I was a lucky child. Neither my sister nor I experienced any major accidents, illnesses or health issues. Our occasional visits to hospital were brief and easily dealt with by our local hospital or local health services.
But some families are not so lucky. Some families have to deal with serious childhood sicknesses that are desperately worrying, may require specialist treatment and can result in short or long stays in hospitals far from home. How hard it must be for parents to handle the extra stress of journeys to and from home and hospital, trying to simultaneously provide love and support to the child in hospital and as normal an environment for their other children, let alone trying to keep on top of work commitments and everyday chores.
The Sick Children’s Trust provides free, high quality ‘Home from Home’ accommodation as well as emotional and practical support to families who have seriously ill children in hospital. Founded in 1982 by two paediatric specialists Dr Jon Pritchard and Professor James Malpas, the charity has ten houses based at major paediatric hospitals across the UK and it costs them just £28 per night to provide their much-needed service. They currently support around 3,500 families a year and demand is growing, as children must increasingly travel long distances for the specialist treatment they need.
At a recent launch event for the trust’s Big Chocolate Tea Party, I listened first hand to the stories of parents who had stayed in one of the homes, and unsurprisingly, it made a huge difference to each and every one of them. The accommodation allows the parents and any siblings of the sick child to stay together in a location close to the hospital, providing not only a base to sleep but also a place to rest, to unwind and to emotionally recharge during a very tough time.
The Sick Children’s Trust is once again asking supporters to host their own Big Chocolate Tea Party between now and May to help raise funds to support the charity’s work.
They aim to raise £100,000 which will go a huge way in helping them support sick children and their families. Remember, just £28 provides a room in a Home from Home for a night.
Paul A Young, master chocolatier and Vice President of the Sick Children’s Trust has been inspired and touched by the charity’s work. The Big Chocolate Tea Party gives him “the perfect opportunity to use [his] love of chocolate to fundraise in a fun and indulgent way while supporting many families who are facing the most difficult of circumstances miles from their home.”
Paul, Raymond Blanc, Edd Kimber and John Whaite have provided recipes to inspire anyone keen to get involved, you can find ideas and download some of these recipes and fundraising materials here.
Alternatively, email email [email protected] for a free party pack, which includes more recipes.
As a thank you for taking part and helping to raise funds to support the charity’s homes, all those who host a party or bake-off during the May 2015 Big Chocolate Tea Party campaign will be entered into a draw for a chocolate tea weekend for two in Paris, including Premium Leisure Eurostar tickets, two nights bed and breakfast accommodation in a five star Paris hotel and a pair of tickets to Salon du Chocolate, the prestigious annual chocolate show.
John Whaite’s Chocolate Teaser soufflé
This recipe is blissfully easy, but more importantly, it’s decadently perfect for a lazy, indulgent brunch. The mayonnaise isn’t a typing error – I use mayonnaise a lot when working with chocolate cakes I need to be gooey. The mayonnaise adds an egg-like texture, which helps create an unctuous inside because it doesn’t coagulate like an egg.
- 2 tsp golden caster sugar
- 100 g dark chocolate , roughly chopped (60% is fine, don't go overly bitter)
- 70 g milk chocolate , roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- 5 eggs , separated
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise
- 200 g Maltesers , roughly bashed
For the sauce:
- 100 g milk chocolate
- 100 ml double cream
- 100 g Maltesers , bashed to fine pieces
- 4 200ml ramekins , very well greased with butter
- baking sheet
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas 6.
Sprinkle the sugar into the greased ramekins and shake about so the sides and base are covered.
Place the chocolates and golden syrup into a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of barely simmering water. Allow the chocolate to slowly melt together with the syrup, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, but not set.
Meanwhile, put the egg whites into a mixing bowl and whisk until they are fluffy and stiff.
Beat the egg yolks into the chocolate along with the mayonnaise. Gently fold in the roughly bashed Maltesers, before very gently folding in the whisked whites – you want the mixture to be a smooth, even- toned batter, though of course with humps of Malteser.
Divide the mixture between the ramekins, cleaning the rim of each with your thumb. Set on to the baking sheet and bake for 10–12 minutes, or until beautifully risen. They may crack on top, but who cares – you’re going to be diving in soon anyway.
To make the sauce, simply place the chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water. Stirring occasionally, allow the chocolate to melt into the cream until you have a smooth, glossy sauce.
To serve, tell the eater to take a spoonful out of the centre, then pour in some of glorious, warm sauce.
Thank you to The Sick Children’s Trust for inviting me along to your launch event, and sharing with me the amazing work you do to help sick children and their families. Recipe and images courtesy of The Sick Children’s Trust.