Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Jamie's bloomin' brilliant brownies

It's hard to surprise me.

I am quick to spot a falter in someone's speech or an inconsistency in their behaviour, I blame this sleuth-like quality on my star sign, the mystery loving Scorpio. It is due to my inquisitive, suspicious nature that almost all of my husband's efforts to surprise me are foiled by yours truly, most often unintentionally. I can't seem to help going on the chase if I smell a rat, whether the deceit is well-intended or not.

After guessing last year's intended birthday surprise R finally gave up and has not tried anything since. That is probably how he managed to sneak out of the house for a supposed business shop visit (the fact that it was pouring outside and quiet at the office should have piqued my intrigue, but I was too absorbed in my Spring cleaning to bother probing) to return with a bunch of vivid roses and tulips. I was not merely shocked by the surprise gift, but also that he bought me flowers, which has only ever happened on the occasional birthday or Valentine's Day (my girlfriend's are the usual flower givers).

Not only did I not mind that he had successfully tricked me, but I was girlishly thrilled to receive a completely unexpected bunch of flowers. I must have said thank you a dozen times as I happily stared at the flowers throughout the day, they truly do put a smile on a woman's face. I couldn't help but marvel at the tulips in particular with their watercolour streaks of Byzantium purple and cornflower blue, simply a masterpiece of floral beauty.

To show my thanks I baked a tray of 'chocolate only' brownies I spotted on this blog as per hubby's request. We were both equally happy with our gifts :)

ease: 5/5.
prep time: 15mins.
cooking time: 23mins.
total: 38mins.

taste:  4/5 - fairly brilliant.

For me the taste was very earthy with an almost coffee-like depth; the cocoa gave them a rich chocolate intensity. Flour's minimal attendance allowed the brownies a lovely soft, toothsome fudginess but it had a slight graininess towards the end.

Hubby gave these a 4.5 but for me they were a 4; they were a touch too dark and heavy for me, but nonetheless they were quite addictive.

I have a query, I use different percentage callebaut chocolate, in this instance I used a 70% dark callebaut, I read recently that callebaut chocolate may change the consistency and outcome of recipes that call for bitter-sweet or 70% dark chocolate - is this true?

would I make them again: No, there can only be one brownie recipe, and I have yet to find it.

recipe: Jamie's bloomin' brilliant brownies


  1. love love love brownies, these look so good.
    I too suffer with scorpioitis. My poor husband can't hide anything from me. I even knew the night he was going to propose, so I got all dolled up for it lol!

  2. Lovely brownies! I love that speciality.



  3. Love the photographs, well done hun! Im a Scorpio as well and ruin many a surprise through my unquenchable curiosity. Your flowers looked lovely and all the better for being a complete surprise! Glad the brownies were a success as well :D

  4. These photos are incredibly stunning. The flowers look so beautiful and vibrant. Just gorgeous. Photos like these leave me speechless. So much beauty in one shot :) What a sweet hubby, too. My man and I struggle to surprise each other, as we are quite similar so we often accidentally buy/make each other the same gift.

    I cant offer any advice re your chocolate query, sorry. But I would really like that brownie now, please!
    Heidi xo

  5. These look yummy! Shame they weren't awesome amazing, though. I'm not too sure on the cocoa/chocolate question - I'm a bit of a bad baker in that respect, I just pick up some good dark chocolate from my local supermarket and call it a day.

    Speaking of the perfect brownie recipe, I have a recipe that you should probably try out. It's on my blog somewhere - I'm not a big fan of brownies but this one was pretty good. If I remember I'll find the link and email it to you, or else you can go for a forage!

    Jax x

  6. Deep and dark are my favorites. These brownies look fantastic and your husband is so sweet :).

  7. Your husband sounds so sweet!!! I love these photos with the beautiful flower and rich brownies, they sound like a winner!

  8. ah, yes, the ever elusive toothsome fudginess found only in the best brownies. :)

  9. I don't think I've ever seen such vivid tulips! What a lovely birthday surprise. Paired with the brownies, you must have both been VERY happy!

  10. London Anonymous again...
    Your pics seem to show you didn't go for any chopped nuts, which I think are essential for brownies to cut through the sickliness. Lightly roasted hazelnuts rubbed in a teatowel to get rid of the bitter skins and chopped roughly work for me. When it comes to chocolate I avoid Callebaut simply becuase of the mass production-ness of it. I prefer the quirky Fairtrade labels which are often organic. Quirky chocolate is made from single estate beans using old school-ish chocolate making methods so the depth is 'there' rather than the big chocolate factories--and
    Callebaut are massive--who buy premium beans from all four corners and bung it in the hopper and hit buttons. I believe the closer one gets to the cocoa farmers, the better the chocolate. An organic cocoa farm is also miles different from commercial plantations--I've been to a few. The difference? The presence of birds and butterflies is freaking dramatic, and, in the case of Fairtrade, workers at least over 16 years of age.

  11. Hi

    I actually prefer nuts in my brownies, walnuts mostly, but I baked these for my husband who requested no nuts which is why I left them out

    In regards to the chocolate I always buy organic fair trade for personal consumption but they onlycome in 250g quantities and I prefer to buy 1 kg for cooking each time and so far the only brands I have come across that package that quantity is callebaut and lindt - and for some reason I just didn't sto to think aboutthe brand I wad buying which is odd for me. I think I will just have to look harder to find a fair trade company selling more than just individual sized chocolate blocks - anyone in Melbourne know of any such chocolate?

  12. Can you tell I typed that on my iPhone haha
    But yes, I agree with you completely regarding the chocolate - what chocolate do you prefer to use in cooking?

  13. London Anonymous again...
    The reason you are iPhoning is that you're eating your way around the south of France! Although I use a lot of chocolate in my life as a private chef I still buy it one big bar at a time rather than go crazy on wholesale and have to store it and risk it going 'off'. 'Divine' and 'Willie's' are my fav UK brands that are quirky, high quality and are either ethical, fairtrade and/or 'Green & Black's' of course is organic and widely available.


  14. Oh Willie's! I saw his show on cable and have been dying to get my hands on some of his chocolate - thanks for the links!

  15. London Anonymous...yet again
    If you want some Willie's and they won't deliver to Oz, let me know what you want and I'll send you a PayPal invoice and arrange postage. They sell loads in the deli just down from where I'm based.