Peanut Butter Brownies

Happy Easter everyone! I hope you’re all having a fabulous Sunday morning and that the Easter bunny was super kind to you. I’m rather happy to be tucking into an absurd amount of mini eggs this morning – whilst still in my pajamas of course. Lucky me!

As it’s Easter, and that’s a LOT to do with family and chocolate – at least if you’re not religious and me, I thought I’d share a chocolatey recipe that is one of our family’s favourites – the humble peanut butter brownie. I made these yesterday for a barbecue and surprise surprise we’ve got only a couple left – they’re that good. We’ve mentioned these in the past but never shared our slightly amended version of the Life is Peachy recipe. So we thought it was high time we did – enjoy this Easter gift!

Ingredients

  • 150g Dairy Milk chocolate
  • 100g smooth peanut butter
  • 175g margarine
  • 325 caster sugar
  • 120g self-raising flour
  • 3 eggs

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Melt the chocolate and margarine and then stir in the peanut butter until the mixture is smooth

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Add the caster sugar and combine
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Now add the self-raising flour and mix thoroughly

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Crack the eggs in and combine until smooth

ready for the oven

Pour into a greased brownie tin and bake on 160 degrees for 40 minutes. Then EAT them all at once (go on you know you want to!)

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A super-duper soup pie

So yes many of you might be thinking I’ve lost the plot judging by the title of this post, a soup pie, I hear you cry! But I promise you I haven’t and what I’m about to share with you will undoubtedly become one of your staple meals – just for the simple fact that it’s just so darn easy and tasty. I may have mentioned in the past that one of my all-time favourite meals is my Dad’s chicken and ham pie. It’s one of those meals where seconds are mandatory and where my sisters and I fight over who gets to carry the bowl over to the sink to be washed up as it gives us precious seconds to scoop left over sauce out the dish (or perhaps that’s just me…). However one thing stops me from making the pie often and that’s that I can never really be bothered with making a white sauce. Yeah I know lazy indeed!

Anyway this problem is solved by the genius that is a tin of Heinz condensed mushroom soup. You fling this into the pie dish with your other ingredients – pre-cooked chicken, ham, fried mushrooms and leeks and stir it up and gently place your pastry on top and you’re done. The world’s easiest pie – what’s not to love?

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I’d heard the waffling about soup being used as a sauce in the past but I’d never thought to give it a whirl, and now that I have it has revolutionised my life. Now I can’t stop thinking of what else I can use soups for – perhaps a tomato one for a cheats lasagna or a fajita sauce. And maybe I’ll even try a chicken soup as a pie filling in the future, that’s got to work too right?! What about you have you ever used a magic soup as your sauce and if so I need details please!

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Happy pie making! Fi xx

Granola

So confession time. I have a tendency to get into a bit of a rut when it comes to breakfasts and I become obsessed with one breakfast for weeks at a time. It usually revolves between Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, Sainsbury’s Oat and Raisin Granola or a Porridge pot with sultanas and banana. It gets so bad that sometimes I have to remind myself that other breakfast foods exist other than my current item of choice as otherwise I’ll be eating the same breakfast for two or three months at a time!

Recently I realised I was in a granola rut, yet I didn’t want to pull myself out of said rut completely, I just wanted to change the type of granola I was eating. Namely I wanted to make my own. Now I’ve made granola in the past (read about that here) and it’s really easy, so lord knows why I stopped making it but having decided to mix things up I stumbled across this recipe for peanut butter granola. My first thought on this? Oh my. I mean wow I love peanut butter but would never have considered it for a granola recipe. But as soon as I heard of it I was sold!

Having tried the recipe I have to say it’s the granola recipe to beat all the granola recipes ever. It’s so easy, so cheap and so delicious that I defy you not to love it! The combination of nuts and oats is just ingenious and it reminds me of oat and fruit cookies, you know those really brilliant ones that you used to get in Starbucks in the US. Simply amazing.

Do try it and may I suggest you add sultanas to the trays about half way through cooking as they really do add something amazing to the recipe. Then the only thing you have to work out is what to eat it with… My current favourite is simply with milk but natural yoghurt and raspberries is a close second! Enjoy.

– Fi xxx

Avocado Brownies – sort of

So here’s the thing, I happen to have an obsession with brownies, an unhealthy obsession to them if I’m honest. Whenever I spot them in a cafe it’s almost impossible to not have one and I’ve baked so many different variations – let’s see there was the scrumptious plain chocolate onesraspberry and biscuit ones, some featuring butternut squash, ones with mint and then there were the Oreo ones and the marshmallow ones, basically anytime I see an interesting recipe for brownies I have to give them a whirl. This obsession is not always great because of course gooey, chocolate brownies are not altogether good for you now are they? Plus how can anyone have just one homemade brownie? It’s basically an impossibility, well for me anyway. If you can do, then yay to you. I would be jealous but you know I’m too busy eating my fourth brownie of the day!

Anyway recently I discovered a recipe on the wondrous Pinterest for brownies that were healthy and only 27 calories a pop! Amazing right? I mean imagine the guilt free brownie scoffing that could ensue at just 27 calories a brownie?!?! It’s my ultimate dream! What makes them healthy I hear you say? Well you replace the butter and sugar with other ingredients, namely yogurt, Stevia and avocado. Yes avocado – don’t worry you don’t get the flavour of the avocado it’s purely for texture. Let’s be honest that would be a bit weird wouldn’t it? Needless to say I had to make them straightaway (or at least once I found all the ingredients, Stevia is not that easy to find FYI). My only issue with these brownies? Well there not really brownies. They’re more cakey than that and quite solid – there’s none of the gooey middle you get (and want) in a brownie in these. Don’t get me wrong they are nice, once heated in the microwave and covered in custard, but they’re not really brownies – at least not in my book. You should definitely make them, but treat them like a healthy cake and you’ll be much happier!

So here’s the recipe, which of course you can find over on the awesome blog Undressed Skeleton, which is chocked full of awesome looking food!

1 avocado – 3 eggs – 1 cup wholemeal flour – 1/2 cup cocoa powder – 1/3 cup hot water – 1 tbsp vanilla extract – 6oz fat free vanilla yogurt – 5 packets of Stevia – 3 tbsp dark chocolate chips – 3 tbsp agave nectar

Beat the avocado, eggs and yogurt until there are no avocado lumps, next add the vanilla extract and Stevia and beat until fully combined.

In a different bowl combine the water and cocoa together to form a paste (I needed to add a bit more water to get the right consistency). Then add to the avocado mixture and mix well.

Finally add the flour and combine again before pouring into the pre-greased brownie tray

Sprinkle with chocolate chips and cook on 180 degrees for 20 minutes.

If you make them I’d love to hear your thoughts, I’m intrigued to know how you ate them and if you’d class them as a brownie or not…

– Fi xxx

Originally posted on The Adventures of Fi on 20th January 2014.

Focaccia

A few weeks back, on a lazy saturday morning, I stumbled across the Hairy Bikers. They appeared to be living the dream as they baked focaccia al fresco in Venice. Yeah, like I said living the dream.
This got me thinking, why not try making focaccia myself? I’ve not really dabbled in bread making in the past, as you’ll see from the fact that our bread recipes have all been done by Lau. Case in point: here and here. Nevertheless I thought why not, it can’t be that tricky right?!

Well no it’s not tricky, but it is a bit of a faff isn’t it? I mean talk about needing patience (something I’ve always been in short supply of). From making the following focaccia recipe I’ve realised that I like a recipe that you make and then bake. None if this make a bit, leave it for a while, add something more then leave it a while longer and then oh look baking time. No that malarkey is far too much hassle for my liking! Even if the resulting focaccia is pretty darn scrummy. Anyway I followed a recipe I found online here. So what you’ll need is:

  • 2 tsp dried yeast
  • 475g plain flour
  • 75ml olive oil
  • 3 tsp sea salt flakes
  1. Start by putting 125ml warm water into a large mixing bowl with 1tsp of yeast.
  2. Leave for 10 minutes to bubble, before adding 75g of the flour.
  3. Stir together, cover with cling film and leave to stand for 45 minutes.
  4. In your second bowl mix the rest of the yeast with 250ml warm water.
  5. Leave to bubble for 5-10 minutes before adding to the first floury mixture.
  6. Add the oil, 2tsps salt and the remaining flour.
  7. Mix to a dough and knead for 10 minutes.
  8. Put in an oiled mixing bowl and cover with cling film.
  9. Leave in a warm spot for 90 minutes or until it doubles in size.
  10. Knock the air out if the dough and shape into an oiled shallow roasting tin.
  11. Cover and leave for 1 hour.
  12. Preheat a baking sheet in the oven at 220°c.
  13. Sprinkle the dough with the remainder of the salt.
  14. Bake the dough for 15-20 until the dough is golden and has risen.
  15. Eat, enjoy (and have a rest)!

– Fi xxx

Oreo Brownies

A few weeks ago I had the need to bake something and really fancied brownies, but wanted to try something new. Having done normal brownies, blondies, butternut squash brownies, red velvet cheesecake and even mint brownies in the past I was struggling to find a new recipe until I stumbled upon a Lorraine Pascal one in Baking Made Easy. As soon as I saw the recipe I was hooked, I mean brownies and Oreo biscuits, surely a match made in heaven? These are not only super easy to make, but they also taste absolutely scrumptious. I was initially concerned that the brownies were too sloppy once they came out of the oven, but after popping them in the fridge overnight they were a lot more stable and more brownie-like. It’s not surprising they were quite squidgy as you don’t add massive amounts of flour to the mixture, so it is quite runny when you pop it in the tin.

You will need:

  • 165g butter
  • 200g dark chocolate – finely chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 165g soft light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 154g Oreo biscuits – broken into quarters

And all you do is:

  • Melt the butter and chocolate together
  • Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla essence in a large bowl until they are light and fluffy
  • Add the sugar a bit at a time, whisking after each addition (make sure you pour the sugar round the side of the bowl so as not to knock out the air you’ve whisked in)
  • Once the mixture has stiffened pour in the chocolate mixture (pour round the sides again)
  • Next add the flour, cocoa powder and a third of the Oreos and stir until combined
  • Pour into a greased and lined tin (21cm square)
  • Sprinkle the rest of the Oreos over the top and press them into the mixture slightly
  • Bake at 180⁰C for 25-30 minutes until the middle is gooey.
  • Leave to cool in the tin before removing, cutting up and scoffing them all!

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See I told you they were simple to make and to be honest the very small effort is totally worth it as they are scrumptious, with just the perfect brownie texture – I promise you’ll love them! Let me know if you make them, I’d love to hear how they turned out!

– Fi xx

The original version of this post, Amazing Recipes: Oreo Brownies was first published on the blog Fi’s Daily Ponderings

A Kitchen DIY: Frosted Jars

Hello lovely people! We’ve got a slightly different post today, hopefully you don’t mind TOO much. 🙂

As well as being keen bakers and hopefully one day brilliant cooks (but let’s be honest that’s most definitely a work in progress!), Lau and I are also fans of crafty DIY things, which is what I wanted to share with you today. Yes I know this is a cooking, baking and eating related blog and not about crafty stuff BUT this DIY is kitchen related and involves the very things we eat all our yummy cooked food with – cutlery! Hopefully you’ll forgive this intrusions of craftiness because of the tenuous link!

Anywho, back to the DIY sharing. For the last six months or so we’ve been using three old glass jars for our utensils as they are the most perfect size for all our silverware and the old Coca Cola tin we used to use wasn’t working out. Whilst the jars are perfect in terms of size etc, they were a little VERY bland and dull, which is why last weekend we set out to improve them so that we wouldn’t be ashamed of our utensil pots – yes we were ashamed of them, we’re weird like that. Sorry!

So back to the actual DIY, it couldn’t have been simpler!

1.We washed out and dried our lidless jars
2.Then spread out the newspaper and sprayed each one with a smooth coat of etching spray, to give them all a frosted look

photo 23. Left the jars to dry for four hours
4. Stuck on the pretty shaped chalkboard labels [you might recognise the labels from our recent Kitchen Loveliness post here]. I’m really pleased with the labels, although I think my penmanship could do with some work….

And here are the finished jars in all their gorgeous frosted glory:

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Awesome right?! I for one am head over heels in love with them and find myself looking round the house wondering what other items I can frost or add stickers too. So far I’ve steered clear of our Kilners jars, but I fear it’s only a matter of time!

Happy cooking/crafting/DIYing, Fi xx