Brown Sugar Berry Blondies and Some Notes on Filming and Feeding a Crew

Yesterday our kitchen was transformed.

When I asked if a  very talented friend might help film a recipe from the low/slow carb ebook I’m not quite sure what I was expecting. Perhaps a steady hand to hold a camera. Someone to do a close up or two of the pot while I was stirring.

I never expected this.

That’s the thing about people who are very good at what they do. They’re dedicated.

I’m now writing this from the other side of a terrific day.

In the spirit of passing on some new found knowledge, here are some things I gleaned over the course of seven hours of filming and fun with some real experts.

1)Don’t even dream of filming at London’s Borough Market without a special letter giving you permission. Thanks to the amazing connections and organisational capabilities of my director, we had one. Within the first ten minutes there we had to brandish it to security twice.

2) There’s an art to shopping for produce on film, which I haven’t quite cracked yet. I think it involves walking a little slower than normal ( I dart around that place with a cracking pace most days). Then you pick things up, and put them down. Smell them as often as you can. Consider different sizes. And try not to lose the crew in a crowded market when you’ve got your phone turned onto airplane mode.

3) When it comes to dressing a set, straight lines and squares are the enemy of lovely shots. Curves and waves, flourishes and fronds are not. These are all much more interesting to look at.

4) If you kitchen is a terracotta and pine relic from the early 1990’s then some bursts of green freshness are good. The latest addition, behind my head is a wee bay tree. Not only will it be eminently useful and smell lovely, but it helps fill the ‘dead’ space against that rear wall. Dead space is not good. Your eyes are hungry and like to look at things.

c/o oliverwarren Instragram

5) You want to have a bench in which you can chop, right in front of the camera. It’s just easier that way. If your kitchen is set up like that, terrific. If not, improvise with your side bench, swivelled around, chocked up on boxes and made more attractive with draping sprays of parsley (there’s going to be a lot of chimichurri made in this flat next week).

6) Proper lighting makes all the difference. It’s an art.

7) If you’re going to be wearing a microphone, then a black top is probably best.

8 ) Don’t to too much talking while holding or fondling a knife. You’ll look a little…unhinged.

9) A crew like beverages. Water and coffees all help. And at the end of the day, a Leffe seems to go down well.

10 ) It’s pretty poor form not to wait for the director to say ‘action’ before you start talking.

11) Don’t look up to the left as soon as you finish a sentence. It’s going to be really annoying when it comes time to edit.

12) There are more planes flying overhead in London than you’d  ever expect. Wait until they’ve passed before you start.

13) Have plenty of food on hand. You may need to do the ‘breaking egg shot’ a few times to get a perfect focus (there’s a reason The Hungry One had a frittata for lunch today).

14) A crew also doesn’t mind being fed.

In this instance, it was these.

As chestnut as they appear, these are blondies, not brownies. They’re sticky with brown sugar and gooey from smushed blackberries and small nuggets of dark chocolate.

Caramel, chocolate and berries. It’s a great triad if ever there was one.

Beyond that, they’re an absolute doddle to pull together. There’s no whisking or creaming, just the melting of butter with sugars, then folding in self raising flour and flavourings.

They’re a lovely mix of flaky top and pliant centre. They’re sweet, but a sprinkle of salt and the zip of some berries helps pull them back from the brink. They’re a sound snack with an espresso, but they also are lovely warmed slightly with globes of ice cream melting slowly over the top.

This recipe makes about 12 of them. Which seems to be about the right number to feed a director, a DOP and enough to send them home with something wrapped in brown paper.

It’s not nearly enough to begin to say thank you, but it’s a small start.

 Brown sugar Berry Blondies


Makes 12 Blondies


1 mixing bowl. 1 baking dish, size of an A4 sheet of paper. Greaseproof paper.


100 grams of unsalted butter
120 grams of brown muscavado sugar
100 grams of caster sugar
1 egg
1 cup of Self Raising flour
pinch of salt
150 grams of berries (blackberries are lovely)
50 grams of dark chocolate, cut into small pebbly chunks

Here’s how we roll

1) Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F and line the baking tray with greaseproof paper.

2) Combine the butter and the sugars together in a heat proof bowl.

3) Melt the butter with the sugar, either in a microwave, or over a pan of boiling water.

4) Stir to combine the melted butter with the sugars. Crack in the egg and stir well to combine.

5) Sift in the Self Raising flour and add a pinch of salt.

6) Stir to combine. Add the berries and the chocolate pebbles. Smush some of the berries so they soften and leak out some of their juice into the mix.

7) Transfer mix to the paper-lined baking tray. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a cake skewer from the centre comes out without wet mixture clinging to it. A little bit of goo is ok, but not complete sog.

8) Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove. Don’t try to cut until they are cool.

  1. The e-book is fab – great recipes, I highly recommend it to anyone reading who hasn’t downloaded it already!

  2. Very sweet of you to feed your crew 🙂 Loving this recipe too!

  3. Awesome!! I bought the e-book as support! =)

  4. This is unspeakably wonderful, amazing, and delicious! Can’t wait to see the video – and in the meantime I shall try my hand and these blondie lovelies.

  5. Sounds fun and terrifying at the same time… perfect time to have a comforting blondie.

  6. YUM! I am totally trying these blondies. Mmmm mmm. Great Instagram shot, you look fab!

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