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Chocolate Tart

Recipe: Sumptuous Chocolate Tart

This chocolate tart recipe is perfect for presenting a posh dessert at a dinner party but with minimal fuss. While our quick and easy chocolate tart makes an indulgent, sumptuous pudding on its own, you can add citrus elements like lemon or lime juice for more adventurous flair. Give it a go.

Ingredients

  • Dark chocolate (70%)
  • 200ml milk
  • 350ml double cream
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 ready baked tart case

Preparation

  1. Melt the chocolate and reserve. Mix the milk and cream together.
  2. Bring to the boil, pour on to the eggs, whisk together.
  3. Pass this mix straight on to the melted chocolate.
  4. Pour into ready baked tart case, place into the preheated oven at 350F/gas mark 4 and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  5. Leave to cool before serving slices of chocolate tart to guests.

Like this chocolate tart recipe? Try our Tasty Chocolate Truffles 

5 Reasons to Have Houseplants in Your Dorm Room

5 Reasons to Have Houseplants in Your Dorm Room

These low-maintenance houseplants have numerous benefits that every college student should get behind.

Whether you’re green-thumbed or not, gardening is probably the last priority on any college student’s agenda. Actually, it’s probably not on the agenda at all. With such a huge increase in responsibility, starting college can cause our actual priorities to become overtaken by stress, anxiety and loneliness.

Surprisingly, having a houseplant in your living space is scientifically proven to boost productivity, whilst also improving your mood. Plants can even help you to sleep, making them perfect companions for the stretched student. College News tracked down some of the easiest plants to care for, so there’s no excuse for killing your new roomie. Here are five reasons that your new best friends are plants.

  1. They clean the air

Indoor air pollutants are ranked one of the top five environmental risks to public health. Luckily, the evidence that plants clean the air actually comes from NASA. According to NASA, plants are “nature’s life support system” because they absorb some of the particulates from the air and also take in carbon dioxide, which is then processed into oxygen. Beyond this, microorganisms present in the plant’s soil also have a cleaning effect, which boosts your mood.

Our favourite plant to clean the air: Peace Lily

Care level: Easy

  1. They boost productivity

According to a study from Michigan University, being around plants can increase memory retention by up to 20 percent. Studies also showed improvements in both concentration and productivity. Large plants can also apparently absorb, diffract and reflect background noise. By also boosting alertness and reducing mental fatigue, having houseplants can literally make you smarter.

Our favourite plant for productivity: Spider Plant

Care level: Effortless

  1. They make you healthy 

At the Agricultural University of Norway, a study proved that the humidity generated by houseplants decreases dry skin, colds, sore throats, coughs, and the spread of flu viruses. Another study showed that being around plants post-surgery, led to significant improvement in physiologic recovery and lower systolic blood pressure. These benefits also extended to cognitive healing—patients with plants in their rooms experienced lower levels of pain, anxiety and fatigue.

Plants such as Aloe Vera are also medicinal by nature. Aloe can cure burns, ease constipation, aid cavities and ulcers, and has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Keeping one in your kitchen is probably a good idea if your unique gourmet cooking is considered a hazard.

Our favourite medicinal plant: Aloe Vera

Care level: Very easy

  1. They help you sleep

Most plants stop taking in carbon dioxide at night and instead respire like humans. However, some loveable specimens actually do the opposite. These plants are able to improve the air that you breathe during the night, increasing your sleep quality. Fragranced plants such as Lavender are also widely recognised as sleep aids. Lavender has been proven to lower heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels—making it the perfect relaxant for your dorm room.

Our favourite plant for sleep: Snake Plant

Care level: Indestructible

  1. They reduce stress, loneliness and depression

Whilst it has been proven that houseplants reduce stress and anxiety levels, the act of caring for a plant can also better your mental health. Cultivating something has been shown to be calming and can boost self-esteem and feelings of control. It might sound cliché, but having something to water can get you out of bed in the mornings, boost your optimism, and improve your overall wellbeing.

Our favourite plant for mental health: Anthurium

Care level: Pretty easy

Further Reading: You’re Not Alone: Facing Loneliness In College

Starbucks Coffee

Does Starbucks Coffee Give You Cancer?

A California judge has ruled companies selling coffee need to warn consumers that the drink—including Starbucks coffee—is carcinogenic, since it contains the chemical acrylamide.

In a new filing, coffee companies, including Starbucks, are fighting back against the ruling.

Elihu Berle, a Los Angeles superior court judge, accused coffee companies of failing to demonstrate the carcinogen posed no significant health risk.

“Defendants failed to satisfy their burden of proving by a preponderance of evidence that consumption of coffee confers a benefit to human health,” Berle wrote.

The Council for Education and Research on Toxics—the group behind the lawsuit—wanted to penalize businesses for not warning their customers that coffee contains a carcinogenic substance.

Companies may even have to pay fines if they don’t warn customers about the cancer risk posed by acrylamide.

But the coffee industry has claimed the chemical, which is produced in the roasting process, is present at harmless levels and should be exempt from the law because it occurs naturally in the process required to make the beans flavorful.

In a new filing, the coffee companies wrote: “Coffee consumption does not increase the risk of any chronic disease and is independently associated with a decreased risk of several major chronic diseases,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

In a statement, the National Coffee Association said: “Coffee has been shown, over and over again, to be a healthy beverage. This lawsuit has confused customers, and does nothing to improve public health.”

What is Acrylamide?

Acrylamide in large quantities could be dangerous, but it’s in many foods we consume and cannot be removed from coffee.

It naturally forms when plants and grains are cooked at high temperatures.

It’s created in the process where heat transforms sugars and amino acids in ways that change flavor and tend to brown food.

Officials at the European Food Safety Authority told Business Insider: “It is likely [acrylamide] has been present in food since cooking began.”

All baking, frying and roasting produces the chemical, but only in foods derived from plants, including grains, not necessarily in meat or fish.

There is evidence to suggest it poses a risk to humans, as industrial accidents when people have inhaled large quantities of it have shown.

But the quantity found in a cup of coffee is almost negligible in comparison.

Health Benefits of Coffee

Existing research shows regular coffee drinkers have a lower risk of cancer.

A least one major review of studies found the more coffee people drink, the lower their risk for liver cirrhosis or liver cancer.

Another review of more than 200 studies found people who drank three or four cups of coffee a day were 19 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease.

Other research shows those who drink more coffee are less likely to suffer from dementia.

However, most of these studies have been observational, meaning it is difficult to establish cause and effect. Therefore, coffee may not be responsible for the reductions in disease risk.

Further reading: “Avocado Hand” Injuries Are on the Rise