We have just returned from a weekend with friends at Cootamundra (about 2 hours from Orange). They have a beautiful farm and are incredible hosts, putting on a proper, grown-up dinner party for us all. So much fun. And such a late night, all the more painful this morning because Thomas wakes with the birds which means we do to. Boiled eggs was all I could manage for dinner and now we are all heading to bed.
I made these brownies and rhubarb for our hosts, the former were consumed at about 1am this morning and the latter I actually forgot to take so we will have them on our porridge for breakfast (sorry Jack).
Pot roasted rhubarb
This is a fantastic way to cook rhubarb, I saw it first in Karen Martini’s book Cooking at Home. the stalks keep their shape and the flavours concentrate beautifully. The extra syrup is beautiful sploshed into some sparkling wine (ughh. can’t think of that right now) or topped up with some nice cold mineral water (that’s better). My rhubarb comes from Neville’s garden mentioned here and it’s top drawer. If you are in Orange and would like his address please let me know (maybe via comments box below).
10 stalks rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 5cm batons
250g caster sugar
Juice of one orange and two fat strips of rind
1 vanilla bean
Combine all ingredients in a casserole dish and let sit for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 160C and bake the rhubarb for about 40 minutes. Serve warm or cold with everything from these brownies to yogurt or even on the base of a simple sponge cake which I think I’ll try tomorrow.
Prune and almond brownies
This is the ultimate melt and mix recipe. The prunes add fudginess (is that a word?) and they keep well for a few days too. I really like them with the rhubarb above and maybe a dollop of cream or ice cream.
100g dark chocolate
100g prunes, pitted (I use locally grown Budgi Werri Prunes – they are just beautiful and available at our Orange markets and our great local ‘providore’ A Slice of Orange)
100 natural almonds
2 large eggs, beaten
300g demerara sugar
100 plain flour
2 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
Preheat oven to 180C. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heavey-based saucepan over medium. Place the almonds on a baking tray and roast for about 10 minutes then remove and roughly chop. Combine all remaining ingredients, stir through the melted chocolate and butter and the almonds and then pour into a lined baking tray (about 20cm x 30cm or thereabouts). Cook for about 20 minutes or until the top is slightly cracked but still feeling a little soft. Slice into squares.
I did taste those brownies. Even though it was 1 am, they were just as special when I hit the hosts fridge around morning tea time. That is a great recipe Soph. The prunes are a magic addition to the brownie.