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Off to Edinburgh for the weekend to catch up with friends, potter about, eat good things and gossip.
In the meantime…
1. Check out Homepages – brought to you by Catherine Brodigan, it’s a unique collection of stories and photographs, the first of its kind in Ireland. The nation’s best bloggers hold forth on the theme of “home”, covering everything from pets and expat life to parenting and the Kellogg’s Variety Pack. By turns hilarious, heartbreaking and thought-provoking, it promises a captivating read and showcases some of Ireland’s best undiscovered writing talent.
All proceeds from the sale of this book, compiled on an entirely voluntary basis from submissions made via this website, go directly to Focus Ireland, who provide services and support for people who are homeless across Ireland.
My copy is winging its way to me in the post as I type and I can’t wait to check it out! Congratulations to Catherine on this brilliant project 🙂
3. And last, but certainly by no means least, Ireland’s favourite Swearing Lady is back! Huzzah!
Last year, I thought I’d found the perfect brownie recipe. Oh, I was so damn sure of it, I was quite the smug little madam at the time.
Well, budge over French Brownies, there’s a new contender for the throne with this recipe from the NY bakery… Baked. And, unless someone tells me the place completely sucks (please don’t!), I’m going to make a beeline for it if I’m ever lucky enough to go back to NY (looking increasingly unlikely, given the current economic climate).
Whereas my old favourites have a quite fudgy texture and sort of dissolve on the tongue, the Baked recipe turns out dense slabs of chocolate which demand a large mug of something hot and caffeinated to help wash down all that sugar.
Time to put on the kettle then…
The ‘Baked’ Brownie, from Baked by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
Makes 24 brownies
1 and 1/4 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
11 oz dark chocolate, coarsley chopped
220g unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9×13 inch baking tin.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt and cocoa powder together.
3. Put the chocolate, butter and espresso powder in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature.
4. Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.
5. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 mins, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the brownies cool completely, then cut them into squares and serve.
Tightly covered with plastic wrap, the brownies keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.