Food, Gin, Zombies and N64

Reason number 1 for why I am poor: food. Whether it’s ingredients or that place that does that burger you just HAVE to try, I spend way too much money on the stuff. I love food, it is my one true love.

This weekend I took a trip down to London to see some friends (east coast had that £5 train ticket sale earlier in Jan, too good not to grab). I used to go down to London a lot, every month or so, but I’d not been down since last summer sometime. So many of my friends are living down south these days that it makes my London visits that much better. My friend Isobel sorted out an itinerary for us, including two different restaurants and a street feast. Isn’t it strange how as you get older your social plans revolve more around food than about which bar or club you’ll be going to (we did still do this as well, but shh)?

Her plan for us all was as follows:

–          Bone Daddies Ramen Bar

–          Back to her flat for Zombies (the Board game), N64, drink, and attempts to shave Matt’s head.

–          Hawker House Street feast.

–          Nasin

–          Patty & Bun (Sunday hangover food).

 

I’d not heard of Bone Daddies until recently, when suddenly my Instagram feed was flooded by pictures of ramen from various London friends. It’s a tiny place in Soho and surprise surprise, there’s a queue. The tables all come with jars of garlic, with a crusher, pots with hair bobbles to keep longer hair out of food, sesame gringers, soy sauce and chili flakes in oil. Anywhere that has this many things you can use to self season is good in my book. I opted for the Spicy Miso Rame (pictured below) and loved the stuff.

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After eating we went back to Isobel’s and a few more people joined us. We played Zombies/N64/shaved Matt’s head before heading out to Hawker House.

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 This is a pop up event that happens in an old warehouse type building in Hoxton. It runs for 10 weekends in a row on Friday/Saturday nights. It has a couple of bars and then a number of food stalls, representing a number of London’s better streetfood vans. I tried as many as I could before getting stuffed, all of it was great.

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Yum Bun – Belly Pork Steamed Bun

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Breddos Tacos – Jerk Pulled Pork Taco & Baja Fish Taco

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Bleeker Street Burger – Cheeseburger plus Feta Fries

Sunday was a trip to Patty & Bun, which I’ve been wanting to try for a long time but, due to how busy it gets we’ve been unable to. Well, I can finally tick it off the list and man, it was worth the wait. The burgers were so good, cooked just right and with great toppings. The fried chicken was also some of the best I’ve had in the UK.

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Smokey Robinson Burger

Thanks again London, I’ll see you soon. I really need to start taking my camera with me for stuff like this. Sorry for the excessive use of mobile.

Green Tea Cupcakes with Matcha Frosting

It’s January. Therefore everyone is full slap bang in the middle of their “detox”, right? Because obviously, one month of doing vaguely healthier things makes the other 11 months of debauchery and junk food ok (Disclaimer: My lifestyle is awful, I am not judging anyone for trying to be positive). In keeping with this I thought this would be a perfect time to try something from the Hummingbird Bakery book I was given at Christmas. What else says detox like Green Tea? Or Matcha powder (the bloody expensive thing that it is)? Of course, if you mix both of these things with butter, sugar and chocolate they are still healthy, right? Yeah, sure, let’s go with that. Having said that, other than the sugar it’s a fairly small amount of the other ingredients, so these won’t hit the waste quite as much as many of the other things I bake.

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I’d advise planning ahead with these too. You need to give the green tea bags plenty of time in the milk (overnight ideally) so that they transfer enough of the flavour across to the cold milk. The matcha powder brings the majority of the green tea flavour and is a great addition to the frosting. I’ve been recommended using it with white chocolate, so I’ll definitely be doing some white chocolate matcha frosting sometime soon.

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Notes:

  • This makes a particularly small batch of cupcakes, only 12, but the recipe could be very easily doubled or more.
  • I used more Matcha powder than in this recipe (by accident), if I was doing it again I’d be much more careful. It made the frosting much more bitter. This meant they got much more mixed reviews.

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Grean Tea Cupcakes with Matcha Frosting
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 120ml whole milk
  • 3 green tea bags
  • 100g plain flour
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 40g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • For the green tea frosting
  • 250g icing sugar, sifted
  • 80g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 20g Matcha green tea powder, plus extra to decorate (you can buy this from tea shops and specialist Asian supermarkets).
  • 25ml whole milk
Instructions
  1. Measure out the milk and add the tea bags. Put these in a sealed container in the fridge for several hours in advance (overnight if possible).
  2. Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan) and line a 12 hole cupcake tray with paper cases.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients together and add the softened butter. Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment beat on a low speed until it has a sandy consistency.
  4. Combine the eggs, milk and vanilla together. Slowly add in half of the mixture to the dry mix. Beat on high until there are no lumps. Turn down to a low speed and slowly poor in the rest of the mix. Continue to mix it until it’s smooth.
  5. Spoon in to the cases to about ⅔ full. Place in the middle of the oven for about 20-25 minutes. They’ll be done when they bounce back when pressed lightly or a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly in the tray before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. For the green tea frosting beat together the sugar, butter and matcha powder until well combined on a medium to low speed. Turn down to a low speed and slowly pour in the milk. Once it is incorporated turn the speed up to high and beat for 5 minutes.
  7. Apply to the cool cupcakes.

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January Sales and Bloglovin

Well, what can I say other than I have spent a small fortune in the sales this time around. Far, far more than I should have. But retail therapy is what helps me get through January. Some of my purchases are below.

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Denim Shirt – Dr Denim

Grey Wool Jumper – Shore Leave

Green Mountain Parka – Fred Perry

Brogues – Samuel Windsor

I am keen to improve my all round personal style this year. I am sure I can do it, and these should help kickstart it all off.

I’ve also signed up to bloglovin! So people should follow me on there.

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/11636027/?claim=yvtnpu53ggp”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Pecan Blondies and No Sleep

Insomnia. Or something. Well whatever I have it’s annoying. Really annoying. I got ill on Sunday night, when I went to bed (tired) and got feverish. I only had an hourish sleep. But it’s extended to 3 nights on the trot now. With little sleep, but now just minus the fever. The third night, Tuesday night, I tried a few things in advance to wear me out. I cycled and I baked. Tried to fill my time up a bit. It didn’t work. I ended up with just a couple of hours again. If anyone has any solutions that may help me to sleep, leave them in the comments below. Please!

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However, as I said, I did end up baking, in an attempt to be active. I tried my hands at one of the recipes from the Hummingbird Bakery book that I was given for Christmas (thanks gran!). I opted for the blondies, partly because I’ve never made any before and partly because I already had everything but the white chocolate and pecans already in. I am now without a brownie, so I used my “bar” tray instead, which meant for slightly reduced cooking time and already portioned off blondies. I’ll leave in the timings for both in the instructions below!

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Pecan Blondies and No Sleep
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 150g White Chocolate
  • 125g Unsalted Butter
  • 150 Caster Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 200g Plain Flour
  • A pinch of Salt
  • 120g Shelled Pecan Nuts, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 170°C(150°C fan assisted).
  2. Place the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Don’t allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water. Melt these together, stirring occasionally.
  3. Take off the heat. Mix in the sugar, stirring well. At this point the mixture may split but don’t worry.
  4. Add in the vanilla and the eggs, beating well as you do to stop the eggs from scrambling.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until everything has incorporated well and the nuts are spread throughout the mixture.
  6. Grease the baking tray you are using and add the mixture.
  7. Place in the oven. If using a divided bar tray like mine, bake for approx.. 20 minutes until the edges are golden but the center still soft. If using a tray then bake for 35-40 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tray on a wire rack. Divide up.

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Brioche Buns

So it’s my first recipe of the new year. And well, I’m branching out a little. There is zero peanut butter for one (SHOCK! HORROR!) and it’s a savoury bake. I do savoury baking a fair bit, but usually it doesn’t make the blog. Simply because it tends to be eaten fresh or donated. I was given a few recipe books for Christmas and wanted to try a few things out. This was inspired by one of them, but not actually from that book. I had a full two weeks off over Christmas and the last Sunday before I returned to work my parents suggested a family meal at my sister’s in York. I taught my mother how to make my Maple and Mustard Pulled Pork last summer while we were on holiday in Scotland and she decided to do that. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to try my hand at Brioche buns. I’ve made plenty of bread, but it’s usually fairly heavy and involved cheese or some form of wholemeal.

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 These didn’t provide as much of a challenge as I had expected and came out nearly perfect. Something which I’m pleased about for a first attempt. They were light, glazed appropriately and were the perfect match for the pork. The only snag was that they were already a day old at this point, but they refreshed nicely in the oven.

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This was also the first run out for my “cups” which I got for Christmas. So if I’m feeling particularly lazy, I may not convert to grams if I’ve used an American recipe (like this time, sorry guys!). I also apologise for the lack of good pictures. Things are a bit up in the air at the moment, so I just winged it a bit. I’ll make them again and re-shoot soon.

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I’m going to be posting much more savoury things this year, as well as few more “lifestyle” type posts, so sorry in advance if you’re only here for the food. You may get a few more inane rambles as well.

 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons warm milk
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2½ tablespoons sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 2½ tablespoons unsalted butter, softened.
Instructions
  1. In a glass cup, combine the warm water, milk, sugar and yeast. Leave this to stand for about 5 minutes until it’s foaming. Beat one of the eggs separately.
  2. Using a stand mixer, or your hands if you don’t have one, mix the butter, flours and salt. Do this until it’s a breadcrumb like texture. If using the mixer this could take several minutes.
  3. Beat in the yeast mixture (making sure you get all the sugar if it hasn’t dissolved) and the egg. Do this on a medium speed for several minutes until a soft dough has formed.
  4. Shape the dough in to a ball, grease the inside of the bowl and return the dough. Cover with a damp cloth and place in a warm place. Leave to rise somewhere warm until it’s doubled in size. This could be anywhere between 1-3 hours. Do this based on size, rather than time.
  5. Line a baking tray with a baking sheet. Divide the in to 8 equal portions. Use a scale to make sure they are equal.
  6. To shape them , roll into a ball and flatten gently against a lightly floured surface. Make a cage shape with your hand against the surface with the dough inside. Move around in a circular motion until the buns have shaped well.
  7. Arrange on the tray, relatively well spaced. Allow to rise for another 1-2 hours in a warm place.
  8. While they are rising preheat the oven to 205°C(185°C Fan).
  9. Make the egg wash by beating the egg and adding a splash of water. Using a pastry brush, brush a small amount over the top of each bun.
  10. Add another tray underneath the oven shelf with a small amount of water in it. This will create steam to help the buns keep moist. Place the baking tray on the shelf and bake for 15-20 minutes.

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