Friday, 9 April 2021

Black Forest Brownies - a là Nigella Lawson

I thought I'd make these brownies over the Easter break, but time got away from me.  Not that I did much, except eat and nap and read.  And I've still got a bacon recipe to put up, but that will have to wait.  Here's another recipe from Nigella's book Cook, Eat, Repeat.  I've said before that I really enjoy her prose, so I'm happy that there is a lot to read in this book of hers, as well as recipes.

And now for my shameful confession (I may have mentioned this before) - I love Nigella and her books, and I use her recipes often, but in person I found her so boring!  I went with a friend to a live event where Nigella was in conversation with a local celebrity/journalist-type person.  Oh my!  I nearly fell asleep.  And I couldn't help but think that without her beauty, and posh voice, and wealthy family, she may not have made it quite so far in the foodie world ...

squidgy and herby and chocolatey ...


150g./5.3 oz dried cherries 

75 mL/2.5 oz kirsch or orange juice or booze of your choice

200g./7 oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces

200g./7 oz butter, chopped into chunks

100g./3.5 oz dark muscovado sugar

225g./8 oz caster sugar

1/4 tsp sea salt

25g./0.88 oz cocoa

4 large eggs, at room temp.

100g./3.5 oz toasted hazelnuts, bashed into pieces

150g./5.3 oz plain flour

1 tsp rosemary needles, finely chopped

icing sugar (powdered sugar) for serving


Heat your oven to 180C/350F

Line a 23cm/9 inch square baking tin with baking paper

Put the cherries into a wee saucepan, add your liquid of choice and bring to the boil, stirring often.  Boil for a minute, then let them contemplate their navels (i.e. let 'em cool down)

Put the butter into a large saucepan, melt over a very low heat, then add the chocolate pieces and let it melt gently into the butter

Give it a stir when melted, then add the sugars, salt and cocoa; stir gently together and let it cool down

Break the eggs into a jug or bowl, and give it a good whisking

Pour the whisked eggs into the saucepan (gradually), give it a good stirring, then add the flour and whisk into the mixture

Add the cherries, hazelnuts and rosemary into the pan, fold them in, then pour into the lined tin

Bake for 25-30 minutes, till the edges start coming away from the sides of the tin, and a cake skewer thrust into its dark heart comes out with a few crumbs, but no raw batter lurking

Let it cool on a wire rack, then dust with icing sugar to serve - will keep in an airtight container for a couple of days


I used sour dried cherries 'cos that's all I could find, but you could use a mix of dried cranberries and other dried fruit

I used spiced rum 'cos that's what I had, and I used Lindt chocolate 'cos that's what I bought:-)

Scrunch up the baking paper into a big ball; this will make it so easy to line your tin (when it's unravelled obvs)

I used my 20cm x 20cm tin (I don't have a bigger square tin), and it was fine - it just took another few minutes to cook

ingredients gathered

boil the cherries in booze or juice

crinkle up your baking paper to line the tin

whisk in the flour after the sugars, salt, cocoa and eggs

stir in the hazlnuts, cherries and rosemary

pour the batter into the lined tin

baked and now to cool

dust with icing sugar

© Sherry M.

Thursday, 1 April 2021

In My Kitchen - April 2021

Well, April is starting off with ... a whimper, rather than a bang.  Brisbane went into lockdown for three days from the 29th March, so here we are hoping that Easter isn't a total wipeout.  It's already what my sister and I call "Covid quiet" - no traffic, no people, no noise.  I actually really love it, as long as it's only for a few days.  Here's hoping ...

Okay, here's where I admit that my mojo is still off with the fairies.  I am finding it hard to get motivated at the moment.  I have a short story or two to get written in the next two weeks, but I just can't seem to get there.  But I'll keep trying.  I hope you're all doing okay in this weird Covid world we live in.  Anyway, let's jump over all that, and look at our kitchen shenanigans.  Feel free to join in, everyone!  

In My Kitchen:

and I bought another cookbook

Readers in Australia will remember Alice as a contestant from Masterchef.  She is fabulous!  And she has written this weighty tome about - you guessed it - vegetables.  I'm looking forward to ploughing through it, and trying out some of her recipes.

and more smoked salt

I absolutely love smoked salt, so had to buy this one.  Weirdly, even though it is a pale brown colour, it has no scent or taste of smoke at all.  Maldon is my fave salt of all time, so I don't mind, but compared to other smoked salts I've tried, this is beyond mild. 

a gorgeous tea towel by local artist Kate Piekutowski

I love Kate's work, but I'll settle for a tea towel until I can afford one of her artworks.  I have my eye on a fabulous new etching of hers ...

another fab bowl by Batch# Ceramics

This is my fourth piece from Batch Ceramics.  I love their handmade quirkiness, and the wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey ... nah, hang on, that's Dr Who:-)  This one wobbles, and it's fantastic.  It's called a Honeymoon bowl (in chartreuse); perhaps for sharing before or after connubial bliss?  (The Little Bather painting by Susan Montgomery on the wall.)

another tumbler from Magnolia Mountain

I have quite a few (hmmph - lots!) beautiful tumblers of varying sizes from Magnolia Mountain.  This one is so beautiful with its fine white hue and elegance.  And in the sunlight, I can see my fingers through it.

kelpy condiments from Mystery Bay

I saw this on telly the other night on a lifestyle show, so I bought some, dear readers.  Apparently one of the chemicals in kelp is being used in breast cancer treatments.  I added some to an egg dish I made last night, and it gave a slightly salty, kelpy taste.  We liked it!

a personalised charcuterie/cheese/serving board

Our old (as in long-standing) friend Mr. Astronomer made this lovely board for me.  It's made of local blackbutt, an Australian hardwood.  He's happy to make them for people (at a price naturally), but you'd have to be in the Brisbane area :-)  It has a lovely heft, and smell and grain to it.

my curveball this month

I went to an art show with a friend recently.  I love drawings, and I love portraits and I really love this one.  She has such gravitas, and determination.  You can just see my friend and myself reflected in the glass!  And you can see the winner reflected back - a beautifully-drawn pair of boots.  This is called Family Portrait 2 by Sharon Beckett.  Can't wait to have it home on my walls.

So that's me done; hoping to see lots of you lovelies here with an In My Kitchen post.  Once again, a wee reminder: IMK posts are about your kitchen (and kitchen garden) happenings over the past month.  Dishes you've cooked, or preserves you've made, or herbs and veg in your garden, kitchen gadgets, and goings-on.  You get the picture.  And don't forget your curveball!  Throw in whatever you fancy.  The link is open from the first to the thirteenth of the month.  Let me know if you need help with adding your post, or if you would like it added manually by me after the 13th. Here's how to join in:

Options for adding your post to IMK:

1. Add via the Add Link button at the bottom of this post.  Instructions can be found on the sidebar of this page, under the Add your IMK link OR:

2. Comment on this post, providing a link to your post so I can add it manually to the list below OR:

3. Email me:, with your link or any queries about the link process

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter