The pleasure of purposeful planning

Dearest readers, I like to start my blog with an answer to the regular keyword searches that direct folk to my site. Now readers I cannot answer your queries as to how to make marshmallow fluff. You want it, I’m afraid you’ll have to buy it. Its a vanilla goo. I would never make it.

At the end of a long weekend, I like to look back at what I have achieved. A four day weekend was had, with a few nice little treats in between.

Friday night was a quiet one, I visited the gym and had a gay old time tv wise, Alan Carr, Graham Norton, chicken, salad. It comes to something when life is made better by food of choice. I also tried to drink. Half a bottle of prosecco to be precise. Good heavens I have lost my drinking legs. Half a bottle and I was trolleyed.

Saturday morning was quite Sedate. A touch of cleaning, idling, tidying, tv, breakfast followed by a trip around the shops. I followed this by a swim, some lunch with my friend Dan, a few cocktails. I followed this by more of my high protein intake focused menu, this time being chicken with freshly made pesto. I also made a sneaky batch of chocolate brownies with peanut butter. I say sneaky, as I had four eggs from an old box that needed using, a bar of uber cheap milk chocolate in the cupboard and a driving for sweet and salty. Any brownie with a glob of a peanut butter in the middle is very welcome with me. Texture and taste wise, this is a classically good combination. Nigella said that she doesn’t know why people don’t make brownies very often. I’m not totally I’m agreement, but I think tray bakes have something to bring to the table. They are such an easy way to spread one mix around a larger audience. Its also remarkably cheap. Here’s how I managed it.

Inspired, as I always am, by Nigella and Ina.

100g Milk Chocolate (chips if you are lazy, a block cut into shards otherwise)
300g light brown sugar
150 g Butter
75g Cocoa
150g Plain flour
1tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
Chunky Peanut Butter, spooned

Preheat the oven to gas Mark 5 or 190 degrees celcius.

Prep your tray. I’d say you need a small roasting tray, similar to what you would do a chicken and potatoes in on a Sunday. To easily line this, get some greaseproof and wet it, and push it into the pan, it will cling to the corners and keep it’s shape. Otherwise, Lakeland’s foil lined greaseproof paper is a great investment.

Melt the butter in a pan (see, this is a great recipe, does not demand forward planning!). Add the sugar and mix. Sift the dry ingredients and add this to the cohered liquid once the sugar is blended, taking the pan off the heat. When off the heat, add the eggs and vanilla , and mix, before distributing the lumps of chocolate. A chunky chocolate does prevent the chocolate entirely melting, and allows you the extra bit of pure chocolate bite. Now you are done, you are free to pour the mix into the pan. Now take your choices re the peanut butter. Soften it on the heat with a touch of milk or butter and marble through the mix. Or add dollops regularly through the mix.

Out there on the Market are brownie pans. It has a grill that separates the mix into equal sized brownies. Using this, I ensure each brownie has a dollop of PB, as well as a few peanuts which add extra crunch. This is just because I do still have a 6 year old child in me which gets very upset if my brownie has no peanut butter but Pete’s does. I’m liable to snatch.

Bung it in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Mine is more 25. It will be gooey, but a skewer comes out clean. I’m going to be honest, you get it wrong a few times before you get it right. Jamie and Nigella say you need goo or unclean on a skewer, and it’s true, you don’t want it dry. But too unclean, it will never set. It has to be soft, but you don’t want to go too far. It will take practice. And you show me a household where there is a wrath as a result of too many brownies being baked, and I’ll be having words with the people in that household. Now I’m not Lorraine Pascal, who has an obsession with brownies by her own admission, but I can develop itches that only chocolate can scratch. Add salt into this mix, and I’m there.

Sunday was body pump, sunshine, walks with my Peter, trip to Meadowhall to buy just one more pair of shorts, and a rather warm hour or two making a goan fish curry and perfect steamed rice and a red velvet cake that was not quite red enough. But alas folks, my decoration is coming along nicely.

I did a traditional sandwich of two cakes, which I added a layer of icing in between. I then followed the tips regarding adding a thin crumb layer around the sides, this was less successful than I had hoped due to the rather un-British climate, especially during Wimbledon. It didn’t set, but further layers remained crumb-free. I also managed to make the top of the cake picture perfect, with a swirl and some edible glitter. All to say “welcome to Great Britain baby James”. Pete’s little nephew was very sweet, as was his niece. Very sweet. I’m still “Monsieur”, alas my Anglo name is a bit odd to Eva’s ears just now. But I’m sure the Tongue twister will untangle.

Four days off, three days on, weekend then 5 final days before Mykonos. I’m on real countdown mode. It’s odd, I could probably keep going, but having two weeks off impending means I’m practically breaking to pieces. I need to get off this treadmill and have some down time before the wheels fall off!

Right, tomorrow is work, gym, then home. I’ll try and check in to keep you up to speed on all things me. I’m in need of a good sleep tonight. Last night was a kip on the floor on a thin mattress. My back feels fantastic, but I do love my own bed.

Blog later folks.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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