Chai Spiced Chocolate Brownies

Stack Of Chai Spice Chocolate Brownies

Stack Of Chai Spice Chocolate Brownies

My rug samples were spread around me, saved from the dusty factory floor by a sheet, not quite white but not yet grey.  The flourish of colour making a vibrant splash against the cheerless concrete.  Beautifully patterned, each careful tuft had been meticulously costed by my Indian supplier and the negotiations were about to begin.  Electricity was intermittent in this small rural community and the usual whir of the air conditioners was missing from the general factory noise.  In the hot sticky atmosphere I wondered how fast we could get the job done, longing for the hotel bar and bath.  With a nod from the owner a young Indian boy entered with a tray of dark milky tea.  The spicy aroma hit me long before the drink was in my hands, cinnamon, fragrant cardamom, peppery cloves and sweet nutmeg.  A milky drink with a perk from the tea and a miracle of spices to enliven even the most lethargic.  This was my first taste of Chai.

RECIPE

Squares Of Chai Spice Chocolate Brownie

Squares Of Chai Spice Chocolate Brownie

Chai Spiced Chocolate Brownies

Serves 12
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 5 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk, Tree Nuts, Wheat
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
By author Glamorous Glutton
Fragrant chai spiced chocolate brownies, firm on the outside, soft and fudgey in the centre. Perfect on their own or with cream and ice cream.

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 6 cardamoms
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 105g plain flour
  • 120g chopped walnuts
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 240g 70% dark chocolate
  • 100g good quality milk chocolate
  • 2 star anise
  • 220g unsalted butter
  • 115g dark muscovado sugar
  • 120g light muscovado sugar
  • 3 Large eggs
  • 1 vanilla pod seeds

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven 180c , 160c fan, gas mark 4, 350f and grease and line a brownie tin
Step 2
Grind the cloves, peppercorns and cardamoms in a pestle and mortar, discard the papery skins of the cardamoms.
Step 3
Add to the flour and salt in a large bowl with the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and walnuts, mix well and set aside.
Step 4
Place the chocolate, butter and star anise in a bowl over a pan of gently simmering water until the chocolate melts. Remove from the heat and stir to form a dark glossy mix, leave the star anise to steep.
Step 5
In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla until airy and lighter in colour.
Step 6
Remove the star anise from the chocolate mix and pour into the eggs and sugar stirring constantly. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate, stir until just combined, do not over mix.
Step 7
Chai Spiced Chocolate Brownies Ready To Come Out Of The Oven
Pour into the prepared baking tin and bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until a crust forms on the top and the sides just begin to come away from the edges of the tin.
Step 8
Leave in the tin to cool then cut into 12 pieces or smaller squares. Wrap individually and keep in a tin for 3-4 days.

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Buenos Aries – Bar Doreggo And Tango

Interior Of Bar Dorrego

Interior Of Bar Dorrego

The San Telmo bar Dorrego was dark, an early morning scattering of customers sipping coffee and quietly chatting, waiting for the weak Autumn sunshine to warm the day.  Bent wood chairs, all matching but worn with a pale patina, were tucked under scrubbed wood tables scratched with time and the initials of previous drinkers.

Graffitti At Bar Dorrego

Graffitti At Bar Dorrego

In fact this slightly dusty and seemingly time forgotten bar was a wonder of graffiti.  Every surface textured with the names, messages and drawings of those who’ve been and gone.  A one hundred and thirty year old  canvas, constantly changing in a bar where the decor has remained the same.

Eighty Year Old Coffee Machine

Eighty Year Old Coffee Machine At Bar Dorrego

Mr Glam and I toss up wine or coffee and opt for the warmth and fragrance of a strong Argentinian brew. The door opens more frequently and snatches of music make their way through the narrow gap. Turning to look through the large plate glass windows I’m fascinated to see a couple roll out a long sheet of lino on the pedestrianised square.  Swaying gently over to a bundle on a chair the woman stops, touches a blue box and the ripple of tango spreads across the square and into the bars and cafes surrounding it.

Argentine Tango In San Telmo

Argentine Tango In San Telmo

Gracefully she peels off her coat and scarf and taking the firmly upheld hands of her partner, begins a slow tango.  Steeping towards him and then across him, with an intricate intertwining of legs and an exchange of steps almost too complicated to comprehend the pair spin, sway and ripple up and down the strip.

Not yet 11am and we were drinking in the culture of the Argentine Tango along with our coffee.

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Review – Chicken The New Classics By Marcus Bean

Marcus Bean's Chicken The New Classics

Marcus Bean’s Chicken The New Classics

Is your favourite cookbook the one your Mother used?  Or the one you learnt to cook from?  Perhaps it’s a spotted and spattered tome that could never be replaced?  I have a shelf of recipe book treasures, well thumbed and well used, but just occasionally there’s a book that can sit beside them.

Recipe Page From Marcus Bean's Chicken The New Classics

Recipe Page From Marcus Bean’s Chicken The New Classics

With a wife who doesn’t eat red meat, Marcus Bean has created and eaten a lot of chicken dishes.  ‘Chicken The New Classics’ is a book based on experience and creativity.  The straightforward method of the recipes makes them extremely achievable.  You can rediscover and explore chicken with this single ingredient book that pushes the boundaries and the taste buds.

Chicken, Spinach, Goatscheese & Slow Roasted Tomato Terrine Made from Chicken The New Classics By Marcus Bean

Chicken, Spinach, Goatscheese & Slow Roasted Tomato Terrine Made from Chicken The New Classics By Marcus Bean

Split into three sections there’s Chicken Waterzooi, a rich thick Belgian soup from Weekday Meals. Deep flavoured Chilli Chocolate Chicken from Weekend Main Meals a new take on Chilli Con Carne.  Finally from Dinners And Celebrations a beautiful layered terrine of poached chicken, goat’s cheese and sweet slow roasted tomatoes.  This is a book for beginners and enthusiasts, with enough recipes to cover just about any occasion.  It might even find a place on my ‘treasures’ shelf too.

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Honey Baked Figs With Thyme, Honey And Pistachio Ice Cream

Honey Baked Figs And Thyme With Honey And Pistachio Ice Cream

Honey Baked Figs And Thyme With Honey And Pistachio Ice Cream

Figs plucked straight from the tree, plump, sweet and juicy, warmed by the sun.  But if you have to settle, like me, for the ones from the supermarket this is a delicious way to put the sun back into them.  A little honey and a sprig of thyme brings a real Mediterranean flavour to even the unripe fruit.  Team that with a creamy honey and pistachio ice cream and give a last salut! to a wonderful Indian Summer.

RECIPE Continue reading

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Smoked Haddock Natas

Smoked Haddock Natas

Smoked Haddock Natas

It was six o’clock and Mr Glam came barreling through the door arms laden with bottles of white and red announcing that he’d invited some friends for drinks in two hours.  We had a few cashews in the cupboard and a bag of crisps, I was going to have to pull something together from whatever was in the fridge. Continue reading

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CiCi CoCo Cookery School And Tagliatelle With Beetroot And Walnut Sauce

Tagliatelle With Beetroot And Walnut Sauce

Tagliatelle With Beetroot And Walnut Sauce

I arrived in Cuddington, an archetypal  small english village, complete with beamed and thatched cottages, a church, dating back to the twelfth century, that hosts the village fete in summer and a welcoming carol service in winter, a tiny village green, a lovely local school,  and even a village shop.  To top it off it’s played host to a few episodes of Midsummer Murders.  This was the venue for my Italian cooking day. Continue reading

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Parma Ham Wrapped Cod Loin On A Bed Of Samphire And Chorizo

Parma Ham Wrapped Cod Loin With Chorizo On A Bed Of Samphire

Parma Ham Wrapped Cod Loin With Chorizo On A Bed Of Samphire

As a small child picking my way through piles of warm sweet muscles or bashing apart fat red crabs, I couldn’t imagine fish ever being as juicy or full of flavour.  I loved how long it took to get to the ‘good’ bits.  Picking out the flesh from the claws, teasing out the plump muscles and downing them with the creamy, wine redolent sauce.  That was seafood to me and fish just didn’t get a look in. Continue reading

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Eating Rio – Part Two

Rio Fruit Juice Bar

Rio Fruit Juice Bar

As we burst out of the end of the  street market into the bright sunlight and roar of traffic, there was time to take a deep breath and then on to the next taste of Rio.  A juice bar.  With the plethora of amazing fruit much of which we’d never heard of, It might have been a little daunting to try this without a translator and guide.  From a long alphabetical list we were handed a flimsy cup of peach pink Goiaba (Brazilian Guava) Sweet with a flavour reminiscent of a mix of pear, mango and strawberry.  Then another bendy cup with Caju – (cashew nut) fruit juice, which is sweet and slightly astringent. Having already had our fill of the pressed sugar cane juice, I was nearly at stopping point when the final cup arrived.  Umbu juice – sweet aromatic and slightly acidic.  Well refreshed, if a little awash with liquid (I could have said no) we sauntered down the busy street to our next stop. Continue reading

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Stokes BBQ Sauce Burgers And Bloody Mary Corn Salsa

BBQ Burger With Taleggio Cheese And Corn Salsa

BBQ Burger With Taleggio Cheese And Corn Salsa

The weather has been great so far this summer, but now the unpredictable rain has set in.  We still want the smoky flavour of BBQ even if I can’t persuade Mr Glam to stand in the wet to cook it.

Stokes Bloody Mary Sauce, Barbecue Sauce And Tomato Ketchup

Stokes Bloody Mary Sauce, Barbecue Sauce And Tomato Ketchup

BBQ Sauce burgers are the answer.  Good quality lean mince mixed with chopped shallots and sweet, smoky Stokes BBQ sauce generously spooned into the meat and massaged well to make a fabulous, flavourful burger.  Team that with charred corn, fresh tomatoes and a Stokes Bloody Mary Sauce to give depth and fire.  A perfect accompaniment to a beautiful burger. Continue reading

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Rio Maracanã And Coconut Beijinhos

Hoarding Outside The Nearly Complete Maracana

Hoarding Outside The Nearly Complete Maracana

“We’ve arranged a very special tour for you,” the guide announced. “the Maracanã Stadium.” I groaned inwardly.  It was three weeks before the start of the World Cup in Rio.  A football related ‘something’ was inevitable, but a whole morning!  We piled onto sleek coaches and set off across Rio.  It was our first day and so first glimpse of the diverse city.  Favalas like coloured matchboxes tossed in a pile, huge engineering structures with rather more than three weeks until completion.  Stuccoed colonial houses, dripping with architectural detail and shiny shopping centres filled with goods many of the population couldn’t afford. Continue reading

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