After working for some years as a chef, I began my cookery career on Vogue at the beginning of the 1990s, and then spent some years as a cookery and food writer on The Independent, for whom I still write, and also joined YOU Magazine where I have been the principal cookery writer for the last fifteen years. Other publications to whom I contribute on a regular basis include Waitrose Kitchen, Sainsbury's Magazine, and the Saturday Telegraph Magazine amongst others.

Country Living feature - excerpt

Country Living Magazine

Having said many times in the last few years that chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa is no good for baking, I am about to do a volte-face. It makes fantastic chocolate cakes…..of a certain kind. Ever since the 1980s our taste in chocolate cakes has been for ever richer, denser, fudgier creations that are so indulgent I wonder whether they should be called cakes at all. And in many ways they're not. We are now more likely to dish one of these creations up for pud than we are to offer it with a cup of tea.

At their heart lies a great deal of very dark chocolate. Their full-on flavour is their appeal, their lightness of no concern, a rim perhaps that is suggestive of a cake crumb, but otherwise it matters not a jot whether they rise or not, as long as they are spoonable. Chocolate with 70 % cocoa solids is the basis for their deep, dark and gooey character.

They're always a winner, but serve them small. A compote on the side is almost more welcome than cream, though why not have both? Some fragrant raspberries or a simple orange salad are the perfect finishing touch.

© Annie Bell 2010. All rights reserved.