Easy, No-Churn M&M’s Cookie Dough Ice Cream With Chocolate Fudge Swirl

Easy, no-churn M&M's cookie dough ice cream with chocolate fudge swirl

It is my 30th birthday tomorrow and I’m not particularly happy about it. I just don’t feel grown-up enough to be 30 years old; I still feel like I’m just bumbling through life without a clue what I’m actually doing (but then do you ever actually grow out of that feeling?). I know that “30 is just a number” and “you’re only as old as you feel” blah blah blah etc. etc, but I can’t quite shake the feeling of dread about saying goodbye to my twenties. To commiserate and cheer me up a bit I made a batch of thoroughly un-grown-up ice cream – easy, no-churn M&M’s cookie dough ice cream with chocolate fudge swirl. (more…)

Chocolate Stout Cake With Stout Ganache (Guinness Chocolate Cake)

Chocolate stout cake with stout ganache

So much for Summer; for the last week we’ve had nothing but grey skies and rain. It has been properly gloomy, but SO uncomfortably humid; especially at night, when we all, including Ringo the dog, have been struggling to sleep. There has been so much rain in fact that there has even been quite a bit of flooding near my house… in Birmingham! The gloomy weather and lack of sleep called for cake, chocolate cake to be specific. Dark, dense and richly flavoured chocolate stout cake, topped with a thick layer of silky-smooth stout ganache; grown-up chocolate cake heaven. (more…)

Pistachio Stracciatella Ice Cream & May 2016 Degustabox Review

Pistachio stracciatella ice cream - creamy pistachio ice cream with flecks of dark chocolate (egg free)

We have had some truly hot, summery weather recently, perfect for ice cream. Not that I think there is ever a bad time for ice cream, but you can’t deny that it is much more satisfying when eaten in the sunshine; preferably on a beach. Though living in Birmingham there is a definite shortage of beaches nearby… In the garden then. (more…)

Sausages With Beer Pretzel Buns, Beer Braised Onions & Roasted Garlic Butter

Sausages with beer pretzel hot dog buns, beer braised onions and roasted garlic butter

So apparently this week is #NationalBBQWeek, but as I write this it is dark, wet and miserable outside, most decidedly NOT barbecue weather…hopefully it will pick up for the weekend in time to get the BBQ out (not that I actually even own one…). But even if the weather doesn’t improve, you can still enjoy some BBQ food with these sausages with beer pretzel buns, beer braised onions and roasted garlic butter; as the sausages can just be cooked in a pan or oven. (more…)

Beer Pretzel Hot Dog Buns

Beer pretzel hot dog buns

We attended our first barbecue of the year at the weekend. The weather was glorious, the company couldn’t have been better and the food was plentiful (though not as plentiful as the alcohol…); all in all it was a lovely day and one that I hope to repeat many times over the summer. But I have never actually hosted my own barbecue; we spent many years living in a flat, making barbecues impossible, and although we now have a house, the garden is very narrow, the patio tiny and the whole garden is in quite a state; it needs some serious work doing to it before we can even fit a barbecue out there, let alone more than two people. We intend to sort it out this summer, and when (if) we do, I’ll finally get round to hosting one and will probably vastly over-cater because I can’t have people round without providing waay too much food – can’t risk anyone going hungry! (more…)

Pimm’s Fruit Tarts

Pimm's fruit tarts - crisp citrus shortcrust pastry filled with Pimm's creme patissiere, cucumber & mint jam, strawberries, orange & apple

Did you know that the Queen has not one but two birthdays? Obviously there is her actual birthday, on April 21st; but since 1748 the sovereign of the UK has had an ‘official’ birthday which is generally set around the start of June, to coincide with a higher probability of good weather for outdoor ceremonies. For her 90th birthday this year, June 11th is the official date, but celebrations will begin on June 10th as well as there being events on May 12-15th. (more…)

Tropical Fruit Coconut Tart & A Giveaway

Tropical fruit coconut tart - crisp coconut pastry filled with coconut creme patissiere & tropical fruits

We have had some truly glorious weather recently (interspersed between some very wet and miserable days…); as I write this I am overlooking our back garden, which is beautifully warm and sunny, aaand horrifically overgrown…all the plants have had a sudden growth spurt and it is getting towards the point where even the dog can’t venture out any further than the patio due to the height of the weeds (he is only small). It needs some serious work doing to it; not just weeding, but leveling, digging out a couple of trees, extending the patio, laying a path, building vegetable beds, mending the fences etc. etc. I thought about starting work on it the other day, but I just couldn’t face it so baked this tropical fruit coconut tart instead which was a much more satisfying use of my time. (more…)

Double Chocolate Almond Raisin Muffins & A Giveaway

Jumbo double chocolate almond raisin muffins

I’ve had a pretty busy couple of weeks recently, there has been some very grown-up stuff happening (words like mortgage! Solicitors! Conveyancing!), and some not-so-grown-up stuff (epic pirate cake baking!), as well as several friends coming to stay; so unfortunately I’ve had very little time for blogging and my social media has been thoroughly neglected. I thought I would ease back into things with something simple – double chocolate almond raisin muffins, because muffins are some of the easiest things you can make. (more…)

Gin And Bitter Lemon Sorbet

Gin and bitter lemon sorbet - a light, refreshing grown-up treat

My fiance is a bit of a sorbet fiend, he would eat it almost every day if he could; but I think he got through this batch more quickly than any other sorbet I have ever made before…it must be the gin… And to be fair, this gin and bitter lemon sorbet is pretty much everything you could ever want from a sorbet – light, refreshing, not too sweet and a little bit boozy… (more…)

Light, Greek Yoghurt Chocolate Mousse With Berry Compote & April 2016 Degustabox Review

Lighter chocolate mousse made with 0% fat Greek yoghurt served with berry compote; still delicious & chocolatey, but better for you

Welcome to my review of the April 2016 Degustabox. If you’re not familiar with the Degustabox then in brief it’s a subscription service whereby each month you’re sent a box full of goodies to try; most are either new brands or products and it works out far cheaper than buying everything individually in the shops. It is a bit of a lottery however as you have no idea what you will be sent, some products you may love, and others you might not be so keen on; the surprise element is quite fun though, and it encourages you to try products that you wouldn’t normally think to buy. If you fancy giving a box a try yourself then simply enter the discount code BLDEG15 at the checkout and you’ll get £6 off your first order! (more…)

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