Donna Hay Best Basic Speedy Brownie with a Twist

White Chocolate and Raspberry Brownie

Dear Donna,

Thank you for your ‘Donna Hay Basic and Speedy Brownie’.

I have been making this classic Brownie recipe for years but more recently have enjoyed tweaking it for special occasions. It is a forgiving brownie recipe that allows you to create your own chocolate adventure. It is perfect with raspberries and white chocolate, chopped Jersey Caramels, walnuts and cranberries, figs and hazelnuts, espresso coffee or crumbled chocolate mint biscuits. What I love about this recipe is that it is super easy, it uses all basic ingredients from the pantry.

It is a recipe that the kids cut their teeth on so to speak as they can make this with little supervision. So from us all at 7mouths2feed, thank you.

S x

PS. Here is the recipe:

Melt 250g butter and process with 1 1/3 cups sifted plain flour, 2 1/4 cups sugar, 3/4 cup sifted cocoa powder, 4 eggs and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder in a food processor until smooth. Pour into a lined 20cm square cake tin and bake at 170degc for 40-50 minutes. I do make this quite often by hand and the batter  has a less ‘processed’ texture which I like. If you add extras, take care to watch the cooking time as you do not want to overcook the brownie. It will ‘set’ a little once cooled.

Carrot and Pineapple Cake with Lemon Frosting

I love this cake. A favourite recipe that is ever so moorish. What I particularly love is ‘playing’ with the effects of the frosting. This lovely natural drizzle down the sides of the cake is achieved very simply. Start by placing your cake in the refrigerator. Once cold, cover your cake with the frosting/icing and smooth it out the edges, so it just starts to fall over the side. The cake will be  cold enough to set the frosting/icing as it drips down the side. Donna Hay suggests making your icing with boiling water. The combination of warm icing and cold cake makes this styling trick work every time. Enjoy. xx

Fig, Ginger and Coconut Cream

I have been contemplating cake for weeks. My man has a significant birthday fast approaching and I have been asking friends about their best cakes, flicking through books and magazines looking for the best cake recipe ever. I have had a great time revisiting a large pile of Donna Hay magazines which continue to inspire years after publication. But what has finally narrowed down my search was Books for Cooks, a compilation of the bet recipes as tested by the team from Books for Cooks from London’s Notting Hill. You know Notting Hill don’t you….from that famous Hugh Grant  and Julia Roberts film! It is a wonderful place full of small boutiques and fabulous markets. I had the privilege of visiting this special place for a browse and quick bite to eat, years ago when we lived in London. A special aunt shared the visit and every now and again I remember the occasion and would love to dive back in for some more inspiration. It has floor to ceiling books on every possible food item and process. Their books really are special because they only include the best recipes from the years offering of other cookbooks. So you are likely to get a bit of Nigella, Jamie and a Women’s Weekly classic all in the same book. Heaven.
So while I have made my choice for birthday cake, you will have to wait a few days to see that one. Instead this was my experiment with dried figs, glace ginger, coconut cream and garam masala. I was after something with a slight Asian/Eastern/Mid Eastern influence. It is fabulous….I have plenty of it too if you would like a slice!

My Friend Karen

There are a few chefs who have become real friends in my kitchen. Stephanie feels a bit like an older Mum watching what I do, Bill is like one of the boys sharing a beer while we cook, Jamie with his “u’right’ attitude inspires the kids and Donna helps the girls and I to bake, as does Nigella. But Karen Martini always seems like a friend – who genuinely wants to share. I was delighted to find her new website, complete with video cook offs and inspiration to put real food on the table. This site could be loads of fun……

Basic Bar Recipe for Busy Family….

The great thing about a big family is that we do learn to care for each other, well. Somedays it is in a hurried haphazard way, but mostly we know we are all on the same team and need to help.

The children all love cooking and although there are days when I inwardly dread the “Can I cook something?” request from one of the kids they are now safe and well skilled to do most things.

My eldest girl made Donna Hay’s “Make 1 Make 3” Muesli Bars (Kid’s Issue Annual 6, 2009). The basic recipe really works. In the past I have made the healthy muesli bar that crumbled when I simply looked at it. I assure this won’t happen. It does have to have some fat and some sugar in it to glue it together. I think we chose olive oil instead of vegetable oil with great success. Hay has a number of different options to change the flavour of your bar – fruit, seeds, choc chip, cornflakes instead of oats and so on. Let me know if you want to make these treasures this week.

The only problem is that there may not be enough left for Friday when school starts!

PS Thanks for asking. Here is the recipe…..with my edits.

Muesli Bars

3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup flour
2 tbs brown sugar
1 cup sultanas
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cu[ golden syrup
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 160 c. Place all dry ingredients in bowl. Heat honey and syrup in small saucepan over medium heat until runny and then whisk in oil. Add this to dry ingredients and combine. Spoon into greased 20cm x 30cm tin lined with non stick baking paper and flatten with a spoon. Bake 35-40 mins or until golden. Cool and cut into pieces. *Can be made in 40 ml capacity muffin tins

It’s a Donna Hay Day….

I remember when the first ever issue of Donna Hay magazine hit the new stands. My girlfriends and I were in awe – everything was so beautiful. Presentation. Presentation.Presentation. But could it last?Would Australians be happy to pay for this magazine…..well apparently the answer is yes. Donna Hay has become a household name – well in this house anyway. The kids love her books and we buy her kids issue each year simply because its gorgeousness inspires.

Of all the magazines and books I read I continually come back to several standout recipes in her old “Off the Shelf. And this is another sweet treat. And Chocolate to boot.

What I adore about her Basic and Speedy Brownie is it is just that – so simple you might laugh out aloud at the recipe. Furthermore, it uses cocoa powder and not chocolate so I am usually assured of having all the ingredients at hand.

And it is here you see her “Special made Simple” motto come into its own – a large handful of frozen raspberries and you have a delicious dessert. The basic mix can receive other goodies too – nuts, jersey caramels, white chocolate chunks. It can be made in a square pan or as individual cup cakes.

What ever you decide it won’t disappoint. My only tip is that I prefer the texture when I mix it by hand – perhaps it is not as smooth but there is a great ‘fudginess’ to them.

Donna Hay Basic and Speedy Brownie

Melt 250g butter and process with 1&1/3 cups sifted plain flour, 2&1/4 cups sugar, 3/4 cup sifted cocoa powder, 4 eggs and 1/4 teaspoon baking ppowder in a food processor until smooth. Pour into a lined 20cm square cake tin and bake at 170degc for 50 mins.

These are fantastic and never fail.