Katie Stewart: Pots de Crème au Chocolat (chocolate pots)

Spring vegetables Petersham Nurseries Katie Stewart book

Yesterday I received an email from the Guild of Food Writers with sad news: the cookery writer, Katie Stewart, had died.

“…a long-time Guild member and the recipient of our 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award. Katie was taken ill on Friday and died on Saturday” said the email.

My mum gave me The Times Calendar Cookbook (my edition published 1976) and I have used it since the 1980s. I also had the privilege of meeting Katie Stewart when she received her Guild of Food Writers’ Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.

I tweeted the sad news, and soon there was an outpouring of tweet messages from fellow food writers who, like me, had learnt to cook thanks to Katie Stewart.

I believe generosity of spirit, and the heartfelt desire to communicate and share, really does transmit, to create classic cookbooks.

Yesterday Fiona Beckett, Guardian food writer, suggested on Twitter we have a day/weekend when we cook one of Katie’s recipes. What a great idea. More and more food writers thought so too. (Wow. Social media in action. Love it!).

I suggested we have a #katiestewart hashtag, and explained why at my other blog.

Alex Renton, The Times food writer got in touch. He is doing an obituary piece in Thursday’s edition for Katie, who was The Times cookery columnist.

He did not have a Katie recipe, so I offered to write one down.

I know the page number for pot au chocolate – page 77 - by heart.

My additions in brackets.

Pots de Crème au Chocolat

6oz/175g chocolate chips or plain chocolate broken in pieces

1/2 pint/3 dl. (300 ml single cream)

1 egg

pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence (optional)

Katie says: ‘Put the chocolate in the globlet of a blender. Heat the cream until just under boiling point, then pour on to the chocolate. Cover, switch on and blend until smooth. The heat of the cream will melt the chocolate. Add the egg, salt and vanilla essence and blend again quickly. The mixture at this stage will be quite thin. Pour into six small individual pots, or failing this, small glasses. Chill for several hours or overnight until the mixture is quite firm. Serves 6

Katie Stewart pot au chocolat

As you will see from my pic, I have played with this recipe over the years, and in 2012, made a raw chocolate version with chilli and orange zest.

Her book, The Times Calendar Cookbook, follows, without fanfare, seasonality: “Fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and game mature according to the seasons and over the year offer us a wide variety of fresh foods to use in recipes,” writes Katie Stewart in her introduction.

The pic of spring vegetables (heading up this blog) is a photograph from the book illustrating May. The vegetables come from Petersham Nurseries, still going strong.

I fear I am jumping the gun a bit because our #katiestewart, or Katie Cook Day as Alex coined it, is really at the weekend.

So please, please all fellow Katie Stewart fans near and far – get cooking at the weekend, share your recipe and…pass it on!

God bless Katie Stewart. What a life-enhancing legacy.

May her soul rest at peace.

24 responses to “Katie Stewart: Pots de Crème au Chocolat (chocolate pots)

  1. Yes, yes – “generosity of spirit, and the heartfelt desire to communicate and share, really does transmit, to create classic cookbooks”. What a legacy indeed. And thank you to you, as always, for inspiring me to cook for all the right reasons!

  2. I was very sad to learn of the death of Katie Stewart. From one of her recipes that you featured, it seems she goes for simplicity and that is what I like – no fanciful stuff! I’ll try this particular recipe, which sounds light to have after a heavy meal.
    RIP Katie and God Bless.

  3. Yes, it’s so true, Nina, Katie Stewart goes for simplicity and that’s appeals to me too.

    Why make things more complicated than they need to?!

    • You are right to bring our attention to Katie Stewart’s legacy – simple but effective cooking. It is easy to enjoy home made foods. Let us take out the mystique.

      I would add egg yolks – and beaten egg whites to lighten the mousse myself.

      Um.. my mouth is watering.

      Long live Katie Stewart.

      • INDEED! Let’s demystify making food from scratch.

        Cooking for all!

        Geraldine, chocolate pots is a different recipe from chocolate mousse hence no egg yolks and beaten egg whites – so even less faffing about!

  4. Well put Elisabeth. People like her is what food’s all about for me and her Sunday Times Cookery Book was one of my first cook books. She had a way of making cookery simple and accessible, even for quite complex techniques. People like her gave novices like me the courage to start. Making marmalade as I type (literally).

  5. Paul, Sunday Times Cookery Book was one of my first cook books, too! And that’s exactly where my marmalade recipe comes from!

    Yes, it’s true: simple and accessible. That is so important.

  6. Thanks Elisabeth, for bringing this important food writer to our attention. I love reading your blog because you always give information about other food writers and especially organic food providers. This is a great blog!

  7. I had never heard of Katie Stewart before reading this and will now look her up. How super to have left such a legacy! Well done her.
    And well done E.Winkler for fighting the good fight against Sainburys, the latest attempted invader/attacker of our beloved Glos Road

  8. Thanks Elisabeth – great writing!

  9. Oh dear, feeling the lack of in depth knowledge here. I haven’t heard of Katie Stewert and am feeling I really ought to have done. I’m off to follow some of your links to find out more right now.

  10. My Katie Stewart cookbook opens automatically at my favourite recipes. Page 61 kidneys in sherry sauce was a mainstay supper dish when I was first married in the late 70′s. It is so retro and still served in every bistro in France. We British have left the French behind! Page 222 opens up to all the sauces that I know by heart. Katie takes all the fuss out of cooking. She was our Jamie. As we get snowed in we’ll be going down memory lane in my house this weekend.

    • Hi Louise

      Thanks for your descriptive comment. Yes, Katie Stewart gave me the basics, and made them easy, reliable – and tasty, thus giving me confidence.

      But, sauces, sherry sauce? My mouth is watering. I am going to revisit my cookbook now!

      Elisabeth

  11. I enjoyed Alex’s article in the Times and joins up the dots nicely to hear that you provided the choc pots recipe which I had cut out for later. Found your site for the first time this evening whilst on the hunt for a new marmalade recipe…great site.

  12. Remember Katie Stewart with a donation to the Stewart family’s chosen charity, The Kids’ Cookery School.

    “The Kids’ Cookery School’s mission is to give every child in the UK a unique and fun cooking experience in order to help them make informed choices about food and an understanding around health and diet.”

    Make a donation online to the Kids Cookery School at Just Giving.

  13. Received Katie Stewarts calendar no 2 in 1971 as wedding present and it hung in my kitchen for years, still have it and my favourite recipes which my daughter loves me to do are Chicken pot roast, red cabbage, gooseberry stir about, chicken tarragon, iced chicken with lemon sauce and lemon syllabub amongst many others. All special – she was fantastic, also her columns in Vanity Fair which I cut out. Anne Rossiter

    • Thanks Anne. It’s amazing the profound effects we humans can have on each other!

      Katie Stewart was such a force for practical good…She seemed a modest unassuming person – I hope she had a sense of her contribution.

      Very glad she received a Guild of Food Writers’ Lifetime Achievement Award – in her lifetime!

  14. Now this does sound delicious. I wonder if a dairy-free version would work?

  15. Hi Nadia – I think you need the egg to whip it into shape. But, to be honest, I have never experimented with a dairy-free version. We must try! Sooooooon!

  16. On a completely different subject, would you, and how would you, cook bone marrows to make soup or broth? I’ve just fried a few in oil (yes, I know, I should have roasted them) and then boiled them up. The result, was a fatty gooey yet faintly fragrant creamy mess. Am going to chuck the lot. But I’ve read marrow bones were v popular among our ancient antecedents, so I’d like to get to give it another try. Thoughts?

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