27 June 2012

At Peace.

Yesterday was a very sad day as my Grandad had passed away after a battle with cancer and other complications. It still doesn't feel real and I don't think it will sink in properly for a while. I'm trying to stay strong and be there for my family, but these next few weeks will be a hard.


I hope you all can understand that I will be taking a little break from blogging. 


Rest in peace Grandad.


Gemma xXx

25 June 2012

Thomasina Miers Wahaca Mexican Food at Home review

I am a huge fan of Mexican food and flavours so to review Thomasina Miers new book 'Wahaca - Mexican Food at Home' seemed like a must to me!






I had received her previous book for Christmas but found like many other readers that the ingredients mentioned weren't easily available in UK supermarkets. Her new book however promises that the ingredients are easily found here.


The book is filled with recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner to desserts, side dishes and drinks. The book is full of colour as lots of vegetables are used in the recipes, making them bright and healthy and fun!


Something which caught my eye in the book was the breakfast recipe called 'Molletes'. It said it took 10 minutes to make so I quickly made a list of the ingredients and bought them for Sunday morning breakfast. When it came to actually reading the recipe properly that morning, I realised that the refriend beans would take a few hours to prepare...Oops! 


In the end we left out the refried beans and used some fried mushrooms instead. It was my fault for not reading the separate method for the beans properly but it would be better if the cooking time on the Molletes page mentioned this!


The only other criticism that I have for this book is that not all the recipes have photos. I find I am inspired to make food by how they look in pictures so if there aren't many in a cook book, I'm not going to be inspired to make them unless the text is very descriptive.


The Molletes ended up being amazingly tasty and fresh. It's not something i'd usually think of to have for breakfast but it was so simple to make and really made me feel awake instead of stodgy, so I will definitely be making this again.








I will definitely be using this book a lot in the future. It will be great to use for Mexican themed dinner parties or even just to use for a family lunch. A great all rounder!


Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the recipe!


Gemma xxx

20 June 2012

7 Honest, Random but True facts about me...


I received this award from Victoria and Claire. Thank you both so much !



I'm going to break the rules (I'm crazy I know!) and let anyone join in. I have a feeling this award has gone around and come back again in recent weeks!

Here are 7 honest, random but true facts about me and my life:

1. I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 17. I know a lot of women suffer with this (Victoria Beckham for one!), but there is always a worry in the back of my mind that I won't be able to have children. It's a bridge I will cross when the time comes.

2. I dislike being on my own. I can cope being home alone for an hour or so but I would go a little crazy and end up talking to the dog otherwise.

3. I'm already thinking about Christmas time. I love that time of year and I am truly looking forward to Autumn so I can start to put my blankets to good use!

4. Mexican food is my favourite, with Italian at a close second.

5. I start a day thinking "today I will eat healthily, nothing bad". 99% 90% of the time I fail at this. Chocolate gets the better of me in one way or another and that really disappoints me. 


6. My latest obsession is Instagram! I'm known to hog the OH's ipad to have  a nose and admire everyone's lovely pictures. We have a good old chat and swap ideas, it's so much fun! I'm gemma_gld on there so come and find me & join in!


7. I'm terrified of spiders. Eep!



Happy Wednesday!

Gemma xXx



18 June 2012

Charity Strawberry Tea

I just wanted to start by saying "Hello" to my new followers! Thanks for following our journey : ) 


The weekend went awfully fast didn't it? Time is officially flying by. Wednesday is the longest day and then we will be winding down to Autumn (I am a little excited about that!) It doesn't even feel like we've had a summer does it? Anyway i'll tell you a little about my weekend....




On Saturday Ian's parents held a little strawberry tea to raise money for a local hospice. It was fantastic as everyone in the family pulled together and helped, be it with baking, donating for the raffle or providing plants for stalls. I had hoped to get some photo's of it all but as I was helping with the Tea & Scones I was rushed off my feet.


Around 40 people attended but somehow we managed to raise £428!! Amazing. An extra bonus was when I won 2nd prize on the raffle...Woohoo! It was a hamper full of lovely bits and bobs like Tunnocks Tea cakes, beautiful Lemon Verbena soap, Jams, Chutneys and so on. I've never had a hamper before so this was fantastic. We were all shattered at then end. As a Thank You for all our work Ian's parents took us out for yummy dinner.






As we were shattered from the previous day, Ian & I spent Sunday quietly relaxing and only popped out for a little window shopping. On our short trip out we saw about 7 car accidents/ police incidents / drivers who were driving erratically. Who knows what was happening but everyone seemed a little manic and there was traffic absolutely everywhere, it was horrendous. It's safe to say we came home more stressed out than before, however it was a relief to get home safely!!
So after a little stressful weekend I am feeling weird. I guess as it wasn't a normal weekend exactly so I feel out of sync and a bit blah. I've got a rotten cold and haven't been sleeping well so I'm feeling so drained. Today I've been in a terrible mood so I think a cosy night in, some crochet, a cup of tea and my Tunnocks tea cakes are in order : )


Gemma xXx

12 June 2012

Lemon and White Chocolate Cake Recipe



As a few of you asked I thought I'd share the Lemon & White Chocolate Cake recipe from my blog post last week. 

Apart from Ina's Lemon Yoghurt Drizzle cake, this is a favourite when it comes to Lemon cake.

In the summer I really prefer to eat light food with fresher, more vibrant flavours, and this cake ticks all those boxes. The sponge is light and the lemon curd adds a creamy tangy flavour. The white chocolate shards aren't in the original recipe but I think it adds a little bit of luxury...and who can say no to chocolate?



Lemon & White chocolate cake
Adapted from 'The big book of baking' recipe book

Ingredients

For the Cake:
250g / 9oz unsalted butter at room temperature, plus a little extra for greasing
250g / 9oz caster sugar
4 eggs, beaten
250g/ 9oz self raising flour
Finely grated ring of 1 lemon
3 tbsp milk

For the butter icing:
140g/5oz unsalted butter at room temperature
200g/ 7oz icing sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp lemon curd

150g of white chocolate

Method:

Melt your white chocolate on a very low heat. Once most of it has melted take it away from the heat, it will still melt from the heat retained. Grease some baking paper very lightly and place on a baking tray. Pour and spread the white chocolate thinly and put in the fridge for a few hours.

Pre-heat your oven to 180c/350f/Gas mark 4. Grease 2 x 20cm/8" tins and line with baking paper.

Cream together the butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten eggs, beating well between each addition. Sift in the flour and fold evenly with a metal spoon. Fold in the lemon rind and milk lightly and evenly.

Spoon the mixture evenly into the prepared tins and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and springy to touch. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before removing from the tins and letting it come to room temperature.

To make the icing, beat the butter, icing sugar and lemon juice until smooth. In a separate bowl, mix about 3 tbsp of this butter cream with the lemon curd. Use this lemon curd mixture to sandwich the two cakes together. 

Use the rest of the butter cream to ice the top of the cake. Crack the hardened white chocolate into shards and arrange on top of the butter cream.



In the recipe book I found this in it was originally a birthday cake but I think it can be used for any occasion. Please let me know if any you make this in the comments section down below : )

Gemma x


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6 June 2012

Jubilee Fun

I feel so refreshed after our extra long weekend. Not only because I baked and ate practically non stop, relaxed with my family and watched lots of films. This weekend I felt so proud to be British...it was an amazing feeling.


This isn't the case usually and sometimes it feels like I don't really 'belong' here. However these past days there has been a huge sense of patriotism, community spirit and belonging. Strangers in the street have said hello, people have gathered for street parties and Union Jack flags could be seen in nearly every street. 






I'm not going to lie, the weather definitely put dampner on the weekend for me. I had hoped for sunny hot days filled with BBQ's, cold glasses of wine and picnics. Instead we stayed indoors most of the time and watched the celebrations on the TV. I painted my nails for fun in red, white and blue.




I also ended up baking nearly everything I mentioned in my previous blog post. 


Victoria Sandwich

Lemon & Blueberry muffins


Lemon and white chocolate cake


I of course (unwillingly..heehee) shared it all. My absolute favourite was the Lemon and white chocolate cake...by far one of the nicest lemon sponges I have had in a while. 


On Monday we went to Denham Village Fair (it's a family tradition that we go each year) and luckily it stayed dry whilst we were walking around. I've probably taken photo's of these houses before but I have to show you my new ones. The houses are stunning.






There were lots of stalls to look at and lots available to eat. I only bought one thing but i'll share it with you another time...just need to get a photo of it!











We had a lovely time as always. I think what I love the most about are the houses..they are all so amazingly beautiful! After a good mooch about we headed off for a good old pub lunch...very British!


It's a shame that the Jubilee has come and gone. Between last year with the Royal wedding and the Jubilee this year it has been fantastic to actually have set days to celebrate our culture. I really admire Americas patriotism and wish we could be the same and celebrate our own heritage once a year every year. Does anyone else feel the same on this?


Gemma xxx


P.s - The best bit about an extra long weekend is that we can already say "not long to the weekend" already...woop woop!

1 June 2012

Jo Wheatley 'A Passion For Baking' & Baking for the Jubilee

I am a huge fan of the TV show 'The Great British Bake Off' and when I had to opportunity to review last years winner Jo Wheatley's new book 'A passion for baking', I was thrilled. 


Jo always came across as a friendly down to earth kind of girl on the Bake off and this is portrayed through her book.






The book is full of gorgeous bakes from biscuits and cakes to sausage rolls and Quiche Lorraine. It starts off with Jo's must have ingredients and equipment and then goes onto the chapters of the book. Each chapter covers a different type of bake like breakfast, lunch, baking with children, breads, pastry and so on. I find this makes it so much easier to find what your looking for or to just find inspiration for a special event that you may have coming up.


Of course everything looks and sounds so yummy but these particular things caught my eye...



Raspberry Torte



Apple and Cinnamon Waffles


Honey and Mustard Sausage Rolls




Viennese Fingers

Something I really love about this book is that it is full of photos! The photography is beautiful and it gives a real sense of 'homemade' as it shows a few crumbs or a dollop of missed chocolate sauce on the rim of a plate... it's what home baking is all about.

I tend to absolutely hate a recipe book that doesn't have many photos. I love to see what the end product should look like and I feel that pictures really lure you in and make you want to bake it..so thumbs up on this aspect. 

The book feels really personal as Jo tells us where each recipe came from or what inspired her to make it at the top of each recipe. I loved reading about how her Nan inspired her to start baking (I can relate...Nans make the best cakes and pies!). This is definitely a book I will go to when I want to get my bake on!

                                              ***********



I am really excited for the coming Jubilee weekend. One reason being that we get an extra long weekend, but most of all it gives me an excuse to bake bake bake! In my head I am planning on baking a gorgeous lemon and white chocolate cake, a traditional Victoria Sandwich, some patriotic cupcakes and maybe some kind of tray bake. It is a lot, but like I said it's in my head so we shall see what actually materialises! 


Apart from going to our traditional Denham Village Fair (blogged about it last year) and a Street Party at a local church, we have no real plans for Jubilee day itself. Typically enough the weather is looking crap for this weekend but if it decides to change it's mind and be nice then a picnic, a BBQ and of course long walks will keep me busy.


We started our long weekend early as Ian had a day off today. It was very relaxed. We managed to get a free swim (through British Gas if you are interested) at a posh private health spa. We had the Jacuzzi to ourselves, had a swim and then finished off in the sauna, it was bliss!  Afterwards we did a little window shopping then headed to a restaurant for lunch. Perfect!


Hope you have a lovely long weekend!


Gemma xXx

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