Sunday, 25 August 2013

Double chocolate brownies, lemon brownies & Ferry Fair

This last weekend (9th August) I was in Edinburgh. My sister (and my gorgeous nephew) live in South Queensferry. It's beautiful, such a lovely, quiet seaside town. This weekend was Ferry Fair.

This weekend was lovely. Nice and relaxed, fab weather and the sis and brother in law had a BBQ. As much of a tradition as Ferry Fair itself I'm told.

When I looked into how long Ferry Fair has been going on I found that a local fair dates from the 12th century, but the fair in it's current form dates back to the 1930's.
The fair includes a procession of floats and pipe bands (my favourite part) down the main street and 'the shows'. Fair ground rides to us down in England.

With sis being up there she rarely gets a chance to 'sample my wares', so I thought I'd bake and take some goodies up with me.

The brownie recipe is adapted from a recipe of Joy The Baker's, and the lemon brownie recipe is from I found this on Pinterest...there's the 'P' word again.

Double chocolate brownies - ingredients:
200 grams chocolate
200 grams butter
4 eggs
2 cups of caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup of plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

You can add pretty much any chocolate you like...I love chopped Mars bars and white chocolate in mine.


Melt the chocolate and butter and set aside. Whisk the eggs together with the sugar and vanilla.

Pour in the melted choc and butter mix & stir until combined. 

    Add the flour, baking powder

...and chopped chocolate.

Line a 9" brownie pan with parchment and bake the brownies on GM5 for 30 minutes.

They are done when you insert a skewer and it comes out with a bit of the gooey centre on it...not too much though.

My boy absolutely loves these...and from the look on sis's face when she had one (or should I say 3) so did she.

Now for the lemon ones...

3/4 cup plain flour
3/4 cup of caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
115 grams unsalted butter
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat the oven to GM4.
Zest and juice 2 lemons, set aside.

 In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (I don't actually have one so I had to use my whisk attachments which worked fine), beat the flour, sugar, salt and softened butter. 

In a separate bowl whisk together eggs, lemon zest and juice. Pour into the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally.

Tart Lemon Glaze - 
1 rounded cup icing sugar
4 tablespoons lemon juice
8 tablespoons lemon zest

Pour into a prepared 9" baking pan and bake for 23-25 minutes.

Mix the glaze ingredients. 
When the "brownies" are cooled spread some of the glaze over the cake and leave to 'set' for a while. Spread the remaining glaze over the cake and leave to set.

I love how strong the lemon flavour is. A lovely, lively kick.

My boy is not so keen, but that's because he's a chocolate monster.

We had such a fun time up North, the boys playing together, spending quality family time with those we rarely get to see.

I would love to get up to see her more often, but in the meantime there's always Skype.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Fire Places and Flowers

If there's one thing I love about our home it's the fire places, there's plenty more but this wouldn't work if I mentioned anything else.


 They're so pretty.

I've become all artsy fartsy with my photographs...well I'm trying to be anyway. I'm taking more pride and time in them more recently.

It's lovely to wake up in the morning and see such bright, beautiful flowers greeting you.

My favourite has to be the sunflowers. They make me smile every time I look at them. So warm and welcoming.

Speaking of arsty fartsy photo's I love this one...well...I love what's in the picture.

I first tried Chocolate Guinness cake at a cafe in Manchester about a year ago - Sugar Junction.

It was amazing, and so is the cafe - I love the vintage theme, the cups and saucers and the atmosphere, just lovely.

I saw a picture of their Chocolate Guinness cake on Facebook and thought 'I want to try making I did.

I got the recipe from - on Pinterest.

1 cup of Guinness
150 grams unsalted butter
4 heaped tablespoons cocoa
2 cups of caster sugar
5 tablespoons sour cream/ greek yoghurt
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Preheat the oven to GM4. Grease a 9" springform cake tin and line the bottom with parchment.

Combine the Guinness and butter in a saucepan over a medium-low heat. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cocoa and sugar until blended.

In a small bowl whisk together the sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Add the Guinness mixture and mix until well combined. Add the flour and baking soda, mix well until smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin,and bake until risen and firm, about 45 minutes. Place on a wire rack and cool completely.

To make the frosting:
Whisk the icing sugar to break up any lumps.

Add the cream cheese and blend until smooth.

Add the double cream and continue mixing until smooth and spreadable.

Spread over the cooled cake and's amazing!

This has to be the moistest (is that even a word??) cake I have ever made. It was a very big hit with the family.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Chess, Piercings & Pancake Cake.

Wow!! It's been a loooong time since I posted anything. Over a year! This time I promise I'm back for good...sorry for the Take That pun.

Ok, so let's get straight into this... 

I was thinking the other day about things we collect, by we I mean me. Picture frames (that I never use), empty wine bottles (these are special bottles though). One is from the year hubby and I met, another is from the year we got together and the green bottle is a special birthday bottle - all Hungarian wines...


...and more jars.

vases, jars, cups, tote bags.

This was brought on by the fact that we are trying to have a clear out of our house, mainly our sons room. He's a bit of a collector too...

...Lego, Superhero mini figures, money boxes (mainly because of my mother!) and more recently (and more impressively) chess sets.

This collection started in 2010 when my cousin started to teach Luke to play draughts and chess. My Dad found out and got all excited as he has a lovely light wood chess set stored away in their loft. I remember my sisters and I messing about with it whenever it was set up in the front room.

Whilst we were in Disneyland Paris my Dad spotted a Star Wars chess set and insisted on buying it for Luke.

That Christmas Luke challenged my Dad and Michael, one of my brother's in law, Michael gave up after the game went on for an hour...Luke's getting pretty good. 
I'm hoping Dad digs his set out at some point so that it can be added to Luke's collection, which grew a couple of months ago.

 My parents were house clearing for a friend and they found this beautiful hand carved Hungarian chess set.

One Saturday morning Luke started to teach me to play...I won...but only because he was telling me where to put the pieces, if I had to play on my own I would have no idea what I was doing.

I've also been collecting a few things myself over the last year...piercings...ear piercings that is...and recipes from Pinterest. I'm completely addicted to Pinterest, amongst other things...Breaking Bad (oh my word I love that show!), Dexter (again, I love that show!), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the TV series), Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Candy Crush...the list goes on.

 I love my ear piercings...unfortunately I now have an earring addiction.

So, back to my biggest addiction. Whilst scrolling through Pinterest I found this recipe for a pancakes. It's one of Jamie Oliver's - - but I turned it into a cake after seeing a photo on Tumblr of a pancake birthday cake.

3 large eggs
115 grams plain flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
a pinch of salt 
140ml milk

If there's one thing I love it's making breakfast on a Saturday morning, no rush, no fuss just some nice relaxed cooking.

Separate the eggs, whites in one bowl, yolks in a larger bowl. sprinkle or not to sprinkle...I sprinkled...

Add flour, baking powder to the egg yolks, gradually add the milk until a smooth batter is formed.

Using an electric whisk, beat the egg whites and salt until stiff peaks are formed.

Fold the egg whites into the batter gently, I pour the batter into a glass jug. It makes it easier to pour into the frying pan.


You only need a smidgen of vegetable oil in the frying pan, just enough to coat the base so the pancakes don't stick.

I pour enough batter into the frying pan to make 2 small pancakes.

When large air bubbles come to the surface of the batter I flip the pancakes. For the other side, I usually allow about 1 or 2 minutes for them to cook. 


 Needless to say my boy loved them...

...I have to admit so did I. With some strawberries, blueberries and a little whipped cream (or greek yoghurt for a healthier option)...they're scrumptious.