Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Toffee Apple's

I saved this post for today as it is now officially Halloween! I don't usually celebrate Halloween however this last weekend I met with friends at their house, to dress up, eat and drink a lot in aid of old hallows eve. The 'treat' I bought along were these spooky toffee apples I made, inspired by Emma's candy apples from totally recommend reading this blog - it is amazing!)

I was pretty happy with the results, however I don't think I got the colours quite right for the green apples - less brown and more green would have been nice! I also burnt the green/brown toffee so I think it is about time to buy a sugar thermometer for this sort of thing. The red ones though were yummy and the right colour. Yay!

I loved Emma's idea of using sticks from a tree to make the apples look scarier, this worked so well. I covered the end of the sticks with cling film, and just poked them in a ready made hole in the apples. Perfectly spooky. :)


The scarily decorated living room at my friends! 

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Zebra Cake

Since seeing Lorraine Pascale's 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Zebra' cake on TV, I had been intrigued at the seemingly simple visual effect and wanted to give it a try myself. I managed to find a recipe based on Lorraine's - you can try it here:

However, if you know me and my baking style, you will know I'm not one for prettying about - I want that cake in the oven and I want to eat it! So I admit, I tried to take a shortcut here by using what looked like the easier option of spooning blobs of mixture into the tray, instead of piping (as advised in this recipe:

Nonetheless, perhaps due to the thickness of my mixture, piping would have been more successful. My blobs were taking ages to spread out and I was hurrying, which made them imperfectly expand over each other and divert in new directions!

Still - it was a yummy cake, and that's all that matters, right? The effect, while not perfectly zebra, was pretty on the inside - but as it was shared out at my friend Emma's birthday, I didn't manage to get a snap! To be honest, I'm just glad it was popular.


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Philadelphia Brownies

Chocolate flavoured Philadelphia spread has been a much talked-about phenomenon this year, and I had been meaning to try it for a while. So when I stumbled across a recipe for Philadelphia Brownies in Nigella Lawson's 'How to Be a Domestic Goddess', I just knew it was the perfect excuse! I have to say, I'm a fan - tastes very mildly chocolatey, almost like a milkshake.

The original recipe uses standard Philadelphia, giving a sharp, savoury edge to the rich chocolatey brownies - but the chocolate Philadelphia, blobbed on top of half the mixture, then topped with the rest, gave each one a melting middle. Absolutely divine. Easy enough for a snack but equally wonderful for a posh dessert, these were not around for long, and I would make them again in a heartbeat.

And if I could, I would eat them every day.

These need to be made!


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

White Chocolate Decadence Cake... with Butterflies

September is always a busy time for baking I find - so many of my friends celebrate their birthdays in that month! So, as you can see, I am posting this a little late. This one I made for my dear friend Lindie's 21st on September 19th.

The recipe was taken from Nigella's 'Kitchen' (described there as 'Devil's Food Cake'), but as I wanted something a little more flowery and cute, I swapped dark frosting for white chocolate. This did bring its own trouble; the mixture of melted chocolate and brown sugar created an unappealing colour, on top of which, it just wouldn't set! But after various tastings (couldn't help it!) and setting periods in the fridge, it formed a close consistency which filled and topped the cakes evenly.

I decorated with tiny sugar butterflies!

The cake was rich and moist and disappeared pretty fast. Rarely does Nigella let me down.


Saturday, 6 October 2012

Vintage Apple Crates

Recently it was my four year anniversary with my boyfriend Greg. Greg, being lovely as he is :), bought me these vintage French apple crates. (I got him a very complex drill!) I originally saw these in an interior design magazine, and have kept lots of cut out images of them ever since. As my book/dvd collection was growing my old bookcase was not only running out of room, but falling apart with the weight. So in come these beautiful rustic apple crates. I love the versatility of these crates; they can be used for storage inside or out, used separately or stacked. I decided to stack them artistically against the wall, in replacement for my old bookcase. They are definitely now the stand out feature in my bed room and I really love them! Are there any amazing interior design finds you have discovered recently?