Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Christmas Is Coming!!!

It's official, Christmas is well & truly on it's way! I love Christmas for two things, family & food. As this is my first Christmas as an International Blogger and Ting, I thought it would be nice to do my very own Advent Blogendar (did you see what I did there? Blog + Calendar = Blogendar, yeah? OK cool :)).

So as a gift from me, everyday in the lead up to Christmas I will be posting various Christmassy sweet treats, cakes, desserts, cake pops etc and maybe even a drink or two! It will be a challenge but I hope that you will enjoy it as much I plan to.

Today I have some Fruit Cake Cupcakes topped with marzipan and icing. The best thing about fruit cake is that it lasts for ages so I can take my time eating them. I hope you are having a great week whatever you're up to!

Peace & Love

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Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins...and happy realisations

This week I had a bit of a happy realisation, I'm an OK baker. Obviously I blog & therefore promote myself somewhat, but anyone that knows me, knows that I'm an excellentist (as opposed to a perfectionist because that's just silly!) I compare myself unfavourably to people at the top of the game & then beat myself up for not being at their level. It's a double edged sword because it drives my standards - good thing; but it also leaves me feeling inadequate - bad thing.

In fact, I've been thinking a lot about what it is that defines me as a person. Traditionally, it's been the external things in my life such as, religion, career, marital status, bank balance, friendship circles etc etc but recently those things have changed either subtly or dramatically. This period of time pursuing happyness has really caused me to take it back to the bare bones and look deep inside to find out who I really am. You never know what you are going to find when you look within, but look within we must.

So this week I discovered that whilst I may not be Lorraine Pascale, I am an OK baker & when I say OK I mean I can make bad boy Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins that melt in your mouth & compel you to have thirds, yeah I said it, THIRDS, they were that good! I'm also extremely blessed to have amazing people in my life & I have a lot of love in my heart. Oh & I'm also learning the art of surrender (but that is for another post).

What cool things are you realising about yourself? We all know what we aren't good at but what are your happy realisations?

Peace & Love

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Monday, 28 November 2011

Saturday Night At The Movies....

Happy Monday people, I hope you had a good weekend. Mine was cool, I had a wedding on Saturday and celebrated a friends birthday Saturday night by watching the original Alien movie (1979) with a load of friends. On Sunday my youngest's second front tooth finally came out which meant shelling out money for the 'tooth fairy'. Have a look at the pictures :)

Happy Times as he knows what's coming next :)

Red Velvet Popcorn cake pops

Love Never Fails...

The wedding cakes I made...

Peace & Love


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Friday, 25 November 2011

Banoffee Tartelettes

TGIF! Today's offerings are mini banoffee tarts. I like little cakes because then I can eat the whole thing and not feel bad :). Plus I'm in the middle of a wedding cake marathon and have been baking up a storm this week. When you spend as much time as I do in the kitchen baking for other people, you need quick and tasty little treats to keep your sugar levels up.

This banoffee tart took me about 5 minutes to throw together, perfect for when you are a busy bee. I bought all the bits separately from Sainsburys. As it's almost Christmas there are loads of little party bits in the shops at the moment.

The base is a ready made sweet mini tart, filled with Dulce Leche Caramel and double thick whipped cream. They are then topped with sliced bananas and some cocoa sprinkled on top, delicious...

I hope you have had a good week and are planning an even better weekend.

Peace & love


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Wednesday, 23 November 2011

It's Like A Jungle Sometimes....

'It's like a jungle sometimes, it makes me wonder how I keep from going under.' Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five. The Message. These immortal lyrics from one of the earliest hip-hop tunes seemed like the soundtrack to my life at the moment...

I've spent way too much time in my own thoughts recently and when I do that I get an inflated sense of self and my own problems. Thankfully a few loved ones came to my rescue with some timely words and I remembered how blessed I am. Then I decided, it's time to sing a different song!

Like the mighty Nina Simone sings 

Got my hair. Got my head
Got my brains, Got my ears
Got my eyes, Got my nose
Got my mouth, I got my smile

I got my tongue, Got my chin
Got my neck, Got my boobies
Got my heart, Got my soul

Got my back, I got my sex

I got my arms, got my hands, got my fingers,
got my legs, got my feet, got my toes,
got my liver, got my blood..

I've got life,
I've got my freedom
I've got life, I've 
got life

and I am gonna keep it, 

I've got life

and nobody's gonna take it away

I've got life!

"Ain't Got No, I Got Life"

Furthermore I've got these amazing little jungle animals (well at least I did until they went to the birthday boy), and who can be sad when you see these little cuties? I am blessed :)

I have sooooo much to be grateful for so I intend to spend the rest of my time singing happy songs and baking tasty cakes...

I hope you are enjoying your week so far.

Peace & Love

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Monday, 21 November 2011

Fig and Honey Buttermilk Pancakes...

Happy Monday People. Since here in the UK, it's cold, it's foggy & it's probably the toughest day of the week, I thought I would brighten up your day with some delicious pancakes. 

If you needed any proof that pancakes have 'happy face' giving properties, then check Exhibit A - a photo of me brunching in NYC with my good friend a few years back.

Before I tell you all about these delicious buttermilk pancakes, topped with honey and fresh figs, I think it's important that you understand the pancake rules. Here they are in no order of importance;

Pancake Rules

1. Thick or thin? I believe in fair treatment for all, but all pancakes are not made equal. Thick American style pancakes are the only ones that give you a happy face of the magnitude seen above: fact.

2. America knows best: enough said.

3. Pancakes must be shared. Pancakes are a social phenomena and the discussion about how big the pancakes are and how much topping you are going to have, are integral parts of the experience. This is not a time for eating solo.

4. Eat pancakes with fruit. To ensure balance, you must eat some type of fruit with your pancake, be it blueberries, figs or a squeeze of lemon juice, it all counts.

5. Pancakes cannot be rushed. Pancakes are not like a slice of toast that you can eat on the go, you must ensure you have enough time to savour them fully.

The recipe I used is quite a simple one, the key ingredient being the buttermilk which gives the pancakes a light and fluffy taste. Once the pancakes were cooked, I drizzled them with honey and some fresh figs. Figs are not only tasty but they look great and there's something a bit posh about them :)

Have a great week!

Peace & Love.


Buttermilk Pancakes Recipe (makes about 8 pancakes)

120ml buttermilk
75ml cold water
150g plain flour (sifted)
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3 large eggs (beaten)
1 tbsp sugar (optional)
50g butter (for frying)

1. Mix together all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the wet ingredients. Then gradually pour this mixture into the well of the dry ingredients, slowly incorporating the flour with each new addition of liquid. Continue this until you have a smooth batter but be careful not to overmix it. Let the batter stand for a few minutes.

3.  Heat a knob of the butter in a pan over a medium heat and when the pan is hot add a tablespoon of batter per pancake. The pancakes will take about a minute to brown on each side and will puff up slightly. Place on a piece of kitchen towel to soak up any excess fat.

4. Repeat this with the rest of the batter and add more butter if necessary. It usually takes a couple of pancakes to get into a rhythm so don't be discouraged if it doesn't turn out great on the first try. Serve immediately as pancakes are best eaten fresh out of the pan.

5. Add the toppings of your choice and enjoy. For a variation you can add a handful of blueberries to the batter.

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Friday, 18 November 2011

Lions & Tigers & Bears, Oh My....

I'm not scared of lions and tigers and bears, Oh my
But I'm scared of loving you.
I'm not scared to perform at a sold out affair, that's right,
But I'm scared of loving you.

Am I the only one who thinks it's an impossible task?
Why it don't last, is that too much to ask?
Why do we love love,
when love seems to hate us?

Most circumstances, I know my fate,
But in this love thing I don't get the game.
Why does it feel like those who give in,
They only wind up losing a friend?

Just cause I love you and you love me,
It doesn't mean that we'll ever be,
Fly cross the ocean, sing for the Queen,
But the most frightening thing is you & me! 

I'm not sure no, I'm not sure
But if we never try we'll never know
It's better to have loved than not to love at all
Not trying is worse than to stumble and fall.
And if we do,
I'd rather it be with you.
Cause at least there will be,
Sweet memories.

Oh, I'm not scared.....
(Jazmine Sullivan)

Peace & Love


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Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Stay Inspired

I started this week in search of some inspiration; my original plan was to head into London and check out some art galleries. As it happened, things went a little differently... I started out by looking around my home at the beautiful pink roses that, though slowly dying, are providing me with so much happiness. I discovered the power of pink roses this summer. Some of my work colleagues bought me a bunch for my birthday and they lasted about 10 days. It was at a time when I was hiding a major amount of sadness as we do sometimes. Smiles on the outside, silent tears within. Anyways, the flowers soothed my soul and I now try to have them at home whenever possible.

Then on Tuesday I came across a blog that talked about the book 'The 4-Hour Work Week' by Timothy Ferriss. Another friend had mentioned it to me before so I thought why not & bought a copy - good move! Many of you will have heard of it and some may have read it. To me, it was talking about my would-be life... I could go on & on but I won't. I will just share with you the two most important things that I took from it;

1) I am not crazy! I have a philosophy that says, I want to do whatever I want to do. I am a Jack of all trades and Master of whatever I'm doing at the time. I get bored and want to do something else. I like to learn and be stimulated. It's nice to hear someone successful feeling the same way. 

2) 99.9% of the things that I really really want out of life don't require insane amounts of cash and are totally doable. This is super exciting for me, like amazingly exciting. Just because we are friends now, here are the Top 5 things;

- Health (good food and exercise, easy)
- Relationships (family & friends et al, free and totally doable)
- Speak French fluently (mildly trickier but totally achieveable as I'm not starting from scratch)
- Play the piano (I have one & just need to actually play it - no probs)
- Renown & prestige (not of the celebrity type, but recognition for my contribution...doesn't require money at least)

So what do you get when you add the above to Ginger biscuits, melted chocolate, eggs, cream cheese and sugar if not cheesecake? 

Yes my friends, cheesecake is the new cupcake and I made a mash-up of about 3 recipes to bring you, 'Stay Inspired' Cheesecake. It has a chocolate ginger base, a vanilla centre gently coloured pink (think roses), with a thin layer of dark chocolate on top. It's rich & wintery like the cold weather and perfect with a cup of tea or a glass or two of mulled wine.

What are you doing to stay inspired? Don't let 'reality' and the drudgery of life stop you from living the life you want. 

Peace & Love

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Monday, 14 November 2011

Birthday Boy

Happy Monday People, I hope you all had a good weekend. Yesterday was my son's 6th birthday. He's been counting down to it for the last 3 months, (no exaggeration), so you could imagine his level of excitement come Saturday night. He asked for a Streetfighter Ryu cake, then decided he wanted a giant cupcake so we decided to try and do both. Both of the my boys helped me make them, it was a lot of fun & very messy :)

The birthday boy picking his Ryu image...

We went to a soft play place called Party Man World and they ran around for about 4 hours, just watching them was exhausting! 

The guests arriving...

Normality has now been restored and it's countdown time till Christmas. As for me, I'm in need of some inspiration and will be going to at least one art gallery this week if not more. I'm also looking forward to trying some new recipes. What are you up to this week? Whatever you do have fun!

Peace & Love

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Friday, 11 November 2011

Be Young, Be Foolish, But Be Happy!

Thank Goodness It's Friday! Earlier on this week, I went to see Pixie Lott for the first time at the Jazz Cafe performing an intimate gig of her new album, Be Young, Be Foolish. She was supported by Angel, an emerging R'n'B singer.

Pixie Lott getting ready backstage

Pixie Lott on stage

Angel performing an acoustic set

The show was lovely; both performers are very soulful and can hold their own live. I have seen Angel before a number of times and am already a big fan but I didn't really know much about Pixie's music. I have to say I was impressed and I think the title of this album is very poignant. We can get so bogged down with our problems and day to day life, that we forget how to be happy and how to be foolish. 

In honour of youth & foolishness, I made some peppermint & strawberry lollipops which was a lot of fun and left my kitchen covered with hard sugar. The lollies are wonky and sticky but delicious. 

Have a great weekend and stay happy!

Peace & Love


You can see more pics of this gig & others that I go to on my Tumblr -
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Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Comfort Food

I've realised something about me that I've always known: I love a challenge. I always choose something that is going to stretch and take me to and past the limits of my capacity. It's a love/hate thing, I put myself under enormous pressure and hate myself for not taking the easy route, and then I achieve something cool & once I've got over the exhaustion or whatever, I'm like 'Well done me!" 

Seriously, it's like that saying 'Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear' Ambrose Redmoon. My own motto is 'No decision I make will be based on fear' or something like that, I haven't quite got a motto pinned down yet, more a mantra for life. If I'm scared but it's something worthwhile, I will definitely do it anyway.

I pushed myself this week doing cool things, and right now I'm exhausted, licking my wounds and in need of some serious pampering. At such a time as this, only chocolate will do, so I made myself some chocolate and banana brownies, just for me, all mine, not anybody else's. I know soon I will be able to look back and say 'well done me' but today it's all about warm brownies and maybe a cup of tea (my new obsession).

Keep pushing through! 

Peace & Love

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