What is everyone doing for Valentine's Day? Dan and I are going to Berlin, so we will no doubt be eating currywurst and drinking steins of beer... so romantic.
I decided I would spread the romance further afield, however, and make all of my section managers a Valentine's card. I've been there two months now, and they are such a lovely bunch. They make going to work an absolute pleasure, and they've really taken on board the feedback I've been giving them.
I wanted them to know that I appreciate that they're trying their best for me. I think it's very rare to get much acknowledgement from your boss, especially in the current climate - everyone is busy and tired, a bit overwrought. But my god, you'd think I'd offered to double their pay. Which made doing it really fun.
I got to spend my whole day off drawing and painting, which I've been wanting to do for ages. Then I got to cheer people up by letting them know they're appreciated. What's not to love?
I also made these caramel brownies for a dinner party on Tuesday, and took the leftovers to work on Friday. They were waaay better on Friday - softer, more unctuous, fudgier. Might have had one for lunch on my day off too. The recipe was from Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries (you can find it
too) - they are, quite literally, the best brownies I've ever made. Dan reckons the best he's ever eaten.
The worst part was following the recipe so I'll simplify for you - beat the butter and sugar together (preferably with an electric mixer). Whisk the eggs and eggs yolk together, then mix that in too. Add melted chocolate and chopped chocolate. Add flour/cocoa/baking powder. Nigel makes it sound quite a lot more complicated.
The addition of the caramel was my own (just the tinned Carnation stuff) - I think I'd add salt the next time too. I was inspired by David Lebovitz's brownie recipes - I am going to have to do a chocolate mint one soon, and maybe a peanut butter cup one. I'm staying faithful to Nigel for the base though. A bit of crunch might have been nice - walnuts, maybe. And absolutely substitute one bar of dark chocolate for some milk stuff. Unimprovable. (That's a challenge).
I also started my Polpo octopus picture which I've been meaning to do for ages. Still lots of work to do on it but gosh it's nice to be drawing again.