• 400g tin coconut milk
  • 18 stoned dates
  • 40g cocoa

I am sitting here typing away on the sofa with bright red, just painted, glossy Chanel red finger nails. And a can of Carlsberg topped up with lime (lager and slime as we used to call it as teens) balancing precariously on top of a cook book by Aggie ‘How clean is your house?’ MacKenzie. From my pew I can see at least 3 spiders webs that have been woven in just 24 hours. I live with wildlife – the backdoor is mostly open so my spider pals like to be friends. The ridiculousness of this scene is not lost on me. My toenails are similarly adorned with crimson paint as I hear creatures like it.

The last time I painted both my finger and toenails was the night before I met my husband. So you could say things have been busy in the last 5 years. They have, they really have. I bounce from one drama/deadline/snotty child to the next. Anyway, this isn’t even what I wanted to write about. I wanted to say that I am enjoying the summer holidays. As in the ones that release my children from playschool and let me have them back from dawn till dusk every day of the week. But this is so unfashionable I barely dare type it. The red nails are spurring me on though.

What is fashionable in Mummy World (remember Children’s World – that dreadful shop where you could kit out your kids under one roof, from haircut to trainers? Imagine how wonderful Mum’s World would be – red wine, cats to stoke, bikini wax, eyebrow shaping, bras, gossip and therapy for shouting all under one roof. Heaven.) is to moan about the kids, wish them back at school/playschool and generally hate every moment of the summer hols.

Now before anyone gets upset and calls me smug, this is not about me having perfect kids who don’t try and poke each other with sticks or hit each other on the head with wooden trains. This isn’t even about me having a myriad of ideas to keep small people occupied, because by 4.30pm we’re all looking at each other in wonderment of how on earth we fill the last few hours of the day. It’s not about any of that. It’s just to say that I LOVE not having to abide by deadlines. So there’s no playschool opening time. There’s no pick up time. There’s no lunchboxes to fill. There’s no tennis lessons to arrive at and stand miserably watching a game I don’t understand. There’s no nothing  – other than trips to places we like (the zoo, the local steam railway, the park, the local shops for spurious errands to buy unnecessary items) so basically we’re all pretty unstressed. Still there’s been time for some low level misery about the local zoo replacing the giraffes with camels. But then you can’t have it all. Summer holidays, they rock.

Now, this recipe. Hmmm. I have to be honest with you and say I didn’t love it. To be clear I made it for a vegan friend who was visiting as a substitute chocolate mousse. But just like when I serve my husband veggie meals, I went sniffing out the dairy produce. And it just wasn’t there. So I have remamed it chocolate pud. It’s very much a pudding and it’s very very rich. This amount made 4 servings but I could barely eat a third of mine and I have a ferocious appetite. I think it would make mighty fine truffles rolled in chopped nuts. Or very good vegan icing for a cake. Just serve the cake cold as the chocolate pud stuff starts to melt at room temperature. It’s funny old stuff.

One year ago: Clementine cake and Macadamia and white chocolate shortbread

Two years ago: Teacher’s pet chocolate and hazelnut oaty biscuits and Spelt loaf and Vanilla cupcakes

Three years ago: Restorative chicken and leek risotto

Rich vegan mousse/chocolate pudding (recipe from Vegan Magic)

Serves 4 – 8 depending on how much of the rich stuff you can take


  • 400g tin coconut milk with high cream content (0ver 55% – look on the label)
  • 18 stoned dates
  • 40g cocoa

You need to start this the day before you need it. Put the tin of coconut milk in the fridge overnight. Then about 2 hours before you want your pudding pour boiling water over the dates (in a small bowl) and leave to soften for 30 minutes. In the meantime open the coconut milk and remove the hard cream into a measuring jug – you should have about 200g. The milk leftover can be added to curries, frozen for later or used in custard for a totally tropical taste.

Strain the dates then add them to the coconut cream. Use a hand blender to blitz the lot together until you can only just see flecks of the date skin. Then push this mixture through a fine sieve and discard any date skin leftover. Add the cocoa to the leftover datey coconut cream, mix well. Then blend for 2 minutes with the stick blender. Spoon into dishes and chill for at least an hour before serving. I think this might make nice ice-cream but haven’t tried it. If you do please let me know.

FYI: My vegan pal loved it. She took the rest of the portion she couldn’t eat home.


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