Last week I received a lovely package from Aero with some of their newly revamped chocolates and my trickiest blogging task yet. They asked me to create an obscure flavour concoction to celebrate their new makeover.
Armed with a flavour thesaurus, I set to work, mixing and matching ingredients in my head and trying to find something that would work but was still a bit “out there”. Matt’s love of bacon won and we settled on an idea for a nutty, smokey take on my peppermint bark recipe. Candied bacon and macadamia bark.
The nutty, smokey and sweet toppings are levelled by the bitterness of the dark chocolate, a concoction that works perfectly, even if you don’t expect it.
The recipe includes enough candied bacon just to make the bark, but I suggest you make extra and keep some aside to top homemade pancakes - it’s ok, you can thank me later.
300g dark chocolate (I used 70%, broken in to chunks)
8 Smoked bacon rashers
Handful of macadamia nuts
1 tbsp light soft brown sugar
Preheat your oven to 170 degrees. Line a baking sheet with grease proof paper or a non stick sheet (you know how much I love mine, this is why). Rub the sugar in to the rashers and lay out.
Bake for around 30minutes or until your bacon looks like this hunk of meaty goodness:
Leave that lovely candied bacon to cool and head to the chocolate. Set up a double boiler to melt your chocolate (a bowl set over a pan of hot water) and stir continuously until you have smooth, silky, chocolate with a glass like sheen.
Pour in to a small non stick roasting tin (I like to use my stoneware dishes for this). It’s important now to leave the chocolate to cool a little before we add the nuts and bacon, otherwise they’ll just sink to the bottom. Give it 5 minutes, make yourself a cup of tea or something.
When you come back to it, roughly chop your bacon and nuts and sprinkle them on to the chocolate. Now the hard bit, leave until it has set! If you try to break it up before then it’s not going to look pretty.
Bash with something heavy for unwieldy shards or take to it with a super sharp knife if you’d like perfect squares. Devour.
I remember watching Breaking the Magician’s Code as an eight year old and being absolutely fascinated as the masked magician showed us the ins and outs of all the classics. Anyone else remember watching that?
Since then I’ve always watched magic tricks with an inquisitive eye. Watching the greats of our time like Derren Brown and David Blaine, I want to figure out how they made it happen and it frustrates me no end when I can’t.
Dynamo confuses me the most. He has a new and much less flamboyant act than the others. There are no glamorous assistants, curtains or other props, he’s simply a slick illusionist designed to baffle. This video for instance:
What even happened there? How is that done? Is he on wires? Is he holding something? Is he even on the bus or is it a trick of the camera? Is it just ‘magic’? I’ve watched the video countless times now and I can’t get my head around it. Can you?
I’ve was asked by Spreaditfast if I’d like to share this video on behalf Pepsi in exchange for a little treat. I hope you guys don’t mind a sponsored post every once in a while and are happy with the way I go about it. No matter what I review or share the words are always my own and I only ever accept things that interest me and I think might interest you too.
This post is pretty different to what I normally write but when I spotted Money Supermarket’s competition to win a Mulberry Bayswater and purse, I had to have a go. For the chance to win, all you have to do is share the contents of your handbag and estimate their worth.
My Sister had a Mulberry before they became so popular and I remember someone stopping her whilst we were out shopping in Kendal and asking if they could hold it. That has the sign of a lovely handbag.
Well, the same happened to me a few weeks back. I was in Morrison’s at the self serve checkouts and the supervisor asked if she could feel my bag. I obliged as I was fairly sure she wasn’t going to run off with it. There were lots of ‘ooh’s and ‘ahhhs’, then she asked if it had cost a lot of money. In blunt honesty I told her it was a £19.99 Zara Mini Shopper. Judging by her reaction, she was expecting it to be worth much more; it’s no wonder they sold out!
Without further ramblings, here’s the answer to the question. This is what’s in my handbag:
So the big question is, how much money was I handing over to the supervisor as she eyed up my handbag? Well, bag included, £610.79. Add in to that my hearing aid, which sometimes gets stashed in my bag if it’s windy, that’s £1610.79. That’s a lot of money to carry around! Do any of you insure your handbag?
Money Supermarket estimate the average ladies handbag along with it’s contents weigh in at £850. What’s in yours?
Where has this past two weeks gone? How are we nearly in July? How is it six months until Christmas? I’m sure as you grow older, years go by faster. Just me?
Anyway, on to the food. I think a spice cupboard says a lot about a person’s eating habits and if you opened ours, the contents would speak for themselves. Galangal, lemon grass, cumin, cassia bark, kaffir lime leaves. We love Asian food!
It makes sense then that noodle and rice based dishes are our go to when we simply don’t know what to have for tea or have things in the fridge that need using up.
This meal is packed with flavour and if you already have the store cupboard items, it’s very cheap. These noodles are such an easy tea to whip up on weeknights when time is short. Tonight we enjoyed ours on the patio, catching the last of the day’s sun. It was bliss!
As much as I love baking, it gets to Summer and I feel a little lost with it. Cake is such a comfort food that it just goes hand in hand with Winter. Wrap up in wooly jumpers and tuck in to some warm gingerbread- it just works.
We’ve been so lucky this week with weather that I think Matt & I have had it better than my Parents who are holidaying in France at the moment. So what happens when Summer finally arrives in the Lakes? Lemon muffins happen, that’s what.
They’re a long time favourite of mine and if I’m ever passing a Costa, this is what I’ll head in for, not the coffee. As with most things though, home-made is just better. I know exactly what I’ve put in these muffins. They’re made with eggs collected fresh this morning, one laid by the grumpy broody hen (pictured here) and one huge speckled egg that comes from one of our Welsummers.
Moist, light, fluffy, these are the ideal Summer bake. The sticky lemon glaze finds its way down in to the middle of the muffin, giving a real lively tang and the texture is just perfect! If I dare say it, of all the things in my recipe file, these muffins are my best bake yet.
For 12 muffins:
290g self raising flour
2 tbsp poppy seeds
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
juice of 2 lemons
For the glaze:
100g icing sugar
4tbsp lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and pop your muffin cases in your tray. If you only have the smaller cake cases, here’s a good guide to make your own from baking paper.
As you all know, I’m not one for long bakes. I like my cakes fast and simple so armed with a handheld blender, add the eggs, butter, sugar and lemon juice to a bowl and blend until combined.
Add the flour, baking soda, salt and milk bit by bit until everything has come together. Stir in your poppy seeds – watch those blighters, they get everywhere.
If you want the authentic “a life of geekery” feel to your muffins, it’s vital to make a bit of a mess as you split the batter between the cases. I spilt it down my jeans, boo to being clumsy!
Now put your little bundles of lemony love in the oven for around 20mins. Just as they’ve started to turn golden on the top, whip them out and leave to cool on a rack.
Mix up your lemon glaze (literally just mix the icing sugar and lemon together). Remember this isn’t icing, we’re looking for runny and sticky so make sure it’s thin. Use a tooth pick/kebab stick/other pointy tool to poke holes in the top of your muffins. Drizzle your glaze over, letting it soak down in to the middle of the muffin and pool a little around the edges. Top with lemon zest to make them super pretty. Drool…