Now one of my biggest guilty pleasures is definitely chocolate! Out of all treats, candy, desserts & naughty goodness I will always pick something chocolaty over anything else. A little while back for my brothers pre-wedding lunch, for the dessert my dad decided to bake a couple of cakes. One of them, hooray, was a chocolate cake! Now let me tell you, this was not just your average chocolate cake. This was one helluva dee-lish-uss chocolate cake!
Ever since I introduced my dad to (one of my favourite chefs) Ottolenghi he has been as ‘obsessed’ with his cookbooks as I am! So it wasn’t a huge surprise that this incredible chocolate cake recipe came from Ottolenghi; The Cookbook (link).
Why I loved this cake? Well for starters, Yotam Ottolenghi seems to think there is no such thing as too much chocolate in a cake and I have to say I agree. This does mean that this cake is not for the faint-hearted, it is rather rich and indulgent. The main ingredients are pretty much; chocolate, chocolate, some more chocolate and then oh let’s not forget plenty of butter and sugar! But hey if you are going to treat yourself, you may as well do it properly! Because there is no flour in this cake it actually makes it gluten-free – that almost makes it sound healthier don’t you think?
Anyway, the cake is baked in two stages which means the bottom layer is a bit like a heavy baked chocolate mousse cake and the top layer is more like a gooey brownie batter. When my dad made this cake he gave us all the warning; “it’s very rich, you can probably only eat a small piece”. So we followed his advice but when our small piece was gone, we continued to go back for seconds, and maybe even thirds. I don’t know how I did it – but it was just so delicious; I couldn’t stop!
A few weeks back it was my friend’s birthday and I wanted to bake a cake that would feed at least 15-20 people and immediately this cake sprung to mind. The cake was a huge success so I decided the recipe was blog-worthy and had to be shared. You can thank me later…..
It is almost that time of the year again……QUEENS DAY!! As you may have read on here before, every year I travel back home to The Netherlands at the end of April to celebrate the Dutch Queens birthday by partying up a storm on the canals of Amsterdam. You can see some pictures of my previous orange fun times here and here. It is one of my favourite days ever and this year again I have organised a boat and am taking 35 of my friends on an adventure to my home country to show them how we party orange style!
One of the rules of Queens Day is that you have to wear orange. Well, you don’t have to, but you would look a bit out of place if you don’t! Now luckily this is not an issue for me because I love wearing orange anyway. And no, it’s not just because I am Dutch! Every time I wear orange people always say ‘of course you love it, you’re Dutch!’ but really it’s got nothing to do with that. I just love this bright and happy colour and think everyone should own something in the colour orange in their wardrobe, especially for summer!
So with me jetting off to Amsterdam this weekend, I have to admit I have been suffering a bit from Orange Fever and with so much orange in fashion at the moment, it has been hard not to shop up a storm filling my wardrobe with even more orange items!
Because some people might fear this bright colour and perhaps aren’t so sure how to wear orange, I thought I’d create a little collage to show you how I would style it and look fashionable and very on-trend.
I did buy a pair of orange skinny jeans recently which will come in very handy this weekend for my Queens Day celebrations. Plus I also really love these orange heels by ZARA and was very tempted the other day to buy them but I haven’t yet (they were quite high…) but I am still thinking about it ;)
So what do you think, you be wearing orange this summer?
On Sunday I had a wonderful day in East London with my two fellow blogger girlfriends; Hayley & Rory. We met up for brunch and explored the Columbia Road flower market! The sun was shining + good food + great company + flowers and pretty things = makes for a pretty perfect day :) Here some instragram pics of the day…
When I arrived for brunch the girls already had a glass of mimosa waiting for me – now I couldn’t think of a better way to start my Sunday really! // Hayley & Rory loving the sunshine whilst enjoying our breakfast out on the pavement at Franze & Evans in Shoreditch // My breakfast; I had the Trecolore but without hollandaise sauce. I know most people love that stuff, but I just don’t like it! // In East London everything is just that little bit ‘cooler’ – so perfect opportunity to rock my studded black Topshop flats.
Hayley and Rory are girls after my own heart, because after we’d finished our breakfast they were both just as keen as me for dessert! Inside at Franze & Evans they have a scrumdiddlyumptious looking deli counter stacked with a mouth watering display of cakes and treats. // It was very hard deciding what to have for dessert but the Banana Loaf with Salted Caramel just screamed “EAT ME” – so I did… // Our dessert selection; berry cheesecake, banana bread and one ginormous Anzac biscuit! // Hayley decided that the rule should be; cookies should always be at LEAST as big as your head. Yep, perfect!
All full from brunch and high on sugar and coffee we walked to the Columbia Road flower market. This well known London flower market is open every Sunday from Sundays from 8am ’til 3pm(ish). The street is transformed into oasis of foliage and flowers. Everything from bedding plants to 10 foot banana trees are up for grabs. The air is intense with the scent of flowers and the chant of the barrow boys “Everthin’ a fiver”? // We loved browsing around the market buying flowers and little plants for our homes. A little tip?They start closing up around 3pm so if you want to pick up a bargain stay until the end; as the prices will get lower and lower!
Happy girls with their flower and plant pot purchases! // Beside all the beautiful flowers, Columbia Road also has some lovely little independent shops. Small art galleries sit next to cup cake shops, vintage clothes stores, English and Italian delis, garden and antique shops. // I really loved the dark still life floral print and am still considering getting it!
After the markets had closed and we had all our purchases, we decided it was time for a refreshment stop. Ezra Street is a little side street of Columbia Road where people will sit around on the pavement listing to street musicians and sip beers, ciders or Prosecco! With ciders in hand we joined in and soaked up the last bits of sunshine for the day. // With the talented photographer Rory on hand I just couldn’t resist squeezing in a little photo shoot which caused a few giggles – more pictures to follow! // Feeling very Dutch when heading home on my bike with my orange tulips tied onto the back.
However I must confess that this is not one of my strongest personality traits because I have a habit of being a wee bit (ok…quite a bit) impatient. This quote is a good reminder for me to keep smiling even when things aren’t happening straight away as I’d like them to, and keep a positive attitude in the process!
At the moment I am feeling quite impatient with the state of my knee injury and it is getting me a little down. Ever since I ran my half marathon back in March I have been suffering with pain in my left knee. I have tried resting, icing, sports massages and plenty of stretching and foam rolling but nothing seems to help. Initially I was convinced it was ITB but after some (very painful but effective) sports massages removed the tightness in my IT Band it seems the pain is still present but now lower on the side of the knee. I actually haven’t run in 8 weeks now (not even a really short one) because I still feel aches and pains when walking or going down stairs. In two weeks I have an appointment with a great orthopaedic surgeon so I am hoping he will finally be able to tell me what the problem truly is and how we can fix it! Because I am dying to start running again; I actually get jealous when I see people out jogging. So even though it is really tough and making me a little sad, I am saying to myself; keep smiling and be patient…you will run again!
Bourjois is one of my favourite drugstore brands; you might have read my rave reviews about their foundations before (as seen here & here). But it’s not just their foundations I love, even when it comes to nail polishes and their seasonal collections they never dissapoint! In March they launched their latest Spring 2013 collection to their So Laque nail polish range. The ‘Rendez-vous a Paris’ Collection adds eight brand new shades all inspired by the super chic French capital.
The ‘Rendez-vous a Paris’ collection has something for everyone featuring nudes, neutrals, pastels and a pop of coral red. For me Spring is all about creamy, pastel colours so the shades in this collection are spot on!
I got to choose four shades from the new collection to play with and these were my picks. From left to right; Adora-bleu, BC Beige, Peach and Love and Oh So Rose.
Prepp-hibiscus (02) – a radiant, preppy red with touches of coral
BC Beige (03) – an elegant neutral grey-beige
Amande Defile (04) – a soft minty green
Taupe Modele (05) – a chic taupe grey with a violet tone
Adora-bleu (06) – a cute bright bleached blue
Coton sur ton (07) – a nude, very bleached out pink
Peach and love (08) – a fun pastel pinky peach
It was a hard choosing between BC Beige and Taupe Modele, because I’m a big fan of taupe nail polishes but BC Beige just looked that tad bit different and lighter than the other taupes I already own so decided on that one in the end; and it’s a winner! It’s a lovely bleached out, milky version of your general taupe; making it perfect for Spring.
So Laque nail polishes are easy to apply, smooth and ultra glossy. The formula is actually enriched with vinyl to produce a mirror shine effect which means you don’t necessarily need to worry about putting on a top coat and still have shiny nails!
The Bourjois Rendez-vous a Paris polishes cost £5.99 each and are available now at Boots or Superdrug.
What is your favourite of the bunch and are you feeling the pastel look for Spring?
During the recent long Easter weekend, I escaped London for a few days to explore cool and trendy Copenhagen with my flatmate. You can see pictures and can read a bit more about our adventures here. But because we are both very much foodies, we pretty much just spent our days eating and drinking our way around the city. As promised I thought it might be a fun idea to share my recommendations of where to eat when in Copenhagen. Disclaimer; I do consider myself to be a huge expert on the subject but we did do quite a bit of research before going there and we met some lovely cool local Danes that told us about all the new and happening places to go!
So here just some quick reviews of the places we enjoyed eating at that I would say deserve a visit if you are ever in Copenhagen.
1. Cafe Kalaset
We went here for brunch on our first morning in Copenhagen. With brunch being my favourite meal, I had done my research and this place had some great reviews. It’s an adorable little cafe (underground) that is cosy and unique with mismatched shabby chic furniture and old radios on the wall. Apparently in summer it is popular with people sitting outside on the pavement whilst enjoying their meal but we opted for inside, seeing it was freezing and SNOWING outside!
We both ordered the scrambled eggs with bacon which was delicious. Kalaset is known for their amazing “mormor” brunch which is a HUGE plate filled with eggs, sausages, bacon, eggs, fresh fruit, breads plus yogurt with muesli and you can help yourself to their homemade jams and nutella. So if you are hungry, definitely opt for that one! We ended up having some serious food envy seeing people eating that around us and I think if I am in Copenhagen again any time, then that breakfast has got my name all over it!
Barburrito is a newly opened mexican restaurant/bar in the centre of the city and like most places in Copenhagen it is a bit of a mission to find. But when you do find it (we walked past it about 4 times before finally realising it was downstairs…) it is worth it. The restaurant has a small, intimate and fun vibe and they serve delicious mexican street food and even better (strong!) frozen passion margaritas!
We especially loved the snacks of crispy pork skin and plaintain nachos, both served with (one of my favourite things in this world) guacamole! For the main event we were in the taco mood so we shared a selection of the different taco’s on the menu. All were amazing, fresh, tasty and non-greasy, but they are rather small so if you are hungry I’d say order at least 4-5 each.
We went to this trendy Pizza restaurant in the Meat Packing area of Copenhagen for massive hangover brunch after a night out. I blogged about our brunch at Mother in more detail here. But aside from their amazing brunch this place has some delicious pizzas on the menu and because of the fun, relaxed vibe I think this is also a perfect restaurant to drop in for dinner before hitting the trendy bars around the area.
They are famous for their wood oven baked sourdough pizzas and affordable prices. My friend in Copenhagen also recommended this place so if it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner – I pretty don’t think you can go wrong with visiting Mother!
This place was not on our list (or even radar) until one of the friendly owners at Barburrito told us (over a margarita) that this was the coolest new place in town we just had to visit. So we took his word for it, made a booking and a few nights later arrived at the restaurant to be in for a culinary treat!
Oliver & the Black Circus is located in an old building on a pretty cobblestoned street in the city but when you step inside you are greeted by a dark, modern but welcoming interior. The restaurant is all about a down-to-earth (and more affordable) approach to upscale cuisine. They only do a set menu of 3 to 5 dishes where you can mix and match as you please; you could have a three desserts if that’s your thing! Aside from the electric vibe (including DJ) and fantastic service, did I mention they also mix up some delicious tasting cocktails?
We went for the three course menu (295KR) and I very much enjoyed my Danish caviar starter, lamb main and chocolate (duh easy choice) dessert! The food was spectacular in both taste and presentation and we left the restaurant a few hours later as two very happy girls – ok maybe the handsome barman and his great tasting cocktails had something to do with that too…. ;)
A great little day trip to make while you are in Copenhagen is visiting the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Save it for a day when the weather forecast is saying sunny skies, so you’ll get to soak up the sun overlooking the water at the Louisiana cafe!
Denmark is well known for its open-faced sandwiches and at the Louisiana Cafe I had their smoked salmon, celery and pickles on rye bread version and my flatmate the terrine of root vegetables, cabbage and cream of carrot open sandwich. YUM! The museum has different exhibitions throughout the year but I think the museum is worth a visit even if it’s just for the excursion on the train (approx. 30 min), walking around the gardens overlooking the water and of course a visit to the lovely cafe!
Fiskebar pretty much translates to ‘Fish Bar’ so I am sure you can guess what the star ingredient is on the menu at this restaurant; that’s right FISH! Fiskebar is a set in an old fish processing area in the hipster area of Copenhagen and has a very modern and upmarket look and feel about it. It’s fancy but not stuck up and you can either book a table or eat (and drink) at the bar which is in the middle of the restaurant. Also loved the big fish tank feature. The menu is focussed around serving quality, healthy and fresh fish and shellfish.
Because we had a late booking at Fiskebar, and had indulged in quite a few naughty snacks that day already, a light and healthy dinner was just what we needed. We both loved the sound of the seared scallops with fennel in a sauce of langoustine and watercress so we each got that as medium sized dish. We then also decided to share the baked cod that came with Jerusalem artichokes, a sauce of skyr and wheatgrass plus full grain porridge with mushrooms and chives. Instead of dessert & coffee we opted for espresso martini’s which were incredible – the best we’d had the whole weekend!
However, as much as food was delicious we did find that we had to wait a very long time for our food. Compared to the amazing service we’d received at other restaurants in Copenhagen, on our night at Fiskebar the service was rather poor. Maybe our experience is a rare one because most reviews I’ve read all rave about the great service at Fiskebar.. Therefore I still added it to my list of places to visit. Go here for excellent seafood in this popular hot-spot area (oh and make sure you have one of their espresso martinis…yum!)
On a sunny Easter Monday morning we found ourselves in a great cafe by one of the Copenhagen city lakes, sitting outside (with blankets) ready to fill our tummies with Cafe 22’s extensive brunch offering!
For only 98 KR (£12) the weekend brunch at Cafe 22 gives you unlimited access to a massive buffet that allows you to stuff yourself on a selection of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, pancakes, hot wings, meatballs, warm liver pâté, yoghurt, pasta salad, green salad, cold meat, cheese, tuna mousse, smoked salmon, egg and mayo, muesli, ketchup, maple syrup, jam, nutella, butter, croissants, cakes and bread. See I told you it was massive?
The crispy bacon was my absolute favourite and I admit that I went for seconds, ok maybe even third rounds at the buffet. It’s fair to say I didn’t need much more food the rest of that day haha. Luckily a walk around the lake presents itself naturally post-brunch. This way you can burn off the platefuls eaten and take advantage of the Danish picturesque scene; swans and ducks swimming, cyclists pedalling and passersby walking and running along the lake. Definitely worth a visit even if just to enjoy a coffee lakeside but trust me the brunch is pretty darn amazing.
Aside from the many great restaurants this city has to offer, I thought I’d also quickly share some other things you should definitely treat yourself to when in Copenhagen.
First up, a hotdog! Turns out the Danish love a good sausage. Now that is convenient, because so do we haha. A Danish hotdog stand called a pølsevogn can be found on almost any major street in Copenhagen. Visiting these hotdog stands is great for a shopping refuelling stop or to simply enjoy one after a few too many cocktails late at night. Our favourite stand was by the Stork Foundation on Strøget right in the city centre. You can have your sausage with a white bun, on its own and choose a selection of toppings or go all out and have your sausage grilled and wrapped in bacon. Naturally we tried all the options!
Another thing the Danish love? Hot chocolate! At every cafe the menu will offer you a wide selection of hot chocolates; with cream, chilli, marshmallows, chocolate dunking squares and the list goes on; pretty much whatever your little heart desires; they will have it! We treated ourselves to a luxury creamy hot chocolate at Cafe Dan Turell to warm up after getting caught in a bit of snow storm. We felt a lot warmer and happier after all that chocolate that’s for sure!
Now New York is mad for the cupcake and Paris is passionate about the macaroon, but in Copenhagen the flødebolle is the top treat! The name translates as ‘cream bun’, though it’s not a bun and doesn’t contain cream. Rather it’s a biscuit base topped with soft meringue and coated in chocolate. What it also is = DELICIOUS. I just loved these!
I tried a coconut coated flødebolle and also one that was covered in nuts and had a small amount of caramel twirled into the meringue mixture. International calories don’t count right?? I got mine from one of the many Lagkagehuset bakeries in the city but I think most bakeries sell them.
We certainly had a our fair amount of unhealthy food during this trip but we also loved the many Joe & the Juice bars in the city. These days London also has four Joe & the Juice bars but with the store concept originating from Copenhagen, there is literally one on every street corner. Why we love Joe & the Juice? Cool decor, tick. Yummy and healthy juices, tick. Unbelievably hot danish boys making the juices, TICK! Enough said…
I hope you enjoyed my picks of where to eat in Copenhagen! Of course there are many more amazing places to visit and this is just a selection of places we actually went to. I’d love to go back to Copenhagen again sometime soon so if there’s somewhere else you’d recommend definitely leave me a comment!