A Picture Says A Thousand Words

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This post is going to be short and sweet, but I thought it was well worth sharing. My friend Regina Alphonso is a very talented illustrator and as a surprise for my birthday (and a housewarming present for Paul and I), she did a little illustration of us. We absolutely love it and it has pride of place on our mantlepiece!

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Here’s a photo of us so you can see that it actually looks like us even without our noses! ;-)

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Regina has done illustrations for friends’ birthdays, engagements and even a little family tree for one of our married couple friends who have just welcomed a baby boy into their family! If you would like any more info, click here.

Hope you’re all having a lovely Easter weekend!

.: M :.

Fruit Pastels

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With spring seemingly trying to avoid us at the minute, I’ve been trying to get myself into a more colourful spirit! To be totally honest, I’ve been hanging on to wearing darker colours and I haven’t been able to bring myself to buy anything remotely summery or colourful! Until… I saw this new range from Models Own! The ‘Fruit Pastel Collection’. Not only do I love the colours, (apparently they are very me!), Β they smell amazing!! They are actually scented and come in 5 flavours!

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I only allowed myself to buy 3 from the collection as I have an excessive amount of nail varnish, and the boy may possibly not allow me back in the flat with any more! Ha! I’m rocking Strawberry Tart at the minute, but Grape Juice and Apple Pie are next on my list. You do need a couple of coats to get a good coverage so it takes a little while to dry but the end result is good!

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.: M :.

Cupcake Challenge

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So… recently, Hummingbird Bakery and Emerald Street were running a ‘Cupcake Challenge’, which was to come up with a new flavour of cupcake! I entered with no success! Boo! However, my friends in the office loved my cupcakes and have asked me a handful of times to make them again!

The cupcake flavour I made up with a few tips from my mum was a brown sugar cupcake with a spiced apple custard filling and cinnamon cream cheese frosting. It is a perfect treat for sitting inside with a cup of tea on these (crazy) cold March days!! (Seriously… when is it going to get warm!?)

Here’s my recipe:

Ingredients to make 12 cupcakes:

Brown Sugar Cupcake:

200g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
120g unsalted butter
290g light brown sugar
2 eggs
100ml buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Spiced Apple Custard Filling: (this amount makes for more filling than 12 cupcakes)

5-6 golden delicious apples
2 tbsp caster sugar
250ml water
1/2 lemon
1-2 tsp cinnamon
5 cloves
35g custard powder
250ml whole milk

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:

300g icing sugar
50g unsalted butter
125g cream cheese
1 tsp cinnamon
Sprinkle of ginger

Directions:

Core, peel and cut up the apples. Put a large saucepan on a medium heat and add the apples, sugar, water, lemon, cinnamon and cloves. To boil down the apples will take at least 30-40 minutes. Stir it every so often to make sure it doesn’t burn.

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Preheat the oven to 170Β°C. In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Add the flour, salt and baking powder to the butter mixture and then the egg and buttermilk mixture and combine until smooth.
Fill the baking cases two thirds of the way up with the batter and put them in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the sponge bounces back when touched. Once the cupcakes are baked, leave them to cool.

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When the apples are boiled down, in a bowl, mix the custard powder with the milk and add it to the apples. Stir well until the apples thicken into a custard filling. When this is done, take it off the heat.

To make the cream cheese frosting, beat the butter and icing sugar together and then add the cream cheese, cinnamon and ginger until everything is well incorporated. Beat it until it is light and fluffy.

To fill the cupcakes with the spiced apple custard, hollow out a small well in the cupcake and fill with a small dollop of the apple custard. Once you have filled all of the cupcakes, top them with the icing and either decorate with a walnut or gold sprinkles and voila!

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Boil the kettle and enjoy! ;-)

(Small tip: you can enjoy the apple custard as a filling in pancakes too with a sprinkle of walnuts!

.:M:.