About once a week, sometimes twice I like to bake a cake or dessert of some kind. Baking is not necessarily ‘my thing’, what I mean by that is, I’m not one for weighing out ingredients, I like to cook by eye, which is great for me, but more challenging when I want to share a dish with our readers that has worked incredibly well.
Of course this happened with this brownie recipe. I was at my husband’s farm, working from the ‘very rustic’ farm kitchen (no scales, no fancy baking trays, no electric oven, no mixers or electric gadgets, just a good old fashioned gas oven, a whisk, a spatula, old metal cazuela dishes and a bowl. I just popped things into a bowl and had a go. Sometimes cooking like this is really quite refreshing, it’s just you and the ingredients working hand in hand with one another.
Admittedly when I travel to the farm, I do have a cool box and large shopping bag full of ingredientes, with a 50km dirt track between us and the local town, I’m not going to risk not being able to cook ‘my way’. My way means in the WIM style:
- Gluten Free
- Refined Sugar Free
- Refined Carbohydrate Free
- Made With Real Natural Ingredients
- Nutrient Dense & Nutritionally Focused
So there was me, the rustic kitchen and my ingredients box, I was set loose.
Roughly in my head I know how to make a brownie, or perhap better stated I know what I’m looking for when making a brownie. It needs to be rich, decadent, a little gooey/fudgy in the middle, utterly satisfying. I mean why else would you eat a brownie? This is not an everyday occurrence either, so if I’m going to eat one, it needs to be incredible and totally worthy of entering my body (nutrient dense).
Knowing what I’m looking for I know that the fat content required is going to be much higher than in a normal style cake, plus i’m going to need some sticky moisture binding elements (enter the egg), plus a rich moist crumb (nut flour), sweetness of course (dark choc & coconut sugar), richness (dark choc & butter) crunch (walnuts).
Honestly, when I made this I was surprised it turned out so well the first time, with no scales! Of course, I’ve gone and made this recipe a few times so that I can share the actual measurements with you.
Cooking intuitively is less about exact ingredients, and more about texture, look and feel. So the next time you’re in the kitchen and following a recipe, don’t get too caught up on the amounts, go with your instincts, taste, and ask yourself does this look good? Does it taste good? Do I like it? What consistency am I wanting? Unless you’re cooking something brand new and you have no idea what it should be or look like, instinctively you will know what you are looking for. Let me give you an example, most of you may well have eaten a curry in your life whether that’s cooked by you, a friend, you’ve been to a curry house or ordered in. You’ve had the experience. If I asked you to describe to me what made that curry great you might say to me:
- Tender chicken
- Creamy sauce
- Rich & spicy sauce
- Fluffy rice
- Bags of flavour, really satisfying
By describing the dish like this you KNOW what you are looking for when you cook it at home.
FOOD FOR HEALTH
This came up a couple of weeks ago as part of our Food For Health Cookery Course. Week No. 5 we make a creamy and delicious curry from scratch. When we were cooking, participants would ask how long they should cook it for, or whether they should add more coconut milk, salt or spice.
Rather than telling them what I think they should do, I asked them to taste the sauce and tell me whether they liked it or not. I asked them to describe to me what they thought was missing, I asked them what they thought of the texture of the sauce. From there, they were able to answer their own questions, one said my sauce is a little too spicy, so she added a squeeze of lemon and a little more yoghurt, another wanted a creamier texture to her sauce so she added a spoonful of almond flour, another felt the balance of flavour was a little odd so she added a touch of salt and ½ tsp of honey.
We love to create this cooking space where you can cook live with us, where you can ask questions and we can encourage you and help to build kitchen confidence. Cooking is not about recipes per say, it’s about knowing what you want, knowing your ingredients, and learning to trust yourself.
My main bit of advice: taste, taste, taste, taste and adjust to YOUR liking, because it’s you that is eating the food.
So without further ado, here is an epically good chocolate brownie recipe!
P.s. This is a small batch recipe…. these brownies are so filling you only need a tiny piece to feel satisfied. So great for an easy treat if you are thinking slim! Obviously, if you’re making for an occasion feel free to double or triple up! Just know that it will take longer in the oven.
75gr cashew nut flour (almond works well too)
75gr coconut sugar
30gr raw cacao powder
2 large eggs
½ tsp gluten free baking powder
¼ tsp sea salt or himalyan salt
110gr unsalted butter (coconut oil works well too)
35gr 70% dark chocolate
Small handful of walnuts (5-6 nuts)
- Gently melt the butter and chocolate together taking care not to burn the chocolate.
- If you don’t have cashew nut flour, simply grind your whole cashews in a food processor with the cacao powder until fine.
- Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
- Beat your eggs and slowly incorporate the melted butter and chocolate mixture.
- Combine the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix well.
- Line a small baking tin with greaseproof paper, fill with the mixture, scatter over the broken walnuts and poke them in with your finger. Bake at 170c for 30 mins until just cooked (insert a skewer into the centre, if it comes out with a few crumbs attached only, you’re good). It’s best to slightly undercook than overcook!
- Leave to cool before cutting and eating.