Not only have I had a birthday (I'm in my early twenties and that's as specific as I'm prepared to be), but I have also moved house and run in my first ever vaguely competitive event.
Pretty much since my birthday, I have spent every minute thinking about the 10km that I finally ran on Sunday. I avoided alcohol all week (no mean feat, for me), chewed my way through endless slices of peanut butter toast, drank water like it was going out of fashion and planned everything from my pre-run breakfast to my route to the race.
After all that, the feeling of crossing the finish line was amazing, despite this photo, which would have you believe it sucked:
I then enjoyed a day of eating, drinking, wandering about complaining that my legs hurt and refusing to remove my medal.
When I woke up on Monday, my legs REALLY hurt. Selfishly, my friend Elena had refused to massage my calves the night before and now fhey had complefely seized up. I thought I was going to have to start a Royal Society for the Protection of Ellie's Legs, or RSPEL for short.
Vaguely remembering something about protein repairing muscles, I found some peanut butter and prepared to apply it liberally to my achy thighs and calves.
Luckily, my sister, who knows a lot more about these kind of things, intervened. She explained that protein in the form of peanut butter does not find its way to your sore muscles by way of osmosis through your skin - you have to actually eat it.
Understandably, I was disappointed. Who doesn't want to smear peanut butter all over themselves given the slightest excuse? Except people with peanut allergies, of course.
But I soon decided that if I couldn't cover myself in peanut butter, the next best thing was to eat it in the form of chocolate brownies. What could be better than the combination of salty, savoury, peanuts contrasting with sweet, rich, dark chocolate?
This recipe is adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery's chocolate brownie recipe and makes about 12-16 brownies, depending on how greedy you are.
You will need:
200g dark chocolate
175g crunchy peanut butter (preferably no added sugar)
325g caster sugar
25g roasted salted peanuts
90g white chocolate
1 deep rectangular baking tray, lined with greaseproof paper
1. Preheat the oven to 170C and set the dark chocolate and peanut butter in a bowl above a barely simmering pan of water. Leave until melted, stirring every now and then.
2. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the caster sugar.
3. Stir in the flour.
4. Beat in the eggs and spread the mixture evenly in the tray. Scatter over the peanuts and press them in gently. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
5. Remove the tray from the oven and melt the white chocolate in a bowl over a barely simmering pan of water. Either spoon it into a piping bag or use a teaspoon to drizzle it all over your tray of brownies.
6. Go all Jackson Pollock on your brownies.
You're done. Delicious, protein-rich brownies. The food of champions. Totally worth every twinge of pain, every time I thought I was going to puke on the track and every burst of speed I had to put on to overtake someone I'd been behind for two laps.