Friday, 29 March 2013

Ultimate Easter Cheesecake


Easter is almost here, which inevitable gets me excited, as it’s practically a given right that you have to eat endless amounts of delish food. It’s the new Christmas I say. I saw Eric Lanlard’s Creme Egg brownies going around the web which got my taste buds tingling. I wanted to do something Easter themed too.

So I decided to take the 2 sweet Easter food springs to mind- Hot Cross Buns and Creme Eggs and mash them together.

If these two had babies it would be...


The Ultimate Easter Cheesecake
A hot cross bun crumb base, with a vanilla and creme egg cheese filling, topped with currant brittle.

To make you will need:
  • For the filling:
  • 200g Mascarpone cheese
  • 400g Soft cheese
  • 200ml double cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 Creme eggs
For the base:
  • 75g butter
  • 2 Hot cross buns
  • 50g digestive biscuits
  • 1 Teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Currants

For the peanut stripes:
  • 1 teaspoon peanut butter
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
For the brittle:
  • 100g caster sugar
  • Currants
First to make the base, whizz up the biscuits into crumbs and set aside.

Next halve and toast the hot cross buns. Then tear into small chunks.
In a non stick pan, crisp up the small chunks a little more, as now the soft inside will be exposed. Add the spices and a handful of currants to the mix. Once done, add the butter until melted then stir in the bread crumbs.

Pour into a spring form tin or a grease proof paper lined tin. Spread out evenly and pat until a firm base has been created and refrigerate.

Using a whisk, beat together the mascarpone, soft cheese, cream and vanilla extract until thick and smooth. Using a knife, halve the creme eggs and scoop out the ‘goo’. Add to the mixture and whisk for about 5 seconds.

Add the cream cheese mixture to the tin and smooth out. and refrigerate for around 3 hours.


To make the brittle, line a baking tray with grease proof paper and scatter a hand full of currants on the tray.

In a non stick frying pan add the sugar. Make sure the sugar is evenly distributed so it only covers a thin layer. Heat on the lowest setting and wait. DO NO STIR. Wait till the sugar is dissolved and turns a light caramel colour and is a syrup consistency.

Immediately pour over the currants in a thin layer and leave to set for a round 10 minutes.

To make the peanut stripes, again line a baking tray with grease proof paper. Then add the butter, sugar and peanut butter and melt and this time stirring is allowed. Once a thick syrup pour on the paper into a thin layer and refrigerate.

Once the cheesecake is set, take out the peanut mixture and cut into 3 stripes and place onto the cheesecake.

Break up the brittle into smallish chunks and arrange on the cake.

Finally halve a creme egg for decoration.







I’m not going to lie, it does sound a lot of work, and it did take a long time, but it isn’t anything too difficult. The only bit I did have trouble with. I burnt my first batch to a crisp. Make sure your pan is big, so the sugar is very thinly spread out, and as soon as it all turns golden, boom, you’re done.

Decadently rich, perfect for a Easter Family dinner.
Let me know what you’re doing for Easter.




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Saturday, 23 March 2013

Paradise Slice


I can’t tell you how much I’ve been craving baking. It’s a slight odd sensation, but I just haven’t been able to stop thinking about donning my apron and getting my hands covered in flour. I think it is the horrific weather outside that’s doing it.

These bars are to help counter act this. While not hot and warming like you’d expect on a cold day, I get instead a fruity summery burst to help me dream of lazy August days, hence the name paradise slice. 


You will need:
  • 250g Plain flour
  • 40g Caster sugar
  • 35g Light brown sugar + a little extra
  • 175g Butter
  • Raspberry jam
  • Nutty muesli
  • Drizzle of maple syrup

First stir the flour and both sugars together in a bowl.

Then add the butter and rub together until a breadcrumb texture is formed.

Then start to kneed into dough until thick and fully combined.

Line a shallow tin with grease proof paper, and press the dough into the tin, until covered and firm. Then pick the surface with a fork.


Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180c for 20 minutes until golden brown.

Once baked, allow to cool fully- around another 20 minutes.

Once cooled spread the jam all over the shortbread, giving a thick even coverage.

Next sprinkle over the muesli and press lightly into the jam.

Drizzle over some maple syrup in a zig zag motion, and finely sprinkle a little brown sugar.

Under a moderate grill, allow to toast until the sugar starts to caramelise and the oats turn slightly toasty.

Once cool again, slice and serve.





Be warned, these are seriously morish, I may have already devoured 3 today. There is something about sweet, fruity jam that I just can’t resist. It’s the same with scones and cream, another summer delight- oh gosh, bring me summer soon please!

By the way, I added a little heading to the first picture- yes or no?





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Thursday, 21 March 2013

Floral Patterned Trousers


No one can deny the weather has been pretty rubbish for this time of year. This time last year the weather was scorching, with records reaching 23 degrees in March 2012 and yet now... I have mittens on.

All this gloomy, cold weather really plays havoc with my mood. So to give myself a nice little boost, I decided to wear some very bright, very anti winter trousers.


Cowl Neck Top- River Island Similar here at ASOS 
Floral Trousers- Zara
Belt- Topshop
Heels (later seen) - Kurt Geiger



The pattern on these trousers is just gorgeous. The colours simply POP right off the print. I’ve always loved Zara’s clothes, because something they do that not many high street brands get right is the cut. Zara make good quality, well cut, and well fitting clothes for women. I’ve always felt Zara is much more upmarket than most high street brands, and worth every penny.


Someone came up to me and asked why I was dressed for summer when it was minus degrees outside. Rather than being offended, I gave a cheeky little smile-
'‘Because it makes me happy’'


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Tuesday, 19 March 2013

1725 Tapas


Last night me and the girls were contemplating the future. And it made our bellies hurt. So we decided to go and solve at least one issue- our hunger.

See this week is our last week of lectures. EVER. After 16 years of education, come Friday we will never have to sit in another class again. Of course we still have exams next term and the looming dissertation deadline but still, this is heavy stuff for a Monday.

We decided to try 1725 which is a tapas restaurant. Now I will admit tapas has always sort of... baffled me. Tiny little plates of tit bits? I need something big and substantial!


Ok... I might have been slightly wrong




We decided on 3 each, which meant for me, one meat, one fish, one veg. I chose Calamares Fritos or Deep-fried squid tentacles, served with alioli to the non Spanish versed individual.

I love squid, and so it was my first choice, however because the pieces were small, i found there was just too much batter to squid ratio.


Pato en Vino Tinto- Strips of duck breast, pan-fried and served with mushrooms, thyme and red wine. The duck was seriously juicy and tender, and I’ve now come to the conclusion that I need to invest in some rosemary. 


Pimientos Rellenos- Stuffed red peppers with Spanish cheese & sun-dried tomatoes. It has cheese, no explanation needed.


Although I was eyeing up J’s Chorizo en Vino Tinto- Chorizo pan-fried with rosemary & red wine.


Also something life changing occurred last night. I found my Achilles heel. Tapas. It’s an in joke between my friends that I’m half human half cow, as I can eat whatever is put in front of me. Even if I’m given a humongous 4 course meal, I’ll be able to eat it all down to the last chip. I mean I feel sick 2 hours later, but I have seriously delayed full signals. However I really struggled to get through the 3 tapas, something I never thought possible, I was defeated... and felt full. I think it’s a sign of maturing post university.

The thought of life post University is quite daunting, and it also means we are going to be separated which after 4 years together is rather moment killing. However we couldn’t really stay glum for too long, as 1725 is just one of the cutest little restaurants. The layout is narrow, higgledy- piggledy corridors and rooms, with open beams, bare brick and candles. 

Image from of bar 1725 online

Even better is that on Monday nights its 2-4-1 on all tapas, so if you are in the area make sure you check it out, as it was rather delicious.

Their website is here.


PS Google Reader is sadly closing down, so I would be ever so grateful if you would follow my blog now on Bloglovin’
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Saturday, 16 March 2013

A Spring Time Glow


I like spring, I do, all the cute lambs and daffodils about. What I don’t like though is what it does to my skin and what I can do about it. We all know winter is harsh; we lather on moisture to combat the dreaded dry skin. Summer is about getting that gorgeous glow for bikini season. But spring? It’s just a bit... confusing?

Being a natural red head, I have the dreaded super pale, milk bottle skin, which also happens to be dry. Fabulous. So I need something that moisturises without being too heavy as sometimes we do get sunny weather in spring, and something slightly tinted without looking fake.

So when my Avon catalogue dropped on my mat, I saw Skin So Soft Mineral Gems Glamorous Gold Shimmering Body Oil Spray.


I’m a big fan of Avon, as I actually used to be an Avon Representative- yes, I was a Avon lady back in college. I did it to earn some extra cash, and while I do genuinely love their products, being an Avon Lady is hard work, and defiantly not as easy and flexible as they say on their adverts. But that’s a different story.

I chose this because it was oil rather than a liquid cream. Oils have been found to protect the skin's lipid barrier, meaning they prevent the moisture evaporating from your skin. Oils are also more easily absorbed than lotions, and contrary to belief aren’t all greasy and sticky. 


The product has quite a nice perfume smell, which also lingers on your skin once sprayed. It was very light, like a fine mist, and was easily absorbed into my skin.

As you can see, there were fine gold dust particles, which are meant to catch the light on your skin. I did wonder at first weather it might come out looking like id been in a kids art and craft session with all that glitter, but I was glad to discover that it much lighter once sprayed.

Although you can’t tell too much from the picture, in real life you can see a slight shimmer in the light which is nice. It doesn’t add any colour to my skin, so I might have to still find another product for that, but it does give me a nice healthy, dewy glow.


My only critism was that it does seem to have a slight greasy texture which body oils aren’t actually meant too, and I soon found the bottle got sticky, hence the peeling label.

However over all my skin did get the much needed moisture boost, I can’t fault it on that. Plus at £5.50 you  just can’t go wrong. 

Buy it at Avon here- Normally £5.50 but currently £3.30


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Friday, 15 March 2013

Homemade Lilt Smoothie


I have a little dirty secret.
I’m a fizzy drink addict. Like full on addiction. 

I must drink at least a litre a day. One of my favourite sins is Lilt. The sweet tropical drink is like summer in a bottle, and let’s be honest we need that right now with all this rain.

However, as I was gulping down yet another bottle a friend commented about how bad it was for me, and that there is so much added crap in it. And he was totally right.

This got me thinking about what I could do to make something healthier yet still yummy. This is when I thought why don’t I actually make a carbonated smoothie, and that way I’m getting the whole fruit, and nothing but the fruit- Amen!


You will need:
  • 400g of pineapple cut into chunks (you can use tinned but make sure there is only 2 ingredients- pineapple and 100% juice)
  • 300g grapefruit
  • Sparkling/ Carbonated Water
  • 2 tbs Fat Free natural yogurt
  • 1 tbs Groovy Food Agave Nectar 

Groovy Food Agave Nectar is a low calorie, low GI, natural sugar replacement which is also suitable for diabetics. This will help give the sweet taste to the smoothie without the additive crap.


You will also need a smoothie maker. My maker is the Kenwood Smoothie 2Go. You can spend tons on fancy gadgets, but really all you need is something that will blend your fruit. At around £30 with 2 jugs, you just can’t go wrong.


First add the chopped up pineapple and grapefruit chunks into the blender, followed by the yogurt.
Whiz for about 10 seconds and then add the Nectar and whiz for about 15 seconds or until fully smoothed.



Once smoothie, pour to about ¾ of the way in a glass and top up with sparking/ carbonated water for that Lilt experience. Enjoy

Note: Grapefruit is very sour, if you feel you need it sweeter, you can add a bit more yogurt or Nectar, or to keep it sweet but fruity, surprisingly apple (natural and whole) sauce worked wonders.




So much better for you than bottled Lilt, plus you are getting all the nutrients out of the fruit this way too. Grapefruit is an excellent source of vitamin A, which is important for vision and skin health, and vitamin C which also helps wound healing.

It may be raining outside, but I’ll still be drinking this while dreaming of lying in paradise...





PS Google Reader is sadly closing down, so I would be ever so grateful if you would follow my blog now on Bloglovin’
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