Chocolate peanut butter & caramel brownies

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I’ve had a craving for chocolate, and recently saw a new recipe for chocolate brownies which contained ground almonds.  Of course, delicious as plain brownies are, a little bit of extra “embellishment” is always good!

Brownies are comforting, dense, slightly stodgy, and very adaptable, and whilst my favourite is a chocolate brownie (I have yet to try cheesecake-type brownies, I’m sure I’ll love them too….) I thought a bit of peanut butter (Reese’s Peanut Butter Minis) and caramel (Cadburys Caramel Nibbles) would add a bit more indulgence.

I followed the recipe (unusual for me, I know!) and threw the extras in just before putting the mixture in the oven.  I didn’t have the correct sized baking tin, and so ensued a lot of pulling out, testing, putting back in, re-setting the timer…..you get the picture!

But in the end I achieved my desired, dense, chocolately, slightly sticky, indulgent chocolate peanut butter and caramel brownies.

And the house smells deliciously chocolatey in the process – breathe….. 🙂

 

Oven Baked Vegetable Frittata

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I love a good frittata, it is such an easy recipe to adapt and there are so many options. Today I decided to bake it in the oven – so much easier – just throw everything together and stick it in the oven.  What’s not to like?

I decided not to overcomplicate matters by using too many ingredients. Starting off I chopped the potatoes into bite sized pieces, and roasted them with a little olive oil until cooked and nicely coloured. Then chop up some red, green and yellow peppers and three red onions and roasted them in the same pan.

For six greedy people I used eight large eggs, which I whisked until frothy and well blended.  Put the roasted vegetables in a large greased baking dish and scattered some of those delicious sundried tomatoes which are mixed with garlic and herb oil (drain them first). Then chop up a block of Taleggio into small pieces and scatter evenly over the vegetables.  Pour the egg on top and bake in the oven at 180°C for 30 minutes.  Season to taste.

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Random thoughts (aka braindump)

I haven’t blogged for a while, it has been on my mind, but truth be told, my heart was not in it.  There are many things I would like to write, but life has left me numb inside. Dealing with bereavement, insomnia, chronic pain and the issues that these throw up interspersed with “normal” life has left me exhausted and drained.

I haven’t been able to bake, which rules that subject out, and I am struggling to find inspiration. And so, for the sake of keeping this blog going, I am putting a few words down.

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Grief

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This week my mother died. I have neither the strength, nor the brainpower to write what I would like to. Maybe another time. One of the worst things with dealing with the death of a loved one, is that people who you previously considered to be close friends, just vanish. This happened to me when my father died, and is has happened again now.  Yet it is still a shock.

In the meantime I have things to sort out.

Boozy Banana Bread (adults only)

I bet you’re all sick of me posting about this banana bread.  Go on, admit it!  This will be the final time I post about it (says she) as I think the recipe has been tweaked as far as I can go.  The cake is not strictly boozy but has alcohol in it.  The flavour is subtle, giving it that extra je ne sais quoi.  I have researched this recipe and each version I see of it is slightly different.  I wanted to make it with all the elements that suited me and so, with the help of some over-ripe bananas I have been experimenting, and finally here it is.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (160°C Fan).  Line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment (I love the loaf pan liners from Lakeland Limited)

Mash 3 large or 4 small over-ripe bananas, mix in 50ml bourbon or whiskey. I have used Jack Daniels in this one, but have previously used Jim Beam Maple, and Jamesons, all of which work particularly well with the flavour of the cake.

In a separate bowl, mix 20g cake flour with 200g milk chocolate buttons – or chopped chunks of milk chocolate.  I like Galaxy chocolate for this.  I have tried the recipe using dark chocolate, but really think milk chocolate works better here.

With an electric whisk, whisk together 2 large eggs, 80g golden caster sugar, 100g light muscovado sugar and 120ml light olive oil (or sunflower oil). Whisk till well blended, about 3-5 minutes.

Add 220g cake flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 3 generous teaspoons of baking powder.  Mix together gently and then give it a good whisk again. Fold in the chocolate with remaining flour and gently mix.  Pour into loaf tin and bake for 50 minutes.

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It is done when a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave in the pan for five minutes and then remove from the pan and liner and leave on a rack to cool.

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Whatever you are doing, wherever you are, I hope you have a lovely peaceful weekend 🙂