Chocolate Caramel Slices

IMG_2897This was very much a last minute bake…..we were invited round to a friends for dinner on Saturday night (amazing food and too much alcohol) and after waking up very late on Saturday (afternoon) I decided on a recipe that I had never tried before but that looked simple enough and wasn’t a cake! ***Warning – the pictures aren’t great!***

I fell upon this recipe from one of my books and I was a little dubious about the caramel at first as I’ve never made it but it seemed simple enough….(!) I think its pretty much Millionaire Shortbread but didn’t want to call it that as it has oats in the base and it gives me an excuse to actually make some ‘Millionaire Shortbread’ another time…. 😉

Saturday nights dinner was an amazing feast that included halloumi marinated in chilli and basil, chicken and sesame seed skewers and pulled pork burgers with a super yummy chickpea salad! HUGE thank you to Zoe and Jon for the lovely food and alllllll of the cocktails! Note to self: I will take pictures next time!

With all this in mind, I wanted to take something home made to say thank you. Thankfully, they went down a treat!

I was right, this recipe is simple enough and it was pretty tasty too! Think I might start making more bakes with caramel in! 🙂

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Ingredients:

For the base:

75g of unsalted butter (room temp)
60g Soft brown sugar
140g of Plain flour
40g of Rolled oats

For the caramel:

2 tbsp of butter
2 tbsp of soft brown sugar
225ml of condensed milk

Topping:

100g Dark chocolate

Recipe:

1. Preheat the oven to 180c/160c (fan)/gas 4

2. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy

3. Beat in the flour (sieved) and oats

Tip: It might be easier to bring all the ingredients together using your fingers

4. Press the oat mixture in to the base of a prepared 8inch square cake tin and bake in the oven for around 25 minutes

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5. Place all of the ingredients for the caramel filling in to a saucepan and heat gently (on a low heat), stirring until all of the sugar has dissolved

6. Bring the caramel to the boil slowly, stirring constantly until the caramel has thickened

7. Pour the caramel over the baked biscuit base and leave to set

Tip: Place the cake tin in the fridge for 15 minutes to help the caramel set

8. Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over simmering water and when completely melted, pour the chocolate over the caramel

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Tip: Try tilting the tin to allow the chocolate to spread more evenly

9. Allow the chocolate to set completely before slicing and serving!

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Love S & P x

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Mr. Cumberbatch – Pastel drawing tutorial

Marielle’s drawings are incredible….whether they are completed using ink, water colours or pastel, she has an amazing ability to really bring pictures to life. It’s incredibly inspiring. This weeks masterpiece is no different, the UK’s very own Sherlock – Benedict Cumberbatch – drawn in pastels (which, by the way, she only inherited December!) with a lovely little tutorial to boot! Have a peek and enjoy x

Miss Beretta Illustration

In December I was given some pastels and at first I was not sure what to do with them. After a few tries, I realised how nice it is to work in a medium that gives your the freedom to change your drawing again and again. Unlike watercolours and ink, nothing is final in pastels and the pigments easily move across your page.

Some of you have been asking about my approach to portraits in pastels, so here is a little step by step tutorial on how to create a portrait.

Benedict Cumberbatch Drawing tutorialThis is my end result… the lovely Benedict Cumberbatch, star of the BBC show Sherlock.

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Step1. Find reference with good contrast.

Go online and decide on a face that grabs you. You’re going to spend 4 hours looking at it so make sure you feel inspired. Benedict’s face will never bore me and one day I will make…

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Liebster Award!

My little blog has won the Liebster Award! 🙂 Steph & Penny’s first award! Awwww – you guys! ❤

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“To inspire and be inspired” – this is what its ALL about. To some extent this is why we all blog, right? I absolutely love putting my posts and recipes out there with the hope of inspiring other people……likewise, on a daily basis I am completely overwhelmed by the amount of inspiration I get from my fellow bloggers! You guys constantly out-do yourselves! 🙂

I am very excited to be receiving this lovely little award and want to say a huge and heartfelt thank you to the lovely Katie at Finally Getting Together for nominating me for this award! Katie’s posts usually consist of delicious recipes passed down from family and friends. She very much believes in the tradition of family dinners and this is obvious throughout her posts and recipes.

The Liebster Awards are shrouded in mystery somewhat as most are unsure where it really originates from….the word ‘Liebster’ means ‘dearest/sweetheart/beloved’ in german which is very lovely (and kinda romantic) but mainly the Liebster Awards are to help up and coming bloggers gain the recognition their blogs deserve! Its an excellent way to connect people and pretty much share the love! ❤

My photography can sometimes be pretty shady and my posts can often be a week apart but I love that people are interested and still take the time to stop by. Thank you 🙂

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Here are the Liebster Award nomination rules:

1) You must link back to the person who nominated you.

2) You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you.

3) You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award with fewer than 200 followers.

4) You must come up with 10 questions for your nominees to answer.

5) You must go to their blogs and notify the nominees.

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Below are the 10 Liebster questions given to me by Finally Getting Together:

1. What is your favorite food?

My boyfriend’s chorizo chilli con carne! It’s incredible! I actually crave it, all the time…!

2. What is your dream job? And if you are lucky enough to already be doing it, what is it?

I would love to have a job that involves animals & conservation – Marine biology and mammalogy appeal big time.

3. What is your favorite song?

The Undertones – Teenage Kicks. Always always makes me happy!

Jimmy Eat World – Praise Chorus is pretty important to me as well. Jimmy are ‘our’ band 🙂

4.  What are your hobbies?

Baking, cooking & blogging about it! I also love walking, we go on a lot of walks 🙂

5. What is your favorite movie?

Ooooh tough! Don’t think I have a favourite film but one that I always enjoy is ‘500 Days of Summer

6. What are some words of advice you would give to the 13 year old you?

“The next 13 years are going to be amazing! Love every minute and keep smiling :)”

7. What is the most important quality you look for (or looked for) in a mate?

Hair (those of you who have met Dave will understand! Ha :)) but seriously, integrity. A sense of humour is obviously very important but I can learn to laugh at his jokes 😉

8. What award would you have been given in your high school year book? (for example: most likely to succeed)

Absolutely no idea! Any suggestions?!

9. What is your biggest pet peeve?

Rudeness. If I’m holding the door open for you say ‘thank you!’

10. If your significant other gave you a hall pass who would you use it on? If you do not have a significant other who is your dream man or woman?

Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Every time. That man……… 😉

Ladies & Gentlemen, my nominations for the Liebster award are:

Miss Beretta | Ngan Made It | Butter Basil & Breadcrumbs | Baking with Gab | Heavenly Flour | Miss Suzy Lee | Pepere the Cat | Kristah Price | Just Cakes | My Favourite Pastime

These guys are amazing – their blogs are inspiring! Miss Beretta designed all of the artwork for my blog, Pepere the cat has some of the most beautifully written posts & Baking with Gab definitely has the most sunshine in her posts!

Unfortunately there is one blogger that I can’t nominate for this award as she has too many followers but I think you should check out Pretty Baking! 🙂

And so, my questions for my lovely bloggers:

1) Sunshine or Snow?

2) Favourite colour?

3) Whats your star sign?

4) Favourite food?

5) Whats your favourite drink?

6) Who would be your 6 dream dinner guests?

7) Have you ever been on TV?

8) How do you like your eggs?

9) Do you believe in ghosts?

10) Crisps or chocolate?

Well done guys – thank you for the inspiration! 🙂

Damper and brown butter sugar

Delicious and simple bread! What a treat! Have to try this one 😀

Baking with Gab

sceneAustralia day is dawning, and I love how it brings people together. This holiday is laidback, community-focussed and gets pretty warm. The same can be said of this damper! The fact that damper only has six ingredients and needs very little attention is just a plus! Damper is an easy dish to serve at your Australia day gathering – even though I would say it is best enjoyed with a cuppa, this rustic Australian classic will sit comfortably alongside whatever you choose to drink this weekend.

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Queen of Hearts ♥

IMG_2832This week I really just wanted to have a bit of fun with my baking – I wanted to do something different and have a little play around! 🙂

I decided on these scrummy treats, partly because I love Jammy Dodgers and partly because its the run up to Valentine’s Day! Even if you don’t have love for Valentine’s day itself, you still have love for Jammy Dodger’s, right?!

 

With these, I especially love how the jammy dodgers look at the bottom of the muffin cases when they come out of the oven 🙂

These cupcakes are pretty much cup-muffins, huge and very very sweet, not for the faint hearted! They look pretty though and will (hopefully) impress your friends and family 🙂 Give them a whirl and let me know what you think!

So….here’s the heads up – some bits worked, some bits need…..a little improvement! I’m ok with this, as the saying goes – we learn from our mistakes! I was really happy with the cakes in general but when it came to the icing it was far too soft! Forgot the golden rule of not adding too much ‘liquid’ and so completely threw the mixture off when I added the jam in one go!

I managed to sort of save it and later found this really helpful hints and tips website for thickening different types of icing….

Anyway, to the recipe!

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Ingredients:

For the sponge:

18 Muffin cases
110g unsalted butter – at room temp
225g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs
150g self-raising flour
120g plain flour
120ml semi skimmed milk – at room temp
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
Full sized Jammy Dodgers

For the topping:

110g unsalted butter – at room temp
60ml of semi skimmed milk – at room temp
1 tsp of vanilla extract
500g icing sugar
200g raspberry jam
Mini Jammy Dodgers (for decoration)

Recipe:

1. Place a jammy dodger ‘heart down’ in to the bottom of each of the muffin cases.

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2.
 Preheat your oven to 180c or 160c (fan) and line a 12 hole muffin tray with the jammy dodger filled muffin cases.

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

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for a few minutes between each one.

5. In a separate bowl, combine the self raising and plain flour and put the milk in a jug with the vanilla essence.

6. Add 1/3 of the flours to the butter and sugar mixture, beat well. Add in 1/3 of the milk to the mixture and beat again. Repeat until all flour and milk have been added.

7. Carefully spoon the mixture in to the muffin cases – making sure they are about 2/3rd’s full.

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8. Bake in the oven for around 25 minutes until slightly raised and golden brown. A skewer should come out clean after being inserted in to the middle of each cake.

9. Remove from oven and leave cakes to cool for 5-10 minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool.

10. Once the cakes have cooled – use a shaped cake plunge, or a knife to cut a small hole in to the middle of your cupcakes. I used a heart shaped one.

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11. 
Fill the holes with strawberry jam

Tip: I find it easier to pipe the jam in – makes it a little neater! :)

12. Using a large mixing bowl and an electric mixer, beat the butter, milk, vanilla extract and half of the icing sugar until smooth.

Remember: Sift in the icing sugar

13. Gradually add the remainder of the icing sugar and beat again until the buttercream is smooth and creamy.

14. Gradually add in the 200g of raspberry jam

Tip: This is definitely where I went wrong – try adding the jam in a tablespoon at a time….you will soon know if you have the right consistency. It needs to be thick enough to pipe properly. Why not watch this video 🙂

15. Spoon the mixture in to a piping bag and decorate your cupcakes as desired.

16. Add a mini Jammy dodger to the top of your cakes and devour! 🙂

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Love S & P x

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Potato Pancakes

Made these for our dinner tonight! 🙂 Had them with Paprika Chicken and Halloumi Skewers! Perfect! 🙂

butter, basil and breadcrumbs | simple. rustic. delish. recipes.

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I think we’re supposed to be gearing up for another cold snap this week.  I don’t know; the thermometer showed 28F today, which isn’t really all that cold compared to what it’s been, but for some reason, I just couldn’t get warm.  I sat snuggled under a blanket on the couch for about a half hour this morning, until I decided it would be better to fire up the oven in the kitchen and get cooking.  Within five minutes, I forgot all about being cold!

I had three sad little apples sitting on the shelf in the fridge that needed some attention, and I thought applesauce sounded quite delicious.   What goes beautifully with applesauce?  Potato pancakes.

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As I was grating the potatoes, I was trying to decide whether I wanted to make them as the meal, or if I wanted to make them as a side.  That’s the beauty of…

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Stem Ginger & Dark Chocolate Cookies

IMG_2251What a week….and it’s only Tuesday! Truly shattered – but that’s ok, i’m happy and I have a cookie & a brew. Balance restored 🙂

We started house hunting again at the weekend, I love it! We’ve been looking for over a year now and whilst its definitely been pretty frustrating at times, I still really enjoy the whole experience and I still get silly excited going to see a house, just in case its going to be ‘Our House’. It will be so worth the wait 🙂

Anyway, as a result of our little adventures, I didn’t get any time to bake at the weekend….but, never fear – last week I baked up a batch of classic stem ginger cookies with an added twist of being dipped in dark chocolate! Heaven for ginger lovers such as myself and The Boy 😉

This recipe is super easy but super sticky – it definitely adds to the fun factor of baking though! These are my favourite cookies!

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 350g self raising flour
  • 2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 80g golden syrup
  • 1 large free range egg – beaten
  • 50g stem ginger (in syrup), finely chopped
  • 150g Dark Chocolate

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Recipe:

1. Preheat your oven to 180c or Gas Mark 4 and place grease proof paper on a baking tray. You will most likely have to bake these in batches unless you have a couple of baking trays.

2. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ground ginger and sugar in to a bowl and mix together.

3. Over a gentle heat, melt the golden syrup and butter together and leave to cool slightly.

4. Once the mixture has cooled slightly, add it to your flour mixture and mix the two together.

5. Once all of the mixture has been thoroughly combined, roll the mixture in to around 20(ish) chestnut sized balls – this is the fun sticky bit!

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6. Place the cookie dough balls on a baking tray.

Tip: Ensure that your cookie dough balls have plenty of room to spread out on the baking tray – this will help them cook more evenly.

7. Place in the oven for around 15 minutes, they will be ready when they are golden brown.

Tip: Oven’s vary so you might want to check your cookies every couple of minutes once they have been in the oven for 10 minutes.

8. Once your cookies have finished baking, remove them from the oven and leave on the baking tray for 5 minutes before sliding on to a rack to cool completely.

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9. Now that your cookies have cooled completely, gently melt the dark chocolate over a low heat.

10. Pour the melted chocolate in to a bowl and one by one, dip your cookies in to the dark chocolate, tip the bowl slightly to ensure en even coverage of half of the cookie.

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11. Place each chocolate covered cookie on to a baking tray covered with grease proof paper before placing in the fridge for 30-60 minutes to allow the chocolate to set.

12. Remove from the fridge and allow the cookies to reach room temperature before munching!

Love S & P x

p.s….They also make a lovely yummy gift…….

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