Honeycomb and Chocolate Naughtiness

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Ingredients:

For the honeycomb:

  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 75g / caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • Flavourless oil (such as vegetable oil), for greasing

For the topping:

  • 120g bar Cadburys dairy milk
  • Double Decker bar
  • Handful of raisins/sultanas
  • Knob of unsalted butter

Method:

1. First, make the honeycomb. Have a wire whisk and an oiled baking tray set out on the side. Put the sugar and golden syrup into a saucepan and put on a very low heat. Warm gently for 10 minutes, until all of the sugar has disolved, stirring occasionally with the wooden spoon.

Once the sugar has completely melted, turn up the heat to medium. Once the mixture has started to boil, leave to bubble without stirring until it turns golden-brown. Turn off the heat under the pan. Cover one of your hands with a dry tea towel or oven glove for protection, then take hold of the pan handle. Add the bicarbonate of soda and quickly whisk in for a couple of seconds only. The mixture will froth vigorously and you need to take great care as it’s extremely hot.

Quickly pour the mixture into the middle of the oiled baking tray. Don’t spread it out or touch. Sprinkle on the raisins and leave it to cool. This should take about 30 minutes.

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2. Next, chop the double decker into small pieces and melt in a bain-marie with a teaspoon of butter. Once the mixture has melted, use a wooden spoon to smooth and spread across the honeycomb in the tray.

Chocolate Honeycomb

3. Next, melt your Cadbury’s dairy milk bar over a bain-marie. When the chocolate is smooth and shinny, pour onto the honeycomb and, using a pallet knife or the back of a spoon, smooth over your honeycomb and leave to set.

4. Once set, eat as it is or with some ice-cream.  I’ll be having it with some Ben & Jerry’s

Create a new item of clothing for less than £2 (Dip Dye)

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Distressed jeans and tie dye are both hot this summer season, and you can create this look at home for less than £2.  I created a pair of distressed  jean shorts and a tie dye look ruche dress using some forgotten clothing I found in the depths of my wardrobe.

What you’ll need:

A bucket
White Vinegar
Bleach (not the color safe stuff)
A hanger, preferably with  clips
Marigold Gloves
Scissors (optional)
Nail Buffer (optional)

For the Shorts:

1. In a bucket, combine 2 parts water and one part bleach to make the bleach solution.

2. Prepare your shorts by hanging them over the bucket using you hanger. Alternatively you can threading something through the belt loops.

3. Dip the shorts into the bleach at the desired depth. Leave the shorts soaking for approx 30 minutes. (the bleach will run, so leave about an inch out of the solution for good measure)

4. The jeans I used were black, and I wanted a lighter colour so after half an hour I submerged my shorts fully to get a lighter overall colour.

4. After the bleach has turned the shorts the desired white shade (may take a few dips), remove shorts from the bleach solution and soak in a sink or bathtub with two parts water and one part vinegar for approximately five to ten minutes to stop the bleaching process.

5. Rinse the shorts well and wash the first few times on their own.

6. You can cut or scratch the jean to get a distressed look. I also used a nail buffer to wear down patches.

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Dip Dye Shorts

Dip Dye Shorts

For the Tie Dye Bleach Dress:

1. For this I used an old black ruche dress I had from topshop.  In a bucket, combine 2 parts water and one part bleach to make the bleach solution.

2. Next, soak whatever garment you’re using with water and rinse lightly. Using rubber bands (I used old hair bands)  pinch and wrap the fabric which you would like it to remain unbleached. I wanted circles of black but also wanted lines wrapping round the dress, so I scrunched certain sections of the fabric and wrapped,  after I had done this placed rubber bands around the entire dress widthways.

3. Now wearing your gloves, place your garment into your bleach solution. Make sure it is completely submerged I recommend checking every 20 minutes until you’ve reached your desired colour.

4. When you’ve reached your desired colour, take your garment out of the bleach.  Rinse thoroughly and leave to soak for 15minutes in a mixture of your vinegar and water.

5. Remove the bands and wash alone.

Tie Dye Dress

Tie Dye Dress

Festival Glam

The festival season is well and truly underway, as the clouds of Glastonbury begin to gather together, it’s time to start preparing those show-stopping, sun-worshipping outfits! Or, looking out of my window, perhaps rain proof would be more suitable. The most fashionable event in the music calendar kicked of the festival season in April. Coachella, the A-list festival, saw some of the red carpets best dressed flocking to California to break out their bo hoo and some of the outfits were fantastic.

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Above; the Victoria’s Secret girls looking awfully good in their festival chique. Hot pants, ankle boots, big hats and even the classic Siena Miller look waist coat. It shows you can always rely on crochet, fringing and denim to create the ultimate festival fashion look, no matter what’s on trend.

And here are a few of the other outfits I’ve drawn inspiration from.

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For the unpredictable weather and slightly less glamorous UK festivals there are a few essentials that are a must. First and foremost, wellies are essential to ensure you can survive the entire weekend warm and dry. Hunter have so much selection that there’s a welly for everyone. The truth of festivals is that at some point we’re going to want to cover up our unwashed locks, for this a stylish hat will do the trick. So pick a Panama or a big floppy to stick don on sunday.  A plain black dress or one with a nice print can hide a multitude of sins, from beer stains to mud spears. Accessories can make all the difference when you are up against the elements for a long weekend, adding layers of bangles, necklaces and bracelets can add personality to your plain black dress and be chopped and changed for reuse. Lastly, in case you see any sunshine, a nice pair of Raybans will finish off any festival look perfectly.

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1:

  • Glasses-Ray Ban Wayfarer
  • Pattie textured leather jacket-Whistles
  • Ruche dress -Baukjen 
  • Fringed suede bag- Zara
  • Leather thong sandals- Aldo

2:

  • Rabbit felt wide brimmed hat- Maison Michel 
  • Print T- Topshop 
  • Aged denim shorts- Allsaints
  • Biker boots- Jimmy Choo

3.

  • Glasses- Carrera 
  • Dip dyed dungarees- River Island
  • Tie dye crop top- Asos
  • Water proof studded traines- Hunter 

Strawberry Cupcakes

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Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:

  • 340g Plain flour
  • 1tsp Baking powder
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 170g Unsalted butter
  • 230g Caster sugar
  • 100ml Milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 5 large strawberries 

For the Butter Cream:

  • 5 Large strawberries mushed or blended
  • 170g Butter
  • 240g Caster sugar
  • 3 Egg Whites

Recipe makes about 16 Cupcakes

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180c and line your cupcake pan with paper liners.

2.  In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

3. Next, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then add in the vanilla extract. Next, mix in the flour mixture in tree parts, alternating with the milk, and beat until just combined; set aside.

4. In a clean bowl whisk the eggs whites until stiff, glossy peaks form. Then, gently incorporate the egg whites into the mixture.

5. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake cases, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake for 25minutes or until the cupcakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool.

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6. Now for the butter cream. Combine the egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until the mixture is warm to the touch and the sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).

7. Remove from heat  and continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.

8. Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all the butter has been added, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and beat until all air bubbles are eliminated. Add the strawberry puree and beat until combined. Continue to stir  with a rubber spatula until  smooth. Keep the buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

9. Now to decorate. Spread or pipe the buttercream onto each cupcake. I added some little sugar craft daisies that I found buying my cupcake cases. Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day, or refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Blueberry Crumble Muffins

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Ingredients:

For the muffins:

  • 360g plain flour
  • 370g golden caster sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 300ml plain yogurt
  • 70ml milk
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 70g unsalted butter, melted
  • 200g blueberries

For the crumble:

  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 3tbsp of golden caster sugar
  • 4tbsp of plain flour

I made a lemon & yogurt spread/drizzle to accompany the muffins (not essential):

  • 4tbsps plain yogurt 
  • 110g softened unsalted butter
  • 200g  golden icing sugar
  • Zest 1/2 a lemon
  • Juice 1/2 a lemon
Method:
1.Preheat oven to 170c/325f, gas mark 3. Line a muffin tin with cases. This recipe makes about 16.
2. Sift the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and combine.
3.  Next, in a separate bow, combine the milk, yogurt,  egg and vanilla extract. Then slowly pour into the flour mixture and beat until all the ingredients are incorporated.
4. Pour in the melted butter and beat until the butter is just incorporated, then beat until the batter is even and smooth.5. Finally, gently fold in the blueberries until evenly dispersed.6. Spoon the mixture into the cases until two-thirds full.
7. Now for the crumble topping. Bring all your ingredients together using a fork or your finger until you have fine crumbs. Then sprinkle over your mixture in the cases.
8. Now place your mixture the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown, and the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the muffins to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
9. If you want to make the spread/drizzle. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl with the softened butter and mix. Then pour in the yogurt and the juice and zest of the lemon and mix again.

Et voilà

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Chocolate Malteser Cake

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Unlike maltesers, this cake is not light. So any calorie counters replace all ingredients with air… or just get a life and dig in.

Ingredients:

I used a spherical tin but if you’ve got some great sculpting skills you could have a go at carving.

For the sponge (Nigella Recipe) 

  • 150 g soft brown sugar (muscavado sugar is best for flavour)
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 175 ml milk
  • 15 g unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons Horlicks powder
  • 175 g plain flour
  • 25 g cocoa, sieved
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

For the icing and decoration:

  • 500 g icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoon cocoa
  • 100 g Horlick’s
  • 250 g soft unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons boiling water
  • 500g of  Maltesers

Method:

Make sure to leave your ingredients out for a couple of hours to come to room temperature. Buttercream is near on impossible to make using butter strait from the fridge.

1. Preheat the oven to 160c and butter and line your cake tins. I used the technique shown bellow to make sure I could easily remove mine from the tins.

linedtins

2. Whisk together the sugars and eggs until light and frothy. Heat the milk, butter and Horlicks powder in a small saucepan until the butter has melted and the mixture is hot but not boiling. Beat the milk mixture into the eggs a little at a time. Fold in the dry ingredients thoroughly. Divide the cake batter evenly between the two tins and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, by which time the cakes should have risen and will spring back when pressed gently. Let them cool on a rack for about 5-10 minutes and then turn them out of their tins.

Maltesercakehalves

3. Once your cakes are cool, you’ll need to level them up so they fit together nicely. Then carefully using a bread kniffe divide the sponge into four layers. You can now get on with the icing. I use a processor just because it makes life easier: you don’t need to sieve the ingredients. You may want to divide the quantities for the icing into two batches as it makes a fair bit which probably will not all fit into your processor. So,  place the icing sugar, cocoa and Horlicks in the processor and blitz to remove all lumps. Then add the butter and process again. Stop, scrape down, and start again, pouring the boiling water down the funnel with the motor running until you have a smooth buttercream.

4. It’s now time for the assembly. On your base/plate or whatever you want to present your cake on, put a small amount of butter cream in the centre to secure the cake.  Get the bottom layer of your cake and place it onto the butter cream and, using a pallet knife (or a butter knife), spread on a 1/2 cm of butter cream.  Do the same with the rest of your layers until you’re left with a ball.

Maltesercakelayers

5. Now  cover your cake with 1/2cm of the remaining butter cream. To cover the undersides of the cake with your maltesers you may want to chop a few in half. Then you can just go for it and cover your cake in maltesers. Make sure to press them in firmly but be quick as you don’t want them to melt.

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The Sun is Coming (Spring/Summer 2013)

It’s been a long cold winter and it seems an eon since we saw the Spring/Summer catwalks in September but spring is finally here and it is on the high street.  The fashion trends we are seeing this season are boundless and so, so varied but some of what’s hit the high-street is an upsetting portrayal of what the catwalks displayed. However, fear not the bright colours and plastic clothing displayed in many a shop window, there are some great garments to be found. Fashion trends for Spring/Summer 2013 promise to be bright and sharp, so your bound to be able to find something to match your style.

Prints 

BirdPrints

Prints this season are huge and bird prints and bright tropicals seem to be favoured by the high street. They’re available in bright lively colours and playful patterns, all of which have a delicate air of femininity. This outfit shows a hint of this trend perfect for the arrival of sunshine and festivals.

  • Bird print trousers @ Ted Baker 
  • White tank top @ H&M
  • Cat eye sunglasses @ River Island
  • Swallow chain @ River Island
  • Straw brim bowler @ Asos
  • White thong sandals @Asos

Whites & Lace 

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We saw allot of delicate whites and lace on the catwalk in September and there’s plenty to choose from. The original outfit I put together was a lace skater dress with white accessories but then I saw this dress. It has a low cut back finished with a bow, very girly yes, but so classic and eye catching.

  • Dress, by Jones & Jones @ Topshop 
  • Red clutch by Lulu Guinness @ John Lewis
  • Cat eye sunglasses by Thierry Lasry @ Net a Porter
  • Cut out ballet flats @ Oasis
Florals
I was glad to see that floral is in for another season… well it’s in every season but I love it.  This season’s florals come in soft pastel colors and vibrant hues. We saw Christian Dior and Giambattista Vali showing some garden inspired floral appliques in soft pinks which were just beautiful. A great way to add this trend to your wardrobe without forking out the pennies is through accessories. There are a number of floral hair garlands and handbags on the high street which would work well with lace.
Monochrome 

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There are some great monochrome pieces on the high street. Topshop having an array of body con dresses inspired by the 60s and 90s. Above, I’ve put together an easy way to wear the classic stripes, which would suit the majority of figures.

  • Striped bat wing top @ Zara 
  • Black cropped linen trousers @ Asos
  • Clutch also @ Zara
  • Cut out suede sandals by Giuseppe Zanotti @ Selfridges

Whether skinny or fat, minimal or psychedelic stripes were all over Spring/Summer 2013 runways. It’s easy to wear them and always look comfortable and chic. I’ve broken up the outfit with a small splash of colour by adding in the geometric clutch. If you’re tall you may favour some simple ballet shoes with this outfit but cropped trousers and heels are fantastic for accentuating the length of your legs.

Metallics

Last spring, designers showed allot of metallic in their ranges. This season it’s back again. Burberry and Alexander Wang have expanded their ranges this year to sparkling colours and shining fabrics as well as a number of pieces with a metallic sheen. Go for a pencil skirt with a metallic sheen or a blaser with a mirror shine. This trend is to be worn  minimally.

Ruffels, Pleats and Peplums 

They’re standing strong again for the seasons to come.  The pleats we’re seeing all have a sense of 20s and 70s hollywood glamour. Wear this trend as a knee length skirt or go maxi for the full effect.  There were a few flamenco style looks on the catwalk with ruffles appearing on blouses, skirts and dresses. This trend is very striking and feminine and does well at highlighting your assets.  Peplums were huge last year and they’re huge again. Expect to keep seeing them on feminine dresses, blazers, blouses, skirts and more.

Fancy Rice Krispy Cakes

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I loved Rice Krispy cakes as a kid, but they do lack inspiration. These are a bit more fun and the fruitiness of the raisins and strawberries takes the edge off the sweet marshmallows.  Perfect for parties or summer picnics (If summer ever comes).

Ingredients: 

For this recipe you will need a  28x18cm baking tin or similar to press the mixture into.

  • 50g Unsalted butter
  • 200g Marshmallows
  • 125g Rice Krispies
  • 200g Chocolate raisins
  • 360g Milk Chocolate (I used Cadburys)
  • Strawberries for decorating

Method:

1. Start by lining your baking tin with some cling film this will make the squares easy to remove.

2. Next, place your butter and marshmallows in a sauce pan on a low heat. Don’t worry if they look a bit like this, they’re supposed to.

marshmallowmix

Leave until the mixture is smooth and runny, turn off the heat and then fold in your rice crispies making sure they’re all covered. Add the raisins into the mixture, then spoon into your lined tray making sure to flatten the mixture. Now leave in the baking tray to cool, have a nice cup of tea and eat any remaining chocolate raisins. flatternrice

3. Now its time to melt the chocolate. Break up your chocolate into small squares and place in a  bain-marie. Never let the water boil just leave it at a simmer. Once your chocolate is smooth and runny remove from the heat and spread over the top of your Rice Krispies.

5. The time the chocolate takes to cool will depend on the chocolate you use.  But anywhere between 10-40minutes. You can put the tray in the fridge but if its still warm it will lose its shine.

6. When the chocolate is set, cut into squares and garnish with half a strawberry.  Alternatively you could use cupcake cases instead of a baking tray for this recipe. I would recommend doing this if your having a party as these are very sticky.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

One of my favoriate cupcakes recipes to date. These are really moist and zesty. lemonmerignue

Ingredients: 

Recipe makes 6 cupcakes

For the cupcakes

  • 100g butter, softened
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of Vanilla extract (I like the one with seeds in)
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • Zest of 1 lemon

For the lemon curd

  • 180g golden caster sugar
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 eggs
  • 110g unsalted butter, cut into cubes

For the meringue topping 

  • 2 egg whites
  • 50ml water
  • 100g caster sugar


To decorate

  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Edible glitter if you want a bit of sparkle

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and line a cupcake tray with paper cases.
  2. For the lemon curd, place the lemon juice and caster sugar in a large heat proof bowl. Add in the butter and eggs and whisk. Set the bowl over a pan of just simmering water, being careful the bowl does not touch the water. Continue to whisk until the mixture has thickened (takes about 10minuets maybe a bit longer) then remove from the heat and allow to cool and thicken.  This recipe makes allot of lemon curd so you may want to have a jar on stand by to store some.
  3. For the cupcakes, cream the butter, sugar  and vanilla essence in a large mixing bowl until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs in one at a time, and beat until both are fully incorporated into the mixture. Fold in the flour and lemon zest.
  4. Place a couple of teaspoons of batter in the bottom of each cupcake case. I like to mould mine around the sides of the cases with a spoon to create a crater to put the lemon curd in (about a teaspoon). Then place about another teaspoon of cake mix onto the top of the filled crater.
  5. Bake the cupcakes in the oven for 18 minutes, or until pale golden-brown.
  6. While your cakes are baking you can start on the meringue.  First make a sugar syrup by dissolving the sugar in the water. You can do this over a pan of water or on a low heat in a pan.  While the sugars dissolving whisk the egg whites in a bowl until soft peaks form and the mixture has doubled in volume. Gradually add the sugar syrup, continuing to whisk, be careful the syrup doesn’t touch the whisk directly. Keep whisking until the meringue mixture is thick and glossy and has cooled down.
  7. Spoon the meringue into a piping bag and pipe some meringue on the top of each cake. Using a blowtorch or your grill, toast until the topping is a nice light brown. To decorate zest over some lemon and if you want some glitter.

Wrap up for winter

With this bitterly cold weather, it’s hard to go out looking good and feeling warm.  I tend to go one way or the other. Either going out with too few clothes on or with endless amounts of layers and looking like I’ve just fallen out of a jumble sale.

This season on the catwalk we’ve seen the comeback of the oversized 80′s coat, with tailored masculine coats and puffers dominating. So there’s no reason not to dress well and stay warm this winter. Here are a few outfits to give you some inspiration.

  1. Ralph Lauren denim supply Parka
  2. Ripped look tights at Asos
  3. Big gem jumper at Topshop
  4. Pure Collection pashmina
  5. Woolly Knit mittens at Pieces
  6. Original gloss Hunter wellies
  7. Zara oversized woollen boyfriend coat with quilted sleeves
  8. Black skinny jeans from Zara (great fit)
  9. Russell & Bromley’s  50/50 leather boots
  10. Oversized scarf at Asos
  11. Chain bracelet by Mango
  12. Leather Gloves at M&S
  13. Cashmere polo neck at Pure Collection & chain by Asos
  14. Celtic Sheepskin boots, I’ve had many a pair and they’re so comfy
  15. Obi Belt at Isabella Olivier
  16. Chocolate suede shearling gloves by Ralph Lauren
  17. Leather overnight bag, at Les Envers
  18. Oversized Jumper, at Celtic Sheepskin
  19. Aviator Jacket, by Mango.  This outfit would also work with a chocolate puffer jacket check  out VeraModa
  20. Beanie at Warehouse