Hello friends. If you have called in purely for the chocolate slice, grab the cocoa and the butter and scroll to the bottom. If you would like to read a little more, please take your time.
As we head towards spring the light is shifting, the days are stretching out just slightly and my enemies, those revolting blow flies are once again buzzing around the house.
I have seen a flock of freshly hatched emus in the paddock, carefully exploring their new world with their protective father. The chooks are laying and there are tiny lambs finding their land legs in the paddock.
We have a goat muster in our hill country on the horizon which always has an air of excitement about it. This time it will be a little bit different as we remember a valued friend and team member who would normally have lead from the front on these mustering missions, but sadly is no longer with us.
I am a bit behind in the vegetable garden but at this time of the year it seems quite forgiving. Sicily Purple cauliflower has been a standout over winter. Now, I am digging in a green manure crop of Lucerne and preparing once again for tomato season. Last year my most successful variety was San Marzano so I will be trying that one again.
In the autumn I devoted a large space in the veggie patch to Queen Anne’s Lace. I love these soft flowers and was hoping they would be in bloom for a special function we are holding on our property later in the year. Just like the rest of the world; the future of the function is uncertain but I am hoping for lots of flowers, regardless of pesky pandemics.
I like to keep my bread making equipment simple. I have stainless steel bowls, sturdy scrapers, sharp razor blades for scoring and pizza/bread peels that are well worn from years of wood oven work. But, cleaning the flour from the bannetons can be a fiddly job. I have recently tested one of these banneton brushes and they are great. Any excuse to visit Odgers and McClelland. Bread friends, take note!
Futuresteading is a new to me podcast and all of my favourite people are there including Pip Lincolne and Kate Ulman who were some of the first bloggers I started following, many years ago. Naturally, their stories have changed over the years and hearing their voices feels like checking in with wise and trusted friends.
Do you buy many books? I could buy so many but I try to be more selective these days, only buying the ones that really grab my attention and that I can see myself reading many times over. I have been a long-time fan of Annie Smithers for her no nonsense yet highly skilled approach to cooking and growing food. Her new book, Recipe for a Kinder Life, is on my wish list.
I recently posted a photo of my favourite crunchy chocolate slice on Instagram and then promised I would share the recipe. I am not reinventing the wheel with this, similair recipes have been around forever. But, this is a favourite in our house so I hope you enjoy it.
Happy baking, friends x
- 250 g butter
- 225 g plain flour
- 30 g cocoa powder
- 175 g brown sugar
- 100 g shredded or desiccated coconut
- 50 g butter
- 2 tbsp hot water
- 200 g icing sugar
- 30 g cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 180°C
Line a 33cm x 23cm slice pan or brownie pan with baking paper. Set aside.
Place butter in a small saucepan over low heat until melted.
Sift flour and cocoa into a large bowl.
Add sugar and coconut to the flour and cocoa and combine.
Add melted butter to the flour mixture and stir until well combined.
Press mixture firmly and evenly over the base of the prepared pan.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the mixture is starting to bubble around the edges. It may feel soft at this stage but it will become firm as it cools.
Cool in pan and then place on a wire rack. Refrigerate the slice prior to icing, this will make it easier to ice.
Place butter and hot water in a small saucepan over low heat until the butter is melted.
Sift icing sugar and cocoa powder into a bowl.
Add melted butter to icing sugar mixture and stir until smooth. Add small amounts of extra hot water and continue to mix if the icing seems too dry.
Spread icing evenly over cold slice and top with coloured sprinkles. Cut into pieces to serve.
Store in a airtight container. Refrigerate in warm weather.