A Food & Travel Blog

Seasonal Secrets – 26 July

26/07/2011 | By

Confusion on the road to hell. “I told you we should have turned right at that last intersection!” (Image from Wikimedia Commons)

I’m sorry if this post confuses you, my lovely readers, as it is one that I usually manage to get up on a Friday or Saturday.  Last week we took advantage of school holidays and took ourselves off to Melbourne for most of the week, arriving home last night.  I took my laptop and the necessary technology to make sure I could post Seasonal Secrets as intended, but you know what they say about the road to hell and good intentions.

In a previous existence I lived in a share house in Melbourne and enjoy getting back there to catch up with good friends – generally over copious amounts of food and wine, check out whatever the NGV currently has on offer and do a spot of shopping – especially at some of the specialist food warehouses.  We didn’t manage to eat anywhere heart-stoppingly good in Melbourne on this trip (quite the opposite one night, in fact), but took a detour on the way home and enjoyed the fantastic local produce and Alla Wolf-Tasker’s remarkable cuisine in Daylesford at The Lake House.  Daylesford is just under two hours drive from Melbourne and a very pretty town, popular since Victorian times as a spa destination because of it’s natural effervescent mineral water and even more notable now because of Alla’s culinary skills – well worth a side trip on your way in or out of Melbourne.

While it’s very nice to eat out, the combination of five nights of restaurant meals plus a day either side of that at the mercy of roadhouses, meant that I was keen to get back into my own kitchen.  Our citrus trees have not been idle in my absence so it seemed like a pretty good idea to start trying to use up some of their fruit as soon as possible.  Accordingly, dinner last night was a roasted free-range chicken with a sprig of thyme and a halved lemon indecorously shoved up it’s clacker and this morning I rummaged around for some orange recipes.

Flicking through the pages of “Fat Witch Brownies” I happily fell upon a recipe for Orange Walnut Blondies.  I still have a small stash of the delicious locally grown and organic Enoomah Walnuts hidden away so wasted no time in putting this piece of wickedness together.  After all, one has to have something to snack on, on the road to hell.  Unusually for me I followed this recipe verbatim, resisting the urge to tweak, and it turned out perfectly.  Moist, chewy and – while they have just the right amount of oranginess – I intend crystalising some orange rind in the next week or so and think it might be a very tasty way to beef up the orange flavour even more.   The only real issue I had with the recipe was the utterly crazy suggestion that adding choc chips was optional.  Really – in what universe is adding chocolate ever optional?

Orange Walnut Blondies

Orange Walnut Blondies
Author: From “Fat Witch Brownies”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
  • 120 gms butter
  • 1 3/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • juice of one orange
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • zest of one orange
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup choc chips
  1. Grease 9″x9″ pan.
  2. Preheat oven to 160C
  3. Melt butter and sugar in small pan over low heat, stirring often. Cool to room temperature.
  4. Transfer butter/sugar mixture to medium mixing bowl, add eggs, one at a time, blending thoroughly.
  5. Add orange juice and vanilla, blend.
  6. Sift flour, baking powder and salt directly into batter and blend until well combined.
  7. Stir in zest, walnuts and choc chips.
  8. Pour into pan and bake for 30 minutes.
  9. Cool in pan, slice into squares to serve.

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  1. Isabelle

    Blondies… my grandson loves them. I sent him a “care” package of them last year while he was away at college. Will be trying this recipe for him soon.
    Thanks, Amanda

  2. Lee

    Hi Amanda, I know this is sacrilege (and probably you’ve never had any of these left over to test out so you may not know) but do you think these would freeze ok? I cook for a charity and have to stock up and freeze for intermittent delivery and would love to include these in the ‘menu’..

  3. Amanda

    Isabelle – we are big brownie fans in this house, so a blondie has to be pretty good to pass muster – and this one does.
    Lee – I can’t see why they wouldn’t freeze. I always freeze nuts to keep them fresh and choc chips should be ok, so no reason not to give it a try.

  4. Lee

    Watch this space – will let you know how it goes..

  5. tracey

    Just wondering what drove you first to a brownie book in search of orange recipes???

  6. Kate

    Here’s a piece of goss – Alla Wolf Tasker invited herself to dinner at my house many years back and I cooked for her and her husband !

  7. Amanda

    Tracey – you’d be surprised how often I find myself with my nose in a brownie recipe book!
    Kate – Wow. What did you cook?

  8. Debra

    I made the orange walnut blondies. They were a hit on the weekend.
    They’re delicious. Will be making again and so easy

  9. Amanda

    Debra – so glad you enjoyed them!