Friday, 27 January 2012

Peanut butter brownies

I have been really down in the dumps recently. Not clinically, but I'm just SO BORE-DUH of everything. Especially my face - man alive! If I have to look at that stupid beaky ruddy beady gingerish freckled fat mish-mash of shapes once more I will scream.

It has been made worse by a girl I know having had a baby a few months ago and having a MARVELLOUS time with it. And she's not lying either. She really is just finding the whole thing okay. And she and her husband are terribly relaxed and on days off just wander into town and have lunch and the baby sleeps when it sleeps and not when it doesn't. My friend has not decided to confine herself to the house during naptimes and never finds herself sitting on the stairs outside the nursery picking her fingers, rocking to and fro hissing "go to fucking sleep go to fucking sleep", which is what I spent basically the first 10 months doing with Kitty.

And when her husband says "Shall we go out for brunch on Sunday", my friend doesn't scream, like I do, "Are you MAD?!! She will fall asleep in the CAR on the way BACK and then WAKE UP  when we get home and it will be a disaster!!!!!"

I had thought that my experience of new motherhood was quite normal, quite widespread, but now I feel like I have sort of deliberately backed myself into a hellish little corner of parenting philosophies and to-the-minute timings because, basically, I don't think I deserve to have a nice time.

So I went to the hairdresser and got all my hair cut off. And do you know what, it has made me feel much better.

I also thought I should make some karmic amends by being nice about a recipe for a change. The last time I was really mean about a recipe it was one out of Waitrose Food Illustrated and the editor, William Sitwell, told me at a party the other day that I'd upset everyone, (not him, he doesn't seem to give a fuck, because editors never do), and my name is now dirt in their office.

I was slightly outraged at this and called him all sorts of foul names.

(This might have been because I was sitting next to Sara Parker-Bowles and had gone a bit berserk with the effort of not grabbing her by the throat and screaming "What is the Duchess of Cambridge like?!?!?!!? What does she smell like?!?!?!?! PLEASE TELL HER THAT IF WE MET SHE'D REALLY LIKE ME!!!!!!"

Instead I had been pretending that I've got no idea about anything ("Queen who? Prince what?") because it's so, so rude otherwise, but the effort of appearing nonchalent drives you a bit demented after a while.)

Anyway where was I? Oh yes, karma, so I thought I would correct this imbalance by being terribly nice about a thing out of My Daddy Cooks. I was mean about Nick's microwave chocolate pudding the other day and he didn't say a word. Didn't complain, didn't object, nothing. I think that is immensely cool, so I must big up to you now his peanut butter brownies, which I made last night and are terrific.

Peanut Butter brownies from My Daddy Cooks

This is not the exact recipe because I don't like vanilla essence and I didn't have enough chocolate chips. Don't worry too much about the amount peanut butter. I didn't have quite enough of that either and it still worked.

Preheat oven to 180C

200g butter
200g brown sugar of any sort
6 tbs peanut butter
3 eggs
a few drops vanilla essence
250g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
100g-ish chocolate chips (Waitrose sell them)

1 Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the peanut butter and mix until smooth

2 Mix in the eggs, followed by the vanilla, flour and baking powder

3 Stir in the chocolate chips

4 Flop into a greased/lined tin (20x20cm if you can be arsed to measure) and bake for 40 mins. Maybe 30-35 if using a fan oven


  1. I love you. Julia Churchhillundersdottir.

  2. In your defence you are doing people justice by telling us about recipes you try that don't work. It's not your fault but the food stylist that tested them's fault for not checking the recipe actually worked before publishing it!
    As far as kids/babies go, yes it can be terribly dull & frustrating. Isn't that why there are so many of us mum's blogging........a great form of escapism.
    Like the brownies:-)

  3. Picture of the hair then please.

  4. You can be smug later on when Kitty has a set bedtime and you can easily go out and your friend will still be up with her little one as she has never instigated a routine. I guarantee it, I've been in your shoes but now my girls are older I have far more freedom than my friend!

  5. Somebody beat me to it.

    Photo of new hair cut now!

    Judith de Silverlake

  6. Esther, your's is the normal experience.Stop worrying.Sue

  7. You have interacted with a Parker-Bowles?! I am in awe.
    And, show us your new hair please! xx

  8. I tried to find your bad Waitrose Food Illustrated experience, by searching for 'Waitrose' on your blog. I failed to find the receipe but I did realise that you talk about Waitrose AN AWFUL LOT (8 pages in search responses!) so I think all those Waitrose folk should just appreciate all your mentions of their business! Incidentally, my use of the word 'awful' just then, probably tells you that I also shop in Waitrose......

  9. please please can we see a photo of new haircut?! Otherwise I may go demented too!

  10. we neeeeeeeed hair photos now, how jolly mean to keep us in suspense... xxx

  11. I always halve the cooking time recommended for brownies. I prefer mine to be really gooey compared to cakey. Might give this a go though, love peanut butter and chocolate together. Please post a pic of the new hair!!x

  12. Waitrose should be pleased as punch over the number of mentions you give them and that includes more than just where to source ingredients.
    Your experience re Kitty sounds way more normal than your friends'. Routine is good. I applaud your organisational skills and you should too. Also, what you see is not the whole picture and babies change when they are toddlers etc...
    A pic of your new hair would be cool :-)
    Thanks for trying the recipes out when there are too many cookbooks, too many chefs and life is too short! I love the realistic way you write about home kitchen cookery!

  13. PS To go beserk when trying to remain nonchalant is scarily relatable. I envy those who manage to hide the beserk-ness but worry what happens to it later (if you know that I mean)

  14. You must be normal 'cause that's the exact experience I had/having with my child. We're the normal ones, obviously.

  15. It's not fair that your crap days are my comic relief for my crap days, but thanks for a bit of a laugh anyway.

  16. You might want to order the book "Go the Fuck to Sleep" from Amazon. If you haven't heard of it, it is hysterically funny for parents who have been in your position (and who hasn't!!?)

  17. "What does she smell like?!?!?!?!" made me hoot. I'm reassured to learn that you pick your fingers too. At least you succeed in being semi-nonchalant...I'm rubbish at it. I, like others above, was slightly disappointed not to see a photo of the therapeutic new haircut, though I know it's probably wrong for a chap to say so. Hang in there – like the rest of life, it'll all work out OK.

  18. My brother met The Duchess (!!) at some reception in Tanzania where he lives. He couldn't work out whether she was really really tired or had been at the gin, but I'll ask him what she smells like if you like. I love your blog - have similar approach to recipes: made some Dan Lepard 'oat and sour cherry cookies' the other day but didn't have enough sour cherries so they turned into oat and sour cherry and cranberry and chocolate chip cookies. Tasted pretty good though.

  19. Listen, you are normal and fab. As others have said, your Kitty will have the joyous security of a routine, whereas chummy may find she has a child who takes the reins (strangling said parent, so to speak). You're putting in hard work and it'll pay off.
    Your recipe sounds ace, thank you for inspiring me. I've been staring blankly at my baking tin and now I have a reason to use it.
    Waitrose need to take the brickbats as well as the bouquets. They'll survive. I'm heading there for chocolate chips, for starters.

  20. Just made these, they don't look like yours - nothing I cook EVER looks like it should, but they taste amazing. Routine and babies is good, don't kick yourself. LOVE your blog.

  21. I made brownies at the weekend and they were dull as ditch so will try this recipe out next weekend. They look fab. I once had a dream that I sorted out Jennifer Aniston's love life and she wanted to be my best friend but I was too busy. So, basically, know what you mean about Kate. And the motherhood thing? Have another baby and the whole timing thing goes out of the window and they still turn out ok. Always wondered why no-one bothered to tell me that.

  22. I am making brownies tonight - they will have cherries in that were previously used to make cherry vodka.

    These look nice too, but not as vodka-y.

  23. I've made these twice, the first time I subbed some of the flour for cocoa powder (50ish g) and, they are my preferred version so far.

    My fan oven needs less than the suggested timing so look forward to making these again.