Saturday, 22 October 2016

Chocolate Cookies



I read on Twitter that it was National Baking Week this week which gave me the perfect excuse to bake more for my blog - today it's chocolate cookies!



Recipe:

4 oz (125g) unsalted butter at room temperature
3 oz (90g) caster sugar
3 oz (90g) soft light brown sugar
1 egg
2-3 drops of vanilla extract
4 oz (125g)  chocolate spread
7 oz (200g) plain flour
1 oz (30g) cocoa powder
1 pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
Chocolate of your choice for the chips - I used a bar of galaxy chocolate and half a bar of milky bar (I used the other half for the drizzle)












1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 (180 degrees)

2. Cream together the butter and both types of sugar

3. Add the egg, vanilla extract and chocolate spread and beat until smooth

4. Measure out the dry ingredients and sieve them into your mixture

5. Mix together and then stir in the chocolate pieces

6. Place heaped spoonfuls of the dough onto your baking trays - you'll probably get around 6 onto each tray if you leave room for them to spread

7. Bake for 14 minutes and then leave to set for 2 minutes before moving to a cooling rack



Optional:
8. Melt half a bar of white chocolate in a bowl and use a fork to drizzle it over the cookies



Voila!



I've made these so many times before - and they're usually all gone in about a day in our house!



Hope you liked the post!



- I

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Party in the USA



In July I went to America for the first time - it was pretty fab.









We flew into Las Vegas to begin with which was insane - and excessively hot (and I mean excessively - A/C was a godsend). Aside from the heat, the first thing I noticed was the food...WHAT. If it wasn't deep fried, full of sugar or both then was it even food? I wasn't quite 21 at the time of our holiday so I feel as though I didn't quite experience Vegas to the max, but it was cool nonetheless. 











We then hired a car and drove to the Grand Canyon for a couple of nights which was genuinely the most impressive hole in the ground that I have ever seen. 10/10 would recommend.

The Grand Canyon



Sunrise at the Grand Canyon





We  drove back to Vegas, briefly stopping on Route 66 where I embarrassed myself in a local shop by knocking over a fridge full of glass coke bottles (mortifying), and then flew out to San Francisco which, after Vegas, felt like the barren wasteland of the Antarctic - it did mean that I had to purchase a really cool 'San Francisco' hoody that just screamed 'tourist' though, so that was a nice addition. San Francisco was also the place that I discovered IHOP, the place of dreams - petition to bring IHOP to the UK?



San Francisco Skyline - as seen from Alcatraz


We visited Alcatraz whilst in San Francisco too which was really interesting - another recommendation from moi.











Dreamy IHOP Pancakes...


















Yosemite was next and wasn't 
something that I was particularly keen for, but it turned out to be my favourite place of the whole trip - it was so beautiful. I will be going back here without a shadow of a doubt!





Mirror Lake


Yosemite Appreciation - this was during an early morning hike in the mountains


Yosemite Falls






This was followed by 3 nights in Monterey, where the food started to get a bit more normal (finally). We went to the aquarium which was horrifically busy but was pretty cool, and then we went whale watching...which made me feel so sea sick that it lasted for about 2 days... (grim), but we saw humpbacks and about an eighth of a blue whale.








We then drove down the Big Sur, stopping at Cambria and Santa Barbara for a night each and then finally arriving in LA where we stayed for 4 nights. This last leg was the most relaxing part of the trip, which was much appreciated after the hectic-ness we had just experienced, and the LA sunshine was the nicest way to end the trip!


Bixby Creek Bridge

Big Sur

Santa Barbara











The Californian Coast Line - as seen from Hearst Castle
























Hollywood


It was honestly such a great holiday - I am v grateful to my parentals for taking me. Hope you enjoyed the photos!



-I







Sunday, 9 October 2016

Pink Lemon Cake




I know I've not long done a baking post but I have just bought an icing turntable and piping kit so had to give it a try! This is a 3 tiered lemon sponge disguised in pretty pink ombré icing - yum!






For the cake:
9oz (250g) unsalted butter at room temperature
9oz (250g) caster sugar
The zest of 1 lemon
4 large eggs
The juice of 1 lemon 
9oz (250g) self-raising flour

This mixture makes 3 thin layers, you might want to adjust the recipe if you want it to be a bit taller.

For the icing:
14oz (400g) unsalted butter at room temperature
28oz (800g) icing sugar
A few drops of pink/red food colouring

It's a lot of icing! I actually had a bit too much in the end but you can store any leftovers in the fridge in an air tight container.








1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 (180 degrees celsius)

2. Grease and line three (if you have this many) baking tins - if you don't, bake in batches!

3. Cream together the butter and sugar, then add the lemon zest

4. Add the eggs one by one and beat mixture

5. Add the lemon juice bit by bit - this is so important because it will curdle otherwise!!

6. Fold in the flour and mix until smooth

7. Split the mixture evenly between 3 tins and bake for 18-20 minutes - or until golden and firm to the touch (you could use the skewer technique here too)

8. Place the cakes on a rack to cool whilst you make the icing...

9. Beat the butter until light and creamy and slowly add the icing sugar to it so as not to create a powdered sugar cloud - you may need to add some milk here to make the icing smoother

10. Once smooth, and once the cakes have cooled, use a small amount to sandwich the layers together and add a thin layer around the edges of the cake - this is a crumb coat and will stop the crumbs sticking to your outer layers of icing!

11. Split the remaining icing evenly into 3 bowls and add a varying amount of food colouring (it doesn't have to be pink!) to each bowl - you are aiming to have three shades of whatever colour you choose so you can create your ombré effect - you can do more colours/shades if you are feeling adventurous!

12. Fill a piping bag with the lightest colour and begin to pipe around the edge of the cake. Once done, fill the bag with the next colour and work down the outside of the cake. Do the same with all the colours

(It was this point where I realised that I didn't have enough icing so had to make some more to fill the hole in the top that would have only had the crumb coat on it - not cute!)

13. You could leave it piped around the edge if you are good at it - or if you like it like that - but I chose to use a spatula and smooth mine out - the piping helped to make the icing evenly spread though so wasn't completely pointless!

14. I then chose to pipe around the top and bottom edge with the extra icing that I had and topped it with lemon for my photos - so pinterest!!










- I





Saturday, 1 October 2016

Editorial: Blush





I have decided to attempt a series featuring some amateur editorial makeup looks. I say amateur because the first is blush, and you could argue that I just look sunburnt...but I hope you like them nonetheless.
















- I