9 February 2012

Hunk a chunk of choccy love!

I'm not one to get swept away in the commercialism of Valentines Day (that might sound strange coming from a marketeer!) I find it a bit overwhelming the variety of items that are Valentinised all in a bid to 'get us in the mood'. How slapping a few hearts & flowers onto a standard supermarket product is meant to do that I just don't know? That's not to say that I ignore the day, but I'd rather make something myself that feels more personal & special. As is the case for most occasions, I usually bake!

Last year I took part in a Forever Nigella challenge & tried out her recipe for Love Buns (still makes me giggle!) Click here to take a look back at that post.

So keeping with the competition theme, this year I was invited by Baking Mad to go head to head with 14 other bloggers. The challenge was to create my ultimate Valentines treat, using a minimum of 3 ingredients from a mystery box of goodies I was sent.

Where to start? What to bake? Cake? Biscuit? Brownie? Cupcake? Arrghh...too many options! Then inspiration struck me! Now bear with me on this explanation, I'm not even quite sure how exactly my brain worked it's way round to this...

I was listening to my ipod on shuffle, the Elvis track Burning Love came on. If you're not familiar with it, at the end of the song there is a section that goes, 'hunk a hunk of burning love'. My head was singing 'hunk a chunk of burning love', which made me think of chocolate, which lead me onto Rocky Road...et voila, this weeks recipe! In honour of it's inspiration I have named it,

Hunk a Chunk of Choccy Love

The ingredients I selected from my ready steady cook style package were:

A large bar of chocolate
Chocolate heart sprinkles
Giant white chocolate snowies
Pink shimmer balls
Dark chocolate melt & squeeze topping
White chocolate letters

To these I also added:

150g unsalted butter
200g shortbread biscuits (bashed up a bit into chunks)
50g sultanas
50g glace cherries
1tbsp golden syrup

1. Melt the butter, chocolate & syrup together. Stir in the bashed up biccies & fruit & stir well until all combined.

2. Line a dish with baking parchment, pour in the mixture & press down firmly. Leave in the fridge to set for 20 mins.

3. Melt the topping & spread evenly over your base, decorate at will! Pop back into the fridge to set fully.

I didn't leave mine to set for long enough before adding the topping, so some of the butter from the mixture rose up through the topping, making a bit of a mottled effect on the top. Hasn't effected the taste at all, but you might be able to see from the picture it meant the top looked a little uneven.


When it was set solid, I took the slab out of the dish & paper, wrapped it in fresh baking parchment & tied it up with a ribbon!


What I really like about this (other than it's delicious chocolatey biscuity loveliness) is you can cut a chunk as big or as small as you fancy & it lasts for ages in the fridge. It's not like cake that I feel compelled to eat as soon as possible to avoid it going stale!


Hope you like it? I'd love to hear if you have your own homemade Valentines day treats. Thanks to Baking Mad for the ingredients for my recipe. Happy Valentines Day! Rebecca x

4 February 2012

Aspirations of living the Good Life

One of the best things about our new house is that after nearly 4 years living in an apartment, we finally have a garden of our own. With this come aspirations of transforming myself into the Barbara of Eton Wick & living the Good Life! Now our garden isn't exactly spacious so realistically it would barely generate enough produce to sustain a family of Borrowers so I don't think self sufficiency is in our reach just yet. That said we want to try & grow some of our own veg so we did start looking this week at what to plant when.
Our little patch of land...it's a work in progress!

It was this search that brought me to the Eat Seasonably campaign site & a really interesting little gizmo that I thought I'd share. The Eat Seasonably calendar is an interactive tool that shows what's in season when. So for this month it's all about leeks & savoy cabbage. I must admit it's quite enlightening & makes you think about the amount of food miles we must be clocking up to get all produce all year round. Looking at the calendar I realised there's no need, there's an abundance of stuff available right here on our little island. Guess you just need what to look for? Sorry if this sounds a bit obvious, but it was really a bit of an epiphany for me & I'll definitely be paying more attention to the origins of my fruit & veg.



Finally in other news....you may remember over Christmas I ran a Hotel Chocolat competition. Well I'm happy to announce that my lucky winner was the lovely Lisa @cookwitch who has received her chocolate & after showing immense self control by simply admiring the packaging for a while, finally got stuck into it, congratulations! Till next time, Rebecca x

1 February 2012

Afternoon tea with Macaroons from heaven!

I have to travel quite regularly for my work, 99% of the time it's either to Belgium or Holland. I think I've tried pretty much every sweet treat they have to offer, waffles, chocolate, stroopwaffles...mmm I love stroopwaffles. Anyway it made a nice change that I had to travel to Paris a few weeks back. Sadly I didn't get to see much of the city as the office is based in what I can only describe as the French equivalent of the Slough trading estate! So there I was kicking my heals around Charles de Gaulle airport feeling rather unfulfilled with my Parisian experience when I landed on a branch of Laduree!

I had read about Laduree & oggled over pictures of their beautiful multi-coloured macaroons, but had yet to make it to one of their London stores. With an hour to kill before my flight, I stepped in side & set about the challenge of choosing just 8 flavours. I settled on...

Coffee
Salted Caramel
Blackcurrant Violet
Pistachio
Rose
Black Forest
Colombian Chocolate
Raspberry

I carefully (and proudly) transported my macaroons home & stored them safely in the bottom of the fridge as advised.

Now it didn't feel quite right just to crack open the box & scoff one down with a mug of tea, so I held my first afternoon tea in their honour!

Tea from a proper pot, sandwiches with the crusts cut off, little cheesy tarts & some homemade scones (which were actually a bit of a disaster & went out for the birds, nuff said!) The macaroons took pride of place on the top of my cake stand.
In the spirit of sharing, each macaroon was cut up & shared so we could all taste all of the flavours. (must of looked quite ridiculous to an outsider, me carefully dissecting a macaroon no bigger than a 50p!) Clear favourite was salted caramel, pistachio not so much. They are not an everyday purchase at 15.90 euros for a box of 8, but they are a real treat & true indulgence. The insert in the box explains that the Laduree pastry chefs combine almonds, eggs & sugar before adding the final ingredient, a pinch of 'know how' Wouldn't we all love to get our hands on a tub of that? Till next time, Rebecca x

9 February 2012

Hunk a chunk of choccy love!

I'm not one to get swept away in the commercialism of Valentines Day (that might sound strange coming from a marketeer!) I find it a bit overwhelming the variety of items that are Valentinised all in a bid to 'get us in the mood'. How slapping a few hearts & flowers onto a standard supermarket product is meant to do that I just don't know? That's not to say that I ignore the day, but I'd rather make something myself that feels more personal & special. As is the case for most occasions, I usually bake!

Last year I took part in a Forever Nigella challenge & tried out her recipe for Love Buns (still makes me giggle!) Click here to take a look back at that post.

So keeping with the competition theme, this year I was invited by Baking Mad to go head to head with 14 other bloggers. The challenge was to create my ultimate Valentines treat, using a minimum of 3 ingredients from a mystery box of goodies I was sent.

Where to start? What to bake? Cake? Biscuit? Brownie? Cupcake? Arrghh...too many options! Then inspiration struck me! Now bear with me on this explanation, I'm not even quite sure how exactly my brain worked it's way round to this...

I was listening to my ipod on shuffle, the Elvis track Burning Love came on. If you're not familiar with it, at the end of the song there is a section that goes, 'hunk a hunk of burning love'. My head was singing 'hunk a chunk of burning love', which made me think of chocolate, which lead me onto Rocky Road...et voila, this weeks recipe! In honour of it's inspiration I have named it,

Hunk a Chunk of Choccy Love

The ingredients I selected from my ready steady cook style package were:

A large bar of chocolate
Chocolate heart sprinkles
Giant white chocolate snowies
Pink shimmer balls
Dark chocolate melt & squeeze topping
White chocolate letters

To these I also added:

150g unsalted butter
200g shortbread biscuits (bashed up a bit into chunks)
50g sultanas
50g glace cherries
1tbsp golden syrup

1. Melt the butter, chocolate & syrup together. Stir in the bashed up biccies & fruit & stir well until all combined.

2. Line a dish with baking parchment, pour in the mixture & press down firmly. Leave in the fridge to set for 20 mins.

3. Melt the topping & spread evenly over your base, decorate at will! Pop back into the fridge to set fully.

I didn't leave mine to set for long enough before adding the topping, so some of the butter from the mixture rose up through the topping, making a bit of a mottled effect on the top. Hasn't effected the taste at all, but you might be able to see from the picture it meant the top looked a little uneven.


When it was set solid, I took the slab out of the dish & paper, wrapped it in fresh baking parchment & tied it up with a ribbon!


What I really like about this (other than it's delicious chocolatey biscuity loveliness) is you can cut a chunk as big or as small as you fancy & it lasts for ages in the fridge. It's not like cake that I feel compelled to eat as soon as possible to avoid it going stale!


Hope you like it? I'd love to hear if you have your own homemade Valentines day treats. Thanks to Baking Mad for the ingredients for my recipe. Happy Valentines Day! Rebecca x

4 February 2012

Aspirations of living the Good Life

One of the best things about our new house is that after nearly 4 years living in an apartment, we finally have a garden of our own. With this come aspirations of transforming myself into the Barbara of Eton Wick & living the Good Life! Now our garden isn't exactly spacious so realistically it would barely generate enough produce to sustain a family of Borrowers so I don't think self sufficiency is in our reach just yet. That said we want to try & grow some of our own veg so we did start looking this week at what to plant when.
Our little patch of land...it's a work in progress!

It was this search that brought me to the Eat Seasonably campaign site & a really interesting little gizmo that I thought I'd share. The Eat Seasonably calendar is an interactive tool that shows what's in season when. So for this month it's all about leeks & savoy cabbage. I must admit it's quite enlightening & makes you think about the amount of food miles we must be clocking up to get all produce all year round. Looking at the calendar I realised there's no need, there's an abundance of stuff available right here on our little island. Guess you just need what to look for? Sorry if this sounds a bit obvious, but it was really a bit of an epiphany for me & I'll definitely be paying more attention to the origins of my fruit & veg.



Finally in other news....you may remember over Christmas I ran a Hotel Chocolat competition. Well I'm happy to announce that my lucky winner was the lovely Lisa @cookwitch who has received her chocolate & after showing immense self control by simply admiring the packaging for a while, finally got stuck into it, congratulations! Till next time, Rebecca x

1 February 2012

Afternoon tea with Macaroons from heaven!

I have to travel quite regularly for my work, 99% of the time it's either to Belgium or Holland. I think I've tried pretty much every sweet treat they have to offer, waffles, chocolate, stroopwaffles...mmm I love stroopwaffles. Anyway it made a nice change that I had to travel to Paris a few weeks back. Sadly I didn't get to see much of the city as the office is based in what I can only describe as the French equivalent of the Slough trading estate! So there I was kicking my heals around Charles de Gaulle airport feeling rather unfulfilled with my Parisian experience when I landed on a branch of Laduree!

I had read about Laduree & oggled over pictures of their beautiful multi-coloured macaroons, but had yet to make it to one of their London stores. With an hour to kill before my flight, I stepped in side & set about the challenge of choosing just 8 flavours. I settled on...

Coffee
Salted Caramel
Blackcurrant Violet
Pistachio
Rose
Black Forest
Colombian Chocolate
Raspberry

I carefully (and proudly) transported my macaroons home & stored them safely in the bottom of the fridge as advised.

Now it didn't feel quite right just to crack open the box & scoff one down with a mug of tea, so I held my first afternoon tea in their honour!

Tea from a proper pot, sandwiches with the crusts cut off, little cheesy tarts & some homemade scones (which were actually a bit of a disaster & went out for the birds, nuff said!) The macaroons took pride of place on the top of my cake stand.
In the spirit of sharing, each macaroon was cut up & shared so we could all taste all of the flavours. (must of looked quite ridiculous to an outsider, me carefully dissecting a macaroon no bigger than a 50p!) Clear favourite was salted caramel, pistachio not so much. They are not an everyday purchase at 15.90 euros for a box of 8, but they are a real treat & true indulgence. The insert in the box explains that the Laduree pastry chefs combine almonds, eggs & sugar before adding the final ingredient, a pinch of 'know how' Wouldn't we all love to get our hands on a tub of that? Till next time, Rebecca x
 

Blog Template by YummyLolly.com