Valentine’s Day is just around the corner so I’m sharing an easy bake to make for the one you love (or for yourself!) It’s for the chocolate brownies pictured above, and they’re delicious. I’ve had another busy old week to update you all on first though…
On Wednesday this week I went into town armed with a couple of boxes of chocolate, orange and pistachio biscotti (the recipe for these will be in my forthcoming book). I’ve done quite a bit for Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) over the past few months and it’s always a pleasure. They do so much incredible work, and we’ve had first hand experience of their fetal cardiology team with our second daughter. Everything was thankfully fine, but the expertise and sensitivity of their staff at the time means I’m always really happy to do whatever I can to help them. This week, they were bidding to become the “named charity” of Morgan Stanley, where they were up against some other charities having to pitch for why they should get the company’s support. Morgan Stanley staff vote for the charity they want to support so I joined the team down in Canary Wharf to make the case for GOSH. You never know, my biscotti might have swayed a few voters – it all got snaffled up pretty quickly! I’ve got everything crossed that GOSH is successful.
The Great British Baking Show continues to build in popularity Stateside. After the really positive article in The Washington Post last week, Chetna and I took part in an online chat with Washington Post readers this week. It’s pretty surreal to think how far the reach of the show has gone and it was a pleasure talking to American viewers about the experience. There was a great review of the show this week in the Wall Street Journal of all places too. I never expected coverage of our time on Bake Off to continue into 2015 but the US interest has extended the experience for all of us. My Birkbeck alumni magazine (see picture above) dropped through the letterbox this week with the interview I did back in October as well, which was a nice surprise. I still want to go back to Birkbeck and study for a part-time MSc. Maybe this year…
I had a great day on Thursday too. I’ve written a few recipes for BBC Good Food‘s April magazine that will be good to bake with kids. On Thursday, we shot the magazine feature at my house. When the kids finished school and nursery, I had loads of fun playing with all the recipes in the kitchen with them. The kids are so excited about being in the magazine and some of the pictures taken of the girls were absolutely adorable. We can’t wait to get copies of them to frame. Again, every experience I’ve had of food styling and photography has been so interesting – proper artists at work – the best way to spend a day. Barney Desmazery, the Food Editor for BBC Good Food, is a great guy to hang out with too. He also looks after the BBC Good Food Instagram account, which you can’t scroll through without your mouth watering. It’s motivated me to do more on my Instagram so follow me (@rburr01) and I’ll make sure I post lots up there.
Back in December I had the pleasure of meeting Alison Hammond at a heat magazine photo shoot. Alison is exactly how you’d imagine: warm, funny, generous and a great person to spend time with. It was her birthday on Thursday so my wife Sarah and I went along to Wembley Arena (only 15 minutes away) that evening to see her perform in the Strictly Come Dancing live tour. I made Alison a chocolate and raspberry birthday cake (see picture above). The show was a right laugh – great dancing as you’d expect but also really funny. Alison and her partner Alijaz were the winning couple on the night – a fitting present for the birthday girl.
It was really nice to catch up with Kevin Clifton and Karen Hauer again after the show. Karen had invited us to see Strictly filmed back in November. They’re such a friendly, hard working and interesting couple, and now that the Strictly tour is coming to an end, they’ve got their wedding to look forward to later this year.
Friday was a heavy night. I’d met the band Hayseed Dixie at Jools Holland’s Hootenanny late last year and they were playing at one of the venues at the O2 this week. I went along to see them with my mate Nick and caught up with the band and their European Manager, Pete Robbins, again. Pete was also on drums with a guy called Tom Copson, who opened the show and was awesome too. I let my hair down a bit, well as much as you can when you haven’t got any! I got in at 5am and I can’t remember the last time I did that. I spent the following evening spruced up in a tux giving a talk at the Lawyer’s Fishing Club dinner (some people my dad and I go fishing with) at the East India Club, which was a bit of a contrast!
I picked up a copy of FHM this week too as it featured “A Man’s Guide To Baking” that I’d worked with them on a few months ago. It’s a really useful article full of my top tips. Since being on Bake Off, I’ve had a lot of blokes contact me on Twitter and say they’d never baked before but had since given one of my recipes a go. That’s been so good to hear and I try and make my recipes as easy to follow as I can, so they make sense no matter how experienced you are. If you’ve never baked before, give the recipe below a go – even if you muck it up it’ll still taste delicious.
Valentine’s Recipe: Heart-Shaped Chocolate, Macadamia Nut and Raspberry Brownies
Makes around 16
- 225g butter
- 165g dark chocolate (70%)
- 110g plain flour
- 60g cocoa powder
- 4 large eggs
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 350g caster sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 200g raspberries
- 100g macadamia nuts, halved
- A little icing sugar to dust
- Preheat the oven to 180oC and line a roasting tin or high-sided baking pan (mine is 22 x 32cm) with baking parchment
- Put the chocolate and the butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of water on the hob. Don’t let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat gently and stir until the chocolate and butter have melted together
- Once this has melted together, scrape the chocolate and butter mixture into a large bowl. Add the sugar and vanilla extract, and beat together with an electric hand whisk. Beat in the eggs one by one
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. Sift this into the bowl with the wet mixture and fold together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until fully combined (remember to check the bottom of the bowl for any dry bits that haven’t mixed in)
- Fold the raspberries and macadamia nuts into the mixture. Pour the mixture into the lined baking tray and smooth down the surface until it’s roughly level
- Bake in the oven for 45 to 50 mins. Brownies are gooey by nature so a cocktail stick in the centre won’t come out clean, but it should only have a bit of chocolate mix on it when it’s done
- Take the brownies out of their pan and leave to cool completely on a cooling rack – this will take about an hour
- Use a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out the brownies. There will be a few offcuts left over, which are your treat for making them! Dust with a little icing sugar and share with the one you love!