We had a massive weekend here on the farm over the long weekend, two weeks ago. I am helping my parents in their new business venture, Felton Harvest, which was established to value-add on the farm. Mum and Dad have started planting an orchard with the view to sell the fruit at local markets and then to make jams and preserves with the seconds. We are also going to be doing on-farm catering. We need a commercial kitchen to be able to do any of that, which is turning out to be a bit of a nightmare. The amount of paperwork that it takes to even apply to think about putting in a commercial kitchen is enough to put any one off, not to mention the fees associated with each piece of paper. You could pay a huge amount of money to not have the application approved at the other end. Needless to say, we’re not very happy with our local council. Whilst we’re in the planning stages of the commercial kitchen, we will be holding events as fundraisers (you don’t need a license if you’re not making a profit) so we can support the local community, as well as advertise our brand.
Our first fundraiser was over the long weekend. We sold 95 tickets, which was only five short of capacity. We held the lunch in one of our haysheds, surrounded by our barley and chickpea crops, so everyone would be under cover as well as be able to see the crops. As it is the International Year of Pulses this year, we wanted to celebrate chickpeas and demonstrate to people just how versatile chickpeas are. Felton Harvest produced the starter and the desserts and Firefly Café from Toowoomba provided the catering for the main course. Chickpeas were incorporated into each of the dishes and barley was used in part of the main course. People came from as far away as Brisbane for the lunch. There was a tour of the crops to start the day off and my husband had his first exhibition of his photography, which you can check out here and here. People were able to see the chickpeas and the barley growing, speak to the farmer growing the crop and then see how easy it is to create wonderful, tasty food with those products. We ended up raising $1500 for a local cancer wellness centre and one of the guests matched our donation so it was a very successful day.
My job was to create one of the desserts. I was a little sceptical about whether I could make a dessert with chickpeas that people actually wanted to eat, so I took to the internet to do some research and after a bit of looking, I decided to try a recipe by Lucullian Delights. The end result wasn’t too bad but I modified the recipe a bit and I think I’ve nailed it! Someone even wrote a review saying that they were to die for! I’ve made regular brownies since then and I think I’m going to stick to the chickpea recipe from now on. The recipe produces a brownie which is fudgy on the inside and crisp on the outside which is perfection in my eyes. So here is my take on chickpea brownies, which are of course, gluten free. (Please note: if you enjoy eating the batter more than the baked goods, this recipe is not for you. The flour makes the batter taste like a raw chickpea as opposed to chocolate but don’t worry, the end product doesn’t taste like chickpeas at all, as long as you cook it properly).
- 3 eggs
- 100g caster sugar
- 100g brown sugar
- 150g unsalted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- pinch of salt
- 100g dark chocolate
- 4 tbsp cocoa
- 80g chickpea flour
- 75g white chocolate pieces
- Pre-heat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan-forced). Line the bottom of a 25cmx23cm cake tin with baking paper and grease the sides with a little butter.
- Melt the butter and chocolate in a small bowl over a saucepan of simmering water or a double cooker, if you are lucky enough to have one. Make sure that the simmering water does not touch the bottom of the bowl with the chocolate in it, as chocolate does not enjoy the high temperature. I have melted the butter and chocolate together just in a saucepan without any trouble but I had to watch it like a hawk.
- Whilst the chocolate is melting, beat the eggs, both sugars and the vanilla in a bowl together until well combined. Add the salt. Add the chocolate mixture slowly and then sieve in the flour and cocoa powder. Mix until just combined. Add the white chocolate pieces.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for approximately 35-40 minutes. I find my oven is a little unreliable so it may take longer. Once a skewer comes out of the brownies clean, the brownies are cooked. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan before placing onto a cooling rack.
For the fund-raiser lunch, I served the brownies with freshly whipped cream and strawberry sauce which I found the recipe for, on the internet. These brownies store very well in an air-tight container for about a week.