The lovely @hadleybeeman was asking today if I had a gluten free chocolate brownie recipe. The truth is I don’t, but, I have adapted the Hummingbird Bakery recipe that features in their awesome Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook on three occasions – none of them came out perfectly, but they were all completely edible; let’ be honest with this much chocolate you can’t go wrong
200gm dark chocolate
175gm unsalted butter
325gm caster sugar
**130gm plain flour**
icing sugar, to decorate
a 33 x 23 x 5cm baking tray, lined with greaseproof paper
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 3 (170C/325F)
Smash the chocolate against the worktop to break it up (very therapeutic) – put chocolate and butter in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (usual caution about not letting bowl touch the water but I have to confess that I’m way too impatient for that so I always make sure it is in the water, just not touching the bottom of the pan)! Leave until melted and smooth.
Take off the heat. Add the sugar and stir it all together. Then add flour** and stir until well mixed. Lightly beat the eggs and stir them into the mix until thick and smooth.
Pour/spoon into baking tray and bake in preheated oven for about half an hour – the idea is to get brownies that are soft in middle and flaky on top. I have cooked these loads of times and nearly always leave them in for too long! I check after 30mins, get concerned that the mix is still a little wobbly looking, bottle it and put them back in for five mins….only to end up with overdone brownies with crispy edges – which are still beautifully edible but not as nice as they should be.
Leave to cool before decorating with icing sugar. Serve with clotted cream, ice cream, yoghurt if you insist on pretending to be healthy, on their own. I’ve never had anyone complain about these!
**Gluten free alternatives**
As I said I’ve made these three times for those pesky people who don’t do gluten One of the times I did a straight swop for almonds, so instead of the flour just 130gm ground almonds; one of the times I replaced with a mix of half almonds and half rice flour; and one time I just used gluten free flour from Doves Farm.
IMO none of these substitutes work as well….but they were all still very edible and very yummy.
This week the ever resourceful @dalekdoctor spotted this and sent me a link to the Edge Brownie Pan – I have yet to indulge in a purchase but if I do I’ll let you know how I get on – it makes perfect sense to me as a solution for the is it raw…damn it’s crusty challenge I regularly seem to face.
Need an excuse?
Just in case you are one of those strange, restrained types who needs an excuse to get baking – don’t forget it’s @macmillancoffee today and let’s face it, we shouldn’t need a special day to eat cake or raise cash for them – they’re worth it anyday, so get baking
This year the Commonwealth Games are being held in India, in fact they are due to start in just under 10 days. You can visit the XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi website here. There has been lots of media coverage this week, which you would think was a good thing….except it has nearly all been ridiculously negative. It has been questioning the preparations, the buildings, alleged corruption, and most recently ‘shocking’ photos of the Athletes Village have been winging their way around the web. You can see the BBC report here.
The motto of the Commonwealth Games is Humanity – Equality – Destiny.
So the irony isn’t lost on me that the Western media is moaning about the conditions that athletes will live in for eleven days, when the reality for many people living in India is that this is far and above their everyday living conditions. So how about a little perspective people? I’m not suggesting that the conditions are below what is optimum, but how about a little humanity and equality?
The other week I sat down to watch The Bucket List, I didn’t really know much about it, except that it was a comedy and that Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson starred in it. In a nutshell, for anyone who hasn’t seen it, it’s about two terminally ill cancer patients and their quest to achieve a number of things on their to-do list before they die. It’s a little cheesy, it’s easy watching, there’s a moral (kinda), you can probably take as much or as little out of it as you like. The tag lines of the film probably tell you all you need to know:
When he closed his eyes, his heart was opened
You only live once, so why not die with style?
If you’ve not seen it I’d recommend it.
Except it left me thinking. A lot. Regular readers (all two of you ), will be aware that my dad has terminal cancer, cholangiocarcinoma (you’d think after three years I wouldn’t need to double check how to spell that bloody word but no such luck). At his last appointment he decided not to have chemo for now (it was only likely to give him extra months not years) and to just carry on as normal – whatever normal is. The irony of the situation is that my dad is, or at least looks, fit and well; you wouldn’t know he was ill, indeed if it wasn’t for the routine scan earlier this summer I’m not sure we’d have been giving it a second thought. Dad was given three months to live, three years ago this week; he has surpassed all the odds already.
Last week was his birthday. What do you get a man who is dying for his birthday? Getting my dad a birthday present is an epic task at the best of times. He’s almost Buddhist in his approach to life and possessions – nothing is permanent so why want for anything? The only answer my dad has ever been consistent with when asked what he wants for his birthday – or for Christmas – or any other occasion is three well behaved children. We’re not too bad, us three, and we’re all adults now – so hopefully that need is met. So, true to form, what did I get him – I got him nothing, I baked instead. Double chocolate brownies for my pa on his 63rd birthday.
Which loops full circle to the point of this post – having just watched the Great British Bake Off on BBC2 I’ve decided that I’ll be baking tomorrow night for the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning on Friday. It’s not too late – you can still register to raise incredibly valuable funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. Trust me, Macmillan do really make the difference between a good and a bad day and just £25 could pay for a Macmillan Nurse for an hour; to be blunt that hour could change someone’s life.
You can help Macmillan continue their fantastic work – and you get to eat cake; what more could you ask for?
I get a lot of what can only be described as crap advertising dropping through my letterbox. Sometimes I wonder whether there are regional variations and my rubbish post is worse than other people’s due to my exotic Westcountry location Most of the time I grumble about the trees being killed in a really awful attempt to get me to buy a product or service I don’t need or don’t want. I don’t think I have ever ordered or purchased something as a result of some shoddy mass mail drop.
Today I got home to an advert from TalkTalk – two things amazed me and actually drove me to action in terms of sharing this with you! 1) That it was soooo bad (I mean who do they pay to design this stuff)? 2) That some poor person had actually marked on it number 16 – either the postman or someone else who had thrown it back in the post indicating it was for a no16 somewhere and mine was the lucky chosen street. I don’t know but I thought it was truly crap and warranted sharing with the masses! Depending on what response this little gem gets I might do regular posts – because I really do get some crackingly bad post!