Triple Chocolate Brownies

These triple chocolate brownies are truly indulgent! Over the years, so many people have asked for this recipe that it’s time to go public!

Ingredients:

  • 225g butter
  • 200g plain chocolate
  • 50g milk chocolate
  • 4 medium size eggs
  • 325g golden caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (yes, 1x tablespoon, not teaspoon!!)
  • 150g plain flour
  • 200g white chocolate, chopped

Method:

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/180°C and line a cake tin approx 20cm square & 6cm deep with greaseproof paper. (I use a silicone one – flexible, so it’s easier to peel out the brownie after cooling in the fridge.)

Melt the butter, plain and milk chocolate together in a saucepan and allow to cool slightly.

In a bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar and vanilla essence.

When the chocolate has cooled, whisk into the egg mixture, then fold in the flour and white chocolate pieces.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for approximately 30-35 minutes until the top is crisp and pale and the centre is almost set. The brownie will start to pull away from the sides of the tin.

Allow to cool in the tin a little, then transfer to the fridge to set thoroughly before cutting into 16 squares.

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Perfect Marmalade!

In response to overwhelming demand on Twitter (well, Mark Valencia), here’s my recipe for Seville Marmalade.

Ingredients for around 4-5 jars (depending on size)

500g Seville oranges
1 lemon
1kg golden caster sugar
1 piece of muslin

1. Put a sieve over a preserving pan or other very large, non-aluminium pan. I use a ceramic casserole. It’s important to leave enough room in the pan to allow the marmalade to bubble without boiling over. Cut the oranges and lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the pan, using the sieve to catch any pips and pith.

2. Put your piece of muslin into a bowl and spoon the pips and pith into it. Cut the peel of the oranges to the desired thickness, tearing off any large pieces of remaining flesh and adding them to the muslin as you go. Put the shredded peel into the pan (any remaining flesh will dissolve during cooking) and tie the muslin bag up tightly and add that too. Pour over 1.25l of water, bring to the boil and then simmer gently for 1 hour. The peel should be soft.

3. Remove the muslin bag and allow to cool in a bowl. It needs to be cold enough to squeeze, so unless you have heatproof gloves, you can leave the marmalade to sit overnight at this point if you want to. Wash your jars in warm soapy water and allow to dry in a cool oven before you embark on the next step.

4. Bring the marmalade back to a simmer, and squeeze the muslin bag hard into it – a good quantity of gloopy juice should come out. Stir this in and then add the sugars and stir well until dissolved. Put a few saucers into the freezer.

5. Turn the heat up and boil rapidly until the marmalade reaches setting point – I find it takes about 25 minutes but a sugar thermometer will be helpful here (start checking when it reaches 104C). To confirm this, put a teaspoonful of the marmalade on to a cold saucer and put in the fridge for a minute or so. If it crinkles when you run a finger through it, and your finger leaves a clear line in the preserve, it’s ready. If not, check it every five minutes or so.

6. Spoon into clean jars and seal immediately.

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Gold-plated Don Carlos cast compensates for Warlikowski’s frosty Paris staging

Verdi: Don Carlos ***

Opéra Bastille, 28th October 2017

Stéphane Lissner, director of the Opéra de Paris, had one of his greatest successes as general manager at the Théâtre du Châtelet with Luc Bondy’s staging of the original French version of Verdi’s Don Carlos (a production shared with La Monnaie and Covent Garden). In that version, Karita Mattila’s Elisabeth de Valois arrived in Fontainebleu’s forest riding a beautiful white horse. In Krzysztof Warlikowski’s new Paris staging, Sonya Yoncheva’s Elisabeth has to make do with a fibreglass version instead, which she poses beside in full bridal gear. It’s a cold, glassy scene which sums up the Polish director’s staging at the Bastille.

Jonas Kaufmann (Don Carlos) and Elīna Garanča (Eboli)
© Agathe Poupeney | Opéra de Paris

Read the full review on Bachtrack.

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No moonlight, no magic: Richard Jones directs a vanilla Bohème for the Royal Opera

Puccini: La bohème ***

The Royal Opera, 11th September 2017

New productions of La bohème don’t come around that often at the Royal Opera. John Copley’s venerable staging lasted for 43 years and the one before that – Peter Brook reviving a pre-war production – had a decent innings running from 1948. I doubt this new effort from Richard Jones will last half as long, not because it’s controversial in any respect but because it’s tepid. After his affectionate treatment of La fanciulla del West for ENO and his devastating Suor Angelica at this address, Jones’ Bohème tastes disappointingly vanilla.

Michael Fabiano (Rodolfo) and Nicole Car (Mimì)
© ROH | Catherine Ashmore

Read the full review on Bachtrack.

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Prom 29: Twilight of the Old Believers as Semyon Bychkov leads a majestic Khovanshchina

Mussorgsky: Khovanshchina ****

Prom 29, Royal Albert Hall, 6th August 2017

At the end of Götterdämmerung, Brünnhilde rides her horse onto a pyre. Although his opera’s not quite as long, Mussorgsky trumps Wagner by sending a whole chorus to their immolation as Act 5 of Khovanshchina draws to its fiery close. The Proms didn’t run to a semi-staging of this epic slice of Russian history – just a few cheap disco light effects to suggest the Albert Hall was aflame – but Semyon Bychkov turned in a magisterial account of this rugged score, aided and abetted by some strong vocal performances.

Elena Maximova
© BBC | Chris Christodoulou

Read the full review on Bachtrack.

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