Claire Richards for Fashion World SS14 Press Event

This afternoon I went to view the Claire Richards SS14 collection for Fashion World, hosted in the beautiful Haymarket hotel in central London. Some of you may remember Claire Richards as ‘the blonde one’ from Steps (what a 90s throwback?!), … Continue reading

Luzia restaurant, Barcelona

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I’ve never really expressed it on my blog before, but I’m a huge foodie and one of my favourite things to do is to dine out with my family and friends. I love being adventurous and trying new restaurants, rather than playing it safe by only sticking to the same places. Don’t get me wrong, some of the big chain restaurants are in my top twenty, but there’s only so many times you can go to Nando’s or Wagamamas before you start to feel bored of the menu.

When I went to Barcelona this week, I couldn’t wait to try out the smaller, independent eateries and my friend recommended an Italian restaurant called Luzia. When it comes to dining out, I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a food snob and would much rather go to somewhere fancy and chic than an overly casual restaurant. Let’s say I’m more a fine dining sorta’ girl (although I am partial to the occasional pub lunch). Luzia restaurant is located in the hub of Barcelona, along a side street off the renowned La Ramblas. The décor was spot on, in that it was modern, airy and chic, but with a wall of vintage photographs that added a nice homely touch and instantly removed it from the uppity category.

The staff were super friendly and accommodating and most importantly, the food was of a high standard. The open kitchen meant that I could see that my food was being freshly prepared in a clean environment, which I think is a huge factor especially when dining somewhere for the first time. After spending most of my days in Barcelona stuffing my face with ice-cream and waffles, I opted for a light, healthy lunch with Foccacia bread, Olive oil and Rosemary for starters (was too greedy and forgot to take a photo, oops) and for my main course: Wild Salmon from the grill, Tartare sauce and salad drizzled in balsamic vinegar. I had the choice of how I’d like my salmon cooked and settled for well done seeing as I’m not the biggest fan of raw fish. The salmon was grilled and seasoned to perfection, flaking off as I cut into it with a soft texture that was full of flavour. The meal wasn’t too stodgy or heavy on the stomach meaning I had room for a cheeky dessert: warm apple pie and vanilla ice cream drizzled with caramel syrup – truly delicious.

In terms of cost, I’d say Luzia is excellent value for money. I had a three course meal and a glass of traditional Spanish sangria, and my bill came to just over 22 euros, which equates to about 19 GBP.

If you’re planning a trip to Barcelona, I definitely recommend visiting Luzia.

Post to you soon! xoxo

The Hummingbird Bakery, Peaches & Cream Cupcakes

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Today I made cupcakes, what a lovely way to spend a rainy afternoon. The Hummingbird Bakery cookbook has the most amazing cupcake recipes so I spent most of the morning deciding which ones to make! I found myself umming and aahhing over Red Velvet or Peaches & Cream. In the end I chose Peaches & Cream (due to lack of red food colouring in my kitchen cupboards). The recipe was really easy to follow and judging from the taste, they turned out to be an excellent choice. However, I’m yet to master the art of frosting, but plenty more baking days ahead to experiment with that! The recipe also says to sprinkle with brown sugar, but I used chocolate strands to add my own little touch. Here is the recipe if you want to try them out for yourself….I really think you should!

Peaches and Cream cupcakes:

A classic summer combination – using fresh peaches makes the recipe work so much better. Other fruits in season could be substituted – The Hummingbird Bakery

Cupcake Ingredients (makes 12)-

  • 120g plain flour
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 40g unsalted butter, at room temp.
  • 120ml whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 400g tinned peaches, sliced

Method –

1. Preheat oven to 170C (325F) Gas 3

2. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined. Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated.

3. Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining milk together in a separate bowl for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Do not overmix.

4. Divide the sliced peaches between the paper cases so that the base of each case is covered. Spoon the cupcake mixture on top until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until light golden and the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Vanilla Frosting Ingredients-

  • 250g icing sugar, sifted
  • 80g unsalted butter, at room temp.
  • 25ml whole milk
  • a couple drops of vanilla extract

Method-

1. Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Turn the mixer down to slow speed.

2. Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a separate bowl, then add to the butter mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time. Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes.

Enjoy eating your Peaches and Cream cupcakes 🙂

Post to you soon! xoxo