Microwave mug brownie and cake

I’ve made microwave mug cake a fair number of times since my friend introduced me to it at uni last year – it’s dead easy and perfect student food for when you really can’t be bothered to wait for the oven (yep, I’m that lazy sometimes!). I’d never tried microwave brownie until last night, but it was sooooo goooood, easier than the cake and (whisper it) maybe even nicer… The brownie doesn’t look like much (and I don’t even have a photo of the cake), but that is no reflection on the taste!

Mug brownie (recipe adapted from here)

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This makes a decent-sized brownie for one, although it is half of the original recipe which must be massive! Cook it for less time if you like it gooey, more if you like it more cooked!

2 tbsp plain flour

2 tbsp sugar

1 scant tbsp cocoa

1 tbsp oil

1 tbsp water

– Mix ingredients in a mug.

– Microwave for approx. 45 seconds.

– That’s it! I put some ice-cream on top for extra yum!

 

Mug cake

This makes a cake big enough for two, but it’s tricky to halve because of the egg, so make it with a friend! You can adapt it in a million ways – the recipe here is for plain or chocolate, but we’ve also added mashed banana, or a spoonful of nutella, and everything seems to work!

6 tbsp flour (plain or self-raising) (or 5 tbsp flour and 1 tbsp cocoa, for chocolate cake)

4 tbsp sugar

1 egg

3 tbsp milk

3 tbsp oil

– Mix the dry ingredients in a reasonably large mug.

– Add the egg and mix, then add milk and oil and mix some more.

– Microwave for approx. 3 minutes

Chocolate and red wine cake

So I’m not sure why we decided to make an alcoholic cake, but somehow we did (and are now left with most of a bottle of nasty red wine, but it tastes fine in the cake!). Initially we were planning on cupcakes, but came across this recipe on smittenkitchen.com and had most of the ingredients already (plus it didn’t call for icing sugar, which doesn’t seem to be available here). It turned out really well – rich and dark, with a great chewy crust, wine-y, chocolate-y and cinnamon-y in equal parts. We ate it warm with ice-cream, and then had some more cold. Also with ice-cream…

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Ingredients:

85g (6 tablespoons) butter, at room temperature

1 cup brown granulated sugar (original calls for a mix of dark brown and white granulated, but this was all we could get; it worked fine)

1 egg + 1 egg yolk

3/4 cup red wine (cheap is fine, but you will be left with the rest of the bottle)

1 cup + 1 tbsp plain flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 – 1 tsp cinnamon

 

– Preheat oven to 160c and grease and line a 9-inch cake tine.

– Beat the butter and then add the sugar and cream together. The combination of granulated sugar + doing it by hand meant ours didn’t cream very well and the cake was a bit speckley, but it didn’t seem to affect the taste!

– Beat in the eggs and then the wine.

– Sift over the flour, baking powder, cocoa and cinnamon and mix well.

– Pour into tin and bake for around 45 minutes (the original says 25-30 but ours was nowhere near done by then).

– Eat hot or cold, with ice-cream (or see the original recipe page for a marscapone-cream that we couldn’t face beating by hand).

Memorable meals – Trucha in Peru!

This isn’t a post about baking, but rather about eating! A couple of years ago I travelled to Peru, a memorable trip for many reasons, one of which was the food! It really did range from the sublime…

Possibly the creamiest cake I’ve ever seen!

…to the slightly ridiculous (to my tastes anyway!)

‘Causa rellena’ – basically cold mashed potato….er, yum?

Actually I probably had some of the best and worst food in my life on that trip (chicken soup complete with chicken neck, anyone?). But the most memorable meals for me were memorable because of the experience rather than the food itself. I think it’s just a coincidence that they all involve trout (trucha)…

Machu Picchu. Not strictly related to trout, but it is in Peru…!

The first time I had trout in Peru was in a village in the sacred valley. We’d been working all morning to clear some land, so of course by lunchtime we were starving and boiling hot, and would have been grateful for any sort of food. What we were served, though, was incredible: half a trout, freshly caught from the river, flattened and fried. When I say half a trout – these fish had just been cut in the middle, and were served complete with head or tail (I got a tail, which I was secretly a bit relieved about: I’m not super keen on my food staring back!). There was no cutlery so we ate with our fingers – pulling the fish right off the bones. I wish I knew how they cooked that fish, because I’ve never tasted anything like it; it was probably helped, though, by the fish being incredibly fresh!

A clay oven cooking potatoes!

Trout #2 was in the countryside just outside of Cusco: we walked up from the village of Chinchero with some of the children we taught (we were there teaching English), and they showed us how to cook potatoes in the oven in the picture which was entirely made from things found in the field – dried mud for the outside, dried grass (I think) which was burnt to heat up the inside, then the potatoes were put in and the oven was sealed with some more clay. We had this with trout, floured and fried, but I politely declined one of the girls’ grandmother’s homemade ‘chicha’ – an alcoholic drink traditionally made by repeatedly chewing and spitting out corn…

Taquile, an island on Lake Titicaca

I also remember the trucha in a tiny little ‘community restaurant’ on Taquile, which was run by three families who alternated each day who was in charge. As everything on the island had to be brought in on tiny boats – they were people on ours bringing huge packs of soft drinks to sell – I guess this trout came directly from Lake Titicaca. The trout was served in what I had by that point started to think of as typical Peruvian style: 2 portions of carbs (rice and chips) and a few vegetables (see the picture at the top!). Almost everything I ate there seemed to come with both rice and chips! To my British tastes this seemed odd – 2 portions of carbohydrate, what’s going on?! – and it did make meals very filling, but yummy nonetheless! The view from this restaurant was simply amazing – it looked right out over the lake:

Eating lunch looking over this was just amazing!

Taquile is in the Peruvian part of Lake Titicaca, and immediately after visiting it we travelled to a Bolivian part of the shore: Copacabana. Not the Copacabana, but a Copacabana nonetheless! Anyhow, there was a row of stalls lining part of the shore, all serving fresh trout in several ways. Although we didn’t eat there they looked really pretty because they were so bright:

Trout stalls in Bolivia, how lovely do they look?!

So, that’s three of my most memorable meals – how about anyone else? Do you have particularly strong memories of certain meals?