Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Just a Small Favour...

Hello everyone!!

So today, instead of a recipe, I'm going to do a shameless plug for a personal projects of mine. But first, a little bit of an explanation. A while ago, I applied for a exchange opportunity offered by my university which would allow me to study my subject abroad in another university of my choice for a term. I obviously jumped at the idea, especially when I found out that I could go and study in Japan; a country that I've wanted to visit for years! Thankfully, about a month ago, I got an email from the Nagoya University of Arts (NUA) accepting my application to study there from the beginning of April. Since then, not much has happened, because I've been waiting for various forms to go through before I can book any flights, but I have been frantically saving and earning every penny that I can to be able to pay for this trip.

This brings me to the subject of today's plea. Whilst I have managed to save up for my rend and flights, funds for my living costs are still looking pretty thin on the ground, so last week, I cam up with an enterprising idea. I have set up a Kickstarter campaign in an attempt to raise the remaining funds needed. My goal is £500 and the pledges start at £5 for a handwritten postcard from me when I'm in Japan, and go all the way up to £40! Aside from the £5 pledge, all pledges offer some of my art (mostly dog related) as the reward, and all of them offer a handwritten postcard from Japan as well. Prints can be shipped to the UK for free, the EU for £1 and the US for £2, and the postcards can be sent anywhere in the world. Having said that, if you would like to pledge for a print, but you don't live in the UK, EU or US, please let me know and I will add your country to the mailing list.

So what are you waiting for?! Make my day, help me not starve when I get to Japan and get some handmade art all in one fell swoop! It's a win-win!

You can access my Kickstarter campaign by clicking here, and please share it around with anyone you know who might like my work, it would mean so much to me!

That's all the butt kissing for now, next time: food.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Classic Hot Chocolate

Nowadays, if someone suggests a hot chocolate to you, they most likely mean the kind where you use teaspoons upon teaspoons of sugary, bubbly 'chocolate' powder. As nice as that is, I have recently been converted. Following this recipe from my old school cookery book, not only is my hot chocolate
richer and creamier, but it has way less sugar in, so I can pile on the marshmallows without worrying about my sugar intake! Here is the recipe I was following:

In the recipe, it suggests on teaspoonful of castor sugar, but really, that's up to you. It totally depends on what kind of chocolate you are using and how sweet you like your hot chocolate to be. I was using dark cooking chocolate (54% cocoa solids) and I didn't feel the need to add any sugar, but I did have some marshmallows on the top.

Classic Hot Chocolate (makes one mug)
Bare Necessities:
1oz/28g Chocolate
1/2pint/285ml Milk
Sugar to taste (optional)
Marshmallows to top (optional)

1. In a small saucepan, put the milk, chocolate and sugar on a medium-low heat and stir slowly but continuously.
2. Once all of the chocolate has melted and the drink is piping hot, pour into a mug.
3. Top with marshmallows as desired.
4. Enjoy! (careful, it's very hot!!)

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Traditional Chocolate Cake

Let me just say something right off the bat. My Kitchenaid has made me lazy AF. I kind of knew this was the case, but it was really brought to light when I decided to make a chocolate cake from my old cookery book with nothing but a wooden spoon and a plastic bowl. Let's just say I really earned a slice of cake at the end of this.

As we all know, I have made many an endeavour down the chocolate cake path. It's a classic, and deserves to be given a twist every once in a while. So why not have a crack and an original? Here's the recipe I was working from:

My main difficulty here was that I was making this whilst at uni, so I didn't have a set of weighing scales, nor did I want to spend the money on some, so I had to get creative with my cups and spoons measuring. I was also a little confused when the recipe called for "sweet chocolate", so I went for a 52% cooks chocolate. When I was making the cake, I was a little unsure about the proportions. Usually with a sponge cake, there are more or less equal proportions of flour, butter and sugar, and I thought it odd that there was no cocoa powder involved. When I put the mixture into the tin it felt quite stiff, and I was worried that the cake would turn out to be dense and not that chocolatey. Luckily, I was wrong! I mean, it definitely would have been lighter had I used my electric mixer, and I'm probably going to come back to this recipe and mess around with it a little bit, but all in all, it was pretty yummy. I would recommend eating this when warm, but if it is cold, you can put a slice in the microwave for about 10 seconds to warm it up and serve with a dollop of cream - delicious!

Traditional Chocolate Cake (makes 1 large sponge)
Bare Necessities:
6oz/170g/1 1/2cups Plain Flour
4oz/115g/1/2cup Sugar
4oz/115g/1/2cup Butter
3oz/85g/~1/2cup Chocolate
3small Eggs
2tsp Baking Powder
dash Vanilla Essence
2tbsp Milk

1. Preheat the oven to 180c/350F/Gas Mark 4.
2. Grease and line one cake tin.

3. Break the chocolate up and put on a low heat with the milk.
4. Stir until the chocolate is fully melted and then take off the heat.
5. Cream together the butter and sugar.
6. Slowly add the eggs, flour and baking powder, alternating between the wet and dry until fully combined.
7. Mix in the chocolate and vanilla, and stir until fully combined.
8. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and smooth over slightly.
9. Pop in the oven for 45mins or until cooked through.
10. Place on a rack to cool.
11. Serve up with a dollop of cream (or ice cream) and enjoy!