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Do-Nut Eat My Doughnut!

5 Mar

Check out these fellas!

 

Whenever I visit Camden, this marvelous doughnut stall located at one of the various market entrances, always catches my eye, and up until recently I’ve managed to successfully resist their sweet siren calls to me… This time, however, I gave in. When picking a doughnut (which are absolutely huge by the way, and consist of many exciting, innovative flavours and fillings) I thought:

‘To hell with it. I’m buying a doughnut for God’s sakes- what’s the use in trying to scrimp? No, I’ve got to pick something really dirty.’

So, evidently, that’s what I did. Let me introduce you, ladies and gentleman, to my ‘Triple Killer Chocolate Doughnut with Chocolate Filling’!

 

 

Ah, I think I just died… In fact, that’s practically what did happen when I ate the doughnut, as I was convinced I could eat the whole thing in one sitting (again, please take note that these doughy treats are just a tad larger in size than your usual, everyday doughnut; and moreover, this was three times more sweet than my poor, unsuspecting stomach could take, thank you very much!).

In all fairness, I suppose I was warned by the title… The ‘Killer’ part, obviously.

In addition, a friend of mine decided to test the waters on the Camden Churros situation. These churros, in contrast to the traditional Spanish churros which are served longer, thinner and with a pot of hot, melted chocolate for dipping, are served instead with a rich chocolate filling piped through the middle.

I’m so tempted to use the word ‘groovy’ at this point, but I understand that that would be incredibly weird, perhaps a little nerdy, and uncomfortable for all of us.

Anyway, my friend’s verdict sounded a little like this: ‘I could probably live on this monster alone for two days and still not be near finishing it- good stuff!‘ Waters safely tested!

Finally, I’ve just activated my Pinterest account! I had heard horror stories of waiting lists and the impossibility of receiving an invite once requested; however, in my case it thankfully seemed to be an easy enough process, and now I’m a member! Having said that, I don’t entirely know how to use it yet, and I haven’t started ‘pinning’ (Haha, that sounds funny… *Cough* Ok, I’m obviously too immature to be writing blogs on WordPress) anything yet, but when I do you’ll know about it!

Happy blogging y’all!

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!

Ponch Me I’m Dreaming

1 Dec

Christmas is fast approaching… and with it, the bitter, winter weather!

I don’t know why I sound so excited about this cold weather business- I guess I’ve become a traitor to my own June-baby roots and have opted for winter weather preference this year… I have to be honest, I did get rather fed up with the summer lingering around through the autumn months this year (I know this makes me a crazy person!), and I’ve been so desperate to speed up the approach of winter, that I’ve practically rain-danced my way through the last few months in a desperate attempt to spur it on! Perhaps it’s just because I’ve subconsciously been longing for Christmas time; or perhaps because I’m a secret summer Scrooge, and therefore in general, just a miserable person; or, in a shamelessly tenuous link, perhaps it’s because I’ve been impatiently anticipating the arrival of A/W fashion!

For the sake of this post- and my dignity- I’m picking the latter.

I’ve recently bought this bright, jazzy print (“Too jazzy?” Sorry, that hilarious line from The Inbetweeners always seems to echo in my mind when I mention the word ‘jazzy’!) poncho from Dorothy Perkins for £35. I’ve been wearing it with a black high-waisted skirt and black body, with tights and boots in the mild weather, but am planning to replace the skirt with jeans when it turns colder! I realise this seems like a lot of black, however with such a jazzy print (Sorry, just had to say it again…!) I feel it works better to keep everything neutral (or black-tral, whatever!), and the poncho just seems to stand out that little bit more. Moreover, it may not actually look like a poncho, but I can assure you that it is! It said ‘poncho’ on the label and eveything… Even so, I admit it seems more like a half-cape, half-poncho crossover, therefore I’ll call it a ‘Ponch’ as it hasn’t really made it as a fully-fledged poncho yet (as much as it pains me to admit it).

In other news, I’ve just finished reading Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ (It actually only took me a day and a bit! I mean, ’tis a wee book), and thought it was great, of course. It may be a basic, short read in other readers’ minds, however it was the content which captured me, not its length. And for those who haven’t read it and don’t want a spoiler, I’ll just say this: The story itself was a fantastically clever metaphor based around the Communist regime, whilst the ending of the story was particularly chilling and fascinating.  

 

That’s all for now then! Happy blogging folks.

5 Things

22 Nov

TEA CUPS

Now, I don’t know whether it’s my love for the dated tea party: dainty, beautifully baked cakes accompanied with tea, served in delicate china tea cups, along with immaculate table manners and coy conversation…  An enthusiasm instigated by Grandmother (‘The Don’, or GrandDon as I shall henceforth refer to her); or alternatively, the strangely endearing fashion made famous by Gaga… Either way, something has my brain programmed to ‘OBSESS’ when it comes to tea cups (and other related tea ware- teapots are not immune), also stemming my passion for baking.

I have been collecting tea cups for a few years now and believe me- I’m not fussy! For me, tea cups, and in the same vein- tea parties, are not all about the antiquity. I really only care about aesthetics and, at the risk of sounding cheesy, the ‘feel’ of them (don’t really know what that constitutes as either). I mean, I’m the one who’s going to be looking at, and/or drinking from them! So yeah, my selection may not all be bone china or preciously salvaged artefacts from the 1940’s- who cares? Additionally, this also means that I’m not really the kind to buy a whole identical collection… Oh yes, I am such a rebel. Anyway, I love each and every one of my multicultural selection of tea cups equally… How diplomatic of me.

 Here are 5 of my very own, personal selection of tea cups…

1. My first ever tea cup, Rosie Brown’s Boutique, around £10. I think it may have been a Christmas present from my mum after I began taking baking and the whole concept of the old-fashioned tea party seriously. I absolutely love the hypnotising pattern, and somehow it makes me feel all regal and whatnot, and want to start dropping the word “daarrlingg!” out of context, into random, cackling conversations. It was this tea cup which encouraged me to begin collecting.

2. Genuine antique (or vintage, depending on your poxy word-preference) tea cup, bought from an old antique shop in Arundel, Sussex, around £6.99. Despite what you may gather from the photograph, this tea cup is tiny! This seems to make each dainty cuppa drank from it feel all the more sacred and special.

3. “The Momma” Candy Pink tea cup, again Rosie Brown’s Boutique, around £10. I like to call this one the “The Momma” (and I’m not even American!) because it is actually the largest of my tea cups… I did toy with the name “Whopper”, again quite American-sounding, yet wasn’t sure I could promisingly pull it off (that would have definitely been a step too far). It may be one of the plainest of the tea cups, with minimal design, yet I believe this is what makes it one of the most pretty.

4. Old English rose- style tea cup, Rosie Brown’s Boutique (again!), around £10. Although this one gives off the appearance of being a classic, genuine antique, it’s actually not. However it’s the cup’s classic, very feminine design which inspired me to buy it. It seems like it may have just dropped out of another era, and somewhere, somehow, the Bennet family are one-short of a tea set and very unhappy about it, whilst Lizzie happily and carelessly prances off  into the sunset with Mr Darcy (Yes, I read the book before watching the TV series, and before the film even came out. No, there will never be a better Darcy than Colin Firth, thank you).

5. Lime Green tea cup, Sunshine Garden Centre (amazingly!), around £7.99. Rather than lime, the colour actually reminds me of mushy peas, but I didn’t really think that would be an appropriate title for the tea cup, poor thing. Actually, it almost resembles the colour of the strange, “not-ice cream” palate cleanser Anne Hathaway noshed on in ‘The Princess Diaries’… No? No-one else? AwkwardI watched it when I was a lot younger, people.

 And there you have it! 5 of my favourite tea cups, although I still willingly admit that this whole collection of/obsession with tea cups, etc. is maybe just a tad strange…

Ah well! Here’s to next month’s ‘5 Things’. 

Night all.

Crouch End Tiger, Hidden Cake…

10 Nov

Yup, I’ve been out and about, cake-stalking again.

This time I visited my favourite Crouch End cafe and bakery (as its name obviously implies)- Coffee Cake.

I feel Coffee Cake is special, not only because of their lovely baked goodies, homemade smoothies and fresh salads (oh, and they sure do sell a good cup o’ coffee), but because every time I go there the atmosphere is lovely. It seems that in the land of Coffee Cake, everybody is friendly and at peace, and; unless you visit at the peak time of lunch, when everything is crazy and manic- a testament to their popularity really; you’re free to relax and have a calming intermission from your busy life outdoors.

During this visit, I bought a walnut and carrot cake, which tasted interestingly herby, whilst my friend had this miniature victoria sponge.

Anyway, all of this is not to say that there aren’t any other nice cafes/bakeries in Crouch End, because believe me, if anything there is a serious over-population of them…

No, I have visited others in the area, but some haven’t honestly been able to match up against the wonderful-ness of this one ( *ahem* The Haberdashery, I’m looking at you! NB: your popular selling point of serving tea in vintage teaware only works if they’re clean and not chipped! Also, quit serving me hugely overpriced muffins in bloody plant pots! Yes, I get it Haberdashery- you’re arty and alternative, but that doesn’t allow you leeway on cleanliness, thank you very much).

Finally, I only have one thing to say against Coffee Cake. Seeing as I like it so much, last year I actually applied for a job to work there (imagine the free cakes and cups o’ coffee!), but after handing in my CV they never actually got back to me!

Oh the shame! Coffee Cake– it could have been the start of a beautiful friendship, but alas you let me down! Needless to say, it genuinely hasn’t put me off…

Night all!

Fancy a Cuppa?

7 Nov

Not one to break the British stereotype, I confess I love tea.

I may be alone in this, but as I passed this tea house in Covent Garden I was absolutely captivated. And I guarantee you, when I entered I wasn’t disappointed…

I’m not talking a few boxes of PG Tips here and there, oh hell no (and let’s not joke about PG Tips either… the topic of ‘tea bag’ is a serious one). No, the inside of The Tea House is a haven of all tea-related business; with an array of original and unique tea blends on sale, and also a wonderful selection of teapots and other important tea equipment (yes= tea is important, no= any person caught drinking my tea will not live). 

I also came across a selection of miniature, intricately patterned Gaiwans, which are basically handleless tea cups/pots- so cute. Believe me, I would’ve been on that, except I’m very old-fashioned when it comes to my tea- drinking, and prefer my tea cups (or mugs- let’s be honest, I don’t have the time to sip tea daintily every day daarling), or pots to have handles.

This shop was a treasure trove to behold, and epitomises everything tea-loving. Thank you Tea House, for reminding me why I love tea so much, and for bringing tea to the people!

Spoiler Alert! In true Brit and tea-obsessive style, my next ‘5 Things’ post is going to be tea inspired, so watch this space! And no, I’m not going to just photograph a bunch of tea bags! Well, not really…

Goin’ Down to Chinatown

6 Nov

 Visiting Chinatown is an amazing cultural experience… I don’t get to go there often, but when I do I relish it! It’s mainly the endless streets of food shops, restaurants and bakeries that keep me coming back (I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of the strung-up chicken window displays within many a Chinatown restaurant, however alls I knows is it can never put me off!).

First on my travels, I visited the fantastic sweet shop in Chinatown, selling all sorts of bizarre and interesting treats, and picked up some of these chewy White Rabbit Cream Candy sweets. After opening the first wrapper of the candy, there’s actually another thin layer of rice paper around the sweet, which just dissolves in your mouth! The White Rabbit itself has a creamy, almost milky taste and is scarily addictive!

Next, my friends and I went to eat at the Royal Dragon, a restaurant we hadn’t yet visited, and my friend ordered this monster of a drink…

I know right? What the hell is that?! Well, it’s actually a melon and honey smoothie, with coconut juice and some weird little jelly raisin things floating around. For the record, the smoothie had a really strong taste of melon and was lovely. I can’t speak for those floaty fruit whatsits though… I didn’t have the guts to try them!

After a delicious lunch, we went walkabout and came across one of Chinatown’s many awe-inspiring cake shops. The cakes were huge, and the decoration and detail of each one made them very appealing and tempting, I can tell you! Oh Lordy, just look

 

 

I myself bought a slice of a gargantuan- seeming chocolate gateaux, and believe me, it looked to die for!

 

 

 With cake and sweets in tow, we found ourselves de-toring from Piccadilly Circus, and instead took a trip to Brick Lane. It was immense. I’ve never been to Brick Lane before but the boho vibe hit us on the way in. I absolutely loved it. There was a warehouse sale on at American Apparel, so we queued (all the way along the side of the street!), and eventually got in.

All I have to say is: not impressed. At all. Since when is an “up to 90% off” sale such a scam?! And to be honest, I’ve never been particularly enthused by AA’s clothes so it was pretty boring. My friends and I got split up in all the commotion, and so after trailing around the rails for about 20 minutes, my (thankfully sane) friend and I escaped from the stuffy, pretentious warehouse and instead waited outside for the others.

Sitting on the kerb opposite the exit door like tramps (because we are), we opened our cake boxes and cheered ourselves up with the frankly glorious– looking cakes we had bought in Chinatown earlier. However, as much as it pains me to say this (and I hate to drop a bombshell), my cake really wasn’t that nice! For all of its hypnotizing appearance, it lost out on taste and just wasn’t very special; unfortunately leaving something to be desired. I couldn’t believe it!

Subsequently we reunited with the others, so picking myself up from the grief of cake-gate, we moved on to Spitalfields. Sadly, the market wasn’t around as it was quite late by that point, but I have to say- again a first time visitor- I loved it. The shops were great, and I even passed a Las Iguanas- a restaurant where (on an occassion prior to this) I have eaten the best Latin and Mexican food of my life, and have been served a Long Island Ice Tea cocktail without it being realised I was underage… Home.

We also passed a fun novelty costume and joke shop where I found this…

Great stuff!

On the way back to the tube station, this hilariously-named bar caught my eye (the shakiness and blurriness of the photo reflects the amount of uncontrollable laughter I had as I was taking it).

Awesome day.

 

Happy blogging y’all!