books & chocolate

The pairing of books and chocolate seems something very natural to me. Books open my mind and chocolate — chocolate adds deep sensual experience! What can be better? What a nice idea to start a blog pairing – I first heard of this through Camille cometparty on ravelry and I was tagged by Erica :). Yay!

Books can be sweet. Bittersweet. And longlasting.

Foremost books that keep getting in your hands for a second, third, fourth time.

mansfield-parkphoto credit: cwasteson via photopin cc

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Isn’t it weird how this book and story is something I deeply love? Why especially this Austen book?

I enjoy Pride and Prejudice, I like the ease of Emma and I dwell on Sense and Sensibility. But it is Fanny Price who keeps me caught  in her tiny ethical, bound-in-honor hand. I won’t tell you the whole story in detail here – there are enough sources for that on the web (perhaps here). But I will tell you why Fanny is my hero!

Raised by her rich relatives – in order to be of help for a poor mother with a drunken husband and too many children – she is no typical Cinderella or a victim. She grows to a shy, sincere, intelligent and deeply feeling woman. There are many things that are important to her — to help others, to keep her own mind and trust her intuition and position in life. She knows the value of respect and of following her own way of living a happy and fulfilled life — which will be a source of conflict. She has a deep trust in what is right and wrong, always in mind what is supporting and nurturing in life in contrast to destroying and hurting lifestyles.  Her two beautiful but spoiled and self-absorbed cousins Maria and Julia play with love without recognizing the deep impact real feelings and relationships can have. Fanny falls deep in love with her cousin Edward and she never stops loving him despite the many fallbacks and difficulties that arrise. Fanny is no helpless prey to the rich and unethical Mr. Crawford who flirts with her two cousins Maria and Julia although Maria is officially engaged to another young man – rich but a bit short-witted.

Fanny is constant and very clear of her own way and what she is able to do and what not. She is a true and honest character. Not loud, not prominent, not running around. Just gentle and amiable in her support of others.

There is not a lot of action in Jane Austen books – that is why many people might think of her books as boring repetitions of social trivia. Au contraire ;). The action is inside. It is the deep connection between the interaction of people with very different opinions, beliefs and lifestyles and the emotions this gives birth to. And let us be honest – the most  life-changing moments we have in our life are based on emotional response. So Jane Austen’s books really are action-packed. Just do not expect any crashes, sky-diving or murderous thriller. But anything else can be found here: treachery, hate, jealousy, lazyness, coupling, pride, vanity – friendship, reliability, steadiness, love, trust,  tolerance, helpfulness. Her books are treasure chests of human interactions. Ah, and the fine art of conversation! I love these conversations so very much…

Fanny Price. What a woman. Some may find her too judgemental and self-righteous. I believe she remains true to herself without lacking in any possible way in helpfulness. By the way, the perfect film version is still to be awaited…

When I think of chocolate, peppermint always comes into my mind — it is fresh, this combination.

Did you ever try a chocolate cake with some peppermint leaves inside? Yessssss. A rich and heavy dark chocolate cake with mint leaves, a bit of whipped cream on top and some Earl Grey – that would be my perfect pairing of chocolate to Mansfield Park – a classical brownie and something clearly striking!

brownie

 photo credit: roboppy via photopin cc

 

Here is one of my favorite recipes of brownies with mint – have a good time baking and reading!!!

200 g dark chocolate 150 g milk chocolate 100 g butter (no salt), 100 g ground almonds, app. ten dried mint leaves (preferably from your own garden ;)) 2 heaping tablespoons of flour, 100 g sugar, 5 eggs (M), 1 pinch salt, 1 brownie dish (approx. 24 x 24 cm)

Step 1

Chop the two types of chocolate separately and not too finely. Melt 100 g dark and 100g milk chocolate and the butter over low heat  in a small saucepan while stirring. Crumble the mint leaves to tiny pieces and add this to the chocolate-butter-mix.

Step 2

Preheat the oven to 200 ° (fan oven 180 °). Line the brownie pan with baking paper. Mix the almonds with the flour.

Step 3

Just mix sugar, eggs and salt with the churning of the hand mixer, not foamy. Then stir the chocolate-butter mixture into it. After that, subject the almond flour mixture quickly. Spread the dough into the pan. Sprinkle the dough with the rest of the milk chocolate and lightly press it into the dough. In the oven (middle) bake 15-18 minutes. Leave in the mold to cool.

Step 4

Pour the remaining bittersweet chocolate in a small bowl and let it melt over the hot water bath. Cover the cake with the chocolate coat and let it dry. Then cut the cake into brownies. Yum. Hugs,

Kati

And now I tag you, dear Christine !!

 

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5 Comments

  1. ekaterin4luv

    Mansfield park, I didn’t see that one coming. But the longer I think about it, it makes perfect sense, because it is a book that needs to be savoured rather than devoured.

    To tell you the truth, I had to consult my posting on bookrossing.com to find out what i thought about Mansfield Park. I knew I read it, but altogether P6P tends to stand out more in my mind.
    “Well well, another Austen heroine with a backbone! My compliments. But altogether, I’d say Pride and Prejudice was spunkier and Northanger Abbey was wittier than Mansfield Park. But on the whole not as much dripping with morale as Persuasion.”

    And now I need to find some chocolate and a brownie form, that brownie looks absolutely delicious!

    • kati

      Yes, Austen is kind of different. I have grown into it during my teenager time – starting with Pride and Prejudice and I very much liked the witty conversations! After that I could not stop. And I adore these dresses (yes, I always wanted to be a princess when I was young and I never was because I had short hair and everybody thought I was a boy. This has still left this yearning after wearing a dress like this – at least in my day dreams ;)).

    • kati

      Well. I am bit uncertain of the movie – on the one hand I like Frances very much in her role. But there is the shy side of Fanny which I could not find in her acting. And, on the other hand, there is a lot added or deepened which was not the main point in the book – mostly about the father and his work and sexual habits. I did not see him this way (although this could be a possible interpretation/addition).
      Overall, I prefer other BBC series of Jane Austen, like Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth (I will always burst into tears at the end…) and Sense and Sensibility. And I adore Kate Beckinsale as Emma!!

      These brownies are on my holiday wishlist. And I won’t count the calories ——

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