Saturday, 8 October 2016

Red Velvet Cupcakes!

I simply cannot resist a good cupcake and so I wanted to recreate the iconic 'Red Velvet' from my favourite company in London, "Hummingbird Bakery".

"The Hummingbird Bakery is a sweet tooth's delight.  The cupcakes are so legendary and our special occasions are always chock full of Hummingbird goodies!" Gwyneth Paltrow.

For the cupcakes you will need:
  • 60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 150g castar sugar 
  • 1 egg
  • 10g cocoa powder
  • 20ml red food colouring
  • 1/2 tea spoon vanilla extract 
  • 120ml butter milk
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1/2 tea spoon salt 
  • 1/2 tea spoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 1/2 tea spoons white wine vinegar

Method for cupcakes:
  • Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
  • Put the butter and sugar into a bowl and beat on a medium speed until light and fluffy.
  • Slowly add the egg and beat until everything is well incorporated.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract to make a thick, dark paste.  Add this to the butter mixture until everything is combined.
  • Pour in half of the buttermilk and beat until well mixed and then add half of the flour and mix until well incorporated.  Repeat this process until all of the buttermilk and flour has been added and the mixture is smooth. 
  • Add the salt, bicarbonate of soda and the vinegar and mix for a couple of minutes.  
  • Spoon the mixture into paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched.  A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean.
  • Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  • When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the Cream Cheese Frosting on top.  I kept some of the cupcake crumbs to decorate on top of the frosting to add a bit of colour.

For the cream cheese frosting you will need:
  • 300g icing sugar, sifted 
  • 50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 125g cream cheese, cold

Method for the frosting:
  • Beat the icing sugar and butter together on a medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.
  • Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated.
  • Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes.
  • Do not overbeat, as it can quickly become runny.

And that's how to make the legendary 'Red Velvet Cupcake'... so all you should do now is make a good cup of tea and enjoy!

M x

Monday, 3 October 2016

Flat Iron Review!

The other day Perry and I popped into one of the highly anticipated restaurants in London, "Flat Iron".   It is the type of restaurant where it is first come first serve, because they don't take any reservations and that is one of the reasons why they are so popular.   Every time I walked past it, there was always a huge queue of people waiting patiently for a seat at their table.  That is always a good sign of a great restaurant and we just couldn't wait to get stuck into their food!

When we were seated, we were given a big mug of free salted popcorn, which was really cool and totally unexpected!  It was really comforting to be given a light snack before our main course arrived.

I noticed that the cutlery was so unique, as instead of being given a knife to cut up my steak with, I was given a miniature Chopper instead.  It was so cute as normally choppers are one of the most popular knives for Butchers and so it was really sweet to see mini versions for us to eat with.  

For the main event, we both chose the infamous 'Flat Iron steak' with 'Dripping Cooked Chips', Creamed Spinach' and 'Today's Market Greens'.  It was cooked to absolute perfection and was so tender that it literally melted into my mouth.  All of the side dishes that I chose, matched perfectly with the steak and the whole dish was incredible!  One of the best steaks I've ever had!  I asked my husband, Perry what a 'Flat Iron' steak was and this is what he had to say...
"A flat iron is made from the muscle ,which is taken from the shoulder of the cow and is called the feather blade.  When butchers use precision and seam the gristle properly, it is therefore made into a Flat Iron."  Perry Bartlett, The Ginger Pig

Overall, we had such an amazing time at 'Flat Iron', because the food was insane, the vibe of the restaurant was so casual and laid back and the service was awesome!  Did I forget to mention that after our meal, we were given a casino chip that allowed us to go over to the ice cream station and be greeted with a free homemade chocolate ice cream cone to go... how many restaurants can you name who do that?  I would definitely recommend to you all that if you are in Covent Garden, go and check out 'Flat Iron' and taste their amazing dishes!

M x

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

The Salad With A Glow!

Since I've moved in with my husband and adjusted to married life, I have been diving into home cooking head first and have really enjoyed it.  One thing that I haven't attempted so far is to create a luxury salad, one that you can either eat on its own or pair with chicken etc.  The other day I purchased Madeleine Shaw's new book "Ready Steady Glow" and I couldn't wait to try her Mango and Avocado salad recipe.

"I adore the taste and texture of this fruit and veg combo - the juicy mango and creamy avocado go so well together.  It's a great salad to beat the bloat; mango is beneficial for digestion as it contains prebiotic dietary fibre that feeds the good bacteria in your gut that help break down food."

Recipe from "Ready Steady Glow", by the lovely Madeleine Shaw.

You will need:

50g Cashews
1 mango, peeled and stoned
1 avocado, peeled and stoned
Juice of 2 limes
1 red chilli finely sliced (deseeded if you like)
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
50g rocket
2 tbsp finely chopped mint

  • Heat a small dry frying pan to a medium-high heat and toast the cashews for 5 minutes, shaking the pan to prevent them from burning.
  • Once they have browned slightly, tip them onto a plate to cool.
  • Finely slice the mango and avocado and toss in half of the lime juice to prevent them from browning.
  • Mix the remaining lime juice with the chilli and ginger.
  • Pile up the rocket, mango and avocado in the middle of the plate.
  • Throw over the toasted cashews, drizzle over the spicy dressing and scatter over the chopped mint.

Now tuck in and enjoy the glow!

M x

A Honeymoon to remember!

The morning after our wedding consisted of us catching our very own taxi (actually it was my Dad as he insisted that he would drive us to the airport) at 4am in the morning to catch the incredibly early flight at 7am.  I must point out that our wedding was on a Saturday and it didn't finish until 1:30am and so catching such an early flight on a Sunday morning, must have made us the two most sleepiest zombies around!  But it was all worth it... for we had booked off 3 weeks and we couldn't wait for our holiday to begin!

We stayed at the incredible "Delphin Imperial" five star resort in Antalya, Turkey.  The one word I could use to describe this resort was 'breathtaking' and we were so lucky to be spending our honeymoon in somewhere so beautiful as this!

Once we checked into our hotel room, we were welcomed by red satin sheets and swans made out of towels.  It was so romantic and unexpected.... it was such a nice touch!  As well as the bedding, we were also welcomed by breakfast in bed which in Turkey is more like a breakfast feast!  It was so delicious and included eggs, toast, bread, jams and nutella, meats, salad, smoothies, fresh juice and tea.  It was so delicious and I couldn't wait to experience the rest of the Turkish food that this resort had to offer.

At the resort they actually had their very own private beach and it was so wonderful to be right by the sea and have nothing but white sand beneath my feet!  

I wanted to make our mark on the resort and so I wrote our initials in the sand... I just couldn't resist! 

Chilling by the pool was definitely my favourite part of the holiday.  To be able to sit back, relax and bask in the glorious hot sun was such a luxury.  It was safe to say that we both didn't want to go back home!

For our first dinner, I wanted to wear a bright colour outfit and so I opted for the colour coral and teamed it with this gorgeous skirt that I bought from Jigsaw which has so many different shades in it.  Finally I teamed it with high wedges and a coral flower in my hair.  Turkey was so hot (38 degrees Celsius most nights) that I simply washed my hair and let it dry naturally, which is why it looks so dark.   

Dinner arrived and it was an incredibly buffet where you can literally choose from over 150 dishes and come back for seconds and thirds (not that i did that at all....)  Our plates were both so packed up with food that you couldn't see the plates at all.  But oh my was the food delicious!  

For my dessert I chose something a little less rich and so I went for melon and a homemade chocolate mousse.  It was so good that I had it practically every night!  Perry on the other hand went for something a little more naughty.... two very rich and chocolate based cakes/puddings.... he may have even gone back for seconds!

Our last meal was a traditional Turkish buffet and our table was dressed with the Turkish flag.  It was a little bit emotional because we didn't want the endless supply of delicious food to end! 

We had such an amazing seven days and it was a holiday that we will both cherish for many years to come!  One day I hope that we will be able to return to Delphin Imperial one last time to reminisce. 

M x

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

The day I married my best friend!

On Saturday the 25th June.... I married my best friend and soul mate!  I know, it sounds super cheesy... but hear me out, as this day was by far the BEST DAY of my entire life and I wanted to share it with you all.

The first thing that was top of the list was to get beautified... and boy did I need it!  At 8am, it was straight off to my local beauty salon, "Beauty Box"to get my hair and makeup done.  I opted for a smokey eye with a nude lip colour - I wanted to look as natural as possible, because I have always believed that you should always look like yourself on your wedding day!  That is why I chose to have my hair curled with rollers and worn down so that I looked as true to my normal style as possible.

After my makeup was complete, I couldn't resist and just had to take a selfie or two with my big sister and beautiful Chief Bridesmaid.  We both were so impressed with our hair and makeup that it just made us feel like a million dollars.  I just couldn't wait to get married!

The service was held in my local Church and it couldn't have been more beautiful!  I can't tell you how incredible it was to have all of our family and close friends all in one place... It was such a special moment!

After the ceremony, Perry and I were driven in a vintage Rolls Royce to our Wedding Breakfast, which was at the most stunning venue called "The Coltsford Mill".  It was decorated with gorgeous ivory bunting and lights, courtesy of my dear Mum who kindly offered to help dress the venue up for our big day.  Below are some images of the room and the decorations that we had.

Once we were seated at our head table, we both were so happy that we couldn't stop smiling.  It felt right to capture a picture of our new rings that we will wear forever till the end.  Perry has a classic Gold ring and I went for the white gold version to match my engagement ring.

And now I present to you.... Mr and Mrs Bartlett!  I cheekily got my phone out and took these cute little selfies!

Without the love and support of our families, I really don't know how Perry and I would have had such a dream wedding... so we both feel incredibly grateful for everything and love them very much!

The food that we chose for the wedding breakfast was so delicious, that even now (two months later), we are still thinking about it!  For the main course we had Burgundy chicken, with seasonal vegetables, dauphinois potatoes, parsnip puree and gravy.  It was the most perfect, light roast dinner for a summer evening.  It was so nice to see that all our guests had cleaned their plates entirely and were waiting for the pudding to arrive!

For our last and final dish (the dessert), we went old school and chose the infamous "Sticky Toffee Pudding" with ice cream and extra toffee sauce.  It is one of our favourites and was an absolute crowd pleaser with our guests!

This was the only day where I actually felt like an actual princess and Perry looked so handsome... just like a Prince!  Here are some outfit shots for you to see.  The day couldn't have been any better!

Our first dance was so memorable and the song was so fitting.  We danced to Shania Twain's "From This Moment"... which is such a romantic and emotional song.  Even though everyone was watching us, it really felt like we were the only ones in the room.  We chatted whilst we danced and the whole thing was so magical!

Well what can I say?  I had the best day of my life with my best friend and got to celebrate and enjoy it with the people that I love... Even two months on, I'm still uncontrollably smiling.  I cannot wait to see where our adventure takes us next....

So from one extremely happy girl...  I will sign off now, but I hope that you are all having a great day and I will speak to you soon!

M x

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