Lush, Gooey Chocolate Brownies!

chocolate brownies, baking, simple recipe, bake sale

Just as I decided to do a post on lush, gooey chocolate brownies, I was reminded of when getting bake sale notices from my children’s school made me break out into a sweat because I could’nt bake! Clearly, less in the know about how people turned their noses up at shop bought, I ended up sending a few boxes of supermarket goodies, which sadly never got sold! Whilst volunteering at one of these events I felt very sorry for my little cakes that were the last to go…well, they either got distributed amongst us volunteers or were the begrudging buy of a late mum toting a sulking child! :)  I remember telling myself that if I wanted to survive British schooling, I needed to learn to bake.  And so I did-(for a long time with my good friend, Betty Crocker!)

If I’m honest, I still have a small collection stashed away for one of those times when the need to be that sorta mommy comes a’callin’… <Smooths hair in place and grabs an apron!>

Anyhow, we live, we learn…and today, I catalogue something in the Tales of the Two-Left Spatula Kitchen that I think I’ve got down quite well! The ratio of gooey to chewy has been tweaked nicely, as many an imperfect batch has been made (and since it would really be so very wrong to throw away, has been had at the end of my many lo-0-ng days!) This week, I’ve come across a lovely farmer who delivers fresh eggs to me, straight from the farm so I know these are the best eggs I can cook with. His wife, very old-worldly tells me how brownies are really an American invention that she doesn’t make much but to always make sure  that I never bake with anything other than room temperature eggs..every little bit of advice comes in handy to a rookie cook like me!  I love it when I meet people who aren’t afraid to speak their mind, we are politically correct to a fault these days :) She asked me to look at the real way early chefs cooked, like Delia Smith? I ask..”more like Fanny Cradock”, she replied! Fanny Cradock, Britains foremost TV Chef from the sixties is a hoot..if you fancy a few minutes of feeling like a nervous schoolgirl or a new bride in the ’60’s, catch her video here  –I assure you she’s anything but Nigella! It’s back to brass tacks and being told the ‘correct’ way to do things, none of our namby pamby “you’ll find your groove” baloney 😉 She also gives you an option to use ‘mouse-trap cheese’ if you run out of parmesan in most of her Italian recipes!! Go watch her, if only to step back into the less flamboyant past or be surreally thankful for foodstyling  😉

Getting back to the brownies, Here’s what you need :

oil, for greasing your brownie tray
175 g dark chocolate and 175 g milk chocolate broken into small pieces
250 g unsalted butter
3 eggs
250 g dark brown muscovado sugar
100 g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2tbsp icing sugar to dust brownies once done

chocolate brownies, baking, simple recipe, bake sale
When the surface begins to crack, it’s done!

Let’s get down to putting it together :

Heat the oven to 170°C Lightly grease a 22cm square cake tin.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.
Whisk the eggs and sugar together for 2-3 minutes until smooth and fluffy.
Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.
Sieve the flour and baking powder into the mixture and stir to mix. Pour the mixture into the cake tin.
Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 35 minutes until the surface is set. It is cooked when it just starts to crack on the top. Remove from the oven. Allow to cool completely in the tin.
Slice the cake into squares and dust with icing sugar. Store in an air-tight container

chocolate brownies, baking, simple recipe, bake sale
Enjoy lush, gooey chocolate brownies! :)

Enjoy with a nice cup of Hot Chocolate or a cafetiere of freshly brewed coffee!

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“To dream of Caramel, and think of Cinnamon…”

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Well, if you’re anything like me, and have your memories organised by the city you lived in, the homes you moved, the people you filed your memories in, so on and so forth;  then you’ll know that every year in your memory is forgrounded by the playlists you hummed incessantlty , the  movies you watched (often more than once, and then proceeded to read everything that’s ever been written about them), and little things you obsessed over – the particular kitchenware, a lamp, a bag! Shoes!! (2011 was the year of my first Chanel, and the The Waterboys sang to me about Trumpets !! )

Since there’s generally such a paucity of things written about summing up a year, I thought it’s only fair, new blog and all, that I add my scrumptious two-penny’s worth of input! With none other than Suzanne Vega setting the tone for this post with her lovely Caramel ” It won’t do
To dream of caramel,To think of cinnamon, And long for you.”♫ ;I’ve cooked my books and tallied up my worth-it moments and on this rainy evening, with a nice Assam-blended spicy-chai by the pot full, I begin writing to you!   I thought I’d share a few things that made life special for me!  Nothing life-changing, or  brilliant, just everyday things in an ordinary life! The magic of it probably lies in the details…. and for someo imaklkges ne who’s as easily pleased with life, as me, it probably all boils down to a few good songs, a book or two, a little travel and a few stupendous films. I spend entirely too much time on all these pursuits and have decided to pick one from each genre to share with you.  Hopefully, I’m still off the beaten track, for frankly, my absurdity is really all that I can offer you :P

Let me flag this off with introducing you to a small, fairly unknown band and a song that I fell in love with!  Bloom by The Paper Kites – probably sounds a bit too adolescent for 30-something comfort, but it’s true! It changed the landscape of my heart and made me fall in love with the fact that I have a big hunk o’ love in my life ! :D It’s easy to forget giving that it’s due when you have it, you know, and every now and then, something comes along to unlock that part in your heart, where you end up spending the hour dancing with your family whilst you wait for the washing to be done!!  The Paper Kites have (for me), the right amount of Indie/Folk, (right there between Jose Gonzalez and Jack Johnson), just the right time of day for making a video, and just the right name for their bass guitarist, Sam Rasmussen – very 30-something-worthy reasons to love a band!! ♫ Can I be close to you …… ?♫ I think it’ll be the sound I remember a lot of 2013 to!

Watched what came as a highly recommended film –  Café De Flore. And what a movie it was !!  A tragic love story about people separated by time and circumstance, and the unending lure of a soul mate!  Do we subconsciously continue to be connected to people we lose in love ? The film oscillates between the the corresponding lives of Jacqueline, a young mother and her Downs Syndrome son in 1960s Paris, and Antoine, a recently divorced, up-and-coming DJ in a 30-year-later Montreal. Weaving the two tragic strains together is tenderness and euphoric, obsessive love. And if any of you are Woody Allen fans, you’ll find yourself haunted, just as you are after his films, with a central musical theme! Sophie Hunger’s  voice stays with you a long time…and then there’s Sigur Ros! And Dr. Rockit (I can-not cook without this sountrack in my kitchen -(my favourite place, high on fairy lights and my dearest artwork) and on more energetic days, this is enough to transport me right onto a  dance floor! TMI, I know :)) Well, find the entire soundtrack here!  A brilliant story of letting go, of change and embracing what it brings! As my sn often quotes to me from the Matrix, “You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland and I show you just how deep this rabbit hole goes.” Very Cafe De Flore! :)

By Daniel Simm
By Daniel Simm

Read Starter for Ten : I’m unceremoniously cutting and pasting from Rotten Tomatoes here for I cannot sum up better : “A working-class English boy who has been fortunate enough to be accepted into a posh private university struggles to realize his lifelong dream while simultaneously winning the heart of the girl he loves in a romantic, bittersweet comedy .The time is the mid-’80s, and the University Challenge phenomenon is sweeping through England. Despite his underprivileged background, Essex boy Brian Jackson,  knows that he has what it takes to make it to the finals on one of the most popular programs in all of England. Upon being accepted into Bristol, the ambitious young student soon tries out for the school’s University Challenge team, and set the gears of his ultimate fantasy into motion. Effectively estranged from his single-parent mother (Catherine Tate) just for being accepted into the school, Brian soon gets set to cross yet another class line when he becomes smitten with his beautiful University Challenge teammate and attempts to woo her into his arms her with his formidable advanced general knowledge skills.”

I loved Brian saying : “I admit it. I’d made some mistakes. Okay, some big mistakes. Loads of them. But you can’t hide in your room forever feeling sorry for yourself. It’s not practical. At some point, you’ve got to get back out there, face up to things, and confront your demons. Ever since I can remember, I’d wanted to be clever. Some people are born clever, same way some people are born beautiful. I’m not one of those people. I’m going to have to work at it, put in the effort, and if I mess it up, I’ll learn from it. Besides, sometimes it’s not about knowing the right answer. Sometimes it’s about asking the right questions.” Very “Everyman” ! Watch the trailer , but read the book, they probably used 50 pages of it for the film, and it’s a good five times better- way more wryly humourous! :P You will have to spend a day with yourself, laughing it off!

By Daniel Simm

 I went to Venice, Murano and Burano recently, of course fell in love with everything, lived through every cliche- and succumbed to them all!!  One of the loveliest outcomes of it was that I learned how to make some fantastic Italian food – simple, home-grown goodness. I met a chef who wouldn’t accept that I can’t cook, took me to his kitchen, and showed me… simple? Si, Grazie!!  Here are some of my favourites! Piadine Romagnole and Gamberoni Peperonchino ! Very splop-able, very good! For a hilarious read on cheffy, at-home cooking, read this. Genevieve Fox says it better than I could’ve ever hoped to ; the great tragedy of Haute Homemade! Food Origami….no Ikebana, you get the point! :)

Italian food, pizza, pasta
By Daniel Simm & Kanchan Char

I’ve had two weeks with my children on my own and seen them in such a different light – they’ve suddenly gone from something that I viewed as being a shared possession, OURS, to being their own little people!  They are intelligent children – and I say that solely on their ability to gauge that their survival is directly proportional to their behaviour! I also realised, with a degree of trepidation, that at nearly 7 and 5.5, these memories of a winter holiday with me as their only go-to parent, are going to probably stay forever! We’ve had unstoppable re-runs of The Nutter-Cracker in our living room after they’ve been to see Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker earlier this month! We’ve had fairy cakes and chocolate logs (homemade, may I add with great pride -hard on the eyes, but little drops of heaven on your tastebuds!), babychinos & hot-choc with marshmallows, all too often for a dieters comfort; whilst reading Peter Pan and Puss In Boots, rather regressively!! We’ve joyously concluded that the sole purpose of winter is to embrace all things ‘warming’, heating notwithstanding!!

children, sisters, ballet, mini boden, frugi, joules
By Kanchan Char & Daniel Simm

So, as the rain has drummed on in it’s relentless pitter-patter, and though we’ve stayed up all night through a raging storm,( Gothic enough for me to believe that we indeed inhabit Northanger Abbey), and as I’ve scuffled around, ill-prepared, trying to light scented candles during a power cut; I maintain that it’s  been a wonderful journey! And ending especially nicely with daddy’s return to take over and give mommy a well deserved break 😛 ! We’ve also been busy making a large, very OTT,  Welcome Home Banner! : D A girl’s got to keep her sanity…

I hope that you have had a lovely time as well and have found beautiful moments that will bookmark time for you! Would love to hear what yours were and love even more, if you could leave me reccos to your fave sound, watch and read!! XXX

 

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