The best laid plans of mice and men…last minute brownies & my trip to Playgroup Festival

When I wrote my last post I thought I was completely organised and ready for my weekend away at Playgroup Festival with only the final task of a baking a couple of batches of banana bread to complete. That was, until I spoke to my friend (and recent birthday girl therefore one of the main reasons I was taking cake to a festival!) and discovered the severity of her hate for banana’s doh! You know what they say about the best laid plans!? So in the last few minutes before leaving the office I changed tack and decided to make brownies instead I mean everyone loves brownie’s right?! I opened my dilemma up to my community of food lovers and bloggers on twitter, asking for brownie recipe recommendations and oh man they did not disappoint!

I was recommended these sea salt caramel brownie’s from the Baked Cookbook by @1mgoldstars, these from @yummly, @beaniebright told me to try Nigella’s flourless chocolate brownies which did look amazing but in the end I decided to follow a tip off from @newmassaros for these ‘ultimate very chocolatey brownies’ from The British Larder…

To make these amazingly gooey, deliciously chocolatey morsels you will need…

300g unsalted butter

300g dark chocolate (minimum 60% cocoa)

5 eggs

450g caster sugar

Seeds from 1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract

150g plain flour

50g cocoa powder

1tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray (approx 34 x 25cm x 6cm deep) with baking paper.

Break the chocolate into small pieces and put it in a bowl with the butter over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until fully melted.

In another bowl beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla until they become thick, creamy and pale (don’t panic it doesn’t take long, even with a hand whisk and some elbow grease!).

Add the melted chocolate and butter mixture to the egg mixture slowly, whisking continuously to make sure it doesn’t curdle.

Finally sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt into the mixture and fold it in carefully.

Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared tin and smooth it over.

Bake for 20 minutes before checking on it. The aim is for it to be gooey in the middle but as the recipe says it ‘should not wobble’. If it’s still a bit wobbly when you shake it just pop it back in the oven for another 5 minutes and then check again.

Once you’re happy, leave it to cool (bear in mind that it carries on cooking as it cools). Then slice it into as large or small a sections as you fancy…

As I was cutting mine I panicked that I’d been a bit hasty and taken it out of the oven prematurely and that it was too gooey in the middle, however I was assured by @lexeat that it’s impossible to have an over-gooey brownie and lo and behold my fears were allayed when I offered it to my festival friends and they all fought over the gooeyest pieces from the middle J 

I can also confirm that it got even better after 2 days in a warm tent…I kid you not! Perfect festival baking!

Now a bit more about Playgroup…as I mentioned before it’s a very small, independent festival only in its second year. We were told there were only about 2000 people there, which made it wonderfully intimate and friendly and even I couldn’t get lost! J 

Everyone had thrown themselves into the spirit of the woodland animal fancy dress theme and my friends, who love an excuse to dress up, were no exception…

Due to its size the number of food stalls was minimal but it was very much a case of quality not quantity as the ones that were there were pretty darn good. One of my faves, which I stumbled across on the Saturday morning in my search for a good coffee was ‘Shitehawkes Coffee & Doughnuts’…

Where I was served by a man wearing a dressing gown and serenaded by a waistcoat-clad, shaven headed ukelele-er and funnily enough they served coffee…

and little French style doughnuts…

I also sampled a delicious vegetarian breakfast of scrambled egg, mushrooms cooked up with thyme, fried new potatoes with chilli flakes, grilled tomato, veggie sausage and a doorstep slice of soft granary bread and salted butter from the Lounged out Lizard tent and a great cuppa from Grannys Gaff but for me,the winner had to be Smokey Joe’s Caribbean Barbecue…

The pulled pork roll with salad and mojo mayonnaise was unbelievably tasty and worthy of some silent, eye closed savouring… 

Smokey Joe himself was a bit camera shy but I managed to pap him in the end (with his consent of course J)…

My friends also tried the jerk chicken and judging by their rave reviews I’d say Joe’s range of sauces may well be worth a try…

I also indulged in a fair amount of ‘Badgers Brew’ a light, hoppy, lager, which was brewed and named especially for the festival and of which we somehow managed to drink the bar dry!

We left the 3 day Playgroup extravaganza totally sated…with delicious food and drink, good music, an amazing pretension free atmosphere and great friends…how can you go wrong!

I’d just like to leave you with one of my favourite pics of the weekend…

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One response to “The best laid plans of mice and men…last minute brownies & my trip to Playgroup Festival

  1. Pingback: Yoghurt, lime and pistachio cake with rosewater and lime drizzle… | Afternoon Tease

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