Food Life Lately

Today’s post is basically about what we’ve been up to lately. The last couple of months have absolutely flown by and I feel like we’ve lots track of things quite a bit here. So with that in mind I decided to share all the foodie wonders that Fi and I have experienced lately. It’s mainly pictures, because let’s be honest pictures are the best!

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Lunchtime park picnics from Pret

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Pimms – the perfect summer cocktail

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Afternoon tea in the garden – chocolate cake, marshmallow crispy, coffee and walnut cake, banana muffins and chocolate chip cakes.

Borough Market treats

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Homemade Chinese chicken

Flapjack

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Raw Cookie Dough

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Double chocolate chip cookies

 Homemade hummus

Lunch at The Pepper Tree in Clapham IMG_3324

Caprese Salad

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Homemade turkey burgers and sweet potato fries

Sunday breakfast at The Delaunay

So there we go. You’ve all been caught up on our recent foodie lives. Wasn’t that just a bundle of fun? All I know is that I am now hungry from looking at all that food!

Lau xxx

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The land of frites, pancakes and bagels

Last month we were extremely lucky to spend a long weekend exploring the beautiful city of Amsterdam. As well as doing all the touristy stuff – Anne Frank’s House, the Van Gogh Museum, a canal boat trip, searching for tulips, etc – we had a few foodie things we wanted to tick off our list whilst there.

We obviously had to experience frites and mayonnaise, which is practically an obsession in Amsterdam. On pretty much every street there’s a small takeaway shop selling them in paper cones – so cute! We didn’t go for the paper cone serving option, mainly because we were in torrential rain all weekend and paper and water aren’t the best mix! Instead we opted to shelter in a small pub during torrential rain and have them then. Let’s be honest we weren’t even slightly disappointed – the combo is a winning one!

One surprising thing we discovered whilst there was a cafe chain called Beans and Bagels, which as the name suggests is all about the coffee and bagels. I’d recommend this to anyone fancying a simple and filling breakfast. We got coffee and bagels (with numerous toppings) for about 10 euros which wasn’t bad considering how much we had. Also it introduced me to the idea of cream cheese and chocolate sprinkles on a bagel – genius!

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Before I mention the best foodie thing about the whole trip   I need to mention the sheer amount of cake and coffee stops we had on our weekend – it was almost obscene! But hey a good tourist survives on a full stomach so multiples coffees and cake – in particular this banana bread, which lets be honest is basically a breakfast food is essential!

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The absolute crowning glory of our trip occurred on our final day when we trekked across the city to experience one of the most highly recommended pancake places, at least according to the internet and multiple guidebooks. We were not disappointed by The Pancake Bakery in the slightest. Not only was the restaurant cute and quirk, it also happened to make the most amazing pancakes. They were huge and the toppings weren’t just toppings they were embedded in the pancakes, yes embedded in the pancakes. I really have to try this out myself one day! After much deliberation I settled on a banana, apple and raisin topping, with lashings of maple syrup and molasses – delicious. Lau went for bacon and apple and our friend had a random concoction of onion, bacon, mushrooms and cheese. I definitely think mine was the most superior pancake. Hands down.

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So that was our Amsterdam culinary experience – anything you would have suggested/added from your own travels there?

– Fi xx

Lemon, Lime and Poppyseed Cake

Let me start this post by apologising about the lack of posts around here lately – you may not have noticed it, which is great, but Fi and I actually had a rough blog plan to post something every 3/4 days this month. Quite a tall challenge under normal circumstances, but then throw in a couple of busy bank holiday weekends, a trip to Amsterdam, a ridiculously busy week at work which saw one of us working all hours (Fi) and then getting hit by a stomach bug for the best part of a week (Fi) and you’ll understand how the best laid plans fell apart magnificently! {Please let’s ignore the fact that I had no real excuse for not getting posts written}. Anyways after only two posts in May so far we are hopefully back on track now.

So let’s get down to business and talk cake. Lovely, lovely cake! So way back when it was Mother’s Day here in the UK – 30th March – we made a cake for our Mum, well you kind of have to don’t you? It’s a Lorraine Pascale recipe and it’s actually one that we’ve featured on here before. But it’s so good, you’re getting it again! Plus this time there are more pictures and even some all about the icing!

Recipe – So I’m not going to repeat the recipe again as you can find it right here.

Instead let’s just look at some pictures and try not to drool over the memory of this perfect cake!

cake ready to eat gooey cake

I have to admit that when Mum saw this she wasn’t too excited. I think she was expecting peanut butter brownies – awkward! But then she had a slice (and maybe another) and was a bit of a fan. Phew, thank god for that!

Lau xx

Coffee and Walnut Cake

It’s time for another cake recipe. Yep, it’s been all about the sweet stuff recently! I’ve been talking about making a coffee and walnut cake for ages and ages, mainly because it’s my youngest sister’s favourite cake ever.  Plus I now like coffee which means it’s a cake that I want to actually make (and then eat now), whereas previously I just wasn’t bothered! So with Easter upon us, and knowing that Becca would be home with us for the celebrations, the four day weekend seemed like the perfect time to get baking. Trust me guys this is a good recipe that you can make with your basic store cupboard ingredients. It’s super easy with as it’s just a slightly amended Victoria sponge cake, but it looks gorgeous and tastes so good.

Ingredients – 

For the cake
175g softened butter
175g brown sugar
175g self-raising flour
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp strong coffee powder (i used espresso granules) mixed with 2 tbsp boiling water and then cooled

For the Icing
100g softened butter
200g icing sugar
9 walnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 180C and grease two circular baking tins
2. Cream together the butter and sugar

3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well in between. Add the vanilla and whisk again

4. Sift in the flour and baking powder and then gently fold into the mixture

5. Add half of the coffee mixture and fold in again
6. Now divide the mixture between the two tins and bake for 20-25 mins

Once the cakes are cooled it’s time to make the icing.

cooling cakes

7. Beat together the butter and icing sugar into a smooth icing
8. Add in the remaining coffee and mix well. Have a taste of the icing and add more coffee as needed – we added about half the same again as we like the taste of coffee a lot!

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9. Use half the icing to sandwich the cakes together and then spread the remaining half on the top. Now top with your walnut halves.

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Happy Baking. Lau xxx

This recipe originates from The Baking Book by Dorling Kindersley.

Chocolate and Banana Cake – it’s practically healthy!

Cake, cakey cake. This is one of my all time favourite subjects. I honestly could talk about cake for hours on end. It’s just the best. I love all sorts of cake – I’m not a fussy cake person. Whether it’s caked in marzipan and royal icing, or just a plain slice of Victoria sponge (minus the cream, yuck) I’m in heaven. It’s the perfect antidote to a bad week and even better when it’s being shared (not a single piece but a whole cake) with friends. One of my favourite types of cake is banana cake as it’s easy to make and it contains fruit so I can try and kid myself that I’m being healthy and consuming one of my five a day. Yes I am really that delusional at times. I need help clearly.

I have one fail-safe banana cake recipe that I always use and it comes from the Australian Women’s Weekly Kids Cookbook and the recipe creates a marvelously sticky and moist banana cake and includes a delicious cream cheese frosting. There’s nothing not to love about this cake I promise you. However, when I had four blackened bananas the other week I decided I wanted to branch out from my banana cake recipe and try a new one. Shock horror, what a traitor I am to my Women’s Weekly recipe book. I do hope it one day forgives me.

I just really wanted to try a cake I’d heard whispers about – a chocolate and banana cake. I mean that’s surely the dream combination, no? After a little bit of Googling I came upon this recipe and made it one night after work and OH. EM. GEE. the resulting cake was delicious. It was all sorts of moist and lovely and delicious and just awesome and then every now and again you’d get a lump of unmelted chocolate that would just melt in your month. It’s literally the best thing ever. It was so good that I may have eaten two slices whilst the cake was still warm – oops! 

Do you think I can still say it’s one of my five a day if the cake also included chocolate?

– Fi xxx

Mug Cakes

Yes, today is all about speedy baking and by speedy I mean making a cake in under 5 minutes. Genius right? You’re completely intrigued now aren’t you!

Anyway before we get started on this recipe here’s a really quick background/history lesson before we get into this baking post.

Back when I was in my second year at university I lived in a house with three other lovely ladies who will always be my life long friends – it’s like in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, there are just some experiences that make you friends, no matter who you are. And okay we didn’t have to fight a mountain troll, but the shared experience of the ‘dog meat pie’, weird salsa lessons, Mrs Tozer (pronounced toes-ser didn’t you know) and the 20 crazy medics in our building during our first year in Leicester was clearly enough to make me recognise the amazingness of these three girls straight away.

So one afternoon probably just after our daily ritual of watching the lunchtime episodes of Neighbours and Doctors we were craving cake, but we had none in the house which in itself is crazy. Don’t believe me? We had a whole cupboard in our kitchen dedicated to snacks and it was always full of all the sweet stuff, so much so that the 6 guys living next door would always pounce on it when they nipped around for a cup of tea, because they new it had all the good stuff in it. Anyway, we had not cake in our goodies cupboard and no one wanted to go to the corner shop (literally 2 minutes away) or bake as that would just take too long. Luckily for all of us, the marvelous Nina decided to share her microwavable cake in a bowl recipe. Which took all of about 2 minutes to make – talk about a revelation! Plus I remember that when we turned it out of the bowl it even had syrup running down the sides, from the sugary goodness that we had placed in the bowl first. I think we only made this cake once, so I don’t have the recipe, mainly because we never let the cupboard of goodness get bare again. But this cake in a bowl has stuck in my mind ever since and I have always meant to get the recipe off of Nina.

Right that’s the history section over with. I know you’re probably all wondering why I waffled on about my uni years there, but it’s because I made a mug cake the other day and it reminded me of that time when the Hartopp Road girls made something very similar. So yes today I am sharing a recipe for a mug cake. I’ve seen these all over pinterest recently and then when I was flicking through the Sorted boys cookbook I saw a version from them. Actually having a physical copy of the recipe meant that I just had to make it. So on Sunday after a mammoth (11 mile) run I decided I needed a treat and went for it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 tbsp self raising flour
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp instant coffee powder
1 small egg
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp sunflower oil
white chocolate buttons

And here’s what you do:

spoon all the dry ingredients in the mug
Crack in the egg and whisk to combine
Add the milk and oil and mix
Add the chocolate buttons
Cook in the microwave for 2 and a half minutes on full power
Leave to stand and then eat

And here’s what mine ended up looking like. Nom nom nom!  

Seriously this was so good that it disappeared into my tummy in less than 5 minutes!

Quickest and easiest cake ever. Go on give it a go. You know you want to. 

Lau xx

The post Mug Cakes was first posted on This Rambling Corner as Speedy Baking – Mug Cakes.

Christmas Recipe plans

I think it’s fair to say that Lau and I have shared before that for us Christmas if about the two ‘F’s: Family and Food. So today I thought I’d share some of the recipes I hope to make over the next few weeks. The recipes are a mix of old and new/favourites and newbies. If you have any other suggestions let us know and who knows we might add them!

Hot Chocolate – Nothing can beat it when you’re watching a Christmas film or playing board games with the family. I think this year though I might try this Toasted Marshmallow Hot Chocolate from How Sweet Eats. How amazing does that sound? I feel the texture will be akin to the river in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!

Marshmallows – I had no idea you could make them so easily, but now that I do I’m thinking these would be perfect with the hot chocolates!

One hot drink I’ve never tried is Eggnog and I feel like amending that this year, maybe at the parentals’ Christmas drinks party before Christmas. Especially as it looks so easy, thanks Rosie for sharing the recipe for hot and cold eggnog.

Mince Pies – Mum’s recipe where the lids are stars, super-cute!
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Stained glass window biscuits – we used to make these as a kid and they were so cool. I definitely want to find time to make them this year too, especially after being inspired by this Domestic Sluttery post here recently, where they made something similar. Such cute Christmas stars!

Sausage Rolls – Dad does the best ones having been taught by Nanna, but this year I fancy trying a twist on the recipe that I saw in Emerald Street recently. They shared a Ginger Pig recipe for pork and cranberry sausage rolls – don’t they sound divine?

Reindeer Cakes – We often make the reindeer cupcakes we shared here, but I think this time I might make chocolate balls that are transformed into reindeers. I’m thinking either truffles or chocolate crispy cake. That could work right?

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What are you planning on making this Christmas? Any of the same things as us and are they favourite recipes or are you introducing some new ones too?

– Fi xxx