Easter in Cornwall

May 1, 2017

Oh my, it’s been a while since I’ve posted something on this ol’ thing, hasn’t it? But fear not, for I have finally gotten my act together and returned with something I’ve been meaning to upload for a while now.

Last month I spent the long Easter weekend in Falmouth, a little town on the south coast of Cornwall. For the 20 years that I’ve lived in the UK, it’s surprising to think that I have never really ventured outside the vicinity of London, so I wasn’t sure what to expect or what adventures laid ahead of me. I surely didn’t expect jaw-dropping landscapes, golden sandy beaches and bright blue waters!
I must admit, for the majority of the time I spent there, I was overcome with the urge to belt out ‘The Hills Are Alive’ (from The Sound of Music) whilst spinning in circles and deeply inhaling the fresh sea air (thankfully though, my sister misplaced the footage of that)!

*Please scroll down for scenic coastlines, meandering forest pathways, quaint thatched-roofed cottages, precarious cliff faces and bobbing sailboats (food is guaranteed, of course).

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Those three days away definitely opened my eyes to a part of England that I’d never known before and I’m sure I’ll be going back for more adventurous fun in the near future.

I hope to be uploading posts more frequently from now on, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled over the next few weeks for the next one!

Rae x

White Chocolate & Matcha Brownies

December 2, 2016

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Happy December, everybody!

To officially commemorate the start of  quite possibly my favourite month of the year, I have a delicious recipe for White Chocolate and Matcha Brownies that I hope will kick start your December with a bright green bang!

For those of you that are new to the matcha scene, I really encourage you to try out this recipe. I would say it’s a way of being introduced to it in a more subtle way than being slapped round the face with it by downing a mile-high glass of matcha latte (which even I’ll admit is a bit intense for me!).

I hope you enjoy this little sweet treat, please scroll down for the recipe.

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Ingredients

200g white chocolate, chopped into small chunks
140g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
225g caster sugar
2 eggs, plus 1 extra egg yolk, lightly beaten together
85g plain flour
25g matcha powder

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius/gas mark 4.
  2. Place 100g of the white chocolate chunks along with the butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and heat on a medium/low flame until melted.
  3. Grease and line a 20cm x 20cm baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  4. Combine the butter and chocolate mixture with the caster sugar, then gradually beat in the eggs.
  5. Fold in the flour and matcha powder and then the remaining chocolate chunks.
  6. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and bake for 30-35 minutes or until and skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

 

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Rae x

22

November 3, 2016

I mean, what better way is there to celebrate your 22nd than to stuff your face with tonnes of cake and sugar?? Spending the day in Central London, I made it my birthday mission to see how many baked goods I could devour within a 24-hour time limit.
Regrettably, I haven’t got photographic evidence for everything I ate that day, due to my lack of restraint…but I’ve managed to excavate these few for you!

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Chocolate Mousse Dome, OXBO Bankside, London

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Lemon Tart, OXBO Bankside, London

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Slices of Dream Cake from Cutter & Squidge (Cookies & Cream and Raspberry Ripple)

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Salted Caramel S’more Biskie, Cutter & Squidge – salted caramel buttercream, salted caramel (gelatine-free) marshmallow and salted caramel sauce!

Now excuse me while I go for a quick 12-hour jog.

Rae x

 

Classic American Pies

July 17, 2016

 

After watching episodes of the infamous Gilmore Girls television series back-to-back (thanks to Netflix), I’ve found myself drooling over the classic American food that features substantially in almost every scene of this show. Towering club sandwiches, larger than life hamburgers & fries, a hefty plate of pancakes floating in maple syrup, I’m sure you’re all familiar with the food that most people associate with American cuisine. However, there’s one thing that I feel is sometimes overlooked by non-American onlookers like myself – the humble pie. It’s not so common here in the UK to order a cup of coffee with a slice of pie on the side, but it seems that the Americans regard their pies as highly as the British do their cakes, so in light of this revelation, I decided to give some recipes a go to see what all the fuss was about!
If you scroll down you’ll find a recipe for Pecan Pie and another for Banana Cream Pie. Initially I looked up a few recipes for each pie online to get a general idea of the methods. I’ve tweaked and combined elements of the recipes I found to hopefully give a better overall result.

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Pecan Pie Recipe

Ingredients for the crust:
175g plain flour
2 tsp caster sugar
1/8 tsp salt
110g unsalted butter
1 egg
plus extra flour for rolling the dough

Ingredients for the filling:
70g unsalted butter
225g light brown sugar
300g maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
300g pecans (halved)
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs

Method:
1. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Use your fingers to work the butter into the dry ingredients until you have a mixture resembling breadcrumbs.
2. Add the egg and stir using a fork. If the dough is still a little too dry, add no more than a tablespoon of cold water into the mixture.
3. Form the dough into a disc and wrap in clingfilm. Refrigerate until completely chilled, for at least 1 hour.
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle, to be transferred to a 9-inch pie/tart tray. Trim the edges and make sure there are no holes in the pastry where the filling could potentially leak out. Freeze the pie shell for 30 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 200c. Put a piece of parchment paper over the pie shell and fill with baking beans. Bake the pastry for about 20 minutes, until the dough is set. Remove from the oven and remove the beans and parchment paper, returning the pie shell to bake for a further 10 minutes, until golden brown.
6. Reduce the oven temperature to 180c.
7. To make the filling, in a medium saucepan combine the butter, brown sugar, syrup and salt. Bring it to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly. Continue to boil for 1 minute. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in the pecans and vanilla. Set aside to cool slightly for about 5 minutes. Whisk the beaten eggs into the filling until smooth.
8. Put the pie shell on a sheet pan and pour the filling into the crust.
9. Bake the pie on the lowest oven rack until the edges are set but the centre is still slightly loose, about 40-45 minutes. Cool on a rack and serve slightly warm (with ice cream!) or at room temperature.

~

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Banana Cream Pie Recipe

Ingredients for the crust:
175g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
100g butter
3 tbsp ice water

Ingredients for the filling:
200g caster sugar
40g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 pint milk
3 egg yolks
30g unsalted butter
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 sliced bananas
150ml double cream (optional)

Method:
1. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Using your fingers, mix in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
2. Sprinkle in the ice water 1 tbsp at a time, mixing lightly with a fork after each spoonful, until the dough just holds together.
3. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes (at least).
4. Preheat the oven to 200c. On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch round to be transferred to a 9-inch pie tray. Trim the edge and patch up any gaps/ holes with the excess dough.
5. Line the pie shell with parchment paper and fill with baking beans. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove the paper and the beans and bake the shell for a further 15-18 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack.
6. Preheat the oven to 175c. To make the filling, combine the sugar, flour and salt. Add the milk gradually whilst stirring gently. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture starts to bubble. Keep stirring and cook for 2 more minutes then remove the pan from the heat.
7. Stir a small quantity of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks and immediately add the egg yolk mixture to the rest of the hot mixture. Cook for 2 more minutes and keep stirring. Remove the mix from the stove, add the butter and vanilla. Stir until the mixture is smooth.
8. Place the sliced banana pieces into the base of the cooled pie shell and top with the custard mixture. Bake for 12-15 minutes, then chill for at least one hour before serving.
9. Optionally, lightly whisk the double cream and dollop in the centre of the pie. Decorate with left over pieces of banana before serving.

~

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I strongly urge you to try making these, they’re so delicious!

Rae x

Easy Peasy Marble Cake

June 27, 2016

A quick and easy recipe for a classic teatime treat!

You will need:
250g Caster Sugar
4 Eggs
3tbsp Milk
225g Softened Unsalted Butter
225g Self-Raising Flour
1tsp Vanilla Extract
3tbsp Cocoa Powder

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Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4
2. Line a regular sized loaf tin with greaseproof paper
3. Using an electric whisk (or by hand if you’re up for an arm workout), mix together the sugar, eggs, flour, vanilla and milk until you have a smooth mixture.
4. Divide the cake mix into 2. With one half, stir in the cocoa. Leave the other half as it is.
5. Using 2 large spoons (one for each mixture), dollop the cake mixes alternately into the tin. Then use a skewer (or chopstick) to swirl the two mixtures together to create a marbled effect.
6. Bake the cake for 50-55 minutes until a clean skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake in the tin to cool for 20 minutes before taking it out of the tin.

It really is that simple!!

I hope you enjoy,
Rae x

Food in New York City

June 24, 2016

The adventures of a food enthusiast in the Food Capital of the World!

Having just one week to cover all the recommended food spots in Manhattan was going to be a challenge, so these are the ones that we managed to squeeze in to the short time we had to spend in New York City.

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Shake Shack, Broadway – Based in New York, it had to be tried and it didn’t disappoint.

 

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Junior’s, Broadway – Famous for their New York cheesecake, but I’d like to also mention that the onion rings were literally the size of my face.

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Root beer; an american staple.

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Pastrami-Swiss Cheeseburger – Junior’s

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Plain Cheesecake – Junior’s

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Red Lobster, Broadway – we were continuously mocked by the tour guide for eating at this restaurant, but seriously, the ‘cheese biscuits’ (american-style) were to die for!

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Cast Iron Baked Macaroni Cheese – P.J. Clarke’s

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P.J. Clarke’s, On The Hudson – sitting under a canopy beside the Hudson River whilst the sun was just starting to set, tucking in to delicious food, it just doesn’t get better than that. I can see why this was claimed to be one of Sinatra’s favourite restaurants!

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Chocolate Fudge Brownie – P.J. Clarke’s

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Staying right in the heart of New York’s Korea Town, we often bought breakfast from the Korean bakery next door. This sugary bun was filled with vanilla custard..mmm…

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Katz’s Delicatessen, E Houston Street – If you search the best places to eat in New York City, you’re bound to come across Katz’s Deli, famous for their pastrami and corned beef sandwiches. (Warning: it may take some training to finish one of their sandwiches). It was so fun to experience an authentic American deli, like the ones from the movies!

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Katz’s Pastrami Hot Sandwich – Katz’s Deli

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Spiced Pecan Waffles with Fried Chicken – Sweet Chick

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Becco, W 46th Street – one of the many restaurants on the renown ‘Restaurant Row’, but why would you go to the others when you can have unlimited pasta at Becco?! I need not say any more.

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No Italian meal is complete without olives and bread.

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Three pastas of the day, unlimited amounts of it! 

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This burrata changed my life.

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Dessert Tasting Plate – Becco

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Chelsea Market (not to be confused with the one in London) is THE place for a food fanatic. There are so many restaurants, cafes and kiosks, all serving up delicious food from different cuisines; I was wishing I had a spare stomach!

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La Mei Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup – Very Fresh Noodles, Chelsea Market

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Spicy Mang and Mighty Mushroom Sushi Rolls  – Beyond Sushi, Chelsea Market

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Iced Brewed Coffee – Ninth Street Espresso, Chelsea Market

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Lombardi’s, Spring Street – The first pizzeria to have opened New York, gigantic sized pizzas, authentic and delicious!

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Wafels & Dinges, Bryant Park – drooling at the thought of that spekuloos shake…

 

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De Turtle Wafel, De Elvis Wafel, Double Spekuloos Shake – Wafels & Dinges

I can safely say I stuffed myself to the brim that week (and to think I initially had 30 restaurants lined up …!!)

Onwards to more foodie travels!
Rae x

A Week in New York City

The Big Apple, The City That Never Sleeps, The Concrete Jungle; whichever name you decide on, you can’t deny it – there’s no place quite like the city of New York. Completely captivated by the outlandish vertical landscape looming over at every turn, the familiar fast paced culture, and of course, the glorious, glorious food – I wish I had more time to spend there (as a New York novice), but I’ll surely be returning to continue ticking off the to-do’s on my bucket list.

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Grand Central Station – childhood dreams fulfilled

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NoHo, Manhattan.

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Statue of Liberty National Monument, Liberty Island

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Breathtaking views from the top of One World Trade Centre

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Brooklyn Bridge (and Manhattan Bridge)

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One World Trade Centre, Lower Manhattan, NYC

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Brookefield Place, NYC

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The Flatiron Building, where I waited by the front door for several hours in the hope of meeting Peter Parker… 

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Crossing the Manhattan Bridge on the top of a packed open top double decker bus, wind pounding against our faces with tremendous force – kudos to the bus driver, I must say.

 

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At the very top of the Rockefeller Centre – wow wow wow!!!

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A quiet corner in world-famous Central Park

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The Wall Street Bull

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New York by Gehry

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Obviously, shopping in SoHo was a must…

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Anyone else who has tried taking a photograph of the whole of the Rockefeller centre has shared the same pain, I’m sure. 

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New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue

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Somehow we only seemed to realise that the subway was so much more efficient than the taxi on the last day of our visit…

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Walking The High Line – views of the Hudson River

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Thanks, New York, I’ll be back, or as the locals would put it, ‘It’s been real.’
Rae x

Workout Playlist

March 8, 2016

For the last few months I’ve been challenging myself to regular cardio and weight training. I’m not going to pretend that it’s been easy to keep this up… more often than not, I find myself squirming at the thought of finally arriving home after an arduous day at uni, only to have a strenuous workout ahead of me. Aside from knowing how good I’ll feel after I’ve completed it, I’ve found that having music playing in the background whilst exercising really helps me to actually enjoy working out (and distract me from the pain when every part of my body is telling me to give up!!) . 

Here’s a short compilation of tracks that have been keeping me pumped and motivated during those dreaded burpee reps and intense cardio blasts:

Magnets (V.I.P remix – ft. Lorde) // Disclosure
Soul Food // Mat Zo
Face to Face // Daft Punk
Girls Like (ft. Zara Larsson) // Tinie Tempah
Bang My Head (ft. Sia) // David Guetta
Last All Night (Koala) (ft. KStewart) // Oliver Heldens
Chunky // Format:B
Who Are You // Spring King
aNYway // Duck Sauce
Greyhound // Swedish House Mafia

Honestly so far, I’ve surprised myself at my commitment to a regular exercise regime and I’m so determined to keep going! Not only do I feel a lot stronger physically, but also mentally, and I recommend anyone to start working out on a regular basis if they haven’t already. It’s such a great feeling when you accomplish something that you never thought you could!

Peace out,
Rae x

A Boho Statement

December 18, 2015

So there’s just a week left until Christmas Day and today I’ve got a little something special for you ~

I’ve been having a slight obsession with all things bohemian lately, which is why I was pretty excited when I discovered Mirina Collections – a fashion boutique based in Miami, specialising in handmade bohemian jewellery! So obviously, I ordered myself a piece – one of their best sellers; the Pretty Girl necklace.

All their jewellery is delicately made by hand, so it took a bit longer than your regular online purchase to arrive, but I can assure you, the wait is sooo worth it! The design is incredibly intricate; there were some cute details that I only noticed when I received it, that I didn’t take notice of on the website images, and I’m really pleased with the quality. It is just an exquisite statement piece – perfect for that extra touch of glamour & sparkle any day of the week!

Now for the best part…
You can get 20% off at www.mirinacollections.com sitewide if you enter the coupon code ‘ rachellxo ‘ (yes, that’s double L) at the checkout!
Also be sure to also check out their Instagram account @mirinacollections!

Rae xx