Sunday, 29 March 2015

Lemon Drizzle Cake (with a twist...)

I've never made a Lemon Drizzle Cake before...


... and when toying with a Victoria Sponge recipe for a Sunday afternoon treat, I came across a Jamie Oliver Lemon Drizzle Cake recipe which also used up a few ingredients that I had in the cupboard. Decision made...



I've cooked a few Jamie Oliver dishes but I'm not sure I have ever baked any of his cakes before. Just like his savoury dishes, this cake was simple and really taste (really really tasty). The good thing about Lemon Drizzle Cake is that you don't have to worry about a dry sponge, the syrup does the work for you. I urge you to give this recipe a go.

Ingredients

For the cake:
115 g unsalted butter, softened
115 g caster sugar
4 large free-range eggs
180 g ground almonds
30 g poppy seeds
zest and juice of 2 lemons
125 g self-raising flour, sifted

For the lemon syrup:

100g caster sugar
90g lemon juice
(The twist) Splash of gin number 1

For the lemon icing:

225g icing sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon
(Another twist) Splash of gin number 2



As usual, I'm not going to give you a step by step guide, Jamie does that better then me in the link above. I'm just going to show you a few pictures and tell you about "the twist!"









This recipe really isn't complicated at all. Once you have creamed the sugar and butter together and slowly added the four eggs, it's just a case of adding all of the dry (cake) indigents and folding them together. Add cake mix to your lined cake tin and bake. Mine baked at 180 degrees for around 40 minutes. Leave your cake to cool slightly and then make the syrup.  

 For the syrup you just have to melt the sugar over a low heat with the lemon juice... and now time for "The Twist!"

Goes together like a horse and carriage...
Now it's not rocket science but what do you (I) think of when you think of lemon? Gin and tonic surely?? No, just me! Well, I thought it would be a good idea to add a splash of gin to the lemon juice just before you melt the lemon juice and the sugar together. You know what, it worked!!!







Once your cake has cooled slightly (but still warm) you have to prick small holes in the cake and then pour your syrup (with "The Twist") all over your cake.








Next up your icing... again, add a little splash of gin to your lemon juice and once your cake is cool, pour the runny lemon and gin icing all over your cake. Use a knife to help spread the icing and let it "drizzle" over the sides of the cake.


So there you have it, a alternative, more grown up, version of Jamie Oliver's Nan's Lemon Drizzle Cake. Maybe she'd prefer this version! 

This cake is great with a cuppa but even better with a G & T, but then, aren't most things?

Enjoy,

Amy x

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Where my heart is...

Oh Cornwall, you're grand!

I've been a bit slow on the old blog front these past few weeks. No particular reason why, I just haven't been crafting very much and haven't had too much to say over here. 

Anyway, I'm back this week and although this won't be a crafty or homely post it will be a hearty one. I've chosen to have a little chat with you about my favourite place in the whole wide world...

                                                       
                                                          ...Cornwall.

If you know me, you know this already, I talk (and day dream) about Cornwall A LOT! If you don't know me you might've already guessed, I also post on Instagram and feel inspired by Cornwall A LOT!

I'm not particularly fussy about where in Cornwall, I only have to pass the 'Welcome to Cornwall' sign and I feel all fuzzy inside but there is a corner of that amazing county that holds a very special place in my heart and that's Cape Cornwall...
                                         
My love affair with Cornwall began when I was a child. I'm sure we didn't but it felt like every summer holiday me, mom and dad would load up the car to spend a week in Cornwall. The majority of the time in a caravan, sometimes a tent or even (if we felt fancy) a hotel, although camping was always my favourite way to spend the holidays. I used to get so excited cruising down the M5, especially when we got to (what is now known as) "my favourite bit of the motorway", you know the bit after Bristol where the southbound carriageway takes off?! Well that's how it felt to me!!

My mom was always scared of flying and as a child, I never had the experience of being on a plane, so I used to pretend that we were flying to Cornwall at this point! You had to keep yourself entertained on a 5 hour car journey, especially as an only child!!!! 

I'm aware this post is turning into a bit of a "This is Your Life" moment! Anyway... to sum up... Cornwall has always been special and even more so in recent years. 

                                     

It was mom who loved this place the most, she would dream of retiring down there one day, but unfortunately that wasn't to happen as she lost her battle with breast cancer aged 52. 

There wasn't one moment of doubt as to where she needed to be. We chose one, out of many, of her favourite places in Cornwall (to scatter her ashes) and Cape Cornwall it was. 

I never got to visit this special place with my mom, we tried once but the dreaded Cornish mizzle was too bad, we couldn't see our hands in front of our faces and had to turn back!!! It's just so dramatic down there and although my mom was way more spiritual then I've ever been, I totally feel like I "get it" whenever I'm there. It feels like it holds magic powers somehow! 

Anyway, every April, the family makes the pilgrimage down to that magical place and we spend the week visiting all of our favourite spots; Mousehole, St Ives, Treen... and even discover new places, which mom would of loved. We spend lots of time reminiscing over our most fondest memories of "one of the kindest ladies you have ever met". It's special.

This year we will be marking the 6th anniversary of loosing my mum, crazy. Somehow this trip doesn't make me dread the date but look forward to it. I'm sure she planned it this way.

I'll leave you with some pictures of my most favouritest place in all the land...

I've chosen to post about Cornwall this week as these four weeks of the year are always pretty tough. My mom's birthday, Mother's Day and the anniversary all come at once. Thankfully it finishes off with the most soothing therapy, a week in the place that holds my heart and her's. 

Amy x

Sunday, 1 March 2015

A bathroom transformation

Turning two small spaces into one big space...

Hello guys and gals, how are we all this week?

I've been looking back through pictures of the house again, pictures from when we first viewed it, and I still can't believe how far we've come with it! This week I'm going to share the bathroom refit with you. This was one of the first rooms we (the builders) tackled and one of the rooms I was most excited about...

We had previously refurbished a flat before this house but made do with how the bathroom was, one of the only rooms we didn't touch in that place. Therefore I couldn't wait to turn ideas that had been whirling around in my head into reality.

So here are some before pictures...






Again, like the kitchen refit, as soon as I saw the bathroom I knew exactly how I would like it to be. In these pictures it shows how the toilet and bathroom were separate and although it is handy to have a separate toilet, I thought the space could be used so much more effectively. 

My other half is a bit of a giant and he always wanted to have a separate shower, rather then a shower over the bath and to do this (and not loose the bath altogether) it made perfect sense to knock the two rooms into one. 


Before...






So that is what happened.... Looking at the picture on the left you can see the door to the bathroom and to the right of that was the very small toilet...





After







And on the picture to the right you can see how the doorway to the bathroom was bought forward into the landing, to the edge of the stairs. Although we only gained a small amount of space it meant, once the wall between the two rooms had gone, that there would be room for a bath and a sshower unit. 






So walls came down, old bathroom suits where ripped out and walls were plastered. We didn't live in the house when all of these bit was being done and looking back at these pictures now, thank goodness!!! 



 

Where the shower unit ended up being placed is where the toilet room used to be. I remember feeling so happy at this point, seeing it all in place. Neil (the other half) had pretty much let me tell the builder where I wanted everything, because he just couldn't imagine where it would all go. Pressure!!! So I was pleased and relieved when it all ended up fitting into place just as I had imagined. 

I wanted the suit, fixtures and fittings to be traditional to suit the style of the house. I actually wanted to keep the old sink and the toilet as the style was perfect but they were broken when they were ripped out and the builder helped us to source pieces that were not to dissimilar. 

So it was all in! Time to make it look less Swedish sauna and more... elegant, I guess!


I took a very long time deciding what colours to paint this room and ended up colour matching with a Dulux paint to Farrow and Ball's Cornforth White on the panelling and Blackened on the walls. I always said I didn't want a blue bathroom in case it felt too cold and I remember really panicking that it was too blue when we first painted it. In the end, with the warmth of the dark wood flooring, toilet seat and picture frames it ended up feeling classic and warm, not cold in the slightest. Anyway, I can't see the blue in it any more but I think you always have a moment of dread after you have spent hours painting a room. 

On to the favourite parts of the room...

     

Well, I didn't know you could be in love with a radiator before this bathroom (dramatic much?!?) and I know how much Neil loves the shower. Apparently this is the first shower that he can actually stand fully under, the builder measured how tall he was so he could make sure that could happen! It's all in the details.  
  
 
I don't think I've ever lived in a house where I have filled the walls of the bathroom with pictures and I really think it brings more to the room. The bathroom is often a place that can be neglected when it comes to displays but it can really turn it into a much more cosy place to be. 

The floor was another big success of the room. We ended up going for a dark laminate but it has rubber seals through the joins. It is from Quick Step and is called ship deck laminate you can read about it here our builder recommend it to us and I really love it. 


So there's the bathroom. I hope that might of given you some ideas for your own bathroom. Now if you don't mind I'm off to have a bubble bath. 

Amy x