Quite some years ago, my colleague Peaches and I went shopping late one Thursday evening. We walked past a wig store and Colombian brunette Peaches pointed at a blonde bob wig and said that she wanted to try it on just for some fun. So we walked in and fell under the spell of one of the best sales people in the business. I didn't even want a wig but she sat us down and put wigs on our heads and before I knew it, I was walking out with a $400 wig with accessories.
What was my wig like? Well, I'm almost embarrassed to tell you (and no there aren't any pictures :P) but it was pure Pamela Anderson. I know, and can you imagine that on me, Morticia Addams? I don't know what I was thinking but I showed it to my then boyfriend, the guy before Mr NQN and he loved it, way too much I think. He beseeched me to wear it to a pool party that week at his boss's mansion no less. I know, the guy must have been into career suicide...
I half heartedly agreed to do it, knowing that I really didn't want to wear it and when he picked me up that evening, his face fell. "Oh, you're not wearing the wig," he said disappointed and sulking. He spent the rest of the night in a mood having felt jipped (this is the man who once overpaid for a loaf of bread and spent the rest of the day sulking and chiding himself for it) and when I got there I was so glad that I didn't wear it. It was a very nice cocktail party and some of the fellow guests worked at my ad agency.
"I want to go soon" he said sullenly as his mood hadn't lifted the whole night. I was not blonde and he was not happy.
Anyway, the blondie versus brownie debate continues. Some prefer the chocolatey goodness or a brownies whereas other like the sweetness of a blondie. Admittedly, I usually prefer brownies to blondies but I was tipped off to this recipe by Masterchef runner up Julia Taylor. We're both keen bakers and one night we met up for a drink and she asked if I had tried any of Harry Eastwood's recipes.
Harry is a woman who specialises in low fat and gluten free versions of traditionally high fat recipes and Julia had made a wedding cake recipe of hers that used carrot, zucchini and orange and no butter or oil at all. Harry also had a recipe for blondies with raspberries and white chocolate without any butter or oil and I set to make these one day.
Grating the butternut pumpkin (we call it pumpkin but the rest of the world calls it squash) on a fine Microplane would make a cursing sailor out of a church going madam and I was glad when the scale finally showed 250 grams. Apart from that little part, the rest was easy and I think you could do it the Jessica Seinfeld way and steam or cook the pumpkin and puree it and add it to the mix. It smelled wonderful baking in the oven and I could barely wait until I tried it. They were pumpkiny, that's for certain although the texture was light. However, it didn't taste low fat or diet at all, in fact it tasted quite rich and delicious, especially with the centre of blackberries and white chocolate. I'll admit that at first, having not expected it, I had to be persuaded but after the first, the second and third were a cinch ;)
Back to the party and my sulking boyfriend's request to leave. I was in the middle of a conversation and turned to him to say "Let's not go straight away shall we? I'm actually having a good time tonight, and I don't even need a blonde wig to have fun!" And then I turned to continue my conversation with a very intriguing stranger I had just met with deep brown eyes, a long, rangy frame and a ready smile. That my Dear Readers, was Mr NQN. See, you don't need to be blonde or wear a blonde wig to have fun... ;)
So tell me Dear Reader, do you think blondes have more fun (and what hair colour do you have ;) )? And are you team brownie or team blondie (the food?) :)
![White Chocolate & Berry Blondies (http://images.notquitenigella.com/images/white-chocolate-berry-blondies-gluten-free-low-fat/cleo-travel.jpg)
Please click to enlarge
P.S. There's a little mention of me in the fabulous new Cleo magazine! I used to get into trouble at school for reading Cleo ;)
![White Chocolate & Berry Blondies (http://images.notquitenigella.com/images/white-chocolate-berry-blondies-gluten-free-low-fat/a-bacon-icecream-wallpaper-.jpg)
P.P.S. It's Wallpaper Wednesday so here's a new wallpaper today, the bacon maple syrup ice cream! xxx
White Chocolate & Berry Blondies (Gluten Free, Low Fat)
Adapted from a recipe by Harry Eastwood from Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache (best name ever for a book?)
- 250g/8.83 ozs finely grated butternut pumpkin
- 3 eggs
- 120g/4.24 ozs. caster or superfine sugar
- 100g/3.5 ozs ground almond
- 1/2 cup rice flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 150g fresh or frozen berries (I used blackberries)
- 100g/3.5 ozs. white chocolate, roughly chopped
- handful of flaked almonds
- Icing sugar (optional)
Grated butternut pumpkin
Step 1 - Line a 22 x 22 square brownie tin with parchment and preheat oven to 200c/400F. Finely grate the pumpkin using a fine Microplane grater-this takes a while and is tedious so get someone strong to do it.
Step 2 - In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the eggs and sugar. Fit a whisk attachment and whip for 5 minutes until thick and pale and triple in size-Eastwood describes it as a "bouffant."
Step 3 - Add the pumpkin and stir to mix well. Add rice flour, almond meal, baking powder and cinnamon and make sure it is well combined. Spread half of the mixture into the prepared tin and then scatter with the berries and white chocolate and then add the rest of the batter on top. Top with flaked almonds.
Step 4 - Bake for 30-35 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean-check in the centre that the centre is done and not liquidy. Cool in tin for 30 minutes (it's quite delicate and light) and then cut into squares and serve with icing sugar.
Vintage plate/ cake stand from Valentina's Vintage Cake Stands