There is the most gorgeous Oak tree just outside the window of our room in Basildene Manor.  The detailing in the room gives you a hint of the care that has gone into this property.  The garden is like an English garden with Quinces, Crab Apple trees, fuschia and daisies.  This is just  what I needed before the rush of Christmas. A place to recharge and ponder the beauty of nature.  My husband and I had flown across to Perth and then driven down to Margaret River to see this wonderful corner of Australia.

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Mornings are a delight, to wake up to the call of the Black Cockatoos and the cool fresh air after the humidity of Brisbane. We stumble down to the breakfast room and have trouble deciding what to indulge in first. The poached pears were delicious, either vanilla and star anise or red wine and berries.

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We visited wineries, beaches, small towns, junk shops, providores, chocolate factories, national parks and walked around the garden when we returned. It truly was a lovely vacation.

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Of course all good things come to an end and so I am back in Brisbane now and really starting to feel the rush of last minute Christmas errands. I have participated in Claire’s Creations secret foodie santa and so first thing on the list was to pack up some of my famous brownies to send to my unsuspecting recipients. Claire has supplied me with the name of three other food bloggers who I will send a parcel of brownies to and in return I will receive a food gift. What Fun!

These luscious dark chocolate brownies are what most people think of when then they think of me and so I thought it would make a great treat to send.  Only hope they survived Australia Post.

If you would like the recipe here it is again.

Chocolate Brownies

• 400 grams Milk or Dark Chocolate ( choose the best you can find, the highest cocoa value)

• 250 grams of unsalted butter

• 5 large eggs (free range)

• 1 cups of castor sugar

• 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence

• 1 cup of almond meal

• 200 grams of nuts (your choice) roasted in the oven till light brown. This is optional

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Prepare the baking tin with baking paper. Melt chocolate and butter in the microwave or over double boiler until runny. Stir in vanilla essence and set aside to cool a little. Beat eggs and sugar until thick and stir in the chocolate mixture. Add the almond meal and then hand stir in the nuts. (or you can just decorate the top of the brownie)When mixture is well combined spread into the baking pan and bake for almost 30 mins. (My oven is hot so I take them out after 25 mins) The surface should be flaky in appearance. Take from the oven and put in the fridge to cool.  Best left overnight then cut and serve when cooled.

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I do hope you and your friends and family have a enjoyable holidays season. I am on 612ABC talking about using Christmas leftover on Friday 18th of December , so listen in.

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