May 28, 2015

This cake was inspired by Olive Magazine's cover a couple of issues ago. 
I love popcorn and have seen a plethora of these lusciously topped popcorn cakes over Pinterest lately and decided to give it ago myself. 
This cake recipe is super simple, one my mum has passed down to me as fail safe option and a great last minute option too. 

For this cake make up a simple vanilla sponge and then coat pipping hot, freshly popped salted popcorn with a sticky caramel syrup.   
As daunting as making caramel sounds it really is simple and this was my first attempt too, it worked a dream!

For a medium cake, filling two 8 inch cake tins you will need...
8oz self-raising flour 
4 oz butter
4oz sugar 
1tsp baking powder 
4 eggs 
1st vanilla bean paste 

For the sauce (makes extra for ice cream later in the week...or just eating out of the bowl after a hard day, naughty)
1 cup brown sugar 
2 cups water 
300ml double cream 

Start by creaming together your butter and sugar, use beaters or if you are after a mini workout use a wooden spoon... (not a bad idea if you are about to settle down with a cup of tea and slice of this delicious cake in about an hour!) 

Next add your eggs and then your flour and baking powder and mix together until you have a batter consistency. 

Pour evenly into your two greased tins and bake at 180C for about 30-40 mins until golden. 
While you wait for your cake to bake set about popping your popcorn and making your caramel sauce. 

Use about 2/3 cup of popcorn kernels and place a sauce pan with a little oil or butter and allow to pop. Once cooked add a good shake of salt. 

Next put the sugar and water in a pan DO NOT STIR just let the two heat up and bubble fursiously for a good 5 minutes once the bubbles become sticky. As they start to bubble slower take your pan off the heat and whisk in your double creme. This should turn your dark sugar mixture into a soft caramel colour. 

Just before your are about to serve pour 1/3 into the popcorn and mix around until covered in your sticky caramel sauce. 

At this stage you can lay out your popcorn on a baking sheet to let dry and set, if you have time do this as it adds texture to your showstopper. 

If not don't worry too much just serve immediately and pour over the rest of the sauce to get a dramatic drizzle over the sides

Enjoy this cake as an indulgent treat for afternoon tea or a different pudding to serve your guests. 

May 26, 2015

Ottolenghi has opened a new hot spot on Garrick Street in Covent garden that is as delicious as it is beautiful...  ^

Its a simple place, decked out in ochre yellows and royal blues, everything served is bursting with flavour and of course deliciously tasty. As Ottolenghi himself describes it...

 'is inspired by the market stalls and smoking grills of the Middle east'

Every corner of this place has been carefully thought out and while you peruse the shelves serving traditional Lebanese sweets, saffron sugar sticks and sticky dates you can't help but feel lost in another world, totally forgetting bustling Covent garden is just seconds round the corner. 

Your dining options are simple, pick a salad from the side and a pitta or a skewer from the board. 

Eat perched on stools around you or head down to the basement for a little more space and privacy if desired. 

If you are here at lunch time head out to a near by park or if you are here early enough for breakfast by the looks of it they have a cracking menu for that too, sticky molasses yogurt served with mountains of jewelled pomegranate seeds. 

The concept of this place is simple, longing to bring you flavours of the middle east, simply and inexpensively to the centre of London.

Meats covered in delicious rose tinted marinades and sticky sesame sweets pilled up on the counter with the floor and walls tiled spectacularly its a place to get lost in.

Enjoy your pita or skewer in paper bags, 

They are situated just on the street opposite Leicester square tube station, be sure to check sesame out next time you are in the area, if not for food for a tasty coffee... follow them on twitter here... @sesamefood

May 15, 2015

For anyone who loves street food, this place is for you.

 Sticky pork buns, crispy dumplings, tangy sauces. I haven't stopped thinking about this place all week.

The menu is simple, pick which base you would like... Fluffy bun, rice or noodle soup. Then pick your meat, sticky pork, beef or chicken.
Pick your sides, dumplings, rice cake, fried chicken or hot pancakes. Within in minutes your food has arrived and you can tuck in. 

Now I wasn't going to blog this is as it was a last minute thing and we decided to go and refuel on some delicious grub without me whipping my camera out every second. 

Obviously as soon as we arrived it was a whole different story. 

How could these not get a pic? 

These are On The Bab's sticky pork buns . Advertised as a small dish, and at only £5.50 these are amazing. 

Firstly they are large enough for a main for anyone. Especially if you get some dumplings alongside, and of course they are delicious. 

Dripping in spicy sauce and topped with crispy extras these cannot be missed! 




Once you have had your fill of Korean street food, pop over to The Ace Hotel. Very quirky and very cool the interior is all concrete, wood, bare brick and greenry.  Ferns and plants crowd each corner, the walls adonred with art and squishy chairs and sofas everywhere lure you in for the eveing, Of course this kind of of outdoor/indoor interior thing is right up my street.

The cocktail menu reflects this outdoor theme, My Cocktail aptly named 'A Garden Walk' has lashings of sweet syrup along with earthy beetroot.


These flavors give this cocktail a fantasticly earthy flavour, really giving your taste buds the Garden Walk they were after.

Both On the Bab and The Ace Hotel are Perfect hotspots for a mid week pick-me-up.
Make sure you venture soon, On the Bab had queues out the door and The Ace Hotel was buzzing in the early evening, make sure you head over there early too, to get a comfy spot.

Check out On the Bab here... ( they have just opened a swanky place in Covent garden too)

Have a look at The Ace Hotel here...

May 14, 2015


These bad boys are the real deal. They are quick, tasty and everyone's favourite. You can whip them up in a few seconds, cook them in melting butter and drizzle with syrup, topping them off with lashings of fresh berries and extra syrup if your feeling naughty.

 (If you are feeling super cheeky, throw in some chocolate chips to the batter too!) 

Mum used to make these up for me when I was little for post sleepover breakfasts they were always a real treat and went down a storm and they still always do now when we have friends staying, years later. 

For these scotch pancake stacks for a large basket full of pancakes you will need...
200 g flour
1 tbsp caster sugar
1.5 tsp cinnamon - the sweeter you like your pancakes the more generous you can be!
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp melted real* butter (with a little extra for frying)
a pinch of salt
1 egg
300-500ml milk
To start, mix all the dry ingredients together, once all well combined add in the egg and the milk, keep whisking untill all combine together and you have a nice batter.
Heat up a pan with some real* butter and dollop spoonfuls of batter.
* I say real, because you want the good stuff, the full fat full cream, full taste real butter  and sometimes spread doesn quite cut it.
To get round spoonfuls pour the batter from the tip of the spoon and for oval shaped pancakes pour from the side.
Keep going untill all your batter is used up and keep warm in a basket in the oven untill everyone is ready to tuck in.
Stack 'em high, drizzle with syrup and top with fresh berries... delcious.

   (Photo credit: shot by Adrian Lawrence, Stylird by me

May 12, 2015

This week is National Doughnut Week, a week when bakers and non-bakers all over the country can indulge to support a fantastic cause. 

Dunns Bakery started doughnut week back in 1991 and have since raised an incredible amount for The Childrens Trust. National Doughnut week is a fantastic way to get involved, either bake yourself, just do the tasting or do both and *doughnate to support The Children's Trust. 

Have a look at the Dunn's Bakery site here... to read a little bit about the bakery and of course the history of National Doughnut week. Have a a little look at The Children's Trust website too, here

The Children's trust is the UK's leading charity for children with brain injury. They provide care, education, and therapy for children and their families. 

I don't need much of an excuse to eat doughnuts and I thought what better way to get involved in #nationaldoughnutweek than conducting a mini tasting!

I picked up a selection of Dum Dum doughnuts to try, with a couple of their famous cronuts* tucked in there too.

*Cronut  ^  a doughnut-come-croissant creation from the U.S that has hit London in a big way. Looks like a doughnut, tastes like a croissant and coated in sugar.... 

Truly divine and if you haven't tried one yet there is no better time!

We started with the Cronuts, flakey, sweet and everything you would imagine and want a cronut to be. This chocolate one even has chocolate in-between each flakey layer, just look at that...

This one, the pistachio and cream cronut, slightly lighter than the above chocolate creation. 
More relatable to the well known butter croissant and you could manage this one on your own, the chocolate version is much more of a team effort, richer and filling!

Next, as traditional as Dum Dum Doughnuts get, this bad boy is a raspberry cheesecake filled doughnut with a digestive topping. 

This one, for me was a new favourite.
Just look at all that dreamy cheesecake filling... 

The last contender... a creme brûlée, vanilla custard stuffed, caramel dipped doughnut. 

As delicious as it is shiny, the caramel topping even crackled and crunched as you tucked in. 

Hopefully you have been inspired by my little to tasting to get out there and re-create your own with friends or family. Let me know how you get on, I would love to see all your tastings! 

National doughnut weeks has a few days left, so far Dunns bakery has made a staggering £785,000 for children's charities over the past 20 years, this number is just rising by the second and it is such a fantastic achievement, become a part of it and go and buy some doughnuts. 
Text 'DUNT15£amount' to 70070 to #Doughnate

May 11, 2015

Anywhere where this.... promised for dessert I am pretty happy to venture to, be it day, night, brunch or lunch a melting chocolate bomb is not something I would ever miss. 

The decor of this new hot restaurant in Chelsea is right up my street, reminiscent of an old  victorian botanical study come garden you feel transported through time, anything remotely greenhouse or garden themed when it comes to restaurants, teahouses or cafes, I adore. 

Leafy plants stretch out from each corner and tarnished mirrors reflect the ageing beauty captured so well in this place back around you. The Victorian tiled floor adds to this aged beauty and really does make this restaurant interior one to marvel at. 

Now onto the food itself...

Zucchini fritters, 'courgetti', salted and fried is anyones dream, especially with the rise in popularity of the veg-come-pasta alternative so handily accessibly to those who have invested in a spiraliser. (Have a look here...)

Throw the whole lot in some tempura batter and you could still be fooled into the idea that these are a carb substitute (almost!). 

Even if they don't quite fit the 'carb free'  description they are deliciously moreish and you get a large basket of tempura tangles to share. 

Next up... the mains. We asked for the Cripsy Duck salad, advertised as a starter, as a main, a larger portion. 

This was decidedly small and spying other starters around the room we were not entirely convinced this was in-fact a larger portion, however our rather stern waiter ensured us we did have the desired portion size. 

Just as we were tucking in, the waiter insisted on leaning over our table to sort out the blind next to us, this was slightly annoying but never-the-less, despite our 'mains'  being on the small side we knew we had the Chocolate Bomb around the corner and couldn't wait to drizzle that hot sauce over it and watch everything melt deliciously into our spoons.  

Once our plates were whisked away, the chocolate bomb arrived imminently. 

Just as we looked on with glee, our waiter poured the sauce over our bomb and the melting magic was missed, this was such a disappointment! The drizzle, melting shot could have been the money shot!

Just as the last few bits were sitting in the bowl, spoons resting on the sides and waiting to deliciously tuck into that ever important last mouthful our plate was picked up and taken away in the blink of an eye. 

This was quite a surprise and really ruined the the fragile last moments of the meal, especially considering that that is not the cheapest Chocolate Bomb on the market. 

This new hot spot in Chelsea serves good food, be it on the small side but the service is really what lets it down. Talking to a few girlfriends who have also been they say the same so our night couldn't even have been blamed on the excuse of an 'off night' it's a shame that this beautiful restaurant already has such a tarnished reputation having only been opened a few weeks ago.

Perhaps these few mishaps throughout our meal were due to our early sitting and we were being rushed through for the late diners. 

Whatever the reason we left feeling slightly disgruntled, with the few imperfections really sitting with us rather than the food.  

If you want to try and not miss the melting bomb yourself, and see what the service is like for yourself book a table here...

Let me know how you get on and what you think! 

May 10, 2015

This bank holiday weekend, not only did the sun shine, Spain came to the Southbank.  The whole riverside transformed into a Spanish Street food festival with music, gallons of sangria and fantastic paella.

We arrived late afternoon and the place was swarming with good spirited bank holidayers all trying out delicious street food, the churro stand queue was too much to handle, but the calamari and peppers alongside the Morito stand were hard to miss! All laden with plates piled high with tasty fried food. 

Under the bridge..... ^

A band played, and everyone boogied a bit and got into the full swing of things, helped by the fact that this is where the sangria stand was!

You could order big jugs of the stuff and meander outside to sit in deckchairs and enjoy the balmy sunshine.


This lovely chap served us when tummies started to rumble...


Spices were at the ready just at the end of the counter for you to add to your dish.

All in all a perfect way to spend a bank holiday. London in the summer is full of fantastic street food events and festivals. Find out a few of them here... 

May 09, 2015

Sometimes we all need to getaway. 

If you live in London or any thriving metropolis it can sometimes feel a bit over crowded and claustrophobic. 

A couple of weekends ago we decided we needed a quick re-charge and escape to the beach - somewhere where 'crowded' refers to just one other person on the beach. 
We were lucky enough to get just that. We ventured off to Aldeburgh on the East coast of England for a quick three day break of beach walks, scummy food (nothing too pretentious) and somewhere
where there is space to escape from the busy lives we lead day to day.  Being only 2 hours from London by train you could escape without taking a long, multi-hour trek.

This little town, so I have heard, in summer is a hive of activity bustling with people and certainly more than a bit over crowded when the sun shines. 

Coming just before the season kicks in we got to enjoy the pastel buildings, the wood fried pizza restaurant serving the best pizza in town and only queue for 10 minutes for our Fish & Chips!

The beach is an incredible expanse of space and ideal British seaside town - the perfect place to blow away any cobwebs. 

This post is more of a photo diary, but I really recommend this little town just out of season, you will have the best pizza, the creamiest ice cream and feel ready to go back to the city fully charged.

Have a google and book a little break now to unwind! I promise you won't regret it!

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