Saturday, 18 October 2014

Ultimate Gooey Chocolate Brownie Stack

In case you hadn't heard (where have you been?!) it's National Chocolate Week. Cue me sitting at my desk, chocolate bar in each hand, fully taking advantage. Then I realised that I couldn't remember the last time I had a brownie. Shock horror. The humble brownie. It's often overlooked on a gastro pub but when you get it right, nothing beats it. This recipe is an old favourite; nice and crispy on the top with an ultra-chocolatey, ultra-gooey centre. Whether you drizzle with cream, top with ice cream or smother in more melted chocolate this is a truly indulgent treat.

What you'll need:
200g butter 
200g dark chocolate 
275g light soft brown sugar 
2 eggs 
1tsp vanilla extract 

(Makes 12) 

Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease and line a baking tin with baking paper. 

In a pan, heat the butter and and chocolate and continually stir until they have melted together and are nice and glossy. 

Take the pan off the heat and and mix in the sugar, then eggs and vanilla (tasting as you go of course).

Sift the flour into the pan and stir gently. 

Pour into your tin and place in the middle of the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the top is nice and crusty. 

Leave to cool for 5-10 minutes (if you can bare to) then cut into 12 squares. 

Stack them up, dust with icing sugar and go wild with your toppings. 

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Bun & Bar - N8

A few new cocktail bars and restaurants have opened up on Green Lanes recently, and by far the best is Bun & Bar. Boasting belly buster burgers, wasabi bloody mary's and double cream espresso martini's, I knew this was a place I would be visiting more than once. Nestled in between Jam & Jar and Brouhaha it is ideally located for your very own bar crawl. Head down Thursday - Sunday for some excellent live music to accompany your perfectly-cooked burger and expertly-prepared cocktail. 

Thursday, 9 October 2014

September in Pictures

October so far has been crazy busy, I have barely had time to sit down. But I am finally relaxing, in front of the TV with a big glass of wine, and taking stock of September. It was a food heavy month: lots of eating out, some new decorations for my room and a bloody mary or two. All in all it was a pretty good month.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Perfect Mid-Week Pizza

Pizza is probably my favourite comfort food. Thin, crispy base, a hit of hot, and oozy, melted cheese. You can't beat it. When I saw this recipe for 'cheats pizza' in Jamie's 30 Minute Meals my heart literally jumped for joy and I thought it was high time I shared it with all of you. You can make this dough in under 5 minutes and it doesn't need time to rise or anything. You can bang the whole thing out in 20 minutes.

Play around with toppings... Try red pesto instead of tomato sauce and add all manner of veg and meats. You are guaranteed a delicious, indulgent dinner every time.

For the base:

  • 1/3rd cup of water
  • 1 cup of flour

Weight doesn't matter much with this recipe, just as long as you get the ratio right. If you find that the dough is too wet, add more flour, or too dry, add more water. Simple as that. You should end up with a ball of dough that is easy to roll out without sticking to your worktop.

Once you've combined the water and flour to make your dough, dust a work surface lightly in flour and roll out. The dough should end up about half a cm thick. If you find you've made too much, just wrap the excess in clingfilm and keep in the freezer for a rainy day.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan. Fold the dough (lightly) in half, or quarters, and then transfer to the pan (this means the dough is less likely to break) and then fold back out. Spread a spoonful of your tomato base on the pizza. I always find a Lloyd Grossman pasta sauce works well. Then go mad with your toppings.

Fry lightly for about 5-10 minutes. The dough shouldn't stick to the pan at all and you can peak underneath to check it's not burning. Once the cheese/tomato base start bubbling slightly, transfer the pan to under the grill and grill for a further 5-10 minutes.

Once the cheese is golden brown, remove from the pan and sprinkle with plenty of basil and spinach. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Lust List: Recipe Inspiration

My name is Sophie, and I'm a bookaholic. Cookbooks to be precise. I have over 30, including 6 Jamie Oliver's and 8 of the BBC Good Food mini series, and am ever expanding the collection (most recently with The Little Book of Lunch by Caroline Craig and Sophie Missing). It's just something about the glossy pages and incredible photography, I just can't get enough. Here's what's on my wishlist at the moment:

The Art of Eating Well - Jasmine & Melissa Hemsley

The Art of Eating Well is packed full of sweet and savoury recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as a few drinks and snacks in between. All the recipes focus on 'clean eating', free from gluten, grain and refined sugar. The Hemsley sisters believe by focusing on nutrient rich, organic foods you can reset your body and banish cravings, changing the way you feel for the better. I've never been one to focus on gluten or sugar-free meals but when they look as mouthwatering as this I can't wait to get stuck in!

Death by Burrito - Shay Ola

Shay Ola is the undisputed king of Mexican street food. Based in Hoxton, under the guise of the Rebel Dining Society, he creates burritos and tacos with filings more adventurous that the standard meat, rice, beans, guac combos alongside some stunning cocktails. This book shows you how to show to create the perfect mexican at home - and not a tex-mex selection in sight!  

Fast, Fresh and Easy Food - Lorraine Pascale

I've come late to the Lorraine Pascale party. This is the model-come-chef's third book that makes decadent dishes like chocolate mousse with raspberries and Moroccan pesto fish with caramelised onion look effortless. Sign me up.

The Islands of Greece - Rebecca Seal

Mediterranean, specifically Greek, is without a doubt my favourite cuisine but it's not something I've ever attempted at home. This book contains all the classics: calamari, grilled aubergines and polenta cake. Simple and delicious photography, this book has me drooling at the first recipe.