Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Easy no bake cake pops

Despite being delicious and looking very pretty, these cake pops were an absolute disaster to make! I apparently thought I was on the Great British Bake off doing a technical challenge and decided not to follow a recipe and just sort of make it up as I went along, after having a brief look at "how to make cake pops" online, which looking back was a terrible idea! Turns out its great to actually follow a recipe when trying to make something you've never made before (unless you're Mary Berry) as it tells you how much of things you need and how to actually make the whatever it is your making! And of corse once one thing went wrong everything seemed to, I had cake pops falling off sticks, and chocolate dripping off onto the floor. But after much stressing over a few silly cake pops and running back and fourth to the shop for more chocolate, they turned out to be okay, my mum enjoyed them anyway which was good as they were after all supposed to be for her birthday.

So as they looked so adorable and did actually taste pretty good, I thought I would do a little post about how I made them, after I sorted out the few technical issues... enjoy x

Ive made cake pops plenty of times in the past using my cake pop maker (which is all pretty and pink) this involves making a cake batter and cooking them from scratch. But I didn't have a great deal of time yesterday so I decided to attempt to make the "cheats cake pop" (white chocolate of corse) which is basically just crumbled up shop bought cake mixed with melted chocolate rolled into little balls, then shoved onto a stick and decorated however you want! Sounds so simple, but the thing is I greatly underestimated the amount of chocolate that was required, so once i'd mixed in the little amount of chocolate I had, the cake crumbs were still very much crumb like, and no where near being capable of forming balls. But after a quick dash back to the shop I had enough chocolate to actually be able to make the things! and heres how...

What you will need:

  1. A large mixing bowl
  2. Another bowl for melting chocolate in 
  3. Anon-iced sponge cake of your choice, I used a madeira cake
  4. Lots and lots of chocolate (about 4 big bars) so you have some left to coat your cake pops
  5. Mixing spoons
  6. Cake pop/lolly pop sticks
  7. A mug to hold the cake pops
  8. Sprinkles to decorate
  9. A plate to put the pops on once rolled
How to make them:
  1. Crumble your cake into the mixing bowl
  2. Melt about 3 bars or your chocolate over a low heat or in the microwave (how much chocolate you need does depend how much cake you have, I had a lot of cake, which was one of the reasons for the issues)
  3. Mix your chocolate into the cake crumbs, you can use a spoon, then your hands
  4. Using your hands roll the cake and chocolate mixture into small balls
  5. Melt your last bar of chocolate 
  6. Put a little chocolate on the end of your stick, this will stop the cake pop falling off the stick
  7. Place the all cake balls onto the sticks
  8. Dip them in the melted chocolate, you could use a spoon to help cover them
  9. Stand in the mug, don't worry its normal for the cake pops to be dripping the excess chocolate off, just be prepared for a lot of cleaning up after wards.
  10. Decorate with sprinkles or icing or whatever you want
you don't have to cover your pops in melted chocolate you can use candy melts or Nutella or anything you want... be creative! 

Monday, 29 February 2016

A day spent with some seals

The other week, my Family and I went up to Norfolk to spend the day at the beach. Going to the beach for a day in February has become a bit or a tradition over the past few years. We either go to Southwold for the day, or we pick somewhere to go on the Norfolk coast. This year we decided to visit a beach named Horsey in Norfolk, to hopefully see some seals. It can be a bit hit and miss when it comes to actually seeing the seals, We've been before and not seen a single one, but luckily this time the beach was littered with them. They looked stupidly cute lazily sprawled out on the sand, every so often one would move to have a little stretch or scratch and then it would flop back down. I can't decide if I wish I was a seal, or if I want one as a pet! We also had a lovely lunch in a local pub.
So here's a little post to show some of the photos I took during the day and of the seals, enjoy xx

Best lunch ever!!!

Emma x

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Going to the Ballet!

Having danced since the age of about 3, plus having recently performed in my dance schools version of sleeping beauty, playing the part of one of the faries, I was super excited when my mum told me we had tickets to go and see Matthew Bourne's Sleeping beauty, which is currently on tour. Ive been to many musicals, including Billy Elliot recently in the West end, but had never been to a Ballet, until yesterday!
So I thought I would create a little post showing what I wore, the restaurant we went to, and a few of my thoughts on the show  (a sort of going to the ballet get ready with me!) hope you enjoy xxx

I'd been looking forward to going for ages, so I knew exactly what I wanted to wear and how I wanted to do my make up... seems a bit pointless really, getting all dressed up to sit in a dark theatre. But I personally find the getting ready part really exciting! It wasn't totally wasted though as we did pop out to Zizzi's for a meal beforehand.
 I didn't really 'dress up' as such, I went more for the smart/casual look, with a pair of Topshop black joni jeans, a pretty lace top from Miss Selfridge, my trusty black New Look loafers, and my pastel pink coat from Miss Selfridge, with a faux fur collar- I love this coat, it was one of my best purchases all winter, it just instantly makes every outfit look classy and girly.
It's always difficult knowing what to wear to the theatre, as theres always such a mixture, some people will wear a smart dress with heels, while others literally throw on a jumper and jeans.

One of my favourite things about going to the theatre is going out for a meal before the show, I don't go out for dinner that often, so its more special when I do! I love italian food, so Zizzi's was the perfect choice, it's definitely one of my favourite restaurants, the atmosphere is always lovely, and the food is great too! 

 pasion fruit punch
arancini balls
 calzone pollo spinaci
sticky salted caramel pudding with caramel and lavender sauce

The Ballet!!! The show was absolutely amazing! my mum and Grandma really enjoyed it too! It goes without saying the dances and dancers were mesmerising, and so graceful,
 you couldn't look away. It was such a powerful story, Matthew Bourne portrayed the classic story of sleeping Beauty as a Gothic romance.
 Usually being the one up on the stage, it was great watching other people perform. I enjoyed it even more, being able to spot different ballet steps and moves (you never stop dancing). However Being used to watching musicals, I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of the way the story is portrayed, as of corse theres no dialogue or singing, but it was so easy to follow through the expressions of the dancers, and the choreography.
The costumes and sets were beautiful, and princess aurora was danced stunningly by Ashley Shaw. I definitely would love to go and see another Ballet some time. It was just such a perfect day, I would really recommend going to see a Ballet, if you love dance! obviously I have no pictures of the actual performance.

 I though I would throw in a couple of pictures from the Sleeping Beauty I performed in (no where near as good obviously!)

sorry about the bad quality
feel free to leave a comment, i'd love to hear of you've been to see a ballet or musical xx

Emma xxx

Saturday, 23 January 2016

White chocolate and Nutella banana muffins

I've had the urge to bake for ages, but hadn't quite got round to doing it until yesterday! The most exciting thing I find about baking, is deciding what to make, and adapting recipes to make them your own by maybe adding an ingredient or substituting one for another! for me it usually always involves the addition of white chocolate where possible. And so my White chocolate and Nutella Banana Muffins were born. I was a little unsure as to whether White chocolate would work, or whether it would just ruin the banana taste, but it was actually really yummy, I felt it added a certain something to the muffin, and made them a little sweeter!
 I used a  BBC Goofood recipe for the muffins, and I added white chocolate into the cakes, and a dollop of Nutella on the top, whats more perfect together than banana and Nutella? So I thought I would create a little blog post to share how I made them... enjoy xxx

what you will need:

75g butter
250g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 ts nutmeg 
pinch of salt
115g caster sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
2 large ripe bananas
2 medium eggs
125ml milk
1 bar of white chocolate of your choice
a jar of Nutella

How to make your Muffins:

1. Heat your oven to 190 degrees celsius/375F/Gas 5 
2. Melt the butter, and put aside to cool
3. Cut up a bar of white chocolate into small crumbly pieces (picture below)
4. Mash the bananas well with a fork
5. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon, into a large mixing bowl.
6. Add the caster sugar to the dry ingredients and stir together
7. In a new bowl, beat together the 2 eggs, vanilla extract, melted butter and milk.
8. Add the mashed banana and stir through.
9. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, and add the wet mixture, stir gently with a fork, you want to ensure all the ingredients are mixed in, but not too much, you want to keep some lumps, thats what makes the muffins so tasty!
10. Add the white chocolate pieces 
11. Lay out your paper muffin cases in a muffin tray/tin
12. Spoon the mixture into the cases until almost full, you don't want it spilling over the top, but you want enough to make that classic 'muffin top' look.
13.Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown on top
14. Place muffins on a cooling rack to cool, before adding the Nutella
15. aAdd a splodge of Nutella onto the top of each muffin, i found this was easiest to do with a blunt food knife, then add sprinkles, or maybe some pieces of dried banana onto the Nutella, and enjoy!!

Recipe I used for the muffins:


Hope you enjoyed this recipe, and will maybe have a go at baking some too!
                 Emma xxx

Monday, 11 January 2016

The best Winter drinks

If your not a fan of hot drinks, then this one definitely isn't for you... it really won't be your cup of tea.

One of the best things about winter time for me is definitely the variety of hot drinks available. I mean theres nothing wrong with drinking a hot chocolate in the middle of August, but it's just not quite the same as on a cold winters day. I was never really a lover of hot drinks until fairly recently (basically after I started working in a cafe, surrounded by the smell of coffee.) I still hate tea though, I don't think any thing will ever change that. Call me un-british but I think it just tastes like dishwater! (not exactly, but I really can't stand it) I always felt a bit left out of the "tea" party, I was always that "do you have any squash?" or "i'll just have water thanks" friend. But now I feel I've grown up a bit, I really enjoy a cup of coffee or a fruit tea. And its great that there's so many options out there now, rather than just plain old black coffee. So I thought I would create a little post about some of my favourite winter drinks, enjoy....

Coffee: I don't mind a straight black or white coffee, I don't hate it, but I don't really love it, and I feel like I have to be craving it to have one. But I've recently become obsessed with all the different types of coffee you can get and make yourself. We have a coffee machine in the kitchen, and honestly it was the best thing to happen in 2015, I've become addicted, and even more so now that its getting colder. My favourite of all the coffe capsules is the Costa caramel latte, mum even went all out and brought posh latte glass so it's like drinking a coffee from starbucks! The caramel latte is delicious, it's sweet enough on its own without sugar, and at only 80 calories per serving, you can't really go wrong. Obviously its not quite the same as a caramel latte made with full fat milk from a caffe, but it comes pretty close.
The coffee machine we have is a Tassimo coffee machine by Bosch. it's so easy to use and you can get all sorts of capsules for it, including hot chocolate, although I prefer hot chocolate made using powder and milk. But it's defiantly worth getting a coffee machine if your a lover of coffee, you can make all sorts, I also love the cappuccinos! Its the perfect winter accessory.

A coffee that I have been absolutely loving, especially over christmas, are Gingerbread lattes! I'm still drinking them now, even thought the festive season is unfortunately behind us. But they are the honestly the nicest things ever!!! My first one was in costa, then I had one in Waitrose, so I decided that as these probably wouldn't be available past christmas, it was essential I get hold of some sachets to make my own... and I have to recommend Nescafe Ginger bread latte, unfortunately it's limited edition, but some shops may still be selling it, it's so nice it's like drinking a gingerbread man, and it's so quick and easy to make, no faffing around with milk, just add boiling water, and it tastes just like a gingerbread latte made with gingerbread syrup from costa, it's amazing, I can't get enough of them. Defiantly the perfect winter drink! Im not sure this one will work so well in the summer.
 Gingerbread Lattes are even better with cream, and a Gingerbread biscuit on the side!

Flavoured teas (Or fancy teas as I like to call them): Not being a fan or ordinary tea, I decided one day to try some flavoured tea's, and I found I really like them, they're perfect for a chilly winter morning. My favourite is Peppermint tea, I love the smell too! So if your like me and you don't like normal tea, give a fruity or herbal tea a go. They're also really good for you, you can get detoxing tea's. Flavoured teas are stupidly easy to get hold of too, the supermarkets sell millions of flavours, Teapigs make some great ones!

Hot chocolate!!! I love a good hot chocolate, especially after a cold walk on a winters day. The main reason I wanted to do this post, was to write about my love specifically for white hot chocolate. I feel like white hot chocolate is a fairly new thing, not many cafes sell it, so whenever I see one I have to get it, and it never disappoints. It can get a bit sweet though so if you don't have a sweet tooth, it's probably not for you! My favourite brand of white hot chocolate is Whittard's white hot chocolate. It's so tasty and so easy to make, just add 3 heaped tea spoons into a mug, and then add hot milk. A slightly lighter version of white hot chocolate, is the Options white chocolate.

 My favourite normal Hot chocolate has to be Galaxy instant hot chocolate, it tastes exactly like a warm Galaxy bar. But I know many people are divided as to whether they're a galaxy lover of a cadbury lover, personally I love Galaxy!
An alternative way to make a slightly more chocolatey and delectable hot chocolate is to melt solid chocolate of your choice into milk, the end result is a creamy, thick chocolatey drink, just make sure you mix it well or it may start to separate. I always find heating the milk to the right temperature to be quite difficult, but I have found the best way to tell if it's ready is to see if it's steaming slightly, if it is then its ready to go!
The best part about Hot chocolates is what you put on the top, whipped cream, squirty cream... you can't really go wrong. Of corse there has to be marshmallows too, I always put some on the drink before the cream so they melt, and then some on top. Maltesers are also a great idea, as well as a cadbury flake poking out the top of the cream... perfection. Hot chocolates are also ridiculously photogenic, so be prepared to see some pictures of amazing hot chocolates I've had/made!

So I hope this post gives you some inspiration to try lots of different Hot drinks this winter.
                                                                           Emma xxx