Sisters and brownies

This is the end of our first week in “Barrybados” – or, Rob’s aunt and uncle’s house in Barry. Rob’s not actually here this weekend (he has a habit of doing that!), but only a couple of “spare part” moments – we’ve only been here a week, it’s to be expected I suppose!

Rob’s aunt and uncle have 2 daughters – Jodi and Carly – so the house is super girly; I’m loving it! It’s so not what I’m used to, having grown up with 3 brothers. We had a Bake Off this weekend to celebrate Jodi’s birthday. I’ve met Carly a few times but only met Jodi at her wedding in the summer. As in literally met her for the first time outside the church, it was a bit weird! But we have a lot in common (like a propensity towards waaay too many books) so it was nice to get to know her a bit better.

Rob was slightly gutted to have missed the Bake Off – you know what that boy’s like when it comes to cake. But we had time to get our entry in the oven before his train on Saturday! Check these out…


Those, my friends, are double chocolate cherry brownies, courtesy of this recipe from current GBBO contestant Beca. Gooey or what!?

I had to leave the hazelnuts out as Carly’s allergic but these are SERIOUSLY gooey so a bit of crunch would be nice! I had quite a small tin so the mixture made two big batches, which yielded 18 fairly sizeable brownies. The second batch was a bit better I think, as it had more of the cherries and white choc chunks in (they must sink to the bottom of the bowl slightly once you mix them in – I did a little trip down to the train station in between batches so the bowl was stood on the side for a while!). I have renamed them Danger Brownies this afternoon as it is dangerous to be alone in a room with them – one disappeared (ahem) while I was boxing some of the leftovers up for the guys at work tomorrow.


For my first attempt at brownies I was pretty pleased! And I think it’s a recipe you could easily chop and change. Just don’t pay too much attention to the frankly obscene amount of butter that goes in.

We had a pretty good spread to judge between!
– Jodi’s rosemary and red onion focaccia rolls (providing a much-needed something savoury!)
– Eileen’s berry crumble traybake (deeeelish, and not too sweet)
– Will’s fondant fancies (he spent literally HOURS on them… they are not easy!)
– Carly’s cupcakes: raspberry and white choc and chocolate orange. Cake. O. Rama.


We each tried some of everyone’s and then each wrote down our top 3. Jodi’s rolls came out the winner – possibly something to do with the fact that a) it was her birthday and b) we were all CRAVING something savoury by the end of the afternoon… Only joking – they were definitely my fave!

It was really nice seeing the girls together, too. I’ve been thinking recently how nice it would be to have a sister. I never thought I wanted one – I love my brothers, obviously, and really love how close Mum and I are. She always calls me her “saving grace”, some respite from the house of boys! And growing up around boys meant I was never one of those shy girls or silly girls who don’t know how to speak to boys; I’ve always had lots of male friends too. And I always used to say that if I had had a sister we’d have fought like anything. Saying that, me and the boys had some pretty colourful moments; a house full of teenagers wasn’t exactly peaceful! But it’s different with girls. Girls can be so…. mean.

But now that we’re all a bit older, I think differently. I look at all my friends with sisters and think… that would be nice. I don’t really have a best friend as such – I’m lucky enough to have some really lovely, really close friends – but I can’t help but envy people who have that one friend, that one person. Where you’re theirs and they’re yours, no question. My closest friends sort of have other people in that “best friend” slot (or they do to my mind, anyway), and I think that if I had a sister, that doesn’t really matter so much. You’ve kind of already got one right there.

Maybe it’s because there’s a lot of wedding talk going on around me. We’re getting into that stage now, after all. Sisters are often bridesmaids – not just because they’re your sister, but because by that time you’re out of the scary, fighty teenage phase and you’re probably pretty good friends too. And with the on-going wedding-ness, my mind’s been wandering to drawing up my Imaginary Bridesmaid List, and the people I’d choose to be mine, either haven’t or wouldn’t choose me to be theirs, due to either the presence of sisters or best friends. In some cases one and the same. Would that then be weird, to choose them if they hadn’t chosen me? But then who else would I have – can someone be your best friend, if you aren’t theirs?

Maybe I’m just being over-sensitive. I always have a bit of “absence guilt” – but in my more rational moments, I know that people grow up and move away. You just have to pick up the telephone more often, that’s all.

Another Imaginary List – the Imaginary how-many-kids-do-you-want List. I always said I never wanted more than one girl, because I wouldn’t know what to do with a house full of girls! But maybe it would be nice, to have a girly house. There was a mum and her two daughters, probably my age, in the café today, chatting and having coffee together. I watched them for a little bit and thought, even if they did fight like anything when they were younger…. that would be nice.


2 thoughts on “Sisters and brownies

  1. Your culinary skills are mouth wateringly self evident. This will not inhibit me from challenging your implicit statement that people can have a propensity for (waay!) too many books. No such propensity has ever existed. No such propensity will ever exist. The possession of books can only be described as a virtue. The greater the number of books, the greater the virtue. The cakes look delicious!!!

    • Haha! I agree, I’m afraid we will both spend the rest of our lives railing against this assumption by the rest of the world that there is such a thing as “too many books”. Pah! Nonsense. Thank you for your kind words about my cakes too – definitely getting better at this baking lark! And you know what that means…. an excuse to buy cookbooks! xx

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