Some months back I stumbled across the blog Coco & Me, at the time I was searching for a recipe for those perfect pastel macaroons when I clicked on a link to Coco & Me's step-by-step guide. Tamami's food instantly grabbed my attention and I often look at her blog, she is achieving something I have always thought about doing myself.
Tamami runs a chocolate and cake stall at Hackneys Broadway Market and her food looks amazing. She manages to bake from home for the stall on the days leading up to Saturday's market. She also has a toddler and is expecting another. I'm impressed.
This week I was asked to provide food for a 'work' lunch for a good friends business meeting. She enjoys my food and I thought it would be a fun if a little hectic thing to do. So with the help of my wonderful parents in the house distracting the girls from 'helping', I did manage to provide what I had hoped would be a pleasing lunch for all.
I decided not to make sandwiches, (although it would have been easier) but instead I made a sweet potato, feta, onion and cumin tart; lamb kofta's, pita, tzatiki, houmous. Slices of fresh melon and pineapple and grapes, home-made cookies and chocolate brownies for a price of £10 a head. I know I would have been happy to eat it and I believe everyone was, except the boss who wouldn't even try anything and instead, sent his secretary out for a white bap. I know he was peeved at the cost, he could have "bought in lunch for much less", but I couldn't help but feel deflated, annoyed that the boss didn't try my food and also slightly embarrassed that I had prepared something a little different and possibly charged too much. Yet I know the time and effort I took deciding, cooking, shopping and delivering not to mention the quality of ingredients that went into the lunch.
But it was a good learning curve. It reminded me of a post a few months back on Coco & Me where at Broadway Market, someone had challenged Tamami about the cost of her tarte tatin (but still bought it) and left saying “I should remember never to buy cakes from you.”
On a brighter note, I think the chocolate brownies I made were pretty delicious. They are wheat-free but certainly not fat-free. Moist and dense and they would last for days and days in the fridge if they weren't so damn tasty. I think I always under-cook my brownies, I prefer them fudgy to cakey but I realise fudge isn't everyone's cuppa tea. If you prefer them cakey, just cook them for longer.
With this batch, I forgot to add the toasted hazelnuts until the mixture had been in the oven for a few minutes. Rather than omitting them completely, I threw them on the top of the slightly baked mixture and then put the tin back in the oven. I now actually think I prefer this look than them being concealed inside the dark cake.
Dense Chocolate Brownies
190g salted or unsalted butter (I like salted)
190g good quality (74% cocoa solids) chocolate ( I swear Lidls is the best!)
3 large free range eggs
250g caster sugar
150g ground almonds
150g toasted hazelnuts or walnuts
17cm x 26cm tin lined with silicone parchment paper
Heat oven to 150ºc
- In a heavy based pan, heat the butter and chocolate on a very low heat until melted.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar with a balloon whisk
- Pour the slightly cooled chocolate mixture into the egg and sugar mix and beat until combined, thick and glossy.
- Gently stir in the ground almonds and whole nuts (or leave nuts for throwing on top) and pour into lined tin.
- Bake for 30 - 40 mins or until the top starts to puff up and crack.
- Place the cake tin on a cooling rack and leave to cool completely until cutting. (Cutting the brownies with a wet, hot knife makes it look slightly neater).
- Heat and eat with ice-cream or cut it into small pieces, and like me, eat it straight from the fridge when the girls aren't looking.