Thursday, March 6, 2014

Cream Cheese Brownies

Hi, it is a little difficult to start writing after being away from blogging for a month. I was telling my bake along buddies,  Joyce  and Zoe that i might still be taking a break if it's not for the post today. Please excuse me for not dropping by at any of your blogs , i know i have a lot to catch up, give me time yaa :)

This cream cheese brownies recipe comes from the book, 'How to be a Domestic Goddess' by Nigella Lawson and it is a little unusual that instead of blending the cream cheese mixture for brownies, the cream cheese here got to be cold and then slice them thinly and layer them in between the brownies mixture. I have to tell you that i was having a not so easy time slicing the cold cream cheese, it was quite messy and got a little frustrated that i didnt use all the cream cheese required :) These brownies are quite delicious and because that i didnt use all the cream cheese, the taste of cream cheese was just a little mild. I know if i put in all the cream cheese that was called for, it would have tasted even better.

Recipe ( from How to be A Domestic Goddess , page 194)
this is halved recipe, you can refer to Joyce for full recipe )
2oz bittersweet chocolate
56gm butter
1 large egg
60gm sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract ( skipped )
20gm plus 1 tbsp all purpose flour
pinch of salt
3 oz cold cream cheese

Preheat oven to 350F/177C.  Melt the butter and chocolate over medium to low heat in a heavy based saucepan. While waiting for it to melt, idly beat the eggs in a bowl with the sugar and vanilla. Measure the flour into another bowl and add in the salt. When the chocolate mixture has all but completely melted, take the pan off the heat. The bits of unmelted butter and chocolate will continue to dissolve if left. Leave to cool slightly before beating in the eggs and sugar. Finally, add the flour and beat until smooth. Pour half the mixture into the pan, slice the cream cheese as thinly as you can and top the brownies mixture in the pan with these cheese slices. Pour over the remaining half of the brownie mixture, using a rubber spatula to make sure each bit of cheese is covered. Then put in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, the top should be slightly pale ( mine was not ) and dry, but a cake tester poked within should reveal a still sticky center. Cool for about 10 minutes before cutting them into squares.

While i was away, here are some of the photos taken during a trip to Ha Giang, Vietnam. Ha Giang is a province located at the far north of Vietnam and it contains Vietnam northernmost point where it shares the border with China. It is a highly mountainous region and travelling within the province is not easy. I was told that this province is recently opened up to travellers from abroad but still there are certain areas that we were required a permit to enter. It is also regarded as one of the poorest region in the country and during the trip, we were able to visit the villages and meet the local ethnic minorities from this region and see their way of life....

These are some that i managed to share as i still havent sorted out all the photos yet. Hope you enjoy.

the mountains..

a boy was kind enough to let me into his house to take photo of the cooking area...

and his room..

another nice man who was willing to stop to let us took pics of him..and his donkey..

From what we saw, there is fairly a large number of  the local tribes that had to walk a long distance to the market to sell their goods..

at the market..

even women from the mountains love shopping , ok?

these are items for prayers

this is the kitchen of a shop where we had one of our meals..

2 young ladies doing a traditional dance..the dog too! :D

works at field..

the faces of children...

learning to shoot...:)

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  1. Oh Lena these images are priceless! Each and every one tells a story. And how wonderful that you were able to get such intimate photos of daily life. Simply Amazing!

    Of course your Cream Cheese Brownies have tickled my belly but oh my such an effort to stuff that cream cheese. I wonder if it makes that much difference as compared to swirling. Cream cheese is NOT easy to slice, unless someone has a hint:)

    Thank you so much for sharing, Lena. It is so nice to see you back. Don't fret about catching up just go with the flow. That's what I'm doing:)

  2. Hi hi! I see that you have been traveling my friend! Awesome shots there! Looks like you are not only good in cooking, also in scenery photography! Glad to see you blogging, I too just blogged....finally hahaha! Love those brownies...don't mine I help myself with 4 pieces heehee!

  3. Lena, missing your postings. The place looks cold there with the beautiful scenaries & friendly local people.

  4. Hi Lena, I miss your postings. These photos you took are amazing! like from the National Geographic! And now, these brownies are just delectable!

  5. These brownies are awesome and the photos are well captured. Yeah... I wonder where you gone hidding?? Better than me ... at least you still can pick up the pen..... :)

  6. hi Lena, I love the pics! Such amazing shots! Those children look so happy and beautiful! My brownies turned out looking just like yours, very dense and I cut the cheese a bit too thick (if was difficult!).

  7. Hi Lena! Nice to see you posting again. Those brownies look delectable. Amazing photos, a beautiful insight into the place, the people and their livelihood there! Anymore coming? Thank you for sharing.

  8. Hi Lena
    Interesting place! Photos are well taken.

  9. Oh yes! Your brownies looks great!

  10. Hi Lena,

    Don't be lazy! Start blogging now... ha ha ha!!!

    I can understand... Once you stop and rest, it is difficult to pick up the momentum again. Nevertheless, glad that you are back. We miss you!!!

    Very lovely brownies and beautiful shots! I didn't know that you are into photography!


    1. Lena! Lena! Where are you???... LOL!

      Still recovering from your holidays :p hee hee...

      Regarding your comment about the banana cake... Yes! This is the recipe that I have been telling you to bake. My colleague likes to bake this cake for us many times as this is always one of her fav recipes... I tell myself that I have to try this recipe and glad that I did. Cheers!


  11. How are you? Welcome back! Seems like your trip to Vietnam is a meaningful one! Love those photos!

  12. Lena., 看到这个brownies就很心动了。


  13. you're back Lena! i'm amazed by your photography skills! truly.... those are breathe-taking shots.. you should consider entering them into competitions

  14. Hi Lena, Great shots. I love this kind of tours where you get to see how the people live and get to mingle with them. And your brownies are lovely. :)

  15. Hi Lena,
    One thing's for sure, glad to see your post!
    Welcome back! The brownies are wonderful and I have a messy time slicing the cream cheese as well. But in the end, the reward is very yummy!
    The photographs are just beautiful! It must be very interesting visiting the villages and seeing how they live and their different cultures. Hope you will be sharing more photos!

  16. The Brownies look very inviting and I'd love to go for this type of trips. Very interesting to see how these villagers live. Bet you had a good time!

  17. Lindo post las imàgenes son maravillosas la vida tranquila que tienen y su linda tradiciòn antiquìsima ,su borwnie es fantàstico,abrazos fuertes.

  18. Those mountain photos are amazing, Lena.
    Brownies and cream cheese...two heavenly treats in one!

  19. Amazing photos! It is great to visit such place and see how the locals live. Cream cheese and brownies sounds delicious!

  20. Lena , your photos made me think of Tibet and I really I thought you also went there :D Love the photos , they're gorgeous ! Okay , your brownies as well lol

  21. Your brownies look amazing Lena and your trip sounds fantastic. Thank you for sharing, I feel a bit like I've been there!

  22. Great photos from your trip! And your brownies look wonderful--I'll bet the cream cheese makes them extra rich and delicious!

  23. Hi Lena, love your holiday photos! Glad you had a good break!

  24. Lena, you are back with yummy brownies! I love your photos. Very much like what we would see on National Geographic.

  25. So in love with all your photography shots of your holiday. Beautiful beautiful.

  26. oh your vaca looks amazing and i love that you shared those pictures with us. Makes me feel like I was there in a way! I love these brownies! They could not be any more beautiful and delicious looking

  27. Lovely pictures, the colours are great. These cream cheese brownies sound amazing!

  28. Love Love the series of your travel photos, look like a travel book, really good shot!! This place is new to me, ya, I told my daughter one day we must go to kampong area of Vietnam, every time only go to Ho Chi Minh, hehehe. Were you travel free and easy or follow with tour agency? Like Anne said, it look like Tibet, also one place that I must go and visit soon..

  29. The brownies look fantastic and your travel photos are beautiful! Greetings from Montreal, Canada.

  30. I love these brownies Lena and love so much these pictures especially I love the babies and the kids:) beauty post!

  31. Lena,
    These photos ar very well taken - really amazing. How did you manage to go to these areas in Vietnam? Did you follow a tour or hire a guide to do everything for you? Because these looks like the places where you need a permit to visit. Thanks for sharing these photos.

  32. hi, i was with some friends with a photography group..yeah, they did everything for us

  33. Hi Lena,
    I am glad to did not miss this lovely post of yours!!
    Your shots was amazing, love it!
    Oh!! The cream cheese brownies were fabulous :D