Learn the secrets of River Cottage

PUBLISHED: 10:09 18 March 2014 | UPDATED: 10:09 18 March 2014

River Cottage beetroot and chocolate brownies

River Cottage beetroot and chocolate brownies


You’ve seen him on TV – you’ve read his books – you’ve eaten at his restaurant. Now you can learn to cook like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall thanks to a new series of cookery demonstrations at River Cottage Canteen Bristol.

The demos take place on Wednesday mornings from 10.30 to 11.30, and are great value at £30 – which includes coffee on arrival and a two-course seasonal lunch. ‘These events are great fun and offer a genuine insight into the way we cook,’ says Hugh. ‘They also give a tempting taste of what people can expect on the more in-depth cookery courses at River Cottage HQ’.

On 5 March, the theme is fish (sustainable, naturally) – and the course will cover how to make a simple Pollock Ceviche, how to deal with a mackerel and hot-smoke it, and how to fillet a flat fish and make fish parcels from it. On 12 March the focus will be on smoking and curing, so that you can make your own dry-cure bacon and smoke your own meats at home. Future courses will include bread and chocolate.

One of the best things about River Cottage demonstrations is that thanks to the chefs, you get to taste the recipes as they go along – so arrive with an appetite.

Meanwhile, why not try your hand at River Cottage Beetroot Brownies?

Makes about 20

250g unsalted butter, cut into cubes

250g dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces

3 medium eggs

250g caster sugar

A pinch of sea salt

150g self-raising flour (wholemeal ideally but white works well too)

250g beetroot, boiled until tender, cooled, peeled and grated

1. Grease a shallow baking tin, approximately 20 x 25cm, and line the base with baking parchment. Put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Set the oven at 180C /160 fan and put the bowl in it for a few minutes until the chocolate and butter start to melt. Stir, then put back in to the oven for a few more minutes to melt completely. (Of course, you could melt them together in the traditional way, over a pan of hot water, but it is a shame not to make the most of the oven as it warms.

2. Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl until combined then beat in the melted chocolate and butter until smooth. Combine the salt with the flour, sift them over the chocolate mixture, then gently fold in with a large metal spoon. Fold in the grated beetroot – be careful not to over-mix or it will make the brownies tough.Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top with a spatula.

3. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes; when the brownies are done, a knife or skewer inserted in the centre should come out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Don’t be tempted to overcook them or they will be dry. Remove the tin from the oven and leave on a wire rack to cool before cutting into squares.

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