The Island with Bear Grylls - Chilli chocolate brownies with grasshoppers

We mark the end of the adventurer's Channel 4 survival series with a special insect-themed treat...

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The Island with Bear Grylls - Chilli chocolate brownies with grasshoppers
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by the RadioTimes.com Soux Chef

RadioTimes.com's TV Dinners series is designed to test your culinary mettle, whilst taking inspiration from some of your favourite television shows. From filling your empty belly with X Factor's Chico-ry salad to a trip back in time to gorge yourself whilst sampling the delights of Downton Abbeyeat along with Homeland, or perhaps a slice of the supermodel lifestyle to enjoy with BINTM - each time the culinary magicians at Sous Chef will devise a new and exciting recipe for you to try...

The Island with Bear Grylls is perhaps the most real of desert island reality TV shows. Bear Grylls leaves 13 British men to fend for themselves on a remote, uninhabited Pacific island for a month with only the clothes on their backs and a few basic tools. Thousands of miles away from convenience foods and sanitszed, pre-packaged meat the men must scavenge and hunt to survive. 

So far their diet has consisted mainly of coconut milk and snails with the occasional fish. And then there’s the rare luxury of caiman crocodile, only appearing on the menu when the alpha males of the group have plucked up the courage to wrestle one in the muddy mangroves.

The men have learnt by now that life on the island is dashed with disappointment. It may look to be a paradise on earth, but the sunny beach is swarming with sand flies and the island’s tropical temperatures slowly overcome all but the toughest of plants and animals. 

At one point the group were overjoyed to find a source of carbohydrate in the form of taro, only to discover that most of the crop was rotting and infested with ants. The ants may have put the men off their food but we’re fairly sure they wouldn’t turn their noses up at a few crunchy grasshoppers, especially not if they were served up with a chilli chocolate brownie!

Serving creepy crawlies with chocolate brownies may be unorthodox but these crispy chilli-roasted grasshoppers add a surprisingly enjoyable crunch. Grasshoppers are caught in the summer months in Mexico and toasted in a hot frying pan with salt, lemon and chilli - giving a classic bitter-sweet-salt flavour, with a good crisp crunch. A pinch of fiery habanero chilli powder brings the flavours together and gives these brownies even more of a kick!

Chilli Chocolate Brownies With Grasshoppers

Serves 12
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes

125g 54% dark couverture chocolate
 125g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
140g caster sugar
1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk
25g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
30g cocoa powder
1 generous pinch habanero chilli powder
Pinch of salt
50g edible grasshoppers with chilli
Equipment
Round baking tin 20cm in diameter, or square 20cm x 20cm
Baking parchment
To serve
100g
cassia bark (optional)

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/355F/Gas Mark 4.
2. Line the baking tin with the baking parchment.
3. In a plastic bowl melt the chocolate over a pan of boiling water or in the microwave on a low heat.
4. Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and soft.
5. Whilst the mixer is turning add the egg and egg yolk and a teaspoon of the flour.
6. Beat on a medium speed for around 5 minutes until the mixture is silky and shiny.
7. Stir in the melted chocolate.
8. Sieve together the rest of the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, habanero chilli powder and salt.
9. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture.
10. Pour into the mould and bake for 20-25 minutes. To check if the brownie is cooked, stick a skewer through the middle - it should be sticky but not coated in raw mixture.
11. Transfer to a cooling tray.
12. Once cool, peel away the baking parchment, scatter with grasshoppers and serve the brownies on a bed of cassia bark.

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