Posts Tagged: dessert

Aug 09

Blondie vs brownie


The blondie is the delicious opposite of the brownie – as opposed to the dark chocolate treat which is seemingly a more adult affair, this is for those with a sweet tooth and an affection for rich, decadent puddings.

For me, both have their upsides. Well, I can’t think of downsides for either but I guess they both suit certain moods. A brownie for when I’m feeling grown up, a blondie for the kid in me.

This recipe comes from my good friend Lara who runs an underground restaurant – all the rage these days – in South West London, Sheen Suppers (for bookings email

There are a few of these places around town and indeed the globe now – the premise being that an amateur chef invites a group of friends, acquaintances and strangers over to pay for a sit down meal in their house. And if this pudding is anything to go by, it’d be worth trying to find one in your area!

The recipe makes about 16-18 small blondies or 12 large ones. A tin 18cm x 32cm is ideal, or a square of similar dimensions.
For the blondies

  • 300g good quality white chocolate, chopped into very small bits
  • 150g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 level tbsp of grated fresh ginger – microplane grated is best (no fibres)
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 300g soft brown sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 175g plain flour

Ginger Cream

  • 1pt double cream
  • 4tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 lvl tbsp ground ginger


Pre-heat your oven to 180°C.
In a large bowl, beat together eggs, sugar and vanilla pod scrapings.

Melt together 200g of the choc and butter on a low heat in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Cool for 5 minutes so you don’t scramble the eggs and add to the egg/sugar mixture.

When well mixed, add the flour – don’t beat the life out of it but do carefully make sure it’s properly mixed.

Mix in the ginger and taste. It should be there but should not overpower the fudgy flavour of the chocolate.

Stir in remaining chocolate bits and pour into the tray (they need to be small so they melt quickly and don’t sink). Tap the tin a couple of times to get rid of big bubbles.

Cook for 35 minutes, testing at 30. They are ready when an inserted skewer comes out cleanish – some stickiness is fine and in fact, desired.
For the ginger cream, combine ingredients and whip to desired thickness.

Serve the brownies either warm or cool – you may find it easier to cut them once cooled though – with a dollop of cream on top.

Jul 09

Frozen, icy puddings

Thumbnail image for nect_560.jpg

A pudding from the freezer is utterly irresistible to me and I’m sure thousands of others. A cool sorbet or a decadent, smooth ice cream are both stellar ways to end a meal in my book. I don’t need fancy schmantzy, just a bowl with a scoop or two in it. Maybe some sauce if I’m lucky, maybe a few sprinkles too just to add a little texture – but sometimes even this is gilding the lily.

Frozen puddings have incredible mass appeal: how many people do you know who actually don’t like ice cream? There is a nostalgic joy in ice cream, memories of childhood treats, catching the drips as they roll down the cone.

Their other spectacular talent is giving the impression they aren’t filling; however much one has eaten at dinner there seems to be a shared piece of (il)logic going round that the ice cream just melts in the stomach filling in the gaps, and doesn’t actually take up any more space. Always room for ice cream.

This recipe is for a granita – a slushy, icy concoction perfect for the end to a summer lunch. It’s aromatic and delicious, tasting fragrantly of summer. Make sure you use very ripe nectarines to get the maximum flavour. Feel free to chop and change the fruit for anything very ripe, remembering to adjust the sweetness of the syrup to match. Using white sugar here will give you a much more vivid colour.

Nectarine granita (serves 4-6)

  • 150g caster sugar
  • 300ml water
  • 3 large, very ripe nectarines
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime or 1 passionfruit (optional)


Cut the nectarines into eight or so pieces and remove the stones. Place in a saucepan.
Over a low-ish heat dissolve the sugar and water in another pan. When dissolved completely, turn the heat up and bring to the boil. Once boiling pour over the chopped fruit and leave to cool.

Blend the fruit and syrup mixture in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add lemon juice to taste – you need a little bit of sharpness. I used the entire lemon.

Sieve the mixture into a shallow container. Put the container in the freezer, uncovered. After half an hour use a fork to break up the ice crystals. Repeat every half an hour to an hour for 3-4 hours.

To serve, scrape the granita with a fork into a large bowl for sharing. Either scatter some passionfruit seeds over the granita or squeeze on a little lime juice and serve with lots of spoons.

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