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Brownies

Outside of the people who are allergic to chocolate or don’t enjoy chocolate… who doesn’t love a well-prepared brownie? Since the very first time I tried one many years ago, I have learned and re-learned one golden rule about baking brownies: creating the perfect brownie is not just baking. It’s an art form. Why? Because a brownie is not cake. A brownie is not fudge. The perfect brownie is something in between: a thin layer of crunch on the outside, followed by what’s not quite a cake structure, and semi-gooey center. Best consumed a little warm with a scoop of vanilla-perfumed ice cream and a little warm chocolate sauce. Ingredients and preparation – Brownies For 6 – 9 people About 2 cups (392 gr) sugar, it may be less if you want to experiment 1 cup melted butter that has cooled (you can also use vegetable oil) 4 eggs – …

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Super easy apple tart

Someone in my house doesn’t love cooked apples (hint, it’s not me!). But I’ve finally come up with an ‘apple pie’ – actually it’s an apple tart – that my husband likes. Hurrah! What’s even better, it’s super fast and super easy to make. Honestly, if you mess this one up, just maybe it’s time to avoid the kitchen altogether. But this might just be the dessert that proves you DO belong in the kitchen, and it’s easy for beginners and children too! A timer and some aluminum foil is recommended! This lovely apple tart is prep to table in under an hour. Ready for after lunch coffee or tea? Ingredients and preparation For up to 6 people pâte feuilletée (puff pastry) – 1 pie crust (ROUND) 4 to 5 cooking apples (start with 4) 3 tablespoons sugar (regular or dark brown) 3 tablespoons butter 1 lemon 1 teaspoon of …

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Préfou de Vendée – garlic bread (v)

Making Préfou from scratch surprised me! Until this moment we had only ever bought the pale préfou at the supermarket… well… never again! This homemade garlic bread, a Vendéen delicacy although we’re relatively sure that the term delicacy in relation to loads of garlic is a total oxymoron, is scrumptious. Until now we had only been familiar with the Italian garlic bread which we now realise is like the “milquetoast” version of REAL garlic bread. (Milquetoast is a word that has been around since 1925 and means ‘meek’). So, what is préfou and where does it live in Vendée history? In the countryside near Fontenay-le-Comte, long before we had the modern convenience of thermostats to tell us when the oven was hot enough to bake, Vendéen bakers had the clever idea to throw a piece of bread into the oven to check the temperature. Once the bread was pale but …

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Apéro-time Empanadas

The appetizer that works every time! Empanadas are the Central -and South American version of pasties, crescent-shaped, savory pastries filled with a variety of ingredients. They are usually fried, but we prefer baking them to golden perfection. They are quite versatile and can be filled with meat or even made in a delicious Caribbean-style vegetarian version simply by replacing the meat with boiled and shredded  (sweet)potato and carrots. Even better… you can make them ahead of time and freeze, so you always have something to serve unexpected guests that is (almost completely) homemade and thaws/ reheats/ bakes quickly. When we have a party or for any fancy occasion like Christmas -or New Year’s eve, these beef-olive-raisin empanadas are on the menu as a favorite finger food. Hope you enjoy! Ingredients and preparation – Appetizer Empanadas For about 40 appetizers 175 gr lean minced beef – for this recipe, minced turkey …

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Michelle’s Devonshire Farmhouse Apple Cake

Introduction Hello everybody! I was so very happy that Michelle Vardy, our Facebook group member who lives in south Vendée, volunteered one of her amazing cake recipes for our Recipe Corner! Here’s what Michelle wanted you to know: This is a well tried and trusted recipe which I used for my Cafe and guest House in Devon.  It was a very popular cake and was often in the cake display. It can be served cold or warm but it is best with Devonshire clotted cream, or Cornish if you’re that way inclined, normal whipped cream, ice cream, custard or naked as the day it came out the oven. Enjoy! Ingredients and preparation Devonshire Farmhouse Apple Cake For 8 – 10 people 250g/8oz/2cups Self raising flour OR all-purpose flour with 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 125g/4oz/1/2 cup butter 175g/6oz/3/4 cup caster sugar (superfine) 500g/1 …

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Easy banana bread

Is it time to use up the overripe bananas in your fruit basket? Yes? Great timing! This banana bread recipe is so easy you can do it with your eyes closed. The hardest part about it is that it will be in the oven for an hour or more and that the aromas floating through the house will have you mouthwatering for at least half of that time. And your spouse and children and grandchildren, if you have them, will be hovering about with impatience. Because… who doesn’t love banana bread? Ingredients and preparation Easy Banana Bread For 1 large loaf (TIP: please don’t use an electric mixer for this – use a wooden spoon to make the dough) You will need: 2 mixing bowls large cake/bread form butter to grease the form preheat the oven to 160C or 320F download conversion chart 2 cups self-rising flour 3 large overripe …