Scrummy Chocolate Swirl Shortbread

Shortbread isn’t a recipe that I’ve really mastered. It takes a lot of patience (which I’m lacking) and arm strength (again, lacking). I was a bit skeptical to try this recipe, but I’m glad I did! It turned out really well, and although it’s not the most photogenic, I definitely think it’s worth a blog post!

The shortbread is really easy to make, although I did find the instructions on how to roll it a bit confusing. I’ve included some pictures below to make it a bit easier!

The recipe is by Green and Black’s and it comes from the book Unwrapped: From the Cacao Pod to Muffins, Mousses and Moles. To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of this recipe book. Every recipe I’ve tried hasn’t worked well. I had a flick through and there are some recipes I want to try, so I’ll definitely give it more of a chance!

I didn’t use Green and Black’s chocolate for this recipe, but of course you can if you want to! I used chocolate chips because that’s what I had, but I think it would be easier with little shards.

It can easily be made vegan! Just replace the butter with vegan margarine, and use dark chocolate in the middle!

This is slightly off topic, but I wanted to get your opinions on something. I’m moving back to uni soon and I won’t be able to bake (how will I ever cope!). I know I have followers that just follow me for my recipe posts and I don’t want to disappoint anyone. Would you rather I just stopped the recipes until Christmas or post recipes I haven’t made in a while using old photos? Please let me know!

Scrummy Chocolate Swirl Shortbread (adapted from Green and Black’s Chocolate Recipes: Unwrapped: From the Cacao Pod to Muffins, Mousses and Moles)

Ingredients

Shortbread 1:

150g plain flour

½ teaspoon salt

50g caster sugar

125g unsalted butter

Shortbread 2:

125g plain flour

25g cocoa powder

½ teaspoon salt

50g caster sugar

125g unsalted butter

100g chocolate, chopped into pieces

Method:

1) Preheat the oven to 150 degrees fan, and line a couple of baking trays with greaseproof paper.

2) To make the first shortbread, sift the dry ingredients into a bowl. Rub the butter in until the mixture combines. Knead lightly, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3) Make the second shortbread in exactly the same way.

4) Roll out both doughs on a lightly floured surface into equal sized rectangles that are about 1cm thick.

5) Place the plain shortbread on a sheet of greaseproof paper. Put the chocolate shortbread on top. Scatter the chocolate across the surface, putting the bigger pieces in the middle.

6) Carefully roll the shortbread like a Swiss roll, as tightly as you can. Use the greaseproof paper to help.

7) Pinch the ends to stop the chocolate falling out, then squeeze the roll until it is 22cm long.

8) Using a sharp knife, slice the roll into 1cm pieces. Lay out on your baking tray.

G

9) Bake for 25 minutes, or until the plain shortbread is a light golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Tips

Don’t worry if the chocolate breaks through when rolling it!

Mine took about 20 minutes, but my oven was already hot.

Advertisements

Don’t be a #ChippyChucker!

Along with many Brits, fish and chips is definitely my favourite take out food. I love fish, and it’s always my first choice when we decide on a weekend treat!

As a family, our favourite chip shop is the Tailend. They have a restaurant and a take away, and both menus have a great variety of food. Whether you fancy a classic battered haddock, or you want to opt for something more exotic, there’s sure to be something on the menu to suit your taste. My two go to meals are battered haddock, and hot smoked salmon salad, but I’ve also had some nice crab spring rolls when I was in their restaurant!

At the Tailend, the portions are huge. Obviously this is good if you’re hungry, but more often than not, some chips always end up in the bin.

Many Brits often find themselves in the same position. Did you know that 44% of us admit to throwing some chips away? This results in over eighteen thousand tonnes of food waste a year!

The Chippy Chucker campaign encourages Brits to ditch their chip chucking ways by asking for smaller portion sizes. It is hoped that this will reduce our food waste.

There are a few different ways to do this. Some menus already offer smaller portions of your favourite meals. For example, the Tailend offer a smaller portion of their battered haddock, which is the perfect size for me. If this still has too many chips, you could share your chips with a friend, or omit the chips altogether.

The campaign is running until early September, but I think it is something we should always be mindful of. Food waste is a massive issue in the U.K., and we should all do our part to reduce it.

I can proudly say that I’m not a #chippychucker!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post! It’s been a little bit different to what I usually post on my blog, but I really enjoyed writing it! Let me know what your favourite fish and chips treat is below!

Raspberry Brownies and Muffins

Fun fact- I really dislike fruit. I know that sounds incredibly childish but I’m just not a fan! Everyone always thinks it’s weird, but honestly, give me a salad over fruit any day!

Unless the fruit is covered in chocolate. That’s a different story. Banana and Nutella is a match made in heaven.

I was at my gran’s house when one of her neighbours popped around with a punnet of fresh raspberries. They ended up going home with us! Does anyone else leave their grandparents’s house laden down with random items or is it only me?

They looked delicious, and I was desperate to bake with them. After a quick internet search I decided on two recipes- white chocolate and raspberry muffins, and raspberry brownies. I followed the recipes exactly as they were, so just click on the links if you want to make them!

The muffins worked brilliantly. They’re so light and fluffy, and I had no problems with the recipe at all! The only thing I’d say would be to remember to leave some white chocolate for drizzling- 50g was enough for me. Here’s a picture of the finished product!

The inside is gorgeous, if I do say so myself!

The brownies turned out well too. I read the recipe wrong and started to melt the chocolate and butter in a Bain Marie. It was halfway done before I’d realised, so I was surprised they turned out as well as they did!

Although the recipe is simple, they took ages to make! You have to leave the chocolate mixture to cool so the eggs don’t scramble.

They also took a while to cook. At first, I cooked them at 160 degrees c for 25 minutes, turning them after 15. At the 25 minute mark, the brownies looked cooked, so I pulled them out and left them to cool.

It was only when I started cutting them, I realised how squidgy they were. I relined the tin and baked them for an additional 20 minutes at 175 degrees c. By the time the middles had cooked, the top was slightly overdone. It wasn’t noticeable in the taste though, and I dusted the tops with icing sugar to disguise it a bit!

Overall, I’d say these turned out well! They’re a great way to use leftover fruit, and as a self-confessed fruit hater, I really enjoyed them!

Soph X Revolution ‘Extra Spice’ Review!

*quick disclaimer-this post contains photos of swatches that I have done on my arm. If you aren’t comfortable with this, please don’t read it!*

Hello! It’s another makeup post! This time, I’m reviewing a new product.

When I buy a new makeup product, I’m looking for something that looks good when applied by a complete beginner (e.g. myself). It doesn’t matter to me how good a beauty guru can make a palette look if I look like a panda!

I do tend to stick to the same makeup brands. Right now, I’m really liking Revolution Beauty. My favourite product has to be the sophdoesnails eyeshadow palette. I love the shades, and they blend so easily.

Sophie has recently released a second collaboration with Revolution Beauty. This time, she has released an eyeshadow palette and three nude lipsticks. It can be purchased from either the Revolution Beauty website or Superdrug.

I knew that I would end up buying the lipsticks, but I honestly wasn’t sure about the palette. I don’t wear makeup often, and the first palette has all the shades I need. But hey. I was in Superdrug and my friends convinced me to buy it. I’m clearly easily swayed!

Let’s start with the eyeshadow palette. It’s £10 and has eighteen shades. Twelve of these are matte, and six are shimmers.

The packaging is gorgeous! It’s rose gold and baby pink, the same as her first collection. The palette has a mirrored lid and has ‘soph’ written across it in baby pink lettering. Although it will get dirty easily (and it makes it a bit of a pain to photograph!) I still really like it.

This time, the names are printed on the palette, rather than on a separate sheet. The names are all personal to Sophie, and she has a video on her YouTube channel where she explains it all.

When I purchased this, the shade ‘Reputation’ was chipped, and black had spread over the palette. It’s not a big deal to me, but I thought I’d mention it anyway!

Here are some (very bad) swatches!

From the right:- Everyday, Running Late, Infinity, Cheesecake, Cookie Dough, Dreams, Vitamin C, Sweet N Sour, Twenty One

From the right:- Romance, Enchanted, Lakes, Brownies, Chocolate Orange, Mulled Wine, LA Sun, Aurora, Reputation.

The very first time I used this, I was a bit ambitious and jumped straight in with the dark shades. Predictably, I looked like I’d been punched in the eye. The second look I did was much more simple, and I actually really like it! Here’s how I created it!

Cookie Dough in crease

Sweet N Sour in crease

Vitamin C on lid

Everyday on inner 2/3 of the lid (applied with my finger)

Cookie Dough underneath

As I expected, the shadows blended nicely together, and they weren’t patchy. I really like the finished look!

This is the best photo I can find! If we pretend my eyebrow doesn’t exist I think it looks decent?!

Now, onto the lipsticks. They are £4 each, and come in three different nude shades.

The packaging is really cute! It’s the same rose gold and pink as the rest of the palette, but the bullet has ‘soph’ engraved into the packaging, which is a really nice touch!

Here’s the lipsticks side by side!

From left: Cake, Syrup, Fudge.

I did attempt to take photos of me wearing the shades, but my lipstick application is not the best! They feel really nice on my lips and applied smoothly. I prefer the shades Cake and Syrup. Fudge is really pretty, but I don’t think brown lipsticks suit me!

So, what’s my final verdict? I highly recommend the lipsticks! They’re comfortable, and would go well with most makeup looks. Although I do like the eyeshadow palette, I have to say that I prefer the first one. I prefer the colour scheme, and I think it’s easier for beginners to create a look with it. That being said, the second palette is beautiful and the shades blend really well. If you want the palette, it’s definitely worth the money!

Have you tried this palette? Let me know what you think of it!

Flash Fiction Challenge!

Today I have a very exciting (and very scary!) post! It’s my first creative piece on this blog.

I saw a flash fiction challenge from Fractured Faith Blog here, and it gave me the perfect opportunity for my first piece. I’ve chosen to write about the receipt with the Muller yogurt and the banana.

I’ve never written flash fiction before, so I hope you enjoy it! It was a lot of fun to write! As always, any feedback is very welcome.

Felicity walked into the service station, feeling in her pocket for the two fifty pence coins. That was her tips from her shift. It had been busy, with red faced men squeezed into every corner, a cold pint pressed into their sweaty hands, anxiously watching to see if England would go through to the semi finals. Disappointed, they trickled out, until all that was left were a few empty peanut packets and a row of dirty glasses.

She barely even glanced at the pricey sandwiches. What was the point? Instead, she focused straight on the snacks. On the top shelf, there was a single Muller Rice. She hated rice pudding, but picked it up anyway. It probably had more nutritional content than a packet of crisps, and was twenty pence cheaper.

At the checkout she picked up a banana, spotted with brown bruises. She paid for the items, and slid the coppers into her pocket.

She climbed back into her car and reached for the can of Coke she’d taken from work. Her boss had watched her slip it into her bag, but she didn’t mind. She knew her circumstances, and did what she could to help, but at the end of the day, she was running a business. If a couple of cans went missing, she would simply turn a blind eye. A few weeks ago, she’d sent Felicity home with a multipack of crisps, claiming that they were nearly out of date. How this could be the case when she was so careful with stock rotation Felicity did not know, but she accepted the crisps with no hesitation.

She rummaged in the glove compartment for a spoon, and wiped it on the sleeve of her cardigan.

*the featured photo for this post was made using Pic Collage-the watermark was cut off!*

Guinness Brownies

I’ve mentioned in other posts that I’ve been trying to experiment with new recipes. This gives me good grounds to refuse to make the ones I hate (I’m looking at you, Toffee Brownies), but I always feel bad when I can’t make a particular favourite. Today’s recipe is the happy medium between a new recipe and an old favourites!

Hummingbird Bakery’s Guinness cake is a favourite in my family. I often make it for Fathers Day, and it always goes down a treat. My dad requested that I make one, but I do want to try new things. I also have a love/hate relationship with the cream cheese icing that I use on top. As tasty as it is, it always seems to turn out lumpy for me!

After a few Google searches, I found this recipe for Guinness Brownies. Although I make brownies all the time, I have an awful habit of overcooking them. The last time I pulled a burnt tray from my oven, I decided I would just go on a brownie rampage until I can finally get them right. I’m such a perfectionist sometimes! Anyway, I didn’t burn these ones, thank goodness!

If you’re skeptical of using Guinness in cakes, I can promise they taste great! The rich beer matches great with the chocolate. You can definitely taste it, but it’s not unpleasant. As the alcohol content is burned off during the cooking process, they definitely won’t make you drunk!

I have to say, I veered a bit off course with this recipe. Partly because I’m lazy, partly because I didn’t read it properly, and partly because I didn’t agree with some of the methods used. For example, I wasn’t keen on greasing the tin and decided just to line it, like I do with my Marbled Toffee Brownies.

I mentioned on my National Chocolate Day post that these came out a funny shape. Honestly, I don’t know what happened. I burst out laughing as I pulled them out from the oven. Every corner had peaked majorly. I still don’t understand why, especially considering there is no raising agent in the batter. They did flatten down, but they still had holes in the bottom. That’s my fault for not banging them off the worktop to get rid of the air bubbles!

I cut mine into 16 pieces but the suggested serving size was 24. At the time, I did think that would be very small, but I can see why. They’re very rich! I probably would leave them the same size next time, but it’s definitely something to take into consideration.

These brownies turn super fudgy the day after baking! They’re delicious though. I always prefer brownies on the second day!

So, here’s the recipe for super rich, fudgy brownies!

Guinness Brownies (adapted from AllRecipes)

Ingredients

125g plain flour

60g cocoa powder

Pinch of salt

225g dark chocolate

135g white chocolate

90g butter

200g caster sugar

4 eggs

300ml Guinness

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees c fan, and line a brownie pan with greaseproof paper.

2. Break up the chocolate and place in a bowl with the butter. Melt over a pan of simmering water, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

3. Beat the caster sugar and eggs together in an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

4. In a separate bowl, sieve together the flour, cocoa powder and salt.

5. Slowly add the melted chocolate mixture into the eggs and beat until just combined.

6. Add in the flour mixture 2-3 tablespoons at a time, until just combined.

7. Whisk the Guinness until the brownie batter is thin.

8. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 25-30 minutes. A skewer inserted into the centre should have some gooey crumbs in it.

9. Cool in the tin for about 20 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

Tips

Bang the tin gently on the worktop to eliminate air bubbles. I didn’t do this, and ended up with holes in the bottom!

The original recipe suggested using 175g of dark chocolate chips on top. I totally intended to do this, but I forgot. It also suggested to dust the baked brownies with icing sugar, but I opted to leave it out.

You can replace the Guinness with any Irish stout!

These brownies lasted a few days, but it was very hot when I made them, which might have caused them to spoil faster.

The craters in the bottom. Remember to bang the tin on the worktop kids!

The Sims Book Tag

It’s another book tag! I really enjoy doing these, and when I saw this one I knew I had to do it! It’s another one inspired by a game. This time, it’s the Sims!

I love Sims. My first Sims game was for Gameboy Advance, and since then, I’ve been hooked! I’ve played Urbz, Sims for DS, Sims 2 for PSP, Sims Medieval, Sims FreePlay, Sims 2 for PC and Sims 4. I was obsessed!

This tag was created by Hailey in Bookland, but I got the idea from Sunsets and Bookfests. The graphic at the start of this post is from this blog.

I’ve tried to use different books from my Animal Crossing Book Tag but some are the same because I couldn’t think of anything else to fit the category.

I haven’t tagged anyone in this, but if you want to do it, please do!

Onto the tag!

The original Sims- best author debut.

For this, I’ve decided to go with Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. This was the first novel I read as part of my degree, and I enjoyed it. I chose to go with this because of the massive influence it has on gothic fiction.

The Grim Reaper- saddest character death.

I think I’ve twisted the question a little bit with this one. The most upsetting scene I’ve encountered in a novel is the scene in The Help where Miss Celia has a miscarriage. I’m going to say this is the saddest character death. Other notable mentions would be Alaska in Looking for Alaska and Meg in I Was Here.

Sims getting stuck- a character that just got in the way. I’ve been racking my brains for a more creative answer, but this is the only one I can think of. Stupid Prendick. I swear, I’m never mentioning this book again. Moving swiftly on!

Simlish- a book with amazing writing.

This is new to me. It’s called Big Little Lies. I’m not going to go into too much detail about it, but it’s incredibly cleverly written!

Expansion packs- a series where the books kept on getting better.

So I really struggled with this one. Most series I could think of start and end strongly. I chose Tracy Beaker because she gets a happy ending, and I remember liking all the books when I was younger!

Sims romance- the worst case of insta love.

Obviously the whole plot of the book wouldn’t happen if Lana hadn’t fallen for Les. But this was a relationship I couldn’t get behind at all. Their relationship is built on lies, so they were doomed from the start

Cheats- a (contemporary) book that was entirely unrealistic.

Okay, so it’s a children’s book. Children’s books are meant to be unrealistic, I know. But I do not know how CHILDREN managed to smuggle a whole elephant out of a museum. Obviously The Madman’s Daughter, Soul Screamers and a couple of others from my last tag would fit this category, but I wanted to mix it up a bit!

Needs fulfilment- a character who made all the wrong decisions.

Sorry Marianne! I’m maybe being harsh, but she makes a lot of stupid decisions during the course of Sense and Sensibility. She does eventually make some correct ones, but she definitely wins this category for me.

Error code 12- a series that started off great but went downhill from there.

I haven’t actually gotten to the end of this trilogy, which probably says it all. I really enjoyed the first book, and the second book was also good, but I just couldn’t get into the last book!

The Sims Vortex- a book/series that completely engrossed you.

It has to be Soul Screamers! I was obsessed with these books! I think I’ve mentioned the series in every book-related post I’ve written but I just loved them for so long!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this. I certainly enjoyed doing it! If there was a Super Mario book tag, I’d have covered all my childhood favourites! Now, if anyone needs me, I’ll be curled up in bed playing Sims!