Family, friends and food

17 Jan 2008


Sorry about not posting the recipe yesterday.
I was busy most of the day and when I wasn't busy I had my nose buried in my book: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I am enjoying it and really it is an easy read and very suitable to put down and pick up again later when you have finished whatever little job needed your attention.

Also I didn't hear from Jewels until this morning , our time . It was so lovely to get her email and another one earlier in the week from dear Natalie.
For those of you who don't know Jewels and Natalie both had beautiful blogs that they decided to close last year at about the same time.
As they had also both become good friends of mine I have been able to keep in contact with them but not "visit" like we used to.
They still come to my "house" but I can't go to theirs and I truly do miss that. Of course I am very grateful that I didn't lose them altogether and I'll take what I can get.
In a way, only having non blog contact with them makes the friendships more normal if you know what I mean.


We have had a lot of coming and going this morning with Stephen taking the car to work because he is on a fruit and vegetable mission this afternoon before he goes to tennis. Then Louis was off to work on his bike.
Phone calls back and forth had Andy organising to spend the day at a friend's house and Kate arrived home from an overnight visit with a friend.
In between the postman arrived with a university offer for Louis as well as another one yesterday and maybe another tomorrow. Then he has to decide which one if any he wants to accept and organise to defer his course until 2009.


And I've been trying not to get sidetracked and to get to the computer to give you this recipe.
I have been trying to work out a new watering system for the chooks without having to spend any money.
This is how I get sidetracked. My mind quietly works away on these problems while I'm thinking and doing other things and when it finds a solution it sidetracks me.
Since we have had Charlie the duck he has taken great delight in jumping into the chooks water and making it filthy. We have always kept their water in an old plastic container,the one mum always used to put the sandwiches in when the family was going on a long drive. I didn't want to buy one of those hang from the ceiling jobs because there wasn't a suitable beam to attach it to. So this morning , when I was doing the washing up I got sidetracked.
I could use a wire hanging basket, for plants , with my old and battered stainless steel bowl in it and just hook it to the chicken wire adjusting the chains to keep the basket level. Do you get the picture. I'll let you know how it goes and show you if it's a success.
After I set it up this morning Badger was down there poking his paws through the wire trying to get some water in his little cupped paw. Very cute.


So, I've had breakfast, tidied the house done the washing up, tootled around the garden, invented the perfect watering system, picked our first tomato, said goodbye and hello several times over, it's nearly lunchtime and now, I had better give you the recipe for....


Chocolate Brownie Torte!!!!

chocolate brownie torte

Now the first little problem I had was the American peculiarity of measuring butter , a solid, in cup measures and also in sticks. Google was somewhat helpful but I did get conflicting information. However I pushed on , undeterred. Jewels says to use your favourite brownie recipe but she also provided one as well. My favourite recipe contains 250grams of chocolate and as the recipe calls for a chocolate glaze with about that much chocolate as well, I thought 500 grams or about 1 pound of chocolate was a bit over indulgent. Jewels' brownie recipe was a great alternative.

So part 1, the brownies:

Preheat the oven to 180C or 350F
Grease two round cake tins
Sift together 1 & 1/3 cups of plain ( all purpose) flour, ( I used white flour, Jewels said she sometimes uses whole wheat flour, freshly milled),
1 teaspoon baking powder,
and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Melt 250g ( 1 cup) of butter in a large saucepan.
Stir 1 cup of good cocoa into the melted butter.
Blend and lightly beat together 4 eggs(at room temperature),
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and 2 cups of sugar.
Mix dry ingredients and egg mixture into the slightly cooled butter mixture.
You can also add 1 cup of chopped nuts.
I didn't because Louis doesn't like nuts in cakes although I normally add pecans to the brownies I make.
Pour the mixture into the two round cake pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
DON'T OVERCOOK, better a bit underdone than overcooked and dry.

When they are done let them cool and get themselves together and then take them out of the pans. Leave them to cool completely on a cake rack.

The next step is the chocolate glaze:
Melt 250g ( 2 sticks) of butter with 250g (2 cups of chocolate chips) of dark chocolate in the top of a double boiler.

Now, to bring it all together.
Place one of the brownie cakes on a cake plate and Jewels stressed that it should be a pretty plate.
Drizzle half of the chocolate glaze over the cake then put the second layer on top and drizzle it with the rest of the glaze.
Let the cake cool and the glaze harden. I put mine in the fridge.

Now Jewels recommends a quart (1.2l) of cream to be whipped with a teaspoon of vanilla and two teaspoons of sugar, I use icing sugar ( confectioner's sugar). This cream is then to be swirled all over the top of the cake.
This cake really does need a lot of cream. More than you would think. I didn't put all the cream on top though as Andy doesn't like a lot of cream. I served the cake with a bowl of whipped cream on the side for people to help themselves.

Jewels also recommended sprinkling the top with more of the chopped nuts but thinking of Louis and his anti nut stance I sprinkled some almond meal instead, nutty taste but without the nutty crunch.

Jewels also finished hers off with a garnish of grated chocolate but I didn't have any. She also suggested an alternate topping of berry fruits or make a fruit sauce to pour over as wanted.

I think this recipe is open to all sorts of variations and is pretty well indestructible as long as you don't overcook the brownie cakes. But even if you do if you slosh enough other yummy stuff over the top it will still be eaten and enjoyed.

Now while I have been writing this out Kate and I have eaten the last two mini slices and now the cake is no more.

Have fun with it and think of me and Jewels when you tuck in.

15 Responses to “Family, friends and food”

  1. Your brownie torte looks just wonderful!! YUM!


  2. Thank you and Jewels for the recipe. We are starting a busy birthday season in our home and this will help us celebrate (we all love chocolate!). I don't know what you found out about butter measurements, but 1 stick = 8 Tbsp. = 1/2 cup of butter. 4 sticks = 1 pound. (I hope I've got this right since it's rather late as I type this :)
    Yes, our system is odd - I appreciate the times a recipe is written such that I can use my kitchen scale instead.

  3. Thanks for the recipe Jenny and Jewels.

    Not sure when I will make it, either as a birthday cake for my daughter or maybe as a back to school to cake to celebrate- gotta try and make it seem like fun.

    What a huge decision for Louis to make, I wish him well.

    cheers lenny

  4. That looks delicious, but I think I gained two pounds just looking at it! Still, it surely is tempting.....


  5. Thank you Jenny and Jewels.

    I can't wait to try this.

  6. Thanks for the great recipe. I saw it on Jewels' blog before it closed down, but didn't have a chance to copy it down. I'm glad she is doing well.

    Jewels also had a banana cake with strawberries I made which is fabulous. If she thinks it is OK, I can post the recipe on the comments here.

    Good for Louis! I hope that he picks the university course that is right for him, and taking a gap year is a good idea. He can explore many different career options and go to uni with an idea about what he wants to do. The best thing he could do is follow his gut, follow his intuition. If you are silent and listen to yourself, you'll figure out what you are supposed to do pretty quickly! Good luck to him!

  7. My family has four birthdays this week ranging from my 6 year-old niece to my 70 year-old mother. I might try the torte! I also liked "Animal, Vegetable, Mineral". I want to read it again, but can't get it out of the hands of my friends!

  8. I'm reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Dreams and really enjoying that too. Wish I was reading it now whilst enjoying a slice of your cake, sadly I'm at work on my lunch break balancing the Christmas excess with cottage cheese fruit.

  9. Thank you for posting this recipe. Jewels is such as blessing, as you, and I so miss her blog!
    Ruth, PA

  10. Oh my goodness, that looks so incredibly rich. I will try it out for our next special occasion.

  11. Oh YUM. I must make this soon. Jenny, we're very busy around here, but I'm so happy I could visit you today and read this lovely recipe!

  12. Thanks for posting the recipe. I really really really miss Jewel's blog! It was so beautiful. I have been consoling myself by enjoying the beauty of yours even though I don't post comments very often. I read Animal, Vegetable Miracle a few months ago. It was hard to put down. We are in the midst of changing a lot of things in our family as far as nutrition and I found this quite helpfu. One day we hope to live where we can have our own organic garden.

  13. I'll make that cake when I'm a little more preggo and a little less queasy, LOL. I sure miss Jewels. So grateful for your blog, Jenny. I check it every day. Please pass on our love to Jewels also.

  14. That photo of the tomato on the table is a corker. Just beautiful.

    I found Jewell's blog just a week before she closed it down. Great timing. Glad to hear that she's doing well.


Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.