What a miserable bunch we seem to have become in the United Kingdom. Every time you switch the TV or radio on, there seems to be yet another piece of bad news. Whether it is the economy falling or another sunless summer, horrendous news is there for all. And the result? Miserabilism. It's my new word for it as I've never seen such a set of glum folk in my life.
It is easy to let it all get to you. But I always think that the best way to combat bad news is to get active. Whether it is a little run around the block, a brisk walk in the chilled autumn air or a belt around the park on your bike, that bit of adrenalin seems to pick you up instantly, no matter how fit you are. And after burning a few calories, it gives you a great excuse to eat to your heart's content!
You may need to burn a few calories before tackling my favourite easy cake - the chocolate mousse cake. Rich, buttery and intense with high cocoa content, it is a crowd pleaser pretty much all of the time. I love the chestnut version - so seasonal and a brilliant alternative for Christmas pudding for chocolate lovers. But I also love almonds, and with ground almonds surely being a staple cupboard ingredient for everybody, you can whip one of these up in no time. It is guaranteed to cheer up even the most miserable person in the world, guaranteed. Now, what was that about the economy?
Chocolate and Almond Mousse Cake
250g 70-80% chocolate
200g ground almonds
50g sliced almonds
100g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, split and seeded (optional)
1 - Preheat the oven to 180C, GM4.
2 - Break up the chocolate and put into a heatproof bowl along with the butter. Place over a pan of water and bring to the boil until the chocolate and butter have melted.
3 - Separate the eggs. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, vanilla seeds and sugar until pale. Stir in the chocolate and butter and then finally, gently fold in the ground almonds and the sliced almonds.
4 - Whisk the egg whites until they reach 'soft peak' stage, or you can hold the bowl upside down and nothing falls out. Gently fold into the mixture.
5 - Grease and paper a 20cm spring form cake tin. Pour in the cake mixture, then place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the cake is still slightly wobbly and the surface has cracked.
6 - Remove and rest until cool. Decorate with cocoa powder and a handful of sliced almonds.