Hi lovelies, how has your week been? I hope you’ve been finding time to do the things you enjoy.
Last week was my first full week of maternity leave and I have to say once I’d got over the initial feeling that I was skiving (!), I enjoyed it immensely. Time to relax, take an afternoon nap if I wanted, do some gentle sorting and tidying in the house in readiness for the little one’s arrival, and watch the Downton Abbey box set that The Bert’s mum gave me for Christmas. This series completely passed me by while it was on TV (it’s not really The Bert’s cup of tea) but I have to say I’m really enjoying watching it all from the very beginning. I’m getting quite into it – it’s gentle, but compelling, viewing. I’m already on Series 2!
I also did quite a bit of baking during last week, which I thought I’d share with you now. I really enjoy spending time in the kitchen, trying new recipes, and making old favourites.
My baking started last week with another batch of gingerbread biscuits – in the shape of lobsters. Don’t ask me why! I used Kate’s lovely recipe again, and packed the little critters off to work with The Bert (my waistline is expanding quite enough on its own without too many extra treats!). The feedback was ‘Delicious!’ and ‘they look more like crayfish than lobsters’ – I think perhaps they had a point.
Towards the end of last week I set about a bit more baking. We had day 2 of our NCT course and had a bring and share ‘pot luck’ sort of lunch planned. I made a batch of chocolate brownies, following another Hummingbird Bakery recipe that you’ll find in their book The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.
I was really worried about how the brownies had turned out, so I also made a batch of my fail-safe flapjacks. As it happened, I needn’t have worried about the brownies – they were really good. Not too sweet and a delicious flaky-on-top-squidgy-in-the-middle texture.
Here’s the recipe if you fancy a bash:
Hummingbird Bakery’s Traditional Brownie
- 200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped (I actually used 150g dark chocolate and 50g milk chocolate)
- 175g unsalted butter
- 325g caster sugar
- 130g plain flour
- 3 eggs
- icing sugar, to decorate
- Preheat the oven to 170C.
- Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (don’t let the base of the bowl touch the water). Leave until melted and smooth.
- Remove from the heat and add the sugar. Stir until well incorporated. (The bowl I’d done my melting in wasn’t very big, so I transferred my melted mix into a bigger bowl which seemed to work just fine).
- Add the flour and mix until incorporated.
- Finally, stir in the eggs and mix until thick and smooth.
- Spoon the mixture into a prepared baking tray (they suggest 33 x 23 x 5cm tray lined with greaseproof paper. I didn’t have one that size but think that a smaller one would be better anyway to make them slightly thicker) and baking the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. Be careful not to overcook otherwise the edges will become hard and crunchy.
- Leave to cool completely before dusting with icing sugar, to decorate.
I’m planning to do a bit more baking for the weekend – I’m meeting up with the NCT ladies again and I’ve said I’ll take along some cakes. I’ve got it in my head that I really want to have a go at making Chocolate Tiffin, or Refrigerator Cake. I’ve been scouring the internet for recipes, trying to work out which might be the most delicious. But to be honest it’s got me in a bit of a pickle. I don’t know whether I should be using just cocoa powder or all chocolate, or a mix of the two? Raisins, dried apricots or cherries? Rich tea biscuits or digestives? And for the topping should it just be melted chocolate or one recipe suggested melted chocolate, cream and syrup?
So, I was thinking that you lovely lot might be able to help me out. Please, purlease, if this is a recipe that is familiar to you and you have a fail-safe favourite that you always make, perhaps you could share it with me, or point me in the right direction? Thank you so much in advance.
Well, lovelies, enjoy the rest of the week – whatever you’ve got planned. I’m hoping to do a bit more on my latest crochet project. I don’t think I’ve shared it with you yet? It’s still a work in progress and I’m a bit nervous as to how it might turn out. I’ll do you a progress report soon and you can let me know what you think!