Recipe: DIY Fudgy brownie mix

If you’re looking for an instant brownie fix after a long, tiresome day; you’re losing faith in humanity; questioning your purpose on this planet but also don’t want the sickly sweet store-bought mix which contains who knows what in it, then this recipe is for you. (To be fair I was actually surprised that I recognised most of the ingredients in Betty Crocker’s mix so Go you guys, but I mean “flavouring” – you could be a little less vague).

IMG_2135[1]

If you know your brownie, you know that the melting of butter and chocolate is usually what gives it the rich, fudgy centre that you non-cakey-brownie fans crave. Because of this, it’s a bit of task getting that same texture for when you just want to throw a tray in the oven with minimal to no effort – no bain maries, no microwaving, no chocolate-stained sponges in the sink. In this recipe, it is not made dry or less chocolatey by the cocoa powder and is still rich with flavour/not greasy from the oil.

I’m super proud of this one so I hope it brings all the chocolatey baked goodness you need, on one of those days when you get home and need affirmation from a fudgy square of brownie.

IMG_2138[1]

I really don’t like it when there aren’t any photos of what the recipe claims to be (I didn’t manage to snap a shot of them before they were given away) so I’m sorry, but please do trust me on this one! Fudgy, a little gooey in the centre, not too sweet, rich and chocolatey.

Recipe for Brownie Mix

Makes: 2 batches – 8 generous squares each

Ingredients:

~ 30 g milk chocolate

~ 30 g dark chocolate

120 g cocoa powder

160 g caster sugar

220 g light brown soft sugar

240 g plain flour

 

a pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Shave/Chop chocolate using a sharp knife.
  2. Blend in a food processor until fine.
  3. Whisk the rest of the ingredients and place in a storage container.

Recipe for Brownies

Makes: 8 squares or 12 smaller brownies

Need: 23 x 13cm (aka 9 x 5″ / 2 lb / 900 g) loaf tin*

Ingredients:

10 tbsp flavourless oil

2 eggs

Half DIY brownie mix made above (mine came to about 405 g)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Grease loaf tin with oil.
  3. Measure out dry mix – getting rid of bigger lumps with the back of a spoon.
  4. Add oil and eggs.
  5. Use a spoon to mix until just combined.**
  6. Bake for 15-19 minutes.***

Notes:

* You of course don’t need this exact size but you might achieve a different texture if baked in a different tray – so be extra careful with timings when baking!

** Overmixing is not good. It will either aerate the mixture, making it cakey, or over-work it, making it dense and stodgy. As I said, not good.

*** Always bake for less time initially ’cause you can’t undo it once the oven has done its thing. It’s different for each one and  depends how cooked you like your brownie. If you like it like my sister, fudgy and a little undercooked/gooey in the centre, I went for 18-19 minutes 🙂

P.S. It works as a gift too!

 

Recipe: Like, the best gluten-free banana pancakes ever

I’m not gluten-free and definitely not vegan (I mean, have you not heard of pork belly) – so why are all the recipes I post annoyingly “vegan-friendly” or “gluten-free”?

I just want to post all the things worth sharing ok so get off my back. (Yes, I am actually talking to my own judgmental voice in my head rather than all those other people in the universe who so passionately care about my opinions). Because vegans usually have to deal with a lot of hidden avocado and the tinge of coconut in everything they taste. And gluten-free stuff (in my experience anyway) is either dry, heavy or stodgy (not exactly things you find yourself craving). So if I come up with something which doesn’t taste like the food restrictions you’re reminded of every morning, lunch time, afternoon tea-break or dinner then I’m sorry, I just have to post it.

Oh and (as all of my family know after being exposed to my, I’m sure, non-irritating rants about clean eating fads) I am definitely not promoting all this vegan and gluten-free dieting that people are doing for no apparent reason. Fortunately for you, I will not bore you with my ramblings today (perhaps another day) and will start typing up the recipe..

Untitled2

Quick note: recipe vibe = crazy-quick/filling/not unhealthy/satisfying breakfast or dessert which you honestly don’t want to cover up with any syrup, chocolate or anything else that may detract from the natural sweetness and flavour of the Great Banana. I usually pour the whole mix into a small pan to make one GIANT fluffy pancake which can’t help but put me in a good mood in the morning.

So please PLEASE don’t be deceived by the pictures because I really just added the garnishes for decoration and eye-candy.

IMG_2105[1]

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 egg

1 ripe banana

about 4 tbsp gluten-free self-raising  flour

Method:

  1. Mash up the banana.*
  2. Add the egg and whisk it all with a fork.**
  3. Mix in the flour. ***
  4. Fry in a pan on a low heat (wait a while until bubbles appear so you don’t end up witth raw batter) and until golden brown.

Notes

*the riper it is, the smoother you want it. If it’s not very ripe, make sure you leave large chunks of it unmashed, otherwise it won’t be sweet enough.

**the more time you have to whisk, the lighter your pancakes will be 🙂

***until thick lava-like consistency (although it really doesn’t matter too much. If you find out it’s too runny in the pan, it just means it’ll look a bit weird and people will start wondering what the hell you have on your plate but it’ll taste just as good so don’t sweat it.)

Recipe: Finally-got-them-to-be-fudgy vegan brownies

Woop woop *pulls on party popper* *twirls noisemaker* *blows into those party whistle things*

img_20821

Follow this recipe and you’ve got yourself a trayful of fudgy middle squares of brownie with edges that are a little cakey and chewier (Mmm).

Since writing this, I’ve actually found a much easier way of making the icing but have lost the back-of-an-envelope slash receipt on which I wrote down what I did 😦 ALSO I unexpectedly discovered another vegan brownie recipe worthy of attention and possibly a post (two good vegan brownie recipes may not be very exciting to the regular Joe but for someone a little too into her vegan baking – it’s a big deal OK.) Planning on writing a lil’ summin summin on those but for now, enjoy this gem!

Makes 12 squares

Ingredients

  • 1/2 ripe medium avocado
  • 60g dark chocolate (dairy-free)
  • 120ml coffee (I used 1 tsp instant coffee but need to experiment for mocha-ry flavours)
  •  170g flour
  • 70g granulated sugar
  • 65g dark brown sugar
  • 35g cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 45ml oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 135ml dairy free milk

Ingredients for frosting

  • 1 and 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 55g cocoa
  • a few squares of dark chocolate
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil/melted marg
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp coffee
  • 7 heaped tsp icing sugar

Method

  1. Lightly grease your tray.
  2. Preheat to (the good old) 180°C.
  3. Melt chocolate over a ban marie and leave aside to cool.
  4. Blitz avocado until smooth and sieve to get rid of lumps.
  5. Large bowl – add avocado, oil and vanilla.
  6. Measure coffee and add milk to cool it down. Add to the bowl.
  7. Large bowl – measure dry.
  8. Add wet to dry.
  9. Fold in melted chocolate.
  10. Add an extra splash of milk if it’s uber thick but it should be quite thick.
  11. Cook for 40-45 minutes. It’s fine if a skewer doesn’t come out clean but make sure it’s not still batter. Otherwise, it’ll be like eating batter.

Method for frosting

  1. Blitz and sieve avocado.
  2. Place back into blender and puree with the rest of the ingredients 🙂

P.S. I know the amounts for everything are a bit awkward – will bake this again at some point and adjust them so they’re more baker-friendly.

Recipe: Light, fluffy blueberry and coconut muffins (vegan or non-vegan)

Unexpected 6.30am baking two days before my three (and final) exams of uni? Yep. And the result.. blueberry and coconut-y muffins! Vegan-friendly.

I feel like my recipes are really considerate of vegans. They’d like totally not bully them at school. I mean not that I ever got bullied, but kids can be so mean. My muffins aren’t. You should try them out.

Makes 8 small muffins

Ingredients

  • 160 g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 25 g dessicated coconut
  • 60 g sugar (50 g if having them with icing – picture below)
  • 120ml milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 80 ml oil
  • Vanilla
  • Chia seeds
  • Blueberries

Method

  1. 180°C.
  2. Measure the milk and add the vinegar. Wait a bit until it thickens a little (or at least when there’s obviously been some kind of change. If nothing happens, add a little more vinegar.)
  3. Measure the dry.
  4. Add the oil, vanilla and milk mixture.
  5. Fold in the blueberries.

IMG_1923IMG_1953

IMG_1988 (2)

Notes:

  • Use this basic muffin recipe and make them whatever flavour you fancy! Lemon and lime, raspberry and milk chocolate, cinnamon sugar!
  • I just threw some chia seeds in there because they were lying around. Not necessary and not trying to make these all superfoody – I just like their squeakiness!
  • No need to toast the coconut for the inside of the muffin, but please do brown them a bit in a pan if sprinkling them on top! Not giving them toast is like not melting cheese that’s on a pizza.

 

Recipe: Unbelievably lazy banana pancakes (vegan-friendly)

Let me rephrase, banana pancakes for unbelievably lazy people. Woo! I don’t know if I can even call this a recipe because they turn out different (differently?) every time, but they usually satisfy my bananary cravings. I have literally had them for breakfast before, cheekily doubled the recipe for dinner and they have definitely made me too full once or twice when I’ve eaten them for dessert and probably shouldn’t have had that earlier second helping of rice.

IMG_1893

You can do whatever you like with these: I’ve had them with fresh or stewed berries before, added a bit of yoghurt or (impatiently) let a square of dark chocolate melt on top – err yum! You could totally throw in some toasted nuts, dessicated coconut, fro-yo! Aaaaanything.

Makes 3 small pancakes – suitable for a second breakfast or dessert after a light (or, in my case, any) dinner.

Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp self-raising flour
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 1 ripe banana (I like to keep it partially unmashed. I mean I would never say no to some caramelised banana chunks. Or sometimes, when I’m feeling really bananary, I mash about 3/4 and rip up the rest into the mixture.)

Method

  1. Mash the banana.
  2. Mix in the milk.
  3. Fold in the flour.
  4. Fry, pressing down a little, a little oil (coconut oil is the best because I love the nutty fragrance it gives!)

IMG_1899

Love a good healthy but actually nice tasting plate of food!

I know they don’t look like the fluffiest stack of pancakes with an action shot of maple syrup being drizzled over and the (in my opinion) not-always-called-for rashers of crispy bacon sat on top, but number 1: I don’t think they particularly need any sweetener if your bananas are ripe enough and you have some nice accompaniments with it. And number 2, you’re just gonna have to bear with me and my amateur picture-taking skills until I become a pro at using my currently under-achieving DLR, which isn’t fulfilling its full potential at the moment.

Recipe: (Quick) Bircher muesli

Apart from the creamy, delicious, cold-porridge aspect of bircher muesli, I know the point of it is that it’s a make-ahead breakfast for those rushed or lazy mornings where you just want to roll out of bed and be able to put some food in your mouth with minimal effort and/or unappetising post-breakfast oatiness to wash up after the meal. But for me, the prep beforehand makes breakfast more effortful. Sometimes I just crave that bircher muesli goodness without having to wait hours for all the ingredients to meld together.

What is bircher muesli though? Overnight oats. Cold/summery porridge. And it doesn’t require any cooking. Overnight bircher to me tastes too much of raw oats and everything merges together to give one bland texture (plus it doesn’t look too appetising, let’s be honest). So this is perfect if you want to keep the crunch of the almonds and the flavour and mouth-feel of the dried fruit.

IMG_1394 IMG_1398 IMG_1396 2 IMG_1419 2

So here’s my speedy muesli which satisfies my cold-porridge cravings – try it out if you want low-maintenance oats in the morning that are neither burning hot (I mean who wants their patience tested in the morning when you’re still wiping the sleep out of your eyes) or still have that raw edge to them (do oats have edges?). Enjoy! 🙂

Serving: 1 small (but filling!) bowl

Ingredients

  • juice of 1 orange
  • 2 handfuls of rolled oats (finer oats, rather than the big organic oat flakes – e.g. I use Quaker’s)
  • 1 handful of (toasted) flaked almonds
  • 1 sprinkling of dried currants
  • 1 spoonful of yoghurt/splash of milk

Method

  1. Juice the orange into your serving bowl.
  2. Mix roughly 2 handfuls of oats into the juice with a spoon.
  3. Whilst the oats absorb the fresh citrus-y orange juice, toast the almonds if they’re not toasted already. Add to the oats along with the currants and mix.
  4. After a few minutes of soaking and absorbing, fold in a spoonful of yoghurt or a little milk (I quite like almond.)
  5. Serve with some fruit for freshness.

Recipe notes:

  • I don’t like soaking oats in milk or yoghurt too much because it infuses a raw oaty taste into the whole thing (one reason why I use fresh juice rather than more dairy). So just experiment with how much you use and for how long to find the taste you like.
  • Easily made vegan by using almond milk instead of yoghurt (I think soya yoghurt/milk would have too strong of a flavour)
  • I like to be able to taste the orange so I don’t overpower it with too much yoghurt (especially if it’s natural yoghurt).
  • Really good with grated apple – this is traditionally seen in bircher muesli but it browns über quickly, so the muesli loses its fresh taste and look (and also, graters are really annoying to wash. AmIright?)
  • Use any dried fruit and nuts you like! (raisins, apricots, toasted walnuts..)
  • I recommend folding in the seeds and juice of a passion fruit! 😀 Adds sharpness, texture and a nice orangey-yellow colour too. Yum!

Recipe: Pea, pancetta, leek and onion loaded potatoes

Urghh I love these kinds of recipes! A few simple ingredients that you don’t need to tamper with and no unnecessary salt, butter, cheese or anything else which takes away from the actual stuff inside it!

IMG_1059

You can put whatever you like in it and I’m positive you can find combinations that taste just as good without meat – but the natural sweetness of the leeks, peas and fried onions along with the saltiness of the pancetta satisfies all the flavour you and your tastebuds ever wished for.

I really don’t like weekday meals that take a long time, but don’t be put off by these potatoes. It’s seriously simple and what I do is just throw them in the oven whilst I’m doing my work or on a day the oven’s baking something. You can even cook them in advance and mash ’em later if you’re not ready for them yet – that way it doesn’t interfere with your day 🙂

j

You can mash them up smooth or leave it chunky (which is quite nice as otherwise the flavour’s quite strong) and can definitely leave out the dairy (the cream cheese barely changes the texture anyway – just brings everything together a little). You can replace the cheese on top with breadcrumbs or just throw them in like that and let the tops crispen up! Yum.

I know how much people can’t help but cover the whole potato with cheese and let it go all melted and oozy and crispy on top, but do me a favour and try it with just a couple of gratings! In my opinion, it’ll only detract from the flavour and will undoubtedly over-salt it!

But ultimately, do with it what you will. This one’s for Celine (didn’t mean to sound like I was on stage there) – enjoy! I hope everyone else reading this learns to love the simplicity and deliciousness of the recipe as I have.

(P.S. Am I the only one who puts peas in everything? 😀 )

Makes 4 loaded potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 leek
  • 2 onions
  • 100 g pancetta/bacon lardons
  • 2 handfuls of frozen peas
  • 2 tsp cream cheese
  • 10 g cheese
  • 4 medium-large potatoes
  • Ground pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Bake the potatoes for around 45 minutes depending on their size.
  3. When the potatoes are almost done (~15 minutes), peel, wash and slice your leeks and onions (chop the leeks chunkier than the onions because they’ll cook down).
  4. Fry bacon in a little oil (just to stop from sticking to the pan – remember fat will cook out) before adding your leeks.
  5. Add onions after the leeks have softened a bit.
  6. Add your frozen peas, minutes before everything’s all at that nice caramelised stage.
  7. Take out the potatoes, cut “lengthways” and scoop out the flesh into a bowl.
  8. Add cream cheese, all the nice fried stuff and season with pepper, to taste.
  9. Top with a few gratings of cheesy, just so each bite has a little melty goodness.

Recipe notes:

  • If you’re short of time, cut the potatoes in half first – just be prepared to exclude the skin formed before mashing.
  • I’m really not a cheese-y person so just went for a cheddar cheese but feel free to experiment!
  • As mentioned above, crispen without a topping or with breadcrumbs and skip the cream cheese for dairy-free.