We went to Newcastle last weekend for a slightly belated celebration of my birthday. We both skived off work early on Friday afternoon to catch a train that would get us there in plenty of time for dinner,such are our priorities.
I always think that if you want to see England – proper English England – then you should take a train. While my boyfriend worked, I sat with my nose pressed up against the glass watching as the patchwork of fields and rolling hills flew past. The sky seemed to go on forever. I’d turn to my boyfriend from time to time and excitedly announce that we’d just gone past a flock of tiny sheep.
Every now and then, the train line would curve through somewhere where people lived; a town or a half-built housing estate or, sometimes, just a scattering of houses. In that moment, I had a brief glimpse into someone else’s life.
Blogging is for me a little like that train journey (albeit with fewer tiny sheep); a series of brief glimpses into someone else’s life.
I write this blog mainly for me. It’s a diary – an extension of the LiveJournal that I’ve had for years – with a few pictures and the odd recipe thrown in. I cook and bake what I do because it’s what I feel like eating at any one point in time, not because I think it’s what you should or might want to eat. The blogs that I love to read are like that too, snapshots of life illustrated by what we eat.
Orange and almond brownies
Very vaguely adapted from an original recipe in The Telegraph
Yield: 16 brownies
I know that brownies appear here fairly frequently. I’ve tried to curb the number of recipes for them that I’ve posted in recent months but I am pretty sure that you can never have too many brownies in your life. I’ve made a variation of this recipe time and time again, mainly because my dad once told me that they were his favourite brownie. Whenever I go home, I like to be able to take a tupperware box filled to the brim and this was my most recent offering.
- 300g (12 oz) dark chocolate (I used 70%), chopped roughly
- 175g (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 120ml (1/2 cup) honey
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (you can use a touch of almond extract if you want to amp up the almond flavour)
- 30g (just under 1/2 cup) cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda/bicarbonate of soda
- A pinch of sea salt
- 50g (1/2 cup) ground almonds
- The zest of 1 large orange
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease a 22cm square tin.
In a bowl over a pan of simmering water, slowly melt the chocolate and butter. Make sure that the bowl doesn’t touch the water. When melted, remove from the heat, transfer to a large mixing bowl and allow to cool.
Add the honey to the chocolate mixture and mix well with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one by one and the vanilla and continue to mix until incorporated. Sift the cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into the mixture and finally fold in the ground almonds and orange zest.
Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 20-30 minutes. The brownies should still be moist but should be set in the middle; if you stick a toothpick in, it won’t come out clean but it won’t have any raw batter on it.
Allow the brownie to cool before transferring to a wire rack and cutting into pieces.