February’s Punch of the Month

Boy do we have a Valentine’s Day cocktail for you – a recipe so loaded with aphrodisiac ingredients, just one sip and you’ll be ready to explode…

Drink my Fire, What’s Your Desire?

By guest blogger Slava T Gordon

After a brief hiatus in the Punch of the Month column, in keeping with “dry January”, we are determined to return this February with a cocktail positively worthy of your time. Needless to say, the process of guaranteeing that our offering be truly top notch required a fair amount of experimenting and tasting, making the tail-end of our January not so dry after all. Oops…

Bane + Antidote friend Marshall Altier, a sought after mixologist and author of How to Booze: Exquisite Cocktails and Unsound Advice, suggested his favourite sexy aphrodisiac concoction to set the night on fire. The I’m Your Venus is fiery, sweet and perfectly sour – all told it’s decidedly moreish, and as intoxicatingly multi-faceted as Venus herself.

I’m Your Venus by Marshall Altier

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Photography and styling by Jane Hodson

We are all familiar with Venus as the Goddess of Love but she might be more accurately described in today’s terms as the goddess of multi-tasking, as she is also attributed with sex, beauty, fertility, prosperity, desire and victory – a whole lot of responsibility for one lady deity. In this day and age of wanting to be, do and have it all, it is quite befitting that we guzzle a namesake tipple which hits so many notes.

A quick refresher in nutritional therapy: chocolate contains serotoninphenylethylamine and theobromine – three compounds that lower blood pressure, enhance circulation, amplify general feelings of well being and provide energy. The perfect foundation for a long night of fun.

Chilli contains capsaicin, a substance that physically turns up the heat. Its effects are felt far beyond the burning in your mouth. Raised body temperature brings a flush to your cheek and a swell to your lips making them ever so much more plump for the kissing. Chilli peppers are also known to heighten nerve sensitivity adding an extra frisson to amorous pleasure. WARNING: Remember to wash your hands well after handling chillies, you do not want to be responsible for any undesired burning.

Mint is a lesser-known and more subtle aphrodisiac. It leaves those who eat it with a calm body and mind, while stimulating a lusty appetite. Such are its hidden charms, Aristotle famously advised Alexander the Great to keep his warriors from eating mint when at war.

These three strong natural aphrodisiacs: chocolate, chilli and mint, plus booze (arguably the fourth) ensure that this cocktail packs a mighty punch. The I’m Your Venus will make for a potent tool in your V-Day arsenal.

I’m Your Venus by Marshall Altier 

  • 2 ozs Rye or Bourbon whiskey
  • 4 lemon wedges
  • 1 tspn sugar
  • 2 de-seeded chilli pepper rings
  • small handful of mint leaves
  • ½ oz of dark chocolate (finely grated on a plate)
  • ice cubes

Glass: 

  • Frosted martini glass (chilled in the freezer)

Garnish:

  • Grated dark chocolate rim

Instructions: 

  • Muddle sugar, chilli, mint and lemon wedges together in a shaker.  Add the booze and ice. Shake well while shimmying in anticipation.
  • Take the frosted martini glass out of the freezer, dip the rim in the chocolate and set on the side.
  • Strain the concoction into the frosted martini glass.
  • Best followed by a Faust’s Potions Hangover Cure health shot.

For more tantalising tips on nutritional aphrodisiacs and how to use them, read The Devil’s Guide to Valentine Gorging & Stamina Maintenance.

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How to Throw an Alcohol-Free Dinner Party

Alcohol-free dinner parties needn’t be boring, as proved by these titillating teetotal recipes for mocktails so healthy they’re practically mind-altering.

Dry January, Octsober, pregnancy, recovery, Lent. There are moments in all of our lives when abstention becomes the name of the game. You may have honed your ‘Oh, you brought me 0% beer’ face down to a T, but stoicism is so last century my friend. Who says teetotallers can’t get their kicks too? Below are Bane + Antidote’s favourite craft recipes for mocktails that pack a punch. These exquisite artisanal concoctions, loaded with health benefits, would make for an impressive alcohol free dinner party, or a thoughtful yet self-interested gift for any host.

Why not add a Faust’s Potion Health Shot into the mix too? Your night will be a nutritional rave!

Time Intensive Brews…

Homemade Ginger Beer by The Roasted Root

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Prep time: 3 days.

Health benefits:

  • Lemon – contains vitamin C.
  • Ginger – is anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, used to ease nausea, aid digestion, combat colds and flu, improve circulation and provide energy.

Ingredients

  • 9 cups spring or well water
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar*
  • ¼ cup fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice**
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast***

Homemade Tonic by The Bojon Gourmet

n.b. If pregnant avoid this recipe (see below).

tonic

Prep time: 2-3 weeks.

Health Benefits:

  • Lemons and limes – contain vitamin C
  • Quinine – antimalarial (warning: potentially unsafe to consume during pregnancy)
  • Lemongrass – is used to relieve headaches, speed detoxification and aid digestion.
  • Verbena – aids joint function, muscle recovery and boosts the immune system, is an anti-depressant and is used to treat respiratory conditions.

Ingredients:

  • 2 limes
  • 1 lemon
  • 37 oz Mamà brand quinine (cinchona) bark pieces
  • 1 cup chopped lemongrass
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon balm or lemon verbena leaves (optional)
  • 6 tablespoons citric acid
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups sugar
  • Soda water

We recommend adding alcohol-free bitters like Nature’s Answer Alcohol Free Bitters with Ginger to your homemade tonic water for an added health kick and flavour boost.

Strawberry Basil Kombucha by The Roasted Root

Kombucha

Prep time: 8 days.

Health Benefits:

  • Basil – is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory
  • Kombucha – is a fermented beverage that is used to aid digestion, weight loss and detoxification, and is an energy an immunity booster.

Ingredients

  • 1-2/3 gallons homemade kombucha
  • 2 heaping cups ripe strawberries, chopped
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 ounces fresh basil, chopped (1 cup)

Rose Petal Iced Tea by Um Safia on Food.com

rose petal ice tea

Prep time: 10 hours.

Health benefits:

  • Rose – rich in vitamin C, polyphenols and other antioxidants and is known to ease menstrual cramps.
  • Lemon – contains vitamin C.
  • Green tea – is used to aid weight loss and healthy cell regeneration, to improve circulation and lower cholesterol.

Ingredients

  • 3 large roses (petals only, white bases removed)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons rose water
  • 1 drop pink food colouring 
  • 3 green tea bags
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

15 Minutes or Less…

Cucumber and Mint Limeade by So Lets Hang Out

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Prep time: 15 minutes.

Health benefits:

  • Lime – contains vitamin C.
  • Mint – is used to help digestion, speed weight loss, improve memory, and to combat fatigue, colds, flu and headaches.
  • Cucumber – rehydrates, flushes out toxins and contains skin-loving minerals.

Ingredients

  • 1 large English cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 4 sprigs of mint, de-stemmed
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp course sea salt
  • 3 1/2 cups filtered water
  • 1 cup ice
  • cucumber spears, mint leaves and lime wedges to garnish (optional)

Green Tea Mojito Mocktail by Imbibe

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Prep time: 10 minutes.

Health benefits:

  • Lime – contains vitamin C
  • Mint – is used to help digestion, speed weight loss, improve memory, and to combat fatigue, colds, flu and headaches.
  • Matcha – contains antioxidants and L-Theanine (induces relaxation without drowsiness, is a mood enhancer and improves memory), is an energy and immune booster, a detoxifier AND a calorie burner!

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp. powdered matcha green tea
  • 3 oz. hot water
  • 6 mint leaves
  • 5 tsp. lime juice
  • 2 tsp. simple syrup
  • 2 lime wedges
  • Soda water
  • Ice cubes

Quick Fixes…

20 Infused Water Recipes by Style Me Pretty Living

infused water

Prep time: 2-3 minutes.

Health benefits:

  • Rehydration and detoxification.

Ingredients

Matcha Tea Lemonade by Lauren of The Perfect Pear

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Prep time: 5 minutes.

Health benefits:

  • Lemons – vitamin C.
  • Matcha – contains antioxidants and L-Theanine (induces relaxation without drowsiness, is a mood enhancer and improves memory), is an energy and immune booster, a detoxifier AND a calorie burner!

Ingredients

  • One lemon
  • Desired amount of sugar
  • Matcha green tea powder
  • Ice and water

Health Shots by Faust’s Potions

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Prep time: 0 minutes. Would complement all of the above beverages.

Health benefits:

  • The Awake Potion contains electrolytes, green tea, guarana, ginseng, B vitamins and vitamin C. It acts as a pick-me-up and an immunity booster and would be the perfect way to greet your guests on arrival.
  • The Asleep Potion contains honey, 5-HTP and electrolytes. It acts as a sleep aid and a detoxifier. It would be the perfect party favour to send your guests home with at the end of the evening.
  • Both can be purchased online from the Faust’s Potions Shop.

The Best Mixology Trend of 2014 – Herb Infused Cocktails

The year is drawing to a close… which means you have three sleeps to continue relishing the joys of excess before that ghastly New Year conscience kicks in and it’s all, ‘I’ll have a mung bean and alfalfa sprout smoothie please’. What better time to reflect upon your favourite mixology trend of the year gone by?

For us at Bane + Antidote 2014 was all about herb infused cocktails, as they represent the epitome of intelligent imbibing. Not only do these delightful concoctions provide a long overdue alternative to the banality of ‘variations-on-sweet’, many contain a hearty dose of medicinal properties, and represent a world of creative hosting opportunities to boot.

While every great dinner party begins with a cocktail, only an exquisite dinner party begins with a cocktail designed with the health needs of the guests in mind, or interjects with half-time cocktails that reflect and enliven the dishes being served. Below are our favourite herb infused cocktail recipes, with information on the properties and flavours of each. Enjoy! You have three days. GO!

Chamomile


Properties: Chamomile is used as a sleep aid, to calm the nerves, speed digestion, and to treat anxiety, fevers, colds, and stomach ailments. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.

Taste: Flowery, mild.

Chamomile Hot Toddy by Honestly Yum

chamomile.hot_.toddy_.recipe.10.1

Recipe:

  • 1 1/2 oz bourbon
1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz chamomile honey syrup
  • 4 oz hot water
  • 
lemon wedge and chamomile flowers for garnish

Chamomile Honey Syrup:

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/8 cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon dried chamomile

Ginger


Properties: Anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal. Ginger is used to ease nausea, aid digestion, combat colds and flu, improve circulation and provide energy. A great all-round health booster.

Taste: Spicy, peppery, earthy.

The Jim Dandy by Mike Lewicki of The Boys Club

jim dandy

Recipe:

  • 2 oz (60 ml) spiced rum
  • 3 oz (90 ml) of ginger beer
  • 1 oz (30 ml) of pear nectar
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp (5 ml) fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 oz (15 ml) chai tea, cooled
  • 
2 dashes of bitters
  • infused ice cubes
  • pear slices, to garnish
  • lime quarter, to garnish

Lavender

Properties: Calming, uplifting, analgesic and antiseptic. Helps ward against coughs, colds and flu.

Taste: Floral, spicy.

Vodka Lavender Lemonade by The Effortless Chic

Vodka-Lavender-Lemonade-The-Effortless-Chic-11

Recipe:

  • 6 white sugar cubes
  • 2 ounces cold water
  • 
4 ounces fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 ounces vodka
  • ice
  • 
four stems of lavender

Lemongrass

Properties: Lemongrass is widely used to relieve headaches (making it a perfect hair-of-the-dog ingredient). It is also believed to speed detoxification and aid digestion.

Taste: Fragrant, pungent, sharp.

Grapefruit Lemongrass Cocktail by Lauren Kathryn of Swooned

lemongrass

Recipe:

  • 1 handful of fresh Thai basil
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass
  • 1/5 ounce of rum
  • 1/2 grapefruit, juiced
  • 3 ounces of water
  • 
Dash of bitters
  • 3 tablespoons of brown sugar

Mint

Properties: mint is used to help digestion, speed weight loss, improve memory, and to combat fatigue, colds, flu and headaches.

Taste: Fresh, peppery, tangy.

The Ivy Gimlet by Cupcakes and Cashmere

ivy gimlet

Recipe:

  • 3 oz. of your favourite vodka, chilled
  • Juice of 1 fresh lime
  • 1 tsp. superfine sugar
  • 
8 fresh mint leaves, muddled

Thyme

Properties: Antibacterial, a strong antiseptic and a powerful antioxidant. Thyme is an expectorant and is believed to help fight cancer.

Taste: Tangy, warm, lemony.

Blackberry Thyme Sparkler by The Effortless Chic

Blackberry_Thyme_Sparkler_1-660x990

Recipe:

  • 1 c. blackberries + 8 more for garnish
  • 1 c. Water
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 bottle of champagne
  • 4 ounces or 1/2 c. gin
  • 4 long sprigs of thyme
  • 1 c. ice
  • gold baking sugar for the rim

December’s Punch of the Month

The Blackberry Thyme Sparkler by Jen Pinkston of The Effortless Chic.

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November was about heartwarming hot toddies and heavyweight #cocktails that reduced the winter chills to oblivion. Perhaps that is why this post is so late. December, however, requires a tad more finesse. Craftwork and care is the name of the game this month. A herb-and-seasonal-berry-infused Champagne in gold sugar rimmed flutes it is then.

Catch up on the last Punch of the Month here.

Claire Hamilton BSc MBAcC LicAc on Faust’s Potions Natural Hangover Cures

Claire Hamilton is an acupuncturist and yogi, the founder of Wild*Wellbeing, and a comforting presence for many disco-weary souls at many of the UK’s leading festivals. She tells us why she recommends Faust’s Potions as a natural solution to the symptoms of a fast-paced lifestyle.

Claire at SGP

Why I trust that Faust’s Potions work:

Having been a lover of potions, lotions and all things that nature can cure since I was a teenager, when I was introduced to Faust’s Potions by Nina they just made sense to me. 

I have studied nearly the A-Z of healing… from Ayurvedic massage with an Indian guru and Aromatherapy with Neal’s Yard Remedies, to supplements with Solgar Vitamins; from meditation, shiatsu and Yoga in the Himalayas to 7 years of formal training in a Psychology & Physiology… and most recently a degree in Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture! I finally feel as if I know a thing or two about about healing! After nearly 20 years of learning, researching & experience in my clinic, I can differentiate between what will help a person and what will not very quickly.

The ingredients in Faust’s Potions herbal hangover, jet lag and fatigue remedies are no doubt carefully selected and perfectly combined, but I am primarily drawn to them because the Potions combine medicinal wisdom from the East and West (something I am particularly passionate about). In fact I have recommended similar combinations of vitamins and supplements to my patients countless times, but hadn’t come across a product that combined them in one magical formula – until Faust Potions came along! The ingredients are potent and work; the Awake and Asleep Potions do exactly what they say on the tin. And as they come in such handy packaging, I can now stop rattling around with a purse full of morning and evening vitamins.

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Why I recommend Faust’s Potions:

A lot of my patients work hard and play hard, and hence suffer from the inevitable exhaustion, anxiety and insomnia that affects such types. People who live a fast-paced lifestyle tend to use coffee to get going in the morning and keep going beyond, alcohol to calm down at the end of the day and in a lot of cases prescription drugs to help with sleep and feeling sane. This lifestyle is not sustainable over a long period of time without negatively affecting health. Many people are now seeking a more natural, balanced and healthy way to keep up with their lifestyles.

Because of my work in London as a healthcare practitioner and as founder of Wild*Wellbeing at the renowned Secret Garden Party and Wilderness festivals, I have witnessed the need for this kind of remedy first-hand. I have recommended Faust’s Potions to my patients time and time again. Naturally they are an essential part of my personal survival kit every summer!

After a heavy night, people are increasingly drawn toward refuelling their bodies with healthy, natural nutrients which are fast acting and have more long-term health benefits than the traditional oily-salty-food-and-hair-of-the-dog combo. As far as hangover cures go, the Awake Potion has it all. Where the night before is concerned, seasoned party animals and festival revellers would be wise to ditch their Valium for an Asleep Potion, eye mask and some ear plugs… they’s be away with the fairies before they knew it! As 5HTP is one of the key ingredients in the Asleep Potion, they’d find that they woke up in a better mood than when they went to sleep, which at a festival, surely has to be a first?!

Claire Hamilton

BSc MBAcC LicAc

Acupuncturist, Yogi & founder of Wild*Wellbeing

www.claire-hamilton.com

Twitter @WellbeingLondon

wild well being logo-FINAL

Faust’s Potions natural solutions are available to purchase here.

How to Choose the Best Wedding Favours

Wedding favours have the potential to surprise and delight your guests. Get this important part of your wedding reception right and your guests will leave feeling loved up and tickled pink. Get it wrong and you’ll adding to the ever growing trash pile of worthless tack in the sky.

glowsticks Image courtesy of Bespoke Bride.

While there may be many definitive lists of wedding favour ideas around, such as the most creative wedding favour ideas or the best eco wedding favour ideas, when deciding what to put on the tables at your wedding the best starting point is to put yourself in the shoes of your guests. When you do, a few obvious rules emerge:

1. All wedding favours should reflect the couple getting married. What is important to you? Whether it is health, being environmentally friendly or breaking all the rules in the book, don’t abdicate your personality when it comes to choosing your favours. Guests want to feel as if they are in a world of your creation.

2. Wedding favours should be a treat for your guests. While many couples opt for personalised wedding favours commemorating the date of their marriage etc, by the time your guests reach dinner they will have spent an entire day thinking about you. Why not make this bit about them? Something delicious, a fun activity, a conversation starter – whatever you go with, think about your friends and family and what they would like to receive.

3. Ultimately, favours should be consumable, wearable or small enough to fit into a jacket pocket or a full purse.

4. Consumable favours should complement the meal being served. Will your guests have room left for an edible treat? Perhaps a liquid favour would have more takers. Example: Faust’s Potions ‘Drink Me’ herbal hangover cure vials.

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5. Wearable favours are a sure fire way to ensure nothing gets left behind, and a great way to help your guests look fabulous. Examples: bindis, glow-sticks, or little pots of glitter.

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6. While little pots of honey are lovely in principle, they are a clunky thing to have in your back pocket. Their lifespan is also limited. If you choose to give your guests a small memento, something they could use time and time again would be of more worth. Example: handmade handkerchiefs.

handkerchief

As nobody knows weddings like an experienced wedding provider we have asked Katherine Hudson, of the renowned Arabian Tent Company, for her views on choosing the best wedding favours.

Katherine

Hi Katherine! In your experience, what sort of items have you found to make the best wedding favours? 

The days of sugared almonds are long gone, and so are the days of potted jam from great aunty Mable. The best wedding favours are the ones that guests can use straight away when they sit down to dinner – ideally interactive ones to get the conversation flowing with the people they’re sitting with. Those favours that can be consumed, worn or used at that particular moment are always the best.

Are there certain types of wedding favours that tend to get left behind or ignored?

A lot of wedding favours get left behind if they’re not instantly engaging to a guest when they come across them.

Are there certain types of wedding favours that encourage guests to interact with one another?

I’m a fan of fancy dress items – silly sunglasses, moustaches, head-gear etc. They are great for creating interaction amongst the guests.

What is the cleverest wedding favour you have ever come across?

Whilst not hugely clever, probably the best (and most used) favour that I saw at a wedding was a little bottle of Tuaca (the bride and groom drank a lot of it when they first met!) – all the little bottles were empty at the end of the night as they got used for a special toast to the bride and groom.

Tuaca Bottles Tuaca Bottles by Infinity Photographic.

You can read more about Katherine’s work, as see examples of her unique wedding marquees, furniture and props on the Arabian Tent Company website.

If you’re still at a loss, consider some of the ‘definitive’ wedding favour ideas lists below but consider the above and PROCEED WITH CAUTION!

Buzzfeed Life’s 42 Wedding Favors Your Guests Will Actually Want

Popsugar’s 45 Wedding Favors Your Guests Will Actually Use

Rock My Wedding’s Favour Me

No Impact Bride’s 10 Green Wedding Favor Ideas

Real Simple’s 10 Creative Wedding Favor Ideas

Bespoke Bride’s 50 Fab Favours for Your Wedding Day

Recipes for a Grown Up Halloween Dinner Party

Halloween has always been my favourite celebration of the year, but even I can’t stand the sickly sweet rendition of All Hallows Night that our neighbours across the pond have infected us with. It almost seems as though if you do not have a child and you’re not ruled by high fructose corn syrup then Halloween is not for you. I beg to differ. All Soul’s Night is a time to gather together, look death in the eye and raise a glass to all things dark and decrepit with brazen joviality. Below are my favourite recipes for an unnervingly stylish Halloween dinner party.

Click through for full recipes and instructions.

The Centrepiece: A Pineapple Jack-O-Lantern

By Victoria Hudgins of A Subtle Revelry

pf pineapple

In celebration of the left-field.

The Cocktail: The Black Heart

By Kelli Hall of Julep

FP black heart

1/2 ounce Black Vodka (like Blavod)

1/2 ounce Fig Vodka (like Figenza)

1 1/2 ounces Creme de Cassis

Dash of Dry Vermouth

And keep them coming.

The Canapés: Avocado and Wasabi Devilled Eggs

By Laura of Family Spice

FP Devilled eggs

4 eggs

1 cup blueberries, frozen

1/2 avocado, seeded and peeled

1 tsp wasabi, paste

1 tsp lemon juice

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp sesame seeds, black

Le Plat Principal: Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi with Pancetta and Seared Radicchio

By Alanna Taylor-Tobin of The Bojon Gourmet

fp gnocchi

(This recipe is gluten free)

For the gnocchi:

1 cup (8 ounces / 225 grams) roasted winter squash puree

1 cup (8 ounces / 225 grams) whole-milk ricotta

3 large eggs

1/4 cup (1.25 ounces / 35 grams) grated Parmesan

1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea or kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup (3 ounces / 85 grams) potato flour (not starch)

1/2 cup (2 ounces / 55 grams) millet flour, plus more for rolling

1/2 cup (2.75 ounces / 80 grams) sweet rice flour, more as needed

To finish the gnocchi (makes 2 servings):

1/3 of the pumpkin ricotta gnocchi

olive oil, as needed

3 ounces (85 grams) pancetta, diced

1/3 small head red radicchio, leaves torn into 1-2″ pieces

1- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus a few pretty leaves for garnish

a few large sage leaves, sliced

1 tablespoon lemon juice

black pepper

parmesan

The Sidecar: Bloody Sesame Beetroot Salad with Chia Dressing

fp beets

You’re going to have to off-road with this one as the recipe link is dead. It just looked so evocatively innards-like and yet so delectably healthy that I had to include it.

The Pudding: Death by Chocolate Pear, Spiced Red Wine and Chocolate Tart

By JJ of 84th & 3rd

fp tart

For the Pears:

1 Tbsp whiskey or brandy

100 g 85% dark chocolate, broken into small pieces

1/2 tsp sea salt

150 g butter

100 ml red wine

1 1/4 c raw sugar

For the Cake:

1 cinnamon stick or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 1/2 c red wine

1 1/2 c water

4 firm pears

For the pears:

2 large eggs

1/2 c buttermilk

1/2 c [35 g] cocoa powder

1 c unbleached white flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

Follow my Pinterest board HALLOWEEN PARTY for many more grown up yet ghoulish party planning ideas.