Wednesday 23 December 2020

Possibly the best ever Christmas chocolate brownies

I was very excited when The Holiday, starring Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz and Jude Law first came out in 2006 as Winslet’s character was a journalist on a real-life British daily newspaper - where I actually worked. There were even rumours that Jude Law had been seen on a tour of our real-life office though I unfortunately didn’t see him myself!

While the film was lovely what I found most far-fetched was the depiction of some of the details. Winslet works on the paper’s obituaries desk and manages to own a beautiful roomy cottage in Surrey (surely out of her price range) which is apparently a 40 minute commute - my memory is more like 40 minutes after leaving the office you would probably still be standing at the station waiting for a delayed Southern train). 

The village where many of the U.K. scenes are filmed isn’t that far away from me - Shere, near Guildford - and though I haven’t actually been there, but we did do a Weber barbecue cookery course in a village called Abinger Hammer a few years ago which is only a five minute drive from Shere, and I can vouch for the fact that there really are some English villages as picturesque as the ones in the Holiday! 

Debra at Eliot's Eats selected The Holiday as the theme for this month's Food 'n' Flix, The idea is that we all cook or bake something inspired by the film, and it's a great movie to rewatch at Christmas!

In terms of foodie inspiration from the film itself, one of the scenes that stands out is when Amanda (Cameron Diaz) arrives in her house swap and goes to the local shop where she stocks up on wine, chocolate, Christmas cake, mince pies and more. The shop keeper assumes she’s having a party but it’s all for her! The other food moment that sticks in my mind is when Iris (Kate Winslet) makes Christmas fettuccine, which I didn’t realise was a thing (and according to a few rather indignant posts I’ve read online, isn’t). 

I decided to go with something a bit more traditionally festive - chocolate brownies. They strike me as both the sort of thing that Amanda may have bought to indulge in at her holiday cottage but also the sort of thing that she might make herself - she doesn’t strike me as much of a cook but I can’t help feeling that she would have made brownies before even if from a packet mix!

I used a recipe I found on a website called Jane's Patisserie and I can say that these are some of the best chocolate brownies I’ve ever made. They are particularly good on day two if you keep them in the fridge!

I didn't add anything to them (Jane's recipes suggest adding chopped up chocolate bars like Mars or Crunchie, but I just wanted the standard brownie texture) but I decorated the top with some drizzled icing and some mini KitKat Santas, but you can put anything you want on top, or indeed nothing at all. These are truly more-ish and might have to become my go-to brownie recipe!


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