Thursday, 26 September 2013

Best ever white cake!

I'm sure your confused by the fact I'm posting a very naughty cake recipe but I can explain, see what's the one day a year when cake is a must? A birthday! My birthday to be exact! Yes yesterday I turned the un-exciting number 22, don't get me wrong though when it comes to birthdays I'm always a sucker no matter what the number.

So due to the fact it was just me and Dan this year for my birthday I decided to continue my tradition from last year (I made the awesome crack pie!) and make my own birthday cake. Like always I was on a budget, 10 pounds exact down to the penny! Now really if you think about in a bakery you would fork out easily over 30 pounds for a good quality cake, so at 10 pounds frosting and all I think this is the perfect recipe!

Yes The heading is correct this is by far the yummiest white cake ever! It took me a good few weeks of internet surfing to find the perfect combo of white moist cake and fluffy frosting and after some last minute adjustments the end result was beautiful and highly addictive.

This is a layer cake so you'll need two 9 inch tins, but if you only have one tin you could always put the entire batter in and once baked simply cut it in half (baking time will vary).

Best ever white cake recipe-

2 1/4 cups of cake flour
1 cup of milk (room temp)
6 egg whites (room temp)
1 split vanilla pod (this is so worth the extra money trust me!)
1 3/4 cup of granulated sugars
4 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks of butter cubed

Preheat oven to 175 (350f). Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and set aside. Next mix milk, egg whites and the seeds from the vanilla pods in a separate bowl. Now grab the bowl with the flour and with a hand mixer beat in your cubed butter bit by bit until you have a wet sand consistency. Pour in your milk mixture now slowly bit by bit like your butter. You should have quite a wet batter, now pour evenly into tins and bake for 20 minutes or when the cake springs back when touched.

Now while the yummy cake is cooling lets whip up some icing!

Fluffy vanilla bean frosting-

3 sticks of salted butter
500g icing sugar
split vanilla bean
4 tbsp of cream
salt to taste (yes weird but true, when your making such a sweet icing it really pays to add a pinch of salt to cut through the sweetness)

Beat the butter until it goes white, this could take anywhere from a  few minutes to 8! But trust me in order to get beautiful white icing this is the most important step. Once you have the butter to the right stage add all your other ingredients and whip, whip and keep whipping! Keep whipping until its light and fluffy and you cant help but lick the beaters, this my friends is the perfect stage of fluffy awesomeness. Make sure you chill it for at least 30 minutes so its nice and easy to spread on the cake.

Now once the cake is completely cooled your ready to frost it up! As a special occasion be sure to make it nice and thick!

 As a decoration I made some hazelnut praline! It's so simple too make I just used a cup of sugar and cooked it dry till it turned into a golden syrup then I tossed my chopped hazelnuts in and poured it onto a sheet of baking paper. So easy to make and is a beautiful addition to any cake, plus it so cheap to make!

This cake was so amazing! It was moist and fluffy and the real vanilla pods just took this cake to a whole other level. I could talk about this cake all day so I should stop and let you be the real judge, trust me you wont be disappointed!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

The joy of oats!

If you read my blog on a regular basis (thanks!) you'll more then likely notice one thing popping up quite regularly and that is oats! I love them, I have them for breakfast, lunch and even sometimes for a late night snack. Everything about them is great, they keep you going through the morning all the way to lunch, the flavour combos are endless and a nice big cup full comes at just 150 calories!

Now my basic recipes for oats is bullet proof. It's so easy I can whip it up at 5.30 in the morning half asleep! The ratio is simple 1/2 a cup of oats ( don't worry this makes a lot), a pinch of salt and about a cup of water depending on how thick you like it, I'm kind of a middle way girl. Also a great tip is to add half a ripe banana chopped up to the pot while the oats are cooking, the natural sugars will sweeten the porridge without any need for yucky processed sugars.

Like I said before the use for oats is endless so much so I grabbed a few photos from over the past year to show you!

 This was my breaky this morning, oats with a tbsp. of unsweetened 100% cocoa, tsp of agave and 1/2 Tbsp of unsweetened jam. Very rich and very yummy.
 Original recipe with the added addition of tsp of brown sugar and some roasted hazelnuts.
 This is my favourite home made granola ever! The addition of oats and quinoa make this addictive and healthy, two things I like very much.
 Oats are also great in bars, this is my banana protein bar I made a few weeks back. Just pop them in your lunch box and you've got yourself a great afternoon snack!
 Another variation which I haven't had the chance to make myself yet is muesli. I am addictive to the stuff so much so I usually at least two boxes somewhere in my kitchen at one time. At the moment I have a yummy buckwheat muesli from Eat Natural that has a yummy addiction of toasted coconut! I also have a new one I'm trying out called Maca's Secrets, this has the added nutritional boost of maca powder and carob chunks. Be warned though if you haven't tried carob before the taste is very unusual and has quite a bitterness to it.
 Whole Foods does a great granola and yogurt combo which changes flavours depending on what's in season. Here I had honey and banana which was out of this world yummy!
 Oat bakes are also another great use of oats for breakfast. Be sure to put enough liquid in the mix though because the oats will soak it all up and the last thing you want is a tough dry oat bake.
 Breakfast is the most important meal of the day so make it pretty and tasty! Who ever said porridge was boring is crazy. This banana, jam and peanut butter porridge doesn't look boring to me!

Add some chocolate soy milk instead of water and hay presto you've got yourself choccy pudding for breaky! And it's healthy!

See how amazing are oats and with fall upon us there's nothing better then a warm breaky to chase away the cold.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Healthy bites

Yay for fall! As an Aussie living in England you probably think I'm nuts but when the nights get longer and my jumpers start to look increasingly tempting I'm as happy as a kid on Christmas morning! Ow and speaking of Christmas look what I found (first photo)! I always get so excited when the food shops start to bring out festive themed chocolates, yes I do realise for most it might be a tad early but as my favourite time of year I couldn't think of better timing.

I'm lucky enough to have a very big and close family and when Christmas rolls around celebrations always go above and beyond something which I'll miss very much this year. Yes sadly there will be no flight home this year for me, instead Dan and I will be having our first Christmas in our new apartment, I'm so excited I've already started planning! But though I'm excited it would be nice to have a Christmas morning full of loud family and friends, way to many presents and way to much food but there's always next year and with me in charge of all the cooking plus the turkey its sure to be interesting!  

 My go to late night snack has been fruit and yogurt every night this week tad obsessive at the moment!
Sunday I let go of the reins and went out to dinner with a friend from university. The menu was so overwhelmingly massive I had no idea what to pick! In the end I ordered a cheese burger with guacamole, sweet potato fries and a soy peanut butter milkshake. The fries and shake were amazing! So soooooo addictive, the burger was good but out of everything I could have had wish I picked something a tad more exciting.
 Yummy smoked haddock and leek fish cakes on Monday night with a simple salad to bulk it out.
More yogurt of course with a little added crunch of toasted hazelnuts and sunflower seeds.
Yes this is no joke you are not seeing things! It's the new Poptart flavour Chocolate Peanut Butter! I got way too excited when I came across this box and couldn't get my card out quick enough. And as a side note they taste AMAZING! But be careful cause even though they come in wrapped packets of two that doesn't mean you pop them both in the toaster! I understand your peanut butter addition, I feel your pain but put that Poptart down save that other one for a rainy day you'll thank me later!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Cheat day antics

This was quite a fun cheat day full of food, shopping, job interviews and more food! Tuesday is my only day off at the moment so with Dan having a job interview in the centre of London I decided to tag along and we could make a day of it. After nervously waiting for Dan's interview to finish (more on that later hopefully!) we hiked on into Covent Garden where I went all out on my cheat day.


 After going from a size 14 to a size 10 I've only just started to realise that non of my clothes fit properly! So this awesome top was an invest I swear hehe
 Dan decided to join in on my cheat day, think he was quite full by the end of it!
 New Converse trainers how dam pretty are these things! So comfy too!
 Nervously waiting for Dan's interview to end bought a cup of matcha green tea frozen yogurt for just 99p!
 Every time I've walked passed this place there's always a line outside the door, I've herd people rave, people not so sure but in the end I wanted to see for myself.
 And I'm happy to save it was amazing! I got a ''little cheese burger'', which I found out was basically a normal burger, where their idea of a normal burger was two patties. Might of been my cheat day but two patties was a little to far for me. All in all this burger was very very yummy, Dan was amazed with how quick I ate it!
Despite the face I had an amazing day out, full of lots of walking, chocolate, WholeFoods, Selfridges the list goes on and though I had a little case of the indigestions by the end of the day I would do it all again!

Well I'm off to read my new book (13 by Kelly Armstrong, amazing series) and relax with a little bit of chocolate, a girls gotta indulge at least once a day!

Chickpea and avocado salad with roasted garlic yogurt

Was in a major chickpea mood this week so decided to whip up something yummy that would last throughout the week!

Chickpea and avocado salad with roasted garlic yogurt-

-Can of chickpeas
-Half an avocado
-1/2 cup of Greek yogurt
-Half a blub of garlic
-Squeeze of lemon juice
-Pinch of salt and pepper

Roast your garlic at 200c for around 20mins, then remove skins and mash into paste (this stuff is amazing in everything and anything, make a little extra and keep it in the fridge for those dishes that need a little extra punch!).  Once the garlic is done combine the rest of you ingredients and there you have it a garlicky yumminess ready for your weekly lunches! Mix it with some salad greens to make it go further or even chuck some in a sandwich.

The photos do not do this dish justice so you'll just have to make it to find out how truly addictive it is!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Healthy bites

Early morning here in the UK, was woken from my slumber by a very annoying txt and once I'm up I'm up so here I am typing away enjoying my blueberry parfait and chai banana smoothie ready to dish out to all you lovely readers what I got up to food wise this week.

 As a girl living on a tight budget I've come to appreciate things I never use too. This for example is something me and Dan look forward to and always budget towards, just a nice coffee together. Mine is a half sweet soy chai latte (of course!) and Dan's is a skinny caramel cap man size!

 Yet again Mexican night in the form of a salad. This nights meat of choose was shredded chicken which I had cooked the night before making it quite and easy to bang together when I got home from work! Plus buying chicken thighs and legs and cooking them down saves you heaps and goes a long way.
 90% dark chocolate is a revelation! Buy it, eat it and thank me later!
 Some goodies I got to bring back from work. Fig jam, saving this for a really good piece of cheese. Zucchini and cheese bread which we were testing out at the kitchen for the new menu, very nice indeed! The cupcake of course is for Dan but in that container is a raspberry and coconut slice and that beauty was strictly mine! And last but by no means least some homemade peanut butter I whipped up at the shop last week!
 Not the prettiest dish but it's sure tasty! This is my tried and tested creamy mushroom bake. The sauce is so simple it's crazy, just add almond milk and a few laughing cows to a pot and simmer till it's all reduced and thickened. Then just add a bit of parmesan to taste. I also added mushrooms to mine and placed everything in a baking dish to add an extra crunch!
 Chai latte porridge need I say more.
 My peanut butter from the shop making its first appearance yay!
 This was something really random I whipped together and I was so blown over with how yummy it tasted I'm definitely making it again! Broken up falafel (baked) on a rice cracker which has a yummy layer of reduced fat hummus.
 Crispy turkey breast with some yummy greens, simple but sure hit the spot.
One of my favourite late night meals, soy yogurt, bananas, blueberries and my totally out of this world quinoa granola.

Well that's it for now I'm off to enjoy my lovely day off, though thanks to my Monday night spin class my legs aren't quite cooperating but hey ho no pain no gain right? Enjoy your healthy filled day I know I will!

My yummy breaky this morning blueberry parfait and a chai banana smoothie, pure bliss.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Choccy banana protein bars

Welcome back to Sunday! And the first day of my favourite season FALL! Not to mention the month of my birthday very good Sunday indeed.

With Monday fast approaching and funds tight due to those horrid few days we all know and hate before pay day I wanted to make something easy but filling enough to help get me through the day!

So here it is my choccy banana protein bars, full of protein, protein and more proteinnnn. Now don't freak out at the word protein trust me not all protein will make you turn into a bodybuilder overnight the real benefits are that it helps restore your muscles after you work out, gives you energy as well as helping with weight loss! And all those yummy oats will keep you go twice as long as any chocolate bar will!

Recipe for Choc banana protein bars-

-1 ripe banana
-2 cups of oats
-1 large egg
-1 cup of almond milk
-2 tsp. of agave
-2 scoops of chocolate protein powder (I used reflex chocolate instant powder)
-2 tbsp. of sunflower seeds (optional)

Servings- 10 slices

Preheat oven to 180c (350f). Yet again its a simple case of mashing everything up until combined (perfect lazy Sunday recipe!) placing in a lined tin and spread till even, then pop in the oven for around 20 minutes until cooked and set.

Calories- 90 per slice

This recipe is a great staple base recipe to add all your favourite things too. I've got my eye on a bag of coconut and dark chocolate for my next batch!