Bohemian Brownies

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I often get asked for a good brownie recipe and I’m always a little stuck as to which one to recommend. Brownies for me need to be super quick to make, extremely chocolatey, have a slighty crispy outside and a chewy, gooey middle. I love putting pecans in mine, but I know this is a no go area for some people, so the alternative is to add some milk chocolate chopped up or dried sour cherries where the nuts should be! This recipe is a combination of two recipes that I usually make …hopefully you will give this one a go and let me know if its to your liking or maybe you have a better one to share?

You will need to make your Bohemian Brownies

110g (4ozs) butter

110g ( 4ozs) plain chocolate

110g (4ozs) caster sugar

110g (4ozs) soft brown sugar

2 beaten eggs

85g (3ozs) plain flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

25g (1oz) cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla essence

110g (4ozs) chopped pecans or milk chocolate or dried sour cherries

How to make your Bohemian Brownies

1. Preheat oven to 180°c/350°f/gas mark 4

2. Grease and line a shallow oblong tin18x28cm (7×11 inches).

3. Break the plain chocolate into pices and put in a heatproof bowl along with the cubed butter. Melt together in the microwave or over a simmering pan of water. If using the microwave, take care not to over heat and stir after a minute to check how its doing.

4. Add all the other ingredients to the melted chocolate/ butter mixture and stir well. Pour into your greased tin and spread out evenly. Place in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes.

5. Let the mixture cool in the tin for10minutes, it will sink a little. Then cut into squares and cool them on a wire rack. Store in a air tight tin.

Creamy chorizo and vegetable pasta

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I have just made this for dinner and we liked it so much I thought you might like it too! I needed a quick dinner tonight and these are the ingredients I had in the fridge. It’s pretty basic but one of those dishes that is tasty and filling and you can cook it up in a matter of minutes.

What you will need for your pasta dish (serves 4)

1 red onion chopped

Olive/ rapeseed oil

2 gloves of garlic

Chorizo cut into bite size chunks

1 red pepper chopped

1 medium courgette chopped into chunks

6 mushrooms chopped into chunks

1 medium tin chopped tomatoes

Salt / pepper / chilli flakes

2 tablespoons mascarpone (or cream cheese)

Pasta, I used spirals but use whatever you like and cook as much as you need in plenty of salted boiling water

How to make your pasta dish

1. Put a pan of salted water on to boil ready for the pasta. Pasta usually takes around 10 mins ( check the oacket for cooking times) so when your frying the main bulk of the veg you can put the pasta onto cook.

2. Heat a splash of olive/rapeseed oil in a frying pan and add your chopped onion, fry on a medium heat until soft add the crushed garlic, chorizo, courgettes, mushrooms and red pepper. Fry for 5- 10 mins until the vegetables are coated in the chorizo oils and are a little coloured.

3. Add the tin of tomatoes and cook until the sauce starts to thicken, add salt pepper and chilli flakes if you like them. Pour in 1 tablespoon of the pasta cooking water ( this gives the sauce a nice gloss) finally add the mascarpone and stir, check your seasoning and take off heat.

4. Drain the pasta and serve. You can garnish with some basil, we also like to sprinkle some grated cheese on top.

This is a good start to making your own pasta sauces, so much better for you than the jars. Putting lots of fresh veg in gives you a healthy meal and by adding things like garlic, chilli and chorizo you get some great flavours. Have fun experimenting.

Elderflower Cordial

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An easy Elderflower Cordial recipe is now up on my blog. The elderflowers need to be picked soon as they are already well in bloom. Goes well with champagne, just saying!

Today one of my dearest childhood friends arrived at my house with her truck, bundled Slinky and I inside and drove us to the beach. We sat with a rug over our laps, winter coats on our backs, beers in our hands and ate warm homemade pasties straight out of her aga. The dogs went off looking for families that were more generous with their picnics and we fought off seaguls swooping down to take a bite. In less than ideal conditions for June, we laugh at our madness and talk about our families, how we miss them and our inability to make their struggles easier. Once our hands had turned blue we headed home and on the journey back my friend stops in the country lanes so that I can hang out of the window and collect elderflower heads from the hedgerows. Once home I do what I always do when life gets a bit much, I get to work making something that will bring smiles to faces, including mine 🙂

There are many recipes for elderflower cordial, this one is my favourite. I make this every year, it’s easy, it lasts all year if stored carefully and when the sun eventually comes out, it has to be one of the most refreshing drinks you can make.

What you will need

20 elderflower heads ( best picked in sunshine!)

2 ½ pints (1.4 litres) boiling water

4lbs (1.8kg) white sugar

2½ oz (70g) citric acid (available from the chemist)

2 lemons sliced

How to make Elderflower cordial

Place all the above ingredients in a large bowl cover and leave for five days, stirring morning and evening.

Strain through muslin or a tea towel and pour into sterilised bottles ( I usually use screw top wine bottles).

Store in a cool dark place. Once a bottle is opened store in the fridge.