The monthly requirement for chocolate, part of life for more years than I care to remember, has left me this year, but suddenly it was back again last week. Perhaps it was the cold wet weather, but comforting soup and some chocolate brownies were definitely on the family menu.
We had some Jerusalem artichokes, which Jenny had brought to share round at choir practice. In recent high winds the plants had fallen over, bringing many of the tubers up to the surface, so she had dug them all up over the weekend. Together with some cauliflower from our allotment and a 120g piece of organic stilton, a pint of chicken stock and a chopped red onion sweated in butter, all whizzed together after about 40 minutes simmering, we had a gorgeous creamy, savoury soup for lunch.
The recipe for chocolate brownies was from Riverford Farm Cook Book and is a real treat. Start by melting together 250g dark chocolate and 200g unsalted butter in a bowl over hot water. Add 1 tablespoon Tia Maria (I used Camp coffee for a more intense flavour).
Meanwhile puree 250g cooked beetroot in a food processor. Add three eggs (one at a time), a drop of vanilla extract and 200g caster sugar and mix until smooth.
In another bowl, sift together 50g cocoa powder, 50g ground rice, 1 tsp baking powder and 100g ground almonds.
Stir the beetroot mixture into the melted chocolate & butter mix and then fold in the dry ingredients.
Use greaseproof paper to line a rectangular tin about 28 x 18 cm. pour in the mixture and put in oven mark 4 (180C). Bake for 30-35 mins until just firm to the touch; a skewer inserted in the centre should emerge slightly sticky.
Cool in the tin, cut up and serve.
The recipe says this is enough for 9 portions but I cut it into 20 as the chocolate is very intense, plus all the eggs and butter makes for quite a rich texture and flavour. Perhaps I should only have added a couple of teaspoons of the Camp coffee. Anyway, we've been enjoying the brownies all week!