Monday, August 16, 2010
So Ed had a house warming party on the weekend.
A homeless-themed house warming party.
There were fingerless gloves, ripped stockings, cardboard signs, and beers in paper bags.
Oh, and these brownies were there too.
I believe that brownies have to be chewy, and not at all related to a sponge cake (gag).
These are dense without being teeth-numbingly rich, they are studded with tart raspberries and have pockets of crunch from the toasted walnuts and the crisp crust on top.
I used the Bourke St Bakery cookbook for the base brownie recipe, and then went from there. That's the great thing about brownies, after you have a good base, you can chuck in whatever you have in the pantry and it will probably turn out right as rain.
There was a little splash of rum left in the cupboard, so that went in too. I figure rum fitted in pretty well with the theme.... right?
Has anyone else seen this? The poor pooch!
Double Chocolate, Raspberry and Walnut Brownies:
adapted (heavily) from Bourke St Bakery
Makes approx 24 largish brownies.
50g plain flour
40g good quality cocoa powder (plus extra for dusting)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
300g dark chocolate, chopped
80 unsalted butter, chopped
300g caster sugar
1006 sour cream
140g dark chocolate 'melts' (chips)
30ml dark rum (feel free to free pour a splash, I wont tell)
100g walnuts, toasted in the oven for 10 minutes or until fragrant
handful of frozen (or fresh) raspberries, put as many in as you like.
Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.
Grease and line a deep, rectangle baking tray with baking paper.
Sift flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder into a bowl.
Place butter, chocolate and sugar into a stainless steel bowl over a pot of simmering water, and stir until the chocolate has melted (don't worry about the sugar not melting). Remove from stove and cool for 10 minutes.
Using an electric mixer, mix in the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture. When combined, add each egg one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Add sour cream and rum. After combined, fold in raspberries, walnuts and chocolate melts.
Pour mixture into baking tray and smooth with a spatula. Place in the oven for 50 minutes or until just set. The top should be dry and crispy and the centre slightly gooey underneath.
Cool in tin for 15 minutes before turning out and cutting into squares. Dust lightly with cocoa powder.
Friday, August 13, 2010
So you're walking down Rosenthalerstrasse in Mitte. You're pretty damn hungry, scratching your head wondering what to eat, and then... you see a blackboard out on the pavement... a beacon in the hunger fog...
"Could you ever be in love with a sandwich?"
The answer is yes. A thousand times over.
Probably one of my favourite cities in the whole world.
Mostly because of a sandwich I had.
And the dance floor that I danced on, that was surrounded by a full curtain of tinsel.
Maybe it was the legal (!) fireworks in the street,
the mouthwatering late-night kebabs with 'secret sauce' and sauerkraut,
or the Crispy DuDu
betterthansushi Roll that changed my sushi-eating life.
The food scene in Berlin is fantastic. After travelling around Germany I was relieved to find a city so wholeheartedly involved with international cuisine. After stuffing ourselves with pretzels and pork knuckle for two weeks in Bavaria and surrounds, we were ready for a change.
While I was there I heard a rumour, a true rumour, that a new restaurant/bar opens up there twice a week. It's the only place in the world where a deli is open all night, and people actually go there at 4am to order a scamorza baguette (goats cheese would have been a better choice?) The city is a minestrone soup full of cultures, influences and youth. A youth that doesn't wait for anybody to give them permission to break the mould of past generations.
This youth culture is working hard to reinvent a city so steeped in a history that is not so easily forgotten. Everywhere you look there is change. Change in the buildings, the shops, the clubs and on the street. The people there aren't afraid of the new, they embrace it. Independent designers, artists and food people run this place and you can't walk a metre without spying something interesting.
A 24hr Italian/Israeli Deli for example,
We literally went to Luigi's six times in the eight days we were there over new year, we thawed out our freezing noses while sipping the ginger, lemon and fresh mint tea and chewing on theout of this world, fresher than fresh, tastier than tasty, baguettes.
They even give you free olives! I'm a sucker for free snacks.
The team bakes their crusty bread in-house, and I'm not sure what they marinate their vegetables in, perhaps fairy dust, because they taste like heaven. If you do end up paying them a visit, try the goats cheese with red pesto, grilled red pepper, zucchini and eggplant antipasti, salad and honey mustard vinaigrette. I also hear the chicken with sweet potato and aioli is a cracker choice.
I'm not sure which love came first, the sandwich or the city.
But I'm counting the days until I can go back!
Monday, August 2, 2010
Happy Monday My Dears,
I hope you all had a lovely sunny weekend. If you were at Splendour in the Grass I hope you're not too hungover and that you said hi to Florence And The Machine for me like you promised you would.
Here's a little bit of magic to ease your Monday morning sulky mood. Take one hard, yellow quince, bake it with some sugar and vanilla for a couple of hours and hey presto it turns ruby red and melts in your mouth. If only everything was so easy.
Our pet kitty died on the weekend. His name was Tashi, named after Tashi The Elf in the kid books. Even though he probably would have turned up his nose at fruit, preferring sardines, this post is dedicated to him. I'll miss you Taneshka, you were always king of cats to me.
Vanilla Poached Quince
adapted from Gourmet Traveller (July 2010)
2 quinces, peeled and cut into 8, core removed and peelings reserved
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped
Preheat oven to 130 degrees C. Bring the water, sugar and vanilla pod and seeds to the boil in an ovenproof baking dish over high heat. When it comes to the boil, reduce heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add quince, cover with peelings, cover with a piece of baking paper, replace the lid and bake in the oven until soft and deep pink (about 3.5-4 hours).
Remove quince from syrup and place in airtight container. Strain the syrup into a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat until reduced by nearly half (15-20 mins). Pour syrup over quince. Will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 month.