Saturday, 12 July 2008
And he does it again.
It official, Nigel Slater is rocking our world!
I just made his "very good chocolate brownie" recipe, and he's right, they are very good. No, make that VERY good! Yes ladies and gentlemen, that's bold and italic and capitals, they are that tasty.
I have been craving brownies again these last few days, unusual because although I like chocolate, it's rare that I crave it, and this makes it twice in two months, which is even weirder. I think the problem is that last time I made brownies they were alright, but not the crisp-on-the-outside-gooey-in-the-middle masterpieces I was hoping. This is probably a combination of over-baking and wanting to skimp on the calories and make them lower fat. Now that's all very well, I should eat low fat things because of my back (I have sciatica that is brought on because the muscles in my back can't metabolize fats very well and so become inflamed pressing on the nerve), and should eat low calorie things because of my conscience. Thing is, sometimes that just doesn't hit the spot. So out of the window go all the good intentions and into the oven goes gooey chocolatey goodness.
I finished reading "The Kitchen Diaries" by Nigel Slater this week. I had been saving it, reading it week by week according to the date. However, N has been working late this week and I needed something to keep me company. Plus the weather hasn't exactly been summery, so I didn't see any problem with dipping into the autumn months. This proved dangerous. It was as if Mr Slater had read my mind because there, hidden in the depths of October was a recipe for brownies, and worse, a picture. Damn they looked good.
I tried to resist I really did, but when I went out for the paper this morning it was cold and damp and I knew that brownies were going to be made. I figured I could make them, eat one today, ride the bike to wear off the calories and quickly whip the rest into the freezer for N's lunches. Hmmm, they're so good they may not last long enough to get in the freezer.
They are a very adult brownie, dark and rich but not too sweet. Crisp on the outside, but so fudgy as to almost be runny in the middle. I think the flavour was helped by the fact that I used 70% cocoa chocolate. I halved the recipe and had to slightly adapt it as a result, but there were no complaints when I dished them up. In fact I think the phrase from N was "these are a real winner." I served them with fresh hot coffee, but I think they'd be good as a dessert served simply with raspberries or strawberries - you won't need cream, believe me!
Nigel Slater's "very good chocolate brownies" adapted from "The Kitchen Diaries" - makes six.
150g caster sugar
125g 70% chocolate
30g plain flour
30g cocoa flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
(I had to line half a baking tin, using folded parchment paper to make it half size, otherwise the brownies won't be thick enough. If you double the mixture (but use 3 eggs not 2) it should fit a brownie pan.)
Preheat the oven to 180C
Cream the butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy. Beat the eggs and then slowly add to the mixture a bit at a time, combining in between each addition. Melt 100g of the chocolate in a double boiler or over a pan of simmering water (but don't let the bottom of the bowl touch the water), chop the remaining chocolate into very mall pieces. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt together. Add the melted and chopped chocolate to the eggs and sugar batter, combine and then slowly fold in the flour mixture, being careful to keep as much air in the mix as possible.
Spoon into the lined baking pan and smooth the top. Bake for 30 minutes. It should look slightly softer in the middle than the edges. A toothpick should come out wet, but not with raw batter on it. If it does return to the oven for a further 3 minutes, bearing in mind it will solidify as it cools. Remove from the oven and cool for at least an hour before cutting into squares and indulging.