Sunday, 16 October 2011

Weekend Highlights - Pumpkin & Brownies

Hello! Have you all had good weekends? Mine has been nice - quite relaxing but with some fun thrown in as well. On Saturday, I took Izzy to gymnastics for the first time...she loved it! She looked a bit lost at first, amongst all the other children confidently doing forward rolls, but she soon got the hang of it and had a great time.

My reward for sitting on a wooden "school gym" bench for an hour watching her? A trip to Waitrose afterwards, for the first time since Liam started his new job 4 weeks ago! Best find...pumpkin!! They didn't have any tinned pumpkin on the shelves, but Liam asked one of the staff and they found it downstairs. I stocked up with half a case!

£1.39 a tin, but hopefully these 12 will last me a while!

As well as shopping, I have also eaten some tasty food this weekend. Breakfasts are always great. Yesterday's breakfast was a delicious mini version of Averie's Microwave Bluberry Banana Oat Cake, topped with peanut butter...

and this morning was French toast topped with strawberries and peanut flour sauce (peanut flour, agave, milk)...

Amazing! We normally have French toast with sliced banana and golden syrup, but this strawberry and peanut flour sauce combo was definitely a winner!

Lunches have been pretty standard (fried egg sandwich yesterday and leftover root veg with avocado and houmous today) so I won't bore you with yet more photos of those. Dinners have been good though! Last night I made a meal from the latest Waitrose magazine. I'd been planning to make it on Friday, but when I realised how much slicing of veg prep work it involved, I decided to wait until Liam was home to save my fingers! The meal was worth (his) effort though - garlicky baked mushrooms, and root veg boulangere...

It's so annoying that the dark evenings keep ruining my photos. It probably doesn't help that more than half the light bulbs in our kitchen have gone as well, oops! This was really tasty though - the root veg bake was meant to be celeriac, parsnips, carrots and potatoes, but I accidentally picked up a swede instead of a celeriac so we used that instead. It worked really well though, my favourite bit was the crispy potatoes on top! A bit like a lighter version of potato dauphinoise - this just uses veg stock instead of cream to cook.

I followed this up with some dessert from the freezer - Averie's Caramel Apple Bars - I was too impatient to wait for them to defrost before taking a photo!!

Love these. I've only got a couple left in the freezer so will have to make some more soon!

Tonight's dinner was a simple one. Simple but delicious, the best option for Sunday nights. I picked up some fresh gnocchi from Waitrose which gave me a head start on a quick meal. Combined with cream that needed using, tenderstem broccoli I picked up cheap, and a little cheese - a quick dinner that was ready in no time...

This was tasty, but I cooked way too much. I always forget how stodgy and filling gnocchi can be!

Another highlight was this afternoon, when Liam decided he was "craving" chocolate and "needed" us to bake. I tried to sway him towards cupcakes or cookies, but in the end we went for something that would give us quick, but great, results - Averie's Fudgy Nutella Brownies. I made them without Nutella or frosting this time. They are so quick to make and are absolutely delicious. The only thing I would say is make sure you use dark chocolate. It doesn't need to be great quality (I just use Lidl 74%) but it does need to be dark - Liam made them last time with milk chocolate and they just ended up being big squares of crystallised sugar!! These ones were much more successful though, love the cracked top, always a sign of a good brownie I think!

Yum. I've "only" had two so far, but I think another one will soon be in my future! This is the 3rd time I've made these brownies and my favourite end result. Batch #2 was not so good because of the milk chocolate, batch #1 were great, but a bit too rich for me with the icing. These are perfect. I reduced the sugar from 450g to 400g - still loads, but now the brownies are chewy round the edges, but soft and dense inside. Love. I think these definitely win the "best brownie ever" title, and so easy to make too! I gave a couple to my Mum and sister this evening and, as I'm writing this, my Mum is sending me texts saying these brownies would make great Christmas presents...we definitely have some brownie fans in our family!
Edited to add: I've just remembered I made this batch of brownies with gluten free flour (Dove's I think?) as I'd run out of regular plain flour. As you can probably tell from the above praise, it seems it worked just fine!!

What have you been up to this weekend? Any particular highlights? The weekend always seems to go so much quicker than the week, but this one has been a nice relaxing one. Izzy only has school Monday-Thursday this week and then it's half term. Yey. No school run = more relaxed mornings = more time to make breakfast special! :-D


  1. Yum those brownies look lovely- you are right they need a cracked top-mmmm.
    And hooray for all that pumpkin!

  2. The French toast looks delicious! I must look for some tinned pumpkin over here:)

  3. I had french toast with strawberries on Saturday morning as well, just not homemade though, they came with a dollop of greek yoghurt which was surprisingly good. Your brownies look absolutely amazing too.

  4. thank you for posting about all these goodies that you made and for making 3 of my recipes...I'm honored!!! :)

    the caramel apple bars...freezer is my friend on those, for sure, too.

    And micro blueberry banana oak cake with nut butter...looks great.

    But those brownies...oh, wow. Baking with GF flour as you probably know changes textures, big time. Also reducing the sugar, may change the texture but not adding any nutella/nut butter will, too. But it looks like 3rd time was a charm. They look delish! :)

    Thanks for blogging about it all :)

  5. Hiya, hope you don't mind me asking but where have you found you can buy the peanut flour from in the UK? I'm assuming you buy it online, but where is the best/most cost effective place you've found? Thanks so much- I really enjoy your blog by the way :) Tori

  6. Maria - I know, I started getting worried when there wasn't any pumpkin on the shelf! I haven't been able to use pumpkin the last week or so as I only had one tin left and didn't want to risk it until I'd bought some more!! (hmm, maybe that sounds a little obsessive!!!)

    Anne - thanks! I love French toast for a weekend breakfast, so good :)

    Lara - oooh, yum. Was that in Giraffe? I saw them tweeting about a new French toast dish on their menu that looks great :)

    Averie - thank *you* for posting all the recipes in the first place! I have a few blogs that are always the first place I look for recipes, and yours is definitely one of those :)

    Tori - I order my peanut flour from iHerb. If you stick to under 4lb weight then the delivery isn't too bad and you don't get charged customs tax. Hope that helps!

  7. You star- that's really helpful! Thanks :)

  8. Sorry to be a pain and ask another question, but which brand do you get and is there a UK site as it looks like all the prices are in dollers... does it still 'work' if you order with a UK card? Thanks so much :)

  9. Hey, no worries, happy to help :) I use the US site with the prices in dollars, UK cards definitely work though. The peanut flour I buy is this one:

    or you can order the bigger bag here:

    If it's your first order on iHerb then you could use my code - ZEQ535 - then it will give you $5 off your first order.

    Hope that all helps :)

  10. Thanks so much, that's REALLY helpful! I'm going to try and find my way around the site and order some... :)

  11. I ordered a very pb-centric package last night- thanks so much for the code :) I went for the peanut flour, some peanut butter pretzels and some Atkins pb cups... what do you usually order from them out of interest and do you find they take the estimated 10 days to deliver? I thought it was actually quite a bargain all things considered :)

  12. Oh yey, glad you managed to order! :) My staples are peanut flour and vanilla stevia drops. I've also ordered PB&Co nut butters, coconut butter and Justin's butter from there too. Oh and Puffins cereal which lots of bloggers seem to love - I quite liked them, but I'm not the biggest cereal fan anyway. Plus I sometimes randomly throw light things in to make it up to 4lb weight - last time I got freeze-dried strawberries which were nice. I've added the pb pretzels to an order before too, but I found them too salty for me...Liam loved them though!

    I usually find the order takes more like 13-14 days to arrive, although I did have one once that arrived in a week which was super quick! I hope yours gets here soon & you enjoy it :)

  13. Oh and thanks for using my code :) I've never given it to anyone before but I've just noticed your order earnt me a whole 44 cents, haha, I think it works on some kind of comission'll probably be given your own code to give out after an order or two.

  14. I got an email at the weekend saying my order was despatched already and (they said) would be about a week- which would be fab if so! They also did give me a code so I'll happily give it to anyone who wants it!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...