That Was The Week That Was #5

As weeks go, this has been a pretty good one. It has involved a lot of shopping (oops), a fair amount of partying, drinking and eating (double oops), and an obscene amount of Dexter and Gossip Girl watching (no regrets). I’ve got a busy week next week so if you comment and I don’t reply straight away please don’t be offended!

Good luck to all those of you who are going back to work tomorrow!

K x

Lola is tired…

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Birthday yummies at Tampopo plus free bubbly 😀

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New Year Sparkles

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Lemon Drizzle Traybake – recipe coming soon

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Chip butty for dinner – naughty start to the New Year!

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Gorgeous flowers from my lovely man

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Sweets and his favourite girl – Mike is happy

Happy New Year!

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Well, the new year is upon us! Happy New Year to all of my readers and followers, I hope you had a lovely night last night no matter what you did.

I may have mentioned that NYE is my birthday. It’s a RUBBISH day to have a birthday because people are always busy and it’s hard to get a group together. So this year I staked my claim early and said I would have a little gathering. Last night we welcomed into our home a few of our close friends and celebrated 2013 being a great year, and all that’s to come in 2014.

Personally, 2013 has been a great year for me, the highlights being buying our first home together, going on some great trips and Mike asking me to be his wife!! Yay! 2014 will be a busy year of wedding planning and house decorating, and this time next year I’ll be a married woman 😀

I’m not normally one for New Year’s Resolutions, but I have been having a think and I’d like to share with you a few changes or aspirations for the coming year….

1. I am going to cut out some dairy products. I’m intolerant to certain dairy. This includes cream, ice cream, soft cheeses, milk, and chocolate in larger quantities. I’m quite naughty in that I normally eat these items anyway, because, well, they’re yummy!! But continuing to eat them has begun to really affect my health, so I’m cutting them out and will slowly re-introduce them in 6 months time or so. Same goes for fizzy drinks.

2. I will try to stop swearing so much! Self explanatory!

3. I will continue to write and grow this blog – it’s only been going for a couple of months but I’ve really enjoyed writing it, sharing my recipes and hearing your feedback. May Eat Sleep Bake Repeat continue through 2014.

What are your New Year’s resolutions? Have you made any or are they not for you?

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Recipe – Chocolate Caramel Swirl Cheesecake

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Christmas is over, and now is the time when I will have to stop ignoring the fat content of my food and start eating a bit sensibly. Also, if you read my New Year’s post, you’ll know that I’m giving up dairy for health reasons. HOWEVER – my dairy abstinence started on New Year’s Day, and I made and ate this at Christmas, so it’s fine!

This recipe was one I made for Christmas Day as an alternative to the traditional pud. It’s originally from the Hummingbird Bakery (a must-visit next time I go to London!), but I’ve adapted it a little, as usual. I seem unable to properly stick to a recipe. But, hey. It turns out ok most of the time!

This is a baked cheesecake. In the past I’ve been a little wary of baked cheesecakes as there’s so much that can go wrong… This one turned out brilliantly. It’s cooked in a water bath to stop the top from cracking and make sure that the cheesecake cooks evenly. Don’t be put off by the water bath, it’s nothing to be scared of! My only tip would be if you are using a loose-bottomed tin, make sure that the tin is wrapped securely in several layers of kitchen foil, to stop any water from seeping in and ending up with a soggy bottom.

The original recipe called for the base to be made out of digestive biscuits, but I only had Oreos, so used them instead. So, here we go…

Ingredients

220g Oreo biscuits
100g unsalted butter or Stork, melted
700g cream cheese eg Philidelphia
120g caster sugar
3 large eggs
50g dulce de leche – I used tinned Carnation Caramel
50g dark chocolate, melted
Another 4 tbsp caramel, as above

Method

— Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Using a loose-bottomed 20cm cake tin, line the base with greaseproof paper, then wrap the tin as above in kitchen foil. Make sure the whole outside of the tin is covered in at least 3 layers of foil to prevent any water from getting in.

— Tip the biscuits into a food processor and blitz into fine crumbs. Mix the crumbs with the melted chocolate and press into the base of the tin. Pop it in the fridge whilst you make the rest of the cheesecake (at least 20 minutes).

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— Put the cream cheese and caster sugar into the bowl of your stand mixer and beat together on a medium speed until smooth. You can obviously use a bowl and spoon if you don’t have a stand mixer! With the mixer still going, add the eggs one at a time until combined. Set aside one third of the mixture. Add the tinned caramel to the remaining mixture and pour it onto the biscuit base. The mixture will be quite runny.

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— Add the melted and slightly cooled chocolate to the reserved cheesecake mixture. Pour into the tin on top of the caramel mixture, then use a skewer, or the end of a knife to swirl the two together.

— Fill a roasting tin with hot water and place the cheesecake tin into it to form your water bath. The water should come about an inch from the top of the tin. Bake in the oven for around 40 minutes. The cheesecake will be done when the top is firm to the touch but the cheesecake has a little wobble to it. Remove the foil and leave it to cool completely in the tin, and put in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

!

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— For the final touch, spread the 4 tbsp caramel over the top with a pallette knife, if you have one.

There you have it, Chocolate Caramel Swirl Cheesecake! Not fot the faint hearted, the healthy or the lactose intolerant, but a great dessert for a dinner party

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That Was The Week That Was #4

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TWTWTW was supposed to be a Sunday post, but over the festive period I’ve sort of lost track of days and only just realised today that is Monday – Oops! I hope you’ve had a fantastic Christmas. I had a lovely Christmas Day, with lots of fab presents. We had another Christmas gathering last night with Mike’s family where we had a little buffet and snacky food, and I’m gearing up for tomorrow night when we’re having a little gathering. Plus, it’s my birthday! Celebrations all round.

Here are a few snaps from this week.

Amazing Christmas pressie!

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Lovely homemade centrepiece

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Rum Christmas cake!

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Alternative Christmas dessert – Caramel and Oreo Cheesecake, recipe coming soon!

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Christmas bulldog

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Second Christmas dinner – yum!

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…And pudding! Double chocolate Malteser Cheesecake

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The annual Cat and Kim Birthday Outing!

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Recipe – Gingerbread Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting

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I hope you’ve had a great Christmas! I’ve been spoilt rotten with some lovely presents, a lot of which were kitchen-related. They included a gorgeous baby pink polka dot rolling pin, a glass cake stand, a new pallet knife, a couple of cook books, a cupcake stand and a KitchenAid Pasta Maker attachment – yay! I’ve had a few weeks of eating like a piggy, so now I’m trying to rein it in a little bit (although I can’t be completely good until after the new year as we have lots planned!).

This recipe doesn’t help in my quest for healthiness – it produces one of the yummiest, most flavoursome cakes I’ve made.

I promised you this a couple of weeks ago, and here it is. This is one of the best ever cupcake recipes, and they were my contribution to our December WI Christmas Feast Meeting. They went down a treat and I was so pleased to see them all disappear quickly!

I can’t take credit for this concoction, I saw this recipe on one of my favourite blogs and knew I’d have to try it. Check out the site at www.sallysbakingaddiction.com – there are some really great ideas on there for baking!

Sally originally made these cupcakes with a sweet cream cheese frosting, but I didn’t fancy that so made some white chocolate icing to top them with – for me it was the perfect pairing. I’ve got to warn you – halfway through this recipe it begins to look a bit wrong and curdled. I have to admit, I was VERY concerned. But embrace it, go with it, and it’ll turn out perfect, I promise.

You HAVE to make these cupcakes – they will make your life. Thanks to Sally for a great recipe!

Ingredients

For the cupcakes
115g unsalted softened butter
100g dark brown sugar
1 large egg
120ml milk
150g black treacle
1 tsp vanilla extract
170g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice

For the frosting
110g unsalted softened butter
250g icing sugar, sifted
150g white chocolate, melted

Method

— Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and fill a 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.

— In your bowl or KitchenAid, cream together the butter and brown sugar on a medium speed. Beat in the egg, then mix in the milk, treacle and vanilla. This is the point at which the mixture will look scary and you’ll be tempted to throw it in the bin! Don’t. Have faith. It’ll all be ok!

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— Add in the dry ingredients and mix on a low speed until just combined. Fill your cupcake cases to about 2/3 full, then bake for 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out mostly clean. Take the cakes out of the tin and place on a rack to cool completely.

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— For the frosting, use your stand mixer or electric whisk to beat together the butter and half of the icing sugar. Once it’s incorporated, add in the rest of the sugar. Remember to cover the bowl with tea towel to avoid a snow storm! Pour in the melted chocolate and leave the machine on a medium speed for 2-3 minutes until it’s light and creamy. Add a little milk if it’s too dry and a little more sugar if it’s too runny.

— Ice your cupcakes with a pallette knife or a nozzle and piping bag. Sit down with a cup of tea and enjoy! Yum!

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Merry Christmas Everyone!

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Christmas has been, it’s treated me well, and now it’s almost over. I’ve had a fantastic meal made by a great cook, have walked the dog, gone for a run, over-eaten, opened presents and snoozed. I’ve also spared a thought to all of the people who weren’t lucky enough to have a proper Christmas Day – the emergency service workers. They are sacrificing their day to keep us safe, let’s not forget it.

I’m very thankful for all of my fantastic friends and family, for my health and my happiness. 2013 has been a great year for me. I got engaged and have bought our new home. This time next year I’ll be married, but for now I am enjoying a lovely Christmas day. 

Here are a few snaps… I hope you’ve had a great day – I’d love to see some of your pictures!

Merry Christmas x 

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Last Minute Christmas Gift – Pistachio Brittle

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We all have that moment. You know, the one where you suddenly realise there’s someone you’ve forgotten to buy a gift for, the neighbour who pops around with a bottle of wine, or the unexpected family member who you find out will be coming to dinner the day before. The shops are shut. so you have to magically concoct something to give them. 

Panic!

Or, not. I make this recipe with pistachios, but really, you can use any nuts you have hanging around. I tend already have these ingredients in the house anyway so can whip this gift up in no time. Plus, a little goes a long way. You can bag this up and it’ll make enough to give to at least 4 people. I first saw this recipe in the Tesco magazine (there are some GREAT recipes in there and it’s free!). You can see the original here, if you like.

Ingredients

60g butter

180g caster sugar

200ml Golden Syrup

200g nuts of your choice, eg pistachio, macadamia, almonds, hazelnuts

— Roughly chop your nuts and set aside. Grease and line a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper. Place the butter and sugar into a heavy bottomed pan on a low  heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved and no longer grainy. 

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— Pour in the golden syrup and bring to the boil. Then reduce the heat and allow to simmer gently. As soon as the mixture begins to boil, stop stirring it as the sugar could crystallize. Keep an eye on it though as it can catch and burn easily. Swirl the pan to mix it if you need to. 

— Let the mixture bubble away for around 20 minutes. It should be a rich amber colour and when it’s ready it will harden when dropped into a glass of cold water. If you have a sugar thermometer it should reach 300 degrees Celsius. Don’t be tempted to take the mixture off the heat too early and it won’t be the right texture once set.

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— When it’s reached the correct temperature, stir in the nuts and pour into your pre-prepared tray. Leave to set for a couple of hours until it’s really hard, then break into shards and package into cellophane bags. 

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This stuff is yummy, and is a great last minute present you can easily knock up on Christmas Eve!

 

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