A selection of my favourite, easy recipes
Double Chocolate Brownies
1. Turn the oven on to 180°C. Brush your cake tin with oil or melted better, put a piece of baking paper in the bottom.
2. Melt the butter in a saucepan but don't walk away while you are doing this or you may end up with brown or burnt butter. When it is ready, take it off the heat and stir in the cocoa and sugar, followed by the eggs.
3. Put a sieve over the saucepan and tip in the flour and baking powder, along with a pinch of salt. Sift everything into the saucepan, then mix it in. Make sure you don't have any pockets of flour. Add the chocolate chips and stir them in.
4. Pour the mixture into your tin and bake it for 30 minutes. If you have used a different sized tin, the cooking time may be shorter (bigger tin) or longer (smaller tin). You will know your brownies are cooked when you can poke a skewer or knife into the middle of them and it comes out clean. Remember though, the chocolate chips may have melted and if your skewer hits one of those, it might look as if the mixture is still wet. Leave the slab to cool in the tin, then tip it out and cit it into brownie pieces.
Preheat oven to 180°C and toast the hazelnuts for 15 minutes or until the skins start to blister and the nuts are fragrant. Remove from oven and wrap the nuts in a clean towel and steam for 5 minutes. Rub the towel briskly to remove the skins. Let cool.
Place the toasted hazelnuts in a food processor and process until finely ground. Set aside.
Coarsely chopped the chocolate and place in a food processor. Process until the chocolate is finely ground. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and set aside.
In a small saucepan bring the cream to a boil. Immediately, remove from heat and pour over the finely ground chocolate. Stir the mixture until smooth and then add the finely ground hazelnuts. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the mixture until thick but not solid (about 30 to 60 minutes).
Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip and pipe the ganache into foil candy cups until they are 3/4 full. Place a toasted hazelnut, pointed end up, on top of each cup. Chill the ganache cups until they are firm (about 1 hour).
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several weeks. Best served at room temperature. Makes about 2 dozen ganache cups.
In a separate bowl whisk the flour with the salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of your electric mixer cream the butter (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until smooth (about 2 minutes). Stir in the vanilla extract. Gently stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Flatten the dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill the dough for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 150 ° with the rack in the middle of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.On a lightly floured surface roll out dough to 1.25 cm thick. Cut into rounds or whatever shapes you wish using lightly floured cookie cutters. Place on the prepared baking sheet and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. This will firm up the dough so the cookies will maintain their shape when baked. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cookies are dry but not brown. (The bottoms of the cookie will be lightly browned.) Cool on rack.
Pumpkin, Spinach & Feta Cakes
Place the pumpkin in a small bowl or roasting bag and microwave for 4-5 minutes on high power, stirring after 2 minutes, or until tender. Mash roughly then set aside.
Break the eggs into a medium-sized bowl, then add the milk, spinach and feta. Add the mashed pumpkin and stir until well mixed. Sprinkle in the flour, cumin, curry powder, salt and pepper to taste and gently fold together, until all ingredients are just combined.Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large non-stick pan. Drop serving spoon-size blobs of the batter into the pan leaving several centimeters between each to allow easier turning. Cook over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Arrange cooked cakes on a double layer of paper towels and keep warm while you cook the remaining batter in batches that fit comfortably in the pan.