Fudgy Chocolate Brownies


fudgy chocolate brownies


For various reasons, I prefer to bake cakes without butter if at all possible and this recipe ticks all the boxes in terms of fudgy, chocolaty brownies. It is quick and easy to make and can be made on the BAKE program in the breadmaker.

 fudgy chocolate brownies

Fudgy Chocolate Brownies

This recipe is delicious and can be whipped up in no time at all.



  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder & 1/2 cup plain flour or 1/2 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Line a round or square 7″ (18cm) baking tin with baking parchment or grease and flour the tin.
  2. Measure out the flour, salt and cocoa into a bowl.
  3. Cream the oil and sugar together in a bowl.
  4. Break in the eggs and beat well.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly.
  6. Spoon into the tin.
  7. Bake in the breadmaker on the 1-hour BAKE programme or in a hot oven for 20 minutes.

Cooking and Baking in a Breadmaker

bake brownies breadmaker


Here at the cortijo, we generally don’t often use the wood-fired bread oven unless we are planning to cook a number of different dishes on the same day. These might include a typical roast dinner or pizzas, bread and possibly cake, then it makes it worthwhile heating up the wood-fired bread oven for several hours.  I’ve recently been experimenting with baking cakes and cooking things in the breadmaker. I normally make sourdough if it is sunny and it means we can cook it using purely solar energy. I use the BAKE program which is No. 12 on our Princess breadmaker and it takes 60 minutes.


My first experiment was jacket potatoes. I chose 2 medium-sized potatoes, pricked them with a fork and wrapped them in foil. I took the paddle out of the bread tin and placed the potatoes on either side of the spindle. At the end of the cooking time, I opened up the parcels and cut each potato in half. I pricked the surface with a fork and smeared over some butter and seasoned with salt and pepper. I put a couple of slices of cheddar cheese on one side of each potato and then wrapper them up again and put them back in the breadmaker. There was still a lot of residual heat left from cooking the potatoes and so by leaving them for another 30-40 minutes, they could finish cooking and the cheese could melt.


My second experiment was to bake some brownies and this is the recipe I used. I didn’t want to use the pan that came with the breadmaker so bought an additional one. I measured the machine and reckoned that if I bought one for a maximum width of 18cm I would be OK and chose a 7″ or 17.8cm round PME cake tin. As it turned out, although that was the size of the base and sides sloped gradually outwards and the final edge diameter was 19.6cm. Luckily it was possible to squeeze and force the tin slightly to get it in.

breadmaker"cakeI didn’t want it to sit too near the base and the heating element, so put an upturned ramekin on the turning spindle.

Here are some links to recipes that I have tried in the breadmaker.

RECIPE 1: Brownies


Spicy Black Bean and Chorizo Stew

cortijoblog black bean and chorizo stew


We tend to eat a lot of pulses and beans in stews over the winter months or “platos de cuchara” as they are know here. This type of dish is very common throughout Spain and each region has its own speciality, whether it is Fabada in Asutria or Cocido in Madrid. I had never cooked with black beans before and this dish was something I discovered during the first COVID lockdown in 2020 and has been a firm favourite ever since. It’s a really simple recipe with only a few ingredients but is simple to make in the pressure cooker and tastes delicious. You’ll need to soak the beans overnight in water and rinse and drain them before using.

cortijoblog black bean stew

Spicy Black Bean and Chorizo Stew

This is a simple but delicious stew that can be prepared in no time at all.



  • 250g dried black beans, soaked for 24 hours
  • 100g spicy chorizo, sliced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 chilli pepper
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ½ teaspoon smoked spicy paprika
  • 1 litre water


  1. Heat some olive oil in a pressure cooker.
  2. Gently fry the onion until soft.
  3. Add the sliced chorizo and fry for another couple of minutes.
  4. Stir in the paprika and add the remaining ingredients.
  5. Cover the pressure cooker and bring to pressure.
  6. Turn down the heat and cook for 60 minutes.
  7. Turn off the heat and leave the pressure cooker for 5 minutes before releasing the pressure.
  8. Serve.


The cooking time will depend on the bean so if you are using older beans, you should adjust the cooking times accordingly.

Spinach and Ricotta Pasta

We’ve been fairly self-sufficient recently in terms of green vegetables and the broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussel spouts have kept us going through the winter months. The other day, I spotted some perpetual spinach and so thought I would do something different with it. Here is a recipe for pasta with spinach and ricotta. I used wholewheat macaroni but you could use anything.



  • 200g pasta
  • 200g ricotta
  • fresh spinach
  • salt and pepper
  • cheddar or parmesan cheese, grated
  • extra virgin olive oil


  1. Heat some salted water for the pasta.
  2. Wilt the spinach in a frying pan with a splash of water.
  3. Roughly chop the spinach.
  4. Cook the pasta.
  5. Heat some oil and a knob of butter in a frying pan and gently fry the garlic.
  6. Add the spinach, the ricotta and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pasta to the frying pan and mix well.
  8. Add some more of the pasta cooking liquid if necessary.
  9. Serve and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Using Sun Dried Tomatoes

Reconstituting Sun Dried Tomatoes

Sun Dried tomatoes in a salad.

Method 2 Sun dried tomatoes in a salad. (the jar method)

OK so you have lots of sun dried tomatoes but they are useless unless you know what to do with them. The obvious thing to do is to add them to stews and anything you are cooking. In this post I want to tell you how to reconstitute them so that they can be used in salads etc as a substitute for fresh tomatoes in the months that fresh tomatoes are not available.

Method 1
Put some tomatoes on a deep plate.  Cover them with boiling water. Cover with an upturned plate. Leave for 15 minutes or until they are soft. Pour off the water. Sprinkle on some salt and drizzle some olive oil over them. They can be served as a tomato salad just on their own.  As you can see some of the sun dried tomatoes can go a bit black but they taste the same so I don’t care. 

Sun Dried Tomatoes in a salad

Method 1 Sun Dried Tomatoes in a salad

Method 2
Cram some dried tomatoes into a glass jar. Add a small teaspoonful of sugar to the jar. Fill the jar up with a mixture of water and vinegar. The ratio is according to taste and how strong the vinegar is. Leave for 24 hours. Use within 3 days because they will start to ferment. I tend to use these tomatoes as a substitute for fresh tomatoes in winter salads. 

The tomatoes on this page were dried in my solar drier. Click here to see it