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- Roasted Butternut Squash and Chorizo Salad
- Weekend in Whitstable by the seaside..
- What if you fly..
- Berners Tavern – The London EDITION Hotel
- Wedding weekend at Longleat House
- Pursue it!
- Moroccanoil Light Treatment
- Brunch at Hally’s Parsons Green
- Aveda Challenge Naturally Straight & Be Curly
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Monthly Archives: April 2013
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…..
Ottolenghi’s Chocolate Fudge Cake
240g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
265g dark chocolate (52% cocoa), chopped into small pieces*
95g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), chopped into small pieces*
290g light muscovado sugar
4 tablespoons water
5 large eggs, separated
pinch of salt
cocoa powder for dusting
Preheat your oven to 170°C (350°F) and butter a 20cm (8″) spring form pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment/baking paper.
In a large heat proof bowl, combine the chopped chocolates and butter.
Combine the muscovado sugar and water in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Pour the boiling syrup over the chocolate and butter and stir until they have melted. *If you ignored the “chopped into small pieces” instructions, insert another step; melt mixture further over a double boiler until smooth…
Add the egg yolks, one at a time, to the chocolate mixture and then set the bowl aside until the mixture comes to room temperature.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites and salt to a firm but not dry meringue. Using a rubber spatula, fold a third of the meringue into the chocolate mixture. Once combined, add another third, fold and then fold in the remaining third until just combined.
Pour 2/3rds of the batter into your prepared pan (about 800g, reserving the remaining batter for later) and bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and leave it on a wire rack to cool completely. Flatten the cake with an offset spatula. Don’t worry about breaking the surface crust and pour the rest of the batter on top. Level the surface again. Return the cake to the oven and bake for a further 20-25 minutes. When tested with a skewer the cake should have a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
Allow to cool completely in the spring form pan before attempting to unmould it.
Dust with cocoa powder before serving & I added a few little raspberries too finish it off!
Oh and if you want to try making this cake, but can’t be bothered baking it twice, you can just bake the entire cake as is. It will still be great!
Cooking notes: Make this cake and you will make yourself and anyone around you happy. It will keep for a couple of days.
You’re welcome ;) ENJOY!
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.
What a perfect day :)
They say patience is a virtue….
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!
Happy Hump Day everyone x
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.
Such pretty and soft colours for Spring don’t you think?
The full Rendez-vous a Paris collection consists of the following shades;
- Oh So Rose (01) – a soft pale pink
- 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?