Monday, January 17, 2011



Seagulls crowd together at the end of the beach, near the cliff. The breeze that lifts their feathers is cold. The sun is pale and does not yet warm the breeze but we know the day will be hot.


The bay is crowded. Boats glide across the smooth water, lifting and falling across the wakes of other boats. People on the sand cross and cross again the tracks of others. There are things to find on beaches and today there are enough children to search out each and every treasure.

We climb on the sea wall and walk over rocks and pretend we are far out at sea. Caves tempt us with their secrets. We hide in their dark shadows and then reappear into the sunshine, suddenly, as if by magic. A man stoops to draw long lines in the wet sands with his bare hands, mystical signs. A small girl follows the lines like a pathway.

Late afternoon

We follow the tracks of a seabird and the sea sighs and sniffs at our heels. The disappearing sun shines the sea-washed pebbles into bright buttons to fasten long fingers of shadow onto brushed velvet sand. Wet dogs spar with rock pool demons.


From the top of the cliff you see a path of light that leads to the moon. If you try to walk the path it fades before your feet and leads only from the dark sand into the cold sea.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Tod Brownie - specially for Here Come the Belgians

The Tod Brownie

The original recipe was American and used an odd mix of cups and grammes... I've left the original measures in but have worked out the weights in ozs as well. I'm not sure how they manage to measure a cup of butter! When I used the 'change measurement' facility on the website, 1/2 a cup of butter came out as 75 millilitres, which seemed even madder than the cup measurement. These are the weights I used for the Tod Brownie (as it shall hereafter be known - quicker to say than the full 'Baileys Irish yadda yadda' title).

3 ozs ( 75gr ) unsweetened baking chocolate (This is where I differed - to strive for full Belgian appeal, I used real Belgian chocolate - I did a test run with the 85% one but used the 70% choc for the Tod Brownie)

3ozs ( 1/2 cup ) butter

1 cup granulated sugar - sorry - I reckon about 4 ozs... I'll check and update but I used a 'cup' measure for this... American recipes - good but don't like the 'cup' measure!

2 eggs, beaten

3 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream

4oz ( 2/3 cup ) flour

Pinch of salt

3 oz ( 2/3 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips (I couldn't find choc chips - semi-sweet or otherwise so I simply chopped up 3 ozs of the same Belgian choc)

Melt chocolate with butter in microwave (or regular pyrex dish set over a pan of hot water on the stove) and mix well. Cool. (I dumped the dish into a larger size pyrex dish of cold water to speed the cooling process... life's too short etc.)

Beat sugar and eggs together in mixing bowl. Add Bailey's Irish Cream and cooled chocolate mixture. Mix well. Stir in flour, salt and chocolate chips. Pour into greased and floured 8-inch square baking pan. Bake at 325 degrees F (about 160 C) for approximately 20 minutes (test with wooden pick). The original recipe said "Cool completely (about 1 1/2 hours)." but I poured Baileys over while it was still warm - first making holes all over with a wooden pick. I did though, leave it to cool completely before removing it from tin and then waiting till absolutely cold before frosting.


3 tablespoons softened butter

4 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream

3 cups icing sugar

In mixing bowl, combine Baileys and butter. Mix together a bit then gradually add icing sugar (sifted) and beat until spreading consistency. Frost cooled brownies.