Chocolate Brownies

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I found this recipe in my recipe journal and have absolutely no idea where it came from, but it was good! I cooked them a bit hotter and faster than the original recipe said, and the goo levels were absolutely optimal – soft and squidgy and gooey without falling apart in your hand. Continue reading

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Almost Paella

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A few days ago we had a bunch of people come for dinner and I needed something easy and cheap to cook so I gave paella another whirl. It wasn’t exactly paella because there was no seafood, and to save a bit of money I put pork in instead of chicken, which actually turned out pretty good. I didn’t measure anything, and have very little concept of how much rice grows, so ended up making enough to feed about 50 people, so I think I’ll be spending a very long time eating the leftovers now.

I’d love to be able to give you a recipe but I really have no idea how much of anything I put in so maybe I’ll have to have a go at that another day. But if you’re looking for a nice easy supper this week that doesn’t cost the world and isn’t crazy unhealthy – this is the way to go.

Chocolate Marzipan Cake

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It was my dad’s birthday over the weekend so mum requested I made a chocolate marzipan cake. I settled for a chocolate cake covered in marzipan (maybe partly just because I hate marzipan and wanted to be able to cut it off my slice easily). The cake part of the recipe is Mary Berry’s and is a really easy way to get a really decent chocolate cake. The chocolate buttercream recipe I used was from BBC food.


CHOCOLATE MARZIPAN CAKE
Cake ingredients:
  • 50 g Fairtrade cocoa
  • 6 tbsp boiling water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 50 ml milk
  • 175 g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100 g soft butter
  • 300 g caster sugar
Ganache ingredients:
  • 150 g Good Fairtrade chocolate broken into small pieces
  • 5 fl.oz double cream
Buttercream ingredients:
  • 50g good-quality dark chocolate
  • 100g unsalted butter (take out of the fridge to soften when you preheat the oven)
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • a little milk

Other ingredients: 

  • Apricot jam
  • Ready roll marzipan

For the cake:

1. Measure the cocoa into a bowl, add the boiling water and mix until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until combined.

2. Divide the cake mixture between the prepared tins.

3. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about twenty-five to thirty minutes until well risen and shrinking away from the sides of the tin, then cool the cakes fully (in the fridge)

For the ganache:

1. While the cake is cooking, measure the chocolate for the ganache and cream together in a bowl. Stand the bowl in a pan of simmering water and stir until just melted. Remove fron the heat and allow to become cold and nearly set.

For the buttercream:

1. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate for the buttercream in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. (I was a bit naughty and just melted the chocolate in the microwave). Let it cool a little.

2. Beat the butter in a bowl until soft, then gradually beat in the icing sugar. Add the vanilla extract and beat again.

3. Fold in the melted chocolate until completely incorporated (add a few drops of milk if the mixture is a little stiff). Add a little cocoa if you want it darker/more chocolatey.

For assembling:

You should now have two quite cold cakes, a bowl of almost-set ganache, and a bowl of chocolate buttercream.

1. Take one of the cakes and cover it with apricot jam, then spread most of the ganache on top, as evenly as possible.

2. Stack the other cake on top, making sure it’s as level as you can make it, then fill in any gaps in the side with ganache so that there’s no gap between the cakes.

3. Use a palette knife to carefully cover the entire cake with chocolate buttercream – this will be a crumb coat, so your marzipan goes on lovely and smooth. This usually takes me a very long time and a lot of patience – hopefully you are better at it than me.

4. Dust a surface with icing sugar and roll out the marzipan until it’s just big enough to cover the whole cake. Drape over the cake and smooth the sides, then run something flat around the sides several time to get the sharpest edge you can around the top.

5. Finally, dust the top with some cocoa and something pretty (I just took a vegetable peeler to some dark chocolate and dropped that in a pile in the middle).


Cake from Mary Berry and chocolate buttercream from BBC Food.