Street Food Series: Churros w/ Chocolate Ginger Fudge Sauce

 

Churros are proof, if you ever needed it, that Pretzels are best served hot!

Most of us have done this: you spot Mr Pretzel man with his red uniform 50 yards away, standing like an awkwardly enticing Butler (because Butler’s aren’t generally enticing), holding a silver platter filled with freshly baked warm Pretzels tossed in cinnamon sugar and roughly chopped into pieces. And like a Magpie, you swoop in to take the biggest piece of bread you can find, scooping up as much sugary dust as you can. I love their warm fluffy texture and the gritty sweet feel of the sugar and cinnamon against my teeth. But at £4 a piece, I knew I had to find a cheaper snack which gave me the same satisfaction.

So in walks Ms Churros – a Spanish ‘pretzel stick’ if you will, which is popular on the streets of Latin America, France and Portugal,  and has finally made its way across the English Channel to the cobbled streets of London. Unlike Pretzels, which tend to be a lot bigger and denser, Churros are a lot crisper and lighter. They are also noticeably spirally twisted in shape, kind of like the horn of a unicorn, making it all the more easier to dip into the dark bitter chocolate sauce it is traditionally served with.

Churros are fried at a very high temperature until golden and crisp on the outside. The surface of a churro is ridged due to having been piped from a churrera, a syringe with a star-shaped nozzle.  The curly umbrella hook shape of the Churro is a result of the free-style way in which the dough hits the hot oil when frying so now the pressure is off to create the perfect Churro stick!

The silky, fudge like chocolate sauce I made works perfectly with this snack: Green and Blacks has a wide selection dark chocolate flavours which is what I used for this simple sauce. You will have perfect bitter-sweet dipping fudge chocolate in seconds!

 

Churros with Chocolate Ginger Sauce

  • Servings: 10-12 sticks
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 

Ingredients:

For the Churros

1 cup water

3 eggs

1 tbsp Bob Red Mill’s Masa Harina (Corn Flour not starch) – optional

1 cup of Plain Flour

1/2 cup  unsalted butter (soft)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp Vanilla Essence

1/2 tsp almond essence

1 tbsp Light Brown Sugar

Canola Oil (fry)

 

For the Coating

1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon powder

 

 

For the Chocolate Ginger Sauce

100g  Dark Chocolate

1-2 cubes of crystalized ginger

1 cup Double Cream

 

Method:

For the Churro

1. In a deep pot combine water, butter until completely melted over a medium to low heat

2. Add the flour and corn flour stirring continuously. Keep stirring over the heat until the mixture thickens and clumps together into a smooth ‘ball’ .

3. Remove from the heat and briskly stir in the eggs one at a time.

4.Add the vanilla, almond and sugar and mix well

5. Transfer mix to a piping bag with a star shaped nozzle or the ‘churrera’  mentioned above on the smallest nozzle.

5. Heat the oil to 182°C (359.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Pipe churros batter straight into the hot oil. Use your fingers or a knife to break off the batter to the desired length. Once the churros are browned lift out and put onto a plate covered with some paper towel to drain.

6. Roll the churros through the cinnamon sugar in a separate tray.

 

The Chocolate Ginger Sauce

1. Break the chocolate into small cubes and place in a glass jug or bowl with the cubes of ginger.

2. In a saucepan, warm the cream (not to boiling point), then pour half of the cream into the glass bowl with the chocolate and stir. Then slowly add the remaining cream into the bowl and stir well.

3. Remove the ginger cubes when you have the desired intensity of the ginger in the sauce  before serving.

Spring Salad Series: Fennel with “Ranch” Dressing

 

I had a spring in my step last weekend. For the first time in about 5 months or more, the first signs of Spring began to emerge. The most noticeable effect of this glorious beam of sunshine and clear blue skies, is actually waking up happy. Seriously it’s as simple as that: when you have spent the last winter waking up and working and going to sleep practically in the dark, it’s like someone literally flicked a switch on in a dark damp room: suddenly everything is clearer and looks attractive.

London feels like a welcoming place again. Another noticeable change is my appetite. I don’t know about you, but it’s a lot easier to eat and enjoy fresh fruits and salads in the summer than it is in the winter.

Maybe the problem started when we started eating fruits and vegetables out of season, I mean the king of comfort vegetables, Pumpkin just feels better in winter than in the middle of March right? That’s why I thought for this months recipe I would work on a couple of salads that suit the warm crisp air of Spring.

I can’t promise you warmth, but these salads are definitely fresh and crispy. I combined a couple of them in a tortilla wrap with the vegan ranch dressing last night…amazing! I didn’t miss meat or cheese at all.

So here to start the Spring Salads Series off is Fennel. Fennel with its aniseed like flavour is a great source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, folic acid, vitamin C and potassium. It also helps with digestion (particularly that of fat…yay!), stomach cramps and freshens breath.

Fennel Salad

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Servings: 3 Prep time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

2 Fennel bulbs, finely sliced length ways

1 large celery stalk, finely sliced (against the grain, ‘V’ shaped slices)

1/2 Cucumber – shredded

Drizzle of Lemon Juice

1/2 cup Pine Nuts – lightly toasted

Toss all the ingredients together, leaving the pine nuts until last as you want them to retain their crunchy texture. You can then drizzle in the lemon juice or stir in the vegan ranch dressing. As I said great in a wrap or as a side dish.