Glazed Aztec Brownies

Glazed Aztec Brownies

Yesterday, because I’m a bit like that, I thought ‘I wonder what would happen if I just blitzed all the ingredients for brownies in a blender, poured it into the tin and baked it’. What happened was they came out exactly the same as when I’ve done it the proper way and I had brownies in under 30 minutes flat. The Aztec element – those discoverers of the cocoa bean who used it to make a bitter, spicy drink – was a ¬†good pinch of chilli and a quarter of a teaspoon each of cinnamon, ground star anise and ground caraway seeds added to the mixture. You can use any spices you fancy – cardamom would be nice -although I’d probably steer clear of cumin. No-one wants a curry brownie.

To glaze the top I added water to my own home-made chilli jam (but you can buy it in most supermarkets), strained out the chilli bits and brushed it on while the brownie was still hot. The brownie recipe I used is below, but I reckon any recipe will work by just putting it all in the blender until it’s smooth, pouring it into the tin (I use those silicon sheets – you don’t even have to grease them) and baking at 170 or gas mark 3 for 20 minutes. That may not seem like long but it’s enough, as long as the egg is cooked it’s fine to eat and the less time it has in the oven, the higher the squidge factor.

Ingredients

200g dark chocolate (I used Tesco’s 85%)

200g sugar

100g butter

4 eggs

60g plain flour

60g cocoa powder

Pinch of sea salt

Spices of your choice

2 tablespoons chilli jam/jelly

Method – as above.

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Pizza con Prosciutto e Fogliame

Pizza  - right (4)

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June 3, 2016 · 7:59 pm

Spices

Spices Cropped

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June 3, 2016 · 7:57 pm

Flourless Dark Chocolate Torte

Torte

This simple chocolate torte is a dinner party stand-by in our house. You can flavour it with a variety of things from coffee to whisky to orange zest to a pinch of chilli, or you can just leave it as a plain but intense dark chocolate torte. It’s surprisingly light because of the absence of flour, and for that reason is also suitable for those on a gluten-free diet.

Ingredients

200g good quality dark chocolate (at least 72% cocoa)

200g butter

4 large eggs, separated

60g caster sugar

Flavourings (or not) of your choice.

Cocoa for dusting plus any gold sugarcraft lustre powder/stars/baubles you may or may not want to use (it looks just as good simply dusted with cocoa powder).

9 inch spring form cake tin, greased and lined.

Method

Break up the chocolate, cube the butter and melt them slowly in a bowl set over a gently simmering pan of water (don’t let the bowl touch the water).

Whisk the eggs whites with half the sugar until they form soft peaks and beat the other half of the sugar with the egg yolks until pale and creamy.

At this stage, add any flavourings if you’re using them. For coffee, finely grind a good tablespoon of cafetiere coffee and and mix it to a paste with whisky, water, brandy or whatever and add it to the egg yolks and sugar mixture. Ditto with grated orange zest or a pinch of chilli, sea salt, etc.

The next bit is all about being patient for a few minutes. First of all gently combine the egg yolk and egg white mixture, turning it over and over slowly with a large spoon until mostly combined – the name of the game is to keep as much air in it as possible. Next, pour the chocolate and butter mixture in and, again, slowly combine until the mixture is an even colour.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake at gas mark 3, 170 celcius or 325 fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Allow to cool in the tin, then decorate as you like.

NB: The torte will be quite puffed up when it comes out of the oven and will then fall back. This is supposed to happen!

 

 

 

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Stained Glass Window Biscuits

Stained Glass Window Biscuits

These are a LOT easier to make than they look and great fun to do with children on a ¬†rainy afternoon or for charity bake sales. They can also be used at Christmas as tree decorations using some very narrow festive-coloured ribbon to hang them. You don’t need any fancy equipment to make them, just a set of biscuit cutters and a straw if you do want to hang them.

Any type of boiled sweets will work for the ‘stained glass’ but I would recommend the glacier fruits made by a well known company who share their brand name with those Vulpin animals who divide public opinion so much, they are more delicate in colour than other similar sweets which can be a bit garish (unless that’s the look you’re going for, of course).

Ingredients

Sunflower oil for greasing

175g plain flour

1 tsp ground ginger (optional)

100g cold butter, cubed

50g caster or granulated sugar

1 tbsp milk

12 boiled sweets

Method

Heat the oven to 180 centigrade/gas mark 4 and grease 2 large non-stick baking trays with the oil.

Put all the biscuit ingredients except the milk and the sweets in a blender and whizz them up to fine breadcrumb consistency.

Add the tbsp of milk and pulse until it all comes together. Knead lightly on a floured surface, wrap in cling film and chill for half an hour.

With your cutters, use the larger ones to cut out the biscuit then a smaller one to cut out a centre, leaving a a border of a 2 to 3 cms.

Once carefully transferred to the baking tray, if you do want to thread them afterwards make a hole at the top of each biscuits using a drinking straw.

Bake for 7 minutes, remove from the oven and quickly pop a glacier fruit into each one, then bake for a further 10-12 minutes.

Allow to cool and harden completely, then thread with ribbon/string (or not) and get crunching. They’ll keep for a week or so in theory, but not if there’s children in the vicinity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chargrilled Red Pepper

Pepper

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May 27, 2016 · 2:41 pm

English Asparagus, Scottish Salmon and Japanese Edemame.

Salmon

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May 27, 2016 · 2:39 pm