Sensational Salad Season

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I have just moved homes and am really enjoying having guest over… the only slightly awkward situation is that most of our furniture has not yet arrived… least of all… chairs! Luckily we have a glorious communal outdoor area with some beautiful tables so with the weather being fantastic in London, what better way to celebrate a new home with friends then dining with refreshing salads (and beverage ) outdoors :) This evening my previous housemate and good friend came over for a catch up over these two delicious salads! The one was a quinoa, roasted tomato, haloumi, red onion and parsley salad and the other a rocket, strawberry, parma ham, blue cheese and crouton salad! Delish! :)

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Refreshing Summer Al Fresco

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I had the girls over for a impromptu dinner last night and thought I’d share some photos as I haven’t written a post in some time… I have been swept away by the constant spinning wheel that is my life at the moment and have forgotten one of the rules I live by; “always make time for the things you love”. I promise to share more delish posts with you soon!

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Three. Two. One. Action!

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popcorn cake

Birthdays are always exciting times of the year! I definitely love them, whether mine or a close friend, I always look forward to making the day special. Last weekend was one of my closest friend’s birthdays so I wanted to make her a cake that was not only reflective of her but also meant something to the both of us. And so, this is how the idea of the popcorn birthday cake was born :) She loves going to the movies and always has her half salty/half sweet popcorn… Some of my fondest memories with her are just going to the movies and chilling! So, this post is for my Plume Plume! I hope this was a birthday to remember! :)

The cake was full of chocolatey flavour with a nutella filling (she is a nutella junkie). The icing was a vanilla frosting. The decorations included white chocolate buttons, tangy strawberry strips and cherry liquorice. The glorious popcorn was caramel and chocolate covered :)

popcorn cake

popcorn cake

popcorn cake

Lindt Chocolate & Malteser Bunny Easter Cupcakes

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Easter Cupcake

My baking has been a bit off the last couple of weeks and I am not sure if it is the distractions that have hit me off guard or my lack of judgement or concentration in my food – for instance, I managed to bake some horrific hot cross buns this weekend which I threw away because I was that unhappy with them… Lets hope it gets better as I have a big birthday vision to bake for this weekend :) On to my Easter post, last week was a long week both with work and emotionally and so I thought I would put my hardships aside and bake some Easter goodies for my extended team at work. I will be completely honest here and say that the presentation of these cupcakes are fantastic, 10/10 I can quote. I found the recipe from a Lindt Maitre Chocolatier which sounded promising. The icing is interesting, a little tangy but the roasted coconut balances it out. I found the carrot cake cupcake to be a bit bland and not light at all, I really should have used my mom’s amazing carrot cake recipe which I will definitely do next time. What am I trying to say? If you have your own delish cupcake recipe, use that and decorate accordingly… I won’t post the recipe as I wouldn’t recommend using it but you can find it here for your reference. I will, however, share some of my fun photo’s with you. Enjoy!

Easter Cupcakes

Easter Cupcakes

Easter Cupcakes

Easter Cupcakes

Easter Cupcakes

Easter Cupcakes

Banana, Raspberry & Coconut Loaf

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Banana loaf

Every time I seem to buy banana’s, I never opt for buying them individually but rather in bunches so I always end up having a couple that start to turn brown. This automatically sends me into an involuntary mode where I put them in the freezer “to use for banana bread” as my mother always used to do. Unfortunately, I don’t make banana bread that often so last week when I decided to take inventory of what was in our freezer I came to the realisation that I in fact had 8 frozen bananas chilling in there… Anyway, these bananas and my craving for raspberries gave me every reason to make this delish loaf! I added a few tweaks to the recipe which worked in it’s favour so it went down a treat :) This is definitely a comfort food recipe without the butter :) Enjoy!

Ingredients

- 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
- 3/4 cups desiccated coconut
- 2/3 cups brown sugar
- 1tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 eggs
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cups rice-bran oil
- 3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
- 1/2 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen)
- a handful of chopped milk chocolate

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 18C (160C Fan).
2. Grease your loaf tin.
3. Combine flour, coconut, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and make a well in the centre.
4. Whisk eggs, vanilla and oil in a jug then add the bananas.
5. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

banana loaf

6. Gently fold in the raspberries and chocolate.

banana loaf

banana loaf

7. Pour into your pan, smooth the surface and sprinkle with some coconut.

banana loaf

8. Bake for 1hr-1hr10min or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
9. Cool in the pan for 20 mins before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.

banana loaf

10. Slice into pieces and serve with a hot cup of tea! Enjoy!

banana loaf

banana loaf

Heart-warming Chicken Couscous

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chicken couscous

The last few days have been a bit trying for me on all fronts so I thought I would make something both comforting and warming… I found this chicken couscous recipe which is truly SO easy to make and all the flavours made me smile… I would really recommend giving it a try.

Ingredients:

- 1tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 200g chicken breasts, diced
- good chuck fresh root ginger
- 1-2 tbsp harissa paste, plus extra to serve
- 10 dried apricots
- 220g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 200g couscous
- 200ml hot chicken stock (I would suggest using a little more)
- handful of chopped coriander to serve

Method:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the onion for 1-2 mins just until softened. Add the chicken and fry for 7-10 mins until cooked through and the onions have turned golden. Grate over the ginger, stir through the harissa to coat everything and cook for 1 min more.
  2. Tip in the apricots, chickpeas and couscous, then pour over the stock and stir once. Cover with a lid or tightly cover the pan with foil and leave for about 5 mins until the couscous has soaked up all the stock and is soft. Fluff up the couscous with a fork and scatter over the coriander to serve. Serve with extra harissa, if you like.

Thai Banana & Nutella Spring Rolls

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Banana Spring Rolls

This delish dessert is so incredibly easy to make and is a real show stopper… not to mention super scrumptious! I have made banana spring rolls before but instead of putting the nutella inside, drizzled with a chocolate sauce… I recommend a billion times over to put the nutella inside and don’t be shy. See a few photies below of how I made them and find the step by step recipe that i borrowed here.

Banana Spring rolls

Banana Spring rolls

Banana Spring rolls

Banana Spring rolls