Monday, June 25, 2018

Restaurant review: Finch's pub, Finsbury Square, London

Friday, June 22, 2018

Lotus Biscoff Chocolate Mousse

 
If you haven't discovered Lotus Biscoff spread yet, I urge you to try it now. The little caramelised biscuits you often get with a cup of coffee in cafes have been turned into a spread that is the consistency of Nutella, but tastes like biscuits!

The company's website suggests it as a breakfast food spread on toast which I think might be a bit sweet - I don't even eat Nutella on toast though I do have it on croissants, but otherwise I use it in desserts. Or eat it straight from the jar with a spoon!



I wanted to make an easy dessert for a barbecue with family and found a recipe for Lotus Biscoff and chocolate mousse on the Ocado app. The recipe had  step missing - it didn't tell you what to do with the egg whites that were listed in the ingredients - so I took a punt, and will explain here what I did.

I didn't buy any of the actual Lotus Biscoff biscuits as they are for decoration only and make the recipe quite expensive if you need to buy a whole packet only to use a few, unless you are going to eat the rest of the biscuits later!

The recipe says it serves 8; I did it for 5 and for 8 people the portions would be quite small, so you could use this quantity to serve 6



You need:
200g Lotus Biscoff smooth spread (see link above)
200g dark chocolate
5 eggs
200ml whipping cream - I used double cream as I couldn't get whipping cream and it worked fine

Heat the chocolate and Biscoff spread in the microwave until melted- I did on the 5 setting (medium heat) for 2 minutes.

Separate the egg and in one bowl, beat the egg whites with a whisk until stiff and set both whites and yolks aside. Whip the cream and set aside.

Beat the egg yolks one at a time into the chocolate mixture then fold in the beaten egg whites. Finally fold in the whipped cream.

Spoon into individual serving dishes and chill for a few hours until set; these will also keep overnight in the fridge.

The mousse was very rich but really light in texture, this is definitely something to make again!

 
I'm sharing this with CookBlogShare hosted by Everyday Healthy Recipes and We Should Cocoa hosted by Tin and Thyme

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Focus on the Journey, not the Destination handmade card


This card has an inspirational sentiment that would be suitable for a birthday or someone who is going travelling - though I actually gave it to my dad for Father's Day.

It's made from free gifts that came with a recent issue of Creative Stamping magazine. I stamped a white card blank with some of the clear stamps that came with this issue - one was a train ticket, one was a passport stamp, one was a postmark that you might get on a postcard and so on. I stamped them in different coloured inks randomly over the card, then cut a circle from a piece of paper that came with the magazine with a map design. I cut a border from the same paper and stuck it around the edge of the card.

I stamped the plane stamp onto brown paper and cut around it, and stamped the sentiment onto white card which I mounted onto brown card and added those to the card as well.

I'm sending this to My Time to Craft where the challenge is a stamped background, Simply Create Too where the theme is 'for a male' and Ellibelle's Craft Wednesday where the theme is 'make it masculine'; Always Fun Challenges - for a male/dad and Stamps and Fun where the theme is travel and holidays.                 

Friday, June 15, 2018

Don't Worry Bee Happy card

Monday, June 11, 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018- week 24

We had a very successful weekend at my parents - I say successful because it was the furthest S had been in a car (she's now 14 weeks old) and we didn't need to stop en route, she slept really well in the travel cot and apart from posseting milk all over the dress my mum bought her, and met her cousin C for the first time.

As it was a busy weekend I hadn't so much as thought about food for this week though we do have plenty in the freezer, and being on maternity leave means I can go and do more food shopping whenever I want - though the little lady does have a schedule of activities I need to fit it around, like baby massage and My Gym!

Monday
Leftovers from the weekend

Tuesday
I'm taking S into work to meet everyone today so want a dinner that won't take me long - I'll do something from the freezer with chips

Wednesday
mackerel fillet with new potatoes and garlic based on this recipe for me; chicken fajitas for him (bit of a faff to cook two totally different things but my husband doesn't eat fish!)

Thursday
Lasagne from my batch cooking in the freezer, and beef grillsteak for him. Or, BBQ if the weather is nice - it's not meant to be that hot this week

Friday
Butter chicken curry (cheat's sauce from a jar) I planned to do last week but didn't

Saturday
Lunch fresh pasta and garlic bread
Dinner tacos

Sunday - Father's Day
Lunch bacon sandwich
Dinner Toad in the hole with the new Richmond chicken sausages

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Greek Summer Salad and a Photo Board backdrop for better blog photos

I want to tell you about a salad that I made and also a great product I found that will make taking photos for your blog or Instagram better straight away. But first the salad...

We went to a friend's barbecue yesterday which was lovely - my little girl enjoyed laying on a blanket in the shade and watching everything that was going on and meeting some of my friends for the first time. Here's a little photo of her for no reason other than she's cute!


My friend asked us to bring a salad and I decided to make a sort of Greek salad - it was very simple and doesn't really need a recipe! Simply half some cherry tomatoes, cut some feta cheese into cubes, slice some black olives and remove the stones (I actually used ready sliced ones from a jar) and tear some fresh basil leaves. Toss with a glug of olive oil and some salt and pepper for a simple but tasty salad.


I'm really pleased with this photo which I think is called a flat lay in style (i.e. a birds eye view). It was taken on my kitchen table which is made of glass - so it's a terrible surface for photograph and I usually put a mat or table cloth or something on it when I want to photograph food, but my table cloths always have creases and none of my mats are very big.

I came across a company called Photo Boards that makes backdrops for taking photos against. They use 'texture reproduction technology', whatever that is, so the boards look more three dimensional and not like a photo of a piece of wood - I think they actually look like you are using a piece of wood, rather than a large flat piece of PVC. They are lightweight and wipe clean which is great when you are photographing food, come in two sizes (I bought the 60x60cm one, the larger size) and a variety of designs and shades that look like you are photographing against wood, marble, linen etc. They are not cheap at £30 each so I only bought one, but I already want another!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Pink Flamingo and Balloons birthday card

handmade flamingo birthday card
 
Flamingos are a really popular motif at the moment and one night while feeding the baby I decided they would look really good on a birthday card, and bought a flamingo stamp from Dovecraft on Ebay.

I also bought some die cut balloon shapes - it would be cheaper to buy the die in the long run and cut my own shapes but time is something I don't have a lot of at the moment (I'm writing this while the baby takes a nap but can already hear signs she is waking up!) so I just bought the shapes pre-cut.

I was playing around with shapes and thought the card would look nice with several layered embellishments in different shades of pink - there's quite a lot going on on this card but I really like how it turned out.

To start I covered most of a white square card blank with a piece of pink patterned paper, leaving a small white border clear around the edge. I stamped the flamingo onto a piece of cream card and coloured it pink with a Promarker pen.

I cut a scalloped shape around the edge of a slightly larger rectangle of purple paper (which was actually a recycled birthday card envelope I'd received) and mounted the flamingo card on that. I found a wide glittery pink ribbon in my stash that I'd bought and never used - it is quite wide and very pink and glittery so a bit OTT for most cards but I decided it worked for this one! I stuck that across the middle of the card using double sided sticky tape and mounted the flamingo topper on that.

The final touches were two die cut balloons, one in pink and one in purple, and a stamped 'happy birthday' sentiment from the 'Say it with stamps' set from All Night Media on a piece of the same purple paper as the topper which I cut out with a wavy line. The perfect card for someone who likes a bit of glitz and glamour!

Here are some of the products I used:



I'm sharing this with Stamplorations where the theme is 'things with wings'; Crafty Ribbons challenge, As You Like It where the theme is pink or blue, and Creatalicious Challenges where anything goes with the option of 'all that glitters'.