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Wednesday, 5 October 2016

My Brownie Recipe


Hello again, today's post was requested by you guys so I hope you enjoy!

I work part time in the kitchen of a local pub making desserts and it wasn't much of a surprise to learn that the best selling dessert was our chocolate hazelnut brownie. I think a brownie is the ultimate chocolately treat especially when served warm with a gooey centre ! *drools in the style of Homer Simpson*. And I've
 tried for a long time to find a really good but simple brownie recipe in search of that set crisp outside and rich gooey chewy middle so ended up creating my own recipe taking inspiration from what I liked about the dozens I've tried. 

I know there's loads of brownie recipes out there and I came across some really great ones but almost all of them had added nuts, coffee, extracts or syrups, tasty but not very fussy eater family friendly. I'm really happy with my results and I've tested this recipe loads of times so I want to mention that the better the quality of chocolate you use the nicer the brownies will be. The higher the coco percentage in the chocolate the more chocolatey your brownie will be (I look for about 70%) but don't be scared if you don't like dark chocolate it will not taste bitter in the mixture with the added sugar trust me! Similarly if you use an instant hot chocolate powder instead of coco powder you will have completely different results as they are not the same thing, instant hot chocolate is made up mainly of milk powder. Also the shape and depth of your tin you will bake your brownies in is quite important for the best chance of achieving that iconic soft middle look for a tin that is at least an inch or 2 deep. Ok, I think I've made you wait long enough.. if you want to learn how to make every chocoholic's dream yourself here's how!



What you need: 

20cm (8inch) square cake tin 

grease proof paper/ baking parchment
oil/butter for greasing
2 heat proof mixing bowls
spatula
whisk
weighing scales
saucepan

Ingredients:

200g semi-sweet chocolate 250g butter/ margarine (butter tastes nicer but you can use either)
350g caster sugar
50g coco powder
80g plain flour (sometimes I use rice flour for a gluten free brownie)
1 level teaspoon of baking powder (or you can use self raising instead of plain flour)
4 eggs (free range if possible)



Method:

 Before you start baking it really makes a big difference if you gather all of your ingredients and let them come to room temperature, it will make blending them all together much easier. Preheat your oven to 180 ˚C/ 350 ˚F/ gas mark 4. Then rub the oil or butter for greasing into your tins and line them with the greaseproof paper because nothing is worse than baking something to perfection then not being able to get it out of the tin !










To make the batter we melt the chocolate and butter together in a bain marie. This just means sitting a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until they have melted together. If you really wanted to you could just melt them in the microwave for 2 minutes stirring halfway through. Once they are completely melted set it aside to cool a little and try not to dip your finger in ! It smells so good this is the ultimate willpower test!







While you wait, in the second bowl whisk together your dry ingredients- the flour, coco powder, sugar and baking powder to break up any lumps and blend them together. Of course if you wanted to you could add 50g of nuts or chocolate chips at this point if you wanted to but I like to keep it simple. Push the the ingredients up the sides of the bowl to make a gap in the centre (called a well).



Now crack the 4 eggs into the gap, break the yolks and whisk them together and making sure your buttery chocolate mix is not too warm first, add it to the eggs and whisk again.


Swap your whisk for your spatula and fold all the ingredients together until completely combined then add your mix to the tin and bake in the middle of your preheated oven for 20-30mins. You can test if it's ready by sticking a skewer into the centre and it should come out with a little mixture still on it but shouldn't be wet. Cool in the tins for 30mins at least, I know it's hard to wait but the brownies are still setting even though you've taken them out of the oven.




Remove from the tin and slice into 12 delicious brownies before eating about 3 of them if you are anything like me !

If you do try out this recipe let me know how it goes and enjoy.



A xx








Monday, 3 October 2016

September Favourites


Hello lovely people,

I cannot believe that September is over already! Where did that month go? We are well and truly into Autumn now and today I want to share with you the things I have been loving for the last month. This is the kind of post I love to read for two reasons, the first is just because I'm quite a nosey person (let's say curious shall we?) but the second is because you can get some great ideas of things you might enjoy too. So let's get into it shall we?

Lifestyle

When I think of my favourite parts of September, the first thing I think about is my birthday! September is my birthday month and this year I turned 20 leaving my teenage years behind me, I'm not quite sure how I feel about that seeing as I should probably start acting like a real adult now! I was very lucky to get beautiful gifts, some gorgeous jewellery that I adore and cute cards. I actually really love cards, I often make my own and I just think they're such a sweet gesture. The night before my birthday I was treated to dinner by my lovely boyfriend for a special birthday date night. Then I spent my actual birthday drinking tea and eating cream cakes with my family, what more could a girl ask for?

The rest of my September nights were spent as cosy nights in, the weather changed dramatically from warm summer days to is it acceptable to light the fire yet please? I am one of those people who are constantly freezing so one of my favourite things this month has been the fluffy blanket I've been cuddled up under on the sofa. I got it as a gift last year but it's just so soft and warm, essential for chilly nights and you can pick one up in pretty much every homeware section, this one is from Penny’s (Primark).


Media

This brings me onto what I have loved watching on TV or streaming to my laptop all September, no surprises to most that I have been loving The Great British Bake Off. I look forward to it every week and everything about it just makes me so happy, the vintage style background, the ideas I get from all the brilliant bakers, recipes from the legendary Paul and Mary and the funny puns of Mel and Sue. It makes me so sad that next year Mary, Mel and Sue won't be on Bake Off as the show moves from BBC to Channel 4, it's like the end of an era!

Another show which I was so taken in by that I watched all of the episodes in 2 days because I just couldn't stop. I'm talking of course about the Netflix show which almost broke the internet, everyone just went crazy for it and I understand why, Stranger Things! Without giving much away (I despise spoilers!) it's a thrilling science fiction show about a missing boy, government secrets and a very unique little girl. The show was filled with cliff-hangers, it had me hooked from beginning to end and I loved the countless 80s movie references. If you liked ET, The Goonies or Stand by Me as a kid then you will like this show I highly recommend it.

Beauty

My favourite September beauty products take inspiration from classic fall colours like reds, browns and golds and honesty the drugstore/pharmacy is where I get most of my beauty products, it's so affordable and there are some amazing finds to be had there!


So I repurchased my favourite Autumn/Winter lipstick recently rekindling my love for the Rimmel Kate Matte Lipstick in the shade 107, it does transfer a little but is so creamy on the lips even though it is matte. A matte lip is such a huge trend but a lot of the products out there can feel drying and I never have this problem with the Kate lipsticks. I adore the rich berry red colour, they smell gorgeous and I think the Rimmel Kate Moss lippys are some of the best available in the drugstore. I always get compliments on this lipstick, it is my all time favourite.

My next product is a little controversial because I've seen a few people say that they don't like this palette at all and it is fair to say "The Nudes" by Maybelline is a little hit and miss. As you can see the matte shades aren't as pigmented as the shimmer shades which I adore and are the sole reason this palette has made it into my favourites. But I think you do get 12 beautiful colours for a great price and all you need to do is spray a little setting spray on your brush or even dampen it with a tiny bit of water to deepen the colour and you'll be good to go for a bolder look.

The sudden change of weather takes it's toll on the skin so I've been reaching more and more for my Nivea In shower Body Moisturiser, I love this stuff so much! It smells amazing, it's so easy to use and having sensitive skin Nivea is a brand I really trust because I know it works for my skin. Think of it as conditioner for your body, just rub it in anywhere you have dry skin while in the shower then rinse it off to reveal the magic. As you're rinsing the product off your skin only absorbs the moisture it needs which means no greasy feeling or waiting around for your moisturiser to soak in. I actually prefer the cocoa butter version which was sold out near me but I've ended up grateful for this slightly richer moisturiser now that it's colder outside.


Food

For the past month I have essentially been living off of toasties, not the healthiest choice I know but it is ultimate comfort food I crave in Autumn. I’ve had a toasted sandwich for my lunch most days during September, I love a classic cheese and ham/chicken or adding some onion and tomato. Then I started playing around with sweet toasties too like peanut butter/ banana/ Nutella which is a delicious treat if you’ve never tried it before you should give it a go!

Last but definitely not least, another thing I’ve been enjoying in September is coffee from my new cafetière (French press) I picked it up in Ikea recently, keep an eye out for a post/haul on my trip to Ikea, I'll link it here in case you're interested. It’s so easy to use and lets me make my favourite coffees at home in a much more affordable way, not to mention the incredible smell that fills my kitchen each time I use it. My favourite part of every day is in the evening when I always make time to just sit and relax with a big cup of tea or coffee, it’s so comforting and warm, there is nothing better in my opinion!

So that’s my favourites for the past month, I hope you enjoyed reading my highlights and I would love to hear the things you’ve loved most this September.


A xx