Now, I know that chocolate brownies don’t exactly scream frugal student living, but bear with me. At university, birthdays seem to occur on an almost weekly basis, squeezing that already tight budget. With the absence of parents, cake can often go overlooked, so these brownies are a great alternative, as well as being much cheaper that the average shop-bought offering. I like to cut them into squares, pile them high on a plate and liberally cover them with icing sugar and candles – party ready!
Brownies are a brilliant starter for a baking novice. They’re meant to be a bit on the squidgy side so it takes off the pressure of baking something perfectly! You can also personalise them however you like. I’ve added mixed chopped nuts, but you can substitute them for chocolate chips, other nuts or even cherries – get creative!
These arose from the annual glut of courgettes. After having them grilled, fried, baked, and in soup and chutney, and still having a never ending supply from the veg patch, I started looking for more creative ways to use them up.
I first heard of Harry Eastwood and her vegetable adventures on BBC Breakfast (while in a hotel room in Iceland, bizarrely) a few years ago, and subsequently bought her book, the gorgeously named Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache. However, as often happens with cookbooks, it had been pushed to the back of the shelf and largely forgotten about until my courgette quest led me to turf it out. It’s such a beautifully written and photographed book that it’s worth a read even if you never intend to make any of the recipes, but on discovering the dregs of a packet of pistachio nuts I had to experiment.