Friday, January 23, 2015

Jammie Dodger inspired Cupcakes.

Welcome back to Cake Friday!

This week I was feeling a little inventive with my cupcakes and I am on a secret mission (well not now anyway - haha) to turn chocolate bars, ice-cream and biscuit flavours into delicious cupcakes. So throughout the year I will be including a range of product inspired cupcakes into the mix on Cake Fridays. 

I made a biscuit base, which lined the bottom of the cupcake case. However in my opinion it required more butter or less biscuits, which would make it more compact and less crumbly. 

I used my favourite vanilla cake recipe to bake on top of the biscuit base (150g plain biscuits + 80g melted butter - mixed together). The centre of the cake was cored and filled with delicious strawberry jam. Finally frosted with vanilla buttercream and topped with a wedge of a Jammie Dodger biscuit or a dollop of jam and a sprinkle of leftover biscuit crumbs. 

I hope you enjoyed this different Cake Friday post and make sure you stay tuned for the delicious flavour! I have decided that I will be reducing the amount of Cake Friday's, due to my upcoming study session. I know that I have changed my schedule more times than I can remember - but I will write an update for Monday hopefully finalising it all. 

M x 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Malteser Brownies.

Happy Thursday everyone! 

What better way to start off the weekend than making your whole kitchen smell like freshly baked chocolate brownie goodness. This is no ordinary brownie recipe either - a chewy, malted dark chocolate brownie that is jam packed with Maltesers to give it an extra burst of flavour, texture and crunch! 

These brownies are simply the bees knees. It is important as with any brownie recipe not to over bake them. I tend to remove mine from the oven quite early, because as with any bake, it continues to bake once removed from the oven. 

Yes as soon as you open that oven door and get the first sniff of the baked bars it will hard to resist to eat them, but trust it will be all worth it if you wait until all the components are added. 

I definitely found after a number of trials to firstly bake them for less time so that the brownies remain gooey on the inside and crisp on the out. To allow the brownie batter to cool slightly before adding any additional elements, otherwise it will melt and the flavours will be gone and not as visible. Lastly, work quickly when distributing the batter, so that you do not loose any Maltesers in the heat - of course it is ok for them to melt slightly, as a marble affect will happen, however you want to keep as many chunks of Maltesers as possible. 

I opted for a small ice-cream scoop to dollop on a smooth and creamy scoop of dark chocolate ganache - the perfect amount to cream together the gooey brownie mix and crunch from the Maltesers.

Of course I am all about presentation and I always ask myself the same question: "Would these be worthy enough to sell?" For me bakes have to be visually tempting, simple and certainly delicious and of course worth the selling price!  

Chocolate Malteser Brownie Recipe 
200g unsalted butter 
200g dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa solids) 
150g Caster Sugar 
220g Brown Sugar 
4 eggs, lightly beaten 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
180g plain flour 
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt 
3 tablespoons malt powder 
200g Maltesers - half (100g) roughly chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 180-degrees// 160 fan forced// gas mark 4. Line a 23 x 33 baking tin or an individual square baking tray (what I used) with parchment paper or spray cooking oil. 

2. In a medium pan set over a medium heat melt the chocolate and butter together. Whisk in the sugars until fully incorporated and remove from the stove. Firmly whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract, until completely combined and the batter has slightly thickened. 

3. Sift the dry ingredients into the saucepan and mix until just combined. Allow to cool for around 5 minutes otherwise all of your Maltesers will melt completely. 

4. The next stage will require you to move quickly. Stir in the roughly chopped Maltesers (100g). Scoop the batter into the prepare tin/ tray, 3/4 to almost full as brownies do not rise considerably. Evenly distribute the whole Maltesers throughout the batter by pushing down slightly into the mix. (It is ok to have some showing and popping out the top.) 

5. Bake the tray of brownies for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer is inserted a only a few moist crumbs are attached. Otherwise bake the individual squares for 15-18 minutes following the same process. 

6. Allow to cool in the pan completely before removing and serving. 

So what are you waiting for? indulge and get cracking baking these brownies - you certainly won't regret it! 

M x 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

An Italian inspired grilled cheese sandwich.

This Italian inspired grilled cheese sandwich is very simple with only four main ingredients, but it is bursting with flavour and textures.

Who doesn't love perfectly ripened ruby red tomatoes, fresh creamy mozzarella and fragrant basil. Of course combined all together and wedged between slices of baguette makes a delicious grilled cheese sandwich.

The mozzarella melts into a creamy and gooey mess. The heat on the tomatoes helps to reduce more of their sweet juice and the powerful basil flavour is delectable alongside the golden toast.

These grilled cheese sandwiches are perfect for a midnight snack, or to impress some over lunch (as it is so simple and easy, but rather fancy and delicious). 

The crunchy toast, juicy tomatoes and gooey mozzarella = a fancy and delightful grilled cheese sandwich! 

A delicious grilled cheese sandwich - enjoy! 

M x 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Chocolate Chunk & Raspberry Cookies.


These cookies are seriously the softest kind I have ever baked. Each mouthful is a crumble of chocolate with a burst of raspberries - making it delicate and powerful with flavour. 

The base of this cookie is cocoa with the addition of chocolate chunks for an extra burst of sugary delight. The rich fruity flavour from the raspberries adds a completely new element of sharp flavour. 

As per most recipes - this cookie recipe is genuinely simple, easy and most importantly you could just about make it in one bowl. 

Chocolate Chunk and Raspberry Cookies 
125g unsalted butter, softened
165g firmly packed light brown sugar 
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
150g plain flour 
35g self-raising flour 
35g cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
90g dark chocolate, roughly chopped 
125g frozen raspberries

1. Preheat the oven to 180-degrees and line baking trays with parchment paper. 

2. Beat the butter, sugar, egg and vanilla extract in a medium sized mixing bowl with an electric mixer until combined. Stir in the sifted flours, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda - in two batches if required. Then fold through the chocolate and raspberries. 

3. Drop tablespoons (or an ice-cream scoop) of the mixture onto the prepared trays, flatten slightly. Bake for 12 minutes. 

4. Stand cookies on trays 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Mix and match the different chocolate flavours with different berries - for example; white chocolate and blueberries. Store the cookies in a secure container for up to a week if kept in the fridge, otherwise 4-5 days in the cupboard.

Enjoy - 
M x 

Monday, January 19, 2015

My favourite ways to procrastinate.

Let's face it we all like to procrastinate - no matter much of a hard worker you are, we all find ourselves avoiding those tedious task. So instead of just sitting and procrastinating, I am going to share some of my favourite ways to procrastinate so that your 'break time' becomes a little bit more productive. This also allows your mind to have a break and think about something else rather than to just sit stare into space contemplating east you have to do.

1. Pinterest: is of course the ultimate source of procrastination. There is always a continuous flow of new pins and pincers to discover, which will automatically keep your mind occupied for a duration of I time. I do love to occasionally reorganise my boards and give them new cover picture. 

2. Flat hunting: I occasionally find myself on Foxtons or Right Move's website more often than I should be. I continuously gaze over the beautiful homes that are certainly not in my budget at this exact moment, but are definitely lovely to look at and dream of the lives that are lived within each and my life also. Oh someday it might actually come true - never say never! 

3. YouTube: hands down I love YouTube. To be honest I spend an unhealthy amount of time watching videos. I sometimes get lost in watching my subscription feed videos or just random ones that are linked in the recommendations or description boxes of the videos itself - that my morning or evening is gone in the blink of an eye, making my time not very productive at all. I am scared to look in my video history to see how many videos I have watched in total, as the last time I checked it was at 6,000+ and that was in the last 3 years. This is now my fourth year of watching YouTube and what can I say I jut love YouTube. 

4. Daydreaming: I mostly do this when eating, driving or simply dazing - the most random times really. There are always fantasy stories popping into my head wondering how different my life would be if I ventured down different paths. I tend to ask my questions like: what would I do if won the lottery, or if I lived in New York City, or what it would be like working my dream job?

5. List making: everyone that knows me can tell you that I am an avid list maker, usually for more reasons than necessary. I tend to rewrite the same list more than once, usually to avoid doing something, as a lot of the lists I write do not serve much of a purpose anyway. So as I love lists a large amount of stationery is required - pretty notebook collections, pens and of course highlighters and sticky notes are a must to. 

6. Tidying & Organising: The majority of the time (well in the late afternoon) I will come to a stop with all my motivation, especially if I have already been up at about 6am. My mind will start to wander and I will become restless, making it easier to get bored - that is why I have become obsessive with organsing my room and work space. This can happen at least a couple times a week - certainly with my work space and work routine.

7. Baking: is certainly a passion of mine and is one of the perfect sources of procrastination. You can spend a small or long amount of time pottering in the kitchen making a beautiful and delicious creation. There are no limits with what you can make and there is Google and Pinterest a click away for a inspirational recipe. Definitely one of my go-to tasks for procrastinating or a general activity.

8. Google searches: I love coming across new websites that are full of inspiration. Instagram accounts, blogs, craft stores, home ware shops, travel and pretty much anything down that avenue. I love discovering something new and seeing what potential motivation and inspiration it delivers. I would say that this occurs the most, due to me constantly being on the Internet and my mind (and eyes) wander very easily - concentration for a long period of time is not my cup of tea. 

So how do you like to procrastinate? 

M x 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Basic Vanilla Sponge.

Hello all! 

For the very first Cake Friday I will be hitting it off with an extremely basic recipe that everyone needs in there recipe collection - a vanilla sponge. 

This is so simple and easy - you could even make the recipe into a one bowl creation - just measure as you go! Save time sifting the dry ingredients into a separate bowl and just load all the ingredients into the one bowl! 

There are hundreds of different vanilla cake recipes in cookery books and now on the inter web. I have found the perfect recipe that is light, fluffy, packed with vanilla goodness that makes your taste buds jumping (well not literally!) 

I always use this recipe for the base of most of my cakes, and I will then incorporate different flavours and twists to make each one different. Of course everyone will have their own recipe, but this one seems to work for me each time, so I can't complain! 

This recipe is from Cupcake Jemma the founder and creator of Crumbs and Doilies Bakery - an incredible business that produces outstanding cakes and cupcakes daily from their head office in Wandsworth and now their little shop in SoHo London. 

A huge inspiration to me for business goals and bakery dreams. 

 Vanilla Cake Recipe: 
250g unsalted butter, softened 
4 large free range eggs 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
3 tablespoons whole milk 
250g self-raising flour 
250g caster sugar 
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1. Preheat the oven to 170-degrees and line a 10 inch cake tin (or patty pans in a muffin tray for cupcakes) 
2. Sift the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and pour in the butter and crack in the eggs. Beat until fully combined. Stir in the vanilla extract and milk, mixing until light and creamy. 
3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and then give the mix a final blast for 30 seconds. 
4. Pour the cake batter into the prepare cake tin - making sure the top of the mix is level. If making cupcakes - fill the cases 3/4 full. 
5. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden and a skewer comes out clean once inserted. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack for the final stage of cooling. 

Serve with whipped cream and berries, chocolate drizzle, buttercream frosting or simply on its own with a cup of tea or coffee! 

Whip up a delicious soft and creamy vanilla buttercream to lather on top or you can easily spoon the cake batter into individual cupcake cases for small sweet treats! 

Enjoy - come back next Friday and every Friday after that (hopefully) for another delicious cake or cupcake recipe… 

M x 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

{Four} Breakfast Scenes.

1. A granola affair. {Almond milk and crunchy nutty oat goodness.}
2. Scrumptious pancakes. {For the days when cereal and milk don't quite cut it.}
3. A Sunday breakfast treat. {Those lazy Sunday's that require a full feast of delicious foods.}
4. Freshly brewed coffee and donuts. {Coffee has an incredible aroma for the morning time - donuts smell equally as fresh and delightful. This is the perfect combination for the time when you'd rather be eating dessert, than breakfast.}

M x 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

5 reasons to love being a morning person.

Let's face it a lot of people are either an early riser or a night owl. I spent many of my earlier years as a bed monster and would refuse to budge if I didn't have to, because at such a small age what are the real benefits of rising early - apart from on Christmas? As the years have gone by, I have discovered and formed a solid sleeping pattern and routine - obviously on occasion it slips, but 9/10 I stick to it. 

Today I am going to share 5 reasons why being a morning person it actually beneficial. 

Breakfast will become your favourite meal of the day. As people say 'breakfast is the most important meal of the day!' I honestly do not understand how people manage the morning on an empty stomach? I love experimenting with breakfast recipes throughout the week and making the most out of my meal so that it becomes my favourite and nutritious. My personal favourites are cereal and milk (yes boring, but scrumptious if the right cereal is chosen.)  poached eggs on toast, porridge (various flavours - post coming soon) yoghurt and granola. 

Building a better sleeping pattern. The earlier you rise, the earlier you will head to bed in the evening. I tend to go to bed about 9 - 9:30pm (I am genuinely an old lady I know…) and will wake at about 6am. If I have late nights, it does take a while to get back on track - however having 8-9 hours of sleep a night is defiantly rewarding. 

Work in a little physical exercise. Working out in the morning will make you feel 100% more awake, energetic and positive towards your day. I love to take a walk outside in the fresh air as soon as I get up, or if the weather is miserable or I want a change yoga is defiantly soothing for the soul and certainly beneficial for the mind. Alternatively I will complete a work out - cardio or strength training around 7am for about 1 hour 5 days a week. You can fit this in along with your breakfast, shower and getting ready routine all before 9am, which means you are back to your normal time of proceeding with work or your house jobs. 

Start ticking off that to-do list. I tend to be the most productive in the first few hours of the day, and I manage to cross off a decent portion of my to-do list by midday. The earlier that you start ticking off your jobs the better you will feel for the rest of the day. 

Throw in a little me time. Always spending a lot of your time glued to your laptop or indoors certainly feels might be produce, but you can feel trapped and there is always something to procrastinate about. Waking up early allows you to have the whole day ahead, which means that there is a spare time to fit in an hour or so of relaxation and catch up on all your favourite things. 

I tend to scroll through Instagram, whilst eating my breakfast. I love to watch and unhealthy about of YouTube videos and will usually have them playing in the background whilst I am getting ready for the day. (Sometimes I get to carried away I can sit for a whole hour watching!) I also like to grab a book when I can - either before bed so that I am not stuck to an electronic device right before I sleep or at lunchtime if the weather is nice I will sit under the summer sun and soak in the vitamin D. 

What about you, are you are morning person or a night owl? 

M x 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Milk Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cookies.

I currently have a slight obsession with salted caramel, which meant that I had to create a delicious cookie recipe to bake and share. 

These cookies are incredibly easy to make and does not require additional salted caramel to made on the stove top - as this can easily turn into a nightmare. 

When baking cookies, you have to make sure to only bake them long enough to be golden and very slightly crisp, because once you remove them from the oven they will continue baking. The end result should soft, chewy and oozing with chocolate chunks and caramel drizzle. 

I use an ice-cream scoop to perfect the size of my cookie. It is ideal to also roll the ball between your hands in order to gain a smooth surface, which should prevent the cookie from bursting out in every direction once in the oven - but you never know what will happen behind the oven door as soon as it hits the heat! 

Milk Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cookies. 
225g unsalted butter, at room temperature 
220g caster sugar
220g brown sugar 
2 eggs, lightly beaten 
1-teaspoon vanilla extract 
1-teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1-teaspoon baking powder
500g plain flour 
1.5-teaspoons sea salt + extra 
400g milk chocolate, roughly chopped (no chips) 
400g caramel chocolate 

1. Preheat the oven to 170-degrees and line cookie pans with parchment paper. 
2. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder - stir in the sea salt. 
3. Beat the butter and sugars together using an electric mixer until smooth and creamy - about three minutes. 
4. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Then add the vanilla extract and mix well. 
5. In three additions add in the dry mixture, mixing until just combined. Lightly fold in all the chocolate. 
6. Using an ice-cream scoop or your hands, form balls of dough - about 60g per cookie. 
7. Bake six per tray (vary according to your tray size) and bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden around the edges. Allow a few minutes to cool before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Enjoy with a cup of coffee of a glass of milk! 

Enjoy this recipe and make sure to try it at home for yourself - your willpower for healthy eating will be soon out the window! 

M x 

Friday, January 9, 2015

The 'Me' Time Tag.

I thought I would share with you some of my favourite ways to relax, which is perfect for recovering from the holiday season and preparing for the new year ahead. We are well over a week into 2015 and I am sure it will go by like a blink of an eye, just like 2014. We will be here again this time next year ready to welcome on 2016 (wow!), which will hold so much excitement for individuals and the world. 

Everyone needs time for themselves to de-stress and/or briefly leave their worries alone for at least 30 minutes a week or even daily.  

So here are the questions and I encourage you all to take part and answer them all yourselves. 

1. What do you like to watch or read during Me time? 
I love to read cookery books for photography and food inspiration and magazines for the same reason. I always try have a novel on the go and read as much as I can, as it certainly improves your english, however I become quite slack and put it on the back burner. I should really put more effort into reading books and taking the time to sit and read to get through all the novels on my bookcase. Anyway I currently have Girl Online by Zoella on the go. 

I love to watch YouTube videos in my Me time and spare time, so I have created a list of all my favourites here.  I currently watch Revenge, Pretty Little Liars and occasionally re-watch Sherlock episode, as I just love that television show. Let me know of your favourites below, as I would love to start watching some new programs. 

2. What do you wear during Me time? 
Absolutely anything comfortable. Sweatpants, sweatshirt/jumper and cosy socks. 

3. What are your favourite Me time beauty products? 
I am currently still discovering new products, but I love this Body Shop Tea Tree face mask. This mask it perfect if you have a few blemishes, as it really soothing for your face - leaving it feeling soft and fresh. I love experimenting with face mask and scrubs, so whenever it is Me time I love trying new brands or even creations of my own. Lip balm is always top of the list as well, as a large portion of the time I like to wear lipstick so moisturising your lips is a must. 

4. Current favourite nail polish? 
O.P.I Cajun Shrimp - a light coral colour, which is perfect for summer. Any pinks, oranges or reds really. 

5. What do you eat or drink during Me time? 
I drink a lot of water daily anyway, so I tend to spice it up a little with some slices of lemon. It always feels so refreshing and cleansing for the skin and stomach. I don't really like any other drinks and will occasionally treat myself to a hot chocolate, but other than that I keep it quite simple with water. 

I love to eat anything. I am such a foodie - I eat both sweet and savoury. I LOVE the bars from The Bar Counter, which are a healthier alternative to snack bars. I love healthy superfood sweet treats, however if I really want to indulge I will have a couple of Terry Chocolate Orange segments or Lindt Chocolate squares. 

6. Current Favourite Candle? 
I don't actually burn any! 

7. Do you ever have outdoor Me time? 
I love to go for walks or even hikes as I am still partaking in my fitness, however it is extremely relaxed and extremely energising from the fresh air. Otherwise I love to sit outside in the sun - reading, snoozing or writing. 

8. Would you ever go and watch a film alone? 
As a teenager absolutely not, as confidence was not my forte. However as I am quite comfortable with my own company probably would not mine going alone. 

9. Favourite online shop? 
I love online shopping in general and browsing from one shop to another - there are honestly to many to choose. 

10. Anything to add? What else do you do during Me time? 
I mostly just relax in my comfy clothes, grab some snacks, sit in the living room or on my bed and write some blog posts. Whether or not it reading other blogs or writing for my own I class blogging as my favourite Me-time hobby, as it allows me to experiment, build confidence and find new inspiration. 

I also do a lot of baking! Baking is the perfect procrastinating hobby, as you can pick a recipe that is so complicated and will take you the entire day to do it, so that you do not have to do anything else. I just look food and baking, as a number of simplistic ingredients bond together to create something magical - either basic or extravagant. It can simple put a smile on someones face and make their day better! 

Come back on Monday for a delicious recipe. It will be the official day where I will be posting five days a week on my blog (Monday-Friday). I will be sharing a collection of recipes, DIYs, event designs, travel and another lifestyle tips.  

I hope you enjoyed! 
M x