On Tuesday morning I had to go into the Royal Marsden for an appointment with a clinical oncologist, so my boyfriend suggested I should bake something to take in for the nurses on Ellis Ward who looked after me after my surgery.
What a wonderful idea – I will explain more about how and why they were so magnificent when I get round to retelling that part of the story. Suffice to say they were. Plus, this would mean that I could bake something but not have it hanging around getting all eaten by me. Even better!
I thought that something chocolatey was a safe bet, so decided to try my hand at brownies. I like them with nuts in but didn’t use any here just in case of any allergies. However, I did combine two recipes again: Stacie Stewart’s fudgey, gooey brownies (dribble!); and Jamie Oliver’s idea of adding dried cherries in his Bloomin’ brilliant brownies. (JO’s recipe was also from his Comic Relief collection – albeit from 2007 – so that was an extra nice touch for this time of year).
How it was to make:
- Stacie has a video of her making the brownies so I could check anything I wasn’t sure of really easily.
- This was the first outing for my new Breville hand mixer and it was a dream! Partly because it was much easier physically than hand whisking. And partly because it didn’t splatter the mixture all over me. Well worth £15 (as opposed to shelling out for a big mixer!).
- Nothing appeared to curdle or go particularly wrong which was encouraging.
- I followed Stacie’s technique for lining the baking tin. Genius! Saved me loads of time as before I was cutting out tiny pieces and sticking them round the edge of the tin, like some sort of bizarre butter-based collage (maybe the primary school teacher instinct?).
How it came out:
- I was concerned that I had overcooked this as it wasn’t very wobbly in the middle when I took it out… But actually it was still very fudgey once cooled so I think any less cooking would have been an error.
- As I said, these brownies were baked specifically for the Ellis Ward nurses. But I HAD to test one just to make sure they were safe to give as a gift. I instantly regretted promising the brownies to somebody else. They were SO DELICIOUS!!!
- I used dried mixed berries in these, but I think they would actually be nicer just with cherries alone as the dried strawberries were a bit funny in them. I would also use two bags of them so you get a couple in each brownie.
After cooking them so well, I did a horrible job of cutting them. I think that every single one was a different size in fact. But at least this was proof that they really were homemade (and not from Sainsbury’s, as the box appeared to claim).
- Baking lessons learnt:
- Cherries go really well with chocolate (duh!). And they are perfect for Comic Relief related baking of course.
- Electric hand mixers are great.
- Physical progress:
- The eagle-eyed viewer will have noticed that I suddenly have extra hands at the ‘pour into a tin’ stage. The mixing bowl full of batter is still too heavy for me to lift and scrape on my own, so I enlisted some help (now trying to dodge paying him a featured artist fee for the video…).
- I did everything else though (thanks hand mixer!) – and half the washing up. That was quite enough.
Most importantly of all – the girls on Ellis Ward were really pleased to see how much better I am looking now, and they also seemed very happy with their brownies! (Well, they hadn’t tried them, but they definitely appreciated the thought at the very least!). I also presented them with the yellow sharps box of syringes (yay!!!). In return, I asked for this photo and some new white compression stockings. THANK YOU ELLIS WARD!!!
If you want to try either (or both!) of the recipes:
This bake, I have been mostly listening to:
A gorgeous track from Liverpudlian band Scarlet. Love Jessie’s vocals on this – it’s really got stuck in my head too! They’ve got an EP out in late April which I wish them all the best with. Big thanks to Jessie and the band for their support for my blog.
Caroline Crimson x