Gin Cake

gin cakeLast weekend it was The Boy’s birthday :) <3 (Happy Birthday gorgeous boy!)

Lots of fun and gin was had by all…..in fact, I would probably say that the weekend was sponsored by Gin….!

Dave has recently re-discovered his love for the stuff and as a surprise I ordered him the Alexander & James Tanqueray Gin Set – it’s amazing! As a double whammy, I made him a gin cake! *Drool*

The original recipe for this cake is from Lucy at Pudding Lane - a very lovely little part of the blogisphere :) Her blog is gorgeous and her food photography puts mine to shame!

I don’t drink gin, I don’t like it……….or at least, I didn’t think I did.

As a conscious decision, I never eat my bakes (aside from trying a tiny slice to make sure it isn’t poisonous ;) ) I usually give them away to friends, family and work colleagues – after all, the more they eat, the less I do! Anyway, I digress…….this cake is amazing and I definitely ate more than Dave…..! Clearly I was wrong about gin! (It happens from time to time)!

As this is in no way my recipe, I recommend you check out Lucy’s blog for the full details! I used Hendricks Gin but the recipe doesn’t specify, so go ahead and use your favourite gin tipple ;) I used a Bundt tin instead of a loaf tin and decorated my cake with lime wedges for a bit of colour :)

Gin cake

Gin cake

Gin cake

Gin cake

Tanqueray Gin Set

The gorgeous (!) birthday boy ♥

Enjoy! Love S & P x

My Kind of Therapy…..

bakingBaking and cooking…….my therapy.

Baking is my way of taking back a little time for me and cooking is always something that Dave and I do together – It’s fun and a great way of ensuring that we spend time together doing something after the working day that doesn’t revolve around the sofa!

I’m always on the lookout for new inspiration....so, what’s your therapy?

Hope you are all having a lovely day xx

Smarties Surprise Cupcakes!

Smarties cupcakesSURPRISE! :)

I’m posting these little beauties to make up for the fact that I have been away for so long…*sob*…….although, please don’t feel too sorry for me, I have been on my holidays! :)

After copious amounts of sunshine and frolicking in the warm waters of Israel and the not so warm waters of the Isle of Wight, we came back to a beautifully warm Leeds (for nearly 2 weeks!!) which was amazing but also meant that it was just too hot to bake in our tiny one-bedroomed shoe box that we call our home!

This week the weather has cooled and I have been able to get my bake on once again, it makes me happy :)

These are incredibly chocolatey, they feel like a really indulgent treat…definitely the best chocolate cupcakes I’ve ever made – I will undoubtedly be sticking with this recipe! It’s a Hummingbird one, so not to be sniffed at!

The trick with these is to add the smarties only an hour or so before serving. As the cupcakes are so rich and moist, adding the smarties any earlier will mean they go soft and start to lose their colour, especially after they have been iced.

See below for ingredients and recipe and enjoy :) Let me know what you think! :)

Smarties cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cake:

100g Plain flour
20g Cocoa powder
140g Caster sugar
1 1/2 Teaspoons baking powder
A pinch of salt
40g Unsalted butter (at room temp)
120ml Whole milk
1 Egg
1/4 Tsp Vanilla extract

For the Cupcake topping:

100g Good quality dark chocolate
100g Good quality milk chocolate
225g Unsalted butter (at room temp)
1 Tbsp Whole milk
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
250g Icing sugar (sifted)
2 packets of smarties

Recipe:
(Makes 6 using a muffin tray) 

1. Preheat your oven to 170c (325f) Gas 3

2. Put the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in to your stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or a big enough bowl if using a hand mixer) and beat on a slow speed until you get a sandy consistency

3. Whisk the milk, egg and vanilla extract together in a jug and then slowly pour the about half in to the flour mixture. Beat to combine and turn the mixer up to high for a few minute to beat out any lumps

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4. Turn the mixer down to a slower speed and slowly pour in the remaining milk mixture. Continue mixing for a few more minutes until the mixture is smooth

Top tip: Don’t over beat the mixture, it will result in a too heavy sponge

5. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases in your muffin tray until 2/3rds full and bake for 20-25 minutes

Top tip: Sometimes it can take slightly longer, keep checking every couple of mins after 20minutes. A skewer interred in the centre should come out clean

6. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the muffin tray for around 15 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool

7. To make the icing, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and stir every couple of minutes until you have a smooth, rich consistency. Leave to cool slightly

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8. In a separate, large mixing bowl beat the butter, milk, vanilla extract & icing sugar until smooth – this can take several minutes using an electric hand mixer

9. Add the melted chocolate and beat again until thick and creamy – if it looks too runny, simply keep beating until you reach a suitable consistency

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10. Using a sharp knife, cut a hole out of the middle of each cupcake, in an inverted cone type way

11. Pour in the smarties in to the holes of each cupcake and ice however you wish!

Smarties cupcakes

Smarties cupcakes


Smarties cupcakes

Enjoy!

Love S & P xx

Green & Black’s Chocolate Strawberries

10388123_10152068654042096_7259499987072648998_n10155894_10152068713207096_8251646066935708489_n10390550_10152068739327096_1962195154212776210_n10343688_10152503516813023_8931396454492136735_nNot quite a recipe as such but some very pretty photographs I took of my yummy srummy Chocolate Dipped Strawberries!

An absolute treat that most definitely calls for luxury! I used the best strawberries I could possibly find (Marks & Spencer) and some very indulgent Green & Black’s Milk and White Chocolate! Mmmmmm…..! :)

These were a (very) quick treat to take around to Zoe’s for an impromptu BBQ (making the most of the sunshine in the UK) so I didn’t have time to properly temper the chocolate. Instead I went with the tried and tested method of melting the chocolate in a bowl over the hob!

1) It only takes a few moments but its dead easy, simply place the roughly chopped chocolate in a bowl. Half fill a saucepan with hot water, and put the bowl over it, making sure that the bowl does not touch the bottom of the saucepan.

2) Slowly heat the water, ensuring it does not boil. Stir regularly using a flexible spatula so that the chocolate melts smoothly. This way means that the chocolate is slightly thicker than it would be if you had tempered it but it’s still easy to work with! :)

3) Once the chocolate has melted, pour it in to a ramekin and grab your strawberries!

4) Dip your strawberries in to the melted chocolate and coat about half of the strawberry, place on to a sheet of baking paper to set and continue the same process with the rest of your strawberries.

5) Once you have finish place the baking tray with your strawberries on greaseproof paper in to the fridge to set for 30 minutes.

6) For the white chocolate decoration, simply follow the same melting directions and very carefully pour the melted white chocolate in to a piping bag (that is opened up over a tall glass) and leave for around 15 minutes for the chocolate the cool and slightly set.

7) Remove the strawberries from the fridge and decorate however you wish with the white chocolate before popping them back in to the fridge for another 20 minutes.

Enjoy with fizz!!!! Any excuse!

Love S xx

Coconut & Cherry Flapjack


IMG_7361
Sundaaaaaay baaaaaking! :D

I’ve not put up an actual recipe for a little while, so I thought I would treat you all to this little delight…Coconut & Cherry Flapjack!

I often talk about my love for almonds, but did you also know I’m a sucker for oats and coconut too?! I know…all the best ingredients! ;)
The Boy has worked the past two nights, doing his DJing thing for the last time before starting up again in September. Thats right folks, I get him all to myself on the weekends allllllll through summer! (Think beer gardens, dancing, cocktail making and picnics)!

To celebrate, I baked this last night (around 12am, practically Sunday – all is fair in love and baking) ready for him to nibble on today with some coffee :)

The best thing about this recipe is that there is no need for a mixer (sorry, Penny) and you can pretty much whack all the ingredients in together…mixing, baking and cooling all in an hour.

You could be munching on these in 60 minutes! What are you waiting for?!

Anyway, enough talking….time to bake and eat, people :)

IMG_7346

Ingredients:

200g Unsalted butter
200g Demerara sugar
2 tbsp of Golden syrup
275g of Porridge oats
150g Desiccated coconut
100g Glace cherries (chopped)

Recipe:

1. Preheat the oven to 160c/325f/Gas Mark 3 and grease a baking tray (mine was 11 x 9 inch)

2. Heat the butter, sugar and syrup in a large saucepan over a low heat and stir gently until just melted

3. Once the mixture has melted, add in the oats, coconut and chopped cherries. Stir until evenly combined

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4.
Pour the mixture in to the baking tray and spread the mixture evenly. Use a spatula to press the mixture down and ensure a smooth surface

5. Bake in your preheated oven for 30 minutes

6. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the baking tray for 15 minutes before using a sharp knife to cut the flapjack in to squares

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7. Carefully transfer your flapjack to a wire rack to cool completely

8. Enjoy!

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Love S & P x

 

Budapest Photo Album – April 2014

IMG_6214A few weeks ago we were lucky enough to take a lovely little holiday to Budapest!

Budapest is the capital city of Hungary and has two sides, Buda and Pest, stretching along the banks of the Danube, representing two different characters of the city. Budapest has so much to offer its residents and visitors; Museums and galleries, churches and synagogues, palaces and historic buildings, baths and pools – all packaged up neatly in this beautiful city with its stunning mix of architecture.

Buda, on the West side of the river is hilly and semi-suburban. It has winding, narrow streets working their way up into the hills where you can find Buda castle and the beautiful Fisherman’s Bastion!

Pest is the urban centre of the city, on the East side of the river.  Parliament, the Basilica, the Synagogue, the Opera House and the Central Market Hall are all here and within walking distance of each other.

Buda provides great views of Pest, and vice versa.  Between the two cities at the northern end, in the middle of the river, lies Margaret Island, a gorgeous park with lots going on – we loved it there! Really beautiful park and lovely, relaxed atmosphere!

Whilst in Budapest, some of our favourite delights included; Langos (google it!!), authentic goulash, hungarian ballet – Romeo & Juliet, both the Gellert & Szechenyi baths, the architecture, the Fisherman’s Bastion and yummy ice cream!

We spent 5 amazing nights in this beautiful city and loved every minute of it!

Apologies for some of the dodgy photos – spent too much time having fun instead of making sure they were all perfect ;)

Love S xx