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How much love can you put into chocolate mousse?

February 6, 2011

Children's chocolate mousses

Is it higher self-confidence levels or just a trend that has turned all the teenage girls I know (including my own) into rather demonstrative drama queens?  In my day cool meant a measured voice, a sardonic or witty one-liner, icy nonchalance, a faraway look, a raised eyebrow.  We were posers (or poseurs) of the highest order.  Shopping in Oxfam, swathed in Grandpa’s long coat and Grandma’s old shoes; David Bowie spoke of Kierkegaard and ‘a kettle of poissons’, Sid Vicious sneered at the world and New Romantics took posturing to another level.  You wouldn’t have seen Siouxsie Sioux grinning.

Now cool is exuberance, over-the-top exclamations “O!M!G!”.  Hugs all round with arms thrown dramatically apart.  The smallest occurence becomes a monumental event to be repeated and exaggerated often at volume.  However there are some universal truths.  Parents are still mortally embarrassing when you are with your mates and there’s more than a touch of self-obsession about every teen.

It was ever thus as I remember, to my mortification, asking my Mother to park the car round the corner when collecting me from the disco.  It took me over half an hour to put on my elaborate eye make-up and fewer things were more important than getting the next record I was obsessing over from Driftin’ (Albion Street, Cheltenham).

Nigella Childrens chocolate mousse and books

So driving my daughter to the coach for her Bronze Duke of Edinburgh desert challenge early Friday morning went like this:  “We mustn’t be late”….”Nobody’s here – can we drive round a bit?” …”oh so-and-so’s arrived”…. quick hug … “love you Mum – you can go now“!

Collecting her the next day is another matter.  A night in a tent on the desert floor, 24 kilometres of trudging through sand with a heavy backpack after eating Pot Noodle (don’t ask!) means she is extremely pleased to see me.  ‘I’m so tired Mum – what’s for supper?’

This is where the maximum amount of love goes into cooking.  I’d spent a couple of hours in the kitchen the day before making a huge simmering pot of ragout for spaghetti Bolognese so the flavours could improve overnight and some sweet little chocolate mousses which also benefit from the same treatment.

“Love you Mum”.

Chocolate mousse and hiking boots

These mousses are a Nigella Lawson recipe meant for children, but the milder taste appeals to non-dark lovers, my husband thinks they are the best ever…

For more seductive chocolate recipes inspired by La Lawson, pop over to Maison Cupcake around February 22nd-ish for her Forever Nigella Seduced by Chocolate round-up (worth reading Sarah’s exuberant blog at anytime actually).

These ingredients and recipe for this mousse are so simple I’ve hardly tinkered – you can find it in Nigella’s seminal ‘How to eat‘ (I always want to answer ‘with a knife and fork’) one of my most well-thumbed and cooked-from tomes.

Nigella books and mousses

Children’s chocolate mousse – (slightly adapted from How to eat by Nigella Lawson)

Serves 4


100g good quality milk chocolate (try to get over 40% cocoa solids)*
1 1/2 tablespoons boiling water
1 tablespoon golden syrup
2 eggs, separated (organic, free-range recommended)**

  1. Put the chocolate, broken into pieces, boiling water and golden syrup into a large heatproof bowl.  If you measure the boiling water first and then quickly follow with the golden syrup it will just slide off the spoon.
  2. Microwave on medium heat for about 3 minutes until the chocolate is melted (or suspend over a pan of hot water).
  3. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, beat the egg yolks into the chocolate mixture one by one until well combined and smooth.
  4. Put a dollop of the whisked egg whites into the chocolate mixture and stir fairly briskly to loosen it.  You can then gently fold the rest of the egg whites in using a metal spoon.  Be quite thorough and you need to scrape along the bottom of the bowl to combine properly, but don’t stir all the air out, you want to keep the lovely bubbles in.
  5. Use a spatula to ease the mixture into a clean bowl or spoon into individual ramekins or tumblers.  Leave for at least 6 hours in the fridge.

* Note: I used Valor chocolate from Choitrams.
** It is not recommended that raw eggs are eaten by pregnant women or vulnerable people due to the risk of salmonella.  As for feeding to children, personal choice prevails (there are egg-less mousse recipes available).

Serve and wait for the hugs.

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  1. February 6, 2011 12:01 pm

    A smashing post Sally. Great mix of story & foodiness. I didn’t know you could make a chocolate mousse without oodles of cream, it sounds positively low fat! I must find a choc recipe so I can enter this month too.

  2. February 6, 2011 12:20 pm

    I love reading your posts Sally! I know I’ve said this before but I love your writing. You so easily mix talking about life in general and food! And I’m thinking it is certainly going to be a very moussey week! Quick question- what is the purpose of the golden syrup here…..doesn’t it make it too sweet?

    • February 6, 2011 12:50 pm

      It is quite a sweet mousse but the golden syrup adds to the texture, slightly sticky (in a good way) and makes it more-ish. I think it really appeals to children and people brought up in the UK (on Cadbury’s chocolate!). I like really dark, bitter chocolate myself but still managed to eat this rather quickly!

  3. February 6, 2011 12:38 pm

    Love the story. Life as it happens. Your writing is amazing. I have never made chocolate mousse. This one looks do-able, will surely give it a try.

    • February 6, 2011 12:51 pm

      Interested to see your healthy version of this Anja – as Claire pointed out it’s quite low fat!

  4. Anna permalink
    February 6, 2011 12:57 pm

    I like Nigella too – my favourite book is ‘Feast’ and the best recipies are the tunisian meatballs, and the rose water scented, semolina cake.

  5. February 6, 2011 2:42 pm

    I have 2 teenager cousins (girls) and I myself find talking to them a hard task with all these rolling eyes, strange words and strange habits. I don’t know if I’m getting older or the time changes really fast.

  6. February 6, 2011 3:10 pm

    What a lovely post.
    🙂 Mandy

  7. February 6, 2011 4:24 pm

    Well, this post brought a tear to my eye …. with my daughter at boarding school in the UK I miss out on many of the daily dramas (I do get my share, though when she comes home for the holidays!).
    Do you think this recipe will work with dark chocolate – we’re a dark household?
    Thanks for wonderful evocative writing Sally – you come up trumps every time.

  8. February 6, 2011 5:02 pm

    chocolate mousse is the ultimate feel good food in our house too. In fact anything chocolatey…..Nigel Slater’s very grown up chocolate cake for sheer nurturing he calls ‘the adult equivalent of breast feeding’. Thank you for reminding me how healing/hugging a chocolate mousse can be Sally!

  9. February 6, 2011 5:24 pm

    I’m amazed at this recipe! No gelatine or cream! I know Nigella wrote it for kids, but I suspect my husband will not mind.

  10. February 6, 2011 6:36 pm

    I love the intro to this post, the light but sarcastic tone really worked well! It made me crack up because I probably fall into the ‘drama queen’ generation (as evidenced in my typical multi-exclamation mark emails to you ;)…) But drama queens or not, I think chocolate mousse is a timeless classic across all generations.

  11. February 6, 2011 8:20 pm

    Really Really nice post 🙂

    we grew up with cadbury! a lot of it, in India. my older one has still a few years to go to her teens, but I see the drama with both my girls even now 🙂 Love the recipe. may be for the kids, but my knees go weak when i see chocolate mousse, any time.

  12. February 6, 2011 11:48 pm

    As many have mentioned before (and myself included!) your writing is always a joy to read. Chocolate mousse will always remain one of my favorite desserts and what better recipe to use than from the magnificent Nigella herself? 😉

    Great post and pictures!

  13. February 7, 2011 2:33 am

    Yummy. Great photos!

  14. forkitoverdubai permalink
    February 8, 2011 10:24 am


    I can’t get over how beautiful your pictures are! Very inspirational.

  15. Flavors from my kitchen permalink
    February 8, 2011 11:05 am

    I enjoy reading your blog and am a die hard Nigella fan myself! As I am an amateur food blogger myself and based out of the UAE, I wanted to ask how I could become part of the Famished in Arabia group? If you could point me in the right direction, that would be great! And here is the link to my blog.


  16. February 8, 2011 12:16 pm

    Lovely stuff! And what a beautiful looking mousse! 🙂

  17. Tricia Evans permalink
    February 8, 2011 1:30 pm

    LOVED this post Sally – it was a gorgeous mix of food, family & emotions. x

  18. February 8, 2011 2:43 pm

    Congrats Sally! Really great work!

  19. February 9, 2011 8:48 pm

    what a sweet post 🙂 love reading your stories.. you are so talented and that mousse sounds really tempting right now. yum!

  20. February 12, 2011 6:45 pm

    Aaah! That’s a nice collection of Nigella books you got there!

    After relying on Youtube for Ms Lawson’s recipes, I finally got me one yesterday from Borders, Nigella Express. And the above pics tempts me to go and get the remaining titles 🙂

  21. FoodfromtheHart permalink
    February 13, 2011 11:26 pm

    Love this recipe for Chocolate Mousse! It’s one of my favorite desserts! Thanks for posting.

  22. February 26, 2011 4:29 pm

    Your chocolate mousse looks really inviting! I’ve got all the Nigella’s books except “How to eat”, is it interesting?

    • February 26, 2011 6:17 pm

      I like to read cookery books as well as cook from them and that’s partly why Nigella books appeal to me. ‘How to eat’ has no food photography at all but is packed full of recipes I’ve used over and over plus you can immerse yourself in Nigella’s rambling, extensive and revealing prose about food, cookery and family life too. Feast is my favourite but this is a close second.

  23. February 26, 2011 7:32 pm

    These chocolate mousses look phenomenal, and I’m sure they tasted just as good! You’re a Nigella fan like me I see 🙂 Your photographs are also so beautiful! It is the one thing I haven’t mastered so I’ll have to come back here for some inspiration! Thanks for visiting my blog 🙂

    • February 26, 2011 7:35 pm

      Hi Vickii. Yes a fan (this is not my entire collection of books either)! I’m still on the beginners rung of a very tall photographic ladder so thanks for the compliment.

  24. May 17, 2011 7:51 pm

    It looks so elegant in your beautiful glasses. I need to remember to do that more. It sounds scrumptious!


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