It’s Competition Time! Cake International Show Ticket Giveaway

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In my That Was The Week That Was post on Sunday I mentioned that I had some exciting news coming up… And it’s time to share it with you!

Recently, Eat Sleep Bake Repeat has been getting a lot of interest from the media and press. I’m very lucky to have been invited to a number of radio stations to talk about the blog. My first appearance is going to be on Wednesday 5th March at 12pm on BCFM 93.2 (a local Bristol radio station). I’ll be baking something delicious to take along and chat about, and the recipe will be posted that day. I’m still open to ideas as for what to take in – feel free to give me any of your suggestions!

I’m also very pleased to announce that I’ll be attending the Cake International Show at the ExCel Centre in London, which is running from 10th April – 12th April 2014.

They’ve invited me along as a blogger to visit the event, and… drumroll… Have offered me 5 pairs of tickets to give away to my lovely readers!

Cake International is a Sugarcraft, cake decorating and baking show. There are exhibitions, demonstrations and tips from renowned experts such as Mich Turner, Claire Bowman and Annabelle Jane, to mention a few. You can learn lot of new and exciting skills and even enter your own creations into competitions! It’s perfect for both proessfionals and home bakers alike – there really is something for everyone whether you’re already an established baker or you’re just looking for more ideas.

For more information about the show you can click here.

All you need to do to win the tickets is be following this blog, follow me on Twitter at @KimberleyParr and comment on this post to tell me which day you’d like to attend. It’s THAT easy! Remember to include your email address in the comment post.

Winners will be chosen at random on Friday 28th March. Good luck!

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Homemade Gift Idea – The Scent of Christmas

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What comes to mind for you when you think of Christmas? Mince pies, Santa, mistletoe, cheesy Christmas songs…?

For me, Christmas is defined by one thing; the smell. As soon as I smell “Christmas”, I feel festive. And everything else is borne from there; mulled wine, family memories, food… I could go on. Christmas is, without doubt, my favourite time of year. There’s nothing I don’t like about it!

Every year I seem to spend lots of money, burning scented candle after scented candle, keeping that smell alive. Until I came across this idea on the Internet, and what an amazing idea.

This is a great gift to make and give to someone, it’s easy to make and cheap to boot.

So what is it? Well, essentially, it’s the smell of Christmas in a jar, which can be used over and over again.

You will need:

One sliced orange
One sliced lemon
4 cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons whole cloves
4 bay leaves
1/2 tsp red food colouring

Put all ingredients into a saucepan, with 1 litre of water. Simmer the whole lot on a low heat until the ingredients begin to release their fragrance. It will smell AMAZING. The cinnamon, cloves and fruit combined become the perfect Christmas smell.

When you’re done, pour into four jars, top up with water, and seal. Then give to your recipients with a little label of how to use them. These can be used over and over again, just add a little more water each time to stop it from getting too dry.

I think this is a lovely idea, and other than the jars it’ll cost you about 20p per gift! Bargain.

I’m very excited for our WI Christmas Feast meeting this Wednesday night and have to decide what sweet treat to bake to take with me… Decisions decisions! Can’t wait to fill my face with lots of nice food though – I’ll update you later in the week with how the night went.

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That Was The Week That Was #2

This week has been full on, with work, Christmas parties and present buying. I’ve been a bit under the weather so had a lazy day yesterday watching episode after episode of Gossip Girl – how am I only just getting into this program?! Today I’ve had a lovely, relaxing day, baking and watching Love Actually, the best ever Christmas film, in my humble opinion.

I’ve also been testing out a few recipes so watch out for lots of ideas coming up this week.

What have you been up to? Are you all ready for Christmas or are you starting to get stressed out?

Here are a few snaps from this week.

A lovely gift of some teeny tiny eggs from my friend Helen’s Bantum chickens

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Christmas party Prosecco

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Homemade half and half English muffins

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After work run around Ashton Court

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Lola is unimpressed at having to have a shower

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I need four more followers to reach 50 then I will pick a winner!

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Festive window lights

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Annual viewing!

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Gingerbread cupcakes with white chocolate icing – yum!

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I hope you’ve had a great week!

WI.RED – The WI With A Difference

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In my Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake post a few days ago I mentioned that I’m a member of my local Women’s Institue (WI) and today I wanted to talk to you a bit about our group. I’ll be writing a post about each meeting we have in the future and sharing a few photos with you.

My Nan has been a member of the WI for as long as I can remember (long before I was born) and I’ve always fancied joining. WIs have had a bit of a reputation for years now, and whenever I mention to my friends or family about the WI I’m generally met with a sneer or a joke. I did a bit of research into my local groups but they all seemed to have an average age in the 60’s – as a 27 year old I wanted to find a group who had interests similar to my own and who were closer to my age. I also live on the other side of the city to my friends, and thought joining a WI would be the perfect opportunity to meet more friends in my local area.

I heard through the WI that there was a new group being formed in Redfield, Bristol and that this may be a better fit for me as it was being aimed more towards people in my age group.

I registered my interest and soon got an email inviting me to the first ever meeting. The group had been named “WI. RED” – a great play on words for the Women’s Institute, Redfield. Immediately I was interested – the name straight away tells you that this group is different.

I arrived at the launch party, not knowing a single person and feeling very nervous! Luckily, everybody seemed to be in the same boat and I soon got chatting to some girls who were just as nervous as I was. There was a table of cake and tea for sale (as there is every time, and I can’t get through a meeting without sampling what the other girls have baked!), so I grabbed a slice and a cuppa and sat down to listen to what the committee had planned for the next 15 months.

After seeing the calender of events I was sold, and as soon as I was able to I parted with my cash. At £34.70 for 15 months (1 meeting per month), I think it’s a bargain! It works out at less than the price of a glass of wine each month.

The Official Formation Meeting in October was an introduction to the group and a pub quiz (our team won, yay!). At this meeting the committee told us they needed more members to help organise, so I put myself forward.

November’s meeting was a Bath Bomb Evening. Gemma from Ellie’s Delights, a company which make homemade bath bombs and body butters, came along to show us how to make our own bath bombs, then we all had a chance to try it ourselves.

Each table of ladies had a different scent for their bath bomb, and halfway through the night the scents were swapped so that everyone could have two scents each. We all went home with three bath bombs each to use at home. At a cost of £2.30 per meeting it was great to have something to take away!

You can take a closer look at Ellies Delights on her Facebook page here.

This month’s meeting is “A Christmas Feast”. At the November meeting we all picked a slip out of a box to which told us what we would take to the December meeting – something sweet, savoury, or sparkling (booze!). I chose sweet and am currently deciding what to make – any suggestions? Something made with my KitchenAid obviously!

All of our meetings are BYO alcohol so I can’t wait to dress up, and sample all of the lovely food and drink people bring with them.

Look out for my next post about the Christmas meeting in a couple of weeks’ time, and if you’re interested in finding out more about your local WI check out the WI website.

Here are a few snaps from the November meeting!

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That Was The Week That Was – #1

Every Sunday I will share a few snapshots with you of what I’ve been up to in the week… I hope you enjoy it!

Christmas decorations up and feeling festive

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Best ever chocolate brownie recipe – coming up soon

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New sofa!

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Christmas party fun

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Lola loves leaves!

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Apple and red onion chutney

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Sunday afternoon relaxing with homemade Oreo truffles

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I’ve been busy this weekend making lots of edible Christmas gifts – look out this week for the recipes and more information about our WI. Hope you’ve had a nice weekend!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake

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If you’ve read my Caramel Cupcakes post, you’ll know that the recipe for the frosting made A LOT! I had a whole pot of it left over to use up.

I knew that I wanted to add some salt to it and make salted caramel. The original batch was a little too sweet for me (although I had no complaints from everyone else who ate them).

I’m a member of my local WI (Women’s Institute) group and have a committee meeting this evening to discuss our next event (A Christmas Feast!). I’ll post more about the WI soon – people have an idea of what the WI is all about but I can guarantee you ours is definitely different and modern.

I wanted to make a cake to take to the meeting. It is LAW, don’t you know, that to be a WI lady, you must either bake, or eat, cakes. You’re absolutely not allowed to join if not. True fact.

I thought that’d I’d try to use up my icing by making a chocolate cake and cover it with the caramel frosting. Chocolate plus salted caramel = no willpower.

This chocolate cake is a bit of an odd one. It uses no butter and instead uses oil. The mixture is nothing like a normal cake mixture, it’s very runny and wet. But trust me when I say, just go with it. It will produce a lovely, light and airy sponge which, when added with the frosting is to die for!

I’m hoping no-one else takes a cake as well as I may end up feeling a little sick – I can’t help but try a bit of everything. I just can’t stop myself – I have a problem!

On to the cake.

SALTED CARAMEL CHOCOLATE CAKE

Ingredients

For the cake

175g self-raising flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

150g caster sugar

2 eggs

150ml sunflower oil

150ml milk

2 tablespoons honey

For the Frosting

Use the remainder of the mixture from the caramel cupcakes recipe – to remind you, the whole recipe is…

140g Carnation Caramel/dulche de leche

200g cream cheese

100g butter

450g icing sugar

1 teaspoon sea salt flakes

REMEMBER – this recipe made enough frosting for both the cupcakes AND this cake!

I made this cake in my KitchenAid but in the past have made it with an electic whisk or even by hand and it came out fine.

Method

— Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Line and grease two 20cm sandwich tins.

— In the bowl of your mixer, measure out the flour, cocoa powder, bicarb and caster sugar. Give it a quick stir or mix.

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— In a measuring jug, measure out the milk, oil, and honey. Chuck in the eggs and give it all a stir. Then, with the mixer on a low speed, slowly start to add the wet ingredients to the dry.

— Once fully mixed, turn up the mixture to a medium speed for 2 minutes (I used level 4). The mixture should be runny and have a few air bubbles in it.

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— Pour the cake mixture into the two tins evenly then bake for 25 minutes. I checked mine after 20 minutes – the cakes should be slightly springy and a skewer should come out clean.

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**NOTE – Sadly, this is not the kind of mixture you want to lick the bowl for. Sad face.**

— Let the cakes cool on a rack. Once cool, spread a layer of caramel top of one cake. you can take this from the remainder of what is left in your can. Cover this with a layer of frosting (for directions on how to make, refer to my previous post) then sandwich the other cake on top. Cover the whole cake with the rest of the icing using a pallet knife, or whatever you have available. Decorate, if you like, with some sprinkles or chocolate swirls.

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ENJOY!

FYI – Although the cake wasn’t presented as well as I’d have liked, it went down a treat at our WI committee meeting!

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Payday Pizza – A Stonebaked Experience

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In our house, we try to eat relatively healthily. Most of the time. Which is not easy when you have a serious baking addiction. We try to cook meals from scratch using fresh ingredients and don’t really have many takeaways.

The one time we make an exception is on payday!

Once a month we treat ourselves to a takeaway pizza from our local takeaway.

This is not your average pizza takeaway though. In our opinion it’s the best pizza takeaway this side of… Well… Italy, I guess. None of your deep-pan mass produced pizzas here, it’s all about the stone baked. Yum scrum.

Cafe Grounded is actually, as the name suggests, a Cafe! In fact, it’s a group of 4 independent cafes in Redfield, Bedminster, Horfield and Brislington in Bristol, UK.

The cafes all have a daily menu, including specials. Their lunchtime panini and sweet potato jackets are the bomb, and they have an amazing range of stone baked pizzas which cater for every taste. The cafes, if you eat in, have a great environment and often have live music. They are also licensed so you can have a beer or two with your pizza!

Anyway. These pizzas. Man, they are good. They do an awesome deal Sunday – Wednesday. Buy a large pizza and get a free garlic bread (more like an Italian focaccia) PLUS a salad. We normally get a Red Rocket (mozzarella, caramelised red onion, sun dried tomatoes, capers, olives, rocket and Parmesan) which for a large is only £11.75. Between the two of us we struggle to finish off all of that food so sometimes have cold pizza for lunch the next day – a bargain for 3 meals!

If you are too lazy to leave the house (we often are!) they deliver for an extra £2 and the food is always piping hot on arrival.

And that’s exactly what we did a few nights ago to treat ourselves following payday. Hence – Payday Pizza! We actually had it whilst putting up our christmas decorations (I talked about our decorations in my post “O, Christmas Tree”).

We have been visiting Grounded for a few years now and have never had a bad meal. If you are local to Bristol it’s a great place to eat or have a coffee so pop along and see what you think!

Check out their website, menu and special offers here

**This post is not sponsored, I just genuinely love Grounded’s food!**

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