Brownies: the real result

Katherine posted a few days ago about an experiment she did in attempting to create a ‘healthy brownie’. I just felt that I wanted to give a little bit of real-person feedback on the results of this experiment.

Here are our friends Jo and Cliff, when asked to do a ‘thumbs-up/thumbs-down’ rating:



I think their expressions say it all.

And here are our friends Mark and Maddy:


So, as you can see, we weren’t that impressed. I do like healthy food, on the whole. But these weren’t pleasant, I’m afraid – nothing to do with the technique or the maker, but everything to do with the concept of trying to put a potato into a cake. – bringing you the truth, no matter how hard it is to stomach.

Fancy Food Friday: The Modern Pantry

Jo and I lead a fairly modest lifestyle, so it’s not all that often we go out for a meal – and even less frequently that we eat somewhere that is a little bit more fancy. I’m not sure if most people would describe The Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell as Fancy, but at £40 for a bottle of wine which is (as I understand it) red wine with “a little bit of white” (but not rosé), there’s only one word that comes to mind: fancy. Read More

Luncheon problems, Part I

I need to admit something: I’m terrible at lunches. I really don’t know why, but I struggle to put something together myself that I find satisfying and tasty while being fairly healthy. And I’d far rather go and buy lunch each day than make it myself, although even buying stuff I get muddled with what I like.

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Brownies’ Honour

I am on a Quest. A Mission. A Journey of Great Importance. A Voyage of Discovery. Call it what you will, I am trying to find the best brownie recipe out there. The brownie recipe to end all brownie recipes. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

You are probably reading this and thinking ‘let me save you the hassle. I’ve got the best brownie recipe. I’ve been using it for years. It’s been passed down my family for generations. In fact, my family invented chocolate brownies.’ In which case, please send it my way. But the thing about brownie recipes is that almost everyone has one which they could (more or less) say that about. I think this is possibly more true for brownies than any other baked good. Many of my friends have their own special brownie recipe, and some of them will take it to the grave with them, convinced that theirs is The Ultimate In Brownie Recipes. And, I confess, I am one of those people. I’ve been using the same recipe for about 12 years. It’s my go to recipe for the classic Hen Weekend Recipe Book and many people have requested to have it, after tasting the brownies. (Thankfully I’m not one of those ‘take it to my grave’ people. The recipe wasn’t even mine in the first place).

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Take Comfort

“Some foods are so comforting, so nourishing of body and soul, that to eat them is to be home again after a long journey. To eat such a meal is to remember that, though the world is full of knives and storms, the body is built for kindness. The angels, who know no hunger, have never been as satisfied.”
Eli Brown, Cinnamon and Gunpowder

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Yesterday I was cooking with garlic (not unusual – I cook with garlic most days – I love garlic) and I was thinking how great garlic smells when it’s cooking. (It also tastes amazing, but that’s not so much what this is about.) It got me on to thinking about smell, and how powerful it can be. The smell of something can have a huge influence on how you feel about it, and is also one of the most powerful memory evokers. (As an aside – I often want to wear suncream as a perfume during the winter months, to remind me of happy sunny summer days.) And then I started thinking about all the senses, all involved in the culinary experience. Food is so much more than just taste. I decided to come up with a list of my favourite sights, sounds, smells and textures to do with food (and drink). This is definitely a work in progress, but here goes…

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Eating and drinking because It’s The Rules

Last week it was St George’s day. So as I usually do on St George’s day, I bought some English ale and had one. Not because I’m fanatically a proud Englishman, but because it’s a bit of fun. (I sometimes have a Guinness on St Patrick’s day.)


That got me thinking about the fact that there are so many little excuses to eat or drink something for a certain day because “it’s tradition”. Off the top of my head:

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