Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Chocolate Brownie And Congo Bar Recipes and Birds In The Garden

I have L home unexpectedly today feeling unwell so I decided it would be a Baking Day, as everyone is home this weekend and we've got all the Grannies And Grandpas coming over for supper on Saturday. As well to get ahead, no?

I've made a batch of Congo Bars to cheer L up and a chocolate brownie for Saturday night. I'm also doing a trifle but will leave that till Saturday afternoon. I promised you the fail-safe and easy-peasy choc brownie recipe that has done the rounds of Romsey among other places so here it is, making it's Blog Debut...

8oz chocolate
4oz butter
2 eggies
4oz granulated sugar
2oz plain flour
1 tsp baking powder

1. Melt choc and butter in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water
2. Off heat stir in all the other ingredients
3. Wack in a 22cm lined tin (square or round)
4. Bake at 160 or thereabouts until the middle has stopped wobbling when you move it and a skewer comes out clean
5. Cool and then turn out on a tray, dust with icing sugar or drizzle melted choc over the surface
6. Serve with ice cream or cream
7. Yum!

About to go in the oven

Just out of the oven

Dressed and Ready To Go


In the middle of cooking I got a Nice Surprise, when I looked out of the kitchen window and saw a female Siskin perched on one of the feeders. No pic sadly because she skedaddled when she saw me, but doubtless she will be back and if last year is anything to go by she'll get used to seeing me so I should get some photos. They are such beautiful birds with incredible plumage and I'd never seen them until they started arriving here last year. I estimate the flock to be between 50-100- it is enormous. I have recorded them chattering in the alders and will attempt to upload the resulting vid so you can hear for yourself the racket they make. We usually get 2-4 in the garden from Jan onwards so I'm wondering where all the others go to?

I did manage to get some snaps of some Familiar Faces.....

My Lovely Friend Mrs Sparrow, who spent most of last summer either leaving her chicks with me or forcing me to duck quickly as she zoomed past, often brushing my nose with her wings. I have missed her and am glad to see her back.

'Are you taking a picture of me?' Our resident Pige taking a break from all the bowing and beak nibbling he's putting on for his VERY disinterested missus.

Our Lovely Robin, who is stretching his head up and backwards whenever he comes across the other two- it's either courtship or territory posturing, but they're all doing it at the moment.

Mrs Sparrow and her husband in the hedge by the feeders

'Take Off!'

Also on the Wildlife Front, blogging pal and fellow moth-enthusiast Caroline at Ragged Robin recently put me onto a book about the moths of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. As with all these tomes it was pretty expensive (£35) but I was thrilled to find it second-hand at the Oxfam Bookshop for £20. Bargain. Anyway, needless to say I ordered it and it has just turned up. I've had a quick flick through it and it looks fab, so I'm even more excited about mothing season starting now.

Back to cakes...

Here is the recipe for Congo Bars. Again, very simple, takes minutes to make and they are delicious (and if the photos don't make you want to go out and get the ingredients and cook some up this afternoon then there is something wrong with you.  Unless of course you happen to be my niece or sister in law and don't like chocolate. I know - shocking isn't it?).

2 eggies
4oz light brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
4 oz butter
2oz self raising flour
pinch salt
200 grams chocolate
1 tbsp cocoa powder if you like 

1. Melt the butter and vanilla in a saucepan.
2, Whisk eggs and brown sugar till smooth.
3. Beat melted butter into egg and sugar mix.
4. Sift the flour and salt onto the egg mix and fold in.
5. Line a 22cm square tin with greaseproof paper and crack the chocolate into chunks of varying sizes into the bottom of the tin.
6. Pour the cake mix over the choccy pieces.
7. Bake at 160 for about 20 mins till a skewer comes out clean.
8. Leave to cool then cut into bars and either eat or store in an airtight tin.

Just out the oven and cooling down
Cut into bars
The chocolate melts and forms a lovely gooey base while the sponge is light and fluffy on top


 Wouldn't it be great if wildlife programmes combined with baking ones? Just a thought....

Hope your day is going well?

CT :-)


  1. Perhaps I could train some squirrels to bake for know how much I hate cooking, but it would certainly combine the two! Like the new book, and I look forward to many furry moths this year.

    1. I thought about your dislike of baking when I was typing the recipes in :-)

      I'm really missing the moths, roll on Spring.... :-)

  2. Not if they were baking the wildlife. But then I suppose that's not baking in the truest sense.
    Congo bars look delish.

  3. Mmmm both of those recipes look wonderful, I will definitely give these a try. Hope L is better did you miss out on college? Sarah x

    1. Yup no college for me today, but then motherhood is by far the more important of the two and there's always tomorrow.... xx

  4. Two more recipes to pass on to the Great British Bake Off Trainee!! Yum nom! Hope L is feeling more chipper - there is a lot of school lurgy going around at the moment. In fact, I am surprised I haven't succumbed, given the number of times I am sneezed and coughed on every day.

    Now, I may be missing something obvious, but...why 'Congo' bars??? Xx

    1. Yippee- let me know how he gets on with them. L is better this evening, thank you my dear. Sometimes a day at home is just what's needed :-)

      That is a very good and a very you point about the naming of the cake. No idea why Congo- only know that we call them bongo's if we're feeling especially silly! xx

  5. Sorry to hear about L - hope he's feeling better. As a lover of all things chocolate I think both the brownies and the bars look delicious. I'm making a note of the recipes.
    The moth book looks great - what a find!

    1. Back to school today thanks Wendy :-)

      Let me know how you fare with the recipes - they're usually pretty reliable....

  6. Love the recipes - will definitely be trying those :)

    Well done on the Siskin - I only had one fleeting visit last year. We usually see them in early Spring as they pass through.

    I'm so glad your moth book has arrived - it looks good :) If we have a mild and dry night next month I'll put the trap out. Its snowing here at the moment!

    Glad to hear L felt better last night.

    1. Last year was the first time they came to the garden so am really hoping they repeat this year. Still no goldfinches here tho :-(

      Can't believe you've got snow! Grey overcast and chilly here at mo with more rain forecast tomorrow so no chance to put the moth box out just yet...

  7. Watering mouth here......

    What a great Moth bargain! I wish I could find a Lichen version in a charity shop. x

    1. I didn't know Oxfam had an online book shop- worth checking it just in case? xx


Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x