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Gemma Simmonite

Peanut Butter Brownie 768 1024 Gemma Simmonite

Peanut Butter Brownie

I love the way that baking, and lockdown have become natural bed fellows. For a lot of people busy with everyday life, there just doesn’t seem to always be the time to bake. But during lockdown when time stretches out endlessly in front of us, baking provides the perfect distraction. It’s also probably the need for comfort at a difficult time, plus some much-needed distraction and a chance to be productive – after all isn’t bringing something delicious out of the oven, literally the best feeling?

Brownies are literally a great cake to start with if baking can be a little daunting, they’re very forgiving and delicious. I’ve chosen this Brownie recipe, firstly because it keeps beautifully (that’s if its not snaffled immediately!) also because it’s the Brownie we serve at Gastrono-me and have been doing for the last 8 years! I thought by posting it here, you can give it a go and get a small Gastrono-me fix whilst we’ve been forced to close over lockdown. If peanut butter is not your thing, omit that part, it will still be delicious (keep the banana in though!). We also used to fold in raspberries (frozen ones work the best) the Brownie becomes a little more delicate, but a broken brownie doesn’t really matter when it’s on one-way direction to your mouth!

Whichever way you are spending your lockdown, I hope you get to enjoy some family/you time. I know it’s incredibly difficult to only see it as a never ending time we’ve been sentenced to, but if there is one way of getting through it, it’s by punctuating your day with an achievement – this was mine today.

Remember I’d love to know how you got on with your bake, or even see your Brownie creations.

Break up the chocolate into rough pieces and add to a saucepan with the sugar and butter, then melt over a low heat, slowly mixing now and then to ensure nothing is sticking and the sugar is dissolving. When you have a nice cohesive mix, set it aside to cool a little.

In another bowl beat your eggs with the ripe mashed bananas, add this to your now cooled chocolatey mixture. Pour in your sifted self-raising flour and the baking powder. Don’t over stir, but make sure everything is combined and you have no traces of flour, little ‘nubbly’ lumps of banana are fine though.

Pour into your greased and lined 12 x 8 brownie tin.

In another bowl, mix together your melted butter, peanut butter and icing sugar. Word of warning – you will need immense willpower not to lick the spoon at this point.

Drop little dollops of the salty sweet batter over your brownie mixture and draw through with a skewer or the end of a knife. You’re going for a swirly effect, so embrace your inner artist. Finish off by sprinkling over a handful of crushed peanuts.

Bake in a preheated 180C oven for 15-20 mins, you are looking for it to have risen a little, and for the top to have set. It will still feel a little soft, unlike a spring-back ‘sponge feel’, but if inserted, a skewer should still come out cleanish, not wet. The idea of a good brownie is that it is fudgy and soft, not over baked.

This is delicious served warm with vanilla ice cream, but equally delicious cold with a cuppa. These brownies last beautifully in a tin due to the moistness of the banana. So, nothing left to do but to sit back relax.

Peanut Butter Brownie

Recipe by Gemma SimmoniteCourse: Desserts
Servings

8

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

25

minutes
Calorieskcal

Ingredients

  • 300g soft brown sugar

  • 150g dark chocolate – 70% cocoa solids at least

  • 150g salted butter

  • 3 large free-range eggs

  • 3 ripe mashed bananas

  • 110g sifted self-raising flour

  • 1tsp baking powder

  • For peanut butter batter:
  • 35g melted butter

  • 40g icing sugar

  • 120g peanut butter

  • A handful of salted peanuts for topping

Directions

  • Break up the chocolate into rough pieces and add to a saucepan with the sugar and butter, then melt over a low heat, slowly mixing now and then to ensure nothing is sticking and the sugar is dissolving. When you have a nice cohesive mix, set it aside to cool a little.
  • In another bowl beat your eggs with the ripe mashed bananas, add this to your now cooled chocolatey mixture. Pour in your sifted self-raising flour and the baking powder. Don’t over stir, but make sure everything is combined and you have no traces of flour, little ‘nubbly’ lumps of banana are fine though.
  • Pour into your greased and lined 12 x 8 brownie tin.
  • In another bowl, mix together your melted butter, peanut butter and icing sugar. Word of warning – you will need immense willpower not to lick the spoon at this point.
  • Drop little dollops of the salty sweet batter over your brownie mixture and draw through with a skewer or the end of a knife. You’re going for a swirly effect, so embrace your inner artist. Finish off by sprinkling over a handful of crushed peanuts.
  • Bake in a preheated 180C oven for 15-20 mins, you are looking for it to have risen a little, and for the top to have set. It will still feel a little soft, unlike a spring-back ‘sponge feel’, but if inserted, a skewer should still come out cleanish, not wet. The idea of a good brownie is that it is fudgy and soft, not over baked.
  • This is delicious served warm with vanilla ice cream, but equally delicious cold with a cuppa. These brownies last beautifully in a tin due to the moistness of the banana. So, nothing left to do but to sit back relax.

 

Masala Scramble 792 1024 Gemma Simmonite

Masala Scramble

The rules and landscape of the restaurant scene in recent weeks have literally moved faster than a tyre change in an F1 pit lane.

First, we were closed down abruptly on March 23rd a day that never in our wildest dreams we could’ve predicted. And along with most restaurateurs we negatively started to predict that it could probably be at least October before we could open our doors and our ovens again – which seemed unfathomable on so many levels. But then on June 23rd it was announced that on July 4th we were all allowed to open our businesses again for indoor dining! It was the most glorious and terrifying news to digest all in one go.
From that moment we had just ten short days to prepare. We had to Covid-19 proof the entire place, follow every bit of legislation diligently with a fine a fine tooth comb, awaken our staff from their furlough slumbers and then we had to actually remember how to get back into the business of running a business again!

We announced to the world on that exciting day of our plans, and the bookings thankfully flooded in! We were brought to tears by some many of the phone booking messages and notes on the booking diary system – many “whoohoo’s” “can’t waits” and “welcome backs” one message from a dedicated customer even warned us to prepare the kitchen as he was going to probably order most things twice! Such gorgeous confirmation that we had been missed, and that we wouldn’t be twiddling our thumbs anxiously on re-opening day, something that we had of course envisaged in our darker moments.
Our team responded in the most incredible way when their call to arms was announced. They had clearly missed each other and their work home. They told us in fact that they were chomping at the bit to “just get back to normal”. And yet as owners we knew that it was probably going to be anything but normal.

Through this devastating pandemic, we’ve witnessed relatives admitted and discharged from hospital, and friend’s relatives sadly not be as lucky. It has wiped through the world with its calculated and evil precision. The thought of taking the re-opening Gastronono-me lightly was never an option, and we felt the weight of customers and staff’s safety firmly on our shoulders.
We had to immediately achieve that level of making everyone feel safe and protected. But at the same time, we were very aware that we didn’t want to scare anyone – after all isn’t dining out when you’re meant to forget your troubles? A place to retreat to and be treated? And by god we knew everyone needed treating! Four months of being cooks, teachers and carers is no easy task. So, in our July 4th opening we knew we wanted safety to be paramount, but it had to travel alongside our usual carefree vibe.

We have a saying Mike and I, and we’ve always said it when we’ve especially needed a full and vibrant restaurant – you know for a special day when we want to impress a client, or some precious friends or family have come to see the Gastrono-me for the first time, or even just to reach that end of month touchstone target – the saying is “Bury didn’t disappoint today” and on July 4th it was just the case! Boy it was busy, but because of preparation it wasn’t overwhelming, terrifying yes, but managed and firmly controlled. I watched from the side-lines. I watched Mike, Rick our amazing general manager and all of the fabulous front of house team take a deep breath in as they surveyed nervous customer faces appearing in the quirky queuing system we’d created. But with their calm and practised handling it really wasn’t long before those nervous faces were replaced with smiles and laughter.

And luckily so far, it has been like that ever since, tables have been full, albeit with quite a few removed, and customers have just been pleased to be able to spend time with us again.

Whilst quietly wandering around the entirety of Gastrono-me, I have been reminded of the part in Sleeping Beauty when the evil fairy’s spell is lifted, and the sleeping kingdom reawakens and comes to life again. Peeping in on the kitchen, I can see the chefs have smiles of contentment again as their talented hands have a direction once more. Front of house has a hum of chatter and gentle teasing easily floats through their conversations. It is all blissful to see and I’m very, very thankful.

We haven’t forgotten about the people who can’t or don’t feel like it’s time to leave home yet, and as a small measure towards that we’ve reintroduced our takeaway menu and hope that it’s some way of reminding them of happier times. I know we are long way from this damned disease being obliterated, but I feel there’s a beginning of hope and recovery for all.

I pondered as to which recipe I should use to express this feeling of new hope whilst wanting to retain a familiarity. My mind landed on my Masala Scramble. As the name suggests its of course scrambled eggs that even a novice could whip up, but it has the delicious surprise of chilli and a warming comfort of garam masala. It’s perfect for brunch if you’re not that sure of an early morning kick of spice, but I do promise it will kickstart your day!

The dish is based on the traditional Indian Eggs Akuri, or Eggs Parsi, but of course I have tinkered with it and found its Gastrono-me style. I hope you enjoy it, and that it adds a little mysterious decadence to your brunch repertoire.

Masala Scramble

Recipe by Gemma SimmoniteCourse: MainDifficulty: Easy
Servings

2

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

20

minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 tsp of double cream

  • ¼ tsp of garam masala

  • A small pinch of turmeric

  • A small pinch of chilli flakes

  • Chunky Chaat (an amazing ingredient I discovered – It’s a tantalising ground blend of spicy, sweet and sour, and hits just the right spot in this dish)

  • Butter for frying

  • 2 x naan, roti, paratha or bread of your choice

  • For the Kachumber
  • 1 tomato deseeded and diced

  • 1/2 green chilli deseeded and diced

  • A small end of a cucumber, deseeded and diced

  • Fresh coriander

  • Fresh mint

  • ½ small red onion finely diced

  • A dash of lemon juice

  • To finish and serve
  • I enjoy a blend of Raita, and Mango Chutney, but any favourite Indian chutney would work fabulously.

Directions

  • Start with the Kachumber first, Kachumber is a simple tomato salad, similar to a Mexican Pico de Gallo, I love that its name literally translates to ‘beat someone up nicely’! I promise it’s not as aggressive as that, and its freshness and tang really lifts the richness of the eggs.
  • Simply combine the chopped ingredients, tear the coriander and mint and toss the leaves into the salad with a little olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Start warming your Indian breads of choice, as the eggs are going to cook very quickly.
  • Now beat the eggs with the cream in a jug adding a pinch of salt
  • Melt the butter in a frying pan, and when the butter starts to bubble pour in your eggs.
  • Move the eggs gently around the pan with a wooden spoon, and add the turmeric, garam masala, chunky chaat and chilli flakes.
  • When just under set, remove the pan from the heat and let the eggs cook in the residual heat.
  • Remove your naans or whichever bread you’ve chosen from the grill, and smear both with a little mango chutney, or your chutney of choice.
  • Pour your scrambled eggs onto the warmed breads, and then take a handful of the Kachumber to sprinkle on top of each delicious egg mound. Drizzle with a little of the cooling raita and garnish with a little more fresh coriander.