Chocolate Shortcakes with a Peanut Butter Filling

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Sunday baking is becoming a bit of a tradition it seems. Paul and I were up early today for a screening of Iron Man 3 courtesy of work (amazing film by the way), which meant there was so much time in the day for other things! Not that we’ll be getting up that early on a weekend in a hurry though!

I decided to try ‘Chocolate Shortcakes with a Peanut Butter Filling’ from the third Hummingbird Bakery Book ‘Home Sweet Home’. (It’s the latest baking book I’ve bought, hence the reason for baking from this particular book again!)

Ingredients:

Shortcakes:

340g plain flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
80g caster sugar
65g unsalted butter
85g milk chocolate chips
60ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
30g demerara sugar

Filling:

280g full fat cream cheese
60g crunchy peanut butter
60g icing sugar

Firstly line a tray with baking paper. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and then add the caster sugar. Rub the butter into the ingredients and then add the chocolate chips.

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Mix the double cream, vanilla extract and two eggs in a jug and pour this into the flour mixture. This will form a rough dough when you stir it.

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Lightly flour a surface and pat the dough down onto it to a thickness of about 4cm.

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Using a cookie cutter, (I actually don’t have one, so I used a small glass ramekin) cut out about 6-7 pieces and any extras from your dough.

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Place the cakes onto your tray and put them into the freezer for 20 minutes.

After this time is up, preheat the oven to 170°C and then beat the last egg in a bowl and brush the cakes. Sprinkle some of the demerara sugar onto each cake and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

To make the filling, beat the cream cheese and the peanut butter until it’s smooth and then add the icing sugar.

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Once the cakes are baked and cooled, cut them in half and spoon a few teaspoons onto the bottom halves of the cakes and sandwich the cakes together.

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I always need a cup of tea with a cake and Earl Grey is my tea of choice so this was perfect for a weekend afternoon treat! (I have started walking to work to make sure all of these cakes don’t take an effect! Ha!)

2013-04-28T18-09-16_0In future, I may make the shortcakes slightly smaller as they are quite filling! But if you like your chocolate fix then keep them this size! ;)

What do you think? Hope you enjoy them like we did!

Have a good week!

.:M:.

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Wedding Outfit Inspiration

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Apologies for the lack of posting in the last week, work’s been pretty manic lately! But anyway… I thought I would do a post on wedding outfits… I’m going to a few weddings/receptions in the next couple of weeks and months so I’ve been trying to figure out what to wear! I’ve got a number of dresses already, but a new one is always so much better! ;) And then there’s the whole thing about ‘is it too short?’, ‘is it appropriate?’… so I’ve trawled the internet and found a couple of outfits that I think could work…

Starting with the first outfit…

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1. Photographic Floral Skater Dress from Oasis
2. Daria Pouch in Pear Sorbet from Mulberry
3. Double Snaffle Skinny Belt in tan from Topshop
4. Arch High Heels by Miss KG from Kurt Geiger

I think this dress is gorgeous, the floral print is very Spring/Summer and it’s definitely appropriate for a summer wedding! I would add a skinny belt, this tan one from Topshop is a nice simple addition as you don’t want to over do it! I absolutely love nude heels… and these patent ones from Kurt Geiger (my absolute downfall when it comes to high heels!) are bold but still simple. And to complete the look, you need a cute clutch! I love Mulberry and this small pouch is just big enough to hold all of your essentials! (If your budget doesn’t stretch that far, ASOS have a some nice alternatives.)

The second outfit…

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5. Clutch Bag With Double Tassel Zip from ASOS
6. Cut Out Drape Maxi Dress from Oasis
7. Eden High Heels by Kurt Geiger

Again, this dress is stunning (well done Oasis this season!), the cobalt blue is such a nice shade and the cut out detail is simple and elegant. You even get the metallic belt with the dress, which I think works really well. I think less is more with this dress as it will do the talking for you, so I would again team it with nude heels, these ones from Kurt Geiger (again, I know!) are a nice elegant touch. You can be a bit more fancy with the clutch bag, but I quite like it simple, so this ASOS number (in the sale by the way) is a beaut.

I might potentially be purchasing one (or both) of these dresses for the upcoming weddings I’m attending… I’ll keep you posted!

What do you think about these outfits? What do you wear to weddings?!

Hope you’re having a good Wednesday… nearly the weekend(ish)!

.:M:.

24/7 Neon

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As promised, I’m posting about one of the nail varnishes I bought the other day, from Sinful Colors, the neon pink called 24/7. The pictures probably don’t do the colour justice as it is very bright! If you’re looking for a really bright neon, then this is definitely the colour for you!

photo 2I have a bit of a nail routine, so first I applied a base coat (here I used the Barry M All In One Nail Paint) and once that was dry, I applied the 24/7 shade. I had to put 2-3 coats on to get the best coverage, but the pink was even and dried amazingly bright! I always finish off with the Seche Vite fast dry top coat (you can buy this online on Amazon or in Boots).

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I’ve had a few comments about my nails since wearing this colour and I’m loving it! Neon is very hot for summer, what do you think about it? Have you tried any other colours from the Sinful Colors collection?

.:M:.

Jammy Swiss Roll

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After a chilled sunny Sunday, I fancied a little bit of baking. Since we haven’t done a big shop this weekend, I had to make do with what I had in the flat! After a quick flick through a few of my cookbooks, I settled on a ‘Raspberry Jelly Roll’ from the third Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook ‘Home Sweet Home’.

I adapted it a bit and added a lemon cream cheese frosting to the raspberry jam filling to give it a bit of a fresh zing!

Ingredients:

4 eggs separated
180g caster sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
120g plain flour
3/4tsp baking powder
1/4tsp baking powder
1/4tsp salt
Icing sugar for dusting
160g raspberry jam

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting (Optional):

300g icing Sugar
50g unsalted butter
125g cream cheese frosting
Zest of 1/2 lemon

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a tray with baking parchment.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff but don’t overbeat. (This is where I need to get an electric whisk!)

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In another bowl, mix the egg yolks and then add the caster sugar and vanilla extract until pale and fluffy.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt, and add to the egg yolks. Gently add the egg whites into the batter. Pour the batter evenly into the tray and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the sponge is light golden brown.

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Once it’s time, take the sponge out of the oven.

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Dust some icing sugar onto a clean tea towel and flip the sponge onto the tea towel with the baking paper still attached.

Roll up the sponge and towel together and let it cool with the seam down for 10-15 minutes.

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To make the cream cheese frosting, beat the icing sugar and butter together until it is well mixed. Add the cream cheese and the lemon zest and beat until it is light and fluffy.

After the sponge has cooled, unroll the sponge and remove the baking paper. Spread the cream cheese frosting over the sponge and then the raspberry jam.

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Re-roll the sponge and dust with icing sugar and voila! Jammy Swiss Roll with lemon cream cheese frosting!

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We enjoyed it with a nice cup of Earl Grey on today’s sunny Sunday afternoon! Heaven!

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Hope you like it and what do you think of the added lemon cream cheese frosting? Let me know if you give it a go! :)

Hope you’ve had a lovely weekend! Can’t believe it’s Monday tomorrow already!

.:M:.

Getting Into The ‘Spring’ Of Things

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Every so often, (quite regularly), I get the urge to shop… Today was no different! Shopaholic?!

So after a quick whiz around my second home that is Westfield (my local shopping centre), I managed to find a few bits!

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I have officially banished the boots and I wanted some new pumps to transition me into Spring! I found these cute Mex Low Vamp Tassel Slippers in Topshop and at £20, they were a bargain!

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Next up, I found this nice military khaki green shirt in Pull and Bear and as you will probably get to know, I am one for buttoned up shirts and blouses! I love the gold detail on the pockets and this was another bargain at £17.99!

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I have a small weakness for Boots and it isn’t often that I come out of the shop without even a small purchase. I was obviously a sucker for Boots’ marketing today, because as soon as I walked into the shop, BAM… there was a stand with the Sinful Colours nail varnish range, and being a nail varnish addict… I couldn’t resist! I’ve never actually used or even heard of Sinful Colours, but at £1.99 a bottle, I thought I would give it a go. Neon is really hot right now, so I chose the colour ’24/7′ – a neon pink and it really is bright! I can’t wait to try it! And with Boots being Boots, it was 3 for 2 on pretty much everything!

Since buying the Models Own Fruit Pastel colours (see here), I’ve also been hankering to try their new Ice Neon range and picked the Pukka Purple shade. The concept is that you put the bottle in the fridge to keep the neon colour from fading! And my last purchase was the Models Own Nail Art Pen in white.

I’ll keep you posted on how I style and use all of these purchases soon! :)

Hope you’re all having a good week!

.:M:.

The City Of One Hundred Spires

Prague View

During Easter, Paul and I visited ‘The City of One Hundred Spires’… Prague.

It was nice to get away for a few days with work being so busy for both of us at the moment, the only thing that would have made it better, would have been the temperature! We were lucky that for the first couple of days it stayed fairly mild, but it didn’t stop the snow!
My parents were in Prague over Easter too, so they kindly took it upon themselves to be our tour guides and took us all over the city! So for pretty much the whole Easter weekend, we either walked or ate! (Doesn’t sound too bad does it?!)
We took Paul to our favourite restaurant Plzeňská Restaurant for him to sample their famous duck! The restaurant is situated in the basement of the Municipal building, built in the art nouveau style from 1912 and it is truly beautiful. It’s kind of a tradition for me now whenever I visit and I never have anything else but the duck! (Honestly, half a roasted duck with dumplings and braised cabbage… to die for! Although you may possibly need to be rolled out of the restaurant afterwards!) I think Paul was quite surprised at how good the food was generally, as well as the Czech beer, since he’s more of an ale drinker.

IMG_5502PlzenskaWe visited the Prague Astronomical Clock (Prague Orloj), Charles Bridge, Powder Gate, The Prague Castle, Petřín Lookout Tower and the Mirror Maze… you get the gist! We even took a ride in one of the old trams which I still love doing every time I go! (The new ones are just not as cool!)

Charles BridgePowder Gate & OrlojPrague RooftopsPaul & TramViewMe & Vetrnik

Being in Prague during Easter, we got to take part in some of the Czech Easter traditions.  On Easter Monday, we had breakfast with the traditional decorated eggs (usually mum and I would colour them but these were shop bought) and my parents even got out a family heir loom… an Easter bunny that was around when my Grandma was small, it must be nearly 100 years old! And luckily, I didn’t get ‘beaten’ with a braided whip called the pomlazka… this is a century old tradition to bring health and beauty for the next year (maybe I should have?! Ha!).

EasterIt was a short and busy trip but I guess that’s what city breaks are! We’ll try and get back there soon, maybe in the summer when it’s a bit warmer! I’d recommend anyone to go and not just for the stag and hen do’s! ;)

Hope you’re all having a good Monday!

.:M:.