Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Chocolate & Pecan Brownies

I am all about using up ingredients at the moment as I'm moving flats this month. The less boxes full of baking ingredients I have to carry, the better! I also made a pavlova over Easter for my family and I had some fresh egg yolks to use up. I hate wasting egg yolks so much that I have a post all about recipes to use them up. I'm always searching for new ones too and I found this awesome brownie recipe over at Buttercream & Chantilly Factory. It uses only egg yolks to create delicious gooey brownies. I halved her recipe, but you could easily double up if you have more egg yolks to use.

I started by chopping up 120g pecans. Luckily this was exactly how much I had left in my cupboard!

I melted 170g dark chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of water and once fully melted I mixed in 100g caster sugar and 90g dark brown sugar. It didn't look that great at this point!

 I whisked up my 5 leftover egg yolks with 40ml double cream and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.

I poured the egg mixture into the chocolate and mixed until combined. It mixed in well and looked a lot more tasty!

Finally I added 95g plain flour and a pinch of salt and mixed well.

 I poured the mixture into a lined 8x8 tin.

I baked on 350F/180C/Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes.

The brownies were so deliciously rich and chocolatey. Somehow they tasted even better the next day!

I am entering this into this month's Alphabakes, hosted by Caroline Makes... and The More Than Occasional Baker. This month's letter is 'B' - for brownies in my case!

I am also entering these brownies into this month's Tea Time Treats, hosted by Lavender & Lovage and The Hedgecombers. This month's theme is chocolate.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Joseph Joseph Product Review

I was recently contacted to see if I wanted to review some of Joseph Joseph's new spring/summer products. I jumped at the chance as I have heard very good things about their brand, and given it longing looks on the John Lewis website! If you haven't heard of Joseph Joseph before, they are a family business ran by twin brothers. Their focus is on the whole user experience of their products, they combine design, function and quality materials to make their range.

I received their Slice&Sharpen™ Wood Chopping Board, and three peelers from their Multi-peel™ range - a Straight Peeler, a Julienne Peeler and a Serrated Peeler.

I gave the chopping board a go first. It is made from beech wood and has a built in ceramic sharpener so you can sharpen your knife before chopping. It was really easy to use, I just pulled the knife through it, you don't have to master any technique like you do with a regular knife sharpener. The board also has four rubber grips on it to keep it from sliding around on the work surface.

I moved onto the standard peeler. I really liked the guard on the peelers. When you are routing through a drawer for a peeler the last thing you want it to catch yourself on it.

I peeled some potatos for some soup and the straight peeler was very easy to use. The handle is rubber so you know you have a secure grip while you're using it.

The scraper on the side was fantastic and it made short work of the skin on some fresh ginger.

Next I tried the Julienne peeler. I've not come across this type of peeler before, and I loved it. This would be perfect for making low carb or paleo meals, such as courgette 'spaghetti'. It also has a channel knife on the side for garnishes.

Finally I tried out the serrated peeler. It also has a zesting tool attached to the side which makes it a 2 in 1 tool.

Serrated peelers are best used on soft fruits. The peeler took of just the top layer of the skin, so no fruit was wasted. I was really impressed. I'm looking forward to using the range in more of my cooking and baking!

The Slice&Sharpen™ Wood Chopping Board is available for £20, and the Multi-peel™ range are £8 each.

NB. I was sent these products for free to review, all opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Rhubarb & Ginger Meringue Tartlets

Ok I admit it... ever since I used my kitchen blow torch for the first time on the Golden Layered Simnel Cake I made recently, I've been dying to use it again! There's something about a powerful tool in your hands, it's exciting! Rhubarb is in season right now and it's also really good for you as it's full of vitamins and minerals. It's most commonly associated with crumbles and warm dishes, but this is a cold dessert so it's great for a sweet refresher after a meal.

I started by making the pastry. I rubbed 85g butter into 175g plain flour until it resembled bread crumbs. I then added one egg and mixed until a dough formed. I wrapped the pastry in cling film and chilled it for 30 minutes.

To make the filling I stewed 500g fresh rhubarb, 125g soft brown sugar, 3 tbsp cornflour, the zest and juice of 1 orange, a 1cm piece of grated fresh ginger and 1/2 tsp ground ginger.

I cut out the pastry and placed it in a old yorkshire pudding tin, you can use mini tartlets tins if you have them.

I lined the pastry with baking paper and poured in baking beans. I baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 10 minutes

I took the baking beans and paper out and put the pastry back in the oven until baked through, this took 10-15 minutes.

I filled the pastry cases with filling and glazed the edges with some beaten egg yolk. I put back in the oven for 15 minutes.

To make the meringue I whisked up 2 egg whites, 1/4 tsp cream tartar and 1/4 tsp vanilla extract in my food mixer until stiff peaks formed. Then I slowly poured in 55g caster sugar until the meringue was thick and glossy. I put it into a piping bag.

I piped the meringue onto the fully cooled tartlets, then used my kitchen blow torch to brown the meringue all over. The tartlets were best eaten straight away, the next day they got a bit soggy, but were definitely still edible!

I served these after a roast lamb dinner and they were beautifully tangy and sweet. I loved the fresh ginger in the filling. It's a perfect contrast to the light and fluffy meringue. A great spring and summertime dessert!

I'm entering these into myself and Cakeyboi's blogging baking challenge Treat Petite, where this month's theme is 'Hello Spring!'

Recipe inspired by Completely Delicious.