Archive | February, 2012

Flippin’ Heck!

22 Feb

Whoa, whoa- wait. It was Pancake Day?!

I’m just kidding, I know that Pancake Day has in fact been and gone, but I need some kind of excuse to post about my pancakes a day late, right?

For me, when it comes to pancakes I follow no strict recipe or rules. I don’t even measure my ingredients. The only thing I need to know is that there had better be some flour, eggs and milk in there somewhere, and that’s it.

God, I feel rustic

Topping-wise, I’m just as simple: sugar and lemon. Come on, sugar and lemon! You can’t beat it, really. Yes, when I hear about the nutella and banana, the cinnamon, butter and honey of other people’s pancakes, my stomach literally flips (haha, pancake pun there… Because you flip a pancake right? Ok, time to stop) on itself with excitement and craving.

But if I’m honest, I’m a traditional gal and I love the pure traditionalism and downright beautiful simplicity of a lemon-soaked, sugar-dusted, pancake.

Just look at the sugary, lemony goodness!

 In other news, I’ve just bought these Gypsy-style hoops, £7 from Accessorize and love them! The only down-side is that they’ve been designed as backless (so they aren’t full hoops) and the ends have been persistently catching on my hair and clothes!

Another recent buy of mine is this Barry M nail varnish in Raspberry, £2.99. I had been searching for the perfect plum/berry colour for a while until I came across this. It’s perfect and exactly what I was looking for- I literally cannot fault it! I’m even considering buying a matching lipstick…

I feel like these latest buys have been leading me in the direction of a specific image-overhaul that I probably would have never considered before… Maybe it is my time to go chola. I mean, if you’ve seen Lil’ Loca on Youtube, then you would understand why I’m fine with this- I would love to be her. Bandanas, attitude and a very creative yet questionable use of lip-liner… Ok, ok perhaps not.

Maybe the time for an image-overhaul is nigh, but not just yet! I’ll rock the hoops for a while and see how I get on.

Finally, Lana Del Rey won a Brit Award last night! I feel so proud (strange, seeing as I obviously have no reason or right to)! And congratulations, of course, to Adele and the other artists who won awards last night.

Well, that’s all for now folks. Happy blogging!

Empori- Um, What Now?

17 Feb

Yes, I finally made it to the Emporium… And let me tell you, it did not fail to impress!

Not only is the Fortis Green road tea shop a fantastic, um… tea shop (Captain Obvious at your service), it is also home to a beautiful craft, tea ware, trinket and gift shop, and is a sanctuary for all things homely and arty. If the place had been any cuter, I would have already choked in my awe and died (lovely imagery, perhaps a little too graphic. Moving on…)  

Thankfully, my friends were actually able to make it this time, after last week’s snow debacle, which left us all suddenly feeling very lazy and of the belief that it was impossible to tread anywhere when a soft layer of white had laced every street.

First things first: Tea. I ordered an ‘English Breakfast’ tea and was delighted when served with my own personal tea pot, complete with strainer, milk, sugar and of course, a delicate, vintage-style tea cup and saucer. The antiquity and quaintness of the whole thing almost made me feel like bursting- either into song, ‘The Sound of Music’-style, or into tears of tea-infused joy- both very extreme and opposing reactions, but my reactions all the same. 

And what better match to make with a good ol’ afternoon tea, but scones? Served with strawberry jam and clotted cream, I almost felt I had died and gone to tea heaven. Needless to say, the scones were delicious and the tea superb.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we actually visited the Emporium on Valentine’s Day (which for me, might I add, was just a normal Tuesday like any other… Don’t worry this is not a pity party… Unless instead of a ‘party’ it was an afternoon tea, and instead of ‘pity’ being the main theme, it was all about cakes? This could work…) so my friends (who like me, are in fact very single at the moment, which perhaps makes this three times more pathetic) bought these stunning Valentine’s-inspired, baking creations:

Baked with love (see what I did there? Haha, I feel so witty).

 

After our marvelous tea/cake experience, we moved onto the shop next door, also part of the Emporium. It was a wonderland of all things arty, vintage-esque, and of course, tea. Subsequently, a friend actually mused that it looked as if all the things that go on inside my head had been mixed together and splattered (pardon the violent imagery) across the walls of a room.Needless to say, it was my dream shop.

 

All manners of tea ware, from tea cosies to cups, were displayed like treasure around the shop, along with various gift items, trinkets and a number of vintage to contemporary art pieces.

 

 

See this tea pot? This tea pot will be mine. It’s £25.00 worth spending as it’s larger than most tea pots sold these days and comes with its own fitted strainer- no more balancing on the rim of your teacup, no no– let the pot do it for you! Also, the design is lovely…It will be mine, I tell you!

Overall, what a fabulous day! The staff at the Emporium were charming and the homemade cakes, unique breakfast menu and marvelous afternoon tea truly sold me!  I will definitely be visiting again (as soon as possible) for my next afternoon tea fix. Recommend, recommend, recommend.

Night all!

Snow Big Deal

5 Feb

So, it’s February and in England we’re finally experiencing our white Christmas. I was planning to make a first-time visit to a new tea shop near me- ‘The Emporium’- today and post all about it’s lovely tea cakey-ness (or cakeynot seeing as I have no idea what it’s like yet and it could be horrific). However, I woke up late this morning to a number of messages from friends, all spouting a similar line to: 

Girl, there’s some freaky, snowy shit outside- I ain’ts going for no tea, you crazy!”

Wow, I honestly don’t know how or why I always turn my friends ghetto when I quote them… Apologies. Anyway, you get  the idea. So unfortunately there’s no tea and cake review today; however, I did take a trip with my Doberman up to the nearby wood, and have some photos which I hope will make do until my next proper post. Let the snowy tomfoolery unfold… (I don’t know why I said that. There’s no actual ‘tomfoolery’- I was just walking my dog and battling against slipping through the sludge in an extremely unflattering manner.)

Now for the fashion side of things…

Fuzzy Russian-style hats such as this are a real statement, and have been very popular this winter. Not mention they really are fantastic protection from the weather (please take note- it’s faux fur)! This Cossack hat is from ASOS, £15.

I love Hunter wellies in general, but these… I can’t even put it into words. I mean, come on- they even came with matching socks! I actually got these fairly recently in the January sales as a belated Christmas present. Other socks are available…

 

And finally…

As previously mentioned, I’ve finally decided to create a Twitter account. It was all going so well; however, the strangest and most soul-destroying thing was automatically receiving 3 followers after activating the account, thinking ‘Wow, this is awesome and so am I!’, and then realising they were all porn spammers. Oh yep, this just screams ‘Welcome to twitter’

Anyway, if you’re at all interested please follow me on twitter at @bakeandboutique. I promise to be all sorts of humorous and follow-worthy and such. Expect lots of random baking/style/life tweets… This is turning into such a shameless beg. Ah, who cares, I really have no shame.

Happy blogging!

Whoopie Pies

4 Feb

Ah, I was so close to naming this post ‘Whoopie Pie-berg’, but just had to stop myself despite the hilarity (explicit indication there that I find my own jokes hilarious… This is slighty awkward).

Anyway, it’s baking day! Today I made a batch of Whoopie Pies for a group of visiting friends and, luckily, they went down a storm!

‘What’s a ruddy Whoopie Pie, you crazy person!’ I hear you scream. Well to be honest, I hadn’t heard of them either, up until recently  when flipping through my trusted Hummingbird Bakery cookbook- my version of a Bible. The only way I can describe them is this: Imagine soft, spongy chocolate chip cookies glued together with a luxurious chocolate buttercream filling. Oh yes, it’s about to get real up in here… Oh and yes, I realise that these don’t exactly look light and fluffy and perfectly-shaped, but do keep in mind this was my first attempt (ever!), and that they taste much, much better than they look (if I do say so myself)! 

Here’s the recipe: (For the sponge)

  • 1 large egg
  • 150g (5½oz) caster sugar
  • 125g (4½oz) plain yoghurt
  • 25ml (1fl oz) milk
  • ¼tsp vanilla essence
  • 75g (2oz) unsalted butter, melted
  • 275g (10 oz) plain flour
  •  ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼tsp baking powder
  • 150g (5½oz) dark chocolate chips

(For the filling)

  • 170g (6oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 280g (10 oz) icing sugar
  • 220g (8oz) vanilla marshmallow fluff.

1.) Whisk the egg and sugar until pale and fluffy. Pour the yoghurt, milk and vanilla essence into a jug. Mix together then gradually add to egg mixture. Pour in the melted butter and mix again.

2.) Sift together flour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder, then add these dry ingredients to the batter in two stages, mixing thoroughly. Stir in chocolate chips, then place finished batter in the fridge to cool and set for 15-20 mins. 

3.) In the meantime, preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F), Gas mark 3, and line two baking trays with baking parchment.

4.) Spoon the batter onto trays, making 16-20 mounds (the size you choose per mound depends on how big you want your pies to be, as they usually rise and spread when baking), making sure they are around 2-3 cm (1¼ in) apart.

5.) Bake in the oven for 10-13 mins or until lightly golden. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before you add the filling.

6.) While the sponges are cooking, mix together the butter, cocoa powder and icing sugar until smooth. Add the marshmallow fluff and continue to beat until frosting is soft and fluffy. Chill in the fridge for 30 mins to firm up.

7.) To assemble the whoopie pies, take one sponge and spread about 1 tbsps of the filling on the flat side and then sandwich together with another sponge, flat side facing down. Continue doing this until all the sponge and frosting has been used.

Voilà– delicious Chocolate Chip Whoopie Pies! Now go and bake, eat, then have pie-induced heart attack.

NB: These beauties can also be made in various different flavours such as banoffee, chocolate and peanut butter- these are just the chocolate chip version (and my favourite!).  

Just a quick note before I go… Is it just me or is Lana Del Rey’s new album ‘Born to Die’ absolutely superb?! I couldn’t care less about the negative media attention she’s been receiving, or the rumours of her past, her image and whatnot. The girl’s vocals are stunning, her songs  pieces of art, and her lyrics beautifully heartfelt and captivating. This is all completely subjective of course… But bah, who cares? Everyone else is putting their two cents in, and I want in! Particular highlights are songs Off to the Races, Diet Mountain Dew, Radio, National Anthem and Summertime Sadness. I love her. That is all.

Night all!