Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chocolate Brownies Recipe

This recipe is from my childhood Osbourne cook book with some mild changes, and it has been making incredible brownies for 30 years plus... (As always, bear with me, as I embellish on this recipe depending on my mood).


4oz / 100g Plain Flour
8oz / 200g Caster Sugar
2 Medium Eggs
4oz / 100g Butter
1/2 tsp Baking Flour
2 large bars of chocolate - 200g White / 200g Dark/Milk (depending on taste), I always use White and Dark, for a

Melt the Chocolate, Butter and Sugar in a Pyrex bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
Sieve the Flour and Baking Powder into a large bowl.

Once everything is melted, add to the Flour, with the Eggs. Until it doesn't stick to the bowl, due to being too oily (if this doesn't happen, don't fret, it'll be fine). If you're adding extras, add them now...

Throw in a greased baking tray, it doesn't matter what size, as long as it all fits in. It will probably only rise one 3rd of the depth, or so...

Throw in the oven at 180c / Gas Mark 4 for 25-30 mins.
It will still be a little gloopy when you do the knife test in the middle, this is good. If it's still pretty gloopy, leave in for another 5 mins, it varies in all ovens.

Await till cool = yumminess!
If it gets a little hard/stale, heat up for 30 sec in the microwave, yumminess revived.

Now, I've done many different versions of these, (so just have fun, experiment):

Bashed up Walnuts/Almonds, etc
Only melted half of the chocolate, left the other half bashed up, for crunchy bits.
Chopped up Glacier Cherries.
One Orange Rind chopped up finely.
Weed was a popular choice to some of my friends.

It's an easy recipe and fun to do various things with. Enjoy!

Impossible to fuck up Chocolate Brownies

Now located here: Pipsy Designs - Chocolate Brownies

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Stringy Light-shade

Now located here: Pipsy Deisgn - Stringy Light-shade

Baking Bread

For some reason, within my 29 years of living, I've never made bread from scratch. Well, I have now!
I acquired a baking book by Emma Patmore. It's an excellent book, with easy to follow instructions. I made the Garlic Rolls, I've been coveting the Garlic & Sage Bread but thought I'd leave that for now.

How to make the Garlic Rolls:

Ingredients -

12 cloves of garlic (I used 14 and it hardly seemed garlicky, but I love garlic, so?)
350ml / 12 floz milk
450g / 1lb Strong White Bread Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 Sachet of Dried Yeast (She recommends Easy Blend, I used Fast Acting)
1 tbsp Dried Mixed Herbs (I didn't use any, I used a handful of Fresh Chives)
2 tbsp Sunflower Oil (I used Vegetable Oil, what can I say, I'm not good at following recipes)
1 beaten Egg

Due to not being very good at following recipes (and not owning a blender, I've adapted some of the instructions).

Right, peel and chop the Garlic Cloves up really small, boil and simmer in the Milk for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix together the Flour, Salt & Yeast.
When the garlicky Milk has cooled, add the Oil and Egg, pour gradually into the Flour while mixing.

I found that my mixture was gunky and wet, so threw lots of flour on the side when beating, which helped dry it up.

Beat up (knead) the dough for a little while on a floured side, and then leave for one hour, in a greased container, covered by a cloth.
Once it's expanded to twice the size or larger, beat it up for a couple of minutes and then separate into eight different rolls, or more if you want small ones (I'm tempted to insert some garlic butter next time).
Place on a greased baking tray, score the tops of the rolls, dip in Milk (or brush some Milk on the top, if you own a fancy basting brush), sprinkle some Rock Salt, or grated Garlic on top, or cheese?
Put into a pre-heated oven at 220c/425f/Gas Mark 7 for 15-20 minutes.

Et Voila - tasty rolls!

Baking Bread

Now posted here: Pipsy Designs - Baking Bread

Stringy Lamp Shade

Tom and I had a go at making one of these last night.
We took their advice but I made a few adjustments and have some personal advice.

You will need:
An old towel or large piece of tarpaulin
A glass bowl or old plastic container
1/4 litre Cornflour
1/8 litreWater
1/8 litre PVA glue
Wool or String (I recommend wool)

Right, as you might all know, if you mix water and cornflour together, it becomes a compound, where as, if you mix the water and glue together and then introduce the cornflour, it turns to a crazy ultra strength glue mixture.

It's best to do this on a hard floor, or outside in a dry area. My flat has hard floors but we stupidly set it up in the middle of our sitting room, and then had to limbo every time we walked in. So think carefully before you set up.

Suspend some wool or doweling rod (if you're lucky to have one), across an area, and place the towel or tarpaulin under it. Blow up the balloon and suspend from the line/rod.
We found that we needed two of us, as one of us spent most of the time holding the balloon in place when placing the gluey wool. We also took the advice and lubed up the balloon (which is a new experience).

Cut lengths of the wool and dip in to the glue. In hind sight, I would have ensured that we'd stripped off more of the excess glue, than we did, when pulling the wool out of the mixture and placing on the balloon.
We also ensured that there was at least three inches round, clear at the top of the balloon, as we have a wide fitting on our sitting room light fixture.
We experienced some issues with getting the wool under the balloon to stick, stupid gravity. But we found the more we added, under and over, the easier it was to hold it in place. We also, purposefully tucked the ends and beginnings under, or next too, other lines.

Add as little or as much as you'd like, it's a personal choice. Leave until dry. We had to restring the suspension, as it was touching the ground by the end. They suggest you leave it for 24 hours, but our balloon popped after 17 hours, which was eventful!

I tried to cut off the excessive glue and loose woollen strands, but decided I was only being anal.

They also suggest you spray paint it afterwards (I was going to glitter spray it but decided to leave it neutral/nature), but I was thinking that different coloured wools would be quite fun. Rainbow lampshades any one?

I used some thin wire and suspended it from the fitting. It's not great, but as a first attempt, I was relatively pleased (what can I say, I'm a tough crowd).

Monday, July 04, 2011

Growing Shit Pt.1

Since moving in to the flat, I've found that I own a lot of random bits and bobs which are perfect for a house, they just sucked when I only had a room and one cupboard in a kitchen. After getting bored of unpacking on the third day after moving in, I got bored, so threw a couple of baskets of stuff under the bed. Major mistake, as most of it could go in the kitchen: candle holders, jars, fairy lights, cups and saucers, bunting, need I go on...

Anyhow, I've always failed at growing things, house plants, herbs, vegetables, if it needs help to grow, I've killed it!
But, I now have a south facing window, that gets a lot of light and thanks to my grandma, a pile of terracotta pots. I cheated by buying pre-potted herbs from Sainsburys and repotted them. Within 2 weeks, they were all still alive, thriving even, and I've had to repot the Basil due to it being huge! The only one which is suffering is the Coriander, I'm at a loss! Must do some research.

When walking past the Bishopgate Kitchen the other day, they handed me what I thought were matches but in fact were herb seeds. Well. Instantly I got excited, I've kept pre-potted herbs alive (bar the Coriander, which is technically alive but not happy), how hard can it be to grow from scratch! I've filled two teacups with some soil and am going to have a go at growing Thyme and Sage! I'll keep you up to date!