I thought my first cookbook was a copy of Practical Cookery, the cookery textbook from my first stint at catering college when I was about 18 and which was lost in one of my many house moves, but I had a dig through my bookshelves and found something that was a bit older: The Complete Creative Cook, by Frances Cleary. This was definitely my first cookbook, it was published in 1997 when I would have been 17 and I remember that even then I found it pretty uninspiring, so I wasn't totally thrilled that I had to cook from it now.
Still though I had a flick through it till I found something I liked the look of, and something called "chocolate and coconut slices" vaguely appealed, even though they didn't look hugely appetising in the photo.
Sometimes, dear readers, appearances can be deceiving. These are FANTASTIC. I'm glad I found them, because they're quick, easy and incredibly delicious, but part of me also wishes I hadn't discovered them, because I'll probably want to make and eat them all the time and end up the size of a house.
Here's the recipe, and I really do urge you to give it a try.
175g digestive biscuits, crushed
55g caster sugar
115g butter or margarine, melted
85g dessicated coconut
260g plain chocolate chips (just use a big bar of chocolate or two, chopped up)
250ml sweetened condensed milk (it tends to come in 397g tins - just use all of it)
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line a baking dish or tin about 33x23cm with parchment, but don't grease it. Let the parchment hang over the edges - this will help you lift it out later.
Combine the digestive crumbs, sugar, salt and melted butter. Press the mixture evenly into the lined baking dish.
Sprinkle the coconut over the biscuit base, then scatter over the chocolate chips. Pour the condensed milk evenly over the chocolate and sprinkle the walnuts on top.
Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool and lift out using the overhanging parchment. Cut into squares.
I made this a few days ago but it's only now I've had time to post it. In the meantime, my inlaws, who are staying with us at the moment, have devoured it. Like vultures. And mum in law wants the recipe so they can continue devouring it when they get home. A high recommendation indeed.