camping at chessington with the brownies

One of the highlights of the past year for the twins has been going to Brownies on a Tuesday evening. They are in a group of around 20 – 30 girls and under the watchful eyes of three owls (Tufty, Eagle and Little) they get up to all sorts of activities including, craft, singing and playing football. Each term they work towards a new badge – much to my delight when it comes to sewing them on – and now one arm of their jackets is more or less covered!

At the beginning of the year, forms were sent to the parents talking of an annual camping at Chessington trip along with the other Brownie groups and the Guides in July. There was a lot of excitement in the house and dad and I knew it was a ‘must’ for the girls, plus it was planned for the weekend just before their birthday so would go nicely into being part of their present.

As the time drew closer, kit lists were sent out and dad and I realised this was proper camping! We were going to have to learn how to make bedrolls and make them easy enough for the girls to carry.

Girl Guiding does its best to keep costs to a minimum and there wasn’t going to be a lot of kit that needed to be bought but a few bits that sprung to mind were, a mattress to roll the sleeping bags on, a thermal mug to drink hot chocolate around the camp fire and a torch for the midnight feast of course!

Who do you turn to with any camping related question – Millets of course! I told them what we needed and the important reason  – Brownie Camping trip to Chessington – and they were delighted to help out; camping is their forte.

camping mattresses

They sent along two fabulous mattresses and we practised rolling and unrolling our bedrolls (something that will need practising again before next year, apparently there were a few tears walking back to the coach on Sunday with a bedroll that kept on unravelling…)

thermal camping mug

They also gave us two thermal mugs which were nice and light to carry and did the job perfectly according to the twins (only the hot chocolate wasn’t very nice mummy)

small torch

And lastly, two torches which were small and light. Now, I spent a lot of time telling the girls to look after these torches and showing them a special pocket on the rucksack PERFECT to put them in so we wouldn’t lose them but of course, one twin came home without hers. *sigh*

Dad and I dropped two VERY excited little girls off on Saturday morning at 7.30am and collected two very happy but shattered little girls on the Sunday at 4 pm. We did our best to get some conversation from them; just an idea of how it went, what they got up to but they were so tired we got barely anything other than, ‘It was great, can we go again next year?’

Bedding roll for camping

They had a lot of fun and if you are contemplating your little ones going I would whole heartedly say yes, send them as it’s a life memory and fantastic for confidence building. Bessie said she went on all of the rides whereas before departure she was sure she wouldn’t be doing some of them.

Thank you very much Millets for coming to our rescue with all of our camping equipment. I think we did very well only losing one torch considering what could have gone missing!

Disclosure: Millets sent us the products mentioned above for the purpose of this post – all opinions are my own and Brown Owl is writing a long list of necessities for next year ;)

fresh mint and choc chip brownies

Not so long ago the lovely Chris Mosler posted a really intriguing recipe called Thyme for lemon cake on her fabulous food site Life is Delicious, it really got me thinking about coming up with different flavour combinations and using more herbs in sweet foods.

As it happens I had bought some fresh mint for the Mini Pavlovas with mascarpone and fresh berries recipe I posted recently, remember the one with balsamic vinegar used on the fruit? Well I had the mint leaves hanging around waiting for a Pimm’s if only the British weather would play it’s part but it didn’t. So, together with the twins we started weighing up and, ‘Mummy, can I break the eggs?’ we made some Mint Choc Chip Brownies.

fresh mint and choc chip brownies

I served the girl’s with vanilla ice cream and a splodge of squirty cream (any excuse). You can really taste the mint and we all loved them, they were a real hit and I am now inspired to come up with even more new combinations, thanks Chris!

Mint choc chip brownies using fresh mint leaves
 
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A new take on the classic brownie recipe using fresh mint leaves and chocolate chips for pockets of deliciousness when you bite in to the cake.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12 pieces
Ingredients
  • 250g dark chocolate broken into pieces
  • 200g softened butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 250g soft brown sugar
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1 level tsp baking powder
  • 1 small pack of fresh mint chopped up - keep back a leaf or two to garnish
  • 75g choc chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/ gas 3 and line a square (22cm) baking tin with baking paper.
  2. Put the chocolate and butter in a plastic bowl and heat in the microwave for 1 minute, remove and stir until all melted, continue for another 30 secs if not completely melted but be careful not to overcook.
  3. In a separate bowl beat the eggs and sugar until foamy, stir in the chocolate mixture and blend completely.
  4. Sift the flour and baking flour onto the mix and stir in until completely folded in.
  5. Add the fresh mint and the choc chips and stir to amalgamate well.
  6. Pour into the tin and bake in the oven for 50 - 60 minutes.
  7. Cool on a wire rack.
 

bejeweled brownies

 

Proper princess brownies is what’s in order in our house, even more so for the first weeks of school term when the girls return tired and ratty, not used to the hectic school rhythm they encounter during the first few weeks of Back to School.

I wanted to add something special to our brownies. A little something to bring a smile to glum faces and a glint in the eye of found treasure, in fact these brownies could also be used for any pirates out there looking for treasure too.

I decided on ‘jewels’ and came up with these fabulous Bejeweled Brownies the recipe makes 20 and they keep perfectly in an airtight container for after school treats.

I also used Kerrygold, now softer butter which was kindly sent to me along with some Irish rain water and Irish grass seed too so that must make my brownies even more special surely? Take a look at the Kerrygold Facebook page for some fun

Bejeweled brownies

Combi Microwave recipe

Ingredients
250g plain chocolate
250g butter (Kerrygold new softer butter)
175g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
300g caster sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla paste (essence will work too, same quantity)
200g of mixed dried cranberries, dried apricots, pineapple and a handful of colourful jelly beans

Oven accessory: anti spark ring and wire shelf in lower position

Baking tin: 30 x 20 x 3.5 cm lined with baking parchment

jewels

Method

  1. Put the plain chocolate and butter in a large bowl. Place on oven base and melt on HIGH power for 2-3 minutes. Leave to cool slightly.
  2. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Stir the sugar into the chocolate.
  4. Add the eggs and vanilla paste (or essence) to the chocolate, then fold in the flour and lastly the jewels.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin.
  6. Place on the anti spark ring on the shelf and cook on CONVECTION 180C + SIMMER power for 18 mins.
  7. The middle should feel soft when cooked. Allow to cool in the tin. Remove from the tin and cut into squares when cool.

chocolate bejeweled brownies

mummy mishaps

 

Oh. My. God.

You really need to try these – trust me.

I am a self confessed chocoholic and it’s Easter where anything goes so can you imagine my joy when I fell upon The Londoner who I had never heard of before, but this girl has stolen my heart in one foul swoop with her Slutty Brownies. I would love to tell you this is my recipe but it’s not, can I say she also has Mars Bar Melts, I must have stumbled upon the Goddess of Chocolate.

The lady calls these guys slutty and I know why – I have tasted them. They are filthy dirty and one bite will have you hooked.

They are incredibly easy to throw together and even easier to clear out of the house before any real damage is done. If you are calorie conscious then Do Not Go There – you have been warned.

I decided to make them when I had my niece and nephew over for a few days over Easter. Aged 12 and 10 I knew they could safely put away half the tin in a bat of an eyelid and save my midrift from damage.

Here’s how we did it

Slutty Brownies

Slutty Brownies - recipe with Orios
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Cake and Biscuits
Cuisine: British
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 packet of chocolate chip cookie mix
  • 1 packet of chocolate fudge brownie mix
  • 2 packets of Orio double stuffed biscuits
  • 1 egg
  • a little vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. Make up the cookie mix as per the instructions adding a little extra water if necessary.
  2. Spread the mixture over the base of a lined tin. I cut my baking paper to fit the base of the tin but next time I will allow it to come up the sides too for easier removal from the tin at the end.
  3. Cover the cookie mixture with a layer of Orios
  4. Make up the brownie mixture as instructed on the box and pour over the Orio layer.
  5. Cook as per box instructions - 20 - 25 mins or until the mixture springs under your touch
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whatever you do, they won’t hang around too long so make sure you replace the ingredients on your next shopping list

Happy Easter and chocolate fest!

I’m entering this beauty into the April Tea Time Treats over at Lavendar and Lovage where the prompt for April was Easter