Category Archives: Uncategorized

Very chocolate brownies, that can be vegan, if that’s your thing 

If you’re anything like me, it’s not very often that you need a big pan of brownies. It’s not like I have to do bake sales or church dinners or anything. Mostly I need brownies, all to myself, every 28 days. I just need a small little pan that I can eat too many of, and then offload the balance of the pan off on my coworkers the next day. This does the trick. This might make these brownies sound medical. Maybe they are. I also find gin and tonic helps. 

But back to these brownies. They are rich, moist, chocolatey, and EASY. You can even leave out the egg, and reduce the cocoa powder by a tablespoon and just like that, vegan brownies. So virtuous!

The trick to good brownies really is cocoa powder. Cocoa is, when you think about it, chocolate flavour concentrate. Seeing chocolate melted in and incorporated into a recipe for brownies is likely a hint that a recipe will not turn out the way your hoped. 

Directions

Prep

15 m

Cook

22 -25 m

Ready In

50 m

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour 

1/2 cups white sugar 

1/2 Demerara sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 

1/2 teaspoon baking powder 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1/2 cups chocolate chips

1/2 cup + 3 tbsp water 

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugars, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips. Pour water, vegetable oil, egg and vanilla into a measuring cup and mix together with a fork; mix into dry ingredients until just blended. Spread evenly in a 9×9 inch baking pan lined with baking parchment.

Bake for 22-25 minutes in the preheated oven, until the top is no longer shiny. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into squares.

Note: if you really want to go H.A.M. on your cravings, melt 1 bashed up Skor bar in a small saucepan over low heat with 2 tbsp golden syrup, and drizzle over you slightly cooled brownies. While Skor goo is still warm, top with a few handfuls of broken pretzels. 

You’re welcome. 

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,700 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Boring

Having a really hard time thinking about stuff to write about at the moment. I know that that’s the dumbest thing to write on a blog ever. It’s the blogging equivalent of “Loving the Sunshine!” as a FB status. Just to let you know, I haven’t gone away, I’m just way overfed at the moment.

Reading a really interesting book called The Compass of Pleasure by. David J. Linden. I suppose in a nutshell it’s about why certain things feel so good and why we can get addicted to them. I’m very interested in this as some sort of insight as to why I wake up on a Saturday morning thinking of nothing but what would be the perfect cola flavored cup cake. I’m sure most people think about other things immediately upon waking.
So if I can figure out why I’m so obsessed with food maybe I can eat less of it? The reading continues, so lets see what happens.

Now Available Everywhere Good Blogs Are Sold!

Update to my lovely Woman Eats City readers! Funny story. One of the editors of The Vancouver Observer was reading a yelp review I had done, clicked on my profile, clicked on my blog, liked what he read, and now I’m submitting articles for them! Who would have though where a yelp review could take me? Check it out, I’m even on the front page this week and lots of perfect strangers seem to like me. Hurrah!

http://www.vancouverobserver.com/food/2011/02/20/where-are-all-female-chefs

I love you, The Oatmeal

*Stolen, gratefully, from www.theoatmeal.com *

Fashionable Food for 2011

Food is incredibly fickle. You may think that hemlines are hard to keep track of, but that’s nothing compared to what can and can-not be served in the better restaurants in the more fashionable districts in the most currently food centric cities.  Food in our century has far, far less to do with what tastes good and ever more to do with the strobe-light like flash of ever-changing new ingredients. Keeping track is hard, and even the smallest pub, cafe, or food stand in the least fashionable area of anywhere will feel the effects of ingredient popularity.

The awareness of ever morphing diets, and the rejection of said diets, has done more to shape what we want to eat than ever in the beginning of our new century. It would seem that our lives are becoming so so virtual or intangible that we are all craving “real” foods. People want heavier flavors, more visible fat, less artificial sweeteners. It makes perfect sense. After spending a day thinking about how whether or not that emoticon you used will add enough emotional value to an email you just sent a client on Singapore, It’s understandable that at 6pm you really just say Sod It, I’m eating the biggest pork chop I can find. These are the modern times we live in.

But if you want to go more microscopic into the small flavor cues that will be showing up on our menus and cookbooks in the year to come, these are my observations and guesses as to what, I think, will become this years vertion of 2005’s sun-dried tomato.

 1. Fennel Seeds – Jamie Oliver is using gobs if them in everything possible at the moment, and their old world pungency works with fatty, porky, smoky flavors. Watch for them in sausages, anything “wintry” and no doubt to be crusting something at a restaurant near you soon.

2. Gelée – Gratefully replacing the foam. Lovely layers of pretty, sparkly jelly over creamy things will making us think of some fantasy dessert buffet in heaven this year.  I also predict the return of the Aspic.

3. Pavlova – As soon as restaurants start realizing that keeping Meringues,  cream, and a few berries around is easier than trying to make tiny little apple crumbles or warm brownies a la minute, the better dessert out will be for all of us.

4. Ramen -It’s taken Vancouver by absolute storm and is carrying on full speed ahead into 2011. Places like Kintaro are bringing real ramen, and less expensive more satisfying food, into the public conscientiousness.

5. Chocolate/Raspberry – Stealing the thunder from peanut/chocolate recipes of earlier this century. If it doesn’t have a raspberry in it in 2011, it’s just not good enough.

6. Blood Oranges – Blame it on Emo kids and vampire enthusiasts thinking they are something that their not. They are absolutely gorgeous and are starting to be seen sliced over salads and tarts and squeezed into all manner of things, most importantly, cocktails.

7. Macarons – Officially displacing cupcakes from their sugary pedestal.  Essentially a meringue made with ground almonds, they have all the capacity for crazy colours and flavors, but are a million times more delicate and sophisticated.

8. Cheese – In all forms this is getting close to replacing bacon as naughty food best eaten in over-the-top quantities.  Mac and cheese in all variants, whole restaurants dedicated to it,  cheese plates replacing dessert, fondue coming back; this is all happening now.

Things

“What is this thing?”

Dylan is holding up a plastic orange veggie and dip tray that I love but have maybe used once. We have just moved in to our new place together, a modern Yaletown one bedroom + den. It has hardwood floors, a gas stove, all the amenities, pool, sauna, a little courtyard lagoon with ducks. After living with one sink and a roommate, I am so happy to have a dishwasher that I could cry.

We have been going through our boxes for 4 days, separating and putting our things away. We have way to much stuff for a house, never mind a small apartment. We have purged, donated, sorted, or set aside to sell a mass of personal property. The majority of this has been spent going through kitchen stuff.

“Do we need a salad spinner? Do you ever spin salad?”

“If you could throw away one bowl, which would it be?’

“How many sets of cutlery do we need? 12 or 10?”

“Why do you need a green silicone whisk?”

I’ve been avoiding it. Coming home and claiming to be too tired, getting my hair done, unpacking other rooms. He has taken the job on the chin, patiently letting me go through the days packed boxes of junk and inevitably pulling out just one thing I can’t part with.

I love my kitchen things. Left to my own devices, I would have a tool, appliance and serving receptacle for any potential kitchen requirement, real or imagined. I would have cupboards bulging with lovingly collected things, glass cabinets with them displayed, and probably a storage locker with the B team in reserves. It’s silly.

Much of it is emotional. The things given as wedding presents, half of the sets now broken or worn out. But there are others too painful to bear. A watercolor picture of a pug puppy, sent to England before I was married, before I received my dog as a present. It was a gift from my ex-mother in law. The mother in law I have not heard from once since we broke up, now content with her new daughter in law, and new granddaughter that I could never give her. How can I throw that away? How can I keep it?

All of these things relics in a grand experiment in my own domestication. Perhaps with 12 set of champagne flutes, a new washing machine, an ice-cream maker, I could hold a relationship together. If I had the things, I would have the marriage, the dream. I could keep my bad habits at bay.

The good things are kept for what they are, good wishes given to me at a happy and optimistic time. Everything else, well, it can be cleared to make way for my new life.

“Besides,” he says “If we ever get married you’ll want to get all new things anyway. What’s it… registering or something?”

I’m not even going to pretend he’s serious.

“How about we register for camping gear instead?”