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Chocolate Beef Stew-Estofado de Ternera al Chocolate

I like different. I love chocolate. And I’m feeling inspired….even if the weather is not exactly appropriate for stew right now. It’s boiling hot in London! I love it, although I think it’s a bit uncomfortable with the humidity factor. But I’m not complaining; it’s a rarity to see the sun around here…so, I’ll take it in any form it comes!
This is an easy dish to make and it’s delicious and slightly exotic as well. It’s very typical to add chocolate to game, usually to compliment the stronger flavours of the meat. In Spain, growing up, a dear friend of the family’s  would regularly go hunting for wild boar, venison and pheasant. My father went along a number of times. And we kids would also join in on the field trip, which entailed going into the sierra to spend the day in nature, running through the fields, climbing acorn oaks, and jumping in haystacks. And of course, one of the best parts of the adventure was the end of the day when we got to enjoy some of the meat on an open wood-fire, with the noises of the night and the moon and the stars as our companions.
I’m not keen about hunting; in fact, I hardly eat game anymore, although I do admit that the flavour is incomparable to farm-grown animals. However, today I indulged in my passion of chocolate with a beef stew.
Chocolate Beef Stew – Estofado de Ternera al Chocolate
Ingredients, for 4
  • 1 kilo of a tender cut of beef, diced for stew
  • 3 large onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 100g of pure cocoa powder
  • 1 cup of vinegar (I used balsamic as it’s sweeter, but you can use wine vinegar too)
  • 4-5 large potatoes, peeled and cut into large squares
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • fresh ground nutmeg, to taste (I used about 3 teaspoons)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • olive oil
  • water
Process
Rinse the beef and pat dry. In a pressure cooker, place enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pot. Over medium heat, brown the beef. Add the onions and garlic and saute about 10 minutes. Add the vinegar, cocoa powder, and nutmeg. Mix well and saute about 1 minute. Add the potatoes and carrots, and enough water to cover, or according to the instructions of your pressure cooker. Cover and seal the cooker; cook for 25 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow for the steam from the cooker to be released. Open the pot when there is no steam left. Check the meat for tenderness. Add the salt and cook a bit longer, with no cover, to reduce the sauce, about 5-10 minutes or longer if necessary.
I like to add a teaspoon of honey or raw maple syrup over my plate and mix it in with the stew. It adds just a touch of sweetness that makes the dish all that more delicious.
Buen Provecho!

Coconut Panna Cotta with Physalis Coulis

Although I’ve eaten this before in Italy and in a variety of restaurants, I’ve never made panna cotta at home. My only inspiration today was reading David Lebovitz’s blog and realising it’s such an easy dessert to make.
Panna Cotta is a traditional Italian dessert, which is basically cooked cream. I’ve made a slightly different version than David’s, which you can view here because I didn’t want to use any heavy cream.I wanted to make it completely from coconut milk and yoghourt, but I was afraid of having the coconut and yoghourt flavours become overpowering. With the combination below, you can probably omit the cow’s milk and use 3 cups of yoghourt instead. For my taste, I like the just enough coconut flavour one cup provides; and I’m not sure I would want to increase it to two. However, you may prefer it stronger. Additionally, I would’ve normally substituted honey in a recipe like this, but as it was my first time making it, I stuck to the original sugar.
Coconut Panna Cotta with Physalis Coulis
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of plain, sugar free yoghourt
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 cup of cow’s milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or the seeds of one vanilla pod
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons of powdered gelatin
  • 6 tablespoons of cold water
Process
Prepare your molds by greasing them with coconut oil.
Heat the yoghourt and milks in a saucepan with the sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and add the vanilla.
Sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the cold water and allow to sit about 5 minutes. Add to the milk mixture and mix well with a whisk.
Pour into molds and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. I let mine sit overnight.
Physalis Coulis
Ingredients
  • 250g of physalis, cut in half
  • 50g of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of water
Process
Wash and cut the physalis. In a saucepan, add the fruit, the sugar and the water. Allow to cook, reaching a boiling point. Simmer until the fruit is tender.
In a blender, or with a minipimer, pulse the mixture until you have a sauce. Strain, if you do not like the seeds in it. (I did not strain mine.)
Run a sharp knife along the edge of each panna cotta and unmold each onto your serving plates. Pour the coulis over and around the panna cotta.
If you’ve used molds, where you want to keep the panna cotta inside, simply pour the coulis on the top and serve inside the mold. (For example, wine glasses can also be used as a pretty serving container.)
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This post is part of the Berry nice to meet you – Sweet Adventures blog hop hosted by Christina from The Hungry Australian. Please visit The Hungry Australian, Berry nice to meet you page for instructions on how to join!

Sweet Adventures are monthly blog hop events brought to you by your hostesses – The Hungry AustralianDining With a StudThe Capers of the Kitchen CrusaderDelicieux and 84th & 3rd.

Don’t forget to check out the other delicious berry creations this month below.
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