Check out this recipe for simply scrumptious mocha brownies from a Derbyshire author's new cook book

This latest lockdown has coincided with the middle of winter, meaning we could could all do with a bit of comfort, so why not treat yourself and make these delicious mocha brownies – using a Derbyshire author’s recipe?

Food has always been at the heart of Wirksworth-based Natalie Gerrelli’s life – from childhood memories filled with the aromas of her mum’s homemade bread at teatime and purple-stained fingers from blackberry picking in the autumn.

This continued through to her career as a development technologist at herb and spice specialists Schwartz and onto her role as a nutritional therapist, putting the kitchen very much the heart of her family home.

Natalie has brought together all her experience and affection for creating delicious dishes in her first cook book, The Food We Love.

Natalie Gerrelli's cook book, The Food We Love, is available to buy now

She said: “Food can make us feel good, whether it’s a nourishing breakfast to start the day, a freshly baked cake or a hearty dinner to share. I love food and so do my family. It’s never far from our thoughts! Mealtimes are important occasions throughout our days, months and years. Sometimes it’s a quick pit-stop between work and play, at other times a welcome recharge with friends and family. Good food, always at the heart of our family life, is entwined in all our fondest memories.”

Natalie’s husband and three children have been willing guinea pigs for all her recipes, and the result is a collection of well-loved and home-cooked food that offers something inspiring, comforting and always nourishing for every season.

The book is divided into chapters including ‘It’s A Soup Day’ and ‘Spiced: Flavours From Afar’ alongside irresistible bakes, brunch, picnic fare, pasta, classic comfort food and pudding to provide something for every occasion, or simply the family dinner table at the end of each day.

There are over 90 recipes in total including ones for chocolate chip & banana drop scones; spaghetti with sardines, fennel and lemon and poached chicken with green lentils, watercress and mustard dressing.

Another recipe included in the book is one for mocha brownies, and the ingredients and instructions are included below:

Ingredients:

80g unsalted butter

200g dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids)

100g soft light brown sugar

100g soft dark brown sugar

3 eggs

2 tbsp instant Americano coffee powder or 2½ tbsp freeze-dried coffee granules

2 tbsp milk

80g plain flour

100g pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped (optional)

50g dark chocolate chips or chunks

Instructions:

Line the base of a 22 by 22cm baking tin with greaseproof paper and grease the sides. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4 or 180°c.

Start by melting the butter and chocolate together in a saucepan over a low heat or in a suitable bowl in the microwave on a low setting. Stir until completely melted.

Next, whisk the light and dark brown sugars with the eggs in a large bowl, either by hand or with an electric whisk until the mixture is pale and bubbly. Add the melted chocolate and butter to the egg mixture and gently stir together.

In a small bowl or mug, dissolve the instant coffee in the milk, warming it a little if you need to. Add it to the chocolate and egg mixture then stir briefly.

Sieve the flour into the bowl, add the nuts if you’re using them, and gently stir to make sure all the ingredients are combined.

Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared baking tin, sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until just set in the middle and cracked on the surface. Make sure you don’t overbake them.

Remove the brownies from the oven and rest on a wire rack to cool. Cut into25 squares to serve.

The Food We Love is a 192 page hardback and retails at £22. It is available now to purchase from Amazon, bookshops and online from www.mezepublishing.co.uk

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In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.