one to steer clear of if you’re throwing yourself balls deep into a new year diet…
Happy New Year! How’s your January going so far? Are you in the “Yas! I’m totally ready to kick 2022’s butt!” camp? Or are you in the “Nope. Still making my way through a fridge-load of festive cheese and chocs and burying my head under the duvet for the forseeable” camp? I mean, how is it even 2022? Let’s just chew on that for mo, shall we?
January is one of those months I feel like you either love or loathe. It gets a bad rep; Christmas is over and without the twinkle of festive lights the dark mornings and long nights just feel even darker, even longer. Those first couple of weeks of January just feel like one long hangover with no end in sight; summer’s still a long way off – hell, spring’s barely even on the horizon – and yet, it feels like you’re expected to fizz over with that whole new year get up and go energy. Book a holiday! Join a gym! Write down your goals for the year! Clean your house! Sell your house! Start a side hustle!
Hands up if you’re being personally victimised by your targeted advertising over on Instagram right now. I mean, literally as soon as midnight ticked over on the 1st of January, the app became like the very worst version of a pushy mother. Mine jumped right in there and started harassing me about having another baby with ads for Clearblue Ovulation Sticks and Fertility Tracking Apps. Then it started whinging about work, dangling ads for Creative Writing Courses and Ebooks and Webinars about “How to finally land that six figure publishing deal”. Then it tutted over my organisation skills by telling me to buy myself a Papier Diary (swing and a miss on that one; ha! I like to trawl TK Maxx for mid year planners every September so I’m all sorted on that one). And that was all on top of its usual complaints about my clothes and skin.
And it’s downright dangerous because – like a pushy parent – those targeted ads know exactly what your weaknesses are and how to land a gut punch. Especially if you’re a committed January-hater – because instead of landing the ol’ “kick up the bum” you’d like to get going and attack the new year and all your goals for it, it just ends up making you feel like shit. Like you’ve failed before you’ve even started. The pressure to make things happen is just too much.
A few years ago, I became a January convert because I decided to just… let it pass by in whatever way I needed it to. Instead of setting goals, and forming new habits and trying to fix myself, I decided to just take the month slowly and spend it doing the things I loved. I didn’t make any resolutions, or plans or set any targets or goals – I just focused on being happy, day to day. No pressure. I wrote for the fun of it, I cooked my favourite food, dipped in and out of books, went for long walks with the dog, mucked around on the Playstation with my husband… and by the end of the month I’d reset and recharged myself enough to feel a bit clearer on what I wanted to do for the rest of the year. January’s a bit like getting in a cold pool; some people like to just hurl themselves into the freezing waters in the deep end, I need to dip my toes in first. Acclimatize.
These days, I absolutely love January; it’s the perfect time of year to enjoy living slowly. I’ve still got a few goals for the year in mind, but I’m treating January like probation – easing into them slowly and not expecting much straight away. No pressure!
And with the whole “doing only the things that I love” thing in mind, I got baking and whipped up – quite literally – this Chocolate Brownie Meringue Cake. It’s just… *chef kiss*, and probably one to steer clear of if you’re throwing yourself balls deep into a new year diet. A gooey, chocolaty meringue base and a crunchy, chewy meringue topping. The perfect mix. I’ve put it in a cake tin, but you could just as easily divide it up into individual brownies. Definitely a keeper.
Chocolate Brownie Meringue Cake
For the Cake:
- 2 large eggs, separated into whites and yolks
- 250g butter
- 2 tsp cocoa
- 250g caster sugar
- 250g Nutella (or melted chocolate if you prefer)
- 50g self raising flour
- 50g ground almonds
- pinch of salt
For the Meringue:
- 2 egg whites
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 tsp cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 tsp cornflour
- 1 tsp vinegar
- Set your oven to 160°C (fan) and lightly grease and line a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin.
- Gently melt together your butter and sugar in a saucepan on a medium-low heat, then leave to cool slightly.
- Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl, and then add the Nutella and cocoa powder.
- Add the egg yolks slowly (you don’t want them to scramble into the warm brownie mix!). Stir in the flour, ground almonds and salt.
- Whip the egg whites until fluffy, and then gently fold them into the mixture.
- Pour the batter into the cake tin, and then cake for 40 minutes.
- When the brownie cake’s got around 20 minutes left of cooking time, make your meringue. To do this, whisk your egg whites until fluffy, and then slowly add the caster sugar – whilst still whippin’! Whisk the whites to stiff peaks (you should be able to hold the bowl upside down over your head without turning into an abominable snowman…), then marble in the sifted cocoa powder.
- Pour the meringue onto the surface of the cake, and then bake for another 25 minutes.
- Let the cake cool inside the tin before scoffing (easier said than done!). 🙂
Have a lovely week!