We've got news for you.

Register on SowetanLIVE at no cost to receive newsletters, read exclusive articles & more.
Register now

Self-care tips and feel-better recipes for Women’s Day

Stereotypical but also true – chocolate makes women happy

Londiwe Dlomo Journalist
Take time out to recharge your batteries with a relaxing beauty spa and message.
Take time out to recharge your batteries with a relaxing beauty spa and message.
Image: 123RF

Happy Women’s Day for tomorrow! Hopefully, you’ll kick back and relax or do what you feel feeds you on this holiday. The women in our lives are always taking care of us, so they might have to be very deliberate about taking care of themselves. It is a fact that you simply cannot ignore yourself while putting your all into others. This imbalance leads to physical and mental disorders in one’s life. So, take care of yourself, so you can feel better and contribute to a healthy, happy community.

One of the most stereotypical but very true rules of life is that chocolate makes some women happy; this is backed by science. Cocoa is responsible for releasing feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin. In fact, scientists state in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry that dark chocolate in particular 70% to 85% chocolate improves mood when consumed daily. So, that’s why we have a decadent chocolate dessert recipe for you to try.

Secondly, Miso Mchunu, the brand manager for the SA body care brand Bodidoc, shares some self-care tips that she thinks we all should start incorporating into our lives and hopefully continue well after Women’s Month ends:

  • Take some time out for yourself to recharge your batteries and forget about the world outside for a bit.
  • A few hours at a spa can do wonders for your mental and physical being, but if you just can’t find the time, why not create this environment at home? All you need is some relaxing music, an indulgent body wash or a bubble bath.
  • Exercise is a great way to boost your endorphins and increase serotonin, the happy hormone. So, whether it is going for a run or walk outside, or if the cold is getting to you, go to the gym, and join a class. Trying new things and challenging your body is a great form of exercise for body and mind.
  • Schedule to meet a friend for a cup of coffee or if you have some time, a delicious lunch or dinner. Sharing your stresses and laughing are great ways to help you relax and recharge.
  • Music is an easy addition to your life which has ample benefits, from reducing stress and depression, elevating your mood, improving your memory, to making you happier. So, set up those playlists for different moods and times of the day and get listening.
Chocolate Cremeux brownie.
Chocolate Cremeux brownie.
Image: Supplied

Chocolate Crémeux Brownies: Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront executive sous chef, Bianca Beukes

Serves 10 – 12 People

For the chocolate brownies :

2 eggs

175g caster sugar

240g 64% dark chocolate

150g unsalted butter, melted

seeds from 1 vanilla pod

20g cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

60g plain flour

100g hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and finely chopped [I used macadamias]

100g 71% dark bitter chocolate finely chopped

Whisk the eggs and sugar together until thick and pale. Put the 64% dark chocolate in a large bowl and melt over a pan of simmering water or in a microwave. Stir in the melted butter and vanilla, and then fold in the egg mixture. Sift together the cocoa powder, baking powder, flour, and fold them into the eggs and butter mix. Add the nuts and chopped chocolate then transfer the mixture to a greased and lined 12 x 36 x 4cm baking tray and place in an oven preheated to 180°C. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until just cooked but still a little soft in the middle. Remove from the oven and leave to cool while you make the chocolate cream.

For the chocolate cream :

400ml double cream

400ml milk

140g egg yolks (about 4)

100g caster sugar

500g 71% dark chocolate, chopped

Bring the cream and milk to the boil in a heavy-based saucepan, and then remove from the heat. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together, and then pour on the cream, whisking to combine. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook gently for 2 minutes stirring continuously. Put the chopped chocolate in a bowl and pour on the cream mixture, whisking until the chocolate has dissolved. Pass through a fine sieve. Press the edge of the brownie against the sides of the tin to make sure there are not any gaps, then immediately pour on the warm chocolate cream, leaving a 2mm gap at the top of the tin for the glaze. Place the tin in an oven preheated to 150°C and cook for 20 – 25 minutes, keeping your eye on it. The cream should be just set and wobble very slightly in the middle. Remove from the oven, allow cooling for 3 – 4 minutes and then stretch a piece of cling film over the tin; this will allow the cream to finish cooking in its residual heat. When it is completely cold, place in the fridge for 1 hour.

For the chocolate glaze :

150ml water

175g caster sugar

55g cocoa powder

125ml double cream

2 1/3 gelatin leaves

40g 64% dark chocolate, chopped

Put the water and caster sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Whisk in the cocoa powder and cream, bring back to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes.

Soak the gelatin in cold water for about 5 minutes, until soft and pliable, then squeeze out all the water. Remove the pan from the heat and add the gelatin, stirring until dissolved. Leave to cool for 3 – 4 minutes, then pour on the chopped chocolate, whisking until it has melted. Pass through a fine sieve and leave to cool.

Remove the brownie from the fridge and spread a layer of the cooled glaze on top, smoothing the surface so it is level with the top of the tin. Return to the fridge to set.

Serve by carefully removing the brownie from the tin and cutting it into portions using a warm, wet knife.

Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.