January Cake

15 Jan

Today’s recipe is a two layered naked cake topped with sugared fruit and nuts. I called it January cake simply because it was made in January.It’s a white butter cake with minimal icing so it’s a light(ish), dessert great for after a holiday season of decadent eating and drinking.

This butter cake recipe is adapted from my favourite baking website, Joy of Baking. I added the strawberries and cut down on the sugar a bit. The recipe makes two 8 inch diameter cakes. However, I made 2, 4 inch diameter cakes and so I had excess batter.

WHAT YOU NEED 

Cake

1) 2 eggs, separated- Allow the whites to come to room temperature. 

2) 1 1/3 cups of flour

3) 1 cup granulated sugar divided into 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup.

4) 1/2 cup butter

5) 1/2 cup of milk

6) 2 tsp baking powder

7) 1/8 tsp cream of tartar

8) 1 tsp vanilla extract 

9) Strawberries  (about 1/4 cup chopped)

Toppings

1)Assorted fruits- I used strawberries but you can use any berries you like.

2)Assorted nuts- I used almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts. 

3)Granulated white sugar- about 1 cup.

Frosting

1) 1 cup confectioners sugar

2) 1/4 cup butter 

3) 1 tsp vanilla extract 

4) 1 tablespoon of milk

5) Food colouring of choice

Ingredients 

Ingredients 

Topping ingredients 


Frosting ingredients 


WHAT TO DO 

Cake

1) Beat butter until soft then add 3/4 cup of sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg yolks and vanilla extract and beat well.

2) Keeping mixer on low speed, add flour and milk alternately beginning with flour. Add chopped strawberries and mix in gently with a spatula.Set batter off to the side.

Batter with strawberries 


3) In a clean bowl, beat egg whites until foamy.

4) Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.

Soft peaks

5) Add 1/4 cup of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

Stiff peaks


6) Fold meringue mixture into batter careful not to deflate the meringue. 

Batter


7) Pour into baking tins and bake at 350 F until done.

Batter in tin


Baked cake


Toppings

1)Mix about 1/2 cup of sugar with a small amount of water until a thick syrup forms.

Syrup



2) Allow to partially dry then roll into remaining sugar.

Sugared fruits

3) Set out to dry at room temperature. 
Frosting

1) Beat butter until smooth and creamy.

2) On low speed add the confectioners sugar.

3) On high speed add milk and beat until frosting is light and fluffy.

4) Add food colouring  (I added WAY too much).

Assembly

I intended initially to make a 3 layered cake but due to the narrow diameter , it wasn’t structurally sound,  Depending on the size of your cake you can do however many layers you wish.

1) Level the cakes using a sharp knife or cake leveler. 

2) Place a dot of frosting on a sturdy icing surface and put first layer of cake down.

3) Place a dollop of frosting on top of cake and using a knife spread it out. 

One layer


4) Place second layer on top and cover top with icing allowing some to spill over the edge.

Two layers


5) Place in refrigerator and allow everything to firm up for about 15 minutes. 

6) Add a bit more frosting on top and spread it with a straight edged tool (palette knife ) until there is a light layer of frosting around the cake.Think of just doing a crumb coat layer of frosting.

7) Add toppings and  you’re done.

January cake


This cake was delicious. The butter cake is light but somehow still dense. Not like a sponge cake at all which is how I thought it might be at first. The sugared fruits and nuts add a whimsical flair. The icing was sweet and buttery but not overwhelming because there wasn’t much of it.

This is great to have as a teatime dessert or a brunch dessert or really anytime. 

Have an awesome day.

Garbanzo bean Stew

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Today I bring you a dinner recipe of Garbanzo bean Stew served with roasted sweet potato.

Garbanzo bean Stew and sweet potato 




Garbanzo beans also called Chickpeas or channa are a great source of protein and starch. They are pretty versitile and can be used in cold salads, ground to make hummus or cooked into a delicious vegetable stew like this. 

Makes 2 servings 

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) 1 can of Garbanzo beans

2) 1 large tomato (diced)

3) 1/2 a medium onion(diced)

4) 2 cloves of garlic(sliced)

5) Approximately 2 cups of fresh spinach 

6) 1tbsp of paprika 

7) 1tbsp of yellow curry powder 

8) 1/2 tsp of all purpose seasoning 

9) 1 tbsp of Sriracha pepper sauce (or other spicy sauce)

10) 2tbsp of tomato sauce

11) 1 medium-large sweet potato


Unlike baking, where precision is key, cooking is very subjective.  Feel free to add more or less of something as you see fit. 

Ingredients 

Spices and sauces




WHAT TO DO 

Sweet Potato 

1) In a saucepan bring water to a rolling boil then add both halves of sweet potato.

2) Once cooked through,  drain water and allow to cool.

Boiled sweet potato 




3) Take a fork and plough the centre of the potatoes and sprinkle with seasoning. 

Add seasoning




4) Bake around 350 F for 10-15 minutes.

Baked potatoes


Stew

1) Add 1tbsp of butter to a medium heat frying pan and allow to melt.

2) Add garlic and onion and Sautee

Butter, garlic and onions




3) Add spices and continue to Sautee

Spices

4) Add garbanzo beans and allow them to Sautee for a few minutes. Be sure to continually stir and coat the beans with spices,  not allowing them to burn.

Beans added

5) Add tomatoes and mix

Tomatoes added




6) Add spinach and let it sweat down then mix

Spinach added



Spinach cooked down


7) Add tomato sauce and Sriracha and mix.

Sauces

8) Turn heat down to low and let it simmer until preferred consistency. 

Simmer

Plate stew and sweet potato and serve.

Finished meal

This meal came together by happenstance one evening and I’m so glad it did. The stew is hearty without being heavy and the potato is starchy and filling (in a healthy way) What I love about it is that this dinner is so effortless yet is so complex in flavour. This is a great dinner to have at the end of a long day either alone or with family and friends.

Have an awesome day 

Ten Fashion Trends in 2017

4 Jan

Greenery

Greenery was recently named the Pantone colour of 2017. For anyone who doesn’t know, this increasingly iconic and influential company has been selecting the colour of the year since 1999 and trends that follow often incorporate whatever tone they choose. This colour is described as a yellow-green although I personally find it to be more cool toned. It is a neutral green reminiscent of lush vegetation and I can see it working as an edgy eyeshadow colour, in a vibrant cushion fabric design or splashed onto an accent wall.

 
So we know what colour sets the tone for fashion and design this year but what else will be trending in 2017?

 
I have a list of ten fashion trends to look out for. This list is based on my review and perusing the 2017 runway shows. There are certainly more than ten trends but I chose the one I liked the best or that I saw most often, in other words it is not an exhaustive list. For a longer list you can check Fashionisers

 

1 ) SHEER FORCE

By this I mean sheer fabrics namely Tulle and Lace. While these fabrics always have their place every season, they are more prominent in 2017 with full tulle skirts and dresses made entirely of lace and beads.

Alexander McQueen                                                 Dior

 

2) TOPSY TURVY- Asymmetric Tops

Those cheeky cold shoulder, long sleeve tops that made a splash towards the end of 2016 were just the beginning. One shoulder tops, diagonal cut tops, will be really trending and I for one cannot wait. Who doesn’t love an asymmetrical top?

Moschino (top)                 Philosophy (bottom)


3) 1980’s

2016 definitely saw the return of mid 1990s fashion, with button front skirts and chokers a plenty and I was there for it. I still am. But let us step aside and give the 1980s some time to shine. Literally. We are talking lame, sequined leggings, neon colours and of course wide bold shoulders.

(Clockwise) Saint Laurent,  Moschino,  Balenciaga And Saint Laurent
 
4) THINK PINK

Hot pink, Fuchsia, Mauve. All the more grown up variations of the colour pink were seen on the runways. And what a beautiful time it is. Pink is an amazing colour because it literally matches all skin tones. Definitely get a splash of this in your wardrobe this year.

Oscar de la renta,  Botegga Veneta, Balenciaga 


5) KEEP IN LINE- Stripes

Horizontal, Vertical, Thick, Pinstripe. Bold. Every version of stripes will make an appearance. Stripes can be so versatile, it’s impossible not to find a style that suits you. White Pinstripes on your pantsuit for work or horizontal multicoloured stripes on a jersey dress for a sporty look.

Mulberry                                                                         Proenza Schouler


6 ) FLOWER POWER

Again, floral prints will almost always be present in some form or fashion year after year. This year however the prints are more 1960s and 1970s inspired with simplified lighter coloured prints as well as more intricate English garden style patterns.

Balenciaga                                                Zac Posen (top)  Dole &Gabanna (bottom)


7 ) OXFORD STREET-Shirt fashion

2017 welcomes the era of the deconstructed and reconstructed Oxford shirt. This is by far one of my favourites. I love the idea of dismantling a crisp Oxford with all its implications of stiffness and conformity (I also happen to love a regular Oxford btw) and making it into something edgy and with attitude. In 2017, it’s all about the attitude.

Monse                                                                       Off White


8 )BARE NECESSITIES

The bralet is no longer being hidden underneath an oversized tank top or relegated to a festival outfit. It is becoming way more widespread with many designers making the tops of their dresses into this style or creating pantsuits or skirt suits which incorporate bralets. This trend definitely takes some confidence as you will obviously be baring it all. But like I said, 2017 is all about having the right attitude so if you like it, wear it.

Victoria Beckham                                Alexander Wang  (top)   Altuzarra (bottom)


9) EXPLORER- Khaki

I call this: “The other neutral” (Black being the first one). I used to love khaki, in fact I used to have as much khaki as black in my wardrobe. Then I stopped wearing cargo pants, and suddenly…no more khaki. But seriously this time around khaki has come back savage being seen primarily in the form of trench coats and other beautifully designed jackets.

(Clockwise)Talbot Runhof, Less Copains, Dion Lee,Talbot Runhof, Miu Miu

10 ) BOTTOM LINE

Culottes with their midi length wideness are here to make a statement. This style of pant has had a few moments in the limelight since their initial debut in the 1970s but this time the trend is hard to ignore being more ubiquitous than ever. Joining the culottes in the 2017 trend list is wide bottom pants. This style of pant had been very slowly seeping into popular fashion over the past few years but remained relegated to fashion bloggers and stylists who were more willing to take a chance. Now we can all jump aboard on this wearable trend.

Gucci                                                                                                       Chloe

What trends do you like? What are you thinking of experimenting with? 
Have an awesome day! 

Happy 2017

1 Jan

Hello and welcome to 2017! Wishing everyone who reads this a year of achievement and contentment and success.

 I don’t make traditional New Year’s resolutions but I do often write out my goals (which is kind of the same thing I guess) . I have personal goals, career goals, reading goals and of course blogging goals. I will share a few blogging goals I have.

1) To continue to consistently post on my blog- though I started my blog in 2012, I only began consistent posting in mid 2016, and I love it. It gives me something to look forward to and hopefully does the same for those who read the blog.

2) To expand my posting range- I primarily do recipes and tips with some travel and beauty stuff splashed in between. This year I want to do DIYs ,more exciting recipes  and more travel and beauty related posts.

3) To improve my photography skills- While I quite like taking photos and I do think I have improved over time, I know there is so much more to learn and do to create beautiful shots. I intend to invest more energy in that.

4) To engage more with fellow bloggers- I learnt in the latter half of 2016 that there are A LOT of blogs out there. Some very similar to me, some completely different but exciting and some just totally out of the box. Before, I never really considered finding blogs on WordPress,  I only used it to actually write my posts. It opened up a whole new world for me and I’m excited to see more.

This are my main blogging goals that I hope to achieve this year. What are your blogging goals?

Have an awesome day!

Champagne Gummy Bears

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Hello everyone.  Hoping you had a beautiful Christmas/Holiday season and are as eager as I am to leave 2016 behind. It hasn’t been all bad but it was definitely messy. 

This is a recipe I tried a couple months ago but I thought would be a perfect NYE treat… Champagne Gummy bears. Of course, you can also use regular wine.

I first heard of these about two or three years ago. At that point they were only being sold by a very high end gourmet candy company and though beautiful and delicious looking, not easily attainable for me.

Then the pictures and tutorials began showing up on Pinterest and I knew…I had to try.

The recipe I used is a mash up of two I found online.  One is from Cooking with Janica and Sprinkle Bakes. I used less gelatin than both recipes called for and it gave me a softer gummy which I prefer. I also used the recommendation from Sprinkle Bakes of adding an additional flavour because just using the wine makes it a bit bland. So let us continue. ..

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) 1 cup Wine– champagne, prosecco, red, white, blush. I used a white, a red and a sparkling rose.

2) Gummy bear molds– I bought these on Amazon, each can make 50 bears and it comes in pairs.

3) 3 packets of gelatin (or if you want a vegan option, use agar-agar)

4) Food colouring– Depends on the flavour, I used pink for the rose, red for the red wine and a little yellow for the white wine.

5) 1/2 cup of white sugar

6) 2-3 drops of wine food flavouring – yes this exists but I couldn’t get any when I wanted it so I used strawberry, I think any berry flavour can work.

7) Squeeze bottle– for easy delivery of the gel.

Ingredients 

WHAT TO DO 

1) Mix 3 packets of gelatin with water and let it dissolve.

2) Add sugar and mix in.

3) In a saucepan /frying pan Pour in wine and allow to come to a boil. 

4) Add sugar/gelatin mix to warm wine and stir in to dissolve.

5) Add food colouring and Flavouring and mix.

6) Pour gelatin/syrup into bottle and carefully fill molds.

7) Place in refrigerator and let firm up- I left them in overnight 

Sugar and gelatin 




Add water




Fill molds




Finished gummies 



They look like gummy bears, they kind of smell like gummy bears but they don’t quite taste like gummy bears. They taste like a sweet cocktail or wine cooler. This is a sophisticated treat that’s pretty straight forward to make and I think it’s a perfect party favour for a NYE shindig!

Try this out and eat gummies responsibly. Have an awesome day!

Merry Christmas

25 Dec

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My DIY gingerbread house

So Blogmas has come to an end. It has been 24 straight days of posting  (25 if you include today)

I have never participated in Blogmas before (I never even knew it was a thing before this year!) and it has certainly been an experience… hundreds of photos, hours of editing and typing, nights thinking and planning.

I also learnt quite a few things. For example I have gotten fairly decent at photographing food and makeup items, (I’m  addicted to flat lays), but I learnt that being photographed for makeup and hair and outfit looks is a whole other ball game.

I also explored other types of posts such as short story and poetry writing.

All in all this was a great experience for me to grow as a blogger and I look forward to Blogmas 2017!

Blogmas Bonus- Cranberry Scones

25 Dec

Blogmas Bonus – Cranberry Scones

Hello and Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it and Happy Holidays to everyone.

Back in November when I was meticulously planning each and every Blogmas post, I asked my sister to do a guest post on something sweet and easy to make. I told her what day I was thinking of putting it up and told her to get back to me.

Well she did. Yesterday. But I digress. Better late than never.

This recipe is taken from our favourite online baker Stephanie fron Joy of Baking (I have referenced her more than a few times)

Since this is Kristine’s post I will present it the way she did.

Ingredients

image

2 cups of flour
1/3 cup of white sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup of unsalted butter
2/3 cup of fresh cranberries
2/3 cup of milk

She left out the candied fruit and the almonds listed in the original recipe.

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400F (200C) and butter or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk dry ingredients then cut butter in. Use a pastey blender of you have one if not use forks or knives creating course crumbs.

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Add the cranberries and gently mix

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Add milk and stir careful not to overmix

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On a floured surface knead dough four times then form a circle about 7 inches (18 cm) in diameter.

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Cut it into 8 triangles and brush top with milk.

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Bake for 20 minutes or until crust is brown.

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My sister gave these to some of her cowokers for Christmas. They make great gifts or a light dessert to have with coffee after all the heavy Christmas dinner.

Enjoy and have an awesome day!

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