Archive

2010

Browsing

The thing I love about Christmas Day (other than all the gifts, of course!) is eating about you cannot move & need to wear elasticated trousers for your ever expanding belly 😛 Yesterday we feasted on Shrimps, Poached Salmon, Shrimps in Filo Pastry, Spiced Lentil Soup, Roast Turkey with the Works then my favourite since a kid; Trifle 😀

Even Doggy Dog had a fun day, he had his own little Christmas Dinner. Smoked Salmon, Roast Turkey & Rice then a little bit of whipped cream from the trifle. He was in Doggy Heaven! He even wore a little Party Hat & played with a Christmas Cracker LOL :cute:

I hope your Christmas Day was as much fun <3

I can’t believe 2010 is coming to an end & today is Christmas! I really hope you are all having an amazing day full of gifts, food, tv & love.

What I’m looking forward to? Doctor Who Christmas Special and stuffing my face full of Turkey later on 😀

Enjoy my lovelies xoxo

A couple of weeks ago, I had the urge to bake these cupcakes. I never made them before but had seen photos around the internet so I thought I’d recreate it at home. The result was AMAZING! They are so cute, I gave boxes to my friends who gave them the thumbs up. Now you can create them too 😀

Elmo & Cookie Monster Cupcakes” alt=”” title=”photo 1″ width=”500″ height=”669″ class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-4151″ />

FOR THE CUPCAKES
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs

ICING, FUR, MOUTH, NOSE & EYES
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 bottle of red and blue food coloring
Milkybar buttons
A packet of cookies (I use Oreos)
Black Icing pens (can buy at any supermarket, or use melted chocolate)
A packet of coconut shavings
Orange Peanut M&M’s for Elmo’s nose

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. line the cups of a muffin tin with paper or foil liners. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a liquid-measuring cup, mix milk and vanilla; set aside.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With mixer on low speed, add half of dry ingredients, followed by milk-vanilla mixture, then remaining dry ingredients. Do not overmix.

Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups, bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, approx 20 minutes (I timed it perfectly at 18 mins). Cool cupcakes 5 minutes in tin, then remove and cool completely on a rack before the next stage.

For the icing you will need to split this mix after making it then dye it the shade you want if making cookie monster and elmo. In a medium bowl, with an electric mixer, beat unsalted butter, confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla extract until smooth. Mix in up to 1/2 cup more sugar or a few more teaspoons of milk as necessary to achieve a spreadable consistency. Makes enough for 12 cupcakes. After the icing has been made, add 1/2 the bottle of food coloring to dye it blue (and red).

For the fur, put some coconut shavings into a bowl and mix in the remainder of the food coloring to turn it blue (and red). You may need to use another bottle of food coloring depending on how many cupcakes you want to make.

ASSEMBLY
Take the cooled down cupcake and cut a mouth shape in it in a crescent shape & take out the cake slice so that there is a hole (think fairy cake but on the side). Roughly ice the cupcake with a spoon to cover the entire cupcake then dip the iced cupcake into the coconut to add the fur. The hard bit is remembering where you made the slit so use your thumb on the casing as a guide so you remember where to slide in the cookie.

For the mouth, cut a cookie in half (or use an entire one!) and push into the dug out hole, the icing should set it in there nicely as well.

For the eyes, get your milkybar buttons and put little black icing dots on them then push them into the top of the cupcake. If need be, add some blue (or red) icing to the back of them so they don’t fall off.

For Elmo’s nose, put some icing on one side of the M&M and push into the cupcake just below the eyes.

Ingredients:
225g (8oz) unsalted butter, softened
110g (4oz) caster sugar
350g (12oz) self-raising flour
½ tsp salt
6 tbsp raspberry jam
1 tbsp icing sugar

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180°C. In a bowl, mix together the butter and sugar until creamy and smooth, and gradually work in the flour and salt. Now bring together to form a firm dough and turn on to a lightly floured surface.

Roll out the dough to a thickness of 6mm (¼in) and using a 5cm (2in) pastry cutter, cut out 24 rounds, re-rolling the dough as necessary. Now cut holes from the middle of 12 rounds using a smaller cutter. Arrange these rounds slightly spaced apart on baking sheets lined with baking parchment and bake for about 10 minutes until risen and golden.

Allow to cool on the baking sheets and then transfer to a cooling rack. Finally sandwich the rounds together with jam and dust lightly with icing sugar just before serving.

These are quick & yummy to make plus you can have fun making different shapes. Enjoy with a glass of milk 😀

“Sometimes, there are things in our life that aren’t meant to stay. Sometimes, change may not be what we want. Sometimes, change is exactly what we need. And sometimes, saying goodbye is the hardest thing you think you’ll ever have to do, but sometimes, saying hello again is the thing that breaks you down and makes you more vulnerable than you ever thought possible. Sometimes, change is too much to bear. but most of the time, change is the only thing saving your life.”

I love snow & all but walking in it is a nightmare, especially when it falls so hard in the space of a few mins. It’s a blizzard out here!

I’ve just left work & am currently walking to figure out how I’m getting home. Trains are delayed & it’s the only way I can get home at present. Oh well!

If you’re out in the snow, be safe, It’s insane outside!

I’ve fallen in love with this pizza! Seriously, it’s one of the best I’ve ever had! While I was online grocery shopping a while back, I saw it on offer & I’m like YES PLEASE since Pizza is my ultimate junk food addiction & I love Hot Sauce!

I haven’t seen the pizza since so I hope it wasn’t a Limited Edition thing from Tabasco as I’m dying to buy it again (or just create it at home!)

Aaaaah Pizza *homer drool*

Regular visitors to my blog will remember that I was sent a variety of chocolate from Chocolate & Love to review way back at the beginning of the year. It proved a hit & with part of the chocolate, I created the most amazing dark chocolate cupcakes.

So when I was approached & asked to sample some more chocolate, once again I decided that if anyone, I shall suffer in the name of experimentation & test all this chocolate so no one has to suffer 😉 Chocolate and Love is an online chocolate boutique with a collection of the finest chocolates created by award-winning brands and chocolatiers from around the world. Their website is full of a variety of different chocolate ranging from organic to gluten & sugar free. Buying it online, they deliver straight to your door & also have an amazing Chocolate Club where every month you are delivered a range of chocolates to taste, my idea of heaven.

I was sent a few bars of Coffee Affair & Crushed Diamond & couldn’t wait to try them. I love coffee, in fact I’m addicted to the stuff. I loved the creamy texture of Coffee Affair, the little hint of coffee & even though it was a dark chocolate, wasn’t bitter at all. It was my favourite of the two & if anything I’d want more of a coffee taste from it. The Crushed Diamond bar tasted like a Dime bar, except it was dark chocolate with little nuggets of chocolate in it instead. I like this one as well, it hard to fault it, it’s a tad bit bitter but it’s to be expected with dark chocolate.

After tasting 1/2 the bars, I decided to put the rest to good use & like I did the last time, bake something using the chocolate. This chocolate is perfect for baking as well since it’s a high quality product. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to bake, then it hit me, create my all time favourite desert. The French Fondant au Chocolat *screams of joy* as well as mini dark chocolate cupcakes. It was instant love as soon as I smelt the finished product & it tasted even better, especially with the little hint of coffee coming through 😀

& now you can enjoy it as well 😉

Fondant au Chocolat Ingredients:
129 Butter
125g Dark Chocolate
175g Sugar
A Pinch of Salt
2 Eggs
70g Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
50g Chopped Walnuts
Icing Sugar

Method:
Melt the butter and chocolate over a low heat and blend well. Cool to hand temperature, then add the sugar and salt and cream everything with a hand mixer.

Preheat the oven to 180c. Beat the eggs one at a time into the butter & chocolate mixture. Mix the flour and baking powder, sieve and fold into the chocolate mixture, then add the chopped walnuts.

Grease a springform tin. Pour in the cake mixture and bake for approx 25mins. The cake should remain slightly runny inside. Leave to cool and serve decorated with icing sugar and some walnuts. Cut into slices, serve on it’s own, with ice cream & squirty cream… enjoy <3 [gallery columns="5"]

My favourite lights are back again in Royal Exchange Square in Merchant City <3 Glasgow ends up looking so pretty with fairy lights! I'm a sucker for them, wish they'd stay up all year round! My favourite thing this season? Sitting in Starbucks with my Christmas cup, watching the lights twinkle away 😀

My favourite people over at Fuel my Blog contacted me a few months ago asking if I wanted to try out a box of male grooming products from Men Are Useless, now naturally, I’m a girl. But, I decided to pimp out my dad & get him to try some products for me. As a suprising shock to me, he even decided to brave it & model the products while I take photos of him for the good of the cause *claps my hands*

Men Are Useless is a company based in the UK which delivers male grooming essentials via the letterbox starting from £9.99, with no contractual commitment. The main aim of the company is to stop men being useless, because frankly, they are at times, aren’t they? They have memories like a goldfish & need women to pick up the pieces & keep them on the straight & narrow. As the website says, men will now have “more time to play out, fight sharks, catch baddies, build dens, practice wheelies and hit the heights they deserve” as they can order the boxes themselves & never have to worry (plus get brownie points from women, for a change!) ;).

The beauty of Men Are Useless? You can shop like a man in under 10 minutes without actually needing to leave your house & having to put up with all those busy shops. You select the box that you’d like, order online, sit back & wait for it to be delivered monthly to you. You never need to worry about running out of razors & looking like a cave man, scaring the ladies with your bad B.O if you can’t find any deodrant/shower-gel. Instead, you can instead sit infront of the sofa with a face-mask on, watching the football & drinking beer while you make yourself pretty (plus never having to admit you use one!).

I was sent ‘The Works Box’ priced at £15.99 a month (includes P&P) which included a King of Shaves Azor Razor with Spare Blade, a King of Shaves Shaving Creme(50ml), a bottle of Original Source Hair and Shower Gel (250ml), a Bionsen Deodorant Stick & a Moose Head Face Pack. When I recieved the box through the letterbox, I opened the box to check what goodies were in store for my dad. I instantly fell in love with the little pack of Love Hearts on the side (which was meant for the postman, but ended up in my belly!), but honestly, I loved the packaging. The box was well wrapped, loved the letter that is included & the rest of the sweets which were included along with the products (which I nabbed!). My only disapointment was the fact that the shower gel leaked a little over the box but it wasn’t a huge biggie.

Now it was time to test the products. My dad first tried the King of Shaves Shaving Creme which he found wasn’t as foamy as he would have liked but it did the job it was served for. He loved the spearmint fresh smell of it which is great for early morning starts waking you up. Next up was the King of Shaves Azor Razor, unfortunately he wasn’t a fan of this at all. It started with trying to get the plastic protector off (it took FOREVER!), then the rubber blade protectors were in the way, my dad thought his shave wasn’t close enough & had to keep touching his face to see if it did actually shave. In the end, he said that his current Gillette Mach 3 was better suited for him & would only use this razor again if he didn’t have any other. When it came to the Original Source Hair and Shower Gel & Bionsen Deodorant Stick, he loved the smell of the shower gel which was extremely refreshing however not so foamy but did like it a lot & the Deodorant was great.

The ultimate for us though? The Moose Head Face Pack. It brought my mom & I into fits of laughter caking it onto my dad’s face, having him model it for photos & of course watch him try to talk when it was getting harder on his skin. When putting it on his skin, the coverage was amazing, it got tight on his skin & not rock hard as some Face Pack’s can do, his skin did feel softer after using it but found it a pain in the ass trying to get it all off afterwards.

I have never laughed so hard in my life testing these products with my dad, watching his facial expressions & him actually allowing me to take photos of him AND allowing me to post them on my blog, so a huge thank you to him for that <3 I love the overall concept which Men Are Useless have came up with, it’s handy, select some great products (& can include others if you are looking for something specific), posts everywhere in the UK as well as the EU and BFPO’s, ideal for gifts & is great value for money. I only wish they could create a similar box for women so I can get the benefit of it (especially since I shop like a man!)

Now for the LOL’s, my dad is awesome! :hug: