Snow-Flecked Brownies

The are luscious and meltingly-squidgy squares of heaven.

3 sticks plus 2 tbs. unsalted butter
2 cups semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
6 eggs
2 cups caster sugar
1 tbs. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbs. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 13″ pan and line with parchment paper.

Melt the butter and the semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate in a large pan over a low heat. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a bit.

Beat the eggs in a bowl with the sugar, then add the vanilla extract. Stir this into the semi-cooled chocolate, followed by the flour and salt. Fold in the white chocolate and spread in the pan.

Bake for 25 minutes. They will be ready when the sides pull away and the middle remains dark and gooey. Leave to cool in the pan, then cut into squares. Dust with confectioner’s sugar to serve.

Potato and Onion Hash

This is written to serve 1, but it can easily be increased. The cayenne pepper is the key.

1 small onion, halved and sliced into half moons
1 tbs. olive oil
2 cups all-purpose potatoes, skin-on and cut into 1/2″ dice
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 egg

Heat the oil in a skillet and add the onion, then cook over a medium heat with a sprinkle of salt until softened. Tip in the potatoes and cayenne pepper, turn the heat down and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring now and then, until the potatoes are tender and beginning to caramelize.

Turn the heat up and push the hash to one side. Crack the egg into the empty half and fry to your liking. Serve the egg over the hash.

Serves 1

Rhubarb Crumble

Either custard or vanilla ice cream is a must with the luscious pudding.

2 lbs. pink rhubarb, chopped into 1/2″ pieces (approximately 7 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 tbs. butter
1 tbs. vanilla extract
1 tbs. cornstarch
For the crumble topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
8 tbs. butter, cold and diced
3 tbs. caster sugar
3 tbs. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

 

Heat the oven to 375°F and put in a baking sheet to catch any drips that may occur while baking.

Toss the rhubarb into a pan with the sugar, butter, vanilla and cornstarch. Heat for 5 minutes or until the butter has melted and everything is oozed together. Tip this into a pie plate approximately 8 1/2″ in diameter and set aside.

To make the crumble, combine the flour, baking powder and butter in a large bowl. Using the pads of you fingers, run this together until it resembles rough oatmeal. Stir in the sugars and vanilla extract, then sprinkle over the rhubarb, taking care to cover the fruit right to the edges.

Place on the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is browned and the fruit is bubbly.

Serves 10

Soft White Dinner Rolls

These are heaven slathered with salted butter!

3 1/2 – 4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp. instant yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbs. caster sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
1 heaped tsp. butter

For the topping:
1 beaten egg
1 tbs. milk pinch salt
1 tsp. poppy seeds
1 tsp. sesame seeds

Combine the 3 1/2 cups flour with the yeast, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Put the milk and butter in a small saucepan and heat until the milk is warm and the butter has begun to melt.

Pour the milk/butter mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a fork or wooden spoon to make a rough dough, adding more flour if the dough is too wet. Dump onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth and silky. Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in a warm place to rise for an hour, or until doubled in size.

Punch the air out of the dough and place on a floured work surface. Pull out walnut-sized pieces and form them into small balls. Place them on a greased or lined baking sheet about 1/4″ apart. You should get about 30 balls. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise again in a warm place until they have puffed up.

Heat the oven to 425°F. Mix the egg with the salt and brush the dough balls, then sprinkle with the seeds. Bake the rolls for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove them to a cooling rack or serve immediately.

Vodka-Marinaded Steak

This steak is glorious! The vodka imparts a sweet tang and the left-over marinade makes up into a quick pan sauce. YUM.

1 1/2 lb. rump steak
1 tbs. sea salt or 1/2 tsp. table salt
1 tbs. black peppercorns, crushed
3 tbs. finely chopped parsley
2 tbs. finely chopped thyme
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup vodka
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbs. vegetable oil
1/2 – 2/3 cup beef stock
1 tbs. butter

Combine the salt, peppercorns, parsley, thyme garlic, vodka and olive oil. Add the steak and marinate for 3 days in the fridge or 3 hours at room temperature.

If chilled, bring the steak to room temperature. Take the steak out of the marinade, reserving it. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet and sear the beef on both sides over a high heat. Turn the heat to low and cover the skillet with foil and cook for 3 1/3 minutes longer on both sides for rare. Wrap the meat in a layer of foil and leave to rest up to 15 minutes.

Strain the marinade into a measuring jug and use the beef stock to make it up to 2/3 cups. Pour into the skillet. When the marinade is sizzling, stir in the butter.

Slice the steak into thin diagonal slices, arrange on a plate and pour the sauce over.

Serves 6

 

Pasta with Ham, Peas and Cream

Utter comfort food, this wonderful pasta comes together in moments and is such a divine treat.

7 oz. farfalle or other short pasta (2 cups)
2/3 cup frozen peas
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cups diced ham
2 tbs. grated Parmesan

Cook the pasta according to the package directions in plenty of boiling, salted water. Add the peas after 5 minutes. When the pasta is cooked, drain it with the peas.

Put the dry pan back on the heat with the cream, ham and Parmesan. Warm through, then tip in the pasta and peas, tossing everything together well.

Serves 2