I’m sticking my neck on the line here-the Very Best Chocolate Brownies? Who does she think she is …well I have been working at this recipe for a number of years and a lot of brownies have been eaten by family and friends-it’s hard for some people.
The brownie world is split into two camps -those that love the more ‘CAKEY’ types of brownies and those that love the more ‘SQUIDGY’ type. Both have their place in the culinary brownie world but my favourite would have to be the ‘SQUIDGY’. type. To make the ‘CAKEY’ type you have, not surprisingly, a cake type mix but to get the ‘SQUIDGY’ type you are aiming for a batter type mix that easily pours into your tin.
Here are some things to think about before you try these out:
- Kit matters especially if you are planning to do a lot of baking and investing in the best is a good idea-I’ve lost count of the number of cheaper tins etc that I have thrown out over the years after they have buckled and twisted in the heat. So invest in a sturdy tin they are often called, very helpfully,-brownie pans. I’m not mad keen on the non stick versions, this eventually wears off and where does it go? Yes, it’s in your food. Perhaps I am being a little harsh here as the more modern versions are more durable.
- Lining the pan is important-you only need to do the base. I like the re useable ones but if you don’t want to do this use a baking paper with silicone, not just greasproof paper. The higher the sugar content the more your cakes/biscuits/meringues will stick and these brownies have a lot of sugar in them.
- Take care melting the chocolate-it is very temperamental. On the temperamental scale the easiest to melt is chocolate with a high proportion of chocolate solids eg a good dark chocolate with 70% chocolate solids, the trickiest to melt is white chocolate ( it is not really a chocolate as it doesn’t contain any chocolate solids) and milk chocolate is somewhere in between. I use a microwave, break up the chocolate into pieces and put into a plastic jug-spread them out a bit so they are not just piled in the middle. Microwave this in short bursts on high. Don’t stir it as this can cause it to ‘seize’ up and ruin just turn the jug back and forth until it is melted. Once it starts to melt it will go very quickly-Don’t burn it.
Enjoy making these-VERY BEST CHOCOLATE BROWNIES
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Just back from the Italian Dolomites the skiing was lacking in style and quite scary but the pizzas were fantastic. Thin and crispy, with just a little topping, we watched as the pizza dough was twirled in the air to get the required thinness and then cooked quickly in a proper wood oven they were on the table in a trice before I had time to recover from the exertion of hurtling down the piste. There was a bewildering choice of toppings ( I wish that I hadn’t left the phrase book on the hall table at home..) from sausages and ham, eggs, rocket, tuna, seafood, pineapple, mushrooms, etc. My favourite was the plain and simple tomato with cheese and garlic. It had a stronger cheese for flavour (not sure which) and the lovely soft mozzarella that stretches between pizza and mouth alarmingly. It doesn’t let go until you can manage the quick twist and flick of the chin. No doubt the tomato base was lovingly made by hand, gently simmering fresh tomatos with fragrant basil and then reducing it until it is thick enough to spread. I will try to make this properly sometime but in the meantime-
Let’s not kid ourselves sometimes a quick and easy dish using the really GOOD convenience ingredients available are just perfect for a ‘coming home for work don’t have time to cook’ sort of meal or,indeed for any day of the week. You can rustle these up in 20 minutes or less
Panini pizza for an easy supper dish or snack-pronto
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BEEF LASAGNE – SIMPLY DELICIOUS
Take a look at these…there are just a few ingredients for this simple family lasagne. You can make the recipe ‘more special’ by using eg Gruyere or Parmesan cheese in the sauce.
I have used good quality minced beef from my local butcher so I know exactly what is in it (and what is not in it..). Time can be an issue when choosing a local butcher or the supermarket but you can always in larger quantities and then freeze the meat. So stop horsing around and make your own!
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Festive Pork with orange and cranberries
This is one of my favourite festive dishes and it always appears some time over the Christmas holidays. The mix of warm spices, cranberries and orange go well together with the tender pork and it looks stunning on the festive table. You can make it ahead of time or well ahead and freeze it. I like to have a few dishes tucked away ready to be whisked out at the last minute so that I don’t have to miss any of the Christmas fun and this is perfect. Like lots of dishes it is even better re-heated the next day.
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