27 September 2013

Pint sized update: settling back in

September is always such a funny time of year. Coaxing yourself out of sunshine hibernation requires an alarming amount of motivation & determination: two things I severely lack. Truthfully, I've been skulking about in the dark hidden corners of the river, swimming about in blissful denial that Uni work is creeping up behind. I have also been blissfully happy to do just that but it's time to shimmy my finns to the surface.

September spells bidding farewell to the much loved daisy duke shorts & beach flip flops & reluctantly welcoming the return of routines, highlighter pens & keeping that handsome little head of yours sane under the drill of work that's literately catapulted right into your knocker. 

Shall I make you all frightfully jealous by disclosing my delightful welcome home present from Cardiff?... A big, hunky chunk of a work timetable, stacked aplenty with bountiful classes & oozing copious amounts of dear God terror.
Oh Autumn, 'ol buddy, 'ol friend, you really shouldn't have. Seriously. 

Nestled back in the big bad city of Cardiff, I've spent the last several days of freedom pottering about in our brand, spankin' new abode, garnishing it with useless but unquestionably essential adornments. Procrastination presented at its finest...
Well who wouldn't need 3 separate patterned bed throws, a fairy light strung bed voile & a door handle fitted with some bright, boho beaded curtain tiebacks.  
Yeah like I said, necessary claptrap.

In the meantime, here's a little update for you to snoop at...
  • I whipped up a batch of iced cinnamon buns as an adios to the family, leaving them with messy monster grins.

I am yet to figure out whether this is due to the success of these spicy buns or the fact I was packin' up my junk & moving out. Either way, a cheeky recipe for these is arriving at a screen near you soon!
  • My brother introduced me to this little beauty. Why oh why this man hasn't graced his presence in my life before is beyond me. Needless to say, he's here to stay. Chunky, nutty, creamy ice-cream with tasty little pockets of sweet chocolate. Ben & Jerry, you never fail us gals.
    Sinful & addictive. Just how you want your two best loyal men.

  • I've recently discovered passionfruit! I always thought it was this incredibly bizarre but intriguing looking thing that was only available in the beating sun-rays of the exotics. You can imagine my excitement when I stumbled across it in Sainsbury's...
    It also reinforced my acknowledgement at how blonde I really am. Maybe I should dye my hair darker to feign some sort of artificial intelligence.
  • Yesterday marked the arrival of the awaited Fresher's society fayre. We dragged ourselves from our heavenly beds & trotted on over to set up the stall for the Cooking society. Unsure how much interest we'd attract, we were impressed by the amount of people who signed up in total! 

It is hard to resist the charm of the three musketeers after all.

 Or it might have been down to the fact that bellies were grumbling at the lunchtime hour & these mighty treats were winking at the freshers. Such mischief-makers.

  • We celebrated our first night out as a house on Monday & whisked out the camera to document the squiffy occasion...

So whilst I hope you all enjoyed my little sob of horror as I swing back into second year, I'll try & keep my fingers tapping at the keyboard & will hit you with some more snippets of the life of the poached salmon when I find my head sploshing above the water's edge.

Time to flop myself into bed for the rest of the day, recharge with a girl's night out & start afresh in the sparkling maƱana!

¡Hasta luego

20 September 2013

Sticky, Chubby Oven Babies

As little miss sunshine slips back into her flurry of gloomy clouds, am I the only one whose secretly pleased to welcome back the return of fall? 
Pulling out the toasty tartan scarfs, chunky oatmeal knits, frothy hot chocolates & the thick, fluffy bed socks sounds so bloody inviting as the rain pounds down outside. 
Plus, who can deny an extra excuse to snuggle up in a duvet & fester in a bubble of happiness as the winds whistle & dance about outside, eh?

The arrival of fall also gives you the perfect reason to situate yourself in the kitchen & bustle up a batch of something glorious to pull you through the September showers. 

Now I don't want to take the biscuit you guys but these oven babies are really quite delicious. What makes them even more hideously attractive is they're oh-so easy to whip up. I'm not even sorry.

These sweet, sticky mounds are like big ole' monster bear hugs that you can melt yourself into on a chilly autumn day. 
Bursting with flavour & a delightful crunch factor; they're fun, exciting & utterly rewarding - just like life should be this time of year.

Finger lickin' good in every single way. 
Hola Autumn, you long lost friend... 

Caramel sugar chocolate crunch cookies:
250g all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarb.
1/2 teapsoon salt
170g unsalted butter
100g soft brown sugar
100g golden caster sugar
Dash of vanilla extract
1 egg
Packet of milk chocolate chunks/drops
Generous lashing of crushed hazelnuts (or any nuts of your choice...)

[Recipe inspired from this yummy gem & fabulous blogger]

Preheat your little love oven to 170°C & prepare a cookie sheet with a layer of greaseproof paper to prevent your buttery morsels from sticking whilst they do their thang.

In a medium sized bowl, sling in your flour, bicarbonate of soda 
& pinch of salt. Mix together & then set aside.

In a separate bowl, it's time to get the wet ingredients mingling & socialising. Whack in your sugars & whip in your melted butter until you get a smooth consistency & the sugar granules have disappeared. 
Next, beat in your egg & add a dash of vanilla extract.

You should end up with a gloriously nasty looking concoction like this..

Truly appetising stuff

Now it's time to introduce your sugary sweet friend to your plain, bland mixture on the side & let a beautiful friendship blossom. 

Chuck in your chocolate chunks & your selected choice of crunchy nuts.

I added hazelnuts to compliment the milky chocolate chunks but you could be really devilish & drop in some chocolate covered peanuts. The mashing of salty & sweet is one underrated yet magical mix that simply cannot be beaten!

Grabbing a spoon or ice cream scoop, gather generous dollops of your mixture & plop them randomly onto your prepared baking sheet. 

Just remember to leave a bit of space between each as these naughty cookies are notoriously greedy with space & swell up to be some rather plump, portly beasts.

Not that I'm complaining in the slightest...the bigger the better, right?

Bake your molten puddles of happiness for around 12 minutes until they're enviably bronzed & looking all scrumptious & irresistible...

As I'm such an indecisive & quite frankly greedy cookie monster, I absolutely in no way wanted to feel cheated of any warm, molten sugar experience. 
So to satisfy my inner sugar magpie, I went ahead & mixed up a batch of rich, crumbly oatmeal cookies as well.

I'll happily accept my honorary scouts badge right about now.

I know an oatmeal cookie doesn't sound all that alluring & may lack the somewhat naughty decadence of their impish big sisters but they most definitely do not slip into second place here...

Chewy, nourishing, hunks of healthiness that explode with warming spice & achieve 100% happy tummy satisfaction.

Fruit & Crunchy nut oatmeal cookies:
60g whole-wheat flour
62.5g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
25ml olive oil
150g soft brown sugar
1 large egg
Dash of vanilla essence
40g rolled oats (not cooking oats)
75g dried currants
40g mixed nuts 

[Recipe based upon Martha Stewart's 'Everyday light' cookbook...therefore guaranteed to be a winner] 

Pop your oven onto 180°C & line your cookie sheet in the same way as you did for the chocolate chunk hazelnut cookies above.

Throw your flours & baking powder into a medium sized bowl.

In a separate bowl, plop in your brown sugar, egg, vanilla extract & olive oil & beat the hell out of it.

You'll be left with another bowl of utterly divine looking mess...

Grab your bag of rolled oats & measure out roughly 40g. You can get your creative fingers flexing here & alter the amount depending on how oaty you want your cookies to be. 

This amount resulted in a happy medium of an overall cookie base with the occasional noticeable chewy oat undertone. 
If you prefer your cookies to be more filling & earthy, then I suggest bumping up the amount of oats & reducing the amount of whole-wheat flour you mix in...

Coax your arm muscles out from hiding & give the mix a good seeing to.

Time to sprinkle in your mighty mix of fruits, nuts, seeds & any other goodies that you can get your hands on...

Drop spoonfuls of your cookie mix onto your prepared baking sheet.

Bake for around 15-17 minutes or until your little oven babies are lookin' all tanned & mighty fine.

I seriously take my hat off to you if you can choose which batch to get cookin'.

In all honesty, I urge you to embrace September's feel for change, go wild & make both. After all, a whole party of soft, gooey cookie monsters mingling together is better than one lonely batch on its' own, right?

Go on, indulge your suppressed gluttony & treat your inner, chirpy fat kid with some pure, unadulterated happiness you can hold in your dirty mitts.  

Pssstt...to really get your inner fat kid singing to his plumpy hearts' content, eat your cookies by dunking them into a tall, icy cold glass of milk. 

Everyone knows that milk is a cookie's best friend.

Your call.
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