Tuesday, 15 June 2010

UCB (Ultimate Chocolate Brownie)

There are hundreds of brownie recipes available and everyone has their personal preference.   I like mine heavy on the chocolate flavour, gooey and a touch of vanilla.

I have had the pleasure of teaching a German student in one of my business classes this year.  We have a cake day every two weeks where a student or I bakes and shares for the rest of the class.  For my week I made some chocolate brownies and Max has badgered me for the recipe ever since.

Max - Danke für eine großartige Schüler in diesem Jahr und ich wünsche Ihnen alles Gute für die Zukunft!


• Plain chocolate (preferably using one with 70% cocoa solids) - 400g

• Unsalted butter (for recipe) - 200g

• Unsalted butter (for greasing) - 10g

• Light muscovado sugar - 225g

• Vanilla essence - 1 tsp

• 3 large eggs, beaten

• Self-raising flour, sifted - 75g

• Cocoa powder, sifted - 25g

• Some additional cocoa powder for dusting


1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan oven) or gas mark 3.

2. Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until melted.

3. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar, vanilla, beaten eggs, flour essence, flour and cocoa.

4. Using non-stick baking parchment, grease and bottom line a 20 cm/8" square cake tin, making sure you use one which is at least 5 cm/2" deep.

5. Place the mixture into the tin and level with the back of a spoon.

6. Bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes or until set to the centre on the surface, but still a little soft underneath.

7. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 2 hours (DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO TURN IT OUT EARLY).

8. Turn out, dust with cocoa and cut into squares.

I personally think that brownies are best served a little warm but can be left to cool completely.  They are also great served with ice cream or custard.

Additions to the mixture can include pecans (about 150g); raisins (120g) or for indulgence some rum soaked raisins mixed with pecans (total weight 120g).  These are mixed in at stage 3.

Asian Asparagus Spears

I made some Thai crabcakes the other night and was debating what to serve them with in regards to a vegetable accompaniment.  Without wanting to go shopping it was a case of fridge and cupboard raiding and the net result was this easy to do, light and tasty asparagus side.

Ingredients (serves 2)

• Asparagus - 1 bunch/pkt

• Tamari/soy sauce - 3 tbsp

• Lime juice - 2 tbsp

• Mirin (sweet sherry alternative) - 2 tbsp

• Fish sauce - 2 tbsp

• Garlic, finely chopped - 2 cloves

• Minced ginger - 1 tsp

• Chilli flakes (optional) - 1 tsp

• Salt and ground black pepper - to taste


1. Combine all ingredients apart from the asparagus mix well (use an old jar or a 'Flavour Shaker' to shake well).

2. Steam the asparagus until cooked

3. Toss the cooked asparagus in the sauce and adjust with salt and pepper to required taste.

This is best served warm but can be served cold if required.  As usual, play about with the sauce combinations until you achieve your desired levels, some prefer it a little sweeter whilst others prefer it with more fish sauce or chilli 'punch'.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Southwest Chipotle Sauce

I have posted this after a Facebook conversation with some old colleagues at Beaumont School (happy birthday Danny).  A versatile sauce which goes well with most subs, sandwiches and wraps.  Add some fresh Jalapenos or hotter chillies for a kick!

The chipotle in adobo (adobo = sauce/seasoning or marinade) is a specialist ingredient and many of the major supermarkets are selling it in their bigger stores now.  If you can't find it then use the following link to go to an excellent online supplier called MexGrocer - MexGrocer.


• Mayonnaise - 250 ml

• Dijon mustard - 1 tbsp

• Lime juice - 3 tbsp

• Chipotle chilli in adobo (pureed) - 2 tbsp

• Garlic (pureed) - 3 cloves

• Salt - to taste


1. Combine mayonnaise, mustard, lime juice, chipotle and garlic.

2. Add salt to taste

3.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge

You can thin this down with a little white wine vinegar and use as a salad dressing but be careful not to use too much vinegar.