Monday, March 23, 2015

Smores Brownies and dreaming of summer

It's spring, the days are longer, the flowers are blooming and there is significantly less chill in the air. I won't lie, spring is not my favourite season. It's confusing; days are warm one minute and frozen the next and I find myself spending far too much time chilled because I mistakenly decided against a scarf or boiling because I mistakenly wore one. The best parts of spring are easter and the approaching summer. This Easter I plan on making a lot of delicious chocolate based goodness but in the mean time I am dreaming of summer, barbeques and smores.

These smores brownies are a delicious combination of the flavours you love and remember from campfires and barbeques. The biscuit base and sprinkles are crisp and buttery and the marshmallow are gooey and sweet. Combining that with a deep rich chocolatey brownie and you have a perect dessert.

Smores Brownies

200g dark chocolate
150g butter
250g caster sugar
60g cocoa powder
80g plain flour
1 tbsp yoghurt
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

300g digestive biscuits/graham crackers
75g butter melted

500g mini marshmallows

1 - Preheat your oven to 170'/325/gas mark 3. Break up your biscuits until you have crumbs and melt
      the butter in a saucepan.

2 - Pour the butter over the crumbs and mix well. Then press the cookies into the base of a roasting
     dish. Pour any left overs into a seperate pie dish.

3 - Bake the base for 15 minutes. Remove the extra biscuit crumbs and let cool.

4 - Melt the chocolate and butter in a glass bowl over a pot of boiling water.

5 - Remove from the heat and add the sugar and cocoa powder and stir to combine.

6 - Add the vanilla extract, yoghurt and flour. Then finally add the eggs and stir well.

7 - Pour over the base and return to the oven for 30-40 minutes.

8 - Remove from the oven and immediately pour the marshmallows on top. Slice and leave to cool

Then just enjoy =)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Vegan Ice-cream! All of the yum and none of the dairy

This past weekend we went for a visit to my sister's place. The weekend was filled with lots of enjoyable outings (tamper included) and some local sight-seeing but my favourite part had to be the vegan ice-cream. We had discussed ahead of time that we would be preparing this and I was very excited at the notion. I had never made traditional ice-cream (with an ice-cream maker) before, let alone a vegan variety, so needless to say I was very excited about this activity. Given my severe lack of experience and my sister's relatively little experience we decided to consult an expert - Isa Chandra Moskowitz and adapt her pumpkin vegan ice-cream recipe.

This recipe is surprisingly simple and although it requires specific pieces of equipment, it is relatively simple. The longest parts are the boiling of the cashews and the churning and chilling of the ice-cream. However these do not require your attention so you can be doing other things while your ice-cream is being made for you, almost!

In terms of flavours we went for a coconut and cashew ice-cream with hazelnut croquant pieces inside. The flavours come together deliciously and could be augmented with some vegan caramel, I found a delicious looking recipe here but on to our recipe.

Hazelnut Croquant Vegan Ice-cream

Equipment: Ice-cream maker, blender and saucepan

2 Cups Unroasted Cashews
2 cups Coconut Milk (1 can)
1 cup distilled water
3/4 Cup maple syrup
1/4 cup golden syrup
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt

1 cup hazelnuts
3/4 cup sugar

1 - Boil your cashews for 45 minutes.

2 - Meanwhile to make your croquant - melt your sugar in a thick bottomed saucepan and swirl, do not mix, until golden brown, then add your hazelnut and stir quickly before pouring onto a piece of greaseproof paper and let cool.

3 - Once your cashews have boiled, drain the water and add them to your blender. Now add your coconut milk, water, vanilla extract, maple syrup, golden syrup and salt. The blender will look like a delicious ombre bubble tea!

4 - Now blend until completely liquified. The finished product should coat the back of a spatula and hold a line if you run your finger down the middle.

5 - Follow your manufacturer's instructions to churn your ice-cream, first for 20-25 minutes.

6 - Meanwhile chop up your hazelnut croquant with your blender on the chop setting.

7 - Now add your chopped hazelnut croquant and continue churning for another 20-25 minutes.

8 - Move to an air-tight container and eat now, like a soft serve ice-cream or freeze overnight for well frozen traditional looking boules.

Monday, March 2, 2015

A little sweetness, a healthy treat

Since my last post I have not been very good at updating. It is probably due to the lack of sugar in my life right now. Last week I even started a 'Better Call Saul,' review and just left it sitting open on my laptop all day, without adding to it. I'm not sure if that says more about my sugar deprivation or about the show. If I'm honest I'm not sold on that show yet, emphasis on the yet! It has potential in my opinion but it seems to be a slow builder. In case you are wondering, since we are talking Netflix, I am about 8 episodes into season 3 of 'House of Cards' and will be doing a review when we're done. (Yes I dedicated a whole day to it this weekend, no judgement!!)

Anyway so this weekend I also found myself craving sugar and sweets and buying things like 'crackers' that are really biscuits and decided to just go ahead and make something nice. So I present to you the delicious hazelnut macaroons -

So.........that went well......but I'm back with a bang!

At the start of the year I said that I would try to post more regularly and......yeah....that didn't happen =/ Finishing this doctorat...