Raspberry and Pistachio Brownies

I’m all for a little indulgence, albeit in moderation. And what could be more indulgent that a chocolate / nut / berry combination – in the form of a homemade brownie. Inspired by a recipe I came across in My Darling Lemon Thyme’s cookbook (ps how gorgeous are her photos!), these luscious brownies made an appearance after dinner a little while ago.

Filled to the absolute brim with dark chocolate, pistachios and raspberries, they were far from “healthy”, but ticked all the boxes when it came to satisfying my sweet tooth. The raspberries added a nice touch of tartness too, meaning the end result was not sickly sweet, while the pistachios gave the slices a little texture.

On this occasion, we served the brownies warm for dessert, with a little vanilla bean ice-cream on the side. The remaining brownies kept well in the fridge for the next few days, becoming more fudge-like (with no complaints there either!).

So, if you are looking to satisfy a craving for sweets, may I suggest you make a batch of these! Be warned, though, they were hard to stop at just one piece…

Print Recipe
Raspberry and Pistachio Brownies
Course Baking
Cuisine Baking
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
Ingredients
Course Baking
Cuisine Baking
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a 22 x 30cm slice tray with baking paper.
  2. Combine the oil, 200g of the chopped chocolate, sugars and salt in a small saucepan. Melt, stirring often, over a low heat. Add the vanilla, remove from the heat, and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk the eggs into the chocolate mixture, one at a time, ensuring they incorporate well. Add the almond meal, and sift in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Stir to combine.
  4. Add half of the raspberries and pistachios, and 25g of the chopped chocolate, and stir until just combined. Spread into the prepared slice tray, and sprinkle with the remaining chocolate, raspberries and pistachios.
  5. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until just set. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then slice.
Recipe Notes

These brownies will keep at room temperature in an air-tight container for 2 to 3 days. You can also keep them in the fridge for a week or so, where they will become more fudge-like.

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Salted Caramel Apple Crumble

Kids and their appetites can be funny. And frustrating.

While Little J is definitely an ‘eater’, her big sister has a case of the ongoing fussies when it comes to meal times. She does, however, LOVE fruit, to the extent that I probably should take out a line of credit at our local greengrocer.

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Her favourite fruit at the moment? Apples. Red, green – it doesn’t matter.

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So with a fruit bowl laden with apples, and a desire to create a dessert for a family dinner, an apple crumble seemed to be the logical choice. Jazzed up with a salted caramel sauce because and a crunchy spiced ‘crumble’, this turned out to be quite the crowd pleaser.

IMG_6237IMG_6270Served with cream AND ice-cream because…well…we could!
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Salted caramel apple crumble (serves 6-8)

  • 6 apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup brown sugar + 1/2 cup
  • 100g butter x 2
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup plain flour, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup flaked almonds
  1. Preheat oven to 180C and lightly grease an oven-proof dish.
  2. Melt the cream, 1 cup brown sugar, 100g butter in a saucepan over a medium heat (around 5 minutes). Bring to a simmer, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cinnamon, ginger and salt. Add apples and stir to coat. Pour into prepared baking dish.
  3. To make the crumble – place flour, nutmeg, oats and brown sugar into a large bowl. Rub in 100g chilled / cubed butter with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir through flaked almonds.
  4. Top apples with crumble mixture and bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and the apples are soft.
  5. Serve with cream or icecream (or both!)

What about you? Do you have a favourite fruit dessert?

An ‘enchanted forest’ 3rd Birthday Party

Somehow, just somehow, our little girl turns 3 today.

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Clichéd as it may sound, it seems like it was only yesterday that we welcomed her into the world. Yet here we now are – 3 years later – with a spirited and adventurous daughter who make us laugh every single day.

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For months now, Charlotte has been telling me that she wants a ‘Ben and Holly’ party. So I ran with the fairy and elf theme, and before long we had ourselves quite the ‘enchanted forest’ soiree.

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Despite all appearances, we kept the food relatively simple (and appropriately sugar-laden!).

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The gorgeous toadstool cupcakes were courtesy of Little Miss Cupcake (my fondant skills still being in their ‘developmental phase’) while most of the other goodies (jelly, fairy bread etc) could be made in advance…

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As for the cake – well I must admit that I cheated a little. While I made the green ‘grassy’ base using chocolate cake and fondant – the castle itself was actually a cardboard cutout!

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The little Miss was still super excited when she saw the finished product – so I’m calling it a mama win – cheats and all!

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Fortunately we were also blessed with a beautiful sunny day – meaning we could set up the backyard for the kids to run amok.

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The little toadstool set was hired from a local party company – while Mr BBB got creative and adapted a regular trestle table into “kids” size (we figured we’ve got plenty more kids parties ahead of us!!). As for entertainment, we had a lovely fairy entertainer drop by and read stories,  play games and ‘glitter-fy’ the kids.  The trampoline was also a hit, as always, and there was no shortage of snacks and dressups.

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Overall – it was so very wonderful to celebrate this milestone with our nearest and dearest. For decorations and cakes aside, it was having all her family together that really brought a smile to the birthday girl’s face!

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Wishing you a very happy 3rd Birthday my beautiful girl. May the year ahead be filled with wonder and adventure! — Oh – and just because I can’t help but take a trip down memory lane…

party Where did our baby girl go???

A new look and a lemon meringue to celebrate

Hi there! And welcome to my new-look blog. It seems that today was the day for makeovers, for not only did BBB get a new face, I finally got around to getting my hair highlighted (long overdue, let me tell you!) IMG_8765       Another thing I should turn my mind to more often? Lemon meringue pie. For I always talk myself out of making it, due to the various elements involved. When, in reality, the whole process from start to finish can be quite cathartic, and there is nothing more pleasing than watch such a dessert come together over the course of the day. From the pastry – that is created, rested, rolled and then rested again. Baked until golden brown. IMG_8748                             To the lemon curd – and its gorgeously vibrant hue. IMG_8750         Poured into the baked pie shell, and allowed to set. IMG_8752   Before being finished with luscious clouds of meringue, IMG_8754         and baked a little more, until the top has started to brown. IMG_8759     Once I have the finished product before me, its hard not to feel accomplished. For while this dish does take a bit of time to create, the end product is both beautiful in looks, and scrumptious in taste. Yes, Mr Lemon Meringue, I should make you more often. IMG_8762   And yes, Mrs Hairdresser I will try to not leave it so long between visits. Hopefully. What about you? Do you get to the hairdresser regularly?

Salted caramel and chocolate pots

IMG_7513 Last week we had some friends around for a mid week dinner party, which sent me in search of a quick and easy make-ahead dessert. And while these salted caramel chocolate pots look impressive – they were actually really easy to put together. I basically followed this recipe –with the help of a few ‘cheats’ along the way. IMG_7519 For the bottom caramel layer, I used pre-made caramel…   Yup told you there were a few cheats! The product as it comes out of the can, however, is rather gluggy – so I warmed it a little then whisked until smooth – adding in some sea salt along the way. IMG_7521 Then for the chocolate layer – well I cant say this would suit anyone who is diet-conscious. For it was pure chocolate, sugar, milk and cream, resulting in an almost-ganache-like chocolate layer. Then it was into the fridge overnight to set. IMG_7524 To finish off the dish, I kept things simple. Just 3 pretzel sticks sitting on top of the pots – perfectly  for dipping and cutting through the sweetness of the dessert! IMG_7516 We all agreed they were really rich, but also very tasty. Although when there is salt, caramel and chocolate involved – you can rarely go wrong… Perhaps I should try and come up with a healthier version?? Salted caramel and chocolate pots (makes 4)

  • 1 can Nestle Caramel top n fill
  • 1tsp sea salt
  • 100g milk chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 100 dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 200ml double cream (at room temp)
  • 100ml milk
  • pretzel sticks to serve
  •  

    1. Warm the caramel in the microwave, then whisk with the sea salt until smooth. Pour into 4 serving cups and set aside.
    2. Melt the chocolate over a pan of barely simmering water. Remove from the heat, then stir in the cream and the milk – continuing to stir until smooth and glossy.
    3. Slowly pour the chocolate over the caramel layer, and chill for a few hours (or overnight).
    4. Top with the pretzel sticks to serve.

    What about you? Are you a fan of the chocolate / caramel combination?

    Sticky date pudding with butterscotch sauce

    IMG_3076 If I was being logical, I would probably present the details of our recent Christmas in July meal in course-order. But it is early, and I’m still suffering the lingering effects of a cold, so let’s just skip to the fun stuff ok? And by fun stuff I mean dessert. Of course. Which on this particular occasion was one of my all time favourites – sticky date pudding, with butterscotch sauce, double cream and almond biscotti. IMG_3063 And while I cheated and purchased the biscotti from my local grocer, the rest was made from scratch over the course of the afternoon. Then set aside, and reheated when the main course dishes had been cleared from the table. IMG_3064 One thing I noticed about this version, was that the ‘pudding’ itself was not overly sweet. Filled with those beautiful dates, yes, but not too sickly sweet as some puddings can be. IMG_3070 The butterscotch sauce, on the other hand, was a sweet syrupy overload, so only a little was needed. Though, the double cream also cut through some of the sweetness just perfectly. IMG_3074 I followed this recipe here, and used muffin tins to create the individual puddings. As to the cooking time, I shortened the initial baking time by 5 minutes, knowing that I would be reheating them later on, and they didn’t dry out in the process. Another tip – the recipe makes a lot of butterscotch sauce – and given how rich it is – a little goes a long way. So you are likely to have some leftover. What about you? Are you a fan of sticky date pudding?

    Lime tart

    IMG_0323 f I ever ask that all important question "what would you like me to bake", the response from Mr BBB, most of the time, will be "something citrus". His favourite is lemon meringue pie, but with its multitude of elements, is not a dish that I will make very often. IMG_0315 A close second, which does appear on our table more often (owing to is relative simplicity), is lemon tart. But on this occasion, I tried something a little different. A lime tart. IMG_0322 And so this little lime tart came to grace our table a while ago. I can’t even remember the occasion for which it was baked. But then again, knowing me, there probably was no ‘occasion’, as such. Rather than make pastry for the base, I opted for a biscuit crumb. IMG_0317 To be honest, I was a little dubious when pressing the biscuit / butter combination into the base and sides of the tart tin that it would actually hold its shape once out. But, aside from a near miss (when I went to put it in the oven, and not the fridge?!), it came out near perfect at the end. IMG_0337 But I digress. For the lemon filling itself – I kept things simple. IMG_0319 Egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, lime zest and lime juice. Beaten then poured over the biscuit crumb, and baked for 12 minutes or so (or until just set). IMG_0325 Then, after a few hours in the fridge, the results spoke for themselves. IMG_0329 A beautifully delicate tart, with just the right amount of ‘zing’ from the lime. IMG_0335 The added bonus being that it even sliced quite well…. IMG_0346 Happiness! IMG_0350 Lime Tart (serves 10-12)

    • 225g plain biscuits
    • 120g butter, melted
    • 4 egg yolks
    • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
    • finely grated lime zest of 2 limes
    • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
    1. Preheat oven to 180C, and grease a round tart tin with a removable base.
    2. Process the biscuits into a fine crumb, then add the butter and pulse until combined. Press the mixture over the base and sides of the prepared tin, and allow to set in the fridge for 20 minutes.
    3. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks until light and fluffy. Add the remaining ingredients, and stir until well combined. Pour over the biscuit base.
    4. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until just set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3-4 hours.

    What about you? Are you a fan of citrus desserts like this one?

    Summer berry trifle

    Standing proud on our Christmas Day dessert buffet was one of my all time favourite desserts… IMG_5664 Trifle! IMG_5666 But not just any trifle….a trifle making the most of all the gorgeous summer berries available at the moment. And despite its relatively grand appearance, it was super easy to make (with the help of a few cheats, that is!) Using what I discovered was a super large trifle bowl, I layered the following ingredients:

    • Sponge cake (purchased)
    • Splash of madeira to soak the cake
    • Raspberry jelly (that I made the night before)
    • Fresh berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries)
    • Custard (purchased)
    • Whipped cream (that I piped onto the top)
    • And then finished, with a good pile of more fresh berries.

    IMG_5670IMG_5689 I then placed it in the fridge for a few hours to allow the flavours to develop and combine. IMG_5691 I read somewhere that trifle originated as a way of using up leftover ingredients. And, to be honest, it is a rather odd combination of flavours and textures. However, despite the oddity, it works. And I think it is pretty darn delicious – particularly when smothered in fresh summer berries! What about you? Are you a fan of trifle?

    Purple Dessert Buffet

    So I am aware I went a little MIA these past few days, but I assure you has been for good reason.  Let’s not focus on the little Miss’ nap strikes and night time wakefulness (I think she is adjusting to this HOT weather the poor thing). No – let’s focus on the fun project I put together for my niece’s birthday party over the weekend. IMG_4764 A dessert buffet! IMG_4731 A little while ago, my sister in law asked if I would make the cake for my niece’s birthday party. I accepted with gusto (for I rarely need an excuse to get baking!?), and suggested that why don’t we perhaps go one better and put together a whole buffet of sugary delights. Well things sort of grew from there. With purple as the theme, I started collecting a few decorations. A couple glass jars (to hold the lollies and melting moments), some purple candles…. IMG_4778 A string of purple bunting and a few homemade prints to put in frames…. IMG_4714 I also grabbed a few packets of tissue paper, and with the help of YouTube, created these pom poms to hang above the table. IMG_4723 Simple – yet effective! IMG_4754 And slowly but surely we had ourselves the base for a fun party buffet! IMG_4769 But decorations aside – let’s talk about the FOOD! For, let’s be honest, even the best decorated dessert buffet will only work if it is laden with sugary treats. In our case, it was a combination of homemade and store bought. Starting with macarons… IMG_4705 Which I must confess I purchased instead of making. Next up – my homemade rocky roadIMG_4710 And crème de menthe brownies, made by my sister in law… IMG_4749 And finally – melting moments and a jar of lollies (store bought)… IMG_4748IMG_4751 But no party would be a party without cake.  And this party was no different! IMG_4712 The centrepiece of the buffet was a homemade layered vanilla cake, that I iced with chocolate buttercream and topped with chocolate dipped strawberries. IMG_4743IMG_4746 Finished with a wafer edge – and held together with purple paper and ribbon. IMG_4742 Perhaps not the easiest cake to slice (on reflection), but seeing as we had none left by the end of the party I’m calling it a win! IMG_4752 So there you have it – my sugary weekend adventures! IMG_4764 Great weather, great company, great food! What more could a gal want?! What about you? What is your favourite dessert?

    An easy sweet cheat treat in 1, 2, 3

    IMG_9211 A little while ago, I had guests arriving for an impromptu afternoon tea, but not a lot of time to prepare a sweet treat to serve. I did, however, have a packet of meringue nests in the pantry (similar to these…) Picture 039 Which were the perfect base for an easy afternoon tea. I am not kidding when I tell you that these treats took only 5 minutes to put together – in 3 easy steps. 1. Set out the nests on a pretty platter. 2. Whip some good quality cream, and spoon into each nest. 3. Top with strawberry slices and a sprinkle of chocolate powder. IMG_9210 - Copy And you are done. IMG_9207 Told you they were easy! Sure you can make your own meringue nests too – but when time is limited – I think ‘cheating’ a little is perfectly fine… IMG_9209 Given there were none left at the end of the afternoon tea, I am calling these sweet treats a win. Although, you really can’t go wrong when meringue + cream + strawberries are involved – can you??? What about you? Do you have a ‘cheat’ treat that you like to serve?