a table for two & chocolate cream cheese swirl brownie

Last evening was one of the best in a long time! With J. having been up to his neck with flight tests (5 over 3 weeks) we knew a special night out was in order. We put aside a Saturday evening, and at mid afternoon I got the text from J at work.

“Be all ready to go by 6pm my lovely.”

And so the straightener went on, the perfumed sprayed, the eyelashes curled. It was like a first date all over again! At 6pm there’s a knock on the door – J. with flowers. Lilies. Orange lilies. I can say honestly that I have never ever asked for flowers, in fact I never really thought I was a flower person, but these brought tears to my eyes were so sweet :D Shirt, tie, the gorgeous Michael Pattison wedding pants, the Hugo Boss fragrance. Into the car, eyes closed, a detour round town and we pull up outside Chim Choo Ree. Ok Chim Choo Ree has got to be one of Hamilton’s best. The decor, the service, the atmosphere.. the food – oh the food! Mozzarella stuffed arancini to start (oh m g even better than Ferrybank’s), a glass of wine each, lamb for J., olive gnocci for me, and the best part – a dessert each. The creamiest vanilla rice pudding with white chocolate and rhubarb sorbet, and pecan and salted caramel tart with banana icecream. Freakin’ awesome.

We realised it was the first dinner date at a gorgeous restaurant (that we have paid for…) since J. asked me to marry him. That was one special dinner out, but 2 years is a long time! Needless to say, this was totally worth the wait.

With J. at work today, I (with a very full love tank) have the house to myself. The spotlessly clean house soon became much less clean and tidy once I let myself loose in the kitchen. Pots, bowls, wooden spoons pile up, and chocolate batter finds its way all over my face everywhere. I couldn’t help whipping up a little something from my must-make list to say thank you to my best friend and love of my life. And perhaps we will share it with some friends after church tonight.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Swirl Brownie

Using mayonnaise in a brownie recipe may seem odd – it certainly did to me. But it helps the brownie keep well, and creates a texture that slices nicely and a batter that is irresistable.

150g dark chocolate, chopped
50g butter
½ whole egg mayonnaise
3 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
¾ cup flour
1 ½ tablespoons cocoa
¼ cup chopped walnuts

125g cream cheese (not spreadable or low fat)
¼ cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 175°C. Grease and line a baking tin or brownie pan (about 20cm x 20cm). Combine chocolate, butter and mayonnaise and heat gently in the microwave until melted and smooth. Beat eggs and caster sugar together until fluffy. Fold in chocolate mixture, sifted flour and cocoa, then walnuts. Pour three quarters of mixture into tin.

Beat cream cheese with sugar until smooth then beat in egg and vanilla. Spoon a quarter of cream cheese mixture over chocolate mixture and, using a knife, make swirls in the mixtures. Add remaining chocolate mixture then remaining cream cheese mixture and swirl it more. Bang pan on bench to bring any large bubbles to the surface before placing brownie in oven and proceeding to lick every skerrick of batter you can find. Bake 25 – 30 minutes until set. Test by inserting a skewer in the centre – some mixture should adhere to skewer and form a ball when rolled between fingers. Cool in tin before cutting. Brownie keeps 3 – 4 days in an airtight container, and freezes well for a few weeks. But that’s hardly likely..

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