Rosemary and Sea Salt Brownies

In October I went on a 3 week trip to the USA, exploring San Francisco, Carmel, Yosemite as well as Seattle and the San Juan Islands. Although the USA gets a bad rap with regards to its food (and rightly so – fast food everywhere and portion sizes are huge!), the food scene is actually really good. I had some fantastic meals – there is an amazing, small Italian place in Carmel, rustic picnics in Yosemite, the best croissants ever from Tartine Bakery and the most surprising finds in the San Juan Islands!

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But then it was back to reality and work in Cape Town! Now Christmas is just around the corner and there are so many things on the go! Two weeks ago I went a Christmas lunch party where I was tasked with the dessert. Naturally, for a crowd of people you want to make something that is easy and that doesn’t require a lot prep. In case of emergency I always fall back on these brownies. I discovered the initial recipe on Smitten Kitchen and was drawn in by promises of ‘one bowl’ and ‘done in 30 minutes’.

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I like goey and just-sweet brownies, not overloaded with sugar. I always use dark chocolate in this recipe, but milk chocolate will work fine too (though I would suggest decreasing the amount of sugar). What takes these brownies to another level is the rosemary and sea salt. I know it sounds weird, but once you try it you won’t go back. It balances out the sweetness of the brownie and it a great twist on the traditional.

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Rosemary and Sea Salt Brownies

Makes 2o (depending on the size)

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

  • 100g dark chocolate (I used 70%)
  • 100g butter
  • 2/3 cup cake flour
  • 2/3 sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Optional (but suggested): sea salt and dried rosemary
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C and line a 18 x 18 cm baking tin with baking parchment (grease if necessary)
  2. Add the chocolate and the butter to a bain marie or bowl on a pot of simmering water
  3. When it is almost melted, take off the heat and stir until the remaining pieces have melted
  4. Add the sugar, whisking in well
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well between each egg
  6. Add the vanilla extract and salt, mixing well again
  7. Add the flour and fold in until well combined
  8. Pour in the mixture, making sure it is even
  9. Sprinkle a generous pinch of sea salt and rosemary over the top
  10. Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes (or until a knife comes out clean). Leave in for 20 minutes for goey-er brownies
  11. Take out the oven and allow to cool (if possible!) before removing from the tin and cutting in 20 pieces (or whatever size you desire)

Date and Cocoa Biscuits

Now that winter has officially arrived, tea season is in full swing. Everyone has their tea preferences. I love strong tea, with a dash of milk and absolutely no sugar! Unless its chai or green tea, then it has to be black and strong.

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In terms of making tea, number 1 choice is tea in a teapot on a tray with tea cups, saucers and milk in a milk jug. But that is a weekend thing. During the week, when I want a quick cuppa, then the tea bag  goes in the cup first, followed by hot water. The tea needs to brew for a bit before the milk is added.  Adding cold milk to a teabag before the water is just not on!
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Lemon-Thyme Honey Loaf

Again, life has gotten ahead of me and Pinch of Salt has been very quiet as a result! In the last 3 weeks, Doug and I went to Durban for a long weekend (and addressed my curry craving), spent a weekend in Paarl with friends eating lots of cheese and wine and moved into our new flat! We didn’t have to move very far and very much (moved up 3 floors) but it is still a mission!

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Chocolate, Coconut and Banana Muffins

I attempted to make gnocchi two weekends ago with the help and patience of Doug.  I love  gnocchi! Beautiful soft, pillows of joy either pan fried or coated in a slow cooked ragu or light sauce.  I am salivating just thinking about it!  I have always wanted to make gnocchi so I gave it ago.

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Bran Muffins

Bran Muffins are one of those things that people think are the healthy option but are secretly packed with sugar and fat.  I spent ages trying to find a healthy, low in sugar and fat bran muffin I could have for breakfast or an afternoon snack. One that actually lives up to the name.

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Wendy’s Coconut Cake

While I am tearing up the slopes in the French Alps, I have planned a great post for you guys.  Wendy’s Coconut Cake is an absolute treat!  Wendy is a good friend of mines mom and he used to bring one back after the university holidays.

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Unfortunately for him, he landed up sharing the cake with me and the girls I lived with every time and although I have never met his mom, this cake is enough to know that she is pretty awesome.   Continue reading “Wendy’s Coconut Cake”

Honey Cake with Lemon Whipped Cream

So for the last week Doug and I have been out in the winelands, he has been studying for CFA and I am working on my thesis (supposedly).  Over the last two days the wind has been gale force, so I am have ben stuck inside and I was getting a little bit of cabin fever.  I didn’t feel like doing my thesis and there was nothing worth watching on TV and Doug couldn’t even entertain me because he was being extremely diligent.

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There are only the basics in the cupboards here at the moment, so I checked to see what we had: a whole lot of spices and herbs, 8 tins of beans and condiments galore.  Not much I am make from that.  Luckily, the baking draw had all the basics (because I rarely bake) and after looking through a couple of recipe books I found this Honey Cake recipe in Tessa Kiros’s cookbook, Apples for Jam.  I had (nearly) all the ingredients and it has rosemary in the ingredients lists and I am in with love rosemary in sweet baked goods (I made rosemary and white chocolate cookies a few months ago and it just works!). Continue reading “Honey Cake with Lemon Whipped Cream”

Banana Bread Muffins

A couple of days ago there was a discussion on Sky News about food waste in the UK.  This is a problem that I am extremely passionate about and something that can be changed so easily.  Every day tons of edible food is thrown away in supermarkets and from households while many people struggle to scrape together even a meal a day.  Not only that, a huge amount of resources is required to produce fruit and vegetables, rear livestock as well as processing, transporting and packaging food stuffs.  It is truly such a waste.IMG_4311

I am make a big effort not to waste perfectly edible food.  One of the main ways I do this is to plan my weekly meals and do one big shop.  Although I sometimes forget things, I generally go to the grocery store once a week with a list of ingredients for my planned meals.    Continue reading “Banana Bread Muffins”

Orange Polenta Cake with Chocolate Icing

I don’t really like cake.  I know, I am used to the look of shock on most peoples faces when I say that.  However, it is the truth.  Even as a young child, I always chose ice cream for my birthday over cake.IMG_4157  This is also coupled with the fact that I am a bang average baker, however I like the challenge of baking a cake so I am sure you will see more cakes in the future (successful or not). And the question of who is going to eat these cakes? Luckily I have a friend nearby who comes to taste test my cake attempts with me and she always leaves with at least 2 or 3 extra slices.  Doug is also a terrific eater so I can always count on him to have a couple of slices.

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