Swan song

I'm not dying or running away but this post does feel like the end!!
Silly me!

Please enjoy yourselves whilst i'm away and to all my close friends and family, i love you and please keep a gossip log so i dont miss out on too much!!
I'll be back on the 27th of August for just two brief nights then off the Egypt for some R and R.

Have a wonderful month and i'll see you on the flip side!!

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xx

bake bake bake around.

Saturday night, the first bit of peace i have had all week!
I've been busy packing and training and worrying about all this India malarky and havent really had a moment to spare until yesterday!
It's sad because i can't really fully justify my tardy blogging, as in my whirlwind week i have still managed to steal some baking/eating time! I really must stop keeping all the baked things i make in the house! I keep trying to give it away but mum is always like 'ohh we might want it'. Honestly though, i think i have reached a point where i no longer want to eat what i bake, just give it out to make other people smile!

So, this all takes me to now, I actually started writing this post this morning in bed then obviously something needed to be done/a cat got in bed with us/mum wanted a coffee/ etc etc etc you get the idea! I then had to go off to the gym and to Jim's graduation (sob!). Now look at the time!

One of my greatest achievements of the week was finally sorting my wardrobe. Something i said i'd do before i went to uni... i'm going into my third year in September!!
I wish i'd taken before and after photos, the results are a beautiful colour coded wardrobe with piles of clothes i can actually look through!

I also went to ikea and saw some dream rooms and this cute rabbit in a garden centre across the road!

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Now, on with some of the things i've baked.

Earlier in the week i made these Brown Butter Jam Bars.

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Mine were more just Butter Jam bars as i don't use real butter in my sponge, only in frosting and buttercream, so it didn't brown as much as i think it should AND it was sticking a little to my pan and i though non-brown butter was better than burnt butter! (as a side note, I'm a fan of Clover Light because it stops sponge being too greasy!) So here it is, adapted from Crepes of Wrath (i'd have a look at her pictures as some bits need a picture to make sense!!) They were amazing and oozy and yummy and delicious and i will most defs make them again for my housemates!

The Crust:
227g unsalted butter, room temperature
64g powdered sugar
192 g all-purpose flour

For The Filling:
3 large eggs
201 granulated sugar
119 g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
64g + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 table spoon of ground almond
1 cup jam or jelly, dealer’s choice

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. To make the crust, melt 1 cup of butter in a pan at medium-high heat till the butter starts to brown. When the butter is amber in color and smells slightly nutty, strain through a sieve into a heat-proof container, such as a small glass mixing bowl. Place in the freezer for 30-40 minutes until thickened and semi-frozen. Combine the powdered sugar and flour in a large bowl, then use a pastry cutter or your hands (I prefer my hands) and add in the butter until a dough is formed. Press into a lined and/or greased 9×13-inch pan and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until lightly golden and set, then remove from the oven and set aside.

2. To make the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and flour in a large bowl. Brown the remaining butter, then pour the butter into the egg mixture very slowly, whisking as you do it so the eggs don’t scramble. Whisk in the vanilla.

3. Pour half of the filling over the baked crust, then spoon large dollops of the jam over the filling, reserving about quarter to top the bars with. Pour the rest of the filling over the jam, then spoon small dollop over the top with the remaining jam (you can add a bit extra jam if you feel like it needs it). Don’t worry if it looks a little messy or weird, it’ll look pretty when it’s baked! Bake until the filling is golden brown in color, about 25 to 30 minutes, also at 375 degrees F. Or in an Aga on the bottom runners of the top oven with the cooling rack for 30 minutes and 5 minutes without the cooling rack to crisp up. Allow to cool completely (not that i ever do!) and cut into bars. Enjoy!

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Next thing i baked were some Chocolate Chunk Cookies. I had the urge to bake at 10.30pm on Thursday night to show Jim just how much of a wizz i was in the kitchen. I think he was less enamoured with my skills and preferred the fact i smelt of cookie dough for the rest of the evening!! Again i used a Crepes of Wrath recipe because the Jam bars were so damn incredible!! I must admit they spread a little more than i thought but i love thin crispy cookies that are a little chewy in the middle, and that they were! Perfectly delicious but i am thinking up ways of getting them all to be perfect sized so i can give them away as gifts!

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Last but not least, the Red Velvet Cupcakes for my sister's return (i have infact only got to see her for 20 minutes today as i had to go to the graduation!). This was a difficult one. I tried the Hummingbird Bakery recipe initially following it to the letter (which i rarely do!!) and the cakes weren't even red!!! They were just really chocolaty so Mum came to the rescue and found the Magnolia Bakery recipe and again these weren't as red and smooth as red velvets i've had in the past but defiantly a step closer; at this point after 6 tablespoons of colouring i'd run out of patience and made do with the second batch! If i was to make them again i would use the recipe from Lorraine Pascal's cookbook because it is an English recipe. Apparently there is issues with red colouring conversion from American to English recipes due to discrepancies in what is used to make it red or some rubbish about poison. All boring! I did make a delicious cream cheese butter cream though, sadly not using any scales!!

I will put the pictures up tomorrow as they are on Jim's phone! Silly meee. My piping skillz have improved and i was fairly happy with the results. Not quite perfection yet though... When i open my dream cake shop (i wish!) They wouldn't be on the menu just yet.

So quite a productive week all in all in terms of baked goods, training and preparing for India.
I'm not going to lie i am TERRIFIED, in a good way!
Tomorrow will be my last post. Maybe i'll write something worth reading!!

xx

p.s. i just tried on my airport outfit (no Louboutins and a Birkin bag for me sadly! it's walking pants and BSES t-shirt all the way!) and it made me realise nothing but the fact that i hate trousers! that is all :)

12.43

it's past midnight and i should be sleeping.
I am so sorry for the lack of effort on here i hope people haven't given up on me!!
Tomorrow mega update and yummy treat post.
Friday i'm baking again for my sister's homecoming.

Please don't give up reading coz i'm a lazy blogger!!
MWAHHH x

NEW BLOG ALERT

OH WOW OH WOW

Crepes of Wrath

you will all be in LOVE

It's me or the Dog

Watching tat like this on a saturday morning is what i live for! My favourite cooking show isn't on due to the golf so i'm stuck with dog training!
I must be hoest though it is nice just to sit and do nothing, be it only for a few hours.

This week i've been to a theme park, massively expensive but fun fun fun all around. Out for lunch a few times, bit of shopping with mum.
But most importantly, the macaroons!

I won't go into the recipe because it was a pretty standard one.
Sadly, because of the aga there were a few issues though.
Our mix tasted fantastic and macaroony, and our piping skills weren't fantastic but we were rather proud of the results! Now, i must admit we forgot the 'leave on the side for 30 minutes' part so that was probably the first hurdle we fell at! Then, the aga. I got told by a friend who did an aga course how to do it two ways, i do believe i chose the wrong way! The macaroons came out too sticky and not set on the underside with a lovely crisp top! We did two batches and the second was much better coz we left them in for 10 minutes longer. This meant they browned a little too much but they were much much more macaroony.

We made a pretty little pudding with the good/not so good macaroons and named it 'Macaroon Mess'.
So far i'd give my macaroon skillz 5/10, i will succeed one day soon. Probably after India, or maybe today if i get bored of 'test packing' my cargo 100 litre bag. yippee!!

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HAPPY SATURDAY xx

Weekend!

I hate feeling like i have neglected the blog and i have, i am sorry! Had such a crazy week with visitors and training and last minute buys and trying to also sort for my holiday (yes another trip abroad) after India!
Tomorrow, i will write a beautiful, poetic, fantastical post all about recent events and of course...the macaroons.

xoxo

being proud

to be proud and happy for someone is such a good thing.
My Jim has finally got his website set up and running and i couldn't be happier for him.

I just thought i should share.
I'm also a little sad to say tomorrows macaroons may be my last cooking venture for a while (except for other macaroon variations!) as health and India really do need to start being my main priority for the next week and a half (eek!).
This is not farewell, far from it, i have almost 2 weeks before i leave.
It is merely the end of the beginning.

waiting with bated breath...

tomorrow... i'm making macaroons.
The day has come.

Apricot almond Cake

Apricots or peaches, neither myself or Jim could decipher what i was actually putting in the cake i made yesterday but it sure is tasty! (they were apricots!)

The idea came from the fruity tray bake i was going to make for mum's birthday but my friends dad made a totally amazing cake for her instead. Obviously my need to bake was not satisfied so in a rush yesterday i decided to bake a quick cake.

It is totally lovely and crumbly and i bet it goes perfect with hot custard.

Ingredients
100g Plain Flour
1 heaped tsp baking powder
250g unsalted butter
200g Caster Sugar
100g Light brown muscovado Sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp Almond oil (anything almondy!)
2 apricots
Flaked Almonds

Cream together the butter and sugar (i used an electric whisk for the first time in years, you would have think i'd split the Red Sea how happy i was). Add the dry ingredients, eggs and the rest! mix to a smooth batter.
Pour into a greased cake tin and place the apricots attractively on top! Sprinkle with almonds lovingly.
I baked mine for about 60 minutes (i did forget to look at what time it went in though!). Because of the aga it was rather brown round the edges but it all adds flavor i say! I'm sorry i have no temperatures or anything but the aga is set, i'd say around 180˚C/160˚C fan/350˚F/gas mark 4 (note how i researched that for y'all!!).

Totally yummy even though the fruit did sink, maybe more flour next time even though it was a pretty think mix anyway! If you have any non-sinking fruity/cakey adventures please let me know your secret!!!!

[Once again pictures will be added shortly when i can be bothered to charge my phone sufficiently for usage!]

have a sing song instead


Enjoy the weekend ahead
xx

Birthday Tea

I am currently sat on my bed, drinking Pimms after a lovely dinner and a little too much cake! Today is my mum’s birthday hence the celebrations.

Does the Pimms make me a little like a middle-aged woman?

I know what does make me a little middle aged, the fact I am UNABLE to sleep past 7.30 am, yes in the morning. Not ever. Not when I’ve had a late night, not when jim stays over, not when it’s Sunday. Not even on a Tuesday when I have nothing to do! I think I am ageing prematurely. 20-year-old students are meant to sleep all day and drink all night. I rarely do either!

I should tell you all (not that a. enough of you probs care or b. you would have known if I hadn’t said) I am writing this post on word (on the 8th June), ready to post asap.
My internet and phone line is down you see. No contact to the world. To those of you that read this and know me I live in the middle of nowhere and also get no phone signal to I am living like the Amish (who I LOVE). Except of course I still have a car, lights, running water etc etc etc but I know they don’t do Internet in a general sense! I can see i’m rambling a little…

Back to the Pimms after the Pimms I will continue to watch a magic show that’s on and read my book and Elle magazine and Cosmo and sit with my cats and do all the stuff I’m sure Amish people do. So far this post is one big digression!!
Mum’s birthday…. To your surprise and horror (I imagine) I didn’t bake!!!!! I know right! But I did the other thing I’m pretty alright at and that’s cooking!
I made a Summer Pasta, tomato salad and Garlic bread.
YUM.

In the future (when I get my loan next September!) i’m going to buy a pasta machine and make my own pasta (something I have never tried but am very excited to) and obviously I’d make my own bread (today I just made the filling as I had other things on my mind like exam results!) but in hindsight is doesn’t even matter because it was all so lovely! Modest I know… here’s how it’s done:

Summer Pasta
This is an adaptation of Jamie Oliver’s ‘Wonky summer pasta’ (see how I made the name!) and was totally amazing.

Ingredients
200g grated parmesan cheese
1 egg yolk
Extra virgin Olive oil
finely chopped basil
Lemon juice (1/2 lemons to preference)
finely chopped chilli (or a little chilli sauce to taste)

It is so easy, put it all in a large bowl (the bowl you'll serve in) and stir. In terms of the oil you want to put enough in to make a sauce consistency. I did about 6 good swirls into the bowl. Next step, boil your pasta in salted water. Tagliatelle, pappardelle, spaghetti anything long and thin - fresh is best because it's so quick but dry is always delicious. Then transfer the pasta to the 'sauce' using tongues to make sure a little of the cooking liquid too goes into the bowl.then stir, lift, do whatever to mix it. The raw yolk will cook in the residual heat of the pasta and the cheese will melt. This is yummy and yummy and yummy yummy.

Tomato Salad
EASY PEASY. Put all of the tomatoes (i used a plum and cherry mix) into a colander and over salt them, like much much more than you would usually! Then cover in water and leave to drain for half an hour. They are so tasty served halved in balsamic and olive oil.

The Garlic bread was just a parsley/garlic butter served in the deep grooves of a french loaf baked for 15 minutes in kitchen foil.
(I do have some pictures but i can't put them on right now i'll put them in the edited post if anyone REALLY wants to.)

I'm making a cake tomorrow.
Look forwards :)

Hope you have a good weekend etc etc.
xx

non-post days

It's weird, i hate not posting on here, almost like i'm a let down!
but is there any point in a post when i've got nothing to say and not baking to discuss?
I will mull over this thought as i wait for jim to get rid of his horrible beard.

love xx

Festivals and Food

'Just coz it's a party, don't mean you have to play the top 40'

As you may have seen from my previous posts i've been down in The Garden of England (Kent) since thursday! I am now clean, almost tidy and very very tired.
The amount of dust that came off me was unreal! I am intending on trading that dust for glitter like Prince. I won't go on about him any more just be aware he was phenomenal, totally mind blowing!!
Other highly commendable performances were Tinie Tempa, Iggy and the Stooges, Carl Barat, Dry the River, Aloe Black and Newton Faulkner (who was actually stood behind us during Prince's set!!).
Music done.

Food...
Festival food is not renowned for being all that fantastic and as a bit of a non-fried food snob i wasn't looking forward to burgers and chips all weekend (sweeping festival stereotype!) but wow! Hop Farm put on quite the spread. With it being a little 'hippie', there was loads of vegetarian and vegan food (which i love coz my little sister is veggie) and then other GOOD quality meat, burgers, indian, noodles etc etc etc. It was pricey but we expected that. Yum yum yum yum yum!
Here are my two favourite vendors:
Pie Minister
The Wide Awake Cafe


Now, it's my mum's birthday Friday so i'm need to find soemthing special to bake.
Maybe a healthy cake as i have been going down the nutella, peanut butter, chocolate route recently! Summer Berry Sponge anyone? Keep your eyes peeled!!
Busy week ahead, interviews and friends to meet.

Have a lovely one.
xx

p.s. Please spread the news of the blog, it's so fantastic seeing more and more people from all over the world reading everyday. Thank you thank you i am so so grateful!

MONDAY

HELLO OH MY GOD I AM SO HAPPY I SAW PRINCE AND HE WAS AMAZING AND YES YES YES!!!

Calm.

I'm a little busy as of this second but to anyone who checks this more than once a day (a girl can dream!) i will do a proper music and food (yes you can't escape my foodie rants, even after i've seen Prince) update later when i'm showered and tidy and all that jazz.
Much love!