Friday, March 26, 2010

Chocolate brownies with roasted plum sorbet

It has been months. And months.

I've been cooking. But I haven't felt like blogging. A variety of reasons I suppose. Two burglaries last year meant that I was without a decent camera for a while. The laptop was also stolen and took a while to replace. Our wedding is fast approaching (eight weeks to go) and preparations have taken up much of my time. We've also been dieting. My passion for all things bad for me finally got to a point where I felt the need to take action (...the prospect of looking reasonable in my wedding dress had nothing to do with it, of course....!). Between the flower-sender and I, we are now nearly five stone lighter. Quite an achievement certainly, but I guess I just haven't felt like blogging about it all.

Anyway, today I'm back in the mood. Or at least, I was in the mood until I discovered that blogger has changed and uploading and positioning photos has turned into something of a nightmare. Bring back drag and drop!!

The arrival of this little fellow on Wednesday, means that I am pretty much housebound until he has his second lot of jabs, freeing him up to go and explore the world. Currently, he is spending most of his time sleeping (during the day), chewing our shoes (in the evening) and howling (at nighttime). Not ideal, but he is adorable all the same... I hope you'll agree!

Months of healthy eating have left us deprived of good cakes (low-fat cakes hardly ever cut the mustard with me) and I'm also not good at the whole 'just a small slice' thing so it has been better not to have them sitting in the cake tin in temptations path. But we have been making exceptions when we have people round. It is a great excuse to bake something naughty and delicious and enjoy it knowing we've been good the rest of the week.

A few weeks ago, I fancied something chocolately. I'm still on a quest for my 'perfect' brownie recipe and whilst flicking through a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall cook book, I was drawn in by a photo of divine brownies topped with a vibrant plum sorbet. I dug out the ice-cream maker (doesn't tend to get much use in the depths of winter) and set to work. The sorbet is simplicity itself - and it contains no raw egg white so is 'safe' for pregnant guests or anyone else who needs to be careful. The plums are roasted with vanilla and sugar before being pushed through a sieve (a bit time-consuming, but hardly arduous) and then churned until set. Served on top of warm chocolate brownies, it is perfection. The contrast of cold and warm and the sweetness of the brownies next to the slight bite of the plums is quite excellent. Well-done Hugh for an inspiring combination!

Use your own favourite brownie recipe (though Hugh's was rather good). You can find the original recipe for the sorbet on p360 of his excellent book
'River Cottage Everyday'. Here is my version.

Roasted Plum Sorbet (with chocolate brownies)

1kg plums
2 vanilla pods
100g caster sugar (plus more if the plums are sharp, but don't overdo it)
1 batch of your favourite brownies, warm from the oven

1. Pre-heat oven to 200C.

2. Halve and stone the plums and place in a roasting tin. Split the vanilla pods and chop into small pieces - add to the tin. Sprinkle over the caster sugar and add 250ml water. Roast for 30-40 mins until the plums are very soft and blistering round the edges.

3. Push the contents of the roasting tin through a sieve - this is time consuming, but hardly arduous. And it is worth it, I promise!

4. Taste the puree and add more sugar if required. You want a little bite to it though! Chill for a couple of hours before churning until thick in an ice-cream machine (or freezing in a shallow container and beating by hand every hour, three times to prevent ice crystals).

5. Enjoy with warm brownies!


Bellini Valli said...

If you had to break your blogger silence and diet this is certainly the way to go!!

Lucy said...

It's good to have you back blogging - especially when it is a post filled with THE most adorable puppy and gorgeous ice cream. The brownie-ice cream combo sounds delicious, and the roasted plum is definitely a flavour I want to try out. Mmm :)

Margaret said...

Nice to see you back again Antonia.
The wedding dress diet is the best incentive ever to lose weight and well done - not easy for cake lovers.
Lovely posting, as always. M x

Antonia said...

Val - always good to have a little treat now and again!

Lucy - thank you. Really recommend the roasted plum sorbet - very yummy.

Margaret - thank you. It has been quite a battle, I must say. But I do miss all the cakes...!

Lizzie said...

Welcome back! Delicious-looking recipe, and that puppy is SO cute.

Pam said...

The wedding dress always works for dieting! The brownie and plum both look delicious! Cute pup too!

gastroanthropologist said...

delicious looking brownie and sorbet. roasted plum sorbet no less. and I have a huge weakness for brownies. Is your little puppy a black lab?

Helen (Fuss Free Flavours) said...

Lovely to see you back Antonia, I am so sorry to hear of the burglaries.

I too love the puppy!

Bonita said...

Simple comment.... Looks yummy... I'll give it a try. :)

Maria♥ said...

Welcome back Antonia, good to see you back. Your puppy is just adorable!


Louise said...

Hi Antonia!

Great to read your blog again! the brownie and ice cream looks and sounds like a winner. Well done on your wedding dress diet achievements! Inspiring. I went to in Exmoor for a week to kick start my pre-wedding healthy living. I can really recommend it - French chef and all!
Enjoy your wedding day! We'll be raising a glass of The Society's Champagne to you both.

Maria♥ said...

Hi Antonia

Unfortunately I have some sad news about Rosie from Baking Cakes Galore, Rosie passed away yesterday. I have written up a tribute to her on my blog and I am asking everyone who knew her if they would please take some time to leave a comment. I will be printing off all the comments to pass onto her husband.


Meal Delivery said...

Wow this all looks so good! P.S. Welcome back!

christine said...

I see that you’re interested and fascinated in food stuffs. This is awesome Chocolate brownies with roasted plum sorbet. You see, we have this food site ( that is a food and cooking encyclopedia that everyone and anyone can edit. Maybe you are interested in sharing some of recipes to us or share your knowledge about food stuffs and techniques, or maybe you just like to write reviews about food, restaurant and recipes...why don't you visit us sometimes, if its food you're interested in, then we are interested in you. Don't hesitate to check us out.

I hope to see you there.


Brownieville Girl said...

I love sorbet (and not too bad for the diet) but have never tried a roasted plum one - will recitfy that soon.

Thanks for a lovely recipe.

lynn said...

I do so miss reading your blog Antonia. I hope everything is well with you. You must be married by now and I'd love to hear how life is treating you.
Take care, my friend,
Lynn xx

vincent said...


We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM YUM.
We would like to add it to the

We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
enjoy your recipes.

Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already members
and benefit from their exposure on

To add your site to the Petitchef family you can use or just go to and click on "Add your site"

Best regards,


The Ribena Team said...

This recipe looks delicious - would it work with blackcurrants as well? We've got some fruit & berry recipes over on the Ribena blog too: and we'd love to know what you think of them!
The Ribena Team