Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Fudgey chocolate brownie recipe = Chocolate heaven!

I've always been passionate about food and cooking. Ever since I can remember I used to watch my mum and (on occasion) dad in the kitchen. My mum was the main cook, my brother, sister and me always came home from school to a freshly cooked meal, meat and veg and more often than not a cake or pudding.... My dads speciality was his suet duff, or so I'm told, I don't recall eating this myself. But I do remember his Sunday breakfasts... Full English, complete with black pudding (raw for me, thanks) and tomato gravy. The best bit was soaking your bread up in the last of the gravy and meat juices :-)

I've been getting back into my cooking again recently, mainly of a weekend when there's less of a frantic rush to be anywhere and I'm happy for my boys to get their hands in there too!!! I went to Jamie's Italian a while back and had a lovely seafood spaghetti, not a dish I'd normally pick off any menu, but I really enjoyed it... Especially when I got to the bottom and uncovered a juicy plump scallop complete with coral. So when I picked up Jamie's Happy days (from 2001) and saw his 'honeymoon spaghetti' it sounded just like the dish I'd eaten that night. I improvised a little... Not wanting to buy a full net of mussels I used the cooked mussels in garlic butter. I was pleased to be able to get (frozen) whole squid, from the Tesco fish counter believe it or not, so I didn't have to buy one of those horrible packs of seafood mix. I added raw tiger prawns and scallops and my dish was complete.... I placed one giant bowl in the middle of the table, freshly baked ciabatta on the side, and we all tucked in!

So this Sunday, I had a particular craving for a gooey after dinner dessert..... I have so many cook books that sit on their shelves gathering 'icing sugar', which one should I choose?? I remembered a brownie recipe in the Mixer cookbook that came as a free gift with my KitchenAid so thought I'd give it another try. I substituted a few of the items, mainly because I didn't have them in my store cupboard, but it didn't matter, these turned out AMAZING!!!! I don't remember them being this good before.... Now I undercooked them because I got impatient waiting, but what I ended up with was a really gooey, melt in the middle, crisp chewy edged brownie. I say again... AMAZING!!!!

Gooey chocolate brownies (adapted from the Mixer cookbook by KitchenAid)
Makes about 16 big chunks

300g Dark chocolate
200g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
3 large eggs
75g self-raising flour
75g ground almonds
100g fudge pieces

Preheat the oven to 190/gas 5. Line a 20cm square baking tin with foil, this makes it really easy to remove from the tin and the brownie won't stick to the foil.

Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a microwaveable bowl with the butter. Heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring at each interval until almost completely melted. The last few pieces of chocolate will melt as you gently stir.

Beat the sugar and eggs thoroughly using the flat beater of a mixer if you have one, then with the motor still running, gradually drizzle in the melted chocolate mixture. Allow to cool slightly, then add the flour and ground almonds and mix to combine. Finally, add the fudge pieces and fold in.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 40-45 minutes or until just set. Leave to cool in the tin before turning out and cutting in to big chunks!

NB. This last bit is where I completely deviated from the recipe.... I just couldn't wait for it to finish baking so removed from the oven, and tin, well before time. The result was like one of those Gu puddings.... deliciously rich gooey centre with a slightly crisp, chewy top and sides... add to that some double cream and you're in chocolate heaven!!!

Well, I definitely was :)

Happy baking xx

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Kenwood press event at L'atalier des Chefs, London

The new Kenwood Chef Classic range in some funky retro colours...

Inspired by the 1970's, it is available in white with metallic features of calypso orange, astro blue and pinto green.

Now I love my two KitchenAid's but have worked with two different Kenwood machines recently and have to say that should I be in the market for a new mixer, I would definitely go with the Kenwood. I'm particularly loving the Kenwood Cooking Chef which incorporates induction cooking so it actually cooks your meal aswell.

the Kenwood at work....

Our finished black forest roulade... I promise you, it tasted much better than it looked!!

Before we made it over to Kenwood we decided to have a bite of lunch at Eric Lanlard's Cake Boy, here's me, Rosie and Carmela about to enjoy our gorgeous cakes with a mini bottle of pink fizz... thanks Eric xx

The most exquisitely presented cakes, a platter decorated with freeze dried raspberries and chocolate coated popping candy... yum!!

I wish I could remember how Eric described them to me, I just won't do them justice... the first was a pear tart with the most delicate sponges surrounding them, the second a fresh mango mousse and finally, my favourite, a caramel mille feuille... Heaven on a plate! Shame I had to share, could have easily eaten all 3 to myself... sorry girls!!

On leaving L'atalier we were greeted by this gorgeous view of St. Paul's, just had to share...

Happy baking xx

Clandestine Cake Club book launch

So 14th February, Valentine's day, saw the launch of the new Clandestine Cake Club cook book at Waterstone's in Northampton. I had a sneak peek over a cuppa last week at my friend Carmela's... she's lucky enough to have two gorgeous recipes in the book.

It was a great turnout, I think about 9 cakes were made for the event and a steady stream of bakers and customers enjoyed a yummy slice of cake!

Other contributors pictured below; Vanessa Kimbell, Carmela Hayes and Gillian Tarry who also runs the Northampton Clandestine cake club.

Who wouldn't want a slice of one of these lovelies??

My contribution... three tier red velvet cake sandwiched with vanilla cream cheese frosting, decorated with rose swirls and a touch of red glitter... it was Valentine's day after all!!

Looking forward to the next meeting, an Italian theme with guest speaker, our very own Carmela!

Happy baking xx