Sunday, 21 April 2013

Salcombe, Devon.

This morning we bundled into the car, a little earlier than some would have liked and headed to Salcombe in an attempt to make the most of our final weeks in the South West. 

Once we had got to Salcombe and parked the car we wandered round to find a coffee shop, this is the one we decided upon. 

It was nice to be inside after the chilly walk from the car park. I had a vanilla latte and a slice of bakewell tart. It was so nice as it had a thick layer of jam that is often lacking in some bakewell tarts!

We then had a wander round and I bought some wellies. There are a few nice shops around all of the cosy, quality variety. 

We then got the ferry across to the beach and the weather began to brighten up. It must be so nice in the summer as even on a day like today was lovely.   

These are the wellies I bought from Seasalt at a bargain price of £15 they are super comfy due to the cushioned soles. 

We then got the ferry back and found somewhere for lunch. I had a crab patty with skin on skinny fries. It was delicious. 

After our lunch we went in a couple more shops and then stopped for ice cream and sat on the sea wall watching children catch crabs, some that were an impressive size. 

It was so nice to get out the city for a day and explore more of Plymouth's surrounding area before I go back home for good. (Yippee!)

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Toffee Popcorn Brownies.

Thursday I handed in my dissertation. So yesterday I thought I would catch up on the blog and make something to celebrate.

While in the depths of dissertation I discovered this...

Toffee popcorn by Cadbury. It got me thinking, so yesterday I made toffee popcorn brownies. While it did not turn out how I thought, I thought the popcorn would remain crunchy like in the chocolate bar. I don't know why because now it seems obvious now that it would take on some moisture during baking. However the popcorn did give a texture, similar to edge of the brownie. You know when its chewy and sticks to your teeth (in a good way). So if you like the edges of brownies these are for you!

To make 12 large brownies you will need:

A square tin or dish around 20-25cm in length.
Baking paper.
150g toffee popcorn, (if you want to make plain brownies this is still a cracking recipe).
250g salted butter.
100g dark chocolate.
100g milk chocolate.
80g cocoa powder.
65g plain flour.
half a teaspoon baking powder.
360g golden caster sugar, this will increase the caramel flavour.
4 medium eggs.

Start by pre heating the oven to 180. Get some baking paper to the size of the dish and scrunch it up a few times so it molds easily to the dish when the mix is poured in. 

Next get the chocolate and butter and chop/break them up into pieces. 

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a bowl over simmering hot water. Tip for next time use a bigger bowl! It makes life a lot easier when removing the bowl from the top of the sauce pan when the butter and chocolate have all melted. 

While that is beginning to melt, weigh and put in to a large mixing bowl all the dry ingredients. Flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder. 

Once the chocolate and butter have melted mix them together to form a glossy mix.  

Pour it into the dry ingredients and mix until it is thoroughly mixed together. 

Add the eggs and mix together. This will make the batter smoother. 

Lastly add the popcorn, mix in well.

Spread the mix evenly into the dish. Cook for 30 minutes at 180. 

Once out of the oven leave to cool, then remove from the dish using the baking paper and cut into 12 pieces. 

And that is that. Fudgy in the middle with the chewyness of the popcorn. They are super rich so would go really well with some ice cream! Failing that a cup of tea to wash it down will be just as great!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

How to make a bunting cake topper.

This post today is about how I decorated this cake. I made a plain sponge mix and divided it into two sandwich tins, left them to cool and made some butter icing (300g butter, 300g icing sugar, dash of milk, Cream together). 

To make the bunting you will need:
Brown parcel paper, (other paper if you like)
A pair of chopsticks,
Some PVA glue, 
A thin marker to write on the bunting,
A thick needle to help thread the string through the bunting,
Thread or string,
A paper template to cut out the bunting shapes. 

To make the template for the 'happy 21st' I did each length at 4cm. 

For the name bunting I reduced this from 4cm to 2cm. 

Draw around the template enough for once per letter. Then cut each diamond out.

Fold them in half and put a small blob of glue near the tip of the triangle. This will ensure that there is a gap at the top of the bunting to thread the string through.

While they dry place them under one of the chop sticks to keep them in place. Leave until dry. 20 minutes to be on the safe side.

The cake is now cool. Spread a thin layer of butter icing in the centre and then sandwich the other cake half on top. Then spread a thin layer of icing all over the cake with a spatula. Once this is done place in the fridge for 5-10mins. 

Take the cake out of the fridge and finish with the rest of the icing. Spreading it and swirling it to create the desired effect.

I then added these strawberry shimmer crunch chunks to the edge of the cake by carefully pouring them and pressing them into the icing. You could use hundreds and thousands or mini chocolate chips.

Now that triangles are dry you can add your lettering with a felt tip.

Once this is done cut the string into equal lengths, I needed three. Thread the string through the bunting using the needle. Then tie each end onto the chopsticks. Play around with it until you are happy with the look. 
(sorry for the lack of photos of this part but it got a bit fidderly!)

Then press the ends of the chopsticks into the cake. 

This turned out really well, I am really happy with the way it turned out.