I’ve always believed that a house is not a home unless you’re able to open it up to those that you love to treat as their own, be it for a meal or for a longer stay. With this in mind, when Nick and I were designing our house we worked hard to create a light and open space where people could feel comfortable whether it was their first visit or their fifteenth.
We’ve always envisaged entertaining our friends and family here, providing a quiet respite for those escaping from the noise neighbours can create, a place for children other than our own to explore nature or simply tear around the living area on a bike. After being here for just shy of a year, I’m pleased that although the house is still not complete, we have succeeded in
entertaining many of the aforementioned friends and family beginning with Christmas last year (a sit down meal for 13) and including Anouk’s first birthday party which we realised after the event, was about 40 people.
In the years to come we’re hoping to add more dinner parties, barbecues and, once we have a deck, movie nights under the stars, because really, what is the point of having a house on all this land if we don’t share it with others?
Recently, Nick and I hosted a BBQ for a group of girls and their families who have been an
integral part of keeping me sane during these early years of being a mother. Whilst it’s always a pleasure to see these friends for a coffee date, there was something extra special about
having them, their partners and their children in my home.
One of the fabulous ladies, offered to bring along something sweet for dessert and I, of course, accepted being that she’s an excellent cook! Skye didn’t disappoint, bringing along the most
divine brownies through which she had mixed raspberry lollies and cherry ripe!
The recipe is from the Long Track Pantry at Jugiong which I am definitely going to make the
effort to get down to for a meal sometime this Summer. Generously, the team share a long list of their recipes for free on the website!
Anyway, a couple of weeks after the barbecue, Nick was still talking about the brownies and so being the amazing wife that I am, I whipped up a batch one afternoon. (As an aside, baking with a toddler may be infuriating at times, but it’s an excellent way to entertain them when they’re on the verge of meltdown).
I had a bag of fresh cherries I had picked up at the Farmers’ Market so decided to add them to the recipe rather than nuts, although in retrospect, I should have used a combination of
cherries and walnuts. I also made sure I used a good quality, 70% dark chocolate to ensure a better flavour.
So here it is, a decadent, moist brownie recipe that doesn’t take long to bake, or to eat.
Long Track Pantry Brownies (adapted)
250g dark chocolate
3 medium sized eggs
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence or paste
1 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp of baking powder
200g pitted and chopped cherries (or whatever filler you want to use)
- Preheat oven to 160° and line a 20cm x 30 cm tin with baking paper.
- Pitt the cherries and place aside for later.
- Melt the chocolate and butter over low heat.
- Whisk eggs and sugar until pale and creamy and the sugar has dissolved.
- Add melted chocolate mixture and vanilla to eggs and combine well.
- Add flour, baking powder and cherries and combine (if you’re using a mixer, make sure you use a low setting to mix the wet and dry to avoid clumping).
- Pour mixture into the pan and bake in oven for 40 – 45 mins or until crumbs cling to a skewer inserted in the centre.
Obviously, these brownies are not strictly ‘wholefood’ seeing as I used caster sugar and white flour, however I may try to make a healthier version at some point. Until then, if you want a healthy, naturally sweetened brownie recipe, try this one.