Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Chocolate chip cookies

Okay, so I haven't really been posting as much baking as I used to but now I've made 2 posts on the run of things that I've baked! I have been so bored being stuck in the house - I may even venture out tomorrow as I'm feeling better. I need to get dressed at least - I have been in my pajamas since Sunday afternoon. (Disclaimer - I have had a shower and put clean pajamas on within this time frame...but still.)

Anyway, boredom got to me today so I was going through my old print-out recipes from when I first started baking and started writing them up in a cute notepad my sister got me - it is A4 and has lovely cupcakes on it, with pink pages, perfect for recipe keeping! I found a recipe for chocolate chip cookies that was one of the first things I ever baked properly, by myself. I started off just on vanilla cupcakes, then progressed to these. They are amazing. I made different variations on them too, such as with peanut butter or with white chocolate. Then for some reason, I just stopped making them. I have no idea why, they are so delicious. So I made them again since I had all the ingredients in.

the best choc chip cookies ever

Look at how delicious they look! All piled up like that - yum. However, I don't think I could manage to eat all of those really, they are so rich and more-ish. They make you want to have a cold drink of milk afterwards - the sign of a perfect cookie, no?

The recipe is from A Spoonful of Sugar, who calls them the ultimate choc chip cookies - and they really are.

300g plain (all-purpose) flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 teaspoon fine salt
170g unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
215g light brown sugar
120g granulated white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
300g milk chocolate (I use Asda's own milk chocolate bars, chopped up to get nice chunks and smaller bits too)

1. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Set to one side.

2. Mix together the melted butter, vanilla and the sugars. Add in the egg, followed by the egg yolk.

3. Gradually mix in the dry ingredients and the chopped up chocolate (you may have to get your hands in here and get messy!)

4. Once it becomes a yummy dough, cover the bowl with clingfilm and let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, to let the dough firm up. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5/190C.

5. Place the dough in small balls on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Bake in the oven for approx. 10-12 minutes, until the edges just begin to turn golden. They make seem soft and doughy still in the middle - but don't be tempted to put them back in! Once they cool they set and become lovely and chewy, rather than hard and crunchy.

6. Enjoy with a cold glass of milk!

the best choc chip cookies ever

Monday, 29 December 2008

Buttermilk scones

buttermilk scone

buttermilk scone

I made these scones today, they are quite light and cakey because of the buttermilk. I used a Rachel Allen recipe from my new Rachel Allen: Bake.

Ingredients

500g light Italian or plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 heaped tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 heaped tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp sea salt
125g chilled unsalted butter, cubed
25g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
275ml buttermilk or milk, plus extra for the egg wash
50g caster or granulated sugar, (optional)

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7.

2. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar and salt into a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and mix well.

3. Set aside about a third of the beaten egg and combine the rest with the buttermilk, then add to the flour mixture and mix briefly to combine into a moist dough. Place on a lightly floured work surface and knead ever so slightly to bring together, then press or roll out to a thickness of 2cm.

4. Using a 6cm round cutter, cut out approximately 12 scones and place on a floured baking tray.

5. Add about a teaspoon or so of buttermilk to the remainder of the beaten egg to make an egg wash. Brush the scones with the egg wash (and dip the tops in sugar if you wish) and bake in the oven for 10–12 minutes or until golden brown on top. Serve while hot.


However, because I am still not feeling 100% I forgot to put the 25g sugar in! So they are kind of savoury scones...yet nice with jam on. I put the sugar on the top though which gave it a nice crunch. I also accidentally burnt 3 of them - oops. Still, they were tasty and would be even nicer with the sugar added! Hehe

Saturday, 27 December 2008

I hope you all had a wonderful christmas. We all did here, especially Pepe and Nina who received lots of toys, off us, my sister, Scott's Mum and my Auntie! They are very loved.

Nina

pepe
It was all a bit too much for them by yesterday though and they just wanted a rest!

It has all been a bit much for me too and I feel like I may be getting ill - aches and pains everywhere, constant yawning, ear ache. But I am trucking on. Today we have more family visiting and yet more food! I have so many chocolates to plough through, I think I will make an emergency chocolate box under my bed for when I REALLY need chocolate and we never have any in.

As I get older Christmas is less about presents and having the must have toy/gadget for christmas, but more about spending it with loved ones which I have realised over the past few years. However, I did get some awesome presents of course!
kg shoes

These are KG by Kurt Geiger shoes that Scott got me. They are so high and delicious! Phwoar.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008



Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Monday, 22 December 2008

What's in your bag?

what's in my bag

This is what's in my bag today. Maybe I am just very nosy, but I love seeing nice photos of peoples bags, so I love the flickr community, what's in your bag? I think it was partly inspired by the 'bag check' feature at the end of Nylon magazine.

This bag was a complete and utter bargain - £5 from Tesco! It reminds me slightly of Miu Miu bags that I cannot afford at all. Today in my bag there is
  • Moleskine 2008 diary (got my 2009 one ready!)
  • Lush Smitten hand lotion
  • Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer (re-reading this for an essay)
  • Samsung phone which I love because it is red and shiny
  • DKNY Be Delicious Red
  • Denman hairbrush (I always have their hairbrushes, they are the best!)
  • Cath Kidston purse
  • Uniball pens
  • Make up bag (it's a pencil case from Paperchase really! I want a nice new one though)
What do you always have to have in your bag?

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Chocolate and cinnamon cupcakes

chocolate and cinnamon cupcakes

So I have commenced my festive baking marathon, with these chocolate and cinnamon cupcakes. These were so so delicious, the combination of chocolate and cinnamon may sound weird at first but it is like a milder version of chilli chocolate. I use this recipe for all of my chocolate cupcakes, because it is so so easy. Seriously, you just throw everything in a bowl except the eggs, mix, then add eggs, mix and you're done. This time, however, I added 2 teaspoons of cinnamon to the mixture. Perhaps this shows how obsessed with cinnamon I have become, but the end result was delicious. I then sprinkled cinnamon ontop of the frosting too to give it an extra kick. Delicious.

This made me about 36 cupcakes, but I have frozen some to last me over the festive period so I can defrost and ice them as they're needed.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Mr B's

I want to dedicate a whole post to Mr B's! This was a fantastic bookshop in Bath that I visited and highy recommend.

Mr B's - the best bookshop I have ever encountered

Located on John Street in Bath, it is a wonderful independent bookshop ran by two ex-Lawyers, with help from their family and lovely doggie Vlaska. On the website there is even a whole page dedicated to Vlaska, she is quite the star! The selection of books is amazing, it covers 3 floors and offers actual personal recommendations and the staff seem very helpful and are available for help on recommendations - all being bookworms themselves.

On the 1st floor there is a little 'bibliotherapy' room, which is a lovely warm fire, 2 comfy chairs and free tea and coffee! So you can curl up with a book and a cup of tea and not feel like you're wasting anyone's time - which is one of the great things about Mr B's. You can really get lost in it and spend hours in there. We actually visited twice on our visit and must have spent about 2 hours in there in total! It has such a nice atmosphere and you can tell that they really LOVE books which is the best thing of all.

Friday, 19 December 2008

My favourite christmas songs (in no particular order)


So I am feeling fairly festive now after finishing uni for the year! I've still got lots of work to do, but I am taking a slight break from it to do some baking and listen to christmas music. I love christmas music! These are some of my favourites - they are a mix of traditional, goldie oldies and alternative christmas songs. I love them all though and they never fail to make me feel christmas.

The Pipettes - White Christmas
I can't hear that 'ooh ahh ooh ahh ooh' without thinking of snowflakes falling and christmas. Such a lovely little version of this song.

Sufjan Stevens - Come on, let's boogey to the elf dance!
This is my favourite Sufjan Stevens christmas song I think. He has lots and versions of traditional hymns too, but I love this one the most. Have a listen!

Slade - Merry Christmas everyone
This, along with the Wizzard song below, will never fail to make me smile! It reminds me of being younger and my Mum and Dad always saying 'oooh remember this song, they don't make them like they used to!'. Favourite bits - 'IT'S CHRISTMAAAAAAAS' and 'what will your daddy say when he sees your momma kissing santa?'. Teehee!

Death Cab For Cutie - Christmas (baby please come home)
Ahh Benjamin Gibbard. This is quite a sad song, yet very christmassy too in a weird way. I love this, it reminds me of that past 2 or 3 christmases.

Dean Martin - Let it snow!
Of course, you can't beat the classics.

The Hives & Cyndi Lauper - Christmas Duel
The complete opposite of a classic I think! Yet very funny. 'I bought no gift this year and I slept with your sister. I know I should've thought twice before I kissed her....' then the jingle bells kick in and woo! Cyndi Lauper bites back.

Bing Crosby - Santa Claus is coming to town
Yet another classic. Everyone can sing along to this and feel merry!

The Knife - Christmas Reindeer
Not really very christmassy, but hey, it has jingle bells.

Wizzard - I wish it could be christmas everyday
I always get this confused with the Slade song and I don't really wish it could be christmas everyday, but it's so merry and glam!

El Perro Del Mar - Oh what a christmas
Jingle bells twinkling...beautiful vocals. This could be a new christmas classic methinks.

Elton John - Step into christmas
Oh the 70s. They produced a plethora of good christmas songs (like Slade and Wizzard's) and this is another one of them.

Hope you all enjoy all of these and get feeling festive! I'm going to do some christmas baking now and listen to these songs!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

What a compliment!

Last week I received 2 awards, one from the dear Megan of Charade and another from lovely Britney of Fashion Delirium. Having been so busy in the past week I had forgotten to say thank you, how rude of me.

 I don't like choosing who to pass them onto because I will end up missing someone out and feeling mean! 

Day 2 in Bath

On our second day we decided to go visit the Roman Baths, because you can't go to Bath and not see them can you?! They are very impressive.

roman baths

roman baths

me by the baths
Look at how steamy it was! And to think that's all heated naturally underground. It is quite impressive. It smells a bit sulphurous though. You can drink the water in the pump room but apparently it is an acquired taste.

cream tea
We then had a cream tea at the Jane Austen Regency tea rooms. We didn't look around the museum though because we were being tight-fisted and didn't want to pay £5 each! Haha. Those scones were amazing, they were buttermilk scones. I'm going to try to recreate them for Scott because he loved them.

We then went inside the Abbey which was just as impressive as the outside too. it's amazing to think it's over 500 years old and people have been worshipping on that same site for over 1000 years.
bath abbey

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Day 1 in Bath

On our first day in bath we just wandered around, getting our bearings.

the royal crescent

We visited No. 1 Royal Crescent which is a house restored to it's former glory of the 18th century. It was really beautiful, I loved the christmas decorations too that they had up. The whole crescent is amazing and impressive. It was designed by John Wood Jr, as was The Circus which is nearby.

the circus


All the buildings are built in the distinctive Bath stone and in perfect symmetrical Georgian style.

view down gay street

Gay Street leads down from The Circus into the city centre. Bath is more hilly than I thought it would be. It's also surrounded by beautiful countryside and it still does feel as though you're in a Jane Austen novel sometimes.

We then strolled across Pulteney Bridge, which goes across the River Avon and has shops built into it!

pultney bridge

me on the avon

Then it started to get dark and The Abbey looked beautiful at twilight.

bath abbey at night

Monday, 15 December 2008

Bath

Long time - no post! Well, over a week anyhow. I have been super busy the past week with Uni and working and socialising and then I went to Bath for a lovely weekend away with Scott - we were in need of a treat after this past semester! (Although mine isn't quite over yet sadly...)

Bath is such a pretty City, I really do love it. The Georgian architecture, the independent shops, the River Avon. It's all so beautiful.

no. 1 royal crescent

the circus

royal crescent

I took quite a lot of photos so I will be slowly uploading them and sharing with you my favourite bits of Bath that I saw in 2 days.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Breakfast

Breakfast is one of my favourite meals of the day (I like dinner and tea just as much too really, but especially breakfast). You've been asleep for 8 hours (if you're lucky!) and you're all ready for a busy day ahead of you so you NEED breakfast. I, personally, cannot function very well without it. Scott on the other hand hardly ever has breakfast.


sunday breakfast

Today I had beans on toast for breakfast and a cup of milky hazelnut coffee. Just what I needed to warm me up.

breakfast for a cold day

On Wednesday I had a bacon sandwich with a cup of sweet coffee because I had a busy day in uni ahead of me. I always like having hearty, filling breakfasts in the winter. In the summer though I am more likely to have something like this.

breakfast

Natural yoghurt with walnuts and sultanas, with a tangerine and a cup of green tea. Nice and refreshing! But for now I am sticking to things such as toast, scrambled eggs, porridge, bacon butties, etc.

What's your favourite thing for breakfast?

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Dreaming of snow

photo by colodio


Today snow has fallen across most of the north of England, yet has missed me here in the north west which makes me sad. I don't know why but I really want snow so much this year. I will take Pepe and Nina out to play it in, Nina has never seen snow! I would wear these gloves from Asos, and red hunter wellingtons (I do fear that my old wellies have a hole in them!).
We would then build a snowman and 2 snow dogs, with a carrot for the nose but Nina would probably end up stealing the nose and eating it. Then when we were getting too cold and the snow started to melt, we would come inside for some freshly baked cookies and a big mug of hot chocolate. We would listen to The Pipettes delightful version of White Christmas and watch the snow melt.

Monday, 1 December 2008

The start of Advent

Happy December! Can you all believe it is December? I can't. It seems like just yesterday I was in Italy sunbathing and then starting Uni again. Do you all have advent calendars? I have two! (I'm so greedy)


my advent calendar

my advent calendar

This one is my favourite though. The other one is justa shop bought Lindt one, but Scott got me this adorable handmade calendar and filled it up with lovely chocolates. In the christmas eve square there was a Lindt father christmas but it was too big to fit in! It's so cute and lovely and he can refill it again for me next year hehe.

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