Banoffee Cookies ¦ TheBettyStamp Recipe

30 April 2015

When The Betty Stamp tweeted a few weeks ago that she was making some sort of banoffee cookie extravaganza and would be sharing the recipe soon, I practically squealed. And then when she actually posted the recipe, I did squeal. No, seriously, I'm not joking:
Which is totally squeal-speak for wow what a lovely looking cookie recipe, I would like to give them a go myself. And I cannot put into words how positively fabulous it was to get these little babies out of the oven. Or lick the bowl. Or polish them off in one day. Or bookmark the recipe for all my friends and family. Or think about having them made especially for my wedding and/or funeral. You know, the normal stuff that runs through your head when you taste a decent cookie. 

You can follow Betty's recipe here.  As you will see she totally mastered the layered cookie tower look, something that was never going to happen for me because a) I was too busy eating them and b) my photo wouldn't have looked half as beaut as hers (those straws! *heart eye emoji*). 

I would LOVE, and I mean LOVE to know if you bake these and what you thought of them. And if you have any other amazing, slightly different recipes that I might like just as much. 



I also made some of my own pretty naughty flapjacks, or a vanilla and chocolate marble cake if you're feeling fancy.
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Uptown Dunk

29 April 2015

Mikey made a pretty decent observation the other day. In fact, it was an observation so profound that I leant back in my chair for a second and pondered how I'd never realised it before. His observation was this: 

'Oi Katie, you do realise that the only reason you drink so much tea is because it's an excuse to have a biscuit?'. 

As a fully fledged British citizen, I know that I should not be degrading the infamous cuppa down to an unwilling pawn in a bigger picture of cookie love....but don't tell me you've never accepted the offer of a cup of tea solely because you know of its dunking capabilities?! I do this all the time. I'll never finish the cuppa, but what I will do, is slowly make my way through an entire packet of chocolate digestives. Why? Because biscuits dunked in tea aren't calorific, obviously. Just like chocolate bars shared with someone else, and popcorn at the cinema aren't either. These things are minus calories. They're good-time nutrients, and you can't put a sugar rating on those babies. 





Pictures from the Chocolate Theatre Cafe in Eton that me and the boyfriend visited last weekend.

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So Smooth

27 April 2015

My healthy kickstart at the beginning of the year, like most NY resolutions, completely fizzled out by the 5th of January. Who did I think I was kidding that I'd stop eating chocolate before 4pm? Nobody - that's who. But with the smell of summer around the corner and the fear that I'll have to change out of baggy jumpers, fluffy socks and slippers for the first time in 5 months, means that some sort of body reboot has to occur. 

So, I'm embarking on this slow descent into a Cheryl Cole-esque physique by embracing smoothies. Because instagram. And because pinterest. Unfortunately, I haven't quite managed to jump onto the kale-quinoa-how-does-anyone-pretend-to-like-this-shit green smoothies yet, so I'm playing it safe with some banana and vanilla-yoghurt ones (low fat of course). Join me. They taste bloody good and a healthy outside starts on the inside! 
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Ingredients: 1 banana  //  1/2 cup of low fat vanilla yoghurt  //  half a cup of milk  
Method: Blend and go baby, blend and go! 
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And please share your favourite smoothie recipes with me or go-to healthy snacks/dinners (link me link me link me! I need motivation!) 
xx

Bloomin' lovely

24 April 2015


Oooooh, is there any time of the year better than spring?! (answer: no, there damn well isn't). While I can fully appreciate that some people get excited about barbecues and denim shorts and salt spray and minimal clothing, what really gets my cogs whirring about this time of year is that blossom is out in force. Yep, I'm that lame. I cannot believe this stuff actually grows naturally on trees, and I haven't quite worked out why it's not an all-year-round fixture yet, but what I do know is that when it's out - I go mental snap happy. I admit that photographing blossoms in England today didn't quite beat photographing blossoms in Paris last year, but they really do make my little heart rejoice, wherever I find them.




Easy Viccy Sponge recipe

23 April 2015

Oooooh the Victoria Sponge, the mother of all cakes. The quintessentially British masterpiece that deserves all the love of a million baby pugs. Rumour has it this lil beauty gained its name because Queen Vic herself enjoyed a slice, with a cup of tea from her golden throne no doubt. And if it's good enough for Queenie, then it's good enough for me! (And you).

I urge, no I insist, that you give this a go this weekend. Throw on a union jack dress à la Geri Halliwell, mix up some Pimms, and have a British baller of a weekend.

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Ingredients: (Cake) 225g softened butter  //  225g caster sugar  //  4 large eggs  //  225g self-raising flour  //  2 teaspoons baking powder  //  2 round cake tins  // (for the filling) raspberry jam (or strawberry)  //  100g softened butter  //  140g icing sugar  //  vanilla extract 

Method: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius, grease and line two sandwich tins. Beat together the butter, sugar, flour, eggs and baking powder until smooth. Divide this evenly between the tins and bake for 12-15 minutes. Meanwhile, make the filling by beating together the butter and icing sugar until smooth. Then add a drop of vanilla extract and continue to stir.

When the sponges are totally cooled, spread the filling onto one half of the sponge. Cover (and I mean cover) this with jam of your choice. Pop the other half of your sponge on top and lightly sprinkle with icing sugar.

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It couldn't be easier and it couldn't taste better! Do you love Victoria sponge as much as I do!? I'd love to know if you'll be giving this a bake soon. Until then, chat with me on Twitter or follow me on Instagram and I wish you the loveeeeeliest, cakiest of Thursdays! 



Sunsational evenings

22 April 2015


The sun tonight was so beautiful. So naturally me and Mikey hopped in the car, found some country roads, went for a spin and took some pictures. I should probably say that these pictures are slightly grainy because I'm going for that Kodak instant vibe, but it's actually because I either a) didn't realise I was in the wrong setting, b) was having way too much fun to notice or c) both of the above. But hey, I'm not claiming to be a professional. (Note my sarcasm). 


I do a lot of nattering on Twitter, post a lot of pictures to Instagram, and always appreciate the love on Bloglovin'

Galette des Rois Recipe

18 April 2015


When I lived in Paris last year, I went into my little French infant school one day and was greeted with a little slice of something I'd never heard of before. Being a complete sucker for a decent Sunday roast and cup of tea, I have to admit I can sometimes be quite blasé when it comes to foreign foods. I think this is in part because of my complete, unrelenting love affair with a good roast tatty, but also because I lived with a Korean guy in my first year of university and the things he used to keep in the fridge have put me off foreign food for life. So, in short, I was very skeptical of this little foreign delicacy being pushed towards me on a plate in the staff room. 

But like in most other aspects of my life, I was quickly proved wrong. This little baby is a delight. And because it's French, you feel so chic baking it. And even chic-er eating it. Also, I would normally skip all the bits where it says to leave pastry to chill (ain't nobody got time for that), but I urge you to follow this recipe religiously or your galette might not rise! Okay, let's go. 

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Ingredients: 750g ready made all butter puff pastry // 3 free range eggs (1 to glaze and 1 yolk) // 100g unsalted butter // 100g caster sugar // 100g ground almonds // 50g flaked almonds // 1teaspoon almond extract 

Method: line a baking tray in baking parchment. Roll out half of the pastry until it is about 25cmx25cm and slightly thicker than a pound coin. Cut a circle into the pastry (essentially chop of the corners!), pop onto the baking tray and cover in cling film. Repeat this process with the other half of the pastry and lay this one on top of the other one. Let 'em chill for a while. 

Meeeeanwhile, filling time! Mix together the butter and sugar until fluffy. In a small bowl, beat 1 egg with 1 egg yolk and then gradually add this to butter and sugar. When this mixture gets very light, stir in the ground almonds, flaked almonds and almond extract. Cover this with cling film and let it chill for a while with the pastry. 15-20 minutes will do. 

When cooled, remove the top layer of pastry from the baking tray and set aside. Spoon the filling onto the bottom layer, leaving a 2cm gap around the edge (it can mound up in the middle a little!). Brush the edge with the beaten egg and lay the second layer of pastry on top, pressing down on the edges to seal. You can pinch around the edges too for a tighter seal, plus it looks pretty! Yay! 

Brush the top of your galette with more beaten egg and let him get chilly again in the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Score your galette with a knife, and then make a couple of small holes in the centre. Bake for 20-30 minutes! 

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I realise this recipe may seem a little long winded and not as straight forward as my easy  flapjack recipe, but it is so worth the results at the end. My personal opinion is that it tastes best freshly out of the oven when it's still warm, but it lasts in the fridge for a few days too for anyone who doesn't think they can eat it all in one go (read: anyone who is not me). 


If you want to learn the history of the Galette, check this page out.  Or if you'd like to follow me on Twitter, Bloglovin, or Instagram - go right ahead! 

Lake District 3 | Waterfalls and Winding Roads

16 April 2015


One of my favourite things about the Lake District was the winding roads. Call me easy to please but there is nothing I like more (excluding blue powerade and kinder eggs, obviously) than sitting passenger seat in the car with the radio on and miles and miles of country road ahead of me. Unsurprisingly, the Lake District is pretty damn hot in this respect. I got snap happy in the car, Mikey pulled over numerous times for me to nip out and get even more snap happy out of the car, and this post is going to be heavily - guess what! - snap happy baby.



After cruising in the car for a bit and a short walk in trainers and high spirits, we arrived at Aira Force Waterfall. If I had to describe it, I'd say that it was like a cross between how I imagine heaven looks for really good people, and the shire from LOTR. You can't quite believe how beautiful it is until you're in it and even then you still can't believe it. I felt like ripping off my clothes and bounding naked through the trees, but society frowns upon that sort of behavior so instead I took some pictures.









Can you blame me for getting so snap happy when everything looks like a postcard?! And not one of them shitty cheap postcards either, but a proper sturdy one. Maybe even with embellished writing. And a fancy fake stamp. 


Lake District 2 | Boating and bloating...

15 April 2015


After I had got over the whole huge bed, ceiling-high windows and television in the bathroom excitement of the hotel (which you can read about here), we headed out to Ullswater Lake. I love being sea bound, to the extent that I may well have been Nemo in a past life DONT TOUCH THE BUTT (sorry, literally could not resist that one). Anyway, I think there's something so peaceful about bobbing along on water, especially when there is a glass of wine in your hand and the sun is shining. Boating = completed.





After our trip to the bottom of Ullswater and back, we headed back to the hotel for a nap. This was partly because we'd got up at 4.30am that morning, partly because I wanted to practice my starfish in the huuuge bed, and partly because we wanted dinner to hurry up a little. When we awoke a few hours later, it was finally dinner time and ooooooo is all I can say about that. Me being the little wimp that I am, teamed with the fact the restaurant was posh and tranquilly quiet, means I didn't have the balls to whip out my baby and take some proper pictures of the food. Maybe one day I'll stop caring so much about what other diners think and I'll photograph away to my hearts content, documenting my duck from every angle. But unfortunately, not this weekend. Boohoo. I did, however, manage to surreptitiously sneak some iPhone pictures.  

Let me recount the sequence of very delicious events: we had canapés in the lounge to start, and then a mushroom and crouton amuse-bouche in the restaurant with a delightful glass of Pinot. Mikey had duck for starter, followed by a manly steak, and I had a cheese soufflé washed down with the most unreal duck I've ever eaten. Somehow after this we managed to fit in pudding (ice cream for me and Blueberry cheesecake for him), AND tea and coffee and pétit fours. I am not exaggerating when I say that I don't think I have ever been so pleasantly stuffed and I don't expect to be again. Bloating done.


After this we retired to the boudoir and treated ourselves to a totally unromantic, rotund, I'm-never-eating-again, how-do-we-both-even-fit-in-this-thing bath. It was a Jacuzzi typa thing and of course I overdid it on the bubblebath. Yes, I refused to turn it off and yes, I turned the bathroom into the Bubbleworks à la Chessington World of Adventures. There were Blue Bubblin' jokes (once we get inside there's gonna be trouble and dear God you get the picture etc) and fake moustaches and beards. Excitement overload and cue a very clean, satisfied, and totally delightful nights sleep. And Saturday, well that's for another post. 


Lake District 1 | An apple a day...

13 April 2015

This weekend Mikey took me on a surprise trip to the Lake District. When I say surprise, I mean I found out about it approximately 2 days after he'd booked it and about 2 weeks before we were due to go. My boyfriend, like your last packet of chewing gum in sixth form, isn't very good at maintaining secrecy. The drive up was around 5 hours, so at 4.30am on Friday morning and with comedians galore loaded into the iPad, we set off. I'm impressed  to say that we managed the whole trip in one go. Which is an amazing feat for someone who normally goes to the toilet upwards of 5 times an hour. Guilty as charged. 

We stayed in the most idyllicly beautiful hotel called Appeby Manor, just outside of the Lake District near Penrith. It was all wooden and friendly and cosy and warm, with a television in the bathroom (!!!) and a bed big enough that Mikey could sleep unhindered by my customary elbow/knee lift sleeping starfish.









One of my favourite parts of going away is always the hotel. I love being able to spend the day exploring somewhere new and exciting, only to come home, whack on pjs and pig out infront of the television, just like being at home. Ooh and pig out we did. After our six course meal on Friday night (is that even legal!?), we lolloped in bed for a while before falling into a happy food induced coma. More on that meal in another post.


What's not to lake?

08 April 2015


Yes. Yes these flowers are completely and utterly unrelated to the post. 

Anyway. This weekend, my boyfriend and I are going to the Lake District. It will take about four hours to drive up from our little home of just-below-the-M25. Aka a very, very early start on Friday morning and, most likely, a car journey partaken in a dressing gown and slippers. 

So far our plans for the weekend consist of getting very full with a three course meal on Friday night, taking Mikey's telescope into the dark at night to look at the moon (1. don't ask but then again 2. don't knock it til you've tried it!), a lot of walking and fresh air and then a pub lunch on Sunday. I'm severely hoping that when I return I will finally start revising for my final exams as well, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it (read: I won't).

Have you ever been to the Lake District and is there anything that you'd recommend?! Any ideas welcome! 

Happy Easter!

05 April 2015


I haven't been able to go on any type of social media this weekend without seeing these little babies crop up somewhere. And damn right too, they're absolutely delicious!

If you haven't already made them yet (what why how? Who are you?!), you basically melt 225g milk chocolate, 2 teaspoons golden syrup, 50g butter in a Bain-Marie. Then mix this up with 75g of cornflakes and pop into cupcake cases. Leave to cool and decorate how you like! 

Today we had the most amazing lunch at Mikey's - I'm talking roast with all the trimmings, oooooh! -and then spent the day watching telly in bed and eating chocolate. I wish every day could be Easter. How did you spend yours?