Rose's Guide to Chocolate and Coffee

They are the staff of life. As a teenage friend once told me, they contain three of the four basic food groups: sugar, fat and caffeine. If you eat chips as well you get salt too and can consider yourself seriously well-nourished. And neither require real cooking skills!

The place I go to dream of chocolate, when I can't get the real thing. They have mail order - I should explore one day and see if they send to Australia? Now I need some chocolate. Urgently.

Melbourne Chocolate Cake (from a nice lady called Betty)

International warning: all measurements are Australian and pre-metric! I feel ethnocentric and middle-aged today.

2 oz melted butter
cup caster sugar
1 egg
2 tbs dark cocoa
vanilla essence
cup milk
1 cups self-raising flour
cup boiling water

Pour the melted butter over the sugar. Beat. Add the egg. Beat some more. Add the vanilla. Sift the flour and cocoa and add alternatively with the milk. Fold in the boiling water (and my friend Gillian tells me to let you know that boiling water flows - it doesn't fold - but she never follows recipes anyway, so what would she know?).

Pour the mixture into a greased and floured tin without delay. Also quickly.

Bake in a slow oven for 40 minutes.

This tastes best with all the leftover chocolates from Easter added just before you pour the mixture into the tin. Betty says it also makes a good steamed pudding.

Melbourne and the life essentials.

I am still trying to find the best place for chocolate in Melbourne. I have found Haigh's chocolate in a couple of places, but have yet to locate my dream chocolate shop. I foresee much testing to establish this one!

The best place for coffee in Melbourne sells everywhere these days. All over Australia!

I have a special coffee blended for me with enough kick to get me through a late-night session, but lots of mellow flavour. It is really fragrant, because I like to know that coffee is in the room with me when I drink it. It is a friendly feeling, to share a writing session with a pot of coffee.

The shop is now http://www.coffeeco.com.au - This is Alan Frew's website. I was a regular when he sold coffee in Malvern - since he has sold his coffee through the web, I have gone into online purchasing. It is his fault I spend so much money on books through the internet! I used to tell him so when he delivered my coffee, but now he uses a courier - I miss chatting.