Chocolate & Beetroot Brownies

The first time I baked those was around April/May 2011: my first attempt at brownies and with all the chocolate in it, the addition of beetroots appealed to me….  I will publish the original amounts and those I use nowadays ♥ . The picture itself dates from June 2014

Beetroot brownie


  • 250g dark chocolate (70% cocoa) broken
  • 250g butter, cut into cubes ♥ I now use 125g butter + 100ml apple puree
  • 250g caster sugar ♥ 150g
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g self raising flour
  • 250g beetroot: boiled until tender, peeled, grated and drained


  • Preheat oven to 180°C/ 160°fan/ Gas 4 and prepare a baking pan 30×20/ 12″x8″
  • Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl over a pan of simmering water
  • Set aside and once cool down a little, add the apple puree
  • Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a separate bowl until well combined
  • Beat it in the chocolate mixture until smooth
  • Gently fold in the flour
  • Same with the beetroot, taking care not to over-mix or it will make the brownies tough
  • Pour the mixture in the pan and smooth the top over with a spatula and put in the oven

Baking time

  • This is a little more complicated than just giving you a time frame…. start by baking the brownie mix 45 to 50mn, until the top becomes crumbly. The beetroot tends to make the brownies a little too moist inside so I always take it out, cut it in 4 lengths and bake again on a tray, for an extra 5mn each side


Ma Vanille!

C’est une de mes épices préférées et je l’utilise beaucoup dans mes gâteaux…  Je l’ai sous deux formes:

  • Vanille Moulue:

ground vanilla   obtenue en moulant des gousses de vanille, elle peut être utilisée à la place ou avec (moi: toujours avec!) de l’extrait de vanille. Parfaite pour toutes vos créations culinaires, elle s’adapte mieux mélangées dans de la crème ou du beurre… Attention, elle ne peut pas être dissoute dans du liquide car elle n’est pas soluble!

Voici la mienne: 018

  • Extrait de Vanille: à mon avis le meilleur, sans aucun doute, pour une saveur beaucoup plus complète et plus riche. Je fais en fait mon propre extrait de vanille après avoir découvert la possibilité dans un de mes livres ( américain celui-là).

023   J’ai placé la bouteille dans la lumière pour la photo mais je la garde toujours à l’abri: mettre 2 ou 3 gousses de bonne qualité dans une bouteille opaque et la remplir d’un alcool blanc (clair comme la vodka ou le gin, j’utilise de l’alcool de fruit). C’est maintenant que l’attente commence: à l’ombre pour 4 à 6 semaines et à secouer de temps en temps…. Après ce délai, il vous suffit juste de remplir la bouteille après chaque utilisation…


All about Vanilla

By now, you might have noticed a recurrent spice in my baking: Vanilla, I just love it! I use it in 2 forms:

  •  Pure Ground Vanilla: not to be confused with Vanilla powder (which has added sugar, etc) it is made by grinding pure vanilla pods.

ground vanilla                                                                                                                                       It can be used in combination or as a substitute to vanilla extract. Great for all your baking, it is best when used or folded into cream or butter. Can also be used to flavour your ice cream! Beware, it will not dissolve as it isn’t water soluble.

This is mine: 018


  • Vanilla Extract: for a much fuller and richer flavour rather than plain essence… I actually make my own, after reading the how to in one my baking books, that one from the USA…

023   I had to position the bottle in direct sunlight so you could see the pods inside but the bottle has to be quite opaque for better results: drop 2 or 3 really good vanilla pods in you bottle and fill it up with a clear alcohol. In the UK, I used vodka but after a recent accident I had to start from scratch and in France I bought a fruit alcohol. I added a tablespoon of ground vanilla (not in my “recipe”). You must leave it in the dark for a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks ( I know, such a long time!!!) but shake it from time to time…. After that, I top it up whenever I use it and always store away from sunlight….

Banana Cake

This is a “time honoured”, handed down recipe which was given to me by my late Mother-in-law, my very first banana cake! And it never fails!


I will post it as it was written down for me, but I will put in brackets my tiny alterations… You might wonder why separate the eggs and whip the whites, I’ve never dared to do otherwise, that’s why!


  • 4oz / 115g butter, softened
  • 4oz / 115g caster sugar { 75g light brown sugar}
  • 2 eggs, separated and whites whipped stiff
  • 3 small ripe bananas, mashed {2 medium}
  • 1/3 cup / 80ml milk
  • 1tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 8oz / 225g self raising flour, sifted


  • Preheat oven to 180°C/ 160°fan/ Gas 4 and grease or line a loaf tin
  • Cream the butter and sugar together
  • Beat in eggs, one at a time, 1 yolk, ½ the whites etc…
  • Add bananas and mix well
  • In another smaller bowl, dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in the milk
  • Add to the mixture, alternatively with and starting / finishing with the flour
  • Pour into the prepared tin
  • Bake in the centre of the oven for 40 to 50mn until a skewer comes out clean
  • Turn onto a wire rack to cool
  • Sprinkle with icing sugar


Thank you Diana,   RIP       img064