Saturday, 31 March 2012

Mini Baked Cheesecakes

My friend likes cupcakes. My friend likes cheesecake. For her birthday, I thought I'd combine the two. I found this recipe and set about making them. 

I lined the cupcake tray with my good sturdy cupcake cases (seriously, these cupcake cases hold their own, they're not flimsy like the ones you get from the supermarket - I love them!) and then whizzed up the white chocolate cookies into crumbs and squished them into the cases. 

I wanted to make sure that I put the same amount of raspberries in each, so I added one to every cupcake.

Then I added a second one. They look like they have eyes!


And a third


And finally a fourth. 

Then I poured on the cheesecake mix and popped them in the oven to bake. 

Ta da! Mini baked cheesecakes!

They were pretty good, they don't look quite as good as in the picture and the bases stuck to the liners a bit. Also, because there was so much grease leakage, the colour started to run off the cake cases (I still love them, but I'd probably use plain white ones if making these again to avoid this).

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Chocolate Orange Souffles

Remember the mint chocolate souffles? They were good.

But the chocolate orange ones... they were totally better! If you look at the pictures, you'd probably think the previous ones were better, because they're puffed up better, and I'd agree, aesthetically, they rock way more. The chocolate orange ones were really tasty though. I used this recipe here, and what I liked about it is that it only requires cocoa powder, which I have in the cupboard, so I could probably knock up some souffles without planning (not the orange type obviously because we very rarely buy oranges).


The recipe says it serves two, but as you can see, I made more than two with the mixture, so maybe I have tiny ramekins or something. This was made as part of the wedding vow baking - and I did it in October. I am seriously behind in the baking - thankfully I'm still considered by Ian to be a good wife, but I don't want to push my luck.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

What do I love more than pancakes?


Last year, we celebrated International Nacho day. I was very excited - so excited that the board was in party mode before we even left for work that day! 

We went for a similar set up to the last nacho party, but this time I took some pictures of the nachos... before cooking only though. 

Here are the nachos with cheese on top... 

And what do you put on top of the cheese? We put chilli mainly, and guacamole. But, we have a fab nacho topping idea that we possibly like more than chilli. 

Sweet chilli sauce! It's amazing, you'll love it! Seriously, give it a go.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Craft? Or Crazy?

I'm not sure if this counts as craft. It definitely counts as crazy. For my niece's birthday back in october, I decided to have a bit of fun with the wrapping paper. I carefully cut out the head of one of the birds, and joined it onto one of the other birds to make a two headed bird.

Can you find it?


I thought it would be fun to turn the present itself into a game. I told her she wasn't allowed to open the present until she could find the two headed bird. She's 9. She looked at me like I was a crazy person. Then she found the bird in two seconds. Then she looked at me again as if I was crazy.

I don't care - I thought it was fun!

Here's the two headed bird just in case you couldn't find it.


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

My First Ever Trifle

We put a trifle bowl on our wedding list, so I thought our Christmas Pizza get together was the perfect opportunity to finally use it. There was a lot of discussion about whether a trifle should have jelly in it. It divided our friends. I decided that as jelly took a while to set, I wasn't going to bother!

We lined the trifle bowl with raspberry swiss roll. 

We tried to make it look as pretty as possible. We were very precise to ensure the way the rolls swirled round was consistent. We made sure it went right up the sides of the bowl.

We started on both the custard and the fruit at the same time as we needed to get the trifle made in time for the evening. We used frozen berries and added a little sugar and water and jam, to make the fruit layer. 

We poured this over the swiss roll, trying not to get it all over the sides of the bowl.

After much stirring, the custard was ready, and we checked that it was tasty, which it was! We poured it over the top of the fruit and realised we had a problem. 

As you can see, you can barely see the custard! This was not how the trifle should be. Our trifle bowl is far too wide!  We had a pot of cream that we were going to use to make the whipped cream top of the trifle, but as the main shops were now shut, and we were lacking in custard, we made the decision to turn it into custard.  

Much better now! Check out the pretty swiss roll sides! Look at the steamed up bowl! Also, look at the vanilla fleckle in that custard! Proper good stuff.

Luckily our local convenience store had some of that elmea stuff (fake cream), that we could then whip up for the top layer.  I used two spatulas to blob it on, trying not to disturb the custard which wasn't quite as set as we'd have liked.

This added an interesting texture on top, which I quite liked.

It's beginning to look good there with all it's layers. 

Next I added some fresh raspberries in the gaps of the cream as a finishing touch. 

Doesn't it look yummy?

I think that's probably the most photos I've ever used in one post before! The trifle was pretty darn good, but the custard wasn't set enough. We had some for breakfast the next day and the custard was much more solid, so I'd recommend making trifle a day ahead of when you want to eat it. 

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Yak Yeti Yak, Bath

As a birthday gift, I took my friend to Bath for the christmas markets (I didn't really take her, we both got on a train, and she went of her own free will). Her birthday was in June, so she'd been waiting a while. We had a fun day out, lots of shopping, a couple of bus tours, and eventually we were hungry enough to start looking for food. We asked the nice bus tour guy, and he recommended a couple of places, and we decided to go for the Nepalese restaurant, Yak Yeti Yak.

We hadn't booked a table, and we ended up in an interesting part of the restaurant where you sit on cushions on the floor. When trying to sit down, I may have missed the cushions and ended up with my legs in the air which was probably the comedy highlight for my friend. Unfortunately for you (fortunately for me), she was too slow with the camera and didn't manage to catch this.


For starters we shared the Malekhu Macha - crispy deep fried salmon, and the Polayko Masu, marinated lamb strips. I think we both enjoyed the lamb strips the most, although mine did have a few too many chewy bits, but the flavour was good.


For mains, my friend went for Chicken Jhol and I went for the Yak Yeti Yak beef. The chicken jhol was good but the beef was really really tasty and there was a vast amount of it. I also ordered a Musurko Dal, but the consistency of this put me off a little, as it was quite like baby food.


My friend had dessert, the 'freak street apples', which was essentially an apple tart, while I chose to get a second mango lassi in place of dessert as I love those things!


It was definitely a fun experience, although I did have to keep shifting position to avoid getting pins and needles!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Prezzo, Redhill

Just before Christmas, my mum had an operation on her knee. It was under general anaethestic so she needed someone to watch her afterwards to ensure she didn't blow up or something like that. She was due to go out for dinner with her friends for a catch up, and as she doesn't see them that often, I thought it'd be a good idea for her to go, but obviously I couldn't let her go on her own as she might spontaneously combust, or something like that. This meant I got to have a nice meal out too!

Although Prezzo is a chain, I have been to several and the quality does seem to differ between them, so I've made it clear which one we visited in the title.  While we waited for the rest of the group to arrive, we ordered some breads and olives to share as a group - I insisted on getting the Pane con cipolla (garlic pizza bread with caramelised balsamic onions and melted mozzarella cheese) because I've had it before and it's really good. It's also large enough to share although people seemed more concerned with chatting so I got to eat most of it!

For starters, I decided to go for something I'd not tried before - Arancini. These are described as crispy risotto balls with mushrooms, grana padano and mozzarella cheese with a tomato chilli dip. I think it would have benefited with some leaves or something to make it look more interesting, but the taste was good, and it was definitely something different and I'd consider it again.


Mum went for the bruschetta and I stole a bit of that. I liked the way it looked, with the yellow cherry tomatoes making it a complete traffic light of colours. The description on the menu definitely mentions red onion though, and I can't see any in the photo.


Prezzo does a lighter option for the mains, which I decided to go for as I'd already had a lot of food considering the amount of pre-starter I'd eaten. I went for the Goat's Cheese flatbread with side salad, and although it was the lighter option, it did look a little bit sparse on the toppings. It was still tasty though and I felt extra virtuous for going for the healthy option.


Mum was struggling to find something to eat as she's not a fan of spice, and wont eat creamy things. She settled on the Chicken and Roasted Pepper Fusilli and salad, and again, this was a bit sparse, with only two or three bits of chicken in it.


Noone opted for the strange special of the evening which had me giggling.

2011-12-14 19.54.20

Having been so virtuous with the main course, I decided that meant I could eat cheesecake for dessert! I did regret this though, because cheesecake makes me sick but my brain goes crazy when eating out.


Saturday, 10 March 2012

Christmas Revisited Part Two

When I was young we'd always have a light breakfast on Christmas day so as to be ready for the large Christmas lunch at midday. Ian grew up with a slightly different timetable on Christmas day and is used to a large breakfast and a later dinner. I like a full english so Ian's way seems pretty good to me!

This years fry up was even better because we were at Ian's parents so didn't have to make it!


Christmas dinner was also pretty epic, it took me ages to find some of it because it was piled so high! Look at all those lovely sprouts - I only have them at Christmas but I really love them so I might try and see if we can have them more often (by we I mean me, because Ian is not a fan). 


We enjoyed a few dinners out whilst up in Birmingham as Ian's parents were still trying to sort all the lose ends left over from their extension and so it was easier to wander along to the nearby restaurants. One restaurant was a steak house, that did amazing onion bread which I forgot to photograph but was so much better than the normal onion rings that normally accompany steak (although it was probably more filling so I struggled to get through the steak - I did eat Ian's bread too though so that might have been the problem!). We also visited The Oak, and I remembered to take pictures of only the starters this time, but I guess that's an improvement. These were chorizo fritters which were very tasty and nicely presented.

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Ian preferred his starter which was goats cheese with a hazelnut crust and caramelised walnuts with apple puree. I can't remember what the red stuff was but the whole thing was good - I'm pleased we share starters!

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When we got back home after our visit to Ian's parents, my mum and aunt came to visit for a second Christmas and some silly games, and Ian cooked another massive dinner. I've realised why I like my plates so much - because you don't often get blue food, so they stand out nicely from the food, but also adds a good amount of colour to the photos I take!   


A Christmas food round up wouldn't be complete without Christmas Pizza. Last Christmas we first experienced Christmas Pizza, and it was so amazing that we had to do it again.  Next year will be our turn to host it, so I need to document what the pizzas looked like so I can remember how to make it! We created an assembly line and managed to get through almost 8 pizzas between 8 people (which for reference doesn't need more than 2 tubs of mascarpone - my friend bought about four and ended up freezing the leftovers to make cheesecake with later - a slightly unsuccessful venture as it turned out.)



I made a nice trifle for dessert, but I'm going to allow that to get it's own post, as I took so many pictures during the process. 

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Christmas Revisited

Now that the blogs are joined, I'm going to try and do a few more posts about crafty things from the gap on my other blog (the too guilty to post phase).

This is technically Ian's crafting that I'm about to show you. Every year (apart from Christmas 2010 for some reason) he makes me a christmas card. This year he stole his idea from an owl christmas tree ornament that a friend bought me. It's small enough that it can find a home, unlike some of the previous ones, which have been massive and are now collecting dust whilst waiting to be homed. It actually found a home on our christmas tree and so will be a nice reminder every year when I reuse it.

As well as the card, I also got the gift of extra stash goodies, as he ordered the cardboard from the internet and therefore couldn't tell how much he was ordering and we now have tonnes!

At Christmas, I decided to make my own wrapping paper. I went for simple brown paper stamped with some russian doll santas but it took quite a lot of time and we had quite a few presents to wrap. The parcels did look pretty when all tied up together with silver string, but I'm not sure it was worth the effort. 
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I also had some fun wrapping escapades at Ian's parents. They were up to their eyeballs in tiling, carpeting and plumbing so the wrapping of the presents had fallen by the wayside. I'm no good at any of those things, so I took on the wrapping. Ian's mum didn't make it easy for me though, with a snow shovel for Ian's sister. I'm pretty proud of it though and it was a good challenge!
2011-12-24 13.10.26
Whilst writing this post I've realised there was a lot of Christmas food related things that I've yet to post about too, so look out for Christmas Revisited part two!