Archive for January, 2011

Hell Week

“Hell Week consists of 5 1/2 days of cold, wet, brutally difficult operational training on fewer than four hours of sleep. Hell Week tests physical endurance, mental toughness, pain and cold tolerance, teamwork, attitude, and your ability to perform work under high physical and mental stress, and sleep deprivation.” Source NavySeals.Com

I had my Hell Week, well I say week it was really 11 days with one day off where I racked up over 120 hours in the kitchen in total. Think of that? Over 120 hours, I was only a few hours short and had one arm too many of having Danny Boyle make a fucking movie about me! I have suffered more exhaustion, tiredness, aches and pains than I possibly thought I could cope with. I’ve had my ass kicked, my ego bruised, lost my temper, worked through breaks and still got told I wasn’t working fast enough.

I wanted to write this piece on Monday but I was so tired that I could barely function, I slept most of the day and when I finally dragged my ass out of bed I kept falling asleep on the couch. I got to the point where I thought maybe Tony Bourdain was right, maybe I am too old for this, maybe it’s a dream but no more than that. I can say over the last few days I have developed doubts as to whether I can really do this.

My run of 11 days ran from a Thursday to the following Sunday week with only the middle Tuesday off. Starting a week on a Thursday is tough, you get no chance to ease into the week or get well ahead on your prep. It’s pretty much turn up and go, lunch times are getting busier and will continue to do so as The Ship’s reputation is building and more and more people are seeking us out. The reputation is deserved but the continually increasing numbers mean continually increasing work loads.

Because of how my shifts have been arranged I have, with only one exception worked through my breaks (even then I only actually took 45 minutes of my scheduled 2 hours). I have been on double shifts working 10 till 2 and then back from 4 to 10. Normally you do 10 to 4 and 4 till 10. The thing is the couple of hours post lunch service is the only time you really have to try and get ahead on your prep so when you don’t have that chance its tough to keep on top of it. When you come back on at 4 you are the only person in the kitchen so you have to handle any orders that come in from the classics menu, prepare the staff food and get your section restocked for evening service. I know that the more experienced chefs can get more done in that time but I’m not there yet.

I keep getting told to speed up, I have to speed up and that’s fine I know that but fucking hell it’s not like I’m sat there reading the paper, I don’t enjoy not taking a break, I work through to stop myself falling behind so that I can clear the decks in preparation for getting my ass kicked in service. I have said that I don’t expect or want special treatment and I don’t, but at the same time I would like to see anyone who 6 weeks into a cooking career could give more or do more in a kitchen than I can.

Don’t get me wrong I still love working as a chef but it’s frustrating watching guys who are relatively close to me in age but are simply light years ahead of me as chefs. I want to be able to do what they do and will bust my ass to get there.

There have been good times in those 11 days. Oliver Thring and James Ramsden dropped by the kitchen to say hi and I dazzled them with bread making skills as did Masterchef winner Dhruv Baker who dropped by last Saturday. I joked with Dhruv that we have both decided to take the same path but I chose to side step the fame and glory and go straight for the mental work hours and shit pay as a more authentic experience! You get disconnected when you spend so much time in a kitchen, the world outside becomes a bus journey to and from work and a few hastily snatched cigarette breaks so having the guys drop by and say hi gave me a big boost. I think I really impressed Dhruv with my ability to breadcrumb scotch eggs!

On my one day off I was very fortunate to meet up with Grant Hawthorne, a fantastic chef and a great guy who sat there happily while I bitched and moaned and then calmly explained life in a kitchen to me. Talking food with a chef of his calibre and experience was brilliant, it’s something I want to go again very soon but this time hopefully he will be able to have beers as well. I felt a little guilty downing pints of nice cold Orchard cider while Grant had to make do with coffee as he was driving.

I had an interesting experience on the first Saturday, having worked through my break again the head chef said I could finish at 8pm, I ended up staying till 9 o’Clock in order to get some canapes made for a private party that had booked the front bar as the guys were in the middle of a very busy service at the pass. Oisin the manager had some friends over from Ireland and together with some other members of the diaspora had reserved the function room for dinner. I stopped by and caught up with Osh as well as Gearoid and Merro, two of the finest Irish rogues to grace the pubs of London, as they were having their starters. Needless to say I pulled up a chair and poured a glass of wine and joined in the chat and banter but in reality I was scrutinising every plate to see what if anything I had cooked or prepped that was on their plate and how they looked while eating it. It was a little surreal but even seeing someone running their finger round the inside of a ramekin to get at the last of a chutney that I made is immensely satisfying. I made things other than just chutney in case you were wondering.

As I neared the end of my Hell Week my mood became increasingly fractious, I was flat broke as pay-day approached, I was more and more exhausted, my aches never seemed to ease let alone stop and all I seemed to hear was “you have to speed up”. Walking out amd hearing that after a day where you turn up early, work through your break and finish late so that you have literally pushed yourself past the pain barrier in a 13+ hour shift is fucking soul-destroying, there is no other word for it. Sitting at the most windswept fucking bus stop in London, counting the change in your pocket to see if you can afford a can of coke and a packet of crisps you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t question what you are doing. I have always said that the one thing I wouldn’t do for this was put myself in debt, I would find a way to survive on the shit money or I would walk away but I have started using the first of the 3 credit cards I recently got, to make matters worse I used it only to fund a night out on the piss to blow off some steam. I want to make something very clear, I have bitched and moaned mostly about the money, the thing is by industry standards Young’s pay above the odds, which is mind-blowing.

While talking to Grant I said that in my opinion London is killing the art of cheffing, too many chains want cooks and not chefs and the whole industry is being forced to accept lower and lower wages. It’s a fucking disgrace, yes there is in some kitchens no need for chefs, people who can prepare food to a corporate step by step recipe will suffice but when you want a meal to be more than a means of getting food into you to carry you through the day then you need a chef. People want too much for fuck all these days, they demand a level of excellence in their food but rarely want to pay for it. Restaurants are losing money, big name chefs are constantly walking the tight rope of financial oblivion, some have already fallen off. Thinking of just how long I will have to work until I can make a relatively decent wage is truly concerning.

Worse still is that I know now I can survive the kitchen side of, I can take the punishment, I can handle the hours, the heat, the pressure even the occasional ass kicking, hey I fucking survived my Hell Week so if what forces me out of the kitchen is money it will be a very bitter pill to swallow.

Twitter.com/CorkGourmetGuy

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The Food Writer Song

I got bored on the bus home from work so I wrote this

Sung to the tune of The Wild Rover

The Food Writer

I’ve been a food writer for many a year

And I spent all my time reviewing whiskey and beer

I’ve had tours of breweries been shown round grain stores

And I never will be a Food Writer no more

Chorus

And it’s no, nay, never

WILL I GO TO GREGGS

No, nay never no more

Will I be a food writer

No never, no more

I went to a Draught House I used to frequent

And I told the land lady my money was spent

I ask her for credit I said I’d re-Tweet

But she told the bouncers to fuck me out in the street

Chorus

I pulled out my laptop and sat down to write

And the maitre’ds eyes opened wide with fright

“Sir we’ve whiskey and beer and the foods only fab

And don’t mind the bill sure we’ll pick up the tab”

Chorus

I’ll return to my parents and confess what I’ve done

How I’ve eaten all round me and drank wine for fun

I know they’ll forgive me of that there’s no doubt

But Christ only knows how I’ll cure this gout

Chorus

Recipe: Fantastic Fish Cakes

I love fishcakes, real fishcakes not these hockey pucks of stodgy potato containing roughly half a goldfish fillet worth of fish hidden away inside. Proper fishcakes should have a 2 to 1 fish to potato ratio. The mix should be a little wet and a  little difficult to work with, this will cause it to souffle in the fryer so its wonderfully light in texture.

Here is what you are going to need to make my fishcakes

300g of Haddock or Hake or any meaty white fish

100g of Salmon

200g of freshly cooked mashed potato

50g of fine beans pretty finely chopped

30g of Fennel very finely chopped

2 shallots finely chopped

1 clove of garlic minced

2 limes zested and juiced

1 handful of parsley finely chopped

1/2 glass of white wine to poach the fish

Thai 7 spice seasoning

For the coating

Flour

2 eggs

Breadcrumbs

Take your fish, very roughly cut it into chunks and place it in an oven dish

Pour over some oil, season with salt and pepper, a good pinch of the Thai 7 spice, add the wine and half the lime juice

Place in a pre heated over at 190 degrees for no more than 5 mins.

When you take it out of the over transfer it to a cold bowl and place in the fridge to stop the cooking.

Always make you mash fresh when you are making fishcakes.

You know how to make mash so lets skip that, once you have it made add all the ingredients into a bowl (apart from the lime zest) and mix together.

Adjust the seasoning and make into about 4 fishcakes, then place in the fridge for a couple of hours to “set up”.

Add the lime zest and some salt and pepper to the breadcrumbs.

Coat the fishcakes in the flour, then dip in the egg then in the breadcrumbs making sure they get a good coating.

Repeat the egg and breadcrumbs step to get a really crispy coating.

Allow to rest in the fridge again for an hour so they don’t explode when you cook them.

Deep fry in oil heated to about 170degrees for 5 to 7 mins until the coating is a nice deep golden brown

Enjoy

I Told You I’d Be Back

It’s a whole week since I arrived back in London. I left Ireland on the type of bright clear January morning that makes you realise just how beautiful and special a place my country is. I have left Ireland many times, hopped on flights to destinations near and far but there was a finality about this trip. Dad and I barely spoke on the drive to the airport and he had tears in his eyes during our awkward hug outside departures. Awkward because my Dad and I have never had an easy relationship, we love each other fiercely but we are two very stubborn and very short-tempered people, while living at home taking care of Mum through her battle with cancer last year that relationship went from strained to broken on occasion. That hug sort of ended a difficult year for us on the right note.

Walking through Cork airport the same scene was being repeated far too much, as families clung to loved ones for as long as they possibly could before breaking down as they watched sons and daughters disappear through the departure gates not knowing when they would get to hold them close again. This is wrong, a generation who watched their brothers and sisters being forced to emigrate must now lose their children due to the incompetence and curruption of Brian Cowen and Fianna Fail. I was pretty annoyed by the time I had my usual full body rub down passing through security, seriously at this fucking point either buy me dinner first or at least call me afterwards!

Luckily sometimes the world gives you just what you need just when you need it, I needed something to focus my anger on and just then I saw a woman being wheeled through departures directly towards the top of the queue for the Ryanair flight I was waiting to board. Now let me put this in context, I saw that woman when I arrived at Cork airport, she got out of a car parked directly in front of us. She got out of it unaided, she walked about a bit unaided, she got her bags out and organised the rest of her travelling party unaided, she even had time to squeeze in a smoke unaided while someone went off to fetch a wheelchair for her. Once it arrived she promptly sat in it and did her best to look frail. When I saw her being pushed towards me by six, yes count ’em six of her travelling party I thought “You picked the wrong fucking day lady!”

I am always the first person on a Ryanair flight, I arrive early, I pay for priority boarding and I go directly to the boarding gate and cue rather than sit. I have flown with them countless times and I have not been the first person to board on only a handful of occasions. Those were because people with a genuine need to be boarded first were ahead of me, I had no problem with that, in fact I will usually offer to help carry a bag but this was complete bullshit designed to get her and her six companions on to a plane first. I called the girl from Ryanair over and told her point-blank that unless the woman produced a letter from her doctor there was no way she was getting on the plane ahead of me. The girl seemed somewhat taken aback and said “but sir she is in a wheelchair” to which I replied “no she is in a chair that has wheels there is a big fucking difference”. I told her the woman was perfectly fine while she was strolling about outside the airport or for that matter when she stood up to search her pockets for something while in the departure lounge. The woman herself  joined in at this stage and told me that I was being very rude, I told her to fuck off, that I wasn’t the one who was pretending to be crippled. The people immediately behind me realised that either the woman was trying it on or had suffered the fastest onset of ill-health in medical history. When the gate opened I simply walked through, as did the people behind me and the people behind them, in the end the woman sat there in her borrowed wheelchair while about half the people in the cue boarded ahead of her, like I said sometimes, just sometimes the world gives you just what you need.

Wednesday night brought a get together with Oisin from The Ship and a few friends for a welcome back / birthday drink. We started at The Founders Arms where Paul the manager took excellent care of myself Osh and Tim before John and Alice joined us and Paul impressed us all with his in-depth and widespread knowledge of the internet! We then moved on to The American Bar at The Savoy, it was my first visit since it reopened and it was amazing. The whole place looked incredible, the lobby managed to be both incredibly opulent and subtly understated. We popped our head into the Savoy Grill and quite simply I found the room I would like to eat my last ever meal in, wonderfully dark wood panelled walls, art deco design style and touches and starched white table linen that together just looked perfect. I have every intention of returning there very soon to dine, and a quick glance at the menu means I don’t have to sell my liver on eBay to pay for the liver in The Savoy.

The American Bar itself has the look and feel of a saloon bar on an old world liner, lots of quite intimate corners, staff in white jackets greet you at the door and ask you politely to wait for a minute while they ready your table. Once seated you are handed a drinks menu and treated to some rather excellent olives, be very careful though if your eating one when you open the menu as there is  a strong chance you will choke from the shock. The average cocktail is £15, now personally I am not used to paying that kind of money for a drink unless there is an oiled up pneumatic blonde dancing around a pole. Once I took time to study the menu (and make sure I hadn’t missed the strippers pole on the way in) I ordered a Golden Era which was as good a cocktail as I have ever had. Our night moved on to spotting Sir Ian McKellen in a converted public toilet while we cheered enthusiastically for one of the worst gay cabaret acts I’ve ever seen and ending the night in a haze of shots and hastily drank bottles of beer at The Roadhouse in Covent Garden, which is as close to a New York dive bar as I have ever seen outside of NYC.

On Thursday I dropped by The Ship for a chat with Dave the head chef. I asked him for his honest opinion and he said “you look weird and your Mum dresses you funny!”, so I clarified that I wanted his opinion of my chances of making it as a chef and he told me quite plainly that I was going to get he shit kicked out of me on service for the coming weeks. He needs me to be at a certain standard and the only way to get me there in a short amount of time is to throw me head long into service. I am not really going to improve by staying in the back handling prep or even putting dishes together, as good as my cottage pie is or as outstanding as my fish cakes are (it’s the very finely chopped fennel).

So Friday I arrived for the first day of my post honeymoon period as a chef. I have talked about how tough days have been before, I have been battered, bruised and burned after service, I have literally been on the verge of hitting the floor with exhaustion but to steal a line from the song by the much maligned musical genius that is Katie Price “It’s a whole new world”. I am expected not to need supervision, likewise I am expected to get things done at the same pace as the other chefs and most importantly I am expected to be able to keep up in service. I had a lot more to do on Friday than I would normally have but I was able to deal with it, then at 8pm after a full days work I was called into service.

It was the usual hectic Friday night, after work drinks turn into full nights out and that means getting something to eat, at The Ship that is almost always something that comes with fries or hand cut chips, which means work for me. Looking after the garnish section is hard work, you have to cover the biggest area of the kitchen, you generally have something on every check and you can fuck up a whole table of you are late or get something wrong. I won’t lie, I wont pretend I walked it, I didn’t. I fucking struggled, service was manic and Dave demanded I keep up. I had told him before I came back that I fully expected to get the crap kicked out of me and I didn’t want him to hold back, I would only get to where I needed to be if he pushed me.

I burnt my hand pretty badly, I messed up a fish cake order and while I was getting another fish cake ready I left the frying pan with the garnish of fennel and peas on the burner with the whole order for the table being delayed because of me I wasn’t thinking what I was doing, and the garnish was overcooked, I knew that looking at it and in a moment of rage I grabbed the handle with the intention of throwing the whole contents in the bin. Now several things go through your mind when you grab a scalding hot pan, things like “why the fuck didn’t I use a towel”, “oh sweet Jesus that’s hot”, “is someone cooking bacon?” but mostly its just “ffffuuuuuuuuuucccccckkkkkkk”. The only response you get from the other chefs is “whats keeping this order, hurry the fuck up”. If I was struggling with two hands I was really struggling with just one. Somehow I kept going through the rush, I was on autopilot for most of it, only vaguely aware of the screaming pain in my right hand and refusing to look at the clock. I knew if I looked at it once I would be glancing at it every 15 seconds willing the hands to move faster. We finished service around half 10, cleaned down and while the guys had a post work beer I could think only of a bus ride home and crawling into bed.

Saturday was to be another double shift with a two hour break at 4pm but the arrival of our sous chef Robbie’s new baby son meant that we would be without him, if he follows in his fathers footsteps then Robbie’s son should be terrorising commis chefs in no time. I was asked to work through my break and finish up around 8.30pm which meant more work, no rest but home to bed earlier, so I said yes. This means that while the rest of the kitchen team take a break you  are the only person behind the pass. It’s only the classic’s menu but it’s a lot to get used to, you are also trying to get some prep done for the guys when they come back, feed the hordes of waiting staff who hover round the pass looking like the kind of zombies you would expect to see in the music video for Mumfords & Sons cover version of Thriller muttering “staff fooooood, staff foooood” and just to make my life more miserable having to plate the desserts for those having a very late lunch. It was tough but knowing I was finishing early was like an extra adrenaline boost and I managed to get through.

We had some very high profile diners this weekend, legendary private chef Luke Mackay (no really it says legendary on his business cards) and Donal and Ray from Harry’s Restaurant in Donegal who have won pretty much every award in Ireland this year including Georgina Campbell Restaurant of the Year, Bridgestones Best in Ireland, The Irish Derby at the Curragh and a by-election in Cavan / Monaghan. All were great fun, Luke from what he remembers of the evening had a great birthday meal as did the 16 friends he emotionally blackmailed into joining him and Donal and Ray joined us for a late bite and then a few later beers before kicking off their culinary tour of London.

It was great talking to chefs and getting encouragement from them for what I am doing and right now I need it. Sitting down and looking at this with objectivity it looks barely possible, the money is what the money is and the money is shit. An average week will leave me with about £30 after rent, bills and food. The other option is to work so many hours that I make money while not having time to spend any, this is looking more likely with the coming weeks hours. I want to do so many things and this is my way forward, I love what I do. I get more pride out of telling people I am chef than I did telling people I was an event manager who had done events with The Kaiser Chiefs, The Scissor Sisters or Go West. I get to cook with a great bunch of guys who are all passionate about food, none of them are doing this just as a job, they love it, they live for food, there is so much knowledge there and they are all happy to share what they know. I want to repay their faith and the effort they have put into me, I want if possible to put their side of the story across, let people appreciate just how hard these guys work for you. I just didn’t think that when I embarked on this new life I would have to give up so much of my old life.

Twitter.com/CorkGourmetGuy

Why we do that Voodoo that we do

Anthony Bourdain is a hero of mine, he is the epitome of the balls to the wall, adrenaline (and other substances) fueled, hardcore school of cheffing that has intrigued me for years,  but I’m afraid I am going to have to disagree with him for once. Lennie Nash, a kindred spirit or possible cell mate in the bouncy hospital, made me aware of a piece that came from Bourdain’s second book Medium Raw in which he states quite plainly that anyone thinking of starting a career in the kitchen in their 30’s is already too old. Specifically he says “If you’re thirty-two years old and considering a career in professional kitchens? If you’re wondering if, perhaps, you are too old? Let me answer that question for you: Yes. You are too old.

Well I turned 35 today and I am one month into my career as a pro chef.

By Bourdain’s reckoning I not only missed the boat, I missed the pier, the port and the entire fucking coast line. I don’t have some idealised view of the life of a chef, whiling away long mornings with artisan food producers discussing ways to showcase their wares in brilliant dishes, before sending out a few plates of food to grateful diners and then hopping into your Porsche for the spin home. If I thought that I would already be sitting in a padded cell waiting for Lennie Nash to be wheeled in strapped to a gurney.

Being a chef is fucking tough, its long hours, cramped kitchens, huge pressure, demanding work and you make roughly the same wage as guys who break rocks with other rocks. People who go into cheffing straight from school do so for one of two reasons, the first one is they have a genuine love of food and want to learn the skills needed to take good ingredients and turn them into great food. The second is because they had no fucking idea what they really wanted to do and all the other courses at the job center were full up. The irony is that there are as many of those who fall into the first category who burn out and simply can’t hack the pace as there are those who fall into the second category who discover a love for food and go on to greatness.

Chef’s are a little off, they have a sense of humour that most people don’t share. If you work in an office you can probably be told a somewhat edgy joke and imediately think who in the office will find that funny and who will consider it in poor taste or offensive. If you work in a kitchen and get told the same joke you know everyone you work with will love it. The piss taking is merciless, do something stupid and you’re going to hear about it, a lot. I have been spared a lot of the practical jokes and wind ups as every afternoon my duties mean I have to go out into the yard to take delivery of a long stand, I don’t know who they fuck they ordered that stand from but it hasn’t turned up and I’ve spent hours out there freezing my arse off!

Chefs swear, a lot. To watch a group of chefs standing outside after service having a cigarette and engaged in what can only be described as Olympic standard swearing it’s hard to associate them with the stunning, visually appealing plates of food you have just been marvelling over in the restaurant. All chefs, all real chefs look at an ingredient and see endless possibilities, not just in what to cook but in how to present it. It’s that world of possibilities that appeals to chefs, knowing that at the start of every day you can redefine what you do. Most jobs follow a pretty structured routine, they need it, you can’t have a maths teacher deciding “fuck it, today plus is minus and minus means plus because I fancy a change”.

Can anyone in their 30s or 40s make a successful career in this industry? No. It’s an unforgiving place, no matter how much talent you have you’re going to have to fight your way to the point where you get to express that talent. You may be able to tell you’re salsify from you’re Jerusalem artichokes, you may well have wonderful anecdotes about your last cheese buying trip to France but truthfully your head chef couldn’t give a fuck. He wants to know 1 thing and 1 thing only; if you have what he wants, ready when he wants it. That’s it. It doesn’t matter if that’s a dish at the pass, prep work in the back or bread in the oven. During the short-lived, but utterly brilliant, sitcom inspired by Bourdain’s break out book, Kitchen Confidential, the lead character Jack Bourdain (played by Bradley Cooper) turns to a commis chef and gives him what is considered the single biggest complement of the young chefs career when he tells him “Jim, I’ve hardly even noticed you the last few days”. A gushing Jim is overcome, and babbles “I thought you weren’t noticing me yesterday but I didn’t want to say anything”. The thing is when you do something right you don’t want recognition, you don’t want to singled out and praised, just the opposite. Praise means that the chef is surprised you managed to do what he asked well, nothing means he thinks you are capable of this and it’s that level of trust and confidence you want to aspire to.

Would I recommend this? Think very long and very hard about it because it’s a massive decision. Not just in terms of shit money, long hours, fucking hard work and the concerned looks on your friend’s faces when you tell them what you’re going to do. You need to ask yourself where you want to work in the industry? Do you want to work for free at a variety of Michelin starred restaurants doing grunt work in a kitchen with little impact on the end results? Do you want to find a nice 20 or 30 seater bistro and turn out wholesome and tasty food? For that matter do you want to go into producing artisan food stuffs? Or do you want to walk into a furiously busy kitchen that expects very high standards of food to be produced to order in sometimes fucking ludicrous quantities.

I went for the last option, but that’s just me. As my father once said “Son you’ll learn all your lessons the hard way”.

It’s not going to be easy but who the fuck wants easy? Nothing easy is worth having, or at the least not having twice! I am prepared to have my arse kicked, my nerves strained, my confidence dented and my every muscle and sinew exhausted in my quest to become a very good (I would say great but modesty prevents me) chef.  There are some of us out there who will, I believe, prove Bourdain wrong, I certainly intend to as do the likes of Lennie Nash (@lennienash on twitter) and Shar (@okbaybach), we may only be 3 old dogs but we are going to follow this hard road.

Tony, don’t worry! You’re still my hero!

Twitter.Com/CorkGourmetGuy

Recipe: Cola Cake

Ok to start with take a litre of Coke and reduce it by around half, this will intensify the cola taste in the final cake, which is kind of the point.

Here is what you will need, remember the quantities for the cola refer to the reduced liquid.

For the cake:

250g of flour, use self raising flour

300g of caster sugar

250g of unsalted butter

125ml of milk

250ml of cola

75g of cocoa

1tsp of vanilla extract

2 large eggs beaten

1 good pinch of bicarbonate of soda

For the icing

150g of unsalted butter

50mls of cola

75g of cocoa

300g of icing sugar

To make it

Sift the flour, cocoa, bi carb and sugar into a bowl

Melt the butter in a saucepan, remove from the heat.

Mix in the eggs, milk, vanilla and cola.

Add to the dry ingredients and mix well but don’t be too vigorous.

Pour mixture into a buttered 24cm cake tin, the springform ones are the best.

Bake in an oven preheated to 180 degrees for 40mins, then do the trick where you stick a skewer into the center and see if it comes out clean.

Allow it cool slightly while you make the icing.

Heat the butter, cola and cocoa in a pan over a low heat, once its mixed turn the heat up and bring the whole lot to the boil.

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl then pour the mixture in on top and beat until it’s smooth.

While it’s still hot pour it over the cake and allow the whole lot to cool while still in the tin.

If you want to make an instant sauce for this, just in case it’s not heart attack risky enough, simply take a Mars bar, cut it into pieces and put it in a mug, pour over enough double cream to cover the Mars bar, add a small knob of butter and the melt in a microwave, stir well and you have instant chocolate and caramel sauce.

Enjoy