Sunday, 19 October 2014

Brownies, all the yum and none of the guilt

A little while ago I discovered the Deliciously Ella blog and was instantly hooked.  I love everything about it, not least the amazing recipes.  Ever since I've been wanting to try out these little babies but couldn't find buckwheat flour anywhere.  Then the other week I just decided to search online and found this website where I found all sorts of whole food goodies and snapped up some buckwheat flour no probs.

But I forgot to make the brownies.

Until this article from MindBodyGreen popped up on my facebook feed yesterday. So, fed up from lying on the sofa all day and in need of a reason to stand up and move about gingerly (still suffering with sciatica), not to mention needing cheering up, I decided what better time to give these a whirl.

My love of Ella quadrupled when I realised I could just download the app and then pull up the recipe there on my phone (excellent) but for everybody else, here's the link to the recipe on her website.

It will take a bit of making sure you've got all the right bits and pieces as the recipe calls for the aforementioned buckwheat flour, raw cacao powder and sweet potatoes amongst other things but the more I cook like this the more I have such things to hand and now, ready armed with the buckwheat flour I had everything I needed.

The only problem I had with the method itself was one I've encountered before with smoothies, and that's that dates don't like being blended.  I decided to use my mini blender rather than my Kitchen Aid upright but that may have been a mistake as the dates just got flung about the bottom of the thing rather than obligingly being chopped up into smithereens.  This meant that rather than the creamy sweet potato/date mixture I should have had, I had a slightly less creamy mixture with random chunks of sweet potato and date here and there.

My next minor issue came when I spread the mixture across the 'lined baking dish' as suggested, I realised it was spread much much thinner than a) a normal brownie would be and b) Ella's example in her photos.  So a note about the size of dish may have helped here. I'm not sure I know what a 'baking dish' actually is but I used my normal oven baking tin.  Next time, I won't! I'll choose something smaller but deeper.

Finally method wise, the recipe says to cook for 20-30 minutes but actually I reckon 30-40 would be better.  I checked at 20 and 25 and then did another 5 minutes before the fork came out clean and actually, would probably have liked them a little crunchier on the top...maybe longer cooking would't have achieved that but think I'll experiment a bit next time.

So, having cooked them and patiently waited the 10 minutes before I was allowed to chop them up and taste them, I greedily gobbled one (ok, 3, mine were only small) up.  YUM.  Decided to do it properly and had another on a plate with some greek yog and some raspberries.

So, the verdict:  they are gooey, moist and delicious.  Chocolatey and sweet but not sickly or heavy like brownies would normally be.  I think maybe next time I'd add a tiny smidgeon more cacao just to make sure I'm really satisfying that deep chocolate hit, but only a little as it was pretty good already.

I was just sitting here thinking about how I could experiment and fiddle about with the recipe to make different versions (maybe banana, coconut, ginger, beetroot?  Beetroot makes a great chocolate cake...) when I've spotted Ella has another brownie recipe on her blog now for chilli and beetroot brownies...definitely trying those and think I'll try a ginger concoction of my own too. Watch this space!

Anyway, overall a definite winner. Thanks Ella!

Fego's Feasting

I may have mentioned previously loving weekend breakfasts.  At least once every weekend we'll say "ooh, shall we go out for breakfast today?" and then spend the next 2 hours trying to think of somewhere to go.  There are loads of places, but only one that quite meets the bill.  There are loads of places we can get a full English.  Several less that also do pancakes.  But only one that actually serves healthful, interesting whole food.  And that is Fego's in Marlow.

It is such a fantastic place with such a brilliant menu - only problem is that everybody else agreed so there's often a queue out the door.

Anyway, if you do get in you're spoilt for choice from a lovely zingy green smoothy, to  spicy eggs  with vegetables and haloumi, to an omelette, pancakes, croissant with avocado and salmon and so the list goes on.
This weekend, I am both incapacitated at home and sans husband so won't be going anywhere at all, let alone the lovely Fegos so I am amusing (or torturing!?) myself looking at these photos I've taken on previous visits.


Think I know where I'll be heading next weekend...