Archives for the month of: September, 2013

I call these brownies “coveted” because in the many years I have been making them, I have probably been asked for (and have shared) the recipe around 25-30 times by various friends, family and colleagues.

I really feel that brownies must be intensely chocolatey and also have some sort of treats within them; I can’t stand dry, bland tasting brownies that feel like you are eating a stale chocolate sponge. Therefore, triple chocolate chips are used throughout the intensely moist, chocolate-packed brownie mixture.

They are so easy to make that at work I have shamelessly bribed numerous office workshops and group exercises with brownie-shaped refreshments. The last team that I worked with instigated a “brownie bake off” following my departure, to see who can make the best brownies in order to replace me – a compliment I’m sure!

It must be said upfront however that this is not wholly my own recipe, it is indeed adapted from Anthony Worrall Thompson for BBC, and this is the link I always offer people when asked for the recipe:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/triplechocolatebrown_7685

Over the years I have adapted Anthony’s recipe, but feel free to use either version (see below) and read on for a few tips I have learned along the way.

Firstly, I have never claimed that these brownies were low in calories, as I may do with some recipes, since a full 600g of chocolate are required to make these little beauties. My biggest tip would be to use good quality chocolate (minimum 70% solids dark chocolate and decent white chocolate), it truly does make a difference to the richness and taste of the finished product.

Quality chocolate

Secondly, follow the recipe. Whilst I do not often stipulate the order in which ingredients should be added, the ingredients in this recipe must be added in order due to the heat of the butter/ chocolate mixture at the start. You want to stir the sugar in whilst the mixture is still hot, however you must wait for it to be cooled with flour and eggs added before adding the chocolate chips, otherwise they will melt before cooking and end up a squidgy mess (and not in a good way!).

Brownie mixture

Thirdly, trust your judgement when deciding whether the brownies are sufficiently cooked. This can be a bit tricky, but make sure that the top is firm and only moves a little if you shake your hand whilst pressing lightly onto it. Unlike a sponge, it is fine for the mixture to still be a little moist after cooking since they will solidify as they cool.

Brownie tray

Fourthly, these chocolatey treats are great cooked just before guests arrive, since they will fill any space with powerful cocoa aromas.

Good enough for a true celebration as well as a tough workshop, they were recently requested for a wedding by my great friends Vic and Rowan as part of the dessert table I made for them.

Brownie stack

Ingredients:

300g plain chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
250g unsalted butter
325g caster sugar
100g milk chocolate, cut or broken into large chunks
100g white chocolate, cut or broken into large chunks
100g dark chocolate, cut or broken into large chunks
175g plain flour
1 tsp. baking powder
4 large eggs, lightly beaten

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F. Grease a 30x20x3.5cm/12x8x1½in tin (I use a standard sized roasting tin) with butter
  2. Put the plain chocolate and butter in a large bowl, place over a pan of simmering water and allow to melt. Stir often
  3. Remove the melted chocolate from the heat and stir in the sugar
  4. Add the eggs and mix all together by hand until combined
  5. Fold in the baking powder, flour and chocolate
  6. Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared cake tin. Place in the oven and bake for around 30 minutes. The top should be firm but the inside should feel soft when cooked
  7. Cut brownies into squares whilst still warm but wait until cool to remove from tin. I tend to trim any crisp edges.

The last days of summer leave us rushing for our beach towels and sun cream, clinging to grasp those precious rays of sunshine. It also yields the best of the bunch from the allotments and gardens of the lands outside central London.

Following a bountiful trip to his parents’ village in Buckinghamshire, Will returned home yesterday with nearly a kilo of rhubarb. I decided on making a rhubarb compote to go with our granola and yoghurt breakfasts.

Rhubarb

I didn’t want to load the compote with sugar, so after a little research online adapted a couple of recipes into one. The result, rhubarb and rose compote with strawberries and honey. Perfect because the strawberries and honey naturally sweeten the rhubarb whilst keeping the refined sugar count a little lower.

Rhubarb and strawberries

Rhubarb and strawberries

Rhubarb, rose and strawberry compote (yields at least 6 servings):

Ingredients:

700g rhubarb
Punnet of strawberries (approx. 300g)
3 tablespoons of honey
Several glugs of rose syrup or rose water

Method:

  1. Wash and chop rhubarb into 1 inch long pieces
  2. Wash strawberries and core, cut in halves if large
  3. Put rhubarb in a heavy based pan and add some of the honey
  4. Stir often with wooden spoon until the rhubarb structure starts to break down
  5. Add strawberries and rose syrup
  6. Continue to stir until rhubarb is soft but maintains its shape
  7. Allow to cool, this will cause the consistency of the compote to change – it will become less runny
  8. Enjoy with icecream, crunchy biscuits, granola and yoghurt, or however you please!

Compote

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