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Sunday, 19 May 2013

postheadericon Healthy! Gluten Free and Vegan 'Rolos'!

Yes that's right- healthy! Not something that you often see on my blog =D

But I wanted to make something for my best friend boyfriend's birthday and since he is a vegan I wanted to make him something sweet! This recipe was stolen from OhSheGlows and I have pretty much used a lot of her recipes-highly recommend them! So these are her Fake Rolos!


Basically 4 ingredients: 200g Dates,  1/2 tbsp peanut butter, 4oz dark chocolate (make sure it is suitable for vegans) and a touch of oil. (I used sunflower oil)

They taste much better than they look!




For the date I softened mines- The first time I tried it, I thought they were soft enough and they were a huge pain to blitz with a hand blitzer! So leave them to soak in a bowl of water and then drain them after a few hours and they are softer. Add the peanut butter to the dates and blitz them until they are smooth. I used a hand processor for this but I would definitely have preferred to use a food processor!

Before rolling them, freeze them for a couple of hours and once you have rolled them into the size and shapes that you want freeze them again. Melt the chocolate and add some oil just to thin it out and make it easier to dip the dates into. I put a ball onto a teaspoon, dipped it in the chocolate, let it drain off a little and popped it only a non stick rolling mat, although onto a piece of greaseproof paper would work too. I usually keep them in the fridge but I think now keeping them in the freezer would be much yummier!




Here is a pic of the finished 'rolos', photo courtesy of Jasmine =D



Saturday, 4 May 2013

postheadericon It's the micro pleasures of life...

Sorry I have not posted this week- this week I have moved out of one flat and into another so I have been non stop with lots of things to do!! I am also starting a new job on Monday so everything seems to be happening at once! I will probably do another post on my new flat just because I am doing lots of work in it. 

Anyway I have come to realize that it really is the small things, the micro pleasures, in life that make us smile while we go our day to day routines.
In order to generally look on the brighter side of life I have decided to add a new something to my 101 list which is to find 101 micro pleasures in my life! I have taken inspiration for this from 2 sources. The first is a book that I got as a present a couple of years ago called "How to be a goddess" by Gisele Scanlon. It is more focused to a girly audience as there is a lot of talk of fashion, shopping and traveling but it does make you cheer up while reading it! The second is from the 1000 awesome things blog, link, which although I started reading a couple of years ago, I was recently reminded of it and started reading again.

So, here are my first couple of micro pleasures;


#1 That moment when you step out of the airport and the heat instantly hits you!

Obviously this only applies to when you are going somewhere that is warmer than where you live, but since i am from Scotland this is not that difficult =P Feeling that heat warming you up cheers me up no matter how long i have been traveling!



#2 Waking up the next morning with no hangover!

We have all been there- after a night out waking up and spending the next day not doing much apart from trying to keep the room from spinning too much! That's why it is the best when you wake up, expecting to feel like death and feeling normal and able to go about your day to day things! It feels like you have just scored an extra proper day!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

postheadericon Coupon Book! (Easy Present Idea!)

So this coupon book I made for my boyfriend for his Easter present. If you are not sure as to what to buy someone for a gift then this is a thoughtful and nice idea! When I was look for ideas for mine, there was a lot of people who had made them for parents as well.

 
 
I did this at work and I used a template for the label shape, lots of colourful paper, some stick on letters an Easter ribbon which I though was super cute and glitter glue. I do love glitter glues!
 
I looked online for different ideas because I think I made 20 in total but I guess some of the most common ones were 'massages', '3 course dinners', 'his choice of date night' and 'movie night of his choice'. I think the best ones though are ones that you have thought about that he would specifically like. My fella loves going out biking and he is always wishing I could go out with him. Because I have no time with my current job with working long hours it is kind of difficult but I added in a 'biking session' coupon! And obviously I looovvvvveeee making deserts so I made another coupon for 'choose any desert you want me to make you' :)
 
There is a lot of different styles of coupons that I have seen so you can have a lot of fun making them, I chose this shape just because I liked the idea of having coupons that looked like labels :)
 
 
The ribbon looks a lil strange here but I just used a hole punch to make holes in 2 parts of the edge and put the ribbon through and tied it in a bow :)
Friday, 26 April 2013

postheadericon Homemade Cards! (Easter Bunny!)

I think I am addicted to making cards now! =D This card I actually made at work- I just took in a whole load of different crafty things and between doing actual work I just tried to make this card. I actually had no idea what I was going to do with this card until I had started making it but apparently that is just how my brain works =P
 
 
It was an Easter card for my boyfriend and as well as this I made him a wee coupon book which I will probably post about next!
 
So I wanted to base it around the phrase ‘some bunny loves you’ just because I love cheesiness and I thought it was ridiculously cute! I chose a blank green card and used that as a border because I wanted a yellow background since it was Easter. The ‘grass’ was made using card of a similar colour as the border and everything on the card apart from the letters were stuck on with double sided tape. Since I was at work and didn’t have many resources for the card, I looked up an outline for a rabbit, copied it and cut it out with white paper. The ears, nose and mouth was accented with pink glitter glue and the eyes with gold glitter glue. The eggs were just cut out with pink paper and I added silver glitter glue for decorated Easter eggs =) I totally had to improvise with the letters as I kept running out of different styles but somehow I managed to fix some of the missing letters!
 

 
Again, this card was pretty basic but I liked it, and the guy that I was working with seemed to think it was nice- even if he was a bit more pinicky about the letters! Haha =)

Let me know if you guys have made any cards- I would love to see other people’s homemade cards! =D
Tuesday, 23 April 2013

postheadericon Homemade Cards! (Bee Mine!)

I have found something a bit creative and crafty that I really enjoy doing!! Totally crossed that off of my list!! So I really like sending cards and recently I got introduced to making cards by the queen of craftyness herself- Miss Jasmine at trashyelegance.blogspot.co.uk


I was totally unsure about what I wanted to do but eventuallllllllly I settled on the ‘bee mine’ theme and I did matching cupcakes here!


I covered a blank card with the blue paper, cut out some shapes of clouds using some funky scissors which cut out in wiggly lines (one of the clouds I made into a heart shape…cheesy-yes!), used some glitter stuck on letters for the message and I stole some of Jasmine’s cool bee ribbon. To add in the ribbon use a pen knife to cut 2 slits which the ribbon will be able to go through and then tie it in a bow at one end.  I guess if you didn’t want to put a bow on the ribbon then you could try and cut out the right amount of ribbon and instead of tying it, stick it to the card and the inside of the card instead. I don’t know how well this would work though and anyway, bows are much prettier =) The letters were a little wonky because I was using different styles but obviously I meant to do that =P
I actually had a lot of help for this card from Jasmine- pretty much everything crafty I am the worst at but overall I really like this card and so did the boyfriend =D
Sunday, 21 April 2013

postheadericon Paid Cake Pops! (How to make them!)

So a couple of weeks ago I made some cake pops and took them into an office that I work at a couple days a week. I made pretty standard ones with chocolate cake, cream cheese butter cream and covered in white chocolate. One of the guys who works there ended up asking me to make a batch for him and his family and so here they are!
All wrapped up and packed ready to be delivered!
He actually asked for them to be just plain and since they were for his kids I thought that I would cover them just in milk chocolate! I took some photos whilst I was making them so I could do a bit of a 'how to' on how to make them =)

Cake crumbs with the buttercream mixed in
You can either make the cake yourself or if you want to save some time then just buy a ready made cake. Next, make the cake into a big bowl of cake crumbs! I usually do this with a fork and mash it all up but I know that a food processor would be much faster and you could get much finer crumbs.

For the buttercream again you can make your own or feel free to just buy it already made. I don't actually measure out how much buttercream to cake I use so what you want is to make sure you put in enough to cover the cake and bind it together, but add it a bit at a time but too much will make the cake too moist and heavy to stay in one bit on the stick.


I usually use about a tablespoon of the cake mixture and you want to roll it about in the hand in order to get the shape that you want- obviously the standard would be a circle! In order for the cake ball to stay on the stick easier, melt a little of the chocolate first and then dip one end of the stick into the chocolate and then push it into the centre of the ball. Usually I put the stick about half way/ 3/4s of the way into the cake. I bought a couple of the cake pop stands so I normally put these in there whilst making the others just so they stay up right. If you don't want to buy a cake pop stand then you could get a cereal box and pop some holes in one side of the box that will fit the sticks in.
 

Obviously I made this happen for
educational purposes to show
what a fail cake pop looks like!
In the fridge, just chilling!
You can either pop these in the fridge for a couple of hours or the freezer for about 10-15 mins until the cake pops get hard- this just makes it easier to dip them into the chocolate.

Next, covering in chocolate! I melt my chocolate usually in a mug, because it is narrower than a bowl and with taller sides because it is easier to dip the cake pops in and out and being able to cover it all. When you melt the chocolate add a bit of oil, a little at a time. This helps to thin out the chocolate which means it is easier for the excess chocolate to drip off the cake and gives it a bit of a nicer shine. I used sunflower oil for these.
Keep in mind when dipping them that you should cover all of the cake and even cover the top part of the stick so that there are no gaps. I have found that if you leave a little of a gap then some of the oil/liquid from the chocolate or buttercream tends to come through a little. While this is really not so much a problem, it doesn't look as pretty! Once most of the chocolate has dripped off, put the cake pop back in the stand and wait until dry. If the chocolate is too thin then you can put on another layer if need be.
When I make these for friends or family, I usually just pop them in a box just as is but since it was a commissioned order, I bought some of the cellophane wrappers with ties, just to make them a little more professional!
 
Let me know if you guys have made these before and any other tips that you have!
 
 
 
 

 
Saturday, 20 April 2013

postheadericon Chocolate Fudge Brownies with Pecans and White Chocolate!



This was the first recipe that I have used from my Magnolia bakery recipe book that I got for Christmas! The original recipe actually uses butterscotch bits inst ead of white chocolate but I couldnt find any so I was stuck with more chocolate mmmmmm =D I ended up totally undercooking it, mailny because the last time I made brownies I cooked them a little longer than needed so it was more cake like than gooey. So these were very good heated up with ice cream or froyo! But for next time I will try cooking them a tad longer until a more browny like consistency.

Here is the recipe (From More From Magnolia by Allysa Torey):

65g (21/4oz) plain flour
1/8 tsp salt
55g (2oz) unsalted butter
185g (10oz) plain chocolate
2 eggs, at room temperature
200g (7oz) sugar (I used caster sugar)
2 tsps vanilla extract
115g (4oz) toasted pecan nuts, chopped
30g (1 1/4oz) butterscotch chips or white choc chips
(I totally used more than that for white choc chips though!

*** Toast pecans by putting them on a baking tray and in an over at 180, or 160 in a fan oven, for 15 mins, or until lightly browned and fragrant***

-Preheat oven to 160, or 140 in a fan oven, and grease and lightly flour a 20x20-cm baking tin.
-Combine the flour and salt and place to the side
-In a medium-sized saucepan over a low heat, melt the butter with the chocolate, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and you want it to cool for 5-10 mins until lukewarm.
-Meanwhile, beat the eggs with the sugar for 2-3 minutes until light and creamy. Add the vanilla and beat well. Next, add the chocolate mix and beat until well combined. Add the flour and salt and mix until well combined again. Stir in half of the pecans and butterscotchchips (or white chocolate!).
-Spread the batter in the prepared tin and bake for 20 mins.
-After 20 mins, take the pan out and spread the remaining pecans and chips on the top of the brown and return to the oven to bake for another 15-20 mins. You are going to want it baked until a toothpick/knife inserted in the centre of the tin comes out with moist crumbs attached.
-Don't overbake!!


Halfway through baking, after topping off
 with the white chocolate and pecans!
The chocolate and butter mixture after
being melted and stirred!


A big pile of yummy gooeyiness!

 


Saturday, 13 April 2013

postheadericon Lemon Meringue Pies!

I attempted to make another type of pie a couple weeks ago. I decided on lemon meringue because I was going to give a couple to Jasmine who was in the last couple days of her dissertation and yummy things at that stage is usually always helpful! Anyway, she loves lemon and when I mentioned this flavour to the boyfriend he also seemed to like that idea!

So this was from a set of 2 recipe books that I got from Christmas and both were on mini desserts and pies- how cute!!

The base was a biscuit base which you would make for a cheesecake and that is always my favourite part of a cheesecake so I was really excited! With this one you have to bake the base- I usually only refrigerate mines when I make a cheesecake or a banoffi pie so I was excited to try out this. I did end up putting wayyyy more in each base than I was supposed too because I was scared that they would fall apart if they would be too thin- that and I totally looooooovvvveeee the biscuit base =D

The lemon curd was quite fun to make as well and very tart so very nice if you love lemon! All this was topped off with a big dollop of meringue and since I love meringue this was also my favourite part =D Because I totally messed up one part of the lemon curd just by mixing the wrong thing....what a silly moment!...it took a bit longer than I had hoped for but still it turned out well :)







Monday, 8 April 2013

postheadericon Chickpea Curry!

So I have actually been keeping up with eating more vegetarian foods even though I haven't blogged about all of them. The most recent meal was a chickpea curry I made since I had bought a jar of korma sauce ages ago that I had not gotten around to cooking yet. So instead of chicken I used 2 cans of chickpeas, added a couple of peppers, an onion and sweetcorn!

Heat some oil in a pan and fry the chopped onion until golden, add the chickpeas and then cook for a bit before adding the sauce, peppers and sweetcorn until the peppers have softened a bit. Add any seasonings that you like and leave to simmer and cook through. Serve with rice or naan bread =D

I actually need to think of new ideas for vegetarian foods that don't include chickpeas for a bit of variety so any ideas would be appreciated =D

Saturday, 6 April 2013

postheadericon Mother's Day Cake!

This Mother’s day I was actually really busy with flat hunting and working so this cake actually I only spent about 6 hours over the night and morning but I did have a big helping hand from my lovely boyfriend =D

 

 
 
 
I had no idea what kind of cake I was going to do even once the cakes came out of the oven so it was a bit of a crazy mad rush! I eventually decided on making a present cake with a bow on the top. I have actually done this style of cake before in this post for a birthday cake so the idea is one that can be make for lots of different occasions! I ended up making it super girly and actually it would have been more suited to my style because I am quite a bit more girly and love pink!
 
 
 
 
 



I chose to do an apple cake spiced with cinnamon mainly because my mum likes eating apples and although I have tried an apple cake before it didn’t turn out right and so I needed a new apple cake recipe. I made a new style of icing actually called the Swiss Meringue Buttercream, flavoured with maple syrup and that was interesting to try out.  It is a meringue based buttercream, made by whisking egg whites and sugar over a heat and then adding your butter and flavourings. Both the cake recipe and the icing recipe were from the same website at Raspberri Cupcakes. She also has other amazingly gorgeous looking recipes to try!
 
There are a lot of tutorials on how to do the bow and I will probably do a bow tutorial the next time I do such a cake =) I guess it would have worked a bit better with gumpaste, as does most finiky icing work, but I think that marshmallow fondant is actually edible and yummy =)
 
 

Monday, 1 April 2013

postheadericon Marbled Cake Pops!

I made these when I was meeting my boyfriend’s sister for the first time and I wanted to make something yummy to take with me! At least then she might enjoy my baking if she didn’t like me =P 
 

 

 
 I wanted to try and make cake pops, just without the sticks, to see if that was possible because I was concerned about how to get a smooth finish on the chocolate if they had to dry on a baking sheet. I made a chocolate cake with a cream cheese icing. This combo in cake pop form seems to be a favourite as everyone seems to really like it!

I decided on a marble finish to it just because I wanted something funky looking that I could try that I hadn’t done before. I found a couple different photos of other peoples marble cake pops so I gave it ago. It is pretty easy!

 
 
 
 
 

Make the cake pops in the standard way by crumbling a cake up and then mix through some buttercream so it binds it together.  Take about a tablespoon of the cake mix and shape it into a ball. Pop them on a baking try and pop them in the freezer so that they harden up- usually takes about 10-15 mins. While that is happening, melt the chocolate. I used white chocolate but in 2 different mugs- one just plain and the other with blue food colouring in it. I usually add a bit of oil to my chocolate so that it goes a bit thinner and it is easier to cover the cake pops. Since I didn’t put these on sticks I used a fork to lower the cake pops into the chocolate and while the first chocolate colour is running off of the cake I then drizzled on the second type of chocolate. Move the cake pop around so that it creates different shapes and lines and it should start drying quite soon. Then pop them back on the baking tray and leave until they are dry!

I didn’t like that they ‘smudged’ a lot when they came off the fork and were put on the baking tray so I am going to have to figure out how to stop that from happening- any tips then that would be much appreciated =D
Sunday, 31 March 2013

postheadericon Valentine's Cupcakes!

So this year for Valentine’s Day I went with the theme of ‘Bee Mine!’ Unfortunately my cupcakes did not turn out quite as planned because I had lots of things to do and as usual I left it until the last minute. But anyway, here are my Bee Mine cupcakes:

 


  

 
As always my icing let me down! I swear one day I will have absolutely perfect icing! Had my icing been more compatible with me then I would have done a bee hive with the bee in the side of it! =D
I made the cake carrot and the icing was a vanilla buttercream with some cream cheese in it as well and then with yellow food gel it was dyed.

 

The bees and the fondant were made out of MarshmallowFondant. The heart was just with a cutter and then using black colouring with the writing. For the bees here is a really awesome tutorial on it!

 


Monday, 25 March 2013

postheadericon Irish Coffee Cupcakes!







These were made by me and an Irish friend who wanted to make a cupcake that had both whisky and coffee in them. I actually don’t like coffee at all and whisky I can tolerate to a small extent so I wasn’t super excited about this, but I wanted to try it out anyway! We actually used this recipe from Martha Stewart’s website and I guess that if it is good enough for her then I would be willing to try it!




The cakes actually turned out to be very tasty and I would recommend this recipe for anyone that wanted to try out a coffee cake! We did fill the cases too high so the cakes ended up spilling out a little but apart from that they were a success. 




The only problem I had was piping the icing on. For some reason piping bags and me just don’t get along whatsoever and my piping always looks shocking! Obviously the only solution will be to keep making more icing and then practise piping =D But if people do have tips on maybe what consistency is best for piping or how they make nice icing on their cupcakes then that would be fabulous! As you can see from above, there were some half decent ones and then I just gave up and slathered on the rest of the icing =P



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Ellen's Cakes
I am a 21 year old student who loves to bake and make yummy sweet things
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