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Friday Food: Nutella Fudge Brownies

Nutella fudge brownie sliceCo-incidentally, when I was looking for something chocolate and easy to make for Sewing supper, I came upon a recipe on the blog where I found the Vanilla Cupcakes last week. They turned out so very well, I decided to make some Nutella Fudge Brownies.

I always say the same thing about successful recipes, and nothing is different today: this recipe is easy and full of deliciousness. I love that the brownie is melt and mix, that it bakes in 20 minutes and that the fudge is just melted together and then smoothed on top. After a little while in the fridge it is ready. You can add a chocolate topping, but of late I have eschewed Copha and so I used a mix of butter and cream. My chocolate topping was not nice and shiny, but it was Copha-less and tasted fine. I didn't taste it, I used my Sewing friends as testers. Again.

The recipe has not-Australian tablespoons, so I have done some fuzzy conversions. I don't think an extra teaspoon of cocoa matters that much. Maybe it does?? I used Dutch processed cocoa and my brownie worked well regardless. I bought a new square 20cm/8" cake tin, with straighter sides and I am very pleased with my straighter sided brownie. MrsDrWho cut small squares and that is probably all you need as the fudge brownie is quite rich.

NB 1 tbspn + 20ml in Australia, or 4 tspn

 

Nutella Fudge Brownies   makes 16-25 pieces

  • 185g (3/4 cup) butter, melted
  • 220g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 110g (3/4 cup) plain flour
  • 45g (4 1/2 tbspn) cocoa
  • 1/4 tspn baking powder
  • 1/4 tspn salt

 

Nutella Fudge

  • 395g can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 tbspn butter
  • 1 1/2 cups choc chips (I used dark choc chips)
  • 1 cup Nutella (or substitute whatever brand you like)

Optional Chocolate Topping

  • 180g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 3 tspn Copha

 

Preheat the oven to 175*C and grease and line a 20cm square tin. I made sure the baking paper came up high on each side as there would be a fudge layer on top of the brownie.

Mellting

Mix the melted butter, sugar and vanilla extra together and then whisk in the eggs.

Cocoa and flour

Sift over the cocoa, flour, baking powder and salt and fold together well.

And... bake and cool

Spoon into the tin and smooth the top.  Mine was not very thick, so I tried to make sure it was very evenly spread. Bake for 18-20 minutes, This brownie only took 18 minutes and a toothpick in the centre came out clean. Set aside to cool slightly.

The fudge

While the brownie is cooling, it is time to make the fudge. I followed the recipe, and put a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of just simmering water, making sure the water wasn't touching the bowl. I think I could have just as easily used a microwave on short bursts on medium. Pour the condensed milk into the bowl and add the Nutella, choc chips and butter. Stir till all the chocolate is melted and the fudge is shiny and smooth.

Fudge and brownie and fridge

Pour the fudge over the cooled brownie. I was extra careful as I didn't want to tear the top of the brownie. Smooth it over and then refrigerate until it is completely cold. I think it took 3-4 hours, but I can't remember very well.

Chocolate topping

You can serve the fudge as it is, cut into squares.  But you may wish to add a chocolate topping, so put the chocolate and Copha ( I used 2 tspn butter and a slosh of cream instead)  into a bowl and melt gently in the microwave for 30 second bursts on a medium power. Stir till smooth. Spread over the brownie and fudge base and refrigerate until cool and firm.

You can see the chocolate topping is not shiny, but it still tasted nice and chocolaty. I think this would need to be kept in the fridge in an airtight container and would last for about a week.

Nutella brownie fudge


Now And Then There's A Cool Such As I

Oh it has been cooler, not cold, but cooler. It rained all afternoon and evening on Wednesday and it has rained again today. Rather than doing myriad tasks, we have slept. We slept soundly in the cool weather, listening to the rain on the roof. We may sleep again any minute now.

On Tuesday night I could not for the life of me work out the pattern instructions for my cardigan: too hot. Wednesday morning?? Piece of cake!!!

Equinox cardigan feb

I increased up to the next size for the bust increases and then decreased secretly at the underarm whilst doing the neck decreases. It was a bit complicated , but it meant that the 24 extra stitches were not decreased at the v-neck, so it will slope evenly all the way up. The colour is hard to photograph, and I am a poor photographer, but tomorrow we are up to joining in the sleeves and starting the raglan decreases.

I have some new Star Wars Rey material to make a dress. I bought the Iron colourway, which I think will go well with a bronzy-green plain or slightly patterned material.

Rey

I have sewed The Splendid Sampler block 3. Lots of hearts!! MrsDrWho gave me a bag of material bits and bobs, lots of colours I don't have, so that I can use them in my blocks.

Tss3

Here is the If I Could Shawl blocking. My word, it is large, but I need to block more vigorously next time.

If I could blocking

Lorelai Gilmore loves a walk in the rain, and even the little rain we have had has been enough for the grass to start growing. There is a kind of shimmer of green peeking through the pale grasses.

A little rain and Gilly

I bought a special deal from the supermarket: four little tubs of yoghurt and an icy-pole making set. In fact it was cheaper to buy this for $10, rather than the four yoghurt tubs separately, so the icy-pole set is really very free. I love that the little sticks are re-usable and there is a nice wooden presentation thing, and you pop the sticks into it to serve.

Pop goes the...

Today we did some jobs and tomorrow and Friday I am making MrsDrWho's nephew, MasterSingapore, a gold pencil case and filling it with some geodes or rock things from The Museum shop. It is his birthday. I am always late for birthdays, I still have to knit a hat with a pig for MrHouseOf for last year!!

This time next week it will be 30*C, so we are planning on catching up on more sleep, maybe some reading and sewing and A Lot of knitting. I am also very chuffed that once again I have managed to make my Friday Food before Friday. I have it on good authority that it is a delicious recipe, and I am extra pleased because it was an easy recipe too!!


Friday Food: Belgian Brownie Cakelets

CakeletI found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, I think through The Bloglovin'. Anyway, I wanted a simple rich chocolate something for dessert at MrsDrWho's house. I take something for dessert every week, of course I can't have chocolate, but I never eat dessert except on Christmas Day and other Special Occasions: maybe my birthday??? I couldn't believe how easy these were and how magically they came out of the muffin tin. I did grease the tin well, and I baked one extra cakelet in a paper case just to see what would happen. I prefer them paper case-less.

The recipe make 13, and I used my 1/4 cup ice-cream scoop to fill the muffin tin. The cakelets puff up so nicely in the oven, but fall as they cool - not in a bad way - and the fall makes a nice little hollow for some cream. There is hardly any flour at all, so it's basically chocolate, butter, sugar and eggs. Since the recipe is in grams and has 4 eggs, it is easy to halve, or even quarter, in a cake emergency like the vanilla cupcake one I had yesterday!!! The cakelet batter needs to sit for 30 minutes to thicken, so time for a cup of tea and a quick tidy up before they bake.

MrsDrWho and her mum thought the Belgian Brownie Cakelets were lush and rich, but not too rich for an everyday treat.

 

Belgian Brownie Cakelets     makes 12   (or 13)

  • 200g dark 70% chocolate
  • 200g butter, cubed
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 20g flour

 

Melt the chocolate and butter. I choose the microwave and 30 second bursts on Medium. The other method I sometimes use is a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Either way, it is best to remove the chocolate from the heat before it is properly melted, and then to stir to finish the process. The butter and chocolate will be silky smooth.

Melting

Stir in the sugar and salt, and then whisk in the eggs one at a time.

Eggs and sugar

Finally, sift in the flour and stir till combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on the bench for 30 minutes. The batter will thicken slightly.

Flour and rest

After about 20 minutes of 'resting', preheat the oven to 165*C. The muffin tin I used is non-stick,  but I greased it thoroughly with some soft butter on a piece of baking paper. I tried to catch every spot. The recipe says to fill each cup half way, but the tins in America must be a different size as one 1/4 cup scoop filled mine almost 3/4 full.  They did overflow slightly when they baked, so maybe next time I will fill the cups only halfway and make 18 cakelets instead.

Grease and fill

Regardless, bake the brownie cakelets for 25-30 minutes. Test with a skewer at the 25 minute mark : it should come out clean, with no runny batter clinging to it. Cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes and then ease out and cool on a rack. My Belgian brownie cakelets came out quite easily, though the place where they overflowed did stick a tiny bit. They do puff up in the oven and then the centres fall as they cool.

Bake and cool

Serve the brownie cakelets hot, warm or cool. Keep them in an airtight container. They will be at their best for a few days, but I think they could be frozen and then gently thawed or reheated. I served these as they are, but for the picture I added a dollop of cream and a little dusting of cocoa. They would be exceptionally nice with some fresh berries too.

Brownie cakelet


Fortune Favours The Cold

For two glorious days it was 19*C , then one almost glorious day it was 22*C. Lorelai Gilmore and I were so happy. We slept all morning and then on Tuesday we went to bed at 7pm and slept all night in the wondrous cool.

Gilly and her close up

The cold is fading away now, but at least the nights are cool. And when the days were cold I managed to do more than a few things.

I finished knitting a shawl: there's a group where we knit along together and I metaphorically hold the hands of those new to shawls. I have to soak it and block it now.

If I Could shawl before blocking

I read on Esme's patchwork and quilting blog about The Splendid Sampler. There will be two blocks a week for fifty weeks, one hundred in all: and it is free. I bought a few plain greens to supplement those I already own and I have finished blocks 1 and 2. They are all 6 1/2 inches.

Tss 1 & 2

I also sewed one of the warm up projects: the Cathedral Window pincushion. It's wobbly and I had to join some pieces, but it still works a treat.

Tssextra

A few of my knitting friends and I went to a funeral this week. I think you should tell the people you love that you love them while they are still alive. I don't want to regret not doing that. At Leukaemia Support Group we learned about Advanced Care Directives. Basically you set down what you want to happen if you are in an accident or too ill to communicate in hospital. It is unnerving to think about. Uncomfortable. But since I am poorly with my weird illness, I have asked someone to be my 'person' if anything happens.

I just need to work out where on the form you write " and I want The Labradors to come and visit"!!

Cupcake
This afternoon I just fancied some vanilla cupcakes. I had some sour cream to use up and so I searched for a recipe and found The Perfect Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes. I made half the recipe and used a vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract. I made one sixth of the frosting as that's all the butter I had!! Yum, delicious and vanilla-y and moist and fluffy as promised.

Lorelai Gilmore has FlippyFloppy Ear and we saw Dr Marion at the vet. A woman after my own heart, she agrees that anything over 25*C is tropical here!! Gilly's ears are improving in leaps and bounds. There is no new Puppy news. Be assured when there is Puppy news, everyone will know.

Gilly alert

Gilly is shocked: "What, a puppy you say?? What is this thing of which you speak?"

 


Friday Food: Potato Fritatta with Goat's Cheese and Pesto

Potato fritattaThis month's Better Homes & Gardens has a Meatless Monday feature. I quite like meals without meat, but I don't actually have a special day. This fritatta could be a meal in itself or it could accompany a steak, or some fish or chicken. It is quick to prepare, though I found it took a little longer in the pan on the stove than the recipe said. Without the pesto and goat's cheese it is rather bland, but if I didn't have goat's cheese, I would grate some extra sharp Parmesan cheese in with the eggs, and maybe add some chives or spring onions too. Or add some ham or bacon and ignore their Meatless Monday!!!

I used three medium sized waxy potatoes and I just sliced them thinly, those more adept than me could use a mandolin. I substituted baby spinach for the rocket: I am not a rocket fan. Luckily, my frying pan is heat resistant up to 200*C, and although the recipe says to heat the oven to 220*C, I gambled that the fan would compensate for the lower temperature. It did.

All in all, this was a quick and easy recipe, quite filling and you could easily make a version with whatever was in the pantry or fridge. I forgot to add the pesto before I took the photo: oops!!

 

Potato Fritatta with Goat's Cheese and Pesto     serves 4

  • 3 or 4 medium waxy potatoes, thinly sliced : about 600g
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely sliced
  • 8 large eggs
  • 20ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 100g soft goat's cheese, sliced
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto
  • 1/2 cup baby rocket leaves

 

Boil the kettle and then fill a saucepan with the water, over a high heat, and add some salt. I put the sliced potatoes in a bowl and covered them with cold water while I waited for the water to come to the boil. That way they don't discolour.

Slice potatoes

When the water is boiling, add the potatoes and cook for about 5 minutes or until they are tender. Don't cook them too long or they fall apart. Drain well.

Boil and drain

Heat the oven to 220*C/200*C fan-forced.

Whisk the eggs and garlic in a large bowl, gently add the potatoes and mix to combine. Season to taste. I had some salt and pepper with chilli flakes.

Eggs and potato

Heat the oil in an oven proof frypan on the stove over a low-medium heat. I found a low heat was not quite enough, but maybe that is the way the hotplates at our house work. Pour in the potato and egg mixture and spread evenly. Cook for 5 minutes, or until about 2/3 of the fritatta is set. I could see it was set beneath the runny egg still on top.

Into the pan

Put the frypan into the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the fritatta is cooked through and has a slight golden colour on top.

Bake and embellish

Remove from the oven carefully as, naturally, the handle will be Very Hot. Arrange the cheese and rocket over the top, then remember to drizzle over the pesto before serving. I also squeezed half a lemon over the green leaves.

And it is good warm, hot or cold!!! I think it would be good picnic food.

Potato fritatta and goats cheese


Puptown Girl. She's Been Living In Her Puptown World......

There is going to be A New Puppy at our house in six weeks!! A little Golden Labrador called Hedy Lamarr. Hedy is very expensive, more than $1600, but I am very lucky and my mum is buying us a puppy. Not even for Christmas!!! I don't have any photos of Hedy, as Lorelai Gilmore's breeder has the male end of the transaction and Hedy is with her mum. It is becoming a reality, and I can barely believe it. I keep telling everyone our news and they kindly indulge me. Our nurse at Leukaemia Support Group let me have a special few minutes to share the puppy news.

Gilly is cute as a button

Well, that gives us less than six weeks now to puppy proof the house. I have told Lorelai Gilmore that soon she will have a new sister, but she has paid no attention whatsoever. She does pay attention when we park outside the Bakery At The Corner: there may be bread. In truth, she waits for me and is very happy when I come back.

Peepo Gilly

Gilly and Sandy were both already at the dam when Rafa arrived the other day. Even though they recognise Rafa's Dad's car, it is all alert and action stations. I am not sure why Sandy is lying down, but Gilly is ready to run.

Gilly Sandy Rafa

Last week I caught up with Tinkingbell and we exchanged gifts. We always exchange gifts and it is the rule (apparently) that she always gives me the Doctor Who Annual,

Dw2016

and exciting wool: Knit Picks 4ply dyed in Budgie colours!!! How exciting is that?? We live a quite life, so VERY.

Budgie colours

And I always sew her a bag or two. Here is the Bucket Bag from the free Craftsy class, with the drawstring top from the Valentine Drawstring Bag. I used Star Wars material and, for the first time ever, my buttonhole foot. It is very easy and I would like to make a lot of buttonholes now, whether they are needed or not!! The Star Wars material around the base makes pockets and I sewed some narrow channels for knitting needles too.

Star wars bucket bag

And I also sewed a 'sewing' themed tote for MrsMadcage and a Christmas one for TinkingBell.

Totes amazing

I knitted some Scandinavian Santas. I really enjoyed knitting them and of course I fiddled about with the colour work so I didn't have to keep breaking and re-attaching the wool. I need to work on the faces, but I am thinking of them as rustic and moving on.

Scandi santas 2015

There is a blissfully cold breeze coming in the windows. For many nights in a row it has been over 20*C, 25*C outside last night, and much hotter inside. Oh it is hot. I like people to indulge my hot weather moaning, and sympathise, just as I sympathise with them in Winter!! It is not as hot as Perth, where it is in the mid 40s, so I can be grateful for small mercies.

Tomorrow we have our first Sewing for the year. We are not starting our new quilts, but we are going to make a group order for material and have supper. Lorelai Gilmore doesn't have a walk on  Wednesdays, so I am going to bake for Supper early, while it is cool.

We stay up very late, hoping the later the hour, the cooler it will be. Sadly, not the case. We are glad that by the time The Puppy comes, it should be cool!!!


Friday Food: Ricotta Pancakes with Maple Butter

One ricotta pancakeHow quickly has Shrove/Pancake Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, come around?? It is next week. Pancakes do not take too much baking in hot weather and so I whipped up a batch of Donna Hay's Ricotta Pancakes. The recipe says "Serves 4". My word, that must be four very hungry people, because I used my cookie scoop which is 2 tbspn (40ml-ish) and I made 40 pancakes. That's TEN each. Even if they were larger than pikelet size there would still be ten small pancakes' worth. I could easily make just half a batch and still be rolling in pancakes.

The pancakes are light and fluffy, but still have substance. I was able to find fresh ricotta at the supermarket and proper pure maple syrup, rather than maple flavoured syrup.

The maple butter curdled when I just mixed the softened butter and syrup. I would either melt the butter, mix in the maple syrup and refrigerate it, or whip them together with the mix-master. I tell you this because I did the former and then popped the maple butter into the freezer and, of course, it set hard. Oh dear. I let it sit out in the warmth of the afternoon and then whipped it with a fork.

I don't have a particularly sweet tooth, but I found adding the maple syrup and maple butter added enough sugar to the whole pancake situation and I chose not to sprinkle on extra sugar and cinnamon. I like to use sugar when I bake, and each pancake has only 2.75g of sugar as it comes out of the pan: I bake and cook most of the food at our house, and my downfall in Summer is lemon barley cordial. Otherwise, I just use sugar, and its ilk, sensibly in baking and cooking.

The ricotta pancakes freeze very well, and just reheat them in the microwave for a few minutes. I like to make a blueberry sauce to go with them. Blueberries and pancakes go together so well.

 

Ricotta Pancakes and Maple Butter    serves 4, but easily more!!

  • 225g (1 1/2 cups) self raising flour
  • 110g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
  • 4 eggs separated
  • 375ml (1 1/2 cups) buttermilk
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 200g ricotta
  • maple syrup and lemon wedges
  • extra sugar and cinnamon to serve

For the Maple Butter

  • 80g butter (20ml = 1 tablespoon)
  • 40ml maple syrup

 

Make the Maple Butter by either melting the butter and syrup together and refrigerate till just set, or, whisk them together. Set aside.

Maple butter

Begin the pancakes by putting the flour, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, ricotta and buttermilk into a bowl that is larger than you think you will need. Whisk together until it is relatively smooth. I think some random small lumps of ricotta add to the charm of the pancakes. And it is too hot to whisk any more!!

Start batter

Meanwhile, whip the egg-whites with the mix-master or hand beater until stiff peaks form.

Egg whites

Fold the egg-whites into the batter. I add about 1/3 at a time and the idea is to keep as much of the air as possible in the egg-whites, and not beat them into flat submission. Once again, some large-ish areas of egg-whites are fine.

Fold egg whites into batter

I melted together some butter and olive oil as the pan heated. I don't have a non-stick pan, so I must use a little something to grease the pan. I tipped the butter and oil into a small bowl and then just added a teaspoon and swished it about before each batch of pancakes was cooked.

Oil and butter

And here's where it almost went to hell in a handbasket. The recipe says to cook the pancakes on low for 3-4 minutes and then flip them. Nope, that was not happening at all. On low, my pancakes were barely less than raw.

Nope, just no

In the end I set the temperature to 3 on a scale that goes up to 6 on my stove. When the pancakes developed little holes in the top, I flipped them over. It worked very well. I would recommend this way.

Lots of pancakes

I kept a few warm in the oven to have for my afternoon snack. Well, five.

Ricotta pancakes yum

Definitely yum


Rainspotting

We are a country "of droughts and flooding rains", as Dorothea Mackeller's My Country poem says. So while we have had record low rainfall, water restrictions and record high temperatures, last week we had the most rain ever to fall in one day: since records began. The East Coast had 500mm, that's half a metre or 20 inches in one day. The highway below our house was cut by flood water: yes, there's a four lane highway divided by a wide strip of trees and grass under the water.

Highway cut

The water collects above our house, flows through the garage, down the steps, the path to next door and then into the garden and finally the street. Last year The Council removed the lovely garden beds on the nature strips and replaced them with clay coloured granite chips (or something). So this happened:

The cause

And then this:

The mess

Two street sweepers spent an hour trying to clean it up, and then it rained torrentially again and they gave up. I don't blame them, the whatever-it-is stuck to the road.

Ironically, the rain didn't help with the bushfires, in fact the electrical storms started fourteen new fires and there were over eighty still burning this week. The smoke was replaced by mist from the rain.

The dam, which is in the process of having three valves replaced, spilled over and the work had to stop and the road and pad built by the workers was washed away. Oh and it is loud.

Lorelai Gilmore has been fascinated by the insects that have appeared, lots of crickets are chirruping in the early morning and evenings. She likes to investigate and stalk them.

We have had some good news on the Puppy Front: due to an iPhone update the Puppy Man lost our phone number, and we aren't in the book. So he texted from his overseas holiday and then rang from Sydney. He said there will always be a puppy for us. He is not sure if there is a puppy right now, but there are two more litters arriving soon. Peri spent a lot of time standing on the coffee table going "Eek" when Gilly arrived, so it will be interesting to see how much Gilly's nose is out of joint- if at all.

Gilly, what is this

Gilly something is there

When it is not so hot that I feel poorly and Georgette Heyer "decline-y", I have been knitting along with The Solstice Cardi. I have knitted both sleeves and started the body, which is knitted in one piece to the underarm. I am doing Moss stitch instead of Garter. The wool is Cascade Heritage Sock Wool in Pine.

Equinox cardi body started and sleeves

I finished The Colourful Zebra Crossing Cowl for MrsReno's birthday. It was a very enjoyable knit.

The colourful zebra crossing cowl

The X Files Season 10 has started on TV. Oh when the music began and the badges - all signed with the same handwriting- appeared and the weird things happened: I wanted to believe all over again!!

Well, the weather forecast is for hot days and hot nights. Gilly is in and out of the paddle pool and last night she was a big bundle of hotness. I poured water over her and spritzed her belly. We sleep after our walk in the coolest part of the day: such as it is. And Summer can last until well into March. How we long for the cool. I can't operate any kind of technology properly when it is hot: can't type, can't make The Ravelry clicky links, can't set the DVR to record.

I am so whiny and moany in the hot weather, but we live in the very South of The World, and it is meant to be cold. I remember the cold: it was chilly. Maybe it will be chilly one day soon??