Category Archives: Food

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!

Processed with VSCO with kk2 presetCovent Garden, London

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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

Nutty Chocolate Cake With Malted Meringue Buttercream

December 15, 2015

My passion for baking has been reignited recently, but I haven’t baked anything in such a long time so I thought, to ease me back into my baking stride, I would attempt something quite elementary (and of course, it had to contain chocolate).
I’ve written the full list of ingredients and the method for you below! 🙂

This is an adaptation of Edd Kimber’s Nutty Butterscotch Cake recipe.

Ingredients for the cake:
200g unsalted butter
2 tbsp cocoa powder
200g dark chocolate
300g light soft brown sugar
4 eggs
175g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
75g salted peanuts, finely chopped

Ingredients for the buttercream:
3 egg whites
240g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
360g unsalted butter, diced & at room temp.
3 tbsp Horlicks

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius, gas mark 4, and lightly grease three 20cm cake tins and line the bases of each with baking parchment.
2. To make the cake, mix the cocoa powder with 100ml of boiled water in a small bowl, then set aside to cool. Melt the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally. Take off heat and allow to cool slightly. Put the sugar and eggs in a separate large bowl and using electric beaters, whisk for 4-5 minutes until pale and thickened. Carry on whisking with medium speed to beat in the chocolate mix, then the flour and baking powder until combined. Finally, stir in the cocoa mixture and the chopped peanuts.
3. Divide the cake mixture evenly between the three prepared tins and bake for 20-25 minutes (or until a skewer inserted into the centres of the cakes comes out clean). When taken out of the oven, leave the cakes to cool in their tins for 10 minutes before taking them out to cool completely on a wire rack.
4. To make the buttercream, put the egg whites, sugar and vanilla extract in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Lightly whisk the mixture until the sugar granules have dissolved and the whites are warm. Remove the bowl from the heat and use electric beaters to whisk until a thick glossy meringue forms and the mixture is cool. Continuing to whisk, beat in the butter one piece at a time (the texture of the meringue should have changed by the time all the butter has been added; otherwise, keep whisking until this happens). Add the Horlicks and mix until well-combined.
5. To assemble and decorate the cake, place the first sponge layer onto a stand and spread over 1/3 of the buttercream. Repeat with the second sponge layer. Next, place final sponge layer on the top and spread over remaining buttercream. To finish, dust gently with cocoa powder and icing sugar.

~

I definitely recommend giving this recipe a go; it’s so simple and yet the results are deliciously rewarding!
Rae x

No Ordinary Dim Sum

October 3, 2015

Dim Sum; coming from a Cantonese background, it’s definitely up there as one of my favourite cuisines, which is probably why I was so excited to find out that Ping Pong was opening a branch in Westfield, Shepherds Bush! With a shopping spree planned in Westfield this afternoon, we decided almost instantaneously to go to Ping Pong for lunch (for my sister’s birthday lunch, to be precise).

The food was absolutely delicious with a contemporary take on traditional dim sum dishes as well as new orient-inspired inventions; I was kept on the edge of my seat as I awaited each plate, eager to find out what the next one was going to look & taste like. Here are a few highlights:

I don’t know what it is, but there’s just something fun about marking your own order on a piece of paper…I’m probably the only one that feels this way though.

Roast Pork Puff – Ping Pong Dim Sum Restaurant

I’m not sure about anyone else, but I know my family have never had Dim Sum without a starter of Char Siew Puffs!

Chilli Pork Tenderloin – Ping Pong Dim Sum Restaurant.

Yes, the tenderloin was truly tender.

Potato & Edamame Cake - Ping Pong Dim Sum Restaurant

Potato & Edamame Cake – Ping Pong Dim Sum Restaurant

Chicken & Mushroom Rice Pot - Ping Pong Dim Sum Restaurant

Chicken & Mushroom Rice Pot – Ping Pong Dim Sum Restaurant

Well..I mean, these pictures speak for themselves really, don’t you think? You can’t go wrong with a classic rice pot.

Flowering Dragon Eye

Flowering Dragon Eye Tea – Ping Pong Dim Sum Restaurant

It seemed fitting that a restaurant with such a variety of exciting eats would provide an extensive list of intriguing teas and cocktails to accompany the food. I highly recommend the flowering teas; they make a fine spectacle whilst you’re waiting for your food to arrive. It’s definitely more impressive in real life than in this photograph, i’ll have you know.

Some call this a steamer basket, I call it the basket of dreams…

Xiaolongbao Dumplings – Ping Pong Dim Sum Restaurant

Honey-soy Spare Ribs - Ping Pong Dim Sum Restaurant

Honey-soy Spare Ribs – Ping Pong Dim Sum Restaurant

Certainly the best one of all! Finger-Licking goodness – I could’ve easily eaten three plates of these. The pork was so succulent and the sauce, packed with amazing flavour. I believe this is a seasonal special so i’m glad I got to have it while it was available!

And finally to finish – moon cake!

Ping Pong Coconut Moon Cake – Ping Pong Dim Sum Restaurant. All pictures on this post were taken with my Fujifilm X-A2 camera.

I hope I’ve now made you extremely hungry and look forward to doing this again sometime 🙂

Rae x

Chocolate Fudge Cake

August 29, 2015

Those who know me well, or even just vaguely, would know I have a major (and sometimes uncontrollable) sweet tooth. If there’s a freshly replenished jar of cookies sitting in the kitchen cupboard, I can guarantee I will be the first one to locate and devour the whole lot in a matter of minutes. I can’t end a meal in a restaurant without even glancing at the dessert menu, on the prowl for a sneaky pud.

Honestly anything loaded with sugar would be on my list of preferences, but my true weakness is cake. Specifically the chocolate fudge cake (as you could probably tell by the title). I have eaten many of these in my time and the sensation I get with each mouthful of chocolatey unctuousness is just so addictive; it’s really quite an emotional affair.

Today, I had another encounter with one of these incredible creations, but this one steps out of the box with a slight twist…Chocolate Fudge Cake with Wasabi, anyone?? I know what you may be thinking, but let me assure you, it’s divine. So deliciously creamy, fudgey and of course chocolatey, with the tiniest hint of spiciness – it’s a genius combination that blows my mind every time I have it.

Taken on my Canon IXUS 240 HS

Taken on my Canon IXUS 240 HS

Where can I find this? I hear you ask. Well, I’m sure most of you are familiar with the Wagamama franchise. You can find one almost anywhere nowadays. All their desserts are really innovative, with quirky flavour fusions, so if your palette is craving something more adventurous for dessert, this is the place to be 😉

Here’s a quote I like:
Let’s face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does it for me.
~ Audrey Hepburn

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think there’s a loaf of madeira cake in the kitchen…

Rae x

Let’s Talk Food

August 2, 2015

To ease me into the blogging scene – and because food is the best thing in the world – I thought i’d share my excitement for it with you guys. I have compiled a short list (in no particular order) of my current favourite dining destinations…although, if I’m honest, I could’ve easily added several more. 

#1 Wasabi

The best place in London to go for authentic, incredible tasting sushi and sashimi. It requires no further explanation. Try it and I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.

#2 Gourmet Burger Kitchen, ‘GBK’

A restaurant that I’m sure you’ve all heard of before; you can’t be a fan of burgers without being a fan of GBK. So many choices, such delicious food, at a great price – a brilliant all rounder! It’s definitely worth a visit if you haven’t already. (By the way, I recommend the sweet potato fries – the baconnaise it comes with is top notch 😉 )

#3 Piccolino

A family favourite. Italian food doesn’t get much better than this…at least in the south of England anyway! On holidays, birthdays, or even typical boring rainy days, the fam & I always find an excuse to come here. I can’t believe I don’t actually have a decent picture of this restaurant to post here…!!

#4 Bill’s Restaurant

As they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day; if you have it at Bill’s you’re sure to be setting yourself up for an exceptional day! Bill’s Vegetarian Breakfast gets me umm-ing and ahh-ing with each mouthful.

 #5 Bornga

So I thought I’d mix things up a bit by finally mentioning this gem in Singapore (but also because I couldn’t possibly leave it out of this list). Located in The Star Vista, it doesn’t get much more convenient as we’re just coming out of a church service on a Sunday afternoon. It is famous for it’s Korean barbecue, and trust me once you try it you can see why; as the food hits your tastebuds, fireworks of splendour and delight explode in your brain, kinda like that scene in Ratatouille!!! …I mustn’t get too carried away, but if you’re ever in Singapore, you have got to check out this place.

That’s it for now, but let’s face it, there’s nothing more satisfying than a home-cooked meal.

Let’s do this again sometime,

Rae x