I thought things were supposed to calm down after Christmas! They have not. We have found a new place to live though and move in less than 4 weeks! Maybe March will be quieter?
Back to Christmas though (seems so long ago already), I spent the whole festive period dreaming about and wanting to make these brownies. I’ve been on a mint choc ride these past few months since making some peppermint bark (which I still haven’t shared with you, I’m sorry, maybe next Christmas!) for my Christmas hampers. However, I never got the chance to make them, I had the ingredients ready and everything. So, once we got home, after spending Christmas and Hogmanay in Scotland, I set about beginning my ‘healthy 2016’ with a batch of these… The year doesn’t start until we go back to work right?!
I spotted the recipe on In Jennie’s Kitchen (a ‘go to’ blog of mine) and just switched the flour to gluten free flour. Jennie does have a recipe for grain free peppermint brownies though, if you are so inclined.
It was my birthday last month and as you can imagine, there were one or two cook books in the mix of all the wonderful presents I received (I have wonderful friends and family!). One of the books I received was from my sister and very thoughtful, given my new slow cooker love affair, it is aptly named ‘I Love My Slow Cooker‘. This recipe (from the aforementioned book) caught my eye because despite liking pork we very rarely cook it at home, the addition of chickpeas and mint had me sold. I love coming home from a long day and walking through the front door to the delicious smell of dinner already cooked! This stew was divine, the meat was tender and the sauce rich and tasty.
The recipe states tinned plum tomatoes but my secret convenience ingredient is tinned cherry tomatoes, they have much more flavour in my opinion.
Some weeks call for a lot of ice cream and this week has been one of those; with a master’s deadline zooming towards me at alarming speed, an appraisal, the stress of concert tickets I wanted more than almost anything else and several nights of being unable to sleep, I am one emotional ball of “GIVE ME ICE CREAM”. I have had my ice cream maker bucket in the freezer since the sun hinted it might be summer soon, waiting to make ALL THE ICE CREAM. It didn’t quite work out that way, we’ve been so busy, but earlier this week I knew it was time. There was no contest on flavour, I’ve been on a huge mint chocolate binge recently, which is odd. I’ll forever be a praline/hazelnut dark chocolate girl but earlier in the year it was chocolate orange cravings and now we’re into the warmer months of the year it is refreshing mint chocolate’s turn to fill my every waking thought. Dark chocolate though, always.
I turned to my David Lebovitz book ‘The Perfect Scoop’ and found the recipe for his fresh mint ice cream because if I was making mint ice cream then I sure as hell was going to be using my beautiful mint plant. It turns out I needed ten more times the leaves I had available but I think the mint flavour was strong enough (although I am desperate to try it with the advised amount). Perfect scoop it was, this was the best consistency ice cream I have ever made, it scooped straight out of the freezer. I credit my new spatula with this progress in making ice cream because it is the spatula that David Lebovitz waxes lyrical about and when the recipe said ‘until it coats the back of the spatula’ and it coated the back of the spatula, I just knew it’d be the right consistency custard this time.
A novelty recipe today, one for dogs! We have a family pup, Henry, who joined our family in December 2013. Last Christmas he was still so little, but this year, he’s big and boisterous and definitely deserving of a Christmas present. I couldn’t think of what to ‘buy’ him but he loves a type of dog biscuit we used to get from the local farmer’s market. I set about recreating a version, with the help of ‘Biscuits for Your Dog‘. Without going into too much detail, Henry can sometimes be on the fragrant side of life; the mint and parsley in these really do help with that. He absolutely loved his treats on Christmas day, even if he had no idea what was going on and was busy getting very excited by all the discarded wrapping paper.
Here’s our pup when we got him, and more recently. Isn’t he a beauty?
The day he came home:
This last week/last two weekends have been manic with essential, unplanned home improvements. Let’s leave it at that or we’ll be here all night. However, James and I got away to London on Saturday and it was exactly what we needed. We spent a lovely afternoon at a cookery course (curries, so expect a few of those) and then went for dinner at Rabot 1745, the Hotel Chocolat restaurant. It has been on my bucket list since I heard that they were opening a restaurant and I loved every mouthful and second we spent there.
On Sunday, real life hit us with a bang and we spent the day scrubbing, moving furniture and moving back into our bedroom. We had a big family afternoon planned so we headed over to see the family around 3 pm for a lovely Sunday meal. We got back to more unpacking and I needed a pick me up, but a healthy one. I also needed freezer space, and as such removed the big tub of frozen watermelon from it earlier that afternoon. I picked some fresh mint from mum’s garden and when we got home, the watermelon was semi-defrosted and cold. I present you, watermelon coolers: