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Friday, 31 October 2014

mississippi mud pie

 If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, then you may have spotted this slice of deliciousness popping up all over my profile.  
Yes, I did indeed make that.  
Yes, it was as good as it looks. 
 And Yes, I'm not ashamed to brag about my own baking.

What can I say? I rarely produce something that actually looks like the picture in the recipe AND tastes as good.

So I thought you I'd share the recipe and a few snaps (apologies in advance for any drooling on keyboard incidents) so that if you want to, you could give it a go yourself.

Now, I got this recipe from a book called 'Bake' (classic name!) that the boy kindly treated me too a couple of months ago.  It's full of recipes from around the world (can you guess where this one came from?), and this is the first thing I've made from it... going on the success of this, I'll definitely be returning to give plenty of the others a go.

So without further ado, and before my head gets much bigger, here you go:


Chocolate Layer
85g Plain Chocolate 
85g Unsalted Butter
85g Light Muscovado Sugar
2 Eggs, beaten
100ml fl oz single cream

175g Plain Flour, plus extra for dusting
25g Cocoa Powder
40g Light Muscovado Sugar
85g Unsalted Butter
2-3tbsp Cold Water

250ml whipping cream
85g plain chocolate

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.  To make the pastry, sift the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl and stir in the sugar.  Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.  Add just enough water to bind to a dough.
I then popped my pastry in the fridge for around 20 mum always says pastry is easier to work with when it's been chilled, and mum's always right, right?

2.  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface to a round large enough to line a 3cm deep, 20cm round tart tin.  Use the pastry to line the tin. Prick the base with a fork, cover with a piece of greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans, then bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and take out the greaseproof paper and beans.  Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.

3.  Put the chocolate and butter into a saucepan and heat over a low heat, stirring until melted.  Put the sugar and eggs into a bowl and whisk together until smooth, then stir in the chocolate mixture, cream and vanilla extract.

4. Pour the chocolate mixture into the pastry case and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until just set.  Leave to cool.
I left mine overnight in the fridge before adding the cream layer, but that's not to say doing it once it's cool won't work.

5. to make the topping, whip the cream until it holds its shape, then spread over the pie.  Put the chocolate into a bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water and heat until it melted, then spoon into a piping bag and pipe decorations over the cream.  
I actually just grated the chocolate over the top, much quicker and easier, and I didn't really think pouring hot chocolate over cream was a good idea?

Serve, and enjoy!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

pinterest picks

1. The simplest pairing of classic pieces, and yet oh so chic.

2. Christmas excitement has officially began, with daydreams of snowy days ignited by perfect city street scenes.

3. Forever distracted by anything that includes salted caramel.

4. Longing for hair that looks this good.

Don't forget if you want to follow me on Pinterest, you can, here!

Friday, 24 October 2014

for the love of dim sum - ping pong

I'd like to share a little secret with you, I love dim sum, like, really love it.  When I lived in London, I worked 5 minutes from China Town, and was never far from a Ping Pong restaurant.  

Moving back to Carlisle was always going to be a culture shock, we're usually a year or two behind the latest trends (sorry any Cumbrian readers...but you know I'm right!) so dim sum? Unheard of!

Although I try to visit London fairly regularly, this year hasn't been so easy, so I'm sad to say I've gone at least 18 months without my dim sum fix.  I. know! It's been pretty unbearable.  Yes, this may be slightly dramatic but I don't like things to get in the way of my food.

However, last week I was heading down to London town, and two days before departure an email arrived in my inbox asking me if I'd like to review Ping Pong's latest autumn menu.  I kid you not!  I had to stop myself squealing at my desk with excitement (I was in the office, it could have been embarrassing!).  Not only was I being offered the chance to review food (always a winner right?) it was at one of my favourite haunts...queue a very excited email response, and a cheeky text to the boy to tell him my good news.

So on Thursday of last week off we ventured.  We chose to go to the Soho Ping Pong, which was the one we used to visit the most.  And it was heaving, thank goodness we'd booked.

We decided to order a selection of the new autumn dishes, developed apparently to 'spread warmth and seasonal flavours', and that they did, with dishes like lobster dumpling and honey-soy chicken wings on the menu, what's not to get excited about...!

On top of a few seasonal dishes, we had to pick my old faves, Char Sui buns are my most favourite food ever, so we ordered two (of course), because one is never enough.  I genuinely deem these little balls of cotton wool my choice of 'death row last meal'...does anyone else ever play that game?

I honestly can't put into words how good the food was, I know dim sum probably isn't to everyone's taste, and not being so canny with a camera...they aren't the easiest things to photo, but don't be put off.  Dishes and dishes of chinese-y deliciousness is the only way to describe this meal.  I was in a very happy place.

So what did we order? It's probably easier to tell you what we didn't, ha, only jokes, here you go:
Lobster Dumpling
Honey soy chicken wings
Potato and Edamame Cakes
Prawn Toast with Sesame Seeds
King Prawn and Scallop Sticky Rice
Char Sui Bun x 2
Chicken and Cashew Nut Dumpling
and the Apple and Cinnamon Parcels

I'd like to tell you our eyes were bigger than our bellies, but they weren't, we ate every last morsel, and contemplated a third round of Char Sui Buns.

Everyone was amazing.

The only criticism I have (and it's not really criticism, but a matter of personal taste) and that is that I'm not a huge cinnamon fan, we ordered those for the boy really, but I think it's fair to say that his comment of..

'They're like a McDonalds apple pie, but f*cking mint' 

is pretty much the perfect way to end this post.

Thank you Ping Pong for an amazing meal, I just wish I could say, I'll be back soon!

P.S. The boy usually is a little more eloquent than that, but no other comment really could have done justice to such yumminess!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

black and white shorts for a summer's day

Based on the title of this post, I imagine you are wondering firstly, why would I be wearing shorts in weather like this, and secondly...a summer's day?  No, you're not going mad, and Carlisle hasn't had a sudden heatwave in the middle of October, but rather, I've stumbled across some photos from July that I never posted.  I figured posting them 3 months late was better than never.

If you're a regular reader of this little space, you will no doubt know that my legs rarely see the light of day, so I must have been having a moment of madness when I stepped out, IN PUBLIC I hasten to add, in this outfit, either that or it was actually just a warm (read sweaty) summer's day!  Little did I know that later on that evening the heavens were going to open, and silly old me not only went out like this, I was jacket-less and umbrella-less so I ended the night a sad drowned rat.

However, enough of my witterings, I actually really like this outfit, I kinda think hope it makes me look cooler than I actually am...and you may recognise the shorts from that little profile picture over me, look -------> over there on the right.  I think in future I'll be sticking to wearing them with my beloved black tights, at least I know that if it's tights weather, it's umbrella weather...and I'm always well prepared for umbrella weather (well accept that one time)!

Top - H&M
Shorts - Primark
Boots - Miss Selfridge

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