Despite living a kilometre from our nearest neighbour and more from the nearest tarmac road, there are nights I hardly sleep a wink due to noise pollution. First, there are the cuckoos that I find very challenging; there’s something extremely provocative about the way they ‘cuck’ at random intervals. Then there are the barking deer – they apparently ‘bark’ to mark out their territory. Deer: as appealing as you are, please go and mark out your territory out of ear-shot, or in the daytime. Alternatively, take a leaf out of Hugo’s book and cock your leg (silently) on a tree. On cool nights, the horses rejoice with much noisy, vigorous galloping and bucking. Then there are the ‘break dancing toads’ that amuse themselves at night by dancing in front of our light sensors to switch them on and off, making Hugo bark furiously and at great length. Idem, hedgehogs (the dancing, not the barking). Lastly, from November to February, we have migratory cranes that fly overhead in the very early morning squarking loudly as they go.
These brownies somewhat compensate for lack of sleep. For me dark chocolate and prunes is a match made in heaven.
Hugo and Léo catching up on some sleep
Ingredients (makes about 12):
10 prunes, pitted
55ml Armangnac or rum
1 tin of cooked chickpeas (400g), rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons organic cocoa powder
2 tablespoons agave syrup
200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids min.)
20g organic virgin coconut oil
Ideally, you should soak the prunes in the alcohol overnight. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Blend the chickpeas well, then add the soaked prunes, cocoa powder, almonds, agave syrup and eggs. Blend a little more until the almonds are roughly chopped and the eggs are beaten. Slowly melt the chocolate, butter and coconut oil in a saucepan or bain-marie, being careful not to burn. Once melted, add the chocolate mixture to the chickpea mixture and combine well. Spoon into a tin roughly 25 x 25cm (or equivalent). Cook for 25 minutes.