gilded golden gorgeousness

Monday, 24 November 2014


It's no secret that I love Anthropologie - their home wares make me swoon. At Christmas time it just goes into overdrive! Gilded golden heaven. Since a store opened locally to me in Guildford, my love have just developed. And my bank balance diminished...

Twisted twig measuring spoons £24, Gilden thistle nut bowl £12, Langholm cheese knives £32, Limited Edition Monogram Mug £8

Yes, their prices aren't always purse-friendly but if you have a good old rummage there are some really great buys. Last year I didn't get my hands on a golden monogram mug, so this year I was in there straight away! At only eight quid, they are a relatively guilt-free buy and would make a great gift this Christmas. In fact, I think Anthropologie is perfect for gift-buying. A lot of the gorgeous items they sell are just that - gorgeous - but not something many of us can justify spending money on. I mean, who doesn't want bronzed, golden and silver cheese knives?! I certainly do, but wouldn't be able to justify buying them myself. 

Macedonia coaster £8, Arbor floret cocktail napkins £24 for four, Monogram pouch £24, Arca jewellery box £20 

cheesemas

Thursday, 20 November 2014


For me, festive food means cheese. Lots of cheese. Last year our Christmas cheeseboard was eaten weeks before Christmas came around, we just couldn't wait! The King of all cheeses has to be a baked Camembert - gooey deliciousness.

When I was contacted by Laura Ashley and asked to write a recipe for their blog, I knew exactly what I wanted to try out. What's better than cheese, than cheese wrapped in pastry? This is the perfect appetiser for those times you have guests but don't know what to feed them, and despite it being a tad messy, would work at a Christmas drinks party. 

You will need:
Camembert
Puff Pastry
Cranberry sauce
Egg

The how to is really simple. I'm a firm believer in cutting the odd corner here and there - there's absolutely no shame in reaching for pre-rolled pastry! Lay the pastry out on the greaseproof paper in comes wrapped in and plonk your Camembert in the middle. Do a quick check that the pastry will fold over the cheese - if not, use a rolling pin to just roll the pastry out a little larger. Next up, spoon on a good amount of Cranberry sauce over the top of the Camembert. You'll want to use two to three tablespoons of sauce to ensure it really comes through with the cheese once cooked. Fold the pastry over the cheese fairly tightly, being sure to cut off any extra pastry - it wont cook fully if there are big overlapping pieces of pastry. Liberally brush on a beaten egg to help the pastry form a gorgeous glaze. Pop in the oven on about 180C for 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. 

Serve straight from the oven with warm crusty bread. We ate it alongside some cured meats and caramelised onion jam for an extra treat. Delicious. 

If this is a little too much for you, then you can take one step back and go for a simple baked Camembert. Take it out of the packaging, pop it in a cheese baker like this one (you could poke in a few garlic cloves and sprigs of rosemary, or simply a small brush of olive oil and rock salt) and bake in the oven for about fifteen minutes, or until it is soft in the middle. 

tiramisu

Wednesday, 12 November 2014


I arrived back from Rome with an addiction to tiramisu. I promptly got on the internet in the search for the perfect tiramisu recipe, desperate to satisfy my need for that coffee, creamy loveliness. I wan't prepared for the minefield that awaited me - to egg or not to egg? Marscapone? Sponge fingers or homemade sponge layers? Who knew. After much deliberation, I settled on this recipe.

Things to be mindful of:

Opt for superior sponge fingers. I bought Sainsbury's Taste The Difference savoiardi sponge fingers - apparently savoiardi is the one as they aren't as absorbent as their cheaper counterparts, so keep their firm sponginess better. 

Don't soak the fingers for long. Literally a couple of seconds on each side, tops. You can probably see that the bottom layer of my sponge fingers were over-soaked, and turned mushy. It also means the flavour can be a tad bitter. The second layer were much better! 

Using an egg-free recipe means it is more of a firm tiramisu. If you want a more runny, trifley affair then go for a recipe with egg. 

It is super rich, so be cautious with portion size. I'm not one for 'less is more' when it comes to food, but overdo this and you'll be left feeling pretty overwhelmed!

Next up? I'm keen to try Mary Berry's recipe after seeing it on the Bake Off Masterclass - more of a cake, made with sliced sponge cake layers. Yum!