Better Bites: Black Bean Brownies

This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series The great brownie experiment

My poor long suffering colleagues had another disrupted break time today as I walked around the office with my latest brownies in the line of experiments. ‘Eat this’; ‘Give me honest feedback’; ‘No, I won’t tell you what’s in it’; ‘Guess what’s in it’, ‘Stop having important conversations and pay me more attention!’

They are very obliging so I got lots of useful feedback. And lots of guesses as to the ingredients. Carrot. No. Beetroot. No. Courgette. No. Porridge oats. Yes, actually. Fig. No. Sweet Potato. Not this time. Potato. Again, been there, done that, no. In the end they got bored and we all got back to work.

Now the difference between these brownies and the last batch is that these ones actually tasted quite good. And they tasted of chocolate too. Result. They, like the last batch, were still gluten free, egg free, and added sugar free. They did have a bit of dairy in them, but that could easily be substituted. In case you haven’t read the title of this post (and who doesn’t love a bit of alliteration?) the ‘secret ingredient’ was black beans.

I’m not going to share the recipe just yet as I want to try out a few tweaks, but I will seek to do so soon. But I am very excited about my (late) discovery of black beans in baking produce. I feel like a whole world of baking opportunity and gluten free joy has opened up to me.

Watch out, colleagues, more black bean baked goods coming your way!

How not to sell me whisky

Now, I love a good whisky. In fact, it was one of the things that gave me the idea that starting a blog about food’s finest things might be fun.

I was therefore amused by the way that someone tried to sell me whisky the other day.

I was in a big warehouse store where you tend to buy things in bulk. Not whisky, though; you buy it by the bottle. And on this particular day they were giving out free (tiny) samples of a whisky that was on sale. I honestly can’t remember the name and I’m not interested in commenting on it here. Because it was the sales pitch that was the most fun.

“This whisky is really good! It doesn’t taste too strong.” Hardly an appeal to the senses, then. So I tried a bit, and sure enough, it didn’t taste strong. In fact, it didn’t taste of much. It was slightly sweet and alcoholic. But the trump card had not yet been played.

“You see, sir, this is a fine whisky. It is endorsed by David Beckham!” His hand rose with a flourish to point out the large poster of Sir Beckham himself, with an expression that certainly looked like he was being paid to endorse something.

At this point I carefully placed the half empty sample cup in the bin. The assistant looked at me with incredulity. “You didn’t like it? It’s only £22!”

Perhaps I’m not the target market, but neither celebrity endorsement nor lack of strong taste nor a low price point are the main things I look for in a whisky. And they shouldn’t be for anyone.

Image: “A Glass of Whiskey on the Rocks” by Benjamin Thompson – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

 

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.)

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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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It’s not people, but is it palatable?

On social media I recently came across a product which seems to be so appealing on the one hand and yet so tragic on another. The product is Soylent, which claims to be a full replacement for all nutrients in a powder, which you mix with water to make a shake (the featured image is from the website). You drink the shake instead of eating your meals and you get everything you need, nutritionally, and apparently it might even taste okay. (more…)

Mashed Potato…in a cake?!

My friend is coming round for afternoon tea but she has recently gone gluten free. I can’t go to any of my go to recipes and I don’t have any gluten free flour in the cupboard. I have a scroll through some websites and come across a nice looking gluten free lemon drizzle cake. Scanning my eyes down the list of ingredients one thing jumps out at me – mashed potato! Mashed potato – in a cake – is this a thing?! When did this become a thing? Potato cakes as a savoury item, sure, but in a sweet cake? Well, always (or perhaps just sometimes) one for adventure I decide to give it a go.

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And the main ingredient is…aubergine

I absolutely love Japanese food – when done properly. So when I am given food from Japan, I am usually excited, unless it’s NattōIn this case I was given something I’d never had before – an aubergine-based meal. Literally the main ingredient was aubergine.

This may not sound that crazy to you, but until now an aubergine has never been an exciting thing for me – I’ll eat it, mostly happily, but it has a slight bitterness to it which is just a tad unpleasant and the texture can be a bit unusual. So all the better that I try it out and give it a chance to win me over, as I love doing things with ingredients that I’m not used to.

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