Some approximation of brownies…

I found a recipe which doesn’t need baking powder or cocoa! If you thought I was going to be limited to pancakes for the year, think again! It’s the Hummingbird Bakery’s brownie recipe, which I found here, and though I didn’t have quite everything the recipe called for, I managed a pretty decent job (if I say it myself!). Unlike other brownie recipes I saw, which called for strange kinds of sugar – or at least, ones the average student probably doesn’t have lying around for tea-making – baking powder, nuts, cocoa, coconut oil and all sort of unlikely ingredients, this one is very simple, in terms of both ingredients and procedure. My friend’s best chocolate cake recipe is from the Hummingbird Bakery, so I knew it should be reliable, and so it turned out to be. Even if I did have to bake it in a casserole dish. And convert some of the measurements to cups in the absence of scales. (Not that I had a cup measure: I just used my mug and hoped!) It turned out well, although I probably could have left it in the oven a little longer as the centre was still very gooey; thankfully, though, I that’s how I like it best!

It felt good to be baking again – I can’t actually remember the last time I did! And as my classes so far have been fairly straightforward and not set much work, perhaps this is the year to perfect my skills and enter the Great British Bake Off… Actually I just remembered the disastrous fatless sponge…I have a long way to go…!


200g dark chocolate (the only stuff I could get had ‘pepites’ in, which are crunchy bits of cocoa nib I think, but it didn’t seem to affect the finished product too much)

175g butter

325g caster sugar (or in my case, just over 1 and a half mugs full of granulated…)

130g plain flour (I used one mugful)

3 eggs (I whisked them slightly before I added them)

100g white chocolate, roughly chopped, or white chocolate chips (this isn’t in the original recipe but, well, you can never have too much chocolate, right?!)

23 x 33 x 5cm baking tin, or in my case an oval casserole dish, approx. 23 x 28 cm at the widest points, greased and lined.

– Preheat the oven to 170c

– Break the chocolate into pieces and chop the butter into chunks. Place both in a mixing bowl and melt, either in the microwave or over a pan of simmering water.

– Add the sugar and stir until all combined.

– Add the flour and stir to combine.

– Add the eggs and mix to combine thoroughly, then stir in the white chocolate; avoid mixing too much otherwise it will melt.

– Pour into the tin (or casserole dish!) and bake for 30-35 minutes (if you have a baking tin; mine took 40-45 mins and as I said was still soggy in the middle).

– Leave in the tin to cool before cutting.

Two unrelated things, one of which is macaroni cheese

Thing 1: I came across this in a paper I was reading a while ago, and it’s too hilarious not to post. Gotta love academic name-calling!

“Untidily printed” – imagine!

(It’s from Malkiel’s ‘Toward a reconsideration of the Old Spanish imperfect in -ía ~ -ié‘, 1959, Hispanic Review)

Thing 2: Macaroni cheese. It is an amazing comfort food, and so often just what I fancy at uni when I have essays and deadlines coming out of my ears. I tended to associate it with a lot of faff and loads of washing up, so I’d never tried making it before but spotted a recipe for easy white sauce on the side of the flour packet. It turns out you can make it with just sauce flour and milk, so no faffing about with the roux (probably the rest of the world already knew this, but I’d never heard of it), and I grill it in the bowl to minimise washing up! This only took me about 20 or 25 minutes start to finish, definitely one to repeat!

Ingredients (per portion):

50-75g pasta

200ml milk

1 desertspoon sauce flour

A handful of grated cheese – the stronger the cheese, the less you need

Optionally, frozen peas or other vegetables

– Place the milk and sauce flour in a small saucepan over a low heat, and give it a quick stir (with a whisk).

– In another pan, boil some water for the pasta, and when it is boiling add the pasta and peas (if using). Bring to the boil, then simmer for however long the pasta packet says (about 8-10 minutes)

– Meanwhile, keep stirring the milk. It will probably take longer to boil than the pasta takes to cook, so drain the pasta when it is ready and put it in your bowl.

– When the milk comes to the boil, time it for 3 minutes and stir it constantly until it has thickened. This is probably the time to preheat the grill.

– Take the sauce off the heat and add half the cheese, stirring it in until it melts.

– Pour the sauce over the pasta and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Grill for 4-5 minutes until the cheese is bubbling.