Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you hadn’t already noticed I have a huge sweet tooth and is there a better way to spend an evening than sinking into the sofa for The Great British Bake Off semi finals this evening than in front of the fire with a big plate of gorg homemade cookies.

cookies

These are a firm family fave and taste beaut cooled slightly straight from the oven when they’re all soft, warm and fudgy still.

They’re super simple to make and you could do it all in one big bowl so less washing up is always a winner. This recipe makes roughly 12 cookies. If you’re an ultra organised person this the type of thing you could make and then roll into a sausage shape and freeze and cut off a slice when you fancy a cookie (like you’d only have one???) Or even just have as cookie dough.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • 125g softened butter.
  • 100g soft light brown sugar.
  • 125g golden caster sugar.
  • 1 egg.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract.
  • 225g plain flour.
  • 200g chocolate chips/chunks/ a bar cut into shards.

HOW TO:

First off preheat your oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray.

Cream together the butter and the sugars until fully combined. I’ve used a combination of light brown sugar and golden caster sugar to give it that slightly darker colour and also to make the texture a bit gooey and fudgier.

To that add in the beaten egg and the vanilla.

Sift in the plain flour and then add in the chocolate chips. I actually used a dark chocolate because that is my favourite. Plus I really like the combo of the sweet cookie and the bitter dark chocolate. If dark chocolate isn’t your fav, once you’ve got the basic cookie recipe down you can swap things around to please yourself, like white chocolate and a cranberry, milk chocolate and fudge pieces, a swirl of nutella and some chopped hazelnuts, or one of my faves, a piece of dairy milk caramel shoved in the centre so when you bite into it you’ve got that delicious gooey middle. YUM.

Using a tablespoon I scooped up some of the dough and then using my hands, rolled it into a ball shape pressing it down on the top slightly as I did so.

Putting it in the oven to bake for about 8-9 minutes so they are still warm and soft in the middle. Leave to bake and set up in the oven a few minutes longer if you want a crispier bake and it’s golden around the edges.

I swear the time waiting for them to cool are almost as long as treadmill minutes??? I sprinkled them with some sea salt and served. Nigella who?!

cookies close up

What’s your cookie of choice?

MUCH LOVE. x

Blogtober day 19.

Hiyaaaaa can you actually believe it is it day 19 of Blogtober and I haven’t forgotten/given up/been blocked by the whole entire Internet for constantly rabbiting on, on here. I’m not going to lie, there have been occasions where I’ve come close, overcome with the thought of what am I ACTUALLY doing this for, all it’s doing is clogging your reader page and probably annoying you. Plus I’d usually get way too deep into the thoughts of why I’m actually blogging and whether it’ll ever really pay off for me or whether I am just genuinely wasting my spare time by talking about cake and cheese on the internet. The latter is a thought I try and quash quite regularly just in case it’s the truer of the two options.

I was hoping to use this month or Blogtober debacle to showcase my writing, my skillz and impress you all with some thought provoking, good fun, good humoured content that would result in at least 5 Pulitzer prizes. It’s built in my very core to aim high even if I’ll spectacularly fail. I’ve got an embarrassing amount of drafts on here filled with half written entities that I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do with. Some of them are complete jargon I was writing at about 5 am when I wake up ridiculously early, some of them read like the ramblings of a drunk crackhead and some of them are just dog memes I don’t know where to save. Maya Angelou eat your heart out, I think not.

For me, I just love writing. Even Christmas cards, notes to the DPD driver as I’m just heading out or customer feedback surveys for restaurants and stores I’ve shopped in. I suppose one of the side effects of becoming/being a writer is the inevitable ‘struggle’ that you have to go through or face at one stage or another. Struggling writers and struggling artists are what the creative arts are almost built on. No one wants to know about Little Miss Sophia that had it all. People like to hear stories about someone that worked tirelessly, that came from nothing, that typed their fingers to the bone whilst working 3 deadend jobs and an internship, raising triplets and living on the streets all for the off chance it might make a difference and they might actually do that thing, where they work their dream job. No pressure huns.

I think I read something online recently that said that the majority of Millennial’s (‘scuse me whilst I go gag,  I actually hate that word so much. Usually because it is twinned with an equal ridiculous sentence like ‘..Millennial’s can’t afford to get on the property ladder because they’re buying too many avocado’s…’. Firstly who is making these correlations?! Secondly unless you haven’t noticed rising house prices and a dire minimum wage don’t exactly go hand in hand. Thirdly….Iceland sell a bag of 8 avo halves for £3.50.) are a lot more likely to be working in jobs they don’t want to be doing compared to the older generations. I went to a school where they practically drummed it into you to aim high, aim high, aim high and basically saying that you don’t want to aspire to work in McDonalds or as a bin collector. Shady school I know but that’s a subject for another day. But can *every* single person chase their dreams and get what they want? Surely someone has to aspire to be a happy go lucky bin collector. The ones who do it in my village look like some of the happiest people I’ve ever seen. They’re always smiling, laughing and joking with each other. They carry dog treats in case they see a dog and they get to hang about in the fresh air for a living.

Has this sense of seeking perfection always been prevalent or is it because it’s nearly 11pm on a Friday night and I’m overthinking and questioning all of my life choices up until now. Like if only I stuck with my recorder lessons back at primary school I could be the first person in the world selling sold out stadium tours with me and my recorder. If only I actually paid attention in History in my GCSEs rather than looking out the window and trying not to drift off under the spell of my teachers monotonous voice. I swear that man could make a chess game between a seal and a top hat wearing grizzly bear sound dull.

Or maybe it’s just me, overthinking everything as per usual. Feeling very much like I’m the only person in the world that isn’t living their best life or travelling Greek islands via super yacht every single summer. Wondering what if I never achieve these hopes, goals and dreams and will spend my final years cursing my younger self in my youth for not working harder and for wasting too much time toiling away in a job I despise. But maaaaaybe it’s also the weather. Like I’m just feeling a little bit lacklustre at the moment. Almost as if it’s the calm before the storm and I’m waiting for something huge to come along and shake me up and set me in a new, much more exciting direction. Or maybe I’m just sleep deprived. Who knows.

So for now, I’m going to bid you goodnight.

MUCH LOVE. X

 

Recreating seasonal hot drinks at home.

I love hot drinks and have at least three cups of tea each day. To some that may seem like loads or to some it may seem like hardly anything at all. A warm drink is like a hug in a cup so when the Autumn/Winter months roll around, the red cups in Starbucks come out to play it can only mean one thing; seasonal drinks time!!

I love a gingerbread latte, the subtle warmth and spiciness makes me feel so cosy. Or a black forest hot chocolate puts me in the wintry mood instantly. In an effort to save money because those £3 coffee shop treats do add up!! I’ve decided to try and recreate these at home for a fraction of the price, you can make them just how you like them, to impress family, friends and guests at home plus you could put it in a funky travel mug for commuting to work or college.

Anyone who knows me knows that I adore TK Maxx/Homesense and they stock SO many gorgeous homeware pieces and such an interesting foodie section. I used to be a little bit sceptical of the food section in a TK Maxx, where was it all from? How long had it been there for?? But then I thought if I thought the same about foods in an actual Supermarket would I actually want to know that answer? Probably not!

They stock so many wonderful teas, coffees and so many syrups too. They have such a huge variety of them as well so you’re literally so spoilt for choice. Most supermarkets and even some coffee shops like Costa stock bottles of syrups you can add to your hot drinks to make them that extra bit more decadent.

I want to share with you a simple, easy way of making barista style drinks from home and you don’t need any fancy machinery. I got ya covered!

AEEFE06E-7F6F-41FB-9912-31DC8335C4D7

So for a super rich hot chocolate I usually measure the milk out in the mug I’m using and warm it in a pan with a split vanilla pod and the seeds scraped out on the hob. Bring it to the boil and then add in 1tsp of cocoa powder and 40g of chopped dark chocolate shards per serving. Stir it all together off the heat and whisk it vigorously til it’s frothy on top. If you wanted to add a syrup you could pop one or two pumps into the bottom of your glass/mug/travel mug/shoe/I do not mind what container you use. Or you could put it straight into the milk before you warm it.

To make this extra decadent you could use equal quantities of cream and milk or if you want it extra chocolatey try using a chocolate milk with the same quantities of chocolate shards, cocoa powder and cream.

To make a white hot chocolate just don’t add the cocoa powder and substitue the chocolate for white chocolate instead. If you’re aiming for mad gainzzzzzz try using a skimmed milk or oat or coconut mylk with a scoop of chocolate/unflavoured/vanilla protein powder and some chocolate and cocoa powder.

If you’re like me and are lowkey obsessed with the black forest hot chocolate, use your normal hot chocolate and add a pump or two of

F5D2C9C6-C647-4A17-9B0E-311FEADDCDDC

Ok so this was the one that I was most looking forward to because it is super simple to get a frothy coffee at home. Without any technical thingymibobs and you can totally show off to your guests with your fancy pants coffee. If they want a ultra tricky macchiato with camel milk welllllll you’ve come to the wrong blog but I can teach you a simple way to make a latte.

So not too dissimilar from the hot chocolate, I pour milk into the cup/mug/glass whichever receptacle of choice measuring out how much I’ll need. I usually fill it about 3/4s full. I love a milky coffee.

I boil the kettle and add a teaspoon of coffee granules into a mug. At that point if you want any sugar, syrups, jazzy bits etc now is the time to add that in. Fill the cup about a third full and mix it altogether making sure all the coffee granules have fully dissolved and it’s smooth.

Going back to the milk bit,  you can either warm it up in the microwave first or wait to shake it up first. I actually then put it into a protein shaker or the breville active blender (use some sort of bottle or container with a lid that can also go in the microwave) and shake the milk up for about 30 seconds until its grown frothy and bubbly on top.

If you’ve warmed up your milk first you can then shake it up and pour it into the glass or if you haven’t you can then warm your shaken up milk in the microwave until hot.

Pour the milk straight into the glass and then quickly pour the coffee on top of that. Careful not to knock out any of the lovely froth. If you want to make better coffee art then I do, as you pour the coffee, pour it narrowly down one side of the glass and then filter it off into the middle and it’s supposed to make a heart shape.

 

If you want to get your hands on some syrups or extras or even find some great places to get some teas/coffee granules/syrups other than supermarkets, tea shops or the OG TK Maxx I’d recommend:

Next Day Coffee

Discount Cream

The Protein Works

Skinny Mixes

Verde Coffee

Cardiff Sport Nutrition

Syrups and Stuff

You can also try Amazon or just using food essences or even more naturally with herbs and spices, I love popping in a cinnamon stick. So yum!

MUCH LOVE. X

Homemade Cornbread.

So as I mentioned in my post yesterday as seen here I made and ate cornbread for the first time and it was actually really good. I’ve often seen people on American films and sitcoms eat this with their meals and have always been a bit curious as to what it actually is and what it tastes like too. To be honest if you were like me and hadn’t tried it before it’s like a dense cake is the best way to describe it I reckon. Eating this made me live out my dream of being a old woman from one of the southern states of America, I pictured myself sitting on a rocking chair on a porch in Alabama, spitting into a bucket and stroking one of my many wild pet cats. We’ve all got dreams right?!

Anyway aside from that mad tangeant, I would really recommend giving this a go. It’s a bit different and something I, and none of my family members had really tried before, it’s also a really conversation starter if you serve this up over the dinner table with a big feast of tex mex food.

cornbread

As you can see from the above image, which looks like its a screengrab from a crap documentary series filmed off of a potato, it’s a proper dense little side dish. It looks like a cake, smells like cake but has that faint polenta/sweetcorn aroma to it and went really with the savoury chilli flavours.

If I’ve managed to sell this recipe to you and you fancy giving it a go yourself, it’s so easy to do. You literally just mix wet ingredients into the dry ones. Pop it in a lined tray and bang it in the oven. DONE.

To make this you will need:

  • 125g plain flour.
  • 125g cornmeal or polenta.
  • 140g caster sugar.
  • 1 tsp salt.
  • 3tsp baking powder.
  • 1 large egg.
  • 235ml of milk.
  • 80ml vegetable oil.

HOW TO:

I wish I could ramble on in this gap for ages how technical I found this but I’m not the greatest cook in the world and I found it so easy there’s literally 0 room to go wrong.

I measured out all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and then mixed them all together until they were nicely combined.

Adding in a pinch of salt and the egg, I mixed until it formed a paste like consistency.

In a jug, I measured out the milk and the oil adding that to the dry ingredients until it came together like a smooth cake batter.

I popped it in the oven (which was set and preheating obvs at 200 degrees C) It took about 25 minutes to fully cook through and I left it to cool before serving.

I did see online that some people eat theirs hot or with honey or topped with butter but we had ours plain. Similarly you could add in some cheese, chives, spices like paprika or even some small bacon bits to give it a bit more punch and flavour.

cornbreadd

Once again, I am not impressed with the photo quality of these. I did take them with my phone and usually it works out really well but these look like I took them with a disposable camera on holiday in 1976 or something?! Anyway I was well happy with how these turned out. Considering it was my first attempt and no one was violently ill or thought they tasted gross!? That’s a win in my book!

Also, so sorry these posts are coming out later and later each day, I may have been watching Crime documentaries all evening before I realised I didn’t actually schedule a post for today. One of these days I might be an organised little sausage when it comes to these blogging shenanigans.

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.

Irish Apple Crumble Cake.

I saw this recipe online a few months ago, from Donal Skehan’s website here,  and it quickly became one of my favourites and one of my family’s too. Even though I live in  Dorset so you may have thought that the famous Dorset Apple cake would have stolen that top spot for me however I enjoy the cake/crumble hybrid that comes with this teatime treat. It has a light, fluffy sponge, delicately spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger topped with a smooth, buttery crumble top adding an extra dimension of texture and flavour.

This bake isn’t really for the fainthearted judging by the amount of butter and sugar you throw (not literally) into the bowl. It won’t be one you can take to a weight watchers bake off to be honest but it’s so deliciously decadent that it won’t even matter. I based my recipe off of Donal’s, he’s one of my favourite chefs with his fun approach to cooking and baking. I have added a bit of a twist to this recipe which some Irish folk may think is absolute blasphemy and I’ll be banned from the Emerald Isle for life but i’ve baked this for family and friends and it went down a treat.

For this bake you will need:

  • 110g butter, I used unsalted.
  • 150g soft brown sugar or demerara sugar whatever is easier or what you’ve got in your cupboards.
  • 2 eggs
  • 210g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp of almond or vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ginger, 1tsp nutmeg.
  • 300g peeled, cored and sliced cooking apple is Donal’s recommendation but I tend to use 2 or 3 small eating apples.

For the crumble top you will need:

  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g plain flour
  • 50g cold, diced butter.

 

HOW TO:

So first off I would recommend preheating your oven to 180 degrees and lining a cake tin. Then you can peel and dice your apple. Depending on how apple-y you like your bake you could add more or less. We like ours quite fruity so add a good amount. To keep them from browning I put them in a bowl of water with a squeeze of lemon juice until I add them to the mixture.

Like any other cake, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and smooth. Add in the eggs with a spoonful of flour with each egg. This helps the mixture from not looking claggy and a bit gross and enables it to mix together more smoothly.

Add in the rest of the flour along with the salt and baking powder too. Once that’s all fully combined I pop in the almond extract and the spices too. I really like these flavours so sometimes adjust the amount I use depending on my personal tastes and whether I want to use some of these Christmassy flavours too. I think the cinnamon is definitely a good addition but things like ginger, nutmeg or even something like allspice or mixed spice are all optional.

Draining the apples from the water completely and patting them dry in a tea towel, stopping any excess water getting the batter wetter than it needs to be, I pop them straight into the batter giving it a quick stir until it’s completely combined.

At this stage you could also add things like a handful of crushed mixed nuts, raisins or other dried fruits like raisins, cranberries or chopped apricots or even jewel the lined cake tin with blackberries or raspberries ready for when you pour the mixture over it.

Once the cake mix is evenly spread into the tin you can sprinkle on top the crumble mix.

To make the crumble mixture all you need to do is rub the sugar, butter and flour to a rough breadcrumb consistency. I like to add some spices to the mix of mine too, giving it that lovely golden sand colour. Similarly if you want an extra crunchy texture, crumble in some crushed up biscuits or shortbread, flaked almonds or even some rolled oats then evenly coat the top of the cake batter.

Cook in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until you poke a skewer or knife in and it comes out clean. I sometimes find that bit difficult with a recipe with fruit in so sometimes it’s easier to poke a couple holes in just to be on the safe side.

Once cooled it is perfect served with a generous dollop of cream or even have it slightly warmed up too. It is glorious. If I do say so myself.

76CDC495-D491-42BD-BAE8-7889B82D92F4

Sea Salt & Dark Chocolate Torte.

I know, I know. Last time I posted on here I said I was going to be posting more regularly once on a Wednesday and once on a Sunday. Well me and scheduling/any form of organisation is like Donald Trump to rational thinking and not being a total div. Sorry team I really do wish I was one of those super organised, elegant gals that arrive at events 10 minutes early with immaculate hair and makeup and always know what’s what. But that’s not me. I’m trying me best at scheduling and drafts and what not so gimme some time for this to actually start. Thanks for being all so wondrous, so supportive and so damn fit. LY mean it. Anywho, I have a foodie post to whet your metaphorical and internetty appetite with today, so sit back (or however you want to sit idm) relax and have a read of this little gem. This was super easy and dead showy offy to make as well, so enjoy!

When I get sad I bake. When I bake I eat more. When I eat more I get fat. When I get fat I get sad. YA SEE HOW THIS CYCLE GOES ON. Everything in moderation is something I should live my life by more often but the sad truth is a slice of chocolate cake and a large vino tastes infinitely better than a wheatgrass shot and some bulgar wheat grains. I’ve been feeling a little bit rubbish, a bit low and not quite myself for a few weeks now, with me putting it down to hormones or just feeling a bit lost in life. I’ve made some changes in my personal life and am starting to put me first a lot more from now on, I’ll talk more about this in my lifey post which’ll put up in the next few days. So after a bit of a grotty week I decided to traipse into town and do some food shopping yesterday and to get a few ingredients. Cue all the adulty adults having a good old chuckle as I ATTEMPTED to food shop on a Saturday. At Midday. uGH. This is going to be much more of a chatty recipe post so I hope you’re not expecting a fine cuisine recipe for this one, I kinda just made it up as I went along and it happened to turn out pretty yum. It’s a torte not a tart as the dictionary definition is that a tart contains flour and a torte has more of a crumbly/no floury base. So not only are you making something delish it also sounds dead fancy!? So if you want to emulate me and this recipe you’ll need to put on your comfiest clothes, scrunch up your hair into an incredibly messy high bun and follow de rulez.

pie3

So to make this little babe you will need:

  • A loose bottom tart/flan tin. (I used a 9.5 x 1.4’inch one).
  • 200g of shortbread biscuits.
  • 100g melted unsalted butter.
  • 400g dark chocolate.
  • 300ml double cream or whipping cream.
  • 100g caster sugar.
  • 50g unsalted butter.
  • Sea salt flakes.
  • 1tsp vanilla extract

It starts off with a cheesecake buttery biscuit base whereas normally digestive biscuits are used I fancied using some shortbread. I don’t know why I thought it would bind together a bit better and a sweeter over flavour to it. Which it did. After this I did think you could blend two different types of biscuits together to make it a bit different, maybe add some oats or maybe some chopped nuts to give it a crunchier more interesting texture. So smash up the biscuits to a fine crumb, picture that ex, that crap friend, that manager that made you work overtime on a Friday. Bash that pack of biscuits til it’s all the same fine sand consistency or ’til you’ve stopped being angry. Either way! Pour in the melted butter until the the biscuits have bound together and you can press it into the tart tin. Pressing it up the sides and across the base with about an inch thickness I left to chill for about 20 minutes. The torte that is. Not me.

pie2

To make the ganache filling put the cream, sugar and vanilla extract into a pan and brought it to a slow, gentle boil. Whilst the cream is coming to a boil break the dark chocolate into small squares in a bowl and put the butter in with it too. Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and leave to rest for about 30 seconds to a minute. Stirring the two together til the chocolate melts into the cream and thickens, forming that gorgeously glossy ganache. The added butter might seem a little bit odd but it give the ganache that lovely sheen to it. I sprinkled some sea salt over the top and then placed in the fridge for 2+hours. Once it’s set serve with a dollop of creme fraiche, some fresh berries or maybe some crushed hazelnuts. YUMMMMM.

pie

I don’t know how many kcals this contains and frankly I don’t care as it tasted blimmin’ well great. If you try this please do let me know what you think, I found it so easy I don’t even think I can call it baking?!

I MADE A GIANT JAFFA CAKE.

I’ve conjured up a sure fire way to put end to the age old debate as to whether the humble Jaffa cake is a biscuit or a cake, by making my own version larger than my own blimmin’ face! No seriously this is huge and delicious. Just like me amirite? I found this recipe through UniLad would you actually believe it. No offence you absolute lads buuuuut I never had this site synonymous with baking cakes especially chuffing good caked bakes at that! Not only is a gigantic Jaffa Cake totally heavenly to gorge on but it’s also super pretty to look at too PLUS the recipe and method is really easy to follow too! win win eh!

I haven’t done any fun bakes in a while and as soon as I found this I couldn’t wait to put it into practice and share it with you all! I’ve tweaked it a little bit here and there to make it more suitable for how I wanted it but as you can see on the link above you can follow that straight through to the UniLad version.

giant jaffa cake

So, before I get too into this recipe post, a word to the wise this cake can take a little while to fully create so if you’re hoping for a quick and easy bake to show off to your friends, frenemies and exes on IG maybe give yourself a a good few hours!

You will need:

  • A frying pan lined with baking paper.
  • A round cake tin smaller than your saucepan lined with cling film.
  • 135g packet of orange jelly cubes.
  • 250ml boiling water.
  • 200g unsalted butter.
  • 200g caster sugar.
  • 3 medium eggs.
  • 200g self raising flour.
  • 1 tsp baking powder.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract.
  • Zest and juice of half an orange.
  • 200g dark chocolate.

Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

To give the sponge that bouncy, half spherical shape a lot of websites/recipes suggest baking the cake itself in a frying pan. Sounds weird I know but it works so go with me on that.  I covered the base of the pan with a circle of baking parchment and sprayed the sides with some coconut oil frylite spray to make it easier to get out of the pan.

Cutting the jelly into cubes (who else used to just eat the cubes as a kid??No me neither that would be weird…) I line a round cake tin with some cling film at the same time putting the kettle on to boil. Multitasking check me out eh!? Pouring the boiling water over the top of the jelly cubes and stirring til all the jelly lumps have melted away. I add the zest and the juice of half an orange into the jelly giving it a super orangey kick. One of your five a day right??? I then pour into the cake tin to set up and chill in the fridge for a few hours.

THE SPONGE

This recipe was a standard sponge. Cream the butter and the sugar together til light and smooth. Slowly add the eggs and the vanilla extract. Fold in the flour and baking powder and once its all delightfully mixed to perfection pour into the frying pan. Sounds proper mental and to be honest I was a bit nervous I was going to catch fire to my Mum’s fancy pants frying pan but all is well in team What Abbie Says camp. They recommended the baking time of about 30-40 minutes. I’d keep checking on it from that time onwards, as mine actually took somewhere up to 45 minutes altogether as it was still uncooked in the centre.

Once done, transfer the cake on to a wire, cooling rack and leave til its cooled completely. Making sure the jelly is chilled like Snoop Dogg on a day between the 19th and 21st April I melted the dark chocolate over a pan of water. Also known as a bain marie if you will. Wait til the chocolate has fully melted and leave to cool; if it’s too warm it’ll melt the jelly when you pour it over and you’ll either have to eat it on your own VERY QUICKLY or serve a sad jaffa pud. Placing the jelly circle in the middle on top of the cake I poured the melted chocolate over the top, making sure the entirety of the top was covered and that it didn’t drip down onto the edge. Dipping the knife into the top  drawing lines both horizontally and vertically. Quickly putting back into the fridge to set up for the fiiiiiinal time and once it’s cool you can serve it. YOU’RE WELCOME. Jaffa cakes are fab, bigger jaffa cakes are extra fabulous.

If you fancy making this recipe, I would totally recommend. It was super fun, totally easy to do and looks really impressive as well. To give this recipe a little twist how about using a dark chocolate and lime jelly or even raspberry. Equally you could use something like a tropical or pineapple flavour jelly with a white chocolate coating and coconut sponge like a pina colada without the hangover!

 

What I have planned for 2018.

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas time and banging New Year celebrations whatever you all got up too! I am not usually the type of person to make New Years Resolutions, simply because I tend to completely forget all about them and then I end up feeling bad about those people who have a long old memory that may remember the silly little idea or ditty I may have had about losing weight or learning another language or skill and me giving up 2 weeks into January with the fat tummy podge still very much there and very much comfy.  But for the first time in a long time I’ve decided I want to set myself a few of my own little personal goals, nothing major and nothing huge but to add to my year ahead and make me feel like the best me I can be. These are all things that I actually really want to do and achieve so I’m feeling like they’ll be a lot more attainable right? Plus I’m thinking if I share it with you all i’ll be more likely to keep up with it all cos you lovely lot can pester me if they aren’t being completed!?

spreadpositivity0aas0athickas0acreamcheese0aona0abagel0a0a28heart29-default

Shape up.

I want or need to lose a few extra pounds here and there. I am not completely happy in the way I look at all and want to be able to exercise more, eat healthier and be happier with the Abbie I see looking back in the mirror.

Improve my blogging life.

I am terrible for being organised with my blog. I’m terrible at being organised in general if I’m completely honest. I’m always at least ten minutes late for everything. But I want to be able to post a lot more consistently on here whether that be every week on a set day or the same time on a set day. I would also really love to be able to grow my blog a lot more this year with a wider readership and improve my content and photography.

Job life. 

I haven’t exactly made it a secret that I struggled in my last job role and my goal for the end of 2018 is that i’d have either found or be in a job that I really enjoy. It can be a bit of a challenge where I live (the backend of the middle of nowhere, if you know it???) opportunities aren’t exactly rife in the countryside.

Become a better cook.

I turned vegetarian in November which was actually a lot easier than I would have first anticipated. I love animals and my dog is my best friend and one day it really hurt me in the feels the thought of someone harming him that it dawned on me there isn’t any difference between him, a cow, or a pig. They are all animals and have feelings and from that day forward I haven’t eaten any meat. I chose to give it up so I don’t lecture those that still eat meat. But this year I want to be able to cook more vegetarian dishes as they are just as wholesome and delicious as any others. Plus I’m not the world’s best chef by any stretch so if I hope to move out of my parent’s home I’ve kinda got to be able to fend for myself and not just live off of Linda McCartney sausages. Even though they are incredible.

Read more. 

Social media is taking over my brain ever so slowly and surely. If I like what someone says or what they’re wearing I don’t tell them I just shout FAVOURITED in their face and I’ve started actually following people in real life too to see what they’re ordering in Starbucks or Pret. HA ok i’m totally kidding please don’t arrest me but you get my drift! Social media can be a very negative environment at times and I want to be able to be able to switch off quite literally and read the fifty ish books I’ve got stacked up in my room.

Do more charity work.

I want to be able to do a lot more this year. Whether that be actually working for a charity, donating a lot more to good causes or doing a charitable event of any sort. I want to be able to do more good things this year that’ll make feel good and that I’m proud of.

Live more positively.

I feel this one maybe slightly more self explanatory buuuuut I want to live more for me this year, do things that make me happy or do things outside of my comfort zone. Life is life and should be the best thing you do. For instance I’ve been thinking for ages about trying to work on my funnybone and get into stand up and even my sister said she’d help me or support me if I tried out a comedy gig.

Experiment with my looks more.

I’ve dyed my hair a lot the last 12 months from brown to pink to red to blonde again and I really fancy getting a tattoo or my nose pierced too. I fancy doing a Sinead O’Connor (the singer not the roughen from Hollyoaks a few years back) and shaving my head and starting again. Cos Nothing Compares to U or a brand new ‘do?!

BE THE COOLEST ABFAB EVER.

2018 will no doubt be better than 2017 mainly because 2017 was pure poop. So I’m planning on making this year as jam packed as a double stuffed Oreo would be if they were filled with jam (???) and make it the coolest time for me yet. I am really hoping this will be my year. I will no doubt keep you all updated as well. Much loves as always pups x

 

I made homemade body scrubs.

I probably spent FAR too much time and money on my skincare and beauty regimes. I’m thoroughly getting into the crafting mood thinking about what I can make or bake next and after an afternoon out shopping and spending a ridiculous amount at Lush I tried my hand at making my own body scrubs. For some reason I thought it would be really quite difficult but I honestly couldn’t be farther from the truth with that. I was so, so shocked at how easy it was and also how much money I’ll be saving from now on. If Lush go into administration you can entirely blame me for no longer buying their Rub, Rub, Rub salt scrub. All you need to create your own concoctions are:

  • A sugar or salt. You could you any kind depending on what you want so you could really personalise it to you or even someone you’re gifting it too. Fine, course, maybe even himalayan pink sea salt if you want to make it look nice and pretty. Brown sugar, caster sugar, demerara, once again it’s all completely down to you and your preference.
  • A base oil. Coconut,vitamin E oil, olive oil, jojoba, sweet almond oil, wheatgerm, avocado oil are all really good options. They are all really nourishing for the skin, available in most health food shops or online too and all have a neutral scent so wouldn’t overpower your scrub with a strong smell.
  • An essential oil or something similar to add some scents or even colour to your scrub. Things like herbs might make for an interesting addition, freshly chopped mint, lavender or even rose petals. Rose would look lovely with a pink himalayan salt. I used coffee grounds to make a lovely coffee scrub. It helps reduce the appearance of cellulite so I think I might start bulk making it and selling it off!

IMG_3922

I had these four mini mason jars I originally bought from Ikea with good intentions to do something creative with but they were unused and I filled them instead. You could use kilner jars you can buy pretty much anywhere, bargain shops do them for a relatively cheap price. Old jam jars that have been washed out would look really cool and kitsch.

I made four different flavours or scents if you will. As tasty as these smell, I’d probably recommend against eating them!

I made a coffee scrub. Filling half the jar with brown sugar and the remaining half of coffee grounds I then poured that into a bowl. I did it like that so I knew it would definitely all fit in rather than making waaaaay too much. I poured the coffee/sugar mix into a bowl and then added a tablespoon of coconut oil until I got the consistency I wanted.

I also made a gingerbread scrub. Inkeeping with the christmas theme on my blog at the moment this would also make the perfect gift at christmas for those also keen on clean beauty and skincare. I used the same principal as with the coffee scrub but I filled the little jar up full of brown sugar. Pouring it into bowl with some ginger essential oil, cinnamon essential oil and a dash of star anise. mixing that altogether I poured it back into the jar and screwed the lid on tight.

Switching it up a bit I thought for my next two I would use a course sea salt base instead. Sea salt can be a bit more vigorous so using that in a body scrub would help with shifting dead skin cells and also helping to shift toxins from the body. Rubbing it in, in a slow circular motion helps to get the blood flowing reducing the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite as well as removing the toxins from the body.

I used sea salt with some coconut oil, a few dashes of some spearmint essential oil and some finely diced mint leaves from the garden.

For my last and final scrub, I added some lavender essential oil to sea salt and coconut oil. I wanted a runnier consistency for this one as I love applying it to my hair. It helps with repairing the hair shaft and it leaves it feeling so silky, smooth. It sounds mad I know, but don’t knock it til you’ve tried it.

 

 If I knew just how easy it was to make these beforehand I would have been wailing it from the rooftops. Scrubs like this are usually fiendishly and wrapped with a nice bow and a tag would make a lovely present for a friend for Christmas. Or even yourself, I’m sure you deserve it a whole heap more!