Monday, January 26, 2015

Nutella cupcakes

This week we had the opportunity to go to a dinner and cocktail party and decided to try out a new cupcake recipe. There are a couple of classic flavour combination that I always go back to, hazelnut  and chocolate is one of them. It just works! We also recently discovered in my house that I had been keeping Nutella out of the house, and when I say we I mean my bf. Needless to say I got in trouble, which is fair. But in my defense - I cannot handle myself around a jar of Nutella, it's an addiction and the only solution is cold turkey, but this solution is somewhat unfair to other Nutella lovers in my life.

Anyway here's how I made it up to him and gifted my dinner party hosts -

Nutella Cupcakes

Frosting   (technique from Butteryum)

400g Dark Chocolate
500 ml Double Cream
1 tsp Vanilla extract

This technique has literally changed my perception of  ganache. It makes it so so easy.

1 - Heat the cream to just below boiling
2 - Chop up your dark chocolate as the cream heats
3 - Pour the cream over the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.
4 - Don't stir for 2 minutes then beat together until smooth
5 - Add the vanilla extract, stir again.
6 - Now cover in a tea towel and leave sitting for 8 hours/overnight.
7- Done! Amazing.

Hazelnut Cupcakes  (adapted from Martha Stewart)

100g Ground Hazelnuts
1+1/4 Cup Plain flour
+ 3 tablespoons corn flour sieved together             

1.5 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
113g Butter (unsalted)
32g Caster Sugar
110g Dark Brown Sugar
180ml milk (I used lactose free)
1 egg yolk
1 tsp amaretto or vanilla extract
5 medium egg whites
Nutella to fill

1 - Preheat your oven to 180'C/350'F, Line your muffin tin with 
     cupcake cases. Now whisk together
      the hazelnuts, flours, baking powder and salt.

2 - Beat together the butter and sugars.

3- Beat the egg yolk and amaretto into the milk.

4 - Then in stages add and alternate 1/3 of the flour mixture and milk into the butter mixture.

5 - In a seperate bowl beat the egg whites into soft peaks. Then add half into the rest of the mixture
      and mix. Then fold in the second half and immediately pour into the cupcake cases up to half
6- Bake for 25 minutes, remove from the oven and set up to cool on a wire wrack

7 - Using a teaspoon scoop out a little from the center of each cupcake, add a teaspoon of nutella.
      This works well while still slightly warm.

8 - Decorate with frosting and caramalized hazelnuts if you wish, then enjoy!

Are you ready?!

Dig in!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Brick Lane escapades

This weekend we went to Brick Lane for a day out and I decided to bring you along for a look at some of what we found. Highlights were a delicious coffee roasters, cereal killer cafe (where they serve nothing but cereal from 7am to 10pm) and the art of the brick exhibition.

We started our afternoon with a little pick me up. Brick Lane is such a bustling place with people pushing you and interesting stalls pulling you. It's definitely a place that requires energy. So we searched around and found a wonderful little roasters/cafe called Nude.

The smell of the place alone would be enough to draw anyone. They have a little cafe called Nude espresso across the road from the roasters but the roasters/cafe is so beautiful. Half the building is taken up with their roasting and storing equipment etc. which gives the place the most authentic feeling. Plus makes for that amazing smell.

The rest has little tables and coffee accessories for sale but let me move onto the coffee. It was absolutely delicious. They have a selection of drip methods, aeropress as well as a traditional machine for espresso, cappucino etc. So let's show you what we got -

A delicious latte

 strong americano
Delicious blueberry flapjack
The coffee was very clearly third wave but the blend was beautiful. The americano was full of subtle flavours and yet the flavour stood up to the milk in the latte.

After we had boosted our energy levels we explored the markets and then went to the art of the brick exhibition. This exhibition is amazing! The work of artist Nathan Sawaya, statues and pictures entirely made with lego. It is incredible what he has achieved with these tiny little blocks and well worth seeing. Some of my favourite pieces included a man who had ripped his own head off because of stress and the poster cover statue of a man ripping himself open with legos spilling out.

So after the fun of the exhibition, we headed over to Cereal Killer Cafe, to eat cereal for dinner (not really!). We have been looking forward to visiting this amazing cafe since it's opening last year. Myself and my sister have been talking about how amazing it would be to have a cereal cafe like those in the states for years. So this has been on my to-do list for A WHILE. If you have been considering it well let me review the experience for you.

The cafe is quite small and very popular, we originally tried to get our cereal before going to the art of the brick exhibition but the queue was out the door. So timing is essential if you want to visit this place. Even at our second visit, circa 5pm, the queue was short but the seating was almost full. I hope that the popularity of the place will mean that they might be able to open a second/bigger location at some point.

The size aside, the cafe is decorated so well. They have filled the walls with different boxes of cereal as well as a case full of cereal toys and other cereal paraphernalia.

Please excuse the shine in this photo
They even had boxes with their pictures printed on, if you look at the edges of the top shelf above. Their selection of cereal was fantastic. As my boyfriend very aptly pointed out, it leaned heavily on the western brands (US and UK) but their was an amazing about of choice none-the-less.

There is so much selection, in fact, that choosing was very difficult. I would advise standing back if possile and choosing with care. The selection continues when it comes to the milk and toppings.

Look at that selection.
I know that last picture is fuzzy but to clarify they have 15 types of milk including cows milk (full fat, half fat, skim), soy, rice, coconut, flavoured milks and yoghurt milk (which I had and this is awesome). They also have a huge selection of toppings which are listed over the bottom half of the board above. So variety is not an issue, unless making a choice is an issue for you. I will be honest with you, I do! So I fretted and stalled and then choose muesli. Yes, you heard me correctly muesli, granted it was an Italian kind that I hadn't seen in years but in a world of American sugar overload cereal, I made a healthy choice.....and I regretted it. So lets have a look at that and the lighting reflects my emotions

Yes this is a half eaten and poorly lit bowl of muesli- poor life choices
So an overall review, Cereal Killer Cafe is fantastic. The choice is amazing, the cereals are delicious, (even my muesli!). The portions could be better, we got large bowls of cereal and honestly I would consider them to be more like medium. The service was great, especially considering how rushed they must have been all day. I was helped by the owner at one stage and he was so friendly and helpful that I was very impressed. They could use more space, but considering they only opened last year and the popularity of the place I would imagine that they could expand or perhaps open another location, which I seriously hope that they so maybe somewhere closer to me! I would 100% recommend going and I will definitely be going back.

So that's it for this week. Have a good week and I will be back next Monday, and every (most) Monday with some deliciousness for your entertainment.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Gifting food to beat the January blues

It has come to that time of the year again. Christmas is over and the post-Christmas blues are settling over the land. It doesn't help that the weather is still miserable. As a foodie and a blogger my least favourite aspect of this time of year is the annual January diet that everyone is on after the festivities just past. There is a general feeling that one must forgo all sweets and treats and as someone who likes to bake and share treats I  intensely dislike it. So how can you continue to bake and share these goodies with friends and family at this time of year. How about a moderation approach in the form of some for now, some for later?!

What am I talking about? Let me show you...

The gift in the back in a frozen roll of the cookie dough for these delicious peanut-butter chocolate chip cookies. So you can gift a friend, or yourself, with a few cookies to eat now and a frozen dough to bake at a later date (2-3 months if wrapped properly). If gifting to a friend it's important to write the date and some cooking instructions on your wrapping. I double wrapped the dough in cling film and then followed up with greaseproof paper with a little red ribbon for decoration.

So now let me tell you about this cookie recipe. These peanut-butter chocolate chip cookies have organic peanut-butter and 70% dark chocolate chips. So while they couldn't be considered healthy they are not half as unhealthy as store bought cookie dough.

Peanut-butter chocolate chip cookies

150g Unsalted Butter
70g Organic Peanut Butter
140g Muscovado sugar
140g Caster sugar
340g Bread flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 egg + one egg yolk
30ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g 70% Dark Chocolate chips

1. Melt together the butter and peanut butter in a saucepan

2. Pour in a bowl with the sugars and beat together.

3. In seperate bowls beat together the eggs, milk and vanilla extract and in another bowl the flour,
    soda and salt.

4. Alternate additions of the egg and the flour mixtures and beat to combine. This should form a
    thick dough, with a somewhat fudgy consistency.

5. When the dough is cool add the chocolate chips.

6. Chill the dough in the fridge for at least an hour and up to 5 days. For the part that you are giving away frozen, pour onto cling-film without chilling and roll into a cylinder. At the very least, double wrap in cling-film and freeze. Then to present wrap in grease-proof paper and perhaps add a bow.

7. To bake the cookies, preheat your oven to 180'C and roll chucks of the dough into balls, spaced well apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or 15 minute from frozen. Remove from the oven and pat down with the back of a spatula. This will keep the cookies deliciously gooey on the inside while crispy on the outside. Let the cookies cool on the baking tray to finish cooking. Then enjoy some now, knowing you, or your friend has more for later.

Happy January!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy New Year - 2014 Favourite recipes

Happy New Year! 2014 has been a wonderful year, so much has happened and it has been a delicious year of baking for tvandcookies. So to start off 2015 I thought it would be fun to recap some of my fvourite recipes from the past year and if you missed any of them you can go and have a look. I'll start with the recipe that I have made the most this year, which is this delicious brown bread (above). Since making this for the blog back in July I have made a loaf every week, if not more frequently. Recently I discovered where to buy millet to put on the top and it works very well. Check out the recipe here.

 These chocolates were a special valentines treat for my boyfriend and I was very happy with how they came out. I love the taste of Demets Turtles and although he had only sampled the real thing once before, I think these made him a convert. They are also easier to make than you would think. Have a look at them here.

This deliciousness was a treat I made for myself in the run down to my birthday in May. It turned out very well and made me question ever buying granola again. I would definitely recommend this recipe.

These cookies were the surprise hit of the year for me. I didn't expect much out of them and I'll admit they don't look like much but they taste amazing, every single bite was like a mini journey through layers of flavour and texture. If you consider yourself a foodie, you will definitely appreciate these.

Another surprise hit for me were these peanut-butter chocolate cookie dough snacks. I didn't expect much from the recipe as I put it together but they were absolutely amazing. My bf has requested them several times since. You need to try these.

Finally these bite-size raspberry tarts which became the header for the blog were absolutely delicious and a lot of fun to make. I certainly think they could use a revisit from me to figure out how to glaze properly. So I might wait until summer but these will definitely be made again, why not try them yourself, here.

So these have been some of my favourite recipes from the year. It has been a delicious and entertaining year of baking and I am looking forward to even more in the upcoming year. I have some exciting baking projects coming up that I am very excited about and think you will really enjoy them, so stick around and as always enjoy.

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