Posted 9th June 2008
It’s been a tough few days. What with the man going under the knife for his minor op et al.
First, he wouldn’t touch the codeine claiming it made him uncharacteristically calm. Then, persuaded of its wide healing properties, he insisted on overdosing on it until I hid it from view.
I briefly toyed with the idea of hitting him on the head with a saucepan. Or strangling him with the cord on my coffee grinder.
But then I thought about going without cigarettes, alcohol, hot food or fresh air for seven days. Dire came to mind.
I gave him plenty of the next best thing instead. Chocolate.
Ironically, this recipe for soft Pistachio and Cardamom Brownies came from another bunch of ladies in despair. The Indian Summer special in the June issue of Fresh Magazine featured them in summer picnic best, braving freezing British weather in the park.
These brownies are sinfully squidgy, bursting with flavour and totally divine. Sometimes, it takes more than a bit of discomfort to experience something wonderful.
225gm quality dark chocolate
10 cardamom pods, deseeded
2 free range eggs
225 caster sugar
1 inch whole vanilla (or 1 tsp extract)
75 gm self raising flour
100gm pistachio nuts
Preheat the oven to 180 Degree C (160 for fan assisted). In a large microwaveable bowl, break the chocolate pieces and cube the butter. Stick it in on medium heat for three minutes until lumpy but melted.
Crush the cardamom with the whole vanilla in a coffee grinder or pestle and mortar. Add this to the bowl and mix thoroughly until smooth.
Now, lightly beat the eggs and stir them into the chocolate along with the sugar. Then fold in the flour and the peeled pistachio nuts gently.
I used salted pistachios, which I shelled myself. If you used the shelled, unsalted variety add a pinch of salt to the batter.
Take a rectangular /square baking dish that is at least an inch deep. The original recipe asks for a cake tin lined with parchment paper, but I clearly don’t bake enough.
I just took some margarine out of the fridge and rubbed it evenly across the base and sides of the baking dish. Then I tipped the batter in and baked the whole lot for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, take the dish out of the oven, leave to cool and then refrigerate for two hours until set. Cut into rectangular pieces and enjoy on their own or with Vanilla ice cream.