Leaving on a jet plane

UK immigration is always a hot topic in the news and is top of every politician’s agenda but emigration out of the UK is less discussed.

I’ve always dreamed of living and working abroad as have the majority, if not all, of my friends. Many mates have already achieved this dream and are currently residing overseas, some have left and returned and some, like me, are currently preparing to leave. This got me thinking it can’t only be my social circle who speak at such great length about emigration and dream of escaping the rat race of London for foreign lands? We aren’t that unique, as much as we would like to be and national statistics show we are not. Not only do people want to live abroad but a lot of people actually step-up and leave.

According to the Office for National Statistics 317,000 people emigrated from the UK in 2013, individuals are classed as emigrating if they are leaving the UK for at least one year. Of these 317,000 134,000 were British citizens. Interestingly only 76,000 British people immigrated back to the UK in the 2013 meaning that 57,000 more British people left the UK in this timeframe than arrived. It a vast number of people aren’t only dreaming of moving abroad they are packing their bags and setting sail.

For those British people who do leave the UK, Australia is by far the most popular destination with a whopping 34,000 people leaving to live down under; it is also the country where the majority of British citizens return from each year with 18,000 entering the UK in 2013 (that’s a lot of gap year travellers I reckon!)

Clearly the desire to live abroad is a popular one, so what fuels this desire and what makes people stay away once they have left? For me the goal to live abroad is a result of wanting to experience another culture and country, not only on holiday but to be a part of another community. To know what is it like to not live in the UK and to meet new people, see new things and live a different lifestyle for an extended period of time. But I have had this goal for many years and it is only now that I am actually doing something about it. What was the final push to actually bring about the move? The main factor was the guarantee of work – to be able to move to another country with the security of knowing you have a job and therefore income at the end of it goes a long way. The fact that the job was in a country which is hot, has a high standard of living, a large percentage of English speaking people and free/cheap childcare also helped me and my partner to make the final decision that foreign shores were the right way to go.

While the choices to live abroad are unique to each person, according to Shelter Offshore there are only 5 main reasons why people move:

1) Better career opportunities and the chance to earn more money and therefore have a better quality of life and/or save more money for the future

2) To see more of the world and expand horizons; with more people travelling as children than ever before more people catch the travel bug, and the only way to really experience a place to the full is to live there

3) Retirement abroad is the affordable way forward; as British benefits and state pensions are cut and interest rates on savings at an all time low, moving abroad is seen as a way to a better, healthier and more comfortable life in old age

4) Wanting a new life; according to HSBC 24% of expats had simply had enough of their old life

5) Following in your partners footsteps; in short your partner is moving so you move with them!

I can definitely associate with more than one of these, can you? What would make you take the plunge to emigrate abroad?

Advertisements

I’m a lunatic

I’m a lunatic. Well not in the modern sense of the word, though I am sure some people would argue differently, but in the original meaning of the word which referred to anyone who suffered from diseases caused by the Moon. You see the term lunatic is taken from the Latin word lunaticus (lunar, moon etc.) and ancient philosophers contended that the full Moon caused people to go crazy by making the night light resulting in sleep deprived individuals who went crazy.

So how does this make me a lunatic? As posted yesterday I suffer from insomnia. Ah ha you could say, insomnia isn’t a mental health disease caused by sleep deprivation, it IS the cause of sleep deprivation. AH HA HA, I would reply, insomnia can be caused by the Moon. FACT! Well almost fact, it is still open to debate but I definitely have my foot firmly placed on the believer side of the fence.

Lunar

In 2013 a study conducted at the University of Basel in Switzerland provided the first real evidence supporting the effect of the moon on people’s sleep. Results showed that the amount of deep sleep people had dropped by 30% around the full moon and that they also took 5 minutes longer to fall asleep with on average 20 minutes less sleep had overall. Not only this but when the moon was full participants in the study had less melatonin which is known to help sleep/wake cycles. It isn’t the light from the moon which causes the lack of sleep, otherwise my trusty eye mask would have cured me long ago. So what is the reason, as with all good things it seems no one is really sure what the cause is for sure. Some claim it is due to gravitational pull and the fact that our body is made up of around 60% water, some claim it is due to our circadian inner biological clock. However whatever the reason evidence for the fact is now there.

When was the last full moon? Two days ago which means my insomniac hit was 1 days after the full moon, and for all I know I would have had insomnia the night before as well if I wasn’t kept up all night by an overactive child. Now my interest was piqued I looked back at the date for the previous time I was visited by the insomnia monster which was 23rd November. Not a full moon then, hmmm, but wait, it was 1 day after the New Moon. Could the New Moon as well as the Full Moon be causing my insomnia?

I can’t get no sleep

“I can’t get no sleep
I need to sleep I can’t get no sleep”

Insomnia: Faithless

Last night I felt like I could have written the lyrics for Faithless’ epic tune Insomnia, and the double negative is used to intensify the negation, not to cancel it out!

You see last night was my seventh consecutive sleepless night, but only the first as a result of insomnia. The cause of the initial six was a result of sleep deprivation, not insomnia which is a very different beast. Sleep deprivation refers to a lack of sleep as a result of externally imposed restrictions causing a lack of opportunity to sleep – in my case a 4 month old baby who had decided he would regress back to newborn sleep hours and wake every 2 hours throughout the night. Of course on the seventh night when the little guy decides he will sleep for more, a massive 5 ½ hours, is the night that that cruel mistress insomnia returned to my bed.

My first acquaintance with insomnia was in my early twenties, up until then I had been a typical teen able to sleep for unnaturally long periods of time. Then suddenly for no reason I stopped sleeping, I don’t remember if there was a cause for this initial occurrence, but ever since then insomnia has been a feature in my life. There have been periods where I haven’t suffered for ages and then all of a sudden wham, I find myself committing that self-tortuous act of checking the clock every 15minutes throughout the early hours of the morning, calculating the maximum number of hours I would be able to sleep if I went to sleep RIGHT NOW and realising that no matter what I am not going to be getting anywhere near the 6 hours I need.

Insomnia Math
Insomnia Math

As an events manager I have developed the ability to survive quite happily on relatively little sleep and find that as long as I get 6 hours most nights I am able to function perfectly adequately. However the combination of long periods of sleep deprivation with a new child coupled with insomnia is proving to be a little much even for me. It is common knowledge that lack of sleep can result in an increase in accidents, it is believed that long work hours and lack of sleep was the root cause of major incidents such as Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and the Exxon Vladez Oil spill to name a few. Thankfully for everyone, I am not currently working in nuclear physics and therefore my accidents have been slightly less catastrophic – namely a suspected broken toe following a losing fight with a drawer handle and a trapped back nerve caused by god knows what.

Bruised Toe
My possibly broken toe. Note sleep deprivation also results in an inability to paint your toe nails!

It isn’t only accidents which lack of sleep can cause, according to WebMD lack of sleep:

  • Dumbs you down
  • Leads to health problems such as heart attack, stroke and diabetes
  • Kills your sex drive
  • Causes depression
  • Ages your skin
  • Makes you forgetful
  • Makes you gain weight
  • Increase risk of death
  • Impairs a person’s judgement, especially about sleep

This could be a list for what a looking after a newborn does you to! As I have had much more experience with insomnia than with solving babies sleep patterns, I have decided to tackle this recurring cause of sleeplessness first. While I can’t claim to have cured insomnia my years of experiencing it have developing some tried and tested tactics for keeping it at bay.

  •  No electronics: iPad, tablets, mobile phones, blackberries are insomnia’s play thing, the blue wavelengths they produce supress the production of melatonin the hormone which makes you sleepy. Avoid having them in the bedroom at all costs. Invest in an alarm clock rather than use your phone as an alarm clock and have a book of Kindle (which doesn’t seem to have the same effect) close by to read when insomnia does strike. If you must have your phone in your room, keep it away from your bed so you can’t check it obsessively when sleeplessness strikes.
  • Avoid caffeine after noon. This includes chocolate, cocoa and coke. It is no coincidence that last night I indulged in the most delicious cocoa desert then didn’t fall asleep till 4m
  • Avoid booze after 6pm. Alcohol relaxes you right, but not for long and that trusty drink actually results in less sleep and even less REM sleep (annoyingly this is especially true for women) again no coincidence here that the red wine flowed freely last night
  • Exercise, it doesn’t have to be much but regular exercise, even just a walk can help you doze off
  • When in bed and you just can’t fall asleep breathe in for four and out for eight. The act of breathing and counting over and over again sometimes is enough to push me into dreamland
  • Vitamins and Minerals– While these won’t make you go to sleep if you are lacking in magnesium, iron, vitamin B-12, folic acid or vitamin D deficiency can cause sleep problems.
  • Herbal remedies the three I have found work best are Noctura, Boots Sleepeaze Herbal remedy and any sort of Melatonin. I did go through a stage of taking things like Night Nurse and other non-prescription tables which have a drowsy effect. While these did work for a period of time they are also surprisingly dependent forming and I quickly found myself becoming dependent on taking these to sleep and if I didn’t I couldn’t sleep, in essence they caused more insomnia than I would have had otherwise. Therefore I would avoid anything like this as it isn’t helpful in the long run.
  • I am obsessive about my bedtime routine as I am an insomniac and find if I don’t follow it I don’t sleep. While I don’t recommend you get to this stage, I do recommend a routine such as bath, reading, sleep as this will prepare your body for shuteye
  • Block it out. I use both an eye mask and earplugs, when I do finally get to sleep I don’t want to be woken up by snoring or a bright full moon.

Now I am entering a period of insomnia I will again be following all of the above tactics to try and ensure I get a good night’s sleep when allowed! I’ll let you know how I get on. This time I will try not to lapse back into bad habits once insomnia has been shown the exit as I would like to keep that door well and truly closed for the foreseeable future.

If you have any tactics you use for beating insomnia, please do comment on this blog. A problem shared is a problem halved after all!

Black Friday: Black Day or really a Happy Day

Black Friday is coming! Black what? Black FRIDAY. No it isn’t the most depressing Friday of the year as I mistakenly believed, it is an American invention, a day of insane shopping deals previously only seen in the USA but now gaining popularity in the UK.

Black Friday

But what exactly IS Black Friday, where does it come from? When and why was it invented? Should we be getting excited that this orgy of consumerism has landed on UK shores?

Black Friday is the fourth Friday in November as it follows Thanksgiving which is always the fourth Thursday in the USA. Originally Black Friday referred to stock market crashes in the 1800s and “black has always referred to calamities. The name “Black Friday” relating to a day off work was first used in 1951 when as a result of the Thanksgiving national holiday companies saw large numbers of workers calling in “sick” in order to get four consecutive days off work. Rather than operate with a drastically reduced workforce on this day every year some companies decided to include the Friday as a holiday for all staff and this gained popularity with many companies in the USA now giving their employees the day of work.

However, many people agree the term actual term “Black Friday” originated in Philadelphia where it (and “Black Saturday”) referred to the excessive crowds and traffic in the city due to the Annual Army-Navy American football game coupled with an extreme number of people attempting to get all their Christmas shopping done early while off work resulting in mayhem and chaos within the city.

As a result of the large number of people with a day off work, retail companies saw it as an early opportunity to attract potential shoppers to the stores and get them spending their finite Christmas present money earlier. Worried that the term “Black Friday” had negative connotations they tried to rebrand it as “Big Friday” but the term never took off, instead the term Black Friday stuck but became synonymous with a the big sales shops put on in order to compete for spending money as well as retaining negative connotations as a result of the brawls and even killings which have been a result of the crowds jostling to get the best deals.

Black Friday was introduced online to the UK four years ago by Amazon and in-store in 2013 by Asda who are owned by the US giant Walmart. This year it seems that every store is getting in on the act with a plethora of retailers jumping on the Black Friday bandwagon. Are we going to soon be seeing riots on Oxford Street as people battle to get the best deals? I don’t believe that we will have anything like the in-store frenzy they here as they have in the US, if for no other reason than most people will be at work and not on holiday and as the UK Boxing Day sales show in UK people can’t help but queue-up as opposed to brawl even when there is a massive sale on.

However, even if the day doesn’t cause the undesirable behaviour seen in the USA, is it a good thing that Black Friday is descending onto our streets and online stores? And it isn’t just Black Friday, Cyber Monday when sales are online (although they are also online on Friday – OK I am confused!) is another day concocted by retailers to enable them to push discounted items to shoppers amid media frenzy. Furthermore it seems to be spreading like a plague with “cyber week” being seen on some sites such as Amazon with the sale lasting for several days. I, for one, can’t get excited about a day, or series of days, which is purely about commercial gain and the selling of materialistic items. It hasn’t even got a vague mythical or historical link which you can try and attach to it like Halloween. To me it seems to be nothing more than a day on which people are encouraged to spend money. Christmas and Boxing Day Sales do this enough already as the 3.3million UK people still in debt from the 2013 festive season would seem to show.

Unless you were going to buy something anyway, whether or not it is on sale, I would avoid it as simply an excuse for retailers to attempt to “get us”. The strapline for Black Friday should be, as put by Dave Ramsey, a day “to buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have”.

Throwback Thursday – my past or yours

I recently discovered the social media trend that is “Throwback Thursday”. For those of you who like me are far from social media savvy Throwback Thursday is a general media posting theme calling people to post things relating to the past. The theme gained popularity in February 2012 and is still going strong. Popular Throwback posts are photos of the past accompanied with hashtags such as #Throwback Thursday, #TBT or just #Throwback.

I’m not going to post photos of myself as a chubby youngster in hand-me-down boys clothes, no one wants to see that. But it has got me thinking what do  Iwant to take from the past. Then it occurred to me, does it have to be my past? We have all heard phrases instructing us to learn from the past and that isn’t necessarily our own past.

The most useful things I have taken from the past have often been received from my elders skills, advice, quotes, clothes! One such piece of advice was from my stepdad who gave me this when preparing for my GCSEs:

“Always end on a quote, someone before you has always said it better before you”

Perhaps that is what I can do for my Throwback Thursday, think about a piece of advice or skill that my elders have passed to me. Or to someone else for that matter after all

“Knowledge is power” knowledge

Money can’t buy me love, but can it buy me happiness?

If there is one thing I love it is a fascinating fact, it can be on pretty much any topic as long as it makes you go “hmm” or “no way” or “wow” when you discover it.

I also love pictures, especially graphs and maps, which is why I got super excited when “London: The Information Capital: 100 maps and graphics that will change the way you view the city” was bought to my attention by my man. As the title would suggest authors James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti have created 100 graphics to creatively bring us fascinating facts about London.

One map included in the book which has really caught the media’s attention is a graphic representation of London’s wellbeing.

Islington has issues taken from London: The Information Capital
Islington has issues taken from London: The Information Capital

You can view a larger version of the map here and it is populated using information collected by the Office for National Statistics which from 2011 has collected details from UK residents on their feelings of life satisfaction, purpose, happiness and anxiety. The map in question only shows the results from between April 2012 and March 2013. If only we had the same information from 2002, I would love to see a comparison map from 10 years ago to see if there had been any major changes.

As well as the London boroughs the book also shows the “Rest of the UK” as one face, and while the UK is not broken down into regions the authors do state that in comparison to the rest of the UK “where bright-eyed, smiling visages” make London residents seem “rather tired of life”.

It is even worse if you live in Islington where you are unhappier and feel your life is less worthwhile compared to the rest of London. I am quite surprised by this as some of the best years of my London life were in Islington. However the best years in Islington where also the years when I lived in amazing houseshares first out of university and when I moved back after an Islington hiatus, perhaps this had more to do with it – good neighbours – good wellbeing as my previous post here suggested.

I am not surprised that this is the graphic which was picked up by the media, happiness and specifically how to achieve happiness is a topic which interests nearly everyone, I mean who doesn’t want to be happy? Many of my blog posts are either directly or indirectly about happiness. While this graph doesn’t show what causes increased wellbeing it does raise questions in this area. The affluent Kensington and Chelsea is the only borough in Inner London which achieved top marks for overall feelings of happiness; can money buy you happiness after all?

Impatient Cook does Jamie Oliver’s Salted Caramel Brownies

Chocolate Brownies

I should love to cook. I love to be creative and have a product to show at the end of it, I think we should eat less processed food and I believe baked items make the perfect gift as I hate to buy “stuff”. But I don’t love cooking. Well to be fair I love the first 20minutes of cooking and the last 5 minutes, anything between this I hate. I am an impatient cook, anything over 25 minutes and I become cross and lose all interest. The result of this is that I now seek out recipes which are reasonably short and then look at ways to shorten them further by maximising the process or multi-tasking. Since being on maternity leave I also need to ensure the recipe can be done in stages and left for undetermined amounts of time in order to feed/change/entertain the little one.

Following the help of my neighbour and with my boyfriend’s brother’s birthday approaching I needed a recipe that fit the above and was something cakey/chocolatey. Jamie Oliver’s salted caramel brownies seemed to fit the bill.

You can find the actual recipe for these here, and below you can find my Impatient Cook adaptations, hints and tips. Or if you really are impatient like me, skip the hints and tips and go straight to the recipe .

Impatient Cook’s Recipe Hints, Tips & Adaptions: Salted Caramel Brownies

Step Minus 1 Read the Recipe Three Times and Double Trust me, it goes against everything an impatient cook craves, but take the time to read through the recipe now and you will save a lot of time later on. Double the mixture, rather than make the brownies once for my neighbour and again for the brother’s birthday I decided to simply double the amounts in the recipe and kill two birds with one stone.

Step 1 – Vanilla essence, approximate weights and a good scales  Follow Jamie’s’ step 1 but substitute 2 tsp vanilla essence for 1/2 vanilla pod (decided when you saw the price of vanilla pod). I cannot emphasise enough the need for good scales at this point. Click here for the scales I use. It means you can place the saucepan onto the scales, zero them and add the ingredients straight into the saucepan. No need to weigh and measure items in a jug or another pan it saves A LOT of time which is the impatient cook’s dream both when cooking and when it comes to cleaning up. Yes it means that you often go a little astray with the amount of ingredients you add, hence the extra cream, but this does not matter as much as saving time!

I started on a medium heat to speed up melting the butter and whisked occasionally, approximately 2 mins, then switched to a low heat for 1 min and whisked continually.

Step 2 – Started while the butter is melting in step 1 for speed Follow Jamie’s’ step 2, just start it while you are doing step 1. I wasn’t sure what a heavy-based pan was so just used the oldest heaviest pan we had. Again utilise the scales if you have them so you can pour items directly into the pan. I used a lot more golden syrup than intended as you can see by comparing the two recipes but that stuff comes out quickly and is hard to stop pouring! If you have a tip for pouring syrup please let me know.

Step 3 – Same same, but with no pod Follow Jamie’s step 3, but no need to discard vanilla pod as you never had one!

Step 4 – Baby is involved, importance of chilling times, pans WITH A BABY    Follow Jamie’s step 4 to the letter you have a baby who is getting bored, at this point give him/her the greaseproof paper to crumple (although they may not be impressed and just throw it on the floor). If you have also doubled the mixture you will have two tins to pour the mixture into and not one. Utilise the 15 minutes chilling time before you need to move onto step 5 to feed the kid.

Bran with paperBran without paper

WITHOUT A BABY     I haven’t tried this, usually you can chill items in the freezer quicker than the fridge. You generally need to chill items for 1/4 of the time in the freezer which means for this recipe the caramel needs 7.5 minutes chill time in the freezer. If you have also doubled the mixture you will have two tins to pour the mixture into and not one.

It is important that when a recipe states a chilling time you make sure the item is fully chilled and don’t shorten the length of time needed. Yes it goes against the impatient cooks will but you need to ensure that when a recipe says chilled it is, or risk ruining the product!

I only have two 20x30cm tins which are same , so decided to save them for the actual brownie cooking. I used pyrex dishes for the caramel which were nearly 20x30cm as I figured the size was less important for chilling than for cooking times.

Step 5 – Fan Oven  Follow Jamie’s recipe. I have a fan assisted oven so set it to 155C as they are usually about 25C hotter than a non-fan assisted oven, although it is a guessing game to a certain extent, just keep checking the brownies when they cook and rotate in the oven as needed there are two tins and not the one.

Step 6 – Large Saucepan, begin the brownie  and avoid scrambled egg Follow Jamie’s recipe but melt the butter over a medium heat for speed stirring throughout to ensure it doesn’t burn. Use a large pan as you are going to add all the ingredients to this pan. Put the pan in the fridge to speed up chilling so you can add the egg. It is VERY important that it is chilled (to about body temperature) before adding the egg, otherwise you will end up with scrambled egg in chocolate – not nice! Add ½ the flour and stir in then the second ½. If you are using the special scales make sure you don’t leave the sieve on the plan when measuring the flour – you don’t want to include the weight of the sieve to the weight of the flour. If you have doubled the recipe as I did, pour ½ the mixture into one tin and ½ into the second tin.

scales

Step 7 – Nearly there Completely copy Jamie’s recipe using a teaspoon. Remember if you have doubled you will be putting one of the caramel tins into one of the brownie tins, resulting in two tins to cook.

Step 8 – You’re on the final step – YAY Follow Jamie’s step, I rotated the shelves the brownies were on after 10 minutes and checked the brownies after 20 minutes as I have a fan assisted oven but they weren’t cooked. I ended up taking them out after 27 minutes (it would have been 25 minutes but I was distracted by a screaming baby!). I tried to cut after 60 minutes but the caramel was still gooey, so I left while I went out and cut each tin into 16 squares once I had returned after about 4 hours.

Impatient Cook’s take on Jamie Oliver’s Salted Brownie: Final Recipe:

Impatient Cooks Final Amounts Jamie’s Recipe Doubled
250g butter, plus extra for greasing 250g butter, plus extra for greasing
495g 75% cocoa dark chocolate (available in Lidl for 99p per 100g).

Rather than chopping just crumble straight into the pan and save time on chopping. It would have been 500g but 5g fell into my mouth.

500g 70% cocoa dark chocolate, chopped
452g golden caster sugar 450g golden caster sugar
8 large free-range eggs 8 large free-range eggs
309g plain flour, sifted 300g plain flour sifted
For the salted caramel  
89ml double cream 80ml double cream
2 tsp vanilla essence ½ vanilla pod, split lengthways, seeds scraped
30g salted butter 30g salted butter
3 pinches of seat salt – 1 in the pan and 1 in EACH caramel tin pre-chilling. I would actually 2 pinches of sea salt
68g caster sugar 60g caster sugar
127g golden syrup 80g golden syrup

Makes 32 portions

Two 20x30cm tins for Brownies (or as close as you can get but they must be the same size, I bought mine from Argos from £2.99 here)

Two 20x30cm tins/dishes/trays for caramel (these can be slightly bigger or smaller and it doesn’t matter if they are not the same size

Baking Tins and Pyrex Tins for Brownies
Baking Tins and Pyrex Dishes 

Step Minus 1. Read the recipe below and the ingredients above three times. Aim for Jamie’s ingredient amounts, but it doesn’t matter if you are out a little as I was. For information I included the final amounts I ended up having and the brownies worked out fine The only addition to his ingredients I would highly recommend is at least 3 pinches of salt. Next time I am going to use 4 pinches!

Step 1. Make the caramel. In a saucepan, combine the cream, vanilla seeds and pod or essence, half of the butter and a two good pinches of salt. Cook, whisking, over a medium heat until the butter has melted and then change to a low heat. Leave to heat on low while it’s just bubbling for 1-2 minutes then take off the heat and set aside. 

Step 2. While the butter is melting in step 1, place the caster sugar and golden syrup in an old heavy pan and heat on a low heat. Don’t stir, just gently swirl the pan to help dissolve the sugar. Turn up the heat to medium and keep swirling until the sugar turns into a golden caramel.

Salt and Caramel
Step 3. Take the pan off the heat and discard the vanilla pod if you used one. Stir the caramel into the cream mixture with a wooden spoon, return it to a low heat while you stir in the remaining butter, then remove from the heat and set aside.
Step 4. You or your kid scrunch up two large pieces of greaseproof paper, make each one wet and shake off the excess water. Line each caramel tin with the paper. Pour half the caramel mixture into one tin and the remaining half into the other. Sprinkle a good pinch of salt (or more!) onto each lot of caramel. If you have a child that needs feeding/entertaining for 15 minutes, put both caramels into the fridge and utilise the 15 minutes. If you don’t need 15 minutes put into the freezer. Total chilling time should be either 30 minutes in the fridge or 7.5 minutes in the freezer. The result should be a thick, gooey caramel.

Caramel in dishes
Step 5. Once the caramel has been chilling for 15 minutes if using the fridge or immediately if using the freezer, start the brownies. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4 and grease and line two baking tins the same size for the brownies both as close to 20 x 30cm as you can get.

Step 6. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Break the chocolate up into the saucepan and let it melt. Once all melted remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Put in the fridge to cool quickly. Once it is around body temperature, whisk in the eggs one at a time and then fold in the flour until incorporated. Pour the half the mixture into one tin and the remaining half into the second tin.

Add ChocolateAdd Egg Step 7. Take your caramel from the fridge, scoop out spoonfuls and dot them into the brownie mixture, pressing to submerge. Once you have a third of the caramel left, drizzle it on top, using your spoon to ripple it through.

Add Caramel
Step 8. Bake the brownies in the oven for about 25 minutes, until cooked but still a bit gooey. Leave to cool for 1 hour, cut into squares and serve.

You will know when the brownie is done as the sides should begin to come away from the edge. It may a little undercooked in comparison to cakes and brownies you have made before, but this could be the caramel which is just melted and will harden once cool. Try and look for the brownie areas and check they have slightly crusted and are shiny. You don’t want to overcook your brownie and burn it/dry it out. However undercooked brownie won’t equal a gooey brownie, it will just be raw!

Final Brownies

Best served warm with cream or ice cream. If you want to store the brownies for a day or two before eating, don’t cut the brownies, wrap the whole thing in cling film and store in the fridge. Cut into squares just before serving to ensure they remain moist.