Bread

Back in March I blogged about starting my own personal GBBO challenge – where I would try baking a new recipe once a fortnight. I’ve pretty much stuck to it, although sometimes I’ll confess there may well of been more than a fortnight in-between. There have been some successes and failures along the way, one bake that really didn’t go well was my madeira cake, but practice makes perfect. A couple of weeks ago for the first time I made choux pastry, I’ve always avoided it as I thought it was really complicated (plus my auntie is the queen of profiteroles so I’ve never really had the need!). I couldn’t believe how simple it is, and how easy it was to get great results. I made six large choux buns which I then piped full of a rapsberry and vanilla cream – topped with more fresh berries. They went down a storm with the husband.

This weekend, (following the Great British Bake Off) it’s all about bread, which considering my background I probably should of covered first. For those that don’t know me, bread and baking is in my blood. My grandfather owned a successful bakery business until he retired around 15 years ago – and he was the third generation of his family to own a bakery business. We all worked at the family business at some point, I used to work every Saturday morning in one of the shops he owned (which was great as a teenager as I had an unlimited supply of donuts for my friends after our trips to the local pub on a Saturday evening). When my brother and I were small we used to ‘help’ out in the original bakery that he owned and he always told us we were natural kneaders. I really must get him to write down all the bread recipes he used to use as I’ve never found any supermarket bread that tastes as good. So, this weekend I’ll be trying out the perfect white loaf recipe from my Bake Off book. Whether I show my grandad the end result or not will depend on what it looks and tastes like!
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My little brother helping out at my Grandad’s first bakery – which had a traditional bread oven.

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A foolproof Brownie recipe

Just thought I would do a quick blog post to share this brownie recipe with you all. It’s such an easy and foolproof recipe, and they always taste delicious.

I made them twice last week to take to friends for dinner and they always go down a storm. Great as a dessert, warm with ice cream or just on their own with a nice cuppa. I also tend to make them for friends when they need a little cheering up, they’re a great pick me up ; )

Enough of my rambling I hear you cry, just give us the recipe. Here you go, it’s adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe (from her How to be a Domestic Goddess book).

First up, grease and line a baking tin. I always use a square 22cm (approx) one, unless I’m making a double batch. Preheat the oven to about 180c (I usually have my oven about 160-170 as I swear it’s hotter than it says)

Ingredients
7.5 oz soft unsalted butter (or hard baking marg works just as well)
7.5 oz dark chocolate
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (don’t scrimp on the quality of this, use a good one and you only need a capful)
10 oz caster sugar
4 oz plain flour

Method
Melt the butter and sugar together in a saucepan.

In a bowl whisk the eggs together with the sugar and vanilla.

Once the chocolate has melted, let it cool slightly then beat in the eggs and sugar mixture. Then add the flour.

Scrape into your lined tin and bake for about 20 mins or so. I usually find 22 mins is spot on but it depends on your oven. The trick is to take them out when there is still a wobble – leaving them all gooey inside.
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