Chocolate Ganche Birthday Brownies

Just sometimes, I get a little bored of baking cakes. After baking hundreds upon hundreds of cupcakes in the last week, I really couldn't bring myself to bake a cake for my brother's birthday. I decided instead to try something different - birthday brownies! 

Brownies

Now brownies are something I don't make a lot because I don't seem to like the same kind of brownies most people in the UK like. Those heat up in the microwave with boring ice cream brownies that so many restaurants serve for dessert. I'm more of a slightly chewy, gooey in the middle BUT JUST THE MIDDLE brownie kinda gal (ice cream is still good just not supermarket icicle ridden "cornish" please). So i'm fussy, and because of this I don't bake brownies often. I just buy them from my friend Sarah who bakes amazing brownies.

Brownies

Anyway, my sister came over to help me bake and we gave these a go. And hey, they actually worked out okay! I say ok because we did put caramel in them and it sort of disappeared during baking and just accumulated around the edges of the pan but they were still delicious. These are really, really chocolatey and deep. I would maybe like to try these with milk chocolate sometime too. Oh, Katy and I made a little video too.



Ingredients:

180g plain flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
300g dark chocolate 65-75% cocoa solids
200g unsalted butter
220g light brown sugar
150g caster sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the ganache:

200g dark chocolate
75ml double cream

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 23 x 33cm brownie tin and line with a strip of parchment leaving about a 2-inch overhang along the long edges to make removing the brownies easier.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt together into a bowl and set aside.

In a medium pan set over medium heat, melt the chocolate and butter together, then remove from the heat. Whisk in the sugars. Whisk the eggs and vanilla in the chocolate mixture and then add the flour mixture and fold until just combined, the odd speck of flour showing is fine.

Pour the batter into the pan and level out with a spatula. Bake for 35 – 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with just a few moist crumbs.

I made a really simple ganache quickly (last minute decision!) just melting the chocolate and mixing in the cream. I poured it over and allowed a few hours in the fridge to set.

Allow to cool in the pan completely before removing and cutting into squares.

Brownies

Brownies




I'm in love with your honour, I'm in love with your cheeks...

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Dress - Asos
Sandals - Topshop

Quick wee outfit post featuring a dress from ASOS. I completely love it, the photos don't capture the bright green too well but it's amazing. I was going to buy another in orange but I noticed the elastic in the lace has started coming loose like threads. Ack! So it's not amazing quality unfortunately, but i'm sticking with it because it makes me feel happy to wear this colour.

Sorry the photos are a little blurry, I only noticed something was wrong with the settings just before we had to leave, so that's why there aren't detail shots. Can you see little Lola in there? She's my shadow.  

Nothing too much to report here simply workworkwork, well there is something very exciting changing in my life but I am keeping quiet about it for now - eep! Apart from that, well I finally passed my driving test! I can't tell you how much of a nervous driver I am. Horrendously nervous! I started learning then stopped because I couldn't cope with it, but I was determined to learn for the business so I went back and although I failed my first test I passed the second time. I've been out driving most days to get used to our car (learned in my instructors) and so far I'm doing okay. I still get scared a lot though, but I'm getting there!

Oh! One thing though, I am looking to redesign my blog. So any recommendations would be great, for who could do one. I don't have the time to do it realistically so I want to pay someone to make it pretty for me. 

This isn't a new song at all, but one I completely love and want to share anyway :) 



Beauty and the Brunch.

Last week I was kindly invited along to try a new meal and beauty deal set up by St George's Bar and Grill (attached to the market I have my stall at!) and The Beauty Company, a salon that is right around the corner from St George's.

The two have partnered up for a deal that is too good to miss. Lunch and a drink, plus a beauty treatment for only £25.00. There's a delicious menu on offer with loads of choices and options for veggies. The beauty treatments include a Shellac manicure, a Vita Liberata tan or a Deluxe Manicure.

I took Dawn of Inanity and the Girl along with me. First we went for our delicious lunch. I don't know why I had never tried this place before! It's really only a 5 minute walk from the complete centre of the high street and the menu is reasonably priced and the food is irresistable. The service was also great, I know this can differ when you are being treated to something to review but I was paying attention to the service of other tables and the staff were all really friendly and efficient to all of their customers.

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The food and drinks arrived quickly as well. I had mushroom risotto with shaved parmesan which was so creamy and filling. The portions are generous, you definitely do not feel ripped off! Dawn had chicken with cous cous and it looked amazing! We also couldn't resist dessert, it's not included in the brunch deal but you can add it on and it's reasonably priced also.

I had Baked Alaska Lemon Meringue, it was as amazing as it sounds! The meringue on top was so perfect and I'd never tasted anything like it before, it was like eating a sugar cloud. Meringe is a favourite of mine, specifically pavlova but I hate when it tastes overly eggy. This was perfect! Dawn had cheesecake and I had to snap a photo of it for you, yum!

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After lunch we moved on to our Shellac treatments at The Beauty Company. Anyone who has been following my blog for a while knows I used to be really into nails and nail art, well sadly with my baking all the time it's just not realistic to have nail polish on a lot. However Shellac is a hard wearing manicure, which can last up to 3 weeks. Now, mine has been on since Thursday and it is now Tuesday and although that might not seem much you have to bear in mind that my hands are constantly in water and moulding fondant and carrying heavy boxes. A standard polish on me doesn't last more than an hour so I never bother. Even though I wear gloves as I bake a normal polish just chips off instantly. There is one tiny chip on the edge of one of my nails but it's very hard to notice. So I'm pretty happy! The girls were friendly and let us choose from a whole range of colours. We had a great wee afternoon.

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If you're in Belfast I'd really recommend this, a Shellac treatment in Belfast usually ranges from £20-£30 alone (normally £30 at TBC) so for lunch and a treatment for £25 is great value. So go for it! It makes a lovely afternoon out with some pals!

Lovely Goodles By Sam Mercer


Working at St George's Market in Belfast has meant I have met loads of creative and wonderful people. I'm lucky have a work environment than inspires me and makes me feel like i'm with like minded people! One of those people is the lovely Sam Mercer, who makes a range of beautiful hair acccessories, jewellery and shoe clips. She was kind enough to send me some of her hair accessories which I love to bits! I've been meaning to share her work for ages now, another thing Sam is good at is understanding the hectic lifestyle of the self employed!

By Sam Mercer 

So I'm glad to finally share Sam's work and let you all know that she has launched a website where you can have a look at and purchase her handmade items. If you're in Belfast you can also find her stall at St George's Market every Saturday. Sam also does a lot of custom pieces for brides, so if you're getting married I would really recommend getting in touch with her!

Some of Sam's other pieces are below.

By Sam Mercer

By Sam Mercer By Sam Mercer

By Sam Mercer

By Sam Mercer