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    Tuesday, 31 March 2015

    RECIPE - ZESTY LEMON CUPCAKES

    I love nothing more than to spend the weekends doing absolutely nothing with my boyfriend! We normally have busy schedules of places to go and things to see so sometimes it’s nice to just chill at home and relax together, with no set plans put in place. This weekend, we decided to do just that and spent the day doing a mixture of lounging, eating and baking! We made these lemon cupcakes on Saturday afternoon, and they were nearly all gone by Sunday evening! They are really easy to make, we took our recipe from BBC Good Food but there are plenty of other good recipes online – if you have a killer cupcake recipe, please do share it in the comments below!
    Lemon Cupcakes
    Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes

    What you'll need: 
    For the cakes:
    125g of softened butter 

    125g of caster sugar 
    2 medium eggs 
    100g of self raising flour 
    2 tbsp of milk 
    2 lemons 
    For the icing 
    175g of softened butter 
    350g of icing sugar
    Splash of warm water




    Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees while you prepare your cakes

    Using a whisk, beat together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. 

    Add the eggs, sifted flour, milk, zest of the two lemons and a little squeeze of the juice. 

    Mix everything until smooth 

    Spoon around one and a half spoons of the mix into the cake cases 

    Bake in the oven for 10-15 mins. 

    While they are cooking, make the icing by whisking the butter in a bowl. Then add the icing sugar and mix. 

    Add any remaining lemon zest and another good squeeze of lemon juice 

    Once you cakes have risen, place on a cooling rack to cool. Don't ice your cakes until they have completely cooled or you'll end up with a runny mess on top! 

    We decorated our cakes with freeze-dried raspberries and white chocolate! Delicious!

    Friday, 27 March 2015

    #FUNWITHFLAVOUR - HEALTHY CHILLI CHOCOLATE PUDDING

    The final installment in my series of posts for Tabasco UK is pudding! I'm not a massive dessert person, and seeing as I spend my life constantly on a diet, I wanted to create something heathy-ish! I've recently seen lots of chocolate recipes which use avocado as a healthy alternative, and seeing as chilli and chocolate work so well I thought I'd give it a go! 

    Avocados are packed full of vitamin E, iron and potassium and although technically high in fat - it's full of good fats (monounsaturated) -  the kind which are believed to lower bad cholesterol.  It doesn't sound like it would work well in a pudding but it gives a really nice creamy consistancy and once mixed with the chocolate you won't notice it at all!

    I used this recipe from Nadia Lim and adapted it slightly by adding my Tabasco to give the mousse a fiery kick - give it a go for yourself and let me know what you think!

    Chocolate Avocado Pudding
    Healthy Chocolate Avocado Pudding
    What you'll need: 
    • 2 ripe avocados
    • 200g dark chocolate (I used a 60% cocoa)
    • 3 tablespoons runny honey
    • 200 ml coconut milk
    • 2 tsp Tabasco sauce
    • 1/2 chopped red chilli 
    Chocolate Avocado Pudding

    Break up your chocolate and melt using a bain-marie - I use a mixing bowl placed over a saucepan of boiling water.

    Put your avocado, coconut milk, chilli, honey and melted chocolate in a blender and  whizz together until it's nice and smooth. 

    Spoon the mixture into serving glasses and chill in the fridge for around 10-15 minutes. 

    Take out when you're ready to eat, and garnish with fresh strawberries!

    Wednesday, 25 March 2015

    #FUNWITHFLAVOUR - JAMBALAYA WITH TABASCO UK

    The second dish in my series of #FunWithFlavour posts for Tabasco, is of course, the main course. I wanted to create something with big bold flavour to highlight the subtle heat of the Tabasco sauce, but also to showcase the sauces ability to not overpower the other components in a dish.  When thinking of spicy and bold flavour, the dish which immediately came to mind was a jambalaya. It's a rice-based dish, favoured in the deep south, with influence from french and spanish cuisine. I based my recipe on a great dish I found on delicous.co.uk and adapted it slightly to suit my tastes.

    Tasbasco Jambalaya
    Jambalaya Recipe

    You'll need:
    • 150g piece chorizo, diced
    • 1 each small red and small yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced
    • 1 red onion, chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 2 chillis, finely chopped
    • Leaves from a few fresh thyme sprigs
    • 200g long-grain rice
    • 400g can chopped tomatoes
    • 700ml hot chicken stock
    • ½ tsp Tabasco sauce, plus extra to serve
    • 200g raw prawns, peeled and deveined
    Jambalaya IngredientsCooking with Tabasco
    Cook your chorizo over a medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes, before removing and draining the excess grease on some kitchen roll

    Add your peppers, onion, garlic and chilli to the pan and cook for 5 minutes untill they soften


    Add the thyme and rice, cook for 1 minute, then add the tinned tomatoes, stock and Tabasco and bring to the boil.


    Cover the pan, then reduce the heat to low and simmer very gently, stirring occasionally, for around 12 minutes. By this time, most of the liquid will have evaporated - don't forget to taste and season as neccessary!


    Stir in the cooked chorizo and prawns and cook for 1 minute untill your prawns are cooked.


    Serve a couple more dashes of Tabasco sauce and squeeze of lemon
    #FUNWITHFLAVOUR
    Jambalaya

    Tuesday, 24 March 2015

    PONTI'S PIZZA MAKING SCHOOL

    Work ‘socials’ are something which are massively encouraged in my office. Each month, one of us is selected to get everyone together and organise some kind of after work event where we can mingle and socialise outside the pressures of our busy office. We’ve done a variety of things from Jack the Ripper tours to pub quizzes, but our most recent social has been one of my favourites: pizza making! 
    Ponti's Italian Kitchen
    The venue of choice was Ponti’s Italian Kitchen, located just behind Oxford Circus which runs a ‘pizza scuola’ on Sunday-Thursday evenings. On arrival, we all lined up at a long table in front of the wood- oven kitchen and were introduced to one of the Ponti’s pizza chefs who would be our mentor for the evening. He spoke to us about how they make the pizza’s at Ponti’s and showed us the correct way to prepare and shape the dough, before giving us a demonstration by throwing dough in the air and spinning it around his fists! Each of us had our own pre-made dough base in front of us and were encouraged to practice stretching and shaping it into our desired pizza shape – the dough is really fragile, mine virtually split as soon as I stretched it so I decided to leave the pizza tossing to the professionals! 
    Ponti's Italian Kitchen
    Pizza Kitchen
    Pizza Scuola Ponti's
    Once we were happy with our bases, we got to work creating our own bespoke pizzas by loading them up with tomato sauce, cheese and a selection of ingredients which had been laid out before us. I went for a particularly piggy pizza consisting of chicken, red onion, chargrilled veg, goats cheese, olives, pepperoni  and chillis – literally everything in sight!! Your pizzas are then cooked in the kitchens and served to you back in the restaurant. We had such a good evening and was great fun being able to get hands-on with your dinner, I’d highly recommend going with friends or even as an alternative date idea, I know this is something my boyfriend Tom would love!

    The evening sessions cost £23.90 per person, in which your pizza, a glass of Prosecco and ice-cream is included. Ponti’s pizza school operates Sundays throught to Thursday and you can book on the website here: http://www.pontisitaliankitchen.co.uk/home/pizza-scuola
    Pizza Making
    Homemade Pizza
    Ponti's Pizza Making Class
    www.pontisitaliankitchen.co.uk
    5 - 7 John Princes Street Oxford Circus London W1G 0JN
    Square Meal