Treacle Tart Recipe.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe on here and I’ve decided today to share with you all one of my all-time favourites. The British classic; Treacle Tart. Not only is this one of my favourites it also happens to be Harry Potter’s too so if you’re a major Hazza P fan and want to imagine yourself eating supper in the Great Hall why not start off with

I wish I was the type of person that didn’t have a huge sweet tooth, the type of person that doesn’t go out for a meal and feel a bit short changed if we don’t have dessert too, or the type of person that didn’t have a little sweet, sugary devil sat on my shoulder telling whispering in my ear to have another slice of cake, defo get yourself a bag of pick ‘n’ mix and a hot chocolate whilst you’re there babe.

Given the name, you might have figured that treacle tart isn’t exactly the healthiest of options as it’s quite a rich, sweet treat but it’s so delicious even a tiny, little slither will give you a sugar fix. It’s super easy to make and even easier to dollop with a blob of cream and enjoy.

A Treacle Tart consists of sweet shortcrust pastry and then filled with a delicious, sticky filling of treacle/golden syrup, breadcrumbs and lemon juice or zest. For those of your that are gluten intolerant either use gluten free flour in the pastry mixture or buy premade gluten free pastry sheets or premade gluten free tart cases. Similarly for those that are gluten intolerant you could substitute the breadcrumbs in the tart filling with a gluten free bread alternative or even use ground almonds to give it the same texture adn consistency with an interesting nutty twist on the original.

treacle tart picture

To make the pastry you will need:

250g plain flour

140g cold unsalted butter cut into cubes

A pinch of salt

2-3 tablespoons of icing sugar (confectioners sugar)

2 medium egg yolks

2-3 tablespoons of cold water

Instructions:

  1. Using either a food processor or your fingertips combine the flour and salt with the cubes of butter and blitz or rub together until it’s reached the consistency of fine sand.
  2.  Add in the icing sugar to sweeten the pastry and then the egg yolks and 2 tbsp of water.
  3. Mix together well (preferably with a metal knife) if the pasty is having trouble forming into a ball and seems a bit too flaky add in the extra tbsp of water to help it all bind together.
  4. Once it’s formed a ball shape, wrap it up and place it into the fridge and leave it to chill for 30 minutes.
  5. In this time, I think it’s a great opportunity for those that like to get ahead of the game, to be a bit more organised. Preheat your oven to 200c/180c fan/ gas mark 6. Tidy and clean up if you’re feeling extra good too.

To make the tart filling you’ll need:

400g golden syrup (told you it wasn’t healthy but it sure is good)

2 medium eggs

100g breadcrumbs (primarily a lot of people use white bread and cut off the crusts but i’ve found that different types of breads and keeping the crusts give a richer, chewier texture. So if that floats your goat and you don’t want the excess food waste then keep them crusts on!)

Zest/and or juice of a lemon

*Optional* You could add things like slices of stem ginger, powdered ginger, fruits like slices of apple, pear, grapefruit etc. I added some ginger because I really like those warm spicy flavours.

6. Now at this point hopefully you’ll have a clean and tidy workspace and your pastry will have been chilled for an adequate amount of time. Next, take your pastry and roll it out to a half inch thickness and line a fluted pastry tin and refrigerate again for another 30 minutes.

7. Once it’s chilled again for a second time line the pastry with baking parchment and baking beans and pop it in the oven for 15 minutes. Then take it out, remove the parchment and the baking beans and bake it again for another 10-12 minutes until the pastry is a perfectly golden brown colour.

8. Once you’ve taken it out of the oven, leave it to cool before trimming the pastry edges to neaten them.

9. Lower the oven temperature down to 180c/160c fan/gas mark 4.

10. In a bowl mix together the golden syrup, eggs, breadcrumbs, lemon juice and zest and ginger til nicely combined.

11. Pour mixture into the pastry case and place into the oven to cook for about 30-45 minutes or until the filling has set.

12. Serve with clotted cream or vanilla ice cream and enjoy.

How I Decorated My Chocolate MEGA Cake!

Hello! It’s been a while since I’ve done a foodie post and I’ve been meaning to post this for AGES. So seeing as it’s mine and my Mum’s birthday in less than three weeks and then my sisters the following month; now seems like the perfect time to get prepared for birthdays, cakes and even more bigger, brilliant birthday cakes.

So I before I get into all the nitty gritty baking delights (and disasters), I want to just clarify that I am definitely not a qualified baker or anything like that. I just really quite enjoy cooking and baking and it’s always fun to just have a go isn’t it? Plus, I really like getting to eat delicious cake at the end of it all sooooo no one is missing out here?!

If you’re not a great baker I want to share with you these easy steps I took to transform a chocolate sponge cake into looking like this one I made. I’ve seen cakes like this in bakeries, or on Instagram or Pinterest and always thought how blimmin’ awesome they look?! As much as I love my sis I didn’t know how much I’d have to end up forking out on a cake like this; especially a little last minute as well!

So, underneath all of these gorgeously indulgent layers is a relatively simple chocolate cake. One of which I haven’t yet mastered. I’ve tried a variety of different recipes adding things like yogurt, buttermilk, extra oil etc etc into it to make the sponge more moist (sorry to those who don’t love the M word) but nothing seemed to do the trick. I was a bit worried the dry sponge was going to let the whole cake down but I drenched each cake layer with a generous amount of simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water boiled in a pan until it reduces and there are no sugar crystals left. Wait for it to fully cool before using) and then filled with a salted caramel and chocolate ganache.

birthday cake

On the outside of the cake I used a thin amount of chocolate buttercream as a crumb coat. Which basically helps to lock in all the crumbs from the sponge layers so when you let it chill in the fridge and set up you’ll be able to get a much cleaner, crumb free, final buttercream coating. I used a straight and an angled palette knife to smooth out the buttercream on the cake. Theoretically it helps give you a smoother, more defined finish. You can buy them in most cooking/bakeware/homeware stores, Hobbycraft, Lakeland or online too. You can get them so they’re a straight edge for really neat edge or even ones that are ridged if you want to create a lined effect.

Similarly, if you don’t have one of these or don’t want to purchase something you may not use that often if you can find a flimsy piece of clean plastic or something similar to smoothly run against the frosting it’ll help create a smoothed appearance!

Once I had finished the final buttercream frosting and I was happy with it, I popped the cake in the fridge to set up and for the frosting to harden. Usually I’d be a bit cautious about putting a cake in the fridge in case it dried out but as I had simple syrup’ed each cake layer and there was a lot of ganache and buttercream involved already I was hoping it’d be ok.

To recreate the on trend dribbly bits down the side of the cake I made a salted caramel sauce (if you don’t want to do that then cut the middle man out and just buy some!) and poured it into the centre of the top of the cake and spooning it around the top of the cake until it had gently dribbled around the outer edge and letting bigger blobs dribble down the side until I was happy with how it all looked. I was quite quick doing this part, a bit worried it’d quickly harden or that if it went wrong it would ruin the whole appearance. But I found that, unlike how I approach most things in life, if you go slower and with less haste it is so much easier to control the outcome. Who knew eh!?

Then the fun bit begins! I picked up some Kitkats, Kinder Buenos, a Kinder Egg, Mikado (or pocky) sticks, chocolate coated pretzels, Galaxy golden eggs and two chocolatey doughnuts from the supermarket in order to go crazy with the toppings for this. I found some gold food colouring spray in the cupboard beforehand and thought it would be quite fun and make the cake look really luxe by spraying certain things, leaving some bare and part spraying some others. I cut some things diagonally and splayed out the different treats at different angles giving it some dimension and really because I liked how it looked.

It was actually really good fun making this type of cake and doing all the decorating too! I added some ferrero rocher chocolates around the bottom to make it look even more special ( it is a birthday after all!) and also helps if you need to cover anything up you could add a layer of fruit or chocolates and make it look part of the decoration.

There’s something extra special about receiving a homemade cake especially for a birthday treat, knowing someone has put a lot of time and effort into making something yummy for you to eat. So, have fun with whatever you’re creating, don’t worry about whether it’ll look a bit bodged or not because it’ll still go down the same way regardless!

A Vegetarian Afternoon Tea at The Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath.

 

Can you think of anything more quintessentially British than enjoying a splendid afternoon tea in the Royal Crescent Hotel which is nestled in the heart of historic Bath’s crescent? Unless The Queen and Mr Bean were sat at the adjacent table.

I visited The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa for the first time a few weeks ago with my sister and it’s just as grand and luxurious as one would imagine and I cannot wait to share my wonderful dining experience with you all.

We were promptly lead through the house, into the tranquil gardens and taken into the foyer of The Dower House restaurant where we were offered the choice of eating indoors or choosing one of the many tables outside. Seeing as it was such a beautifully sunny and warm day we opted for the latter. The resident robin even joined us at our table on many occasions throughout our visit. You’d hasten to forget you were in the middle of a beautiful, busy and bustling city as it was just so relaxing and quiet in the grounds of the hotel.

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We were seated at our table and handed some menus to choose which type of afternoon tea we’d like and which blend of tea we want to accompany it as well. The Royal Crescent really do cater for everyone with their choices of afternoon teas. First up was the Royal Crescent Afternoon Tea (£37.50 per person) which they say is designed more for those with a savoury palate. The sandwich choices you receive with this are:

  • clarence court egg, smoked cheddar, spring onion and mustard cress.
  • Roast beef with a horseradish mayonnaise and watercress.
  • Corn fed chicken and a basil and lemon hummus.
  • And finally a smoked salmon sandwich with a lemon and chive cream cheese.

The savoury options for this particular afternoon tea are:

  • Smoked salmon toast, smoked paprika, lemon zest and topped with caviar.
  • A bite sized sausage roll topped with a honey and onion seed glaze.
  • Bath chap (which is a cut of pork) with a mustard mayonnaise, pickled radish and sorrel.
  • Cucumber filled with a caraway spiced goats curd and topped with a charcoal emulsion.
  • Saffron and honey yoghurt topped with mackerel tartar and a fennel and red onion salad.

This afternoon tea is then simply finished off with an individual verrine topped with a crescent biscuit, a warm scone, Devonshire clotted cream, strawberry preserve and a bath bun with cinnamon butter.

If you have a sweeter palate or want to opt for the more traditional afternoon tea, the Authentic Afternoon Tea (also £37.50 per person) This offers all the same sandwiches as above but rather than getting a plate of savoury minis you get seasonally changing homemade cakes, pastries and sweet delicacies.

If that’s not all they even offer a children’s Afternoon Tea (£19.50 per child) which I think is the sweetest idea. The thought of a little party of children dressed up in posh frocks and polished shoes having a fancy garden tea party makes even me feel gooey and smiling like the Cheshire cat.

My sister opted for the Royal Crescent Afternoon Tea and I chose to have the vegetarian one with a copious amounts of earl grey to wash it all down with. I really liked that, if you’re having an afternoon tea with someone you don’t necessarily have to have the same one. Makes life a lot smoother for those with dietary requirements as they also cater for those who are vegan or nut/gluten intolerant as well.

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The dainty finger sandwiches I had were filled to the brim of these delectable fillings:

  • Avocado, guacamole and mustard leaf.
  • Roast red pepper with a basil and lemon hummus.
  • Cucumber, dill, black pepper and lime
  • And finally it was a little tomato and chutney sandwich.

They were delightful, fresh and different to what you’d usually get with an afternoon tea which I really enjoyed.

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The savouries I had included in this afternoon tea were delicious and so different to what I was expecting. Starting from the top item at the back was a bite sized mushroom and truffle sausage roll topped with a honey and onion seed glaze. The depth of flavours from the rich umami flavours from the truffle and mushrooms to the sweet, delectable hit from the honey at the end really finished off this little treat.  To the right of that was a warm truffle, brie and grape tart. Brie and grape is just a marriage made in perfect food heaven, combine that with a warm, buttery pastry and you’ve got yourself this little bite of happiness. Beneath that is a savoury choux bun, something of which I had never tried before and was really intrigued by. It was filled with a mouthwatering tomato, basil and lemon cream making it such a lovely and delicate light bite. Next from that was a thick slice of cucumber, which had been partially hollowed out and filled with a caraway spiced goat’s curd and topped with a charcoal emulsion. This too was something I had come across nor tried before and was eager to try it for myself. It was refreshingly cool and wonderfully unique to something you’d expect to adorn your plate. I loved the addition of the very on trend charcoal emulsion as well. Last but definitely not least was the saffron and honey yoghurt you can see in the glass jar on the plate. The silky smooth yoghurt was topped with feta cheese, ribbons of red onion and a fennel salad. Before I start to sound like a broken record I can honestly say I’ve never tasted anything like the things I tried here. The amber hued yoghurt had the subtle floral flavours of saffron combined with the saltiness of the feta and the tartness of the red onion it was completely sublime. I don’t think I could have wolfed it down any faster!

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A close up shot of the saffron and honey yoghurt pot.

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The warm truffle, brie and grape tart in all its glory.

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In between the savoury and sweet tiers we had these delightful lime posset verrine’s topped with a crescent biscuit. It was gorgeously creamy and tangy serving as the perfect palate cleanser.

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Now moving onto the pinnacle of an afternoon tea, it’s not complete without scones with jam and clotted cream. Their warm scones were perfect, so you can just tear them in two with your hands. Whether you eat your scones with jam and cream or cream and jam; these’ll go down a treat.

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If these are new to you as well they are sweet enriched dough buns, studded with sultanas, sprinkled with sugar and a sugar lump placed in the middle.

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As you can see the sugar lump hidden inside the bath bun still remains nearly completely intact. These are perfect with lashings of jam and cream or slathered in cinnamon butter.

I absolutely loved my visit to The Royal Crescent Hotel and am definitely thinking about when I’ll next be returning or even sampling some of their main restaurant menu.

Cafe Diwali, Salisbury.

My sister and I went to Cafe Diwali in Salisbury for the first time recently. We’ve both wanted to visit for ages but either haven’t found the time or every time we walked past it was always full (which is always a great sign right!?). On a Saturday lunchtime we found ourselves a little unsure on where to actually go for a bite to eat and popped in on the chance they might have a spare table and luckily for us they did!

Cafe Diwali is a casual dining spot in the centre of the Medieval city of Salisbury serving authentic Indian street food and craft beers. The super relaxed and friendly vibe is reflected throughout and even though I’ve only visited the once, it’s fast becoming somewhere I’d rush back to for an original dining experience.

Like I mentioned above, we visited the restaurant on a busy Saturday lunchtime and managed to walk in without booking. The place was busy but luckily there was one spare table for the two of us right by the window giving us a perfect opportunity to people watch as well.

We spent a little while ordering drinks and still perusing the menu, not able to fully make our minds up.

I decided to go for the masala dosa which is an Indian pancaked filled with delicately spiced, aromatic potatoes and other vegetables. It came with a vegetable sambar (which is a mild, creamy stew) and a gorgeous coconut chutney. Now that’s something I’ve never tried before and it was so divine. It was subtle, creamy and a little bit sweet but that’s something you’d expect from a coconut dish! It really counterbalanced the savoury elements of the meal I had. As you can see from this picture beneath the portion size was incredible! This costed £6.95 and for that price I wasn’t expecting anything anywhere near this size or as delicious as this. You definitely get amazing value for money here!

masala dosa

This dosa was so delicious and as much as I like to try something new on a menu, this is something that is just so tasty and comforting; I can see myself ordering it again and again.

As something to share between us we opted for the mini raj kachori. They consisted of four panipuri’s (which we just had to try after watching a chef making them in a Youtube video and have been a little bit obsessed with them ever since. They are thin, crispy fried dough balls that have had the centres hollowed out and then stuffed to the brim with loads of mouthwatering things) that were filled with chickpeas, onions and chillies, chilli sauce, tamarind chutney, whipped yoghurt and then topped with pomegranate seeds and  crushed papdi.

I don’t know whether these were meant to be eaten in a few bites nice and daintily but I managed to pop the whole thing in my mouth in one go; giving me every taste and flavour that was going and overall it was absolutely sublime.

panipuri

What I really liked about this menu was that it was so different to the usual things I’ve ever tried. As someone who’s not particularly well travelled, trying authentic Indian street food isn’t something I’ve had a lot of experience in, but Cafe Diwali certainly smashed those boundaries especially with all of their vegetarian or vegan options. I love that they didn’t just have a little box hidden somewhere on the menu with something mushroomy and less exciting for all of the veghead’s like me out there, this menu was bursting with flavours and ideas.

The food was absolutely delightful, and such a bargain price too which always adds an extra few brownie points in my book! The staff were so friendly and welcoming and the whole place was buzzing with chatter and such a lovely, relaxed atmosphere. If you are a Salisbury native, or just fancy a wonderful meal out, trying something a bit special I would definitely recommend this place. I would probably also recommend booking first as well; this is probably one of the best places to eat in town!

How To Make Homemade Smartie Cookies.

These sweet snacks used to be my absolute favourite treat when I was younger. After talking to my sister about them recently we discovered you cannot find them ANYWHERE. I looked all over and searched high and low in pretty much every supermarket and online (that’s how desperate I became for my sugary fix) and started to feel like this is the hidden conspiracy item or I was a victim of the Mandela effect; did they even exist? Did I make them up and had been living in a cookie induced lucid dream for years?!

Also, side note, if someone finds these being sold somewhere real soon I’m going to sound like such a weirdo conspiracy theorist aren’t I! If I get a comment from someone saying they bought these in Tescos just a few days ago I’m going to actually go mad. But anyway!

So I made some of my own that I think taste pretty similar to the real deal and how they used to taste but given the fact that it’s been the best part of about 10 years since I remember having one they might not be bang on but they still tasted pretty good so if you fancy making some of your own give this recipe beneath a go.

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Ingredients:

  1. 150g softened butter
  2. 150g soft light brown sugar
  3. 75g caster sugar
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 1 large Egg
  6. 250g plain flour
  7. 1 tsp baking powder
  8. A pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg. (optional)
  9. smarties (other sugar shelled chocolates are also available)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and if you wanna be super organised (unlike me basically) line a baking tray as well.

  • Firstly, combine the softened butter and sugars in a large bowl. The more I’ve gotten into baking over the last few years, I think you actually really notice the difference when using cold butter, room temperature butter or softened in your bakes. By using room temp or softened butter it enables the sugar and butter to mix together a lot quicker and a lot easier. Plus it means you don’t have to have a mini bicep workout in the kitchen. In this recipe I used both white caster sugar and light brown sugar. The addition of the brown sugar gives the bake a darker golden colour and a slightly more fudgy taste.

 

  • Combine the egg and the vanilla extract together then pour into the sugar and butter mixture and stir until fully blended. Even though there’s a lot of sugar in these super sweet cookies by adding the vanilla extract gives the cookies an extra, deeper flavour throughout. Most supermarkets stock extracts or essences in the home baking aisle and if you want to make this recipe your own you could try using different flavourings like almond, coffee, caramel or even a salted caramel essence instead of vanilla.

 

  • Once all the wet ingredients are fully combined sift in the dry ingredients until it’s formed a dough like consistency. I added in the spices in at this point it’s completely optional I only used a small amount as I didn’t want it to overpower the whole thing but I felt that it just added a little something extra.

 

  • Place the dough in the fridge for about 30-40 minutes to let the flavours develop and the dough to harden up.

 

  • I sliced the cookie dough into 1 inch thick circles, rolled it into a ball between my hands and placed on a tray. I then pressed in a handful of smarties into the cookie and then baked for between 10-12 minutes until golden.

Perf with a cup of tea or glass of milk or eating every single one after the other when no is looking…

 

smartie cookie

 

 

Nut & seed butter alternatives // Indigo Herbs *

 

Hiya! I hope you’re all well! I’m very excited to be sharing with you today the first of many posts I’ve written alongside a company called Indigo Herbs. Indigo Herbs is a health food company from one of my favourite places in the UK, set in the heart of Glastonbury in Somerset (if you’ve never visited, you definitely have to at least once! It’s the most unique town) They stock a wide range of organic Superfoods, high quality herbal powders, aromatherapy oils and Herbal Teas to name just a few. As someone who’s interested in health food and general health and well-being, I really love how informative their page is AND how great their prices are! It’s easy to spend a small fortune on health foods and as someone who used to work in a health food shop I know that before you know it you need a bank loan on just stocking up on good quality basic ingredients!

As I’m so passionate about wholefoods and health foods I was really happy to be able to work alongside Indigo Herbs and try out their range of nut and seed butters and share a whole host of different, easy recipes that literally anyone could do. I’m not the world’s greatest cook or baker but I really enjoy creating bakes in the kitchen (as long as it doesn’t take too long to clear up after as well) I love peanut butter I eat it with slices of apple, sandwiches, on toast, added into sauces or curries, mixed with porridge or brownie mixes or even straight from the jar with a big old spoon. Drooling at the thought I won’t lie. So I was super excited to be able to try this whole range; as a lot of it I hadn’t ever tried or used before. Plus I really LOVE the fact that their butters are all organic and raw so they’re still packed full of all the proteins, vitamins, minerals and nutrients and hasn’t been heat treated or lost in the process of making of them.

indigo herbs nut butter

So first of I’m going to start with the nut butters. I’ve tried almond butter before in the past but I’ve never had walnut butter or hazelnut butter.

Almond Butter:

Probably my favourite apart from the OG peanut butter. It’s rich, thick and creamy but not too sweet. High in Vitamin E, B Vits it’s a great source of dietary fibre and protein plus tastes great swirled through some brownies, banana bread or on a rice cake for a perfect afternoon snack.

Walnut Butter:

I had never tried (heard of) Walnut Butter until I tried this and I was actually really pleasantly surprised! I really like the taste of walnuts anyway I know some people find them quite bitter or like they kind of metallic/rancid taste to some of them which puts a lot of people off. I’ve found that the Lidl own brand ones are really nice and creamy tasting if the bitter taste you often can get puts you off! Nevertheless I was kinda expecting the familiar savouriness but it was creamy to start and had that bitter nut butter finish. Spread it generously on some toast and top with some berries and a drizzle of honey for a perfect, quick and different breakfast.

Hazelnut Butter:

If you’ve got a sweet tooth like me this’ll certainly be up your alley. It’s nice and sweet and speckled with those lush hazelnutty grains. Adding it to already chocolatey recipes like a breakfast cacao smoothie will be like you’re drinking a fresh glass of nutella in the morning. YUM.

Moving on from Nut Butters to their fellow seed butter pals (was I the only one who didn’t actually know this was a thing???) Maybe I just have my heads in the clouds but I didn’t realise what you could do with seeds other than sprinkle them on the top of some meals and bakes. But I’ve really enjoyed trying these, adding them to things I’ve baked or cooked and actually broadening my tastebuds.

seed butter

White Sesame Tahini:

This is deliciously creamy and is basically just milled sesame seeds until it forms a paste. You can add it to soups, as a salad dressing or if you’re as addicted to Hummus as I am this is a great tahini to use and it’s so simple to make. Just chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice and oil, absolutely incredible if I do say so myself.

Black Sesame Tahini:

Just the same as white tahini but made with black sesame seeds. It’s rich in taste and in colour with a gorgeously glossy black shine to it. It’s full of B Vits, minerals and protein I love how it adds a really bold colour to bakes.

Sunflower Seed Butter:

This one I was most pleasantly surprised by it reminded me a little bit of peanut butter as it was smooth, creamy and sweet but much lighter and runnier in terms of texture compared to old faithful PB. Whether you use it for savoury or sweet cooking or baking, it adds a subtle creamy flavour. Perfect in cookies, hummus or in a dressing.

Apricot Kernel Butter:

Y’know those stones inside an apricot turns out they actually have uses. Who knew? Apricot kernels are high in vitamin E so it’s great for skin, hair and nails (eat it obvs don’t use it as a shampoo…Well you do you but it tastes good and I would probably recommend not putting on your face or hair ha!) It’s also quite rich in vitamin b17 which is a component of cyanide so best not to eat the whole jar. But then so are a lot of fruit seeds like apple pips so best to avoid those too if you can! On Indigo Herbs website they state it tastes sweet, rich and a bit like Amaretto and I TOTALLY got that. I dolloped some on top of a slice of wholemeal toast and ate it in about 7 seconds. Gurt lush.

Hemp Seed Butter:

I don’t really know much about the flavours of hemp, eating it or using it in cooking or baking. It’s really good for you, it’s a complete protein full of all the essential amino acids perfect as an energy source if you’re veggie or vegan or just want that added protein in your diet. Described on their website as peppery and creamy and it couldn’t have been more spot on. I added this into salad dressings and slathered it on the top of a cauliflower steak for a really unique, umami flavour profile.

Pumpkin Seed Butter:

Last and but by no means least is pumpkin seed butter. This taste just like pumpkin seeds with that similar smoky earthiness flavour to it. I used mine to make a pumpkin seed pesto pasta which was divine but if you wanted a sweeter flavour add some honey, maple syrup or some cinnamon and other spices!

Just to reiterate this was a gifted post courtesy of Indigo Herbs and the lovely Claire but all the thoughts and opinions throughout are honest and genuine. I really hope you enjoyed this post as much as I loved taste testing these! I’m so excited to share more nutty and seedy butter recipes with you all very soon!

The Olive Branch, Wimborne.

I love going out for breakfast. Or going out for brunch. Or just going out to eat really. Ok I just like food a lot. I went out for a boujiee girly brunch with my mum and sister to a pub/restaurant called The Olive Branch actually owned by the Hall and Woodhouse chain. It’s set in the heart of Wimborne, Dorset just a short distance away from places like Poole and Bournemouth.

I’ve been here a couple of times now with friends and seperately with my mum and I really like that it’s got a really relaxed, friendly vibe and it doesn’t feel at like any other Hall and Woodhouse pub I’ve been to before. The menu caters for so many different dietary requirements whether you’re coeliac, vegan, vegetarian or just a bit of a fussy eater there’s plenty to choose from. Plus the decor is really cool. With it’s large garden to sit in, the laidback pantry area indoors with big tables and long benches perfect for gathering all your friends together for a cosy brunch on a Saturday morning. Or the more formal dining area and snug.

I really like that their breakfast and brunch menu’s are a little bit different to what you may usually expect to see. I decided to have their shakshuka and a yellow smoothie and it was lush. I have a bit of a sweet tooth and if I was out for breakfast or brunch I’d either go for something a bit different or something like pancakes or french toast but I haven’t had a shakshuka since I went to Redroaster in Brighton (read more about that here or even read about my WHOLE Brighton adventure here)

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This Middle Eastern dish is right up my street and I reckon I could probably eat it breakfast, noon and night. It consisted of three eggs delicately baked in a rich, spiced sauce made from tomatoes, chillies, pepper and onions topped with chili flakes and coriander. With two small batons of bread to dip in. You could add some spinach or feta for an extra £1 each or if you wanted to make this brunch plate vegan you could have swapped the eggs for some avo instead.

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Usually I’d have gone with a tea or a latte but I felt like something cold for a change and something refreshing and this one sounded perf. It was full of pineapple and mango hence the sunny yellow colour and it was fab on this warm day.

Wimborne has some great eateries and I’d recommend The Olive Branch if you’re looking for somewhere to please everyone!

Best Brownies EVER.

 

I won’t lie, these are the only tall, dark and handsome things on the internet you’ll ever really want and need in your life right now. They’re sweet, they’re rich and they’re bad for you but above all, they defo won’t let you down or ghost you like Reece from tinder might do. (No offence to any Reece’s from Tinder). I actually discovered these from my Mum who usually sticks to a Jamie Oliver recipe with her twist on it. Obvs that recipe was before he turned all melodramatic about 2 for 1 pizzas and whether or not a vimto has one or more sugars in. This recipe is certainly not the healthiest, not a pinch of superfood in this and it’s so delicious.

I am not one to toot my own horn but this recipe is quickly becoming my go-to for impressing people with my fine kitchen skillz.  Because I want to be a bit of a Rahul from Bake Off about this all and I want you all to actually like me and be my friend consider this my way of baking this for you…kinda. The method to these are a little bit different to any of the ways I’ve baked brownies, or any other baked good for that matter, so even though it might seem a little bit mental…stick with it. k?

browniesss

 

You will need:

  • 250g butter,
  • 1tsp coffee granules,
  • 200g dark chocolate,
  • 80g cocoa powder,
  • 65g plain flour,
  • 1tsp baking powder,
  • 4 eggs,
  • 360g caster sugar.

HOW TO:

First off, line a square tin or any shaped tin of your choice, with parchment paper or grease it with butter and preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.

Then I put the butter into a microwave safe jug or bowl and heat it for 30 seconds at a time until it is fully melted. You could do this on top of the stove or even in a bain marie if that is easier for you. To the melted butter add the coffee granules you don’t taste the coffee element by adding this it just helps to enhance the richer, chocolate flavour. Add your chopped chocolate to this mixture at the same time as the coffee too, letting it mingle with the hot butter, leave it for about 2 minutes or so and then come back and stir it all together until it has all melted and is a smooth, glossy chocolate liquid. At this stage it’ll still be really warm so you could either put let it cool somewhere, place it in the fridge for short intervals making sure it’s not in there too long in case it’ll set. I actually use the very unorthodox method of putting the plug in my sink and putting cold water in. Just enough water that it comes up to where the chocolate mixture is in the jug, allowing no water actually into the mix.

Whilst that is cooling I crack the eggs and put them in a stand mixer, if you don’t have one of these you could use a hand whisk it might just take you a little longer but think of the muscles you’ll be using! Slightly ironic thought that for a brownie recipe but hey. To that I add in the sugar. If you want a richer, fudgier, more of a molasses taste, I’d suggest using a darker or demerara sugar. I used caster sugar.

I mixed it for about 5 minutes or so until the eggs and the sugar were lovely and combined and plenty of air was whipped through so it had pretty much doubled in size.

When the chocolatey, buttery mixture was cooled whilst the mixer is on a slow speed Ioured in the chocolate a little at a time careful not to knock any of the air out and gradually added more and more until it was all fully combined.

Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder a little at a time, folding it through gently.

Once it’s all fully combined you can pour it into your prepared tray or if you wanted to jazz it up a bit and add chopped fruit like cherries or some crushed nuts, oreos, peanut butter cups (shout out to Reece from Tinder we knew we wouldn’t have seen the last of you just yet) or a handful of pretzels now is the perfect time to mix it through or push some into the top of the batter once it’s in the tray.

I baked it between 20-25 minutes, checking it halfway with a skewer. I found to get that extra crackly top is once it’s out of the oven, hold it about 8 inches above a cooling rack and drop it down on the surface several times. My dog wondered what on earth I was doing but it helps to crack the top surface (of the brownies not your kitchen work tops).

Leave to cool and then cut into little chunks. ENJOY. ❤

 

brownies
Look at that crackly top tho?????

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I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

MUCH LOVE. x

Dinner at Zizzi’s.

Italian food is one of my favourite cuisines, I wouldn’t be surprised even if it was one of the UK’s favourites when eating out. Most High Street’s in Britain will have at least one Italian place! I for one could 100% live off of pizza, pasta, breads and gelato, I mean if it wasn’t for the fact I’d wake up the size of a house of course. I’ve mentioned before how when I’m going out to eat, I live for looking up the best places to go and eat on Tripadvisor, usually I’d opt for somewhere that’s an independent place or somewhere that does a bit different.

However out of all the chain restaurants, Zizzi is honestly one of my absolute favourites. By the way this is not a sponsored post in the slightest, I just really want to sing their praises! They have a really fun, authentic and fresh menu serving really exciting foods for a whole host of tastebuds. I love that their vegetarian AND vegan menu has more than one option each and is all such delicious food. Oh and did I mention at the moment (until the 28th of October I thiiiiink???) they have a cracking 3 course meal offer for £15.95. How amazing is that?! Me and mum went their for a leisurely lunch and I’ll share with you here what we had.

So me and mumsypops actually went to Zizzi in Dorchester’s Brewery Square. It’s a really cool new food quarter and cinema section so it’s perfect if you’re planning on a cinema night and you’re spoilt for choices with some fab dining spots. We had our pooch with us so couldn’t sit inside the restaurant but the kind servers were really accomodating and let us sit in the outside eating section.

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This was my starter and doesn’t it look delicious and carby and like you could eat a whole bucket of them right now???? They’re called Little Soul Breads and they were incredible. They’re little dough balls of heaven, topped with garlic and salt, baked until they’re crusty on top and like a little soft fluffy cloud in the middle. We had a choice of dips but went with a garlic butter and a white bean and basic pesto. DIVINE.

pizza zizzi

 

So obvs if I’m going out for pizza and see something with goat’s cheese on it, I’ve pretty much already decided on that in my mind! So when I saw this goat’s cheese, mozzarella,  caramelised onions, a sprinkling of pine nuts and juuuuust a bit more cheese and basil.It was amazing. I love the fresh saltiness the goat’s cheese adds combined with the tangy sweetness of the caramelised onions it was really well balanced.

I have such a sweet tooth, if I go out for dinner, I am mainly thinking about going out for dessert. Pudding is my absolute favourite and if I could eat it for every meal without getting diabetes or piling on the pounds then I totally would. Judge me if you want, but who would say no to Crème brûlée or ice cream for breakfast?! So I was super buzzing for us to have our puddings. To be honest by this point we were both feeling quite full but because we already ordered it at the beginning we had it anyway. Such troopers aren’t we!?

zizzi ice cream

ice cream

So me and Mother dearest both decided to get ice cream. You can even see her in the top image helping with the shots for the ‘gram. CUTE. Mum got the chocolate sea salt, coconut chocolate ripple and the raspberry and mascarpone ripple. I went for the chocolate sea salt, raspberry mascarpone ripple and the honey seasalt and mascarpone. Each one of these was so rich, flavourful and smooth. I wish they would sell me a tub of the chocolate sea salt one, it was bliss! I love the combination of saltiness and sweet.

I am a huge fan of Zizzi as you can tell by this blogpost of appreciation! I’m so keen to get back to one so I can check out their recent menus. They’re always sprucing them seasonally oh and, did I mention they have a great selection of cocktails, mocktails and funky soft drinks! Sooooo shall I book a group table for us or do you want to?

 

Winter Warmer Bean Chilli.

chilli

Chilli con Carne is one of my all time favourite dishes to eat and also to make. It’s so versatile and you can change up the whole meal with different sides, different ingredients and different spices every single time. Also in my opinion it makes it one o the harder dishes to recreate as I’m always adding in different little bits every time I can never go back and make the same bowl of it. Everyone in my household eats meat apart from me but whenever I cook I always like to do something non meaty for them. Hence why I decided to treat them to this fab bean chilli this evening. I should add that I’m not one of those hardcore veg heads that force everyone to eat tofu and quorn (I mean I am trying *very* hard for them to all try a Linda McCartney sausage even just a tiny bite but no such luck so far.)
The great thing about chilli is that there is so much room for personalisation, if you like yours with some spice and a bit of kick then you can add as many chillies and chilli flakes as you like, I’ve heard of some people adding a couple of squares of good quality dark chocolate to make the mixture smoother and creamier or even a dollop of marmite to give it that salty, well marmitey, flavour.. If you can’t face a meal without meat (my sister to a t) then you can add some diced bacon or pancetta. The possibilities are endless.
So I thought I’d impart my wonderful knowledge and wisdom of this with a fab chilli recipe because it is so ridiculously easy to make and is so tasty and warming especially in the coming colder months.This was to die for and literally a one pot dish. I honestly thought they were a myth or clickbait seen on Pinterest.
I’m not one for complicated recipes if I have to flambé anything I’m out, this one pot dish is super duper simple there’s literally no room to go wrong.
 Oh I should also add that these measurements may seem proper huge but this made 12 portions so was perfect for leftovers the following day, lunches or even popping in the freezer cos you never know when you might need an emergency bean chilli??

You will need:
  • 1 large carrot.
  • 1 large celery stalk.
  • 1 medium red onion.
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped. I roasted it as well so it was easier to squish with a back of a knife. I’m getting proper technical here, watch out Gordon Ramsey.
  • 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes.
  • 1 tblsp tomato puree.
  • 1 tsp chilli powder.
  • 1 tsp ground cumin.
  • 1 tsp ground coriander.
  • 1 bay leaf.
  • 1 tsp cinnamon.
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika.
  • 1 400g tin butter beans.
  • 1 400g tin kidney beans.
  • 1 400g black beans.
  • 1 small tin baked beans (cheating IKR but it works).
  • Handful of chopped coriander leaves.
  • sweetcorn.

HOW TO:

To start off I finely diced a stalk of celery, a carrot and a small red onion and fried it off in the pot with a good glug of olive oil, crushed garlic and a pinch of salt. Once that had cooked through and turned a more translucent colour which took about 10 minutes. After that I poured a tin of chopped tomatoes into the pot. Leaving that to simmer a bit, I actually used my handheld immersion blender and just blended the mixture a handful of times. That was more for my personal preference as I didn’t want big tomatoey lumps. (also what I look like on holiday. A big tomatoey lump..)
From there I added in all of the spices and the bay leaf. I never really thought much about cooking before but you are really building flavours upon flavours. That way you can taste a bit see if you need to add anything else or realise your culinary expertise that you’ve made a pretty banging pot of flavours so far.
To save time and energy I use tinned beans. You can use dried beans but it just takes a bit longer as you have to leave them soaking overnight aaaaaand I couldn’t be bothered for that. Sooooorrry.  So yeah where was I? I added in all my funky tins of beans. Even my baked beans, ok I know the whole of Texas and Southern American states will be wanting to burn my kitchen down for that but in my opinion it really works. I had put a sprinkle too much chilli into this and when I say a sprinkle it was practically like a truck had reversed up and dumped a whole skip full of the stuff. Plus I  really needed something to reduce it’s thickness and flavour.
I throw that in the pot. Not literally that would be messy and not to mention reckless. Pls don’t throw anything on my recommendation. Yeah so add in all the tinned things or the beans you’ve been soaking overnight, if you do that…I just want to say I’m already so proud of you. Leave it to simmer gently over a low heat for like 20 minutes, enough time to peg some washing out. I sound like Bree Van Der Kampf but that is genuinely what I did.
In that time you can come back stir it all through and be delighted with the delicious smokey smells filling your kitchen as we speak. And that is literally your one pot chilli done. I don’t even know if I can call it a chilli? Maybe like a bean stew would be more appropriate.
If you want to make yours a bit thicker, I mix a spoonful of polenta (or flour whatever suits you) with some water until it forms a slurry like that consistency and then combine that with the chilli. If you mix the flour or polenta or whatever thickening agent right into it it can create just lumps and pockets of flour and that is really not ideal.  (I’m using some cracking terminology here aren’t I)
Once made you can either eat it immediately, don’t even bother putting it in a bowl just grab a spoon or ladle, depending on your mood and eat it ALLLL. Or heat it up just before serving, y’know whatever you’d rather.
SO hey presto. You made yourself a delicious, heart warming, good for the soul bowl of food. I’ve served this to the meatiest of all meat eaters and they even went back for seconds. I’m fairly certain lions on the prowl for their next slither of food would rather eat this than their usual prey (once again, do not hold me to these ridic claims)
So sit down with a good book and a big spoon or gather round the dinner table for some wholesome home cooking. You can serve this with rice, cornbread which I made for the first time today and it is absolutely divine. On top of a jacket potato or even batch prepare on a Sunday for a whole week of meal preps If you’re that way inclined. I am forgetful and lazy I don’t think I’ll ever be a meal prepper unless it’s cooking a pizza and separating the leftover. cold slices for work lunch. Jokes there’s never any leftover slices. This is great family food as you can lay the table with guac, salsa, tortilla chips and sour cream and all dig in and have a Texan feast.
MUCH LOVE.