Aug 20, 2012

Brownies, Burritos and Jumeirah Janes.

After last weekend's birthday cake fiasco, I wanted Sunday's baking project to be foolproof.



So I played it safe with a brownie mix.  In bulk and from Costco, naturally.  I'm a big fan of Ghiradelli's dark chocolate squares so choosing their brand of brownie mix (studded with three different kinds of Ghiradelli chocolate chip) over the competition at Betty Crocker was a no brainer.



Don't you love a box of brownie mix with a resealable top?  My massive 3.4kg box of Ghiradelli brownie mix contained 6 individual bags of dry mix, each one making around 16 brownies.  There's a handy conversion table on the back of the box telling you how many bags of mix and other ingredients are required to bake a certain number of brownies in different sized trays.



All you need for one bag of brownie mix is an egg, 1/3 cup of oil and 1/3 cup of water.  The biggest challenge of my baking session was working out how to line the base of loose bottomed square Anolon.



If there is one key step in making these brownies, it is to whisk the oil, water and egg together first before adding the dry mix.  This way it's a much easier and quicker task to get a smooth brownie batter.



That Coke Zero in the first few photos was my little naughty snack of the day.  To distract me so that I wouldn't lick the spatula I used to mix the brownies.



The brownies take 40 - 45 minutes to bake in an 180C oven.  I'm not usually a fan of cake mixes but I have to admit that this brownie mix really impressed me.  It produced brownies of a fudgy consistency and the cake component of the brownie tasted like a rich, dark chocolate cake.  The choc chips melted a little and because I ate mine warm, it was like biting into a self saucing chocolate pudding.

Ghiradelli's Triple Chocolate Brownie mix gets four thumbs up from me (Baby SSG's count as well and he added a few kicks to reinforce his opinion) and just two from Mr SSG.  Ghiradelli choc chips are also available at Costco on their own so I'll definitely get a packet next time I'm there.


I'm not ashamed to say that it was a weekend of pre packaged cooking at SSG Manor.  The fiesta of packet opening continued last night with mini burritos built around a quick chilli con carne I made with the last of my organic beef mince.


Even the condiments were off the shelf and ready to go.


I'm always too greedy when it comes to filling a tortilla.  So I had to eat mine open with a knife and fork.  I'm obsessed with cos lettuce at the moment so there was a layer of it over the tortilla as well which added to the general bulk of my burrito, I'm sure.  Anyway, it was all good on my fork.

www.bookstore.authorhouse.com
Before I go, a quick Weeknight Book Club recommendation.  Dubai Wives is an easy reading page turner that's a potent mixture of chick lit and suspense set in the emirate that has captured my imagination both times I've been lucky enough to visit it.  The writing is strong and the characters multi faceted.

The plot is actually several sub plots involving affairs and relationships between men and women from different stratas of Dubai society.  Tensions escalate when one of the main characters is murdered and attempts to find her murderer reveal yet more secrets for many of the women.

Everything about Dubai fascinates me.  The dedication its ruling monarch has to creating a glittering oasis of perfection in the middle of the dessert, the transposition of so many different cultures into its malls, the people and the sense that not everything I saw and experienced was the whole story about Dubai.

Dubai Wives does a great deal in answering that last question I have about Dubai.  Zvedzana Rashkovich has set out to portray a diverse cross section of women in Dubai and how their standing and safety in Dubai society depends greatly on their wealth, their family and where they were born.  Wealthy socialites (both local and expatriate), an artist, house maids and exotic dancers all cross paths with each other but perhaps unexpectedly, also trafficked young girls and an 'ordinary' housewife.

Through her solid writing, Rashkovich created the Dubai I know and love about the place.  The glamour, the fashion and the industries that keep the emirate running.  Her references to places that I've visited sent me off on little day dreams as I read.  However, she also portrays a side of Dubai I never saw a hint of.  The underworld and the sex industry that finances it, the women who voluntarily enter this golden city telling themselves they're strong enough to do whatever it takes to get themselves a better life.  Heartbreakingly, girls who have no choice to enter the industry are trafficked in from India and other countries and find themselves with no way to escape but through the drugs their captors give them.

Jumeirah Janes?  It's a local term to describe the expatriate wives who live in one of the more expensive and exclusive parts of Dubai and devote their considerable spare time to shopping, lunches and physical self improvement.

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for the brownie mix recommendation, I am always a little reluctant to make brownie from scratch coz I've had hit and misses, while using the SAME recipe haha Looks like you had a great weekend :)

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  2. Brownies look fantastic. Must read Dubai Wives. So far all I've seen of Dubai is the airport - I figure it gets better!

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  3. Your packet weekend sounds a whole lot more relaxing than my make everything from scratch and stand in the kitchen till your legs ache weekend. Dubai Wives also sounds great, awesome recommendations all round!

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  4. Everytime I promise to bring home made brownies, I secretly refer to Betty Crocker ... they are made in my own home after all! Those Ghiradelli ones look fab

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  5. Oh yum the brownies look soo good! How exciting baby is kicking too - you must be both loving that and also slightly annoyed with the painful kicks - a lady in the office is pregnant, about ready to pop - and she tells me the kicks are cute at first but a few painful ones sneak in, ouch!

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  6. Something GorgeousAugust 20, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    Betty Crocker is always a winner in my books. I even made my 10 year olds birthday cake with Betty Crocker last week. We licked the bowl clean! G. X

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  7. The brownies look awesome - so glad they were a hit!! That book sounds fantastic. I need a break from historical mind numbing boddice rippers so that sounds like a fabulous option. Thanks!

    K xx

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  8. This yummy brownies looks great. Awesome program for weekends.

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