edges of the pan.
Melt chocolate, butter, sugar and chilli together in a small saucepan over low heat. Pour into a large bowl and set aside for 10 mins to cool slightly. Gently stir in flours, almond meal and eggs until combined. Fold through blueberries. Pour mixture into prepared pan and smooth off the top with the back of your spoon/spatula.
Bake 35-45 mins or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Leave to cool in the pan before dusting with cocoa powder and cutting into small squares. Or if you have some serious restraint, hold off eating until tomorrow when it's even better.
NB If using fresh berries I’d say they would take about 30-35 mins. If using frozen like I did, allow a little longer – mine took 45 mins to cook.