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

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New Cake Toppers – Sweet Little Girls!

IMG_6481A lovely work friend, Patsy, recently asked me to bake her a cake for her father’s 60th – (eeek, pressure!).

I was both very excited and very nervous about this bake – what if I messed it up?!

To add to the nervous, Patsy requested a carrot cake – amazing choice but I’d never made a carrot cake! Cor blimey! This felt like I was starting to bite off more than I could chew! (excuse the pun)!

Today I am going to focus on the cake toppers that I made for the cake – 4 in total – each to look like one of Patsy’s beautiful nieces!

Patsy sent through the pictures and I set to work on 2 blondes and 2 brunettes, each in different sizes with different coloured dresses, hair styles and eye colours!

It took 22 hours over 2 weeks, copious cups of tea and more than a few swear words over my ridiculously unsteady hand (the faces are hand painted)! but here are the finished products…..I am very proud of them 🙂 I hope you like them!

 

Carrot cake recipe and pictures to follow shortly!

Enjoy!

Love S & P x

Cadbury Creme Egg Easter Brownies!

IMG_50345 weeks since my last post! 5! Where have I been? Well, my lovely fellow bloggers, I have been prancing around Budapest, attending theatre shows, watching gigs with friends, generally being smug and giddy about our new engagement and ….. baking of course!

As you are all well aware, Easter was a little while ago…..but, I baked these little beauties! The perfect brownie – a recipe I adapted form the Hummingbird Bakery!

They were really delicious and an easy variation on my normal brownies…these, like my standard brownies, didn’t stick around for long!

The key to making sure that these work is to freeze the cadbury creme eggs first! This stops them from completely melting whist the brownies are baking 🙂

Ingredients and recipe below, enjoy!

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Ingredients:

5 large eggs
500g caster sugar
120g plain flour
100g cocoa powder
250g of unsalted butter (melted)
50g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
50g Milk chocolate, roughly chopped
2 bags of mini Cadbury creme eggs

Recipe: 

1. Preheat your oven to 170c/325f/Gas 3 and prepare your baking tray

2. Beat your eggs and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy

3. Add the sieved flour and cocoa powder and beat until all ingredients have been well incorporated

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4. Pour in the melted butter and beat again. Now stir in the chopped chocolate

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5. Spoon the mixture in to your prepare baking tray and gently press the cadbury creme eggs in to the mixture

6. Bake in the over for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is firm but the centre is still soft.

7. Leave to cool completely before serving 🙂

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Love S & P x

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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