Hey my lovelies,
I hope you’ve all had an AMAZING Christmas!! I had a great time with my family in the Netherlands going to Christmas Mass and enjoying a (massive) nine course Christmas dinner. Then yesterday I went with my parents for an overnight trip to Bruges, in Belgium which was such a beautiful town and now today I am on my way to Berlin to ring in the New Year there with a group of friends!
After the last few days I definitely feel the below applies ;)
For example check out this amazing hot chocolate I had in Bruges!
It was basically a giant bowl of hot milk and you got an (edible) chocolate cup filled with little chocolate chips to whisk into your hot milk. To die for delicious…..
Think a January Detox will be required ;) Happy Hump Day!
At Christmas time I love preparing baking treats as little gifts for my family and friends. Last year I made delicious ‘white chocolate rocky road‘ which was a huge hit with my family. So this year I was again on the look-out to find something to bake that I could wrap up and place under the tree for them to enjoy! When I found this recipe I was excited because I had never made biscotti before and with the additions of cranberries, pistachios and white chocolate it made it perfect for Christmas…
3-1/4 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups sugar
145g (5 oz) unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
zest of one orange
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup green pistachios
Start by sifting together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl use a hand (or stand) mixer to beat the sugar and melted butter together. Then and the eggs, vanilla extract and orange zest. Beat on medium-high until combined. Now add all the dry ingredients, and mix on low speed just until it’s combined. If you over-mix the biscotti will start to get tough. By the end of the mixing you should have a stiff, but slightly sticky dough. Time for mix-ins! Add the dried cranberries, the pistachios and 1/2 cup of the white chocolate chips.
Doesn’t the look of this bowl just scream Christmas? Stir until everything is mixed together! Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) degrees, and cover a baking tray with parchment paper. Divide the dough in half and form it into two rough logs on the baking paper and use your hands or a scraper to press each into a bar roughly 30cm by 10cm. Bake the Christmas biscotti logs for 30 minutes, until they’re golden brown.
After they come out of the oven, let them cool for at least a half-hour before slicing them. Use a very sharp serrated knife to cut the biscotti into 5cm slices. If you use a lot of downward pressure the logs have a tendency to crack, so try not to press down and instead to just gently saw back and forth. Place the sliced Christmas biscotti back on the baking sheet and return it to the oven for 15 minutes to crisp up. Now at this point don’t let your dad in charge. I did this and said to my dad please take them out of the oven after 5 minutes because I was heading out to quickly visit someone for a Christmas Eve cup of coffee. But when I got home to marvel at my perfect biscuits, he’d somehow forgotten them in the oven and they were soooooo burned. Black and inedible. He did feel very guilty so had quickly whipped up more of the recipe so we could re-bake. I was mad but it’s Christmas so HAD to forgive him ;)
Anyway after they are baked, the Christmas biscotti is technically done, but I like to add just a little decoration. Melt the remaining 1/4 cup of white chocolate chips and drizzle the cooled biscotti with white chocolate! Yummmmm….
Now you can wrap them up in cellophane to present them to family and friends. These biscotti are delicious on their own or ‘dunked’ into a cup of tea or coffee! Let me know if you make them and how they turn out :) Hope you have all had an amazing Christmas!!!
Here is the recipe for the delicious Christmas Crinkle Cookies I made this morning. I’d found this recipe a little while back on one of my favourite food blogs ‘Iowa Girl Eats‘. They just looked so pretty and seemed surprisingly easy to make so I wanted to give it a go myself. And guess what, they taste just as good (if not better) as they look!! A soft, fudge-brownie style cookie….yummmm. Enjoy :)
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup icing sugar
In a bowl mix together cocoa, sugar, vanilla and vegetable oil. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until mixture is smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Mix into wet ingredients in 3 batches, mixing until just combined in between each batch. Cover the dough and chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Preheat oven to 180C (350F) degrees. Scoop out one tablespoon of dough, roll it into a ball between your palms and roll in icing sugar.
I was so excited one I started to see the cracks appearing in the cookies!! Place on a non-stick sprayed, or parchment paper lined, baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. And then show them off to all your friends and family, they are bound to be impressed. And they will disappear in no time. Mmmmmmmm!
I am back home in the Netherlands at the moment to celebrate the holidays with my family. I arrived on Friday night and spend most of yesterday in the kitchen; baking up a storm! I love baking for friends and family so Christmas time is no exception. Want to see the goodies I made?
For a while now I have been looking for the perfect silk blouse and I finally found one at Zara that I really liked. This classic staple (and in my opinion a must-have in any girls wardrobe) has the ability to adapt to any sort of look; from classic to bohemian, from elegant to tomboy chic. There’s virtually endless ways pair it, layer it, transform it. I liked the pocket and shoulder details on this shirt.
Here is a recent simple outfit of the day with my silk blouse:
Silk Blouse with front pockets from ZARA (buy here for £39.99) // Black leggings with knee seam from ZARA (link) // Black leather flat riding boots // Tiffany Silver Bead earrings (link)
Then later in the day I added on a blazer and scarf for a bit of warmth…
Black Jersey Blazer from ZARA (link) // Leopard print tube scarf // Watch by Michael Kors
Love this shirt, wore it out the other night for dinner with a beige tank top, dark blue skinny jeans and knee-high heeled boots. So simple, so elegant and so comfortable! Think this new shirt will get lots of use :) Have you got yourself this fashion must-have item yet? xoxo
Wow aren’t the days are just flying by at the moment! The other weekend I discovered this fantastic wee brunch cafe in Notting Hill that I thought I’d share. Lowry & Baker is a seriously cute cafe on Portobello Road, up where it’s a bit quieter so you do not get swamped by the thousands of tourists.
The set up is very casual with lots of mismatched tables and chairs and it has a basic counter right smack-bang in the middle of the cafe for preparing food. This place is so tiny that the food is actually all prepared right there behind this counter on a little portable kitchen stove; it feels a bit like walking into your friends kitchen!
They have a regularly updated chalked-up menu on the wall with delicious breakfast or lunch choices plus an impressive display of muffins, cakes, pies and banana breads to lead you even further into temptation. I personally don’t drink a lot of coffee but have been told the coffee here is excellent too (Monmouth brand).
I chose the poached eggs on toasted sourdough with mashed avocado and smoked salmon! I love how the food and drinks are served on vintage tea plates! Plus the fresh flowers on each table are such a lovely touch.The poached eggs were perfection; there is a real art to cooking the eggs JUST right!!This yummy breakfast certainly disappeared from that pretty plate rather quickly ;) If you are ever in London or Notting Hill I definitely recommend checking this place out. The perfect weekend chilled out breakfast spot..
Only one week until Christmas! I however felt like it was Christmas already when my December GlossyBox arrived at my desk a few days ago! Seems the Glossy Box team are feeling the Christmas cheer because their last box of 2011 is a beautiful red instead of the usual soft pink and is packed full with lovely Christmas goodies. Think this is my favourite box so far!
This month everyone received a Rituals foaming shower gel, a Deborah Lippmann nail polish (plus nail polish remover mits) and a lipgloss by Cargo. The remaining two items were different in everyone’s box. I got the Blink+Go Hi Definition mascara and the MeMeMe Seventh Heaven FaceBase.
Here is an outline of the products I got:
♥ Rituals – Yogi Flow Foaming Shower Gel, 200ml £6.50
♥ Deborah Lippman “Razzle Dazzle” Mini (8ml) Nail Varnish
♥ Stripped To Go nail polish remover mitt (retails at £14 for pack of six)
♥ Blink + Go Hi-Definition Mascara
♥ Cargo Cosmetics Classic Lip Gloss (mini)
♥ MeMeMe Seventh Heaven Moisturising Facebase
I was very excited to find the Rituals foaming shower gel in this box because my brother and his fiancé seem to be addicted to the stuff. They’ve raved to me about it many times and every year when one of the big department stores in Holland has their annual sale, they stock up on buying the Rituals foaming gels in bulk! So I was very keen to give this product a go and see what the fuss was all about. Now having tried it, I completely understand their love for this product. The foaming gel is just delicious!
It has a gel-to-soft foam formula which makes it feel like you are having a bubble bath in the shower. Very soft and creamy plus the Yogi Flow smells amazing. It has ingredients like Sweet Almond Oil and Indian rose which not only make your skin smell divine but also make it feel moisturised and luxurious.
Once this bottle runs out I am definitely buying more because am keen to try the other varieties. My brother seems to swear by the Hammam Delight!
I also love the Cargo Cosmetics Lipgloss. I hadn’t really heard of this brand before so that does show the advantage of the GlossyBox concept, exposing you to great products you might otherwise not find.
The classic lipgloss (travel size) I got was in the shade ‘Serengiti’ which is a iridescent peach colour. It has a lovely shiny, sheer non-sticky formula and the colour is so pretttty!
The Razzle Dazzle raspberry glittery nail polish by Deborah Lippman also looks perfect for the festive season, cant wait to have a play with it :)
Did you get your December GlossyBox or do you spot some products in here you’d like to have?? A GlossyBox subscription is £10 per month (plus V.A.T and p&p) from Glossybox.co.uk. You find my previous review of the Glossy Box Experience here.