Monday, 31 December 2012

Last Day

Flat white and an almond croissant with my favourite Swedish gal for a final catch up of the year.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

A Very Merry Christmas!

All of you kitchen geeks out there will appreciate this - my boyfriend bought me a cream KitchenAid for Christmas, and I almost died of happiness. I've wanted one of these for so long and now that I have it, I have no idea what to make first. For now I've just been finding the perfect spot for it on my worktop and admiring it from afar. But I do know that if anything will get me back to baking as much I used to, it's this beauty. Merry Christmas everyone! Peace and Love x

Friday, 21 December 2012

Friday, 14 December 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Is it just me or does everyone seem particularly excited about Christmas this year? We've been getting very much into the festive spirit. Some highlights so far have been...

Red cups!

Hot chocolate, mince pies and a posing cat

Christmas cards for school friends with candy canes inside

Talking about Father Christmas. A lot.

A very long day of present shopping 

A budget end-of-term Christmas dinner with uni friends

And the best thing is, there's still 10 days to go and loads more fun stuff to do. Nice.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

The Salamander

The Salamander, Bath. You couldn't find a more cosy place to hide away on a cold Winter's night. 

The Salamander is one of those tucked-away pubs that's easy to forget about, but it's becoming a favourite boozy destination of ours and is popular with Bath locals looking for something with a bit more soul than the usual city gastro pub. In the bar downstairs, you can choose from a tempting array of Bath ales or something from the decent wine list, and pitch up at a wooden table by the fire. But you'd be a fool not to go upstairs afterwards and sample the food in the intimate dining room. 


Feeling in need of something hearty, my boyfriend and I both opted for the braised ox cheeks with horseradish mash (despite it being a pet hate of mine to both order the same thing, mostly because I want to see what the other dishes on the menu look like!). Ox cheeks aren't the usual cut of meat you'd expect to see on a menu, but luckily they were slowly cooked to perfection so that the meat was tender enough to cut with a butter knife, and served in a rich savoury sauce alongside a big heap of creamy mash with just enough of a  horseradish kick. Pretty reasonably priced too at £12.95.

We carried on drinking leisurely whilst kidding ourselves that we weren't going to order dessert. The final compromise was to share the English apple tart with butterscotch sauce and creme fraiche, and although the flavours were the perfect balance of sharp apple and achingly sweet toffee, to be honest it was a greedy step too far and we couldn't finish it.

So we gave up and carried on drinking. Well it is nearly Christmas!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Carrot Cake Muffins with Cream Cheese Icing

Since being back at uni, I've definitely found my eating habits have become more sporadic. I either skip breakfast entirely, or dash out the door whilst looking sadly back at a piece of toast and steaming hot cup of tea that I didn't have time to eat. Similarly, lunch is often something grabbed in between lectures, and as much as the cheap food offered in the SU bar is very tempting on a Winter's day, a girl cannot live on chilli chips alone.

So I decided to make these muffins to see me through the week. They contain wholemeal flour, carrots AND raisins, so I think they're pretty healthy. You could of course leave out the dairy and sugar laden icing, to make these even more breakfast appropriate. They're great to pack in your bag and eat on the go.

Also, people love you if you bring them homemade muffins. It's important you know that.

Here's what you'll need and what you need to do with it:

100g wholemeal self-raising flour
100g self-raising flour
175g soft brown sugar
1 tsp nutmeg
1 1/s tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 eggs
zest 1 orange
150ml sunflower oil
200g carrots , grated
100g raisins

Icing (optional)
100g butter , softened
300g soft cheese
100g icing sugar , sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with cases.
2. In a large mixing bowl, mix the sugar, flours, bicarbonate of soda, spices and orange zest. 
3. Whisk together the eggs and oil, then stir into the dry ingredients with the grated carrot and raisins.
4. Divide the mixture between cases and bake for 20-22 mins, then leave to cool on a wire rack before icing. (If you're not icing them, the muffins can go in the freezer for future use once completely cool)
5. For the icing, beat the butter until really soft, then beat in the soft cheese, icing sugar and vanilla. Spread onto the muffins, then stand back and admire their muffiny beauty.


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