In anticipation of Mother’s Day, Debenhams is celebrating the wisdom of all mothers by continuing their What My Mum Taught Me campaign. When I was invited to contribute my own blog post, I was happy to jump on board, as applauding my Mum is something I’d like to do more on this blog (she is, after all, the main person who takes the photos of me and films my videos!).
My Mum has always been more like a best friend than a mother, and we’ve been lucky enough to always have a very close relationship. She’s been the surrogate mother to numerous friends of mine as well – everybody loves her!
When I think of the (too many to count) life lessons Mum has taught me, my mind has a tendency to wander to the kitchen. Many of my earliest memories involve standing on a stool next to her at the kitchen counter, watching what she was doing and delightedly being allowed to stir.
It was my Mother who introduced me to the delights of good food: her dinner parties were spoken of reverently by my parents’ friends, and throughout my childhood she tirelessly turned out meal after delicious meal. I’ve never known anyone come close to my Mum’s ability to produce an incredible dish from a seemingly barren larder (would that I had that talent), and she has the knack of making even the simplest of meals taste extra good.
As much as she has taught me how to cook and bake, my Mum also gave me the gift of hospitality. Learning from her example, I would invite friends of mine around for afternoon tea, baking my own cakes and scones from age 12. It delighted me to see people enjoy the food I prepared, and in high-school I set the tradition of movie nights with my friends, where we’d eat pizza or sushi and I would bake brownies.
I always made the same brownie recipe: my Mum’s, which she’d taught me from when I was big enough to crack an egg. Anyone I have ever served these brownies to has always asked for the recipe – they are that good! Delightfully, too, they are incredibly simple, but honestly, other brownies simply don’t compare. This recipe produces irresistibly gooey-on-the-inside-flaky-on-the-outside chocolatey squares that leave people crying out for more. Just as I baked these brownies all through my teens, I’ve made them all through my 20s too. They’re my go-to dessert (served still slightly warm with vanilla ice-cream), standard party food and pot-luck staple. I’ve brought them into work numerous times, and they make a terrific gift if anyone needs cheering up. The recipe is incredibly forgiving: you don’t have to be Nigella Lawson to whip this up, and you don’t need any fancy kitchen equipment either; just a wooden spoon and bowl will do!
To guide you step-by-step through the process of baking these, I’ve created a video (the full recipe also appears at the bottom of this page)! You can watch it here, or simply press play below:
I do hope you have a go at making these, and I’d love to see your results, so please do snap a photo and use the #mirandaskitchennotebook so I can check it out!
Here’s the recipe in a handy-dandy printable format:
- 150g dark chocolate
- 8oz butter
- 5 eggs, whisked
- 1 cup flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Additional butter for greasing
- Icing sugar (optional) to decorate
- Grease a 9" square tin with butter and set the oven to 180°C (gas mark 4, 350° F)
- Melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave (I melt it in 30-40 second bursts so as to make sure not to burn it).
- In a large bowl, add the sugar to the melted butter & chocolate mixture and stir to combine.
- Add the whisked eggs and combine, then stir in the flour and vanilla essence.
- Pour the brownie batter into the prepared tin and place in the oven.
- Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes. The brownies should be flaky on the outside, but gooey on the inside, so a toothpick inserted in the middle won't come out completely clean.
Thank you, Mum, for always providing me with a wealth of advice, inspiration and the ability to make my own brownies! I can’t wait for many more years of cooking adventures together in the kitchen.
What lessons have you learnt from your mother? Has she passed on a favourite recipe to you? I’d love to hear what it is! Don’t forget – Mother’s Day is only a few short weeks away (March 6th), so it’s definitely time to start thinking about how to spoil her. I recommend baking these brownies and putting them into a pretty cake tin, along with a card and special gift.