COLOUR INSPO: WHITE LIGHT

Wearing white in Winter is one of my favourite seasonal looks.  The bright white marries perfectly with the crisp icy weather and looks fabulous photographed against a snowy background.  White clothing also transcends beautifully into spring, especially when mixed with pastels or used to brighten up an outfit that's not quite found its feet from the Winter months.








Images from here.

BLACK BOTTOM CUPCAKES

I eat a LOT of cupcakes and any from The Hummingbird Bakery rank super highly on my list.  Last week one of our agency's bought us a box over (always much appreciated!) and I had, for the first time, one of The Hummingbirds Black Bottom Cupcakes.  Well, I cut it in half to try and be good but once that first half had been eaten I almost shouted at my colleague to pass me the box back so I could have the other half.  It really was one of the most delicious cupcakes I've ever had.  I soon realised I could potentially spend a small fortune on my new found love so decided to try the next best thing and bake them myself.  They were DELICIOUS.  The recipe is quite different from that of a basic cupcake and during several points of the baking process I thought I was doing things wrong.  Trust in the professionals because they know what they're on about!  My only tiny quarrel would be that the cream cheese filling mixture is extremely running and does not at any point become light and fluffy as stated in the recipe.  It still semi does the trick but doesn't deliver the same burst of surprise as the shop bought ones do with a thick cheesecake filling in the center.  Last of all, excuse my frosting on these.  It was one of those days when using a piping bag required far too much effort so I simply spooned it on!


For the chocolate sponge base

  1. 190g plain flour
  2. 120g caster sugar
  3. 40g cocoa powder
  4. ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  5. 40 ml sunflower oil
  6. 1½ tsps white vinegar
  7. ½ tsp vanilla extract

For the cheesecake filling

  1. 140g cream cheese
  2. 60g caster sugar
  3. 1 egg
  4. ½ tsp vanilla extract
  5. A pinch of salt
  6. 100g milk chocolate chips

For the cream cheese frosting

  1. 300g icing sugar, sifted
  2. 50g unsalted butter
  3. 125g cream cheese

Method

  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3. For the chocolate sponge base put the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl and mix until all the dry ingredients are well incorporated.
  2. 2. Put the oil, vinegar, vanilla extract and 125 ml water in a jug and whisk to combine. While the electric whisk is runningl, slowly add the contents of the jug. Continue to beat until all the ingredients are incorporated (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula).
  3. 3. Line a 12 hole cupcake tray with paper cases. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and set aside.
  4. 4. For the cheesecake filling beat together the cream cheese, sugar, egg, vanilla extract and salt in a freestanding electric mixer on medium-slow speed until smooth and fluffy.
  5. 5. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand until evenly dispersed. 
  6. 6. Scoop about 1 tbsp of the cheesecake filling on top of the cupcake mixture and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until the cupcakes are firm to the touch and they have an even golden colour on the cheesecake filling. 
  7. 7. For the cream cheese frosting beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer until the mixture comes together. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. 
  8. 8. When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the cream cheese frosting on top, and decorate with a light sprinkling of cocoa powder.











COACHELLA '13

I hope you weren't fooled by the title of this post into thinking I was actually at Coachella this year.  If only!  Thankfully our good friend social media has kept us in the loop about all the goings on and more importantly all the festival fashion.  Here is my round up of this years favourites.  Doesnt Leigh Lezark just blow you away?  She looks smoking.














CRISPY CHICKEN BITES

My new friend panko has managed to sneak it's way into another meal of mine.  This time spreading itself all over some yummy chicken breasts that I happened to have cut up into little bite size pieces that resemble nuggets.  How great are chicken nuggets?  They remind me of being a child, any meal is made great with the mention of chicken nuggets.  This is my version of slightly sophisticated adult chicken nuggets.  All the pleasure of saying you're having chicken nuggets for dinner with none of the guilt, they're baked not fried!


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut chicken into 2-inch pieces. Spread panko on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a shallow dish, then add Parmesan and 1/2 teaspoon salt; drizzle with oil and stir to combine.
  2. Place flour and eggs in separate shallow dishes.
  3. Lightly coat a baking tray with cooking spray. In batches, coat chicken in flour, shaking off excess, dip in egg, then coat with panko. Place on rack.
  4. Bake until chicken is cooked through, around 15 minutes, flipping halfway through. 












COURGETTE FRITTERS

Slightly obsessed with courgettes at the moment.  Cooked any which way how and with a million different sauces.  I cant get enough and am slightly worried I may turn into a courgette soon.  Would that be such a bad thing?  Then I could eat myself!  Ok enough obsessing over courgettes.  Here is the recipe for a delicious stack of fritters with crunchy panko breadcrumbs (another ingredient I somehow manage to sneak into every meal) and a fiery sriracha mayo dipping sauce.  Happy courgette consumption!


  • 2 cups grated courgette (about 2 courgettes)
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly oil a baking sheet.
After grating the courgette used paper towels to squeeze out the excess liquid.
In a medium bowl mix the grated courgette, garlic, onion, flour, breadcrumbs, egg, paprika, salt and pepper until thoroughly combined.
Form the courgette mixture into six fritters using a ¼ cup of the mixture to form 2 ½ to 3 inch diameter fritters. Place fritters on the prepared baking sheet and bake on one side for 18-20 minutes. Flip the fritters and bake for another 15 minutes.
Add sriracha hot sauce to mayonnaise (equal quantities) and mix together.











SHRIMP GYOZA

Gyoza are so small and so delicious but so expensive to buy when you want to eat lots of them!  What better way to indulge then to make them yourself at home.  You can create a filling to your exact taste and have the pleasure of gorging on as many as you like in your own home without worrying if anyone in the restaurant is judging you by how many gyoza your table is overflowing with. My lovely daddy did me a huge favour in going to his local Japanese food store and picking me up a pack of gyoza wrappers.  He then hand-delivered them to my work on Oxford Street as I was so desperate for them.  Why are dad's so cute?  I made a whole load of gyoza at home on Saturday night and then thought it only fair to share the dumpling heaven with daddy.  I packaged up some of the mixture and wrappers and took them to his house the next day where we had father daughter gyoza making fun.


INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 packets raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and diced
  • 1 cup shredded green cabbage
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon mirin
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 36 gyoza wrappers
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Soy sauce and sweet chilli for serving
DIRECTIONS:
In a large bowl, combine shrimp, cabbage, spring onions, ginger, sesame oil, mirin, salt and pepper.
Place wrappers on a work surface. Spoon 1 teaspoon of the shrimp mixture into the center of each wrapper. Using your finger, rub the edges of the wrappers with water. Fold the dough over the filling to create a half-moon shape, pinching the edges to seal.
Heat vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the dumplings and cook until golden and crisp, about 2 minutes on each side.
Serve hot immediately with a pot of soy sauce and sweet chilli for dunking.








Recipe adapted from here