In the words of Tom Lehrer: Spring is here, spring is here!
So my birthday was on Friday and I used it as an excuse to eat badly. Very badly.
Yes. That is a Portal chocolate cake. I know. I’m so cool. The picture above is of ice cream style cupcakes. They are so delicious. I got the recipe here.
But possilby my favourite part was dinner in London with my family at the restaurant Nopi. It’s from possibly my all time favourite chef – Yotam Ottolenghi. The food is Middle eastern/Asian.
You can choose between getting a main meal or, as we did, getting several dishes to share. We had 10 small dishes and some nibbles to share between 5 and had plenty of food. Though each dish is fairly small, the food is very filling and this way you can try a little of everything.
My favourite dishes were the roasted aubergine, feta, walnuts and pomegranate (below) and the spiced sweet potato, mint yoghurt, date pickle and pecan (top). At between £8.50 and £12 for dishes this size, the food isn’t cheap, but it is incredibly good.
These are supposed to be flapjacks but the consistency is totally wrong so I’m calling them oat cake instead. Don’t let that put you off though! They’re really delicious, quick to make and pretty healthy. The recipe is a slight variation on this one.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C
Mash the bananas in a bowl. Add oats, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, sultanas and linseed.
In a separate bowl, mix together bananas, egg whites, milk and vanilla. Combine and beat all together.
Lightly grease or line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Bake for 35 minutes.
*Note* This is kind of a random, midweek post and not much like what I usually post. There is a reason for that. This was originally on my other blog but I since decided that two blogs was somewhat unrealistic so I’ve taken it down. I liked this post though, so I’ve decided to re-post it here. Normal scheduling to return soon.
In 2010 the global make-up industry generated close to $35 billion. In an ideal world, all of this would be produced ethically and sustainably but we’re obviously not living in an ideal world. Still, this doesn’t mean we can’t do our bit and here I’m going to review several products from companies that promote themselves on ethics and sustainability.
Cutecosmetics is an online cosmetics shop which advertises themselves as “cosmetics with a conscience”. They have a huge range of vegan and cruelty free cosmetics at some really gret prices. I recently bought the nourish cleanser for dry skin and the konjac sponge with red clay for dry/sensitive skin. I’ve been using the two together and I really love them. The cleanser is orange and mandarin and smells really great. The sponge feels really nice on my skin and since I’ve started using them, I’ve needed to moisturise a lot less. I’d really advise trying these.
The Body Shop is very vocally against animal cruelty. It’s a fairly large, international company with a cruelty free range. It has come under some controversy due to connections with companies with ethical issues. You can read about that here but in general the company seems to do some really good work and the support cruelty-free international. The products tend to be a little expensive but if you can afford them, the quality is great. I’ve been using the body butter for ages and it’s really lovely, though large tubs are £12. The shower gel is very reasonably priced for a body shop product and the sweet lemon smells amazing. As someone who suffers from very dry lips in winter, I carry lip balm around with me at all times to stop painful cracking. I’ve been using body shop lip butter for ages as it’s not petroleum based, it smells amazing and one pot lasts me ages. If you can afford it, the Body Shop is a great place to try.
If there is a Lush on the street you’re walking down, you’re bound to know. The smell alone is sometimes over powering enough to make someone avoid the shop, but if you get inside, you will not regret it. Lush sells mostly soaps and bath bombs of a massive variety of shapes, colours and smells. But is also sells perfume, make-up, cleansers, scrubs, hair products and a ton more. Lush is also an actively campaigning company, which buys organic ingredients from sustainable sources and is again animal testing. I found this lovely video on their website, which details many of their values. If nothing else, Lush products make great gifts for friends and family. <3
I’m trying somewhat desperately to get into some sort of a routine with revision. It mostly consists of me placing myself with my nose pressed up against a window, wishing it was warm enough to be outside.
In fact, I managed to actually revise outside for about an hour today. I lay in the garden in a leather jacket because it was too cold and windy for anything lighter. And you know what? I got sunburnt… Yes, that is the dire situation we have here. I have gone without sunlight for so long that my skin can’t actually survive without heavy cloud cover for protection. I did discovered to my amazement though, in my long absence, spring, it seems, has sprung!
I certainly feel you ought to be listening to this while looking at these photos. It is my new soundtrack for spring <3
You can find more from Phildel on her Youtube channel.
Either way, I’ve grown up in a house full of unread books in varying states of decay. Most are much too delicate to read and mostly, I’d have no interest in anyway. (Though occasionally, finding one relatively new one my parents have had since their teenage years opens my eyes to a new and fantastic author – see John Whyndam and Mervyn Peake)
All the same, I feel as though just their presence has had a big impact on my almost reverent admiration of books. I read a lot as a child and still do and though I know the story is ultimately the most important part, part of me never wants to let go of the physical qualities of a book: the weight, the shape, the smell. So, as much as I admire the kindle and the e-reader for all of the many many benefits they bring, I’m not sure they’ll ever replace a good old fashioned paper and ink book for me.
So I’ve been messing around with the way my blog looks a LOT recently. It’s probably a different colour every time you see it. Well, I think I’ve finally settled. It’s staying like this. For now anyway…
Since spring still seems like a distant dream, I decided it was time for a bit of cheering up and nothing says happiness to me more than cake. This recipe is so simple and tastes so good!
- 125g unsalted butter
- 125g caster sugar
- 100g self raising flour
- 25g cocoa powder
- 2 medium eggs (beaten)
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon milk
For the chocolate butter icing:
- 125g unsalted butter
- 200g icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F
In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth.
Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat.
Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl, then gently fold them into the mixture. Add the milk and mix.
Spoon the mixture into 12-16 cupcake cases (depending on case size) and bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes.
Chocolate butter icing:
Allow the butter to soften to roof temperature or heat it a little in the microwave. Add the dry ingredients slowly, beating all together with an electric beater.
Final step, cover cakes in obscene amounts of icing.