No.1 The Strand Chef
As the chef of No. 1 The Strand, which now only caters for functions (predominantly the popular rolling abundance selection) I find myself constantly changing and adapting dishes.
When people book No. 1 for a birthday celebration or work do, they get the full kahuna, which includes a cold selection, hot selection and dessert choices for less than you would pay for a high-end main course elsewhere.
One of the desserts I have adapted and which proves the most popular is the chocolate brownie.
This recipe is adapted from an old café original brownie recipe and with the addition of walnuts. Walnuts are in plentiful supply right now and have fantastic health giving properties. Also, chocolate is good for you! Yes, regular small amounts of dark chocolate can help reduce heart disease. On the other hand however, excessive consumption can lead to obesity without a corresponding increase in activity. So with the addition of sweetened condensed milk, butter, cocoa and dark chocolate, after a few slices at one of our functions, you had better dance your butt off!
Walnut chocolate fudge brownie
200g dark chocolate
1.5 cups sugar
½ cup hot water
1 espresso cup coffee
A splash of rum
½ cup cocoa powder
1 ½ cups self raising flour
½ cup chopped walnuts
4-5 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
In a microwave melt together the butter, half the sugar, the chocolate, then add the rum, coffee and water and allow to cool. Meanwhile, beat the eggs and remaining sugar together until pale and thick, fold in the sifted flour and cocoa then the chocolate mixture. Add a little hot water if the mixture is too thick.
Pour into a 26cm cake tin or tray. The mixture can then be sprinkled with walnuts. If they sink immediately, the mix is too thin, as they should stay near the top of the cake. Bake in the middle of the oven set to 180 degrees Celsius for about five minutes. A crust should have started to form on the top. Carefully drizzle condensed milk over the surface in a crisscross pattern.
Sprinkle with more walnuts to compensate for any that have may have sunk and return to the oven for around 40-50 minutes. Check cake with a skewer but take care not to overcook. You are not wanting a completely dry skewer, as you are aiming for a gooey centre. Remember that your cake will keep cooking for some time once removed from the oven. Timing is the secret and depends on your oven and how thick you mixture is. Allow the cake to cool completely before cutting. This allows time for the chocolate to set.
This cake will keep well for few days and transform itself from a dry looking cake to a great chocolate walnut fixation after a few seconds in the microwave.