Saturday, 31 August 2013

Homely comforts

I've not posted for a while. It seems to me that the less I do the more difficult it is for me to get on and do the things that I need to. The irony of a suburban Leeds life. We've just been to France for an adventure holiday. Well, it was adventurous to see how we'd get on in a motorhome driving across France. On the whole it was really successful. I was blown away with the Channel Tunnel; the simplicity and organisation of it was really marvellous. I was also really taken with France and the big wide empty roads compared with the race tracks back home.

And the bread..... Oh my, can people in France produce the most gorgeous croissants, baguettes, pain au raisin. I'm not sure show they do it but a nice piece of baguette, slathered in butter and my favourite jam (apricot, seeing as you are asking) is enough to set you up for the longest of days. I've got my artisan bread making course coming up in October, so hopefully I will find out how it's done. I'll report back with pictures too!!

Part of the travelling away is the loveliness of returning home. I always feel the desire to be home as I head up the M1 especially as I reach Sheffield. It feels like proper Yorkshire then. I really missed my own bed, jeez there's nothing like the comfort of your own mattress and the feel of your own sheets. I was also pining for some traditional English grub too. I'd made some steak and ale pies before I went, gave one to a friend and froze one ready for our return. I use my Mum's recipe with Old Peculier ale to add richness to the gravy. I cheat and use pre made flaky pastry but in all honesty it takes so good and I don't know anyone who makes their own flaky pastry. I also craved something chocolatey so had a search and made some salted caramel brownies adapted from Paul A Young's recipe. Here it is. Be warned, it is really rich and definitely not slimming but for a slice of something indulgent and moreish, it can't be beaten.

Salted Caramel Brownies
For the caramel
75g white caster sugar
50ml double cream
10g unsalted butter
A pinch of sea salt

For the brownie
100g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
100g light brown sugar
75g golden syrup
275g quality 70% dark chocolate
4 eggs
70g plain flour
Handful of chocolate for the top (I used white chocolate)

Start with the caramel. Tip the sugar into a large pan and heat. As the sugar starts to liquefy bring the dry sugar into the wet areas until it is all melted. Keep heating until it is a pale golden colour, take off the heat add the cream slowly and beat in. Add the butter and salt and keep whisking. Leave to cool.

Preheat oven to 160C/325F and line a Swiss roll tin with greaseproof paper. In another pan add the butter, sugars and syrup until melted. Take off the heat, add the chocolate and stir while it melts. Beat in the whisked eggs and mix in the flour. Pour into the tin.

Add the caramel and swirl it on top. Add extra chocolate chunks if you have them. Cook for approximately 20 mins. Serve hot or cold. Can be frozen but keeps well in airtight container.

Let me know what you think.

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