How are the resolutions going? This year I decided to absolutely not make any new year’s resolutions. I’ve made many in my time and have found, after a good few years of research, that they are more often than not, pointless.
I always go too large, that’s my issue. Instead of promising to run once a week, for perhaps 8 minutes, I make a pact with the devil to frequent the gym before 7am every weekday to do a ‘spinning’ class. I am not a spinning kind of a girl. Lycra and I are not best friends. I like clothes with structure; the kind that hoist you up and pull you in, clothes with purpose. Gyms don’t fill me with joy and I especially don’t like being told to ‘work it’ by someone who eats almonds as a treat. These are not my people. My people would stop after precisely two minutes and suggest we all have a nice hot shower and meet in the foyer to find a decent café with tea, cake and a comfy seat to gossip in. We’d probably lead each other astray and upgrade to hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows. We’d probably tell each other secrets. Spinners don’t do this. They can’t hear juicy secrets over the gym sound system.
The only new year’s resolution I can give my seal of approval to was last years. It was a moveable ‘feast’ you see. I promised myself to behave as a French woman might. The greatness of this resolution is that I didn’t stipulate which French woman.
If I am to be embarrassingly honest here I’ll admit I may have been hoping to channel a bird-like Parisian who takes a nibble of a croissant and then declares herself satiated. You know – the type who wears Breton stripes, has lethal cheekbones and pouts a lot. I managed this for perhaps half a day (not the cheekbones, but I do own a lot of stripes and am very good at looking moody and pouty due in part to the fact I have 3 small children who regularly use the only nice thing I own, that is, an alpaca throw carried all the way back from Peru by my good self, for den making). Once I tired of being Parisian French Lady I decided to be Farmhouse Country French Wench and eat everything in sight whilst smiling softly and dreaming of garlicky stews. Then I booked a mini break to the countryside after being Stressed Out French Business Woman for an evening and deciding I needed a rest from city life.
It’s the perfect solution to resolution woes. You see, you can essentially kid yourself that you’re still on plan resolution wise whilst going on your merry way and doing whatever you jolly well want. Flexibility and balance are key you see; a French lady told me that. I can’t recall which one.
Lots of great recipes like this in my books, Recipes from a Normal Mum, (available on Amazon, at The Works, Waterstones, WHSmith, The Book Depository and many smaller outlets) and The Power of Frozen (available exclusively in Iceland stores and through their website) which is just £2.99 at the mo! And no, the recipes are not just about frozen food. Every recipe has instructions of how to make with chilled ingredients too.
Last January: Lamb and pea pie on This Morning, Halloumi, courgette and carrot fritters, Crunchy piggy meatballs (also on This Morning) and Granola breakfast muffins.
Two years ago: Lemon & blueberry loaf, my Bake Off Cherry Bakewell inspired cupcakes, plus Sesame bread sticks
Three years ago: Love cupcakes, White chocolate, lemon and macadamia cake and a perfect wintery Roasted celeriac, carrot and parsnip soup.
Four years ago: Bake me not chocolate cake, Jelly and ice-cream meringue roulade, Good flapjack and Banana, butterscotch and fig traybake.
Five years ago: Treasure hunt ice-cream, Rhubarb and ginger chutney and Carrot cake.
Oreo peanut butter brownies
Makes 9 large brownies or 16 smaller ones – cut them as small as you wish
- 325g dark chocolate, not more than 40% cocoa solids
- 125g salted butter
- 150g castor sugar
- 90g soft brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 100g plain flour
- 75g peanut butter
- 9 peanut butter Oreo cookies, roughly broken
Grease and line a 20cm x 30cm tray and preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas mark 4. Break the chocolate into squares and melt together with the butter in a large saucepan over a very low heat, stirring regularly to ensure the chocolate doesn’t burn. Remove from the heat when smooth and add the sugars, eggs and flour. Stir well then add the peanut butter and gently swirl to distribute well but not entirely mix in (you want some pockets of peanut butter to remain). Pour into the tin and stud the top with broken peanut butter Oero cookies.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the brownie has stopped wobbling and is starting to look a little cracked at the edges. Cool on a wire rack and refrigerate for an hour before cutting with a serrated knife. You can clean the knife after each cut to achieve perfect little squares.
Keeps for 3 days at room temperature or up to a month, well wrapped in the freezer.
This recipe first appeared in Back to School magazine.
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