Friday, 29 April 2011

Mini Victoria Sandwiches laced with Meringue

A twist on an English classic in honour of the day's Royal nuptials (inspired by the massive fail which was my first ever meringue...which turned out as flat & airy as an American pancake).


Introducing:


Mini Victoria Sandwiches laced with Meringue



For the Mini Meringue Cakes (Recipe makes 12):


200g Caster Sugar

100g Butter (Unsalted and at room temperature)

2 Eggs

1tsp Vanilla

100ml Milk

Squeeze-o-lemon

200g Flour

2tsp Baking Powder

Pinch-o-Salt

4 mini Meringues (crushed)



In a large bowl, blend the Caster Sugar, Butter, Eggs, Vanilla, Milk and Lemon Juice until all are well combined. Set aside.


In a separate bowl, sift together the Flour, Baking Powder & Salt. Slowly pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture and blend until smooth. Fold in the Meringue.


Pour evenly into a lined cupcake tin. Pop in the oven at 170C for approx 20-25min. Cakes should be a lovely golden brown on top.



For the Extra Creamy Buttercream Topping:


100g Butter

1tsp Vanilla Extract

Squeeze-o-Lemon

200g Icing Sugar



Using a hand mixer, blend the Butter, Vanilla & Lemon in a large bowl. Slowly add the Icing Sugar, blending until smooth and creamy.


Assembling it all:


Remove the cupcake from its paper shell. Using a sharp knife, slice the cupcake in two pieces. Next, use a teaspoon to dollop some buttercream between the two slices. Decorate the first layer with fresh berries. Replace the upper portion on the cake and give it a dash of icing sugar.


The meringue adds a lovely crunch to these light & airy cakes, while the fresh berries set a sweet summery tone.

Not a bad recovery from a baking fail.


Until next time…


Hearts.



Thursday, 28 April 2011

Wills Gets His Girl

Today, I ditched the C2 for a stroll through Green Park and the gates of Buckingham Palace where preparation for the big day has been going on for weeks.


Wills & Kate 4-ever

Tents and folding chairs line the barriers of the Mall & the roundabout in front of the palace. Flags are tied to the banisters to indicate where people have traveled from. Wine was poured. Buskers played to the masses. Policemen stopped to pose for pictures with naff hatted pilgrims.


Camping out.

It seems the press have the best seats - with their grandstands and high rigs - all waiting for the climactic balcony scene.


Glamping out.

In truth, it's the happiest I've ever seen this city. (Perhaps because the area is mostly comprised of tourists?) Whatever the case, it's a welcome change.

From the office to the streets.


Needless to say, tomorrow will be spent with the masses in front of the telly, tuned into the Royal Wedding (and I'm pretty friggin excited about it!). The prince will have his princess, and I will have my quiche & mini victoria sandwiches!


Thanks for the four day weekend Wills & Kate - and best of luck.


Until next time…


Hearts


Monday, 25 April 2011

London Calling

Today was spent strolling down the Thames with good friends, sunshine, & 99's.


The four of us traveled from our respective corners of London and met on the Southbank where the beach has taken over.


Customised huts dot the pathway just opposite the Royal Festival Hall. Each showcasing a different theme - from beachwear to 1950s storm surges (you can check it out here)


Water Water Everywhere...


A makeshift sandpit has been built to sit alongside the used book fair. Couples flip through worn pages whilst their children fill up bright yellow pails with dry sand...only to be disappointed when their great castles don't hold. Triangle banners flutter overhead & bright yellow signs post summer nostalgias; some favourites include 'Knobbly Knees', 'Walk the Plank', & 'Are We There Yet'.



After walking the Southbank, we hit up Gourmet Burger where burger dedications to Kate & Wills can be bought at a small fee. Dearest Nino chose the Kate burger which was topped with two thick onion rings - no doubt to symbolise the upcoming nuptials.


On route home, 99's were had by all (much to our fleeting disgust that they cost £2.)


Two quid AND stingey with the topping!

Speaking of Kate & Wills, looky who we came across in Green Park...


Damn, did the hair give it away?

Until next time...

Hearts.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Thankings

Just wanted to take a moment to give a shout out to those of you who have sent images of your creme egg cakes in the last week.


These are just some of the cakes you all have sent…


Loving the yellow & white yolk topping by matt_teasdale


Perfectly swirled by Itsmotherswork


Naughtily adding more eggs - by Hatsntatts


A sweet little collaboration between husband a wife: YA_Megan & NaylorMatthew


Eggs and bunnies galore - by the lovely Neshe at asos.


Pastel sprinkles! - by Lanah5280


A cheat by mama bluebirdcage - who used fat free cake mix & sent a disclaimer: 'You surely didn't get your baking skills from mama'


Also, many thankings to Nick. He's a good egg.


Until next time…


Hearts.


Saturday, 23 April 2011

A Tisket, A Tasket


The Easter tree -


Having spent my formative years as a foreigner in Germany, I've always been in awe of this tradition - sweet budding branches filled with wooden bunny ornaments and brightly coloured eggs. (In my 7yr old mind, this tradition only took a backseat to my blessed Kinder Egg consumption.)




You will need:


- Eggs (quantity is up to you!)

- Warm Water (straight from the tap)

- White Wine Vinegar

- Food Colouring (primary colours work best for mixin n matchin)


Also…

- Large Sewing Needle

- Egg Carton

- Toothpicks

- Coloured String

- Fresh Twig

- Glass bottle


Using a needle, gently poke a small hole in the smaller tip of the egg. Turn the egg over and repeat - making a slightly larger hole on the larger bottom tip.


Turning back to the smaller hole, purse your lips to the egg and blow into the hole- its contents will drip out of the lower, larger hole. (You will undoubtedly feel like a fool, so you might want to close the blinds/clear the room of friends/etc - unless you're comfortable with that sort of thing…) You will know the egg is empty when you hear a somewhat satisfying 'sssss' sound.


Gently wipe away any yolk/etc from the egg shell and set aside.



Gutted

Using a separate bowl for each colour you want, fill the bowls with warm water, a tipple of vinegar (approx 1tbsp) and approx 10 drops of food colouring.


Dip the eggs into the dye until they reach your desired look. (This will take several minutes)


Take out of the water to dry. (Tip: For a quick and easy drying rack - cut an egg carton in half. Flip it over and poke large holes into each peak. Voila!)



Dying for the cause


To hang: Cut the tip off of a toothpick & tie it to a piece of string. Poke the toothpick end through the larger hole you created in the egg - this will act as an anchor. Tie a loop into the remaining end of the string and hang.


Frohe Ostern Ya'll!

Until next time...

Hearts.

Friday, 22 April 2011

And the livin' is easy...

The sun has his hat on and Blighty has taken note. The streets of London are infested with breezy sundresses, bright vests, rolled denim shorts, & nude thighs …it's glorious!


Summertime

Empty pub rooms seem to sigh a relief to the overflow of their publicans in the streets- my old pal Thursday saw me at the Vic visiting the old ASOS crew. A much needed catch up; we wined (lemonade for me), dined (on cupcakes), & soaked up the lazy sun.


Homies

Afterwards I dove face first into a calzone as big as my head at Tikino - which was custom tailored to be veg friendly; substituting parma ham for artichoke hearts of course!

Cheers to a few more sunny days.


Until next time…


Hearts.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

What's More Beautiful Than This...



Introducing: Creme Egg Cakes
(By overwhelming popular demand)


For the Buttercream Frosting


1/2c Vegetable Shortening (cubed - I tend to use Cookeen refined vegetable fat)

1/2c Non-Salted Butter (cubed & at room temperature)

3.5c Icing Sugar

1tsp Vanilla Extract

1/4c Milk (or Soya Milk)


Using a hand mixer, blend the Shortening & Butter in a large bowl until smooth. Slowly add the Icing Sugar, Vanilla & Milk - mixing until the buttercream light & fluffy.


Store in the fridge.


It might look innocent...

For the Cupcakes (recipe makes 12+ Cupcakes)


3 Eggs

225g Caster Sugar

1tsp Vanilla Extract

50g Unsalted Butter

100ml Milk (or Soya Milk)

210g Plain Flour

2tsp Baking Powder

4tbsp Cocoa Powder

Pinch-o-Salt

12 Creme Eggs


They didn't see it comin.


In a large bowl, blend the Eggs, Caster Sugar, Vanilla, Butter & Milk until all are well combined. Set aside.


In a separate bowl, sift together the Flour, Baking Powder & Salt. Slowly pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture and blend until smooth (or lumpy, which is how I roll…)


Line a cupcake tin with papers and place a Creme Egg into each hole (remembering to unwrap the eggs before baking!).


Step by Step

Holding the Creme Egg in place, gently pour the chocolate cake mixture around & above the egg - ensuring it is completely encased in a lovely bed of chocolatey heaven. The egg will not move when its on the bake!


Pop in the oven at 175C, for approx 20 minutes (remembering to rotate the cakes at halftime, & to poke a cocktail stick into the side of each cake to test that they're finished - do not poke the middle unless you want Creme Egg spewing all over the place….or maybe you do?)


Take out of the oven and cool thoroughly before frosting.


Beautifully rounded tops.


Bunny & Ghost effect not guaranteed.


Until Next Time... Eat up Ya'll.


Hearts.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

A bit of Haggard & Twitty Never Hurt No One

Been sent a few baking challenges within the past week- One through the lovely Nino Paulito which will be featured on an upcoming blog post. A collaboration of quirky cookies & eccentric photography - what more can I say?


The other, through the lovely Barrettsmash (aka Josh the Math Geek - who reads dots as if they were poetry) who sent an amazing (albeit copyrighted image) of a cupcake with a CADBURY CREAM EGG baked inside...Genius & possibly one of the most beautiful things I've seen in my life. View the brilliance here.

Needless to say, I'm jumping on the bandwagon - challenge 'Cream Egg Cupcake' will commence at some point this weekend.

Until next time, I leave you with this...


Hearts.


Sunday, 3 April 2011

Vol. 1




Side A:


Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros - Janglin

Wilco - Jesus, etc.

Paul Williams (Bugsy Malone)- Tomorrow

West Side Story - Dance at the Gym

The Young Veins - Heart of Mine


Side B:


State Fair Soundtrack - It Might as Well be Spring (Pickles!)

Warpaint - Ashes to Ashes

Wavves - Convertible Balloon

Ray Martin - Meet Mister Callaghan

Best Coast - Boyfriend

Saturday, 2 April 2011

These three day weekends...

It's that time of year when holiday is literally forced upon workahollics, and the month is strung along in a succession of three day weekends.


Luckily it's also that time of year when the sun finally lifts his little head and life seems a bit more bearable. (If you're not affected by winter's gloom, please tell the rest of us your secret. We could market this.)


Last weekend the Pullman steam train trekked through town - picture: Cruising on Beryl the townebike, with her basket & bell. Daffs in bloom (which Lila likes a wee bit too much…if you get my gist). The local parakeet clan flitting across the airwaves. Pullman's steam engine chugging along beside me and my girl. It seems all too picturesque after months of sitting indoors under a night sky that appears at 4pm.


Needless to say it's Spring! Roadtrips, weddings, & little surprises await...


Truth be told, the hubs and I are getting broody…for the four legged, hairy & fat-pawed variety. These long weekends are allowing us to visit a pup rescue set in Luton where a handsome blue boy is waiting for rescue. There's a lot of work involved, fingers crossed it all works out. Roadtrips abound:


It's okay to match your nails to your cuppa...

All we are saying...

April 1st may be a day for fools, but yesterday it was a day of celebration. Team ASOS Footwear (aka Team ASOS Dropout) reunited in the secluded postcard village of Finchingfield, Essex* for a bit of 1950's glamour meets 1980's dance party. Our little Amie looked stunning in her vintage lace wedding gown, hair twisted in a bun (said in a Northern accent), & her kilted new hubby in her arms.


Waiting for a star to fall...


The dropouts reunite!

*I only knew the significance of this town when we rounded the little green & pond in the town centre. You see, my parents drove me to the very same town a few years back so I could see where they had their first date. Small world, eh?


Speaking of mom & pops, look what showed up in the post this morning with a little note reading "I just wanted to say hello. Love Mom & Dad":


They know me all too well...

Off to stuff myself on peeps & frosted animal cookies!

Until next time...

Hearts.