Our Engagement!

Just wanted to stop by and share the news with you all!

Dave popped the question on Saturday and I said YES! :) It was all very romantic and took place in Roundhay park! We drank champagne in the rain and unbeknown to me, our lovely friend Matt was taking pictures of our happy little occasion! Haven’t seen them yet but they should be interesting! ha! :)

Very very excited! :)

Engagement

Fun Decorating Biscuits!

Had a go at decorating some biscuits last night! :)

These are a mix of fondant iced biscuits and royal iced biscuits. The fondant decorating was a little easier than using the royal icing but I really enjoyed playing around with both!

Not bad for a first attempt?! :)

Love S & P ♡ x

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Homemade Vanilla Extract!

IMG_4833Happy Sunday! I hope you have all had a lovely week? Unfortunately I have not been so lucky as I have been struck down with the lurgy and am spending my days battling tonsillitis! Yuk!

Luckily for you lovely lot, ‘here’s one I made earlier’!

I don’t know about you, but I spend a fortune on vanilla extract from the supermarket or at online stores – a bit of a perfectionist, I always look for quality and choose extract over ‘Vanilla Flavourings’ as these lack a full flavour and aroma.

Besides, the more natural the better, right?

One off my ‘To Do’ list (the one I’m clearly ignoring when I think of new things to do or bake!) I’m happy to get another item ticked off the list and this recipe couldn’t be simpler!

Just two ingredients – Vodka & Vanilla Beans! Perfection in a bottle!……With a little patience ;)

Enjoy! x

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Ingredients:

  • Bottle – I used a 1ltr Kilner bottle
  • Vanilla Beans - (rule of thumb is 4-5 beans per 8 ounces of alcohol)
  • Vodka - (at least 80 proof)

Recipe:

1. Split the vanilla beans. Slice each vanilla bean in half lengthwise. I used these Madagascan Vanilla Beans

IMG_4828IMG_48342. Place the sliced vanilla beans in a clean jar or bottle. Cover them with the Vodka. I used 17 Vanilla Pods for the full 1ltr bottle

Tip: Make sure that your vanilla beans are completely submerged

3. Close the lid tightly and give the jar or bottle a good shake
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4. Store your newly created vanilla extract in a dark place for at least 2 months, shaking it from time to time. After a few days the mixture will start to darken as the vanilla infuses with the vodka. Taste the extract and let it infuse longer if you prefer a stronger flavour

Tip: You may wish to use the vanilla extract as a gift and decant some of the extract into  pretty bottles. The seeds can add more of a homemade touch, but if you want a clear extract you can strain the extract using a coffee filter or some cheese cloth

You can keep the vanilla beans in the bottle and top up as and when required, ensuring that you periodically refresh the vanilla beans to keep the flavour strong.

It really is that simple!
Why not play around with flavours? You don’t have to use vodka, you can use Rum, Bourbon or Brandy! As well as all sorts of different varieties of Vanilla Beans. I went for a classic combination this time but I’m super excited to try a Rum based Vanilla Extract with Mexican Vanilla Beans that should compliment each other perfectly! :)

Bon Appétit!

Love Steph ♡ x
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Little Girl Cake Topper – Home made!

IMG_4822Yesterday I was lucky enough to attend a figure making class to learn how to make a little girl figurine as a cake topper! The class was amazing, 4 hours long with only 5 people in the class – meaning lots of attention and a really good pace!

‘Sophie’ was the finished product! Im so pleased with her!

I’ve added a little gallery below of all of the different steps involved to make your own figurines. The main ingredient is modelling icing and we also used sugar paste, gel and powered food colouring and a super steady hand!

I’m going to practise making a few more, so when I get round to it I will put some more pictures up! :)

Hope you like her! :)

Love, S x

A beautiful walk to work: Spring…

I am lucky enough to be able to walk to work….and I love it :)

I walk to work most days, it takes about an hour each way and with it being around a 7 mile round trip door to door, it does wonders for my health and fitness!

More than just the physical benefits of walking 2 hours a day, I really appreciate the less obvious ones, such as having time to clear my head and be with myself, listen to my music or my audio books, the bonus of so much fresh air and the fact that it is much less stressful than getting the bus or driving…! I count myself lucky to be able to work off calories in such an enjoyable way! ;)

Recently I realised that as often as I walk to work, I don’t always look at whats around me. I know its there, its just sometimes I don’t fully appreciate it…that’s when I had the idea to share my walk with all of you and to keep a little photo journal of my walk for each season!

Today is Spring and it’s one of my favourites (they all are for different reasons!). Spring is amazing time for my walk; from all of the flowers that pop up on a daily basis to the cold, crisp but insanely sunny mornings that never fail to make me smile! :)

The photos are in order of my journey from the front door of our little flat to the very gorgeous James Graham Building at the Leeds Metropolitan University campus!

I have never worked anywhere so beautiful……

Lemon & Blueberry Drizzle Cake…

IMG_3881Ahhhh…..back to reality….with a bump! Back at work this week and I’m spending most of my time chasing my tail.

Oh well, it was worth it :)

Some lovely friends had us over for dinner last Monday and they cooked us Jamie Oliver’s Crispy Parma Pork - It was completely delicious and afterwards we played a zombie board game! We survived! Woo! Thank you Pete & Nat! ♡

For some reason, its taken me an age to write this post…I have been busy, but no more so than usual. We’ve been to 3 gigs this week so that might have something to do with it! We have been lucky enough to see We are Scientists, Chvrches and Maximo Park :)  All amazing and all worth a listen (I’ve chosen some of there more popular tracks).

As much as I apologise for making you wait for this recipe…..it is most definitely one worth waiting for! I am often asked for this recipe and it is one of my most requested! Its the perfect balance of yummy zest and soft, gooey blueberries! Enjoy!

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Ingredients:

For the sponge:

225g Unsalted butter (softened)
225g Golden caster sugar
4 eggs, beaten
250g Self raising flour
Finely grated rind & Juice of 1 lemon
25g Ground almonds
200g Fresh blueberries

For the topping:

Juice of 2 lemons
115g of Golden Caster Sugar

Recipe:

1. Grease and line a 20cm/8inch square cake tin and preheat your oven to 180c/350f/Gas mark 4.

2. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

IMG_38503. Gradually add in the beaten eggs, a little at a time.

Tip: Add a little of the flour towards the end to prevent curdling.

4. Beat in the lemon rind, flour and ground almonds.

5. Slowly add the lemon juice, a little at a time. You will need around 75-100ml.

6. Fold in 135g of the blueberries, distributing as evenly as possible, and pour in to the prepared tin.

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7. Once you have poured the mixture in to the tin, smooth the surface and scatter the remaining blueberries on top.

8. Bake in the over for an hour and firm to the touch, or until a skewer inserted in to the center of the cake comes out clean.

9. To make the topping, place the lemon juice and sugar in to a bowl and mix together.

Tip: You will need to make the topping 10 minutes before your cake is due to be removed from the oven.

10. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, prick it all over with a skewer (go deep!) and pour the lemon mixture all over the cake.

11. Leave the cake to cool in the tin until completely cool.

12. I decided to add some smatterings of icing to mine, so I just whipped up a bowl and used a fork to ‘flick’ the icing across the cake.

13. Serve & Enjoy!

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Love S & P x