Friday, 28 January 2011


I came across this recipe one Sunday afternoon when I was looking for something to satisfy my baking urge. It was the first recipe I found that I actually had the ingredients for and it had been on my to-do list since I unwrapped my cookbook du jour, Nigella Kitchen, at Christmas. I've never made Blondies before partly because, for some reason, I had always thought they would be a bit plain and uninteresting. How wrong I was!

These ones in particular turned out to be so delicious that I've already made another batch since I made the first one. The recipe includes a whole tin of condensed milk which gives them a lovely toffee-sweetness, porridge oats add substance and chocolate chips complete the picture. These come highly recommended from me!

(adapted from Kitchen by Nigella Lawson)

200g/7oz porridge oats
100g/3 1/2 oz plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
150g/5 1/2 oz soft unsalted butter
100g/3 1/2 oz light muscovado sugar
1 x 397g can condensed milk
1 egg
170g packet dark chocolate morsels or chocolate chips

1) Preheat the oven to 180c/gas mark 4 and line your square cake tin with foil.

2) Combine the oats, flour and bicarb in a bowl

3) In another bowl mix or beat the butter with the sugar until pale and creamy, then beat in the condensed milk followed by the oats, flour and bicarb mixture

4) When these are well mixed, beat in the egg, and into this relatively thick mixture fold the chocolate chips

5) Dollop the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth it down with a spatula, then cook in the preheated oven for about 35 minutes. When ready it will be quite a pronounced dark gold around the edges and coming away from the tin. It will look and feel cooked on top, though just beneath it will seem frighteningly squidgy. But it firms up as it cools in the tin, so to end up with the requisite chewiness you have to take it out of the oven while it feels a little undercooked.

Makes 16 pieces

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Forever Nigella - A New Blogging Event

Well here we are, two weeks into the new year already. I've taken a couple of weeks off from blogging while I tidied away all the seasonal bits and bobs and generally cleared my head ready for the year ahead but now I'm ready and raring to go again.

So, I'm kickstarting the new blogging year by participating in a new blogging event. While looking through the UK Food Blogger Association forums I was delighted to discover that Sarah from Maison Cupcake had made the excellent decision to start up a monthly challenge to celebrate Nigella Lawson's recipes called Forever Nigella.

It's no secret that I am a big Nigella fan and one who loves her books AND her television programmes. OK so a lot of people think that her shows are just too OTT for words and I admit that a black satin dressing gown wouldn't be the first choice of kitchen attire for most people but who cares? Her recipes WORK.

Each month a theme will be set, and for the first month of this blogging challenge the theme is "Seasonal Sensations". Hmmm, well I discovered the Forever Nigella challenge about a week ago so unfortunately my desire to bake something Christmassy has been packed away with the tinsel and all the leftovers have been eaten. No matter though - I have stuck to the theme by taking two recipes from Nigella's Christmas book but they are just the sort of thing I want to eat at this time of year when excess is something I'm trying to avoid.

The first recipe is a fairly simple one - Antioxidant Fruit Salad. Sometimes simple is good though and this combination of mango, blueberries, pomegranate and lime juice is wonderfully refreshing and full of flavour. This is delicious for breakfast with some natural or greek yoghurt or with something a little more substantial, which leads me on to my second recipe.

The second thing I made (and I decided to make both as they are both simple recipes but go so well together) is a Cranberry, Almond and Honey Granola. I love granola and make it often and this one caught my eye I because of the dried cranberries which are my favourite dried fruit. The warm flavours from the cinnamon and honey are complemented by the slight sharpness of the dried cranberries and the almonds and seeds provide great texture.

Now I'm afraid that the rules of this challenge are such that I'm not allowed to post the recipes being used unless I've changed more than two of the ingredients (which I haven't). This is to encourage as many people as possible to go out a buy Nigella's books - an idea I heartily endorse!

Thanks again to Sarah for hosting this new challenge. I'm already looking forward to next month's.