Baking| Chocolate Matcha Olive Oil Brownies … and an origami crane for Japan

“One kind word can warm three winter months.”

Japanese proverb

Chocolate Matcha Olive Oil Brownies It’s been a while since I blogged about chocolate brownies. There was a time that I used to oscillate between baking brownies and chocolate chip cookies alternatively every week because that’s all I could bake. This was 3-4 years ago. Then the blogging bug bit me, brownies suddenly took a back seat and I got adventurous with ‘other stuff’ in my own little sense.Chocolate Matcha Olive Oil Brownies There was a world of exciting baking to be discovered as I crawled out from under my rock, or ‘my stone age of baking‘! I covered new ground ferociously as if to make up for lost time. Now I’m back in my comfort zone where new techniques and baking discoveries are therapeutic, as are endless brownies and cookies. I know that more often than never one {or both} of my guinea pigs will make a meal out of my kitchen adventures! I am eternally grateful for their adventurous culinary spirit!Chocolate Matcha Olive Oil BrowniesThe last brownies I made were in August 2010 from David Lebovitz’s recipe for Roberts Absolute Best  Brownies. They were very indulgent and quite the best. This time I’ve created brownies for an event that marks  Divya’s blogiversary at her lovely blog Easy Cooking and decided to send her some chocolate love. Keeping in mind the dieting diva, I embarked on experimenting with an olive oil version … with other thoughts that continue to haunt my mind, namely Japan.Chocolate Matcha Olive Oil Brownies Makiko is a young Japanese girl in Madrid who is collecting  a 1000 origami cranes to send to Japan to wish her family and friends good luck ... a touching and beautiful thought. Many years ago when the lad was in junior school, they read the story about ‘Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes‘ as they studied the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I still remember how the little fellow came home and got onto the net after relating the story to me. He spent hours  learning how to make origami cranes…Chocolate Matcha Olive Oil BrowniesThe capacity of the young mind to imbibe is wonderful. To this day, many years later, the son makes little origami stars, cranes, boxes for me when he wants to put a smile back on my face. He knows I love craft work and is always ready to charm. So I beckoned him to Miriams beautiful post on The Winter Guest where she posted the most beautiful Matcha Mousse Pies and an origami crane for Japan. Chocolate Matcha Olive Oil Brownies

Miriam wrote … ‘ In Spain, a Japanese girl called Makiko and living in Madrid has set up a blog to ask for people to contribute by making an origami crane. The blog is called 1000 grullas por Japón, meaning 1000 cranes for Japan. It is a Japanese tradition to make 1000 origami cranes when you want to make a wish come true.

1000 cranes for JapanI asked if he could make me one for Makiko for Japan! Ever the charmer, he got his little hands to work. So here we are – a paper crane for Makiko. It’s a beautiful initiative and it would be lovely if more of us could join in.  Once you’ve made the origami crane {Makiko’s blog has a video showing you how to}, all you need to do is take a photograph and send it to Makiko. She will gather all the crane photos and send them to her family and friends in Japan.Chocolate Matcha Olive Oil Brownies To tie in all my thoughts and feelings, I added some matcha {Japanese green tea powder} to the brownies. I also used some home made ricotta which I had left over from a French Fougasse I had made 2 days ago. Matcha pairs nicely with chocolate, both in taste and in colour contrast. Yet, IMHO, flavours of matcha are very subtle and in many ways acquired.  For brownies sans butter, these olive oil ones were wonderfully moist and fudgy… deeply chocolaty too! If you are looking for a healthier version of the indulgent brownie, then do give these a shot, with or without matcha!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India


Baking | Matcha Macarons with Preserved Brandied Cherries & Mascarpone … tribute to the spirit of Japan

“Food supports a story. Remember, there is a story behind everything you shoot.”
Adam Pearson

Matcha Macarons with Mascarpone Cherry FillingMarch 20th is marked as World Macaron Day / Jour de Macaron, a day that celebrates the very elegant and much applauded French cookie that is often referred to as the ‘new cupcake‘. Nothing appears to get close to shaking the macaron off its lofty perch as it continues to mesmerise and charm the world with delightful flavour combinations.Matcha Macarons with Mascarpone Cherry FillingAt MacTweets nothing gives us as much joy as celebrating this exquisite creation, and we do it every month with a great bunch of passionate macaron bakers.  This March, Jamie & I call for a new beginning. March welcomes the first changes from one season to the next, hinting at warmth and sunshine, the coming of springtime for some of us, the chilly days of winter for others.Matcha Macarons with Mascarpone Cherry FillingWe ask you to add a bit of spice to our lives with this change of season challenge at MacTweets. To make it even more fun, we call for you to be the harbingers of the coming season with something new, fresh and lively, incorporating both fruit and spice into one magnificent Macaron.Matcha Macarons with Mascarpone Cherry FillingI had many thoughts when the month began, leaping between the umpteen spices the spice-box offered, making it a difficult choice. I had thoughts of pink peppercorn with strawberries, black pepper & sour orange marmalade, cinnamon and apple. Then tragedy struck Japan and my thought pattern changed completely.My macarons had to be a tribute to the spirit of Japan, a brave and resilient nation which has stood up and faced the horrific natural disaster that hit it over a week ago. As tales of trauma and destruction continue to haunt the world, tales of bravery and rescue offer much needed joy. 9 days after calamity struck, an 80 year old lady and her grandson were rescued today. H O P E …

Matcha Macarons with Mascarpone Cherry FillingThe macaron shells are matcha flavoured, the filling some home preserved brandied cherries nestled in home made mascarpone. Matcha, though not a true spice, is sometimes referred to as a tea spice. The jar of brandied cherries in my fridge completed my tribute to Japan, a reference to cherry blossoms or sakura. Cherry blossom is an omen of good fortune and is also an emblem of love, affection and represents spring. Cherry blossoms are an enduring metaphor for the fleeting nature of life, and as such are frequently depicted in art.Matcha Macarons with Mascarpone Cherry FillingThe beginning of the year has hit Japan very hard, but they are a people that have risen above all odds, displaying strength and dignity in the face of unimaginable adversity. Sending good wishes  their way with these  macarons and four little rosebuds from my rambling rose.

Do you want to join us making MACARONS?

If you do, you are most welcome to join us  for this challenge, or the next. You can find all the information at our dedicated macaron blog MacTweets. We generally post the round-up by the end of every month, following which a new challenge is posted!

♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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