Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Very Very Chocolaty Brownies

Is there a blog that doesn't have a brownie recipe? OK, so maybe ones that just use foods starting with Z or other specialist blogs, but most mainstream blogs will have a brownie recipe and I've yet to see any two the same. There are so many different recipes, and they are all great, I suppose the one constant that makes a good brownie is that it has to be lovely and gooey and moist in the middle.

For me, a classic plain chocolate brownie is the best type there is. Don't get me wrong, I love all the different types of brownies from the ones with nuts or marshmallows in to the ones with caramel, mint, biscuit bases, smarties, oreos, peanut butter or anything else - but why add anything else when the plain chocolate ones are so good just as they are?

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Hake, Ratatouille and Jerusalem Artichoke Tortellini

A couple of weeks ago I found myself with a completely free Saturday which has been quite an unusual thing over the past few months. In fact, I really haven't had huge amounts of free time which has meant that the majority of dishes that I've cooked have largely been ones that haven't taken too much time to prepare for or cook. I think this is one of the things that people who don't really like cooking think is just plain odd about people who do - I can think of very few things that I enjoy more than spending pretty much a whole day planning what I'm going to cook, getting the right ingredients, cooking it and let's not forget eating it at the end of the day.

I'm quite lucky that I live quite close to Portobella Road Market so off I trotted with a vague idea of what I wanted to cook, but also wanting to see what struck my fancy at the market. 

I really enjoy looking around all the stalls and putting together a dish in my head and it was the globe artichokes and Jerusalem artichokes that I first saw and wanted to use. I love the earthy and slightly nutty flavours that each of them have but using them meant that I wanted the main protein of the dish to be quite light as I didn't want to end up with a really heavy dish that made you feel like you needed to sleep it off afterwards. So, on to the fish stall looking for some sort of white fish with enough flavour that it wouldn't be lost in the artichokes. I also had a picture in my head about how I wanted the plate to look at the end of the day, so I went for a couple of nice thick pieces of Hake so I could get some height on the dish.
After a bit more wondering around I got everything I needed and headed back to start cooking. There's nothing too tricky in this recipe but it does take quite a while - the most difficult bit is timing everything so it all comes together at the same time. As you can see, there's a fair bit to do, but like I say, it's not a terribly complicated dish, but from start to finish you probably need to give yourself at least 2 hours.