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I made a second batch of the apple sauce and drinking chocolate brownies. This time I added a handful of dried cherries to the mix. I also used half apple pureé and half olive oil, since I only had half a cup of apple pureé in the fridge (the rest is in the freezer).
When the brownies came out of the oven, I sprinkled 50g of plain chocolate over the top and waited for it to melt before spreading it over the top.
I took the cakes to work the share out and the everyone seemed to like them.
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We have a glut of hot chocolate powder in work, left over from when we used a different drinks machine. I was talking to a colleague in the kitchen and I wondered whether I could use some of it to make cakes. I decided to take some home to make an experimental batch of chocolate brownies. If they were any good, I would make some more to take back to work to share.
Every now and then I use apple sauce in recipes, since it can be used to replace some or all of the butter. We recently bought an Instant Pot, which we use several times a week as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, bread proving pot, or sometimes just a giant saucepan. It is very useful and I fully intend to blog a bit more about it in the future.
We had recently been given a bag of apples from the tree in Emma's Auntie Val's garden. I peeled them, cut them into big chunks and put them in the instant pot with a splash of water. I cooked them on the 'Soup' programme for 15 minutes and they had cooked down to a smooth pureé, there was no need to mash or liquidize afterwards.
I looked up some brownie recipes to get a feel for the quantities, then decided to use the hot chocolate powder to replace both the sugar and cocoa powder.
- 1 cup of apple purée
- 3 eggs
- 1½ cup of hot chocolate powder
- a pinch of salt
- 1 cup of plain flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 50g of plain chocolate, broken into chunks
- Heat the oven to 180C or gas mark 4. Grease and line a 9 or 10 inch cake tin.
- Mix the apple pureé, eggs and hot chocolate powder together
- Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt and sift into the wet mixture. Fold in.
- Stir in the chocolate pieces.
- Pour into the tin and bake for about 30-40 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.
Unfortunately I had to leave the house before the brownie was fully cooked so I turned the oven off and left it in while the oven cooled. When I got back, the brownie was properly cooked though, possibly a bit over-cooked because it wasn't moist and squishy inside.
There was absolutely nothing wrong with the flavour though. Chocolate cakes do need a lot of cocoa powder or they just end up like brown sponge cakes. This was probably about right. I tried a square, then remembered that I needed to take a photo to put here. After taking the photo, I made a coffee and ate the second piece. If there is any cake left on monday, I'll take it to work, but I'll probably have to make another one to make sure there is enough to go round.
I found some mashed banana and some apple puree in the freezer while I was trying to make room to put away some shopping. I was looking for recipes to try, something different to the usual banana bread, and decided to try some flapjacks.
The recipe was 250g of butter, 250g of fruit puree, 100g of brown sugar and 500g of porridge oats. The flapjacks were a bit crumbly and lacked the chewy texture you get with golden syrup. If I find myself making them again, I will probably replace some of the sugar with syrup.
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I was hoping to try to cook the Northumberland Threshing Day Barley Bread recipe for the letter N but I couldn't find any barley flour in the shops. I've found a source of it on-line but the delivery cost makes it quite expensive so I've put that recipe to one side and I'll try it when I manage to track down some affordable flour.
Instead I've decided to try a Nottingham Pudding, which is a batter pudding with spiced baked apple inside. The traditional method appears to be to cook the apple whole in the batter. I thought about slicing the apple and frying it first, which might make it easier to eat, but I decided to stick to the original recipe.
Of course there's usually no such thing as a single original recipe so I looked at a few sources, including modern websites and Cassell's Dictionary of Cooking, which I have consulted for many of these recipes. Most recipes seem to resemble the two versions from Cassell's so I decided to follow the first one, which includes butter.
I didn't really expect much from this but it came out well and I think it was nicer than I was expecting. This might have been partly because I was quite hungry when I tried it, fresh out of the oven.
I've had quite a busy week baking, doing both breads and cakes. I started off with some olive bread, which I made since I had a large tub of olives which we bought cheap from the supermarket because they were going out of date.
I made a standard wholemeal loaf (50:50 wholemeal flour and plain bread flour), diced a handful of olives and kneaded them into the bread before proving.
The next recipe was Apple and Oatmeal muffins. These were based on a recipe from a River Cottage book.
Finally, a malt loaf. This was based on a recipe from the Paul Hollywood Bread tv series. When it came out of the oven, it didn't look quite right. It was paler than a bought malt loaf and I forgot to add the sultanas. It tasted right though and had the proper soft texture. I'll definitely try it again but next time I'll try to remember to add the fruit.
We made two new recipes today. The first was carrot cake. Emma's aunt recently gave us some apples from the tree in her garden. I ate most of them and we decided to bake something with the rest. Emma had read about using apple sauce as a replacement for vegetable oil in recipes. Last night I chopped the apples and simmered in half an inch of water until they had started to break down. I then liquidized the apples to make a smooth sauce.
We usually follow Delia Smith's recipe so I used that as the basis but replaced the oil with an equal volume of the apple sauce. I also reduced the amount of sugar from 6oz to 4oz. Delia's recipe suggests baking for 35--40 minutes but we found that it needed closer to 50 minutes.
This evening I make tuna and chickpea burgers, based on a recipe from the BBC Good Food magazine. I used leeks instead of onions and parsley instead of coriander but apart from that I followed the recipe fairly closely. The cooked burgers had a fairly soft texture but they tasted good.
I was backing up my laptop to the remote server in work this morning when I noticed the abbreviated directory names...
When a backup drive is shared between people, the Time Machine/Time Capsule backup system uses what's known as a 'Sparse Bundle' to simulate individual drives for each person. Unfortunate choice of name when the directory window isn't wide enough to display the full filenames.
Earlier this week, Apple Computers advertised a hard drive at about one tenth it's intended price. As you would expect, a lot of people placed orders. Apple realised their mistake and decided to change the orders without telling anyone.
The original order said:
Iomega 1TB Value Series Hard Drive with USB 2.0 Interface
TM258ZM/A £16.98 1 £16.98
but a few days later they strangely changed to:
DYMO LABELWRITER LARGE ADDRESS LABEL-ZML
TM258ZM/A £1.00 1 £1.00
The product code was the same but the price and description had changed. There was nothing on the page to explain what was happening. A phone call to the Apple Store revealed that they admitted their mistake and were cancelling the orders. It was a whole day before an email was received explaining the situation, in fairly patronising terms:
Dear Apple Store Customer,
We regret to inform you that your recent order for the Iomega 1TB Value Series Hard Drive. Which you placed on the online Apple Store has not been accepted.
Due to a temporary inaccurate pricing issue on the store, the price of the product was listed incorrectly as £19.95. Whereas the correct online Apple Store price is £199.95 i.e. the listed price was approximately 10% of the correct price.
We would like to draw your attention to clauses 2.4 and 2.5 of the Apple Online Store Terms and Conditions under which if Apple cannot accept your Order, we will contact you.
Furthermore, we would like to draw your attention to clause 2.6 of the Apple Online Store Terms and Conditions under which Apple reserves the right to cancel your order in case of a price error on the Apple Online Store.
We understand the inconvenience that this pricing inaccuracy may have caused you, and we sincerely apologize.
The Apple Store
The wording of the T&Cs was obviously chosen to allow them to weasel out of any such mistakes - they must have learnt from the mistakes of others, such as when Argos advertised a £300 television for £3. Apple aren't breaking any laws but they probably won't win any new friends this way. I'm not suggesting they should honour all the orders and sell the hard drives at such a giveaway price, but some other goodwill gesture would have been better than just an apology which was worded to make the customer sound like they were being told off.