Saturday, 1 December 2012

Flourless Brownies

"Baking is the less applauded of the cooking arts, whereas restaurants are a male province to be celebrated. There's something intrinsically misogynistic about decrying a tradition because it has always been female.

I'm not being entirely facetious when I say it's a feminist tract."  -- Nigella Lawson
 It's funny, I've never really thought of Nigella as a feminist.  I mean, she's all about being the "domestic goddess" and cooking for the family, and over half of her audience is men who only watch her shows because she's a voluptuous woman who cooks and makes sex noises when she eats.  But she has a point here.  When people think about feminism, we generally go as far away from the kitchen as possible.  Only recently have we been celebrating women head chefs in top restaurants, but even with that, it's about..trying to take over men's jobs, it's women trying to more like men.  All these celebrity head chefs behave like stereotypical dragon ladies, because it's almost as if.. if they're not as tough, if they're more "woman"-like, then they'd lose respect in the office.  There's nothing wrong with being feminine, there's nothing wrong with feminine things.  Yes, denouncing something just because it's feminine is incredibly misogynistic.

Traditionally, women bake and cook for the family, and there's nothing wrong with that.  Feminism isn't all about having careers and filling in the shoes of a man.  It's about having a choice.  It's about having the choice between career and being a stay at home mom.  We shouldn't devalue either of the two choices. 

So Nigella -- respect.  You're right.  Baking in a feminist act and we should embrace it.  Embrace baking, knitting, flowers, and pink and fluffy things.

Anyway, if you want to read more feminist articles, check out my friends' blog: Fiery Females.  I should just stick to writing about food and my daily dramas. 
 These are Nigella's brownies.  In all honesty, as much as I am a fan of hers because of statement, I've never been too impressed by her recipes.  Most seem too indulgent and unoriginal for my tastes -- I'm just not her target audience.  But that's not to say that her food isn't good.  These brownies are really quite good.

Recipe from Nigella.  The original recipe has a chocolate sauce to accompany it, but dear, dear Nigella, let's just take it easy on our waistline and arteries here, the brownies are alone are enough
225g dark chocolate
225g butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs, lightly beaten
200g caster sugar
150g ground almonds
100g cashews, or another nut, roughly chopped

-Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3. Melt the chocolate and butter gently over a low heat in a heavy-based saucepan.
-Take the pan off the heat, mix in the vanilla and sugar, and let it cool a little.
-Beat the eggs into the pan along with the ground almonds and chopped walnuts. Turn into a 24cm square baking tin or, most sensibly, use a foil one.
-Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, by which time the top will have set but the mixture will still be gooey. Once cooler, cut carefully, four down, four across, into 16 squidgybellied squares.

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