We have been exploring the them of calm recently. The slower pace of life in winter gives us more time for reflection, learning new things & developing new habits. There are lots of things we can do to combat stress & feelings of anxiety & we feel one of the most important is to cultivate a more calm life. February is a great time to think about this. What can you do to lower your stress levels so that when tough times come along (as they always do) you can cope well.
One of the things we have been talking about is the connection between food & mood. Eating foods which boost happy hormones can help us feel so much better. On our last blog we highlighted some calming foods & so today I thought I would share an easy, delicious recipe to get 2 of those foods — chocolate & eggs into a yummy dessert.
This recipe comes from Elizabeth David’s book, French Provincial Cooking. It is the most basic chocolate mousse recipe & I think it is better in it’s simplicity. There’s no dairy, just the beautiful taste of chocolate. As long as you know how to fold egg whites without losing all the air, this is an easy, five minute recipe. If you have never made a mousse or souffle I recommend watching a youtube video of someone folding egg white to see how its done (its not hard just a certain technique)
Which type of chocolate?
This recipe will work with any chocolate but to get the mood boosting results you need to use dark chocolate. By this I mean anything over 70%. We eat quite a lot of dark chocolate & for me it is one of those things I feel is worth paying a little more money for whenever I can. If you look at the labels on the cheaper brands which describe themselves as dark you will notice they may only have 50% cacao — this is not really dark chocolate, it has lots of sugar & doesn’t really give the right flavour.
Chocolate in its raw form is packed with beneficial nutrients. The farther away it is from that form the less of those nutrients it will provide so if you’re eating this to improve your mood then choose the most natural chocolate you can find & afford.
Dark Chocolate Mousse Recipe (Serves 1 — just scale it up)
1 egg (large is better as there is not enough white to whip up in small eggs)
25g dark chocolate
Start a couple of hours before you want to eat this as it needs time in the fridge
1.Melt the chocolate in a bowl over gently boiling water
2.Once it is melted let it cool for a couple of minutes then separate the egg. Add the yolk to the chocolate & mix it in.
If you want to taste the flavour now is the time to do it. Once the egg whites have been added it is difficult to add new ingredients. You may want to add something to make it more sweet at this point — that will depend on your chocolate. I would add something runny such as honey or glucose syrup as sugar may not dissolve.
3.Put the egg white into a separate bowl & whip into stiff peaks
4.Then you just need to mix the two together without knocking all the air out of the egg whites. Start by putting a third of the foamy egg white into the chocolate & mix it through to make the mixture more runny
5.Add another third & fold this carefully with a spatula or metal spoon (a wooden spoon knock more air out). Scoop under the mixture & over the top to mix
6.Finally add the last of the egg white & fold it through until you can’t see any more white. You should have a light chocolate mousse
Put the mousse into a serving bowl/glass & into the fridge for at least an hour
NOTE: If you don’t have a fluffy mousse you can whip up another egg white & fold that in. I have only ever had that happen a couple of times & it was because the eggs were really small.
You can easily add other flavours to this basic recipe to change it up. I love chocolate & orange so often add orange rind. Spices are also a fab addition — aniseed, cinnamon, cardamom, fennel, clove, nutmeg, vanilla (which also sweetens), allspice, mixed spice, chilli — they are all wonderful with chocolate. Flavoured oils also work really well, peppermint, orange, lemon, almond oil. Just add these before you start to fold the eggs in & taste to check there is the correct amount.