Chunky Apricot Sauce

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A few apricots on my counter were getting soft - I'd bought them dead ripe - so I made them into a sauce to eat with my morning oatmeal. The flavour of apricots is very distinct, but they pick up other seasonings well. A couple of slices of fresh ginger would work really well in this sauce. The flavour of cinnamon would have been great, but I only had powdered and wanted a seasoning that would not dull the gorgeous orange colour. In the end, I just used a little vanilla.

To make it, drop five or six medium apricots in boiling water for a few seconds, then put into cold water to loosen the skins. Take skins off fruit and chop roughly. Put apricot pieces in a saucepan with 1 tablespoon of honey and simmer just until softened. You may need to add water if you are using less ripe fruit. Remove from heat, stir in 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract, and cool. Store in fridge for up to 4 days. Stir into your yogurt or oatmeal in the morning.

Many will prefer a much sweeter sauce; you can add more honey or sugar if desired. I topped the fruit with a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk.

Mini Brownies

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I recently taught a Chinese friend to make these brownies. She was very excited to watch them bake through the door of my little toaster oven. "They're expanding, and giving off the most amazing smell! So wondrous!" I asked her why Chinese people don't often eat sweet things. She told me that people are concerned about weight problems, but added sweet things make people feel happy. It's true.

Recently I've been making mini versions of most sweet and dessert recipes; it is a great way to stretch a recipe. Small portions are stingy, but mini are cute and just what you want of something rich and sweet. For these brownies, you melt half a cup of butter, and stir in 3/4 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa, and two eggs mixed with 1 tsp of vanilla. Then stir in 3/4 cup of flour mixed with one teaspoon of baking powder , 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and half a cup of toasted walnuts (optional). Spoon into two dozen mini muffin pans and bake at 180 deg C for twelve minutes, or until just a little soft in the middle. The recipe is enough for an 8*8 pan, if you don't have mini muffin tins. You will have to cook them a few minutes more.

If you want icing, melt 100g good chocolate and stir in icing sugar, starting with 1/2 cup and adding tablespoons, until spreadable. (I didn't measure the sugar). Can top with leftover toasted walnuts, shown, or coconut if desired.