A Steaming Mishap, and late-night brownies.

I got home from work a bit early yesterday, and convinced myself that it was cold enough to use my steamer (it was quite mild outside really.) In my Supersavers book, there is a recipe for what looks like steamed, deconstructed, spag bol. That is, you cook some short pasta (I did macaroni, as the book recommended) add mince, canned tomatoes, frozen beans, dried thyme, garlic and an egg. Put it in your pudding steamer and steam for two hours. I was smitten not only because I got to steam something again, but also because miraculously, we had the exact ingredients required. So, two episodes of Season 1 Outrageous Fortune later, (did I mention that we bought the DVD and are rapturously pleased with it?) it was ready. I served it with the remaining asparagus, which I roasted, as per a suggestion of Nigella’s in How To Eat. If you are a fan of asparagus, PLEASE try this! It is wonderful! Just a 220 C oven, a tablespoon of olive oil, 15 minutes, and then sprinkle it with a little salt. It is nutty and slightly crispy and absolutely fantastic. Second only to asparagus rolls (on white bread with canned asparagus) for my favourite way of eating it.

Anyway…maybe I didn’t grease the pudding bowl enough (didn’t grease it at all, come to think of it) but the steamed mince thingy really didn’t unmould well – only half of it, as you can see below, came out. No matter – it’s not what you would call a ‘photogenic’ dish and I’m sure that it would have looked ugly even if it had turned out properly!
Above – Half of our dinner. The other half is still in the steamer…

Well, it tasted good, which was the important thing, but I don’t see how a combination of its ingredients could really go wrong. And it did seem like the exact sort of recipe you could expect to find in a book called “Supersaver’s.” It benefited from salt, and it could have definitely been improved with some cheese. But, cheese is expensive and grating is a pain, so we don’t often eat it frivolously. As you know, the asparagus was amazing.
Emma was babysitting last night, and Kieran, Stefan, Tim and I were all watching Outrageous Fortune. (pausing only to switch off the DVD and turn to Prime for Flight of the Conchords) Somewhere in the middle of this, I got a real hankering for some kind of pudding. Problem was, time was ticking on. Suddenly I decided to make something I used to do a lot as a youngster – Alison Holst’s chocolate brownies. Now, I’m not teeerribly fond of La Holst (she does seem to take the fun out of cooking) but as I said, I am very familiar with these brownies and knew they’d do the trick. I used the Dollars And Sense cookbook that Mum gave me some years back (a book filled with many gems actually) and got Tim to help me round up ingredients so as to get it going faster.
It is very easy, one of those wonderful one-pot melt and mix recipes that leave you with a minimum of washing up! No fancy ingredients required, but I added some chopped dark chocolate (had a bit lying round in the cupboard.) We put it in the oven, and halfway through another episode of Outrageous Fortune, they were ready. Not as densely squidgy and delicious as Nigella’s, but good for a quick fix, and much cheaper. You can see below what was left of them!
Above: Brownies, made in a silicone tin (can it still be called a tin if it’s made of silicone?) that Tim’s parents gave me.

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