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Archive for the ‘appetiser’ Category

Dark Chocolate Brownies with Walnuts

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

I recently read about muscovado sugar (unrefined cane sugar) which is similar to brown sugar except with a more rich taste and has a deeper colour. There are light and dark varieties and they are more “sticky” than brown sugar.

Then as if it was a sign I was walking through the specialty food section of my local fruit and vege shop and found a box of muscovado sugar sitting very close to a container of Lindt Ecuador Dark chocolate pieces. Without really knowing what I was going to make I found my arm reaching out and grabbing both ingredients to put into my shopping basket.

Once home I decided it was time to make some brownies and here is the result. The recipe is adapted from Recipe by Chrissy Freer, published in the August 2003 issue of delicious (page 135).


140g unsalted organic butter
200g good quality dark chocolate
200g light muscovado sugar (or brown sugar)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
85g plain flour
75g walnuts chopped
Cocoa powder or icing sugar to dust

Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Grease and line your baking pan. I used a 32cm x 16 cm x 3.5 cm pan but you can use a square or rectangle cake pan.

Melt the butter and chocolate (I used Lindt Ecuador Dark Chocolate).


The best practice for this is apparently in a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. I used a small metal bowl over a small saucepan but because I used a metal bowl I had to watch the chocolate mixture to make sure it didn’t burn. Do not let the bowl touch the water in your pan as it will be too hot and can burn the chocolate.

Once this has melted, remove it from the heat and let it cool slightly.

Add the light muscovado sugar, vanilla and a good pinch of salt to the chocolate mixture and beat until well combined.

Whisk in the eggs one at a time, and beat well after each addition.

Add the egg yolk and flour and beat until smooth.

Fold in the walnuts. You can buy pre-chopped walnuts or buy whole nuts and chop yourself if you would like bigger pieces (pre-chopped nuts can be quite small). If you like, you can lightly toast the nuts (they don’t take long to toast so make sure you don’t burn them!)

Pour the mixture into your pan and smooth the top.

Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out with only a few moist crumbs on it, not batter.

Allow the brownies to cool and then turn it out onto a wire rack to peel off the lining paper.

Cut into squares and dust with cocoa or icing sugar before serving.

These go down a treat with some vanilla ice-cream and are especially delicious served warm.

The brownies can be kept for 2 to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge or they can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Quick Bruschetta

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Inspired by one of my favourite restaurants I snacked on this over the weekend.


Fresh Sweet Basil
Smoked Salmon
Persian Fetta
Crusty bread (a baquette would be perfect, though you can use any bread really)
Vine ripened tomato

Slice your bread of choice, and lightly toast it.

Slice the tomato.

Set up a mini picnic, laying out your Persian fetta, tomato, salmon, basil and bread.

The order that I placed my ingredients in was to make it easiest to eat, but feel free to be creative.

Take a slice of bread and spread with fetta.

Place a piece of smoked salmon on the bread.

Next a basil leaf.

Then a slice of tomato (or half slice depending on the size of your bread/tomato).



Repeat until you run out of ingredients or you are too full or someone steals all your food because it looks so yummy. If someone does steal your food I suggest you try to steal it back before its all been eaten. I’ve heard its nice to share, but I think only if I get the biggest portion.