Ferrero Rocher Brownies


OMG right? 

I have to admit that these were not of my creation, but come from a creative youtuber Cupcake Jemma. I love watching her videos and if you haven't before you should start with the video I have linked below! These brownies again wouldn't have been my first choice as I am not a fan of hazelnuts. They aren't terrible, just not a huge fan. 

However, my baby baker, not a baby any more having celebrated her 8th birthday last week, likes them and loves Nutella even more. Something I discussed a few posts ago when I made Nutella brownies and since I only just made them I couldn't make them again. 


So, on the hunt for what else I could make her I came across great recipes featuring Nutella like 
Nutella Bueno Cupcakes from The Baking Explorer and an Ultimate Chocolate and Nutella layer cake from supergolden bakes and I also came across a No-bake Ferrero Rocher Cheesecake from What Jessica Baked Next. It was this last one that made me think of Ferrero Rochers and went on another hunt before coming across these brownies from Cupcake Jemma. 

They turned out beautifully (please ignore my cracked ganache) and were loved by all who tried them! If you'd like to have a go I have listed the ingredients you will need, watch the video for instructions and I made some notes on what I did differently below it. Enjoy!! 


Ferrero Rocher Brownies

2 small eggs
165g caster sugar
80g dark chocolate
80g unsalted butter
25g cocoa powder
60g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
30g chopped roasted hazelnuts

Nutella Nougat
25g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
30ml evaporated milk
40g nutella
100g marshmallow fluff
60g chopped roasted hazelnuts
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

for the topping
75g double cream
75g dark chocolate
8 or more Ferrero Rocher



There were a few things I changed to suit my needs: first I made them in a 7inch circle cake tin as I wanted it to be cake like for my daughters birthday. Because of this I cooked it for 25 minutes instead of the 15-20 that she suggests in the video. However, that could be because of my oven so if you too are making them in a round tin then check them at 15 minutes. 

Second I didn't pipe more Nutella in the nougat. Just an extra step I couldn't be bothered with, but would totally be worth it if you are a Nutella fan! 

Third I didn't decorate with more hazelnuts and gold lustre although I wish I had as my ganache cracked a bit. That was only because I was impatient and didn't let it all sit before taking it out of the tin. 


*Want to see more of Cupcake Jemma's delicious treats? Follow the video above or visit her website here



Afternoon Tea at the Bramble Cafe by Mat Follas (book review)


If you are lucky enough to live in Dorset then there is a chance that you may have visited the Bramble Cafe and Deli in Poundbury and if you haven't then at least you have an opportunity too being so close. For the rest of us unless we are planning a visit the only way we can try Mat's delicious treats is by trying them at home with his new book Afternoon Tea at the Bramble Cafe. Mat was the winner of Masterchef in 2009 and opened the cafe with his wife and business partner Kate in 2016.


Each chapter covers the essentials of a perfect afternoon tea. Most importantly the Introduction teaches us how to make the perfect cup of tea. Although I have lived in the UK for 12 years this is something I still struggle with. After the tea the most important part of any afternoon tea is the cake and scones, which is why it's the first chapter. All the classic cakes like lemon drizzle, coffee walnut, and Victoria sandwich are covered in this chapter 


The next chapter covers a wide range of slices and tarts - brownies (my favorite), Millionaire's shortbread, white chocolate & strawberry tiffin, jam tarts, and bramble cheesecake. Biscuits and Cookies are in the next chapter and you can't go wrong with buttery shortbread, but Mat gives us a couple variations to spice it up. He also gives us recipes for treacle oaties, macaroons, and bright colored fairy rings. 


Dainties & patisserie is what we have next and is usually the chapter that seems daunting to me, but Mat has eased my fears and given me confidence to try out a few of the recipes like lemon posset & raspberry terrine, crème brûlée spoons, macarons, Camp coffee & caramel eclairs, and raspberry meringue kisses. 


Afternoon tea isn't just about the cakes and I love that this book covers Savouries & sandwiches. Not only does it cover things you can put between bread like cucumber & mint and smoked salmon & dill mayonnaise, but he gives us a recipe for milk bread to put those fillings in! There is also a recipe for Welsh rarebit, which if you are like me wasn't 100% sure what that is it's essentially cheese on toast Mat makes his with a ale-infused béchamel sauce between the toast and cheese. 


The last chapter covers Preserves & cordials, it might the chapter you over look, but with anything it's the attention to details that makes something absolutely perfect. So, don't over look this chapter because the recipes for bramble & rose jam or strawberry & elderflower jam look amazing!! And as for the cordials, not everyone is a tea drinker and on a hot sunny day cordials are a nice alternative. There are recipes for blueberry, elderflower, apple & pear, and raspberry & blackcurrant cordials and all of them look so refreshing and delicious. 


* I was provided a copy of Afternoon Tea at the Bramble Cafe by Mat Follas to review by the publisher, Ryland Peters & Small, retails at £16.99 and available now from your local book retailers or online! All opinions are my own, I was not given any other compensation nor was I asked to give a positive review, please see my contact/policy page above for more information. 

Honest Burger - Reading, Berkshire {restaurant review}


In 2010 there were two guys in Brixton, London in a tent cutting their potatoes by hand, flipping burgers made with meat they delivered to themselves because the butchers wouldn't and bringing passion to their dream. It was the start of something amazing and as it's not that often I get to London I am super excited that they opened a restaurant in Reading, Berkshire.


Last week my friends and I went out for our monthly meal and were lucky enough to try out Honest Burger. First impressions are everything and as we stepped in the vibe was chilled and rustic, the definition of a cool place to hang out. The staff were welcoming, knowledgeable, and energetic. However, the real test was going to be the food.

The menu is not very long and this, to me, shows confidence and trust in what they are producing. I was excited and sad that I couldn't eat more then one burger in a night. See even though the menu isn't extensive I wanted to try everything on the menu, but as the saying goes when in Rome......


Naturally, I had to try the Reading Special - which is made, like all their burgers, of the best cuts: chuck and rib cap (the fatty bit that's skimmed off a rib eye steak) that is chopped not minced, chopping helps not only hold in the flavor, but makes it really tender. Then they topped the burger with Barkham blue cheese and a red pepper chutney both locally sourced.


The blue cheese comes from a small family business, Two Hoots Cheese in Barkham a little village that sits just between Berkshire and Hampshire. The red pepper chutney comes from the Nomad Bakery in Caversham, they get the chutney from the Caversham Jam Lady.

The burger also is topped with bacon, tomato, red onion, lettuce, and their own pickles in between the buns that are steamed, they wet the bun before placing on the grill and it just gives them a little something extra.


All of this served with the best chips ever. Let's just talk about these chips for a moment, they are fried and then covered with their rosemary salt and are addicting. Then if you are like me and like your dips you need to try the curry sauce, chipotle mayo, bacon ketchup, yes you read that right bacon ketchup, and saving the best for last bacon gravy. You just have to try it for yourself. Trust me, trust them they know what they are doing!


So, as I mentioned my friends joined me for dinner and they tried the chilli burger topped with chilli cheese, bacon and a jalapeño relish. I tried a bite it is good, but it is hot just a warning! Then my other friend tired the special the Disco Burger. The Disco is limited edition and this burger is topped with a pineapple bacon jam, cheddar, burger sauce and pink onions. I didn't get a chance to try this one on the night, but I was told it was very good! You only have until the 12th of February to try this one so get in there now!


They change their special every three weeks and as my lovely waiter suggested we, me and you, need to visit at least once every three weeks to try the new special, but ideally it should be twice every three weeks and he told me it was really a sin if I didn't. So, I thought I'd pass that message on to you. It's a sin if you don't visit at least once, because once is all it will take to make it your go to burger place.


Now that last sentence is an awesome line to end a review, but I have to just mention a few more things - my cocktail the Kentucky Tea - which is buffalo trace bourbon, honest iced tea (they make it themselves), and lemon. I highly recommend it, it was so good and I haven't had proper iced tea since I left the states. Then there were the onion rings, the batter was thick and fluffy and was seasoned with a little bit of aniseed that just gave them a special something. Also note that it's not only the burger toppings they source locally they also source local beers and lagers so check them out if you are in town! And last but not least they serve breakfast too!


Okay I think that's it. You can find them at the address below, if you aren't local visit their website (linked below) for more locations and more information about Honest Burger!

Honest Burger: 1-5 King St., Reading, RG1 2HB

*I was invited to visit and check out Honest Burger as it's recently opened in Reading, I was not compensated in a monetary way for my review, all opinions are my own, please see my contact/policy page above for more information. 

Chocolate Cake Donuts


Hearts are one of the earliest things I remember drawing as a kid - it probably is for most people. It's a familiar image or shape that we associate with many things surrounding the emotion of love. The origins of this shape is not known for sure maybe the shape of a leaf of some obscure plant associated with valentine or could be the shape of human sex organs who knows really?

Even if it is pretty likely that the shape has some crude beginnings it's a shape I have always liked; to draw and to eat! I mean everything tastes better when it is in a fun shape right? Kids know that for a fact. That is why I thought  it appropriate to shape these decadent donuts in the shape of hearts. Also I only have a heart shaped donut pan or a mini donut pan and the mini ones take ages.....


Chocolate Cake Donuts

170g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp espresso powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
60g sugar
60g brown sugar
170ml whole milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil (extra for greasing)
2 tbsp sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 180C and grease the donut pan with a little bit of the veggie oil and don't forget the middle part so the donuts don't stick.
Mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, espresso powder and salt into a bowl. In another bowl whisk the egg, both sugars, milk, oil, sour cream, and vanilla until combined and then sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and fold in until completely combined and there are no lumps.
Fill the donut indents 3/4 full - *I found that using a tablespoon to fill the donut indents was easiest and I used two tablespoons and it was the perfect amount.
Bake for 10 minutes and leave to cool for 5 before turning out. They should just drop out, but using a butter knife around the edges should loosen them up. Leave to cool while you make the gauche.
I had 3 batches to make a dozen donuts - I wiped the donut indents clean and re-greased them each time.

ganache
85ml whipping cream
2 tbsp sugar
15g unsalted butter
85g chocolate chips

Heat the cream, sugar, and butter on a medium heat. While it's heating place the chocolate in a heat proof bowl, once the cream mixture is just boiling pour it over the chocolate and gently whisk. We don't want air in the ganache, but we do want it to be smooth and shiny.

to finish: 
sprinkles

I dipped the donuts into the chocolate ganache and then covered with chocolate sprinkles. In between batches you need to keep the ganache slightly warm otherwise it goes hard and lumpy.
Donuts are best eaten fresh, but will last for about 3 days.



These donuts are a great treat and if you love someone you should make these for them because they exude love. They are love even if they aren't made in a heart shaped donut pan. 

Easy Waffles from Jamie Oliver


I wish I could say that I just magically knew how to make waffles from scratch, but I don't. Like most people I had to look it up. I mean someone somewhere in time must have said lets mix flour, egg, and milk together and heat it up in a pan or griddle or waffle maker or whatever they used way back in the day and magically made waffles.

However, when it comes down to the simple things, like waffles, they have generally been done before. That's why I have borrowed Jamie Oliver's recipe - which probably wasn't his recipe to begin with either to be fair. But in today's world of copyright and people owning things I will give him credit here as it was his website I found the recipe I use to make waffles.


Since picking up a waffle maker for only £5 (marked down) I have been making waffles for my girls and I for breakfast and dessert. I hadn't thought of sharing it on the blog because I hadn't changed the recipe up at all and toppings are subjective to individual taste.

Then I thought well people are missing out on this super easy waffle recipe to then top with whatever they want! I mean they might find it on Jamie Oliver's site like I did, but if they are like me they are skeptical of how it might turn out and as I have made this about a dozen times now I can say yes this is a good waffle recipe.


Easy Waffles

150g self rising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1 large egg
240ml milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Mix the dry ingredients together. Then beat the egg in a separate bowl before adding it, in about three parts, to the dry ingredients. Then slowly add the milk beating until smooth between each addition until it's perfectly smooth. Then following the instructions on your waffle maker make waffles!
I usually get about 6 -8 waffles out of the batter.






*I wish Jamie Oliver was paying me to say or to share this, but he's not. If you'd like to visit his site the recipe is here. The amazing lovely lady at Moose Maple Butter sent me a tub of the butter to try out and it's amazing on waffles. Thought it was worth a shout out on here! I met her at Food Blogger Connect a few years back now and received a tub from her there and made these delicious Maple Butter Bars! All opinions are my own and if you want further information see my contact/policy page above!

Body Positive Power by Megan Jayne Crabbe aka @bodyposipanda {book review and reflections}

It's hard to escape everyone talking about diets this time of year or people exclaiming that they need to be "good" now that Christmas is over. I don't know how many times I have to remind people that if they eat a biscuit/cookie or any other treat that they are not "bad" for doing so as they claim they are. Food should never be put into categories of good or bad because food is food.

I wasn't sure how I was going to write this blog post as it fits in my blog as I blog about food, but it's different then my normal posts. It's a review of a book and subject matter that is some what controversial. However, while I was reading it I made so many notes and thought of my own experiences when it comes to my relationship with food.

If you don't know who Megan is can I ask you a question - have you been living under a rock? She has taken instagram by storm and has recently started YouTube videos. She's bright, cheery, and not afraid to shake it in her underwear and share it on the internet. She is also brave, strong, and a survivor of anorexia.

It was interesting to read the parts on her experiences with anorexia, because it's something that has a bit of a taboo and that we the general masses don't fully comprehend. I mean why not just eat something right?

In this book Megan explains from first hand experience why it's just not that simple and I think that is very important for people to know and understand that. That a lifetime of food, exercise, and weight loss obsession is something that can't be solved by just eating something.

Also our media and fad diet industry has a lot to answer for. I mean everyone knows that, but no one pays any attention really. Megan's research and facts blew me away I had no idea how much they had to answer for. I may not be able to relate to Megan's experiences with anorexia, but I can relate to her experiences with body image. My whole life I have always had "extra" weight.

Talking about my weight with anyone, besides my sisters, comes with a lot of judgement. I mean I write a baking blog, I bake so therefore I am fat. I had someone tell me exactly that. I have to assume they assumed that I didn't eat any other food except for that which I had baked. Which was generally far from the truth as I bake to share with friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors and when I explained that I could see the disbelief in their eyes.


The thing is I should have never had to feel like I had to explain myself.  My diet, because a diet is what we eat, is really no one else's business. Nor does my love for baking define my overall diet and health; no more then my weight does.

One of the biggest things Megan gets thrown are those who say she is promoting obesity, but if you give this book a read or follow her on social media you will understand that it has nothing to do with promoting any sort of body type, but promoting people to love, accept, and embrace themselves no matter what size they are.

Because we are so much more then our body size.

I may never be comfortable enough to film myself shaking it in my underwear on social media, but I love the idea that if I ever decided too I know Megan along with other body positivity guru's and front runners would have my back.

If you are looking to grab a copy of your own click here and if you want to check out Megan's instagram click here. I'd love to know your thoughts on this please leave a comment below!!!

*I purchased my own copy of this book, all thoughts and opinions are my own further information can be found above in the contact/policy page above!

8 Places to eat in Reading Berkshire England

One one of the reasons I love being a blogger is because I am occasionally given an opportunity to check out local places to eat!

Reading, like most towns, are constantly changing and growing and 2017 saw some great new places to eat open up! Also a few staples/classics had a bit of a revamp on their menu's and I was there to check them out. Saying that I thought I would round up all the places I visited in one post to hopefully help those who are looking for somewhere new to try!

I have listed them 1-8 one being my favorite - now everyone's tastes and experiences are different so I can only go on my tastes and experiences, but I hope it helps if you are from the area or are visiting!


1. Pho Restaurant - 1 - 1a King's Rd, Reading RG1 2HG

The place I crave:
This is listed as my number one place because I have been back several times and it's the place I suggest to friends and family when we are looking for somewhere to go! I crave the rice bowl and the Vietnamese coffee they serve here. So, if you're like me and love noodles, rice, and soup give this place a visit!


2. The Real Greek - The Oracle, Bridge St, Reading RG1 2AT

The 'something' different place:
Like Pho, I have visited The Real Greek a few times since I have reviewed it. The food and atmosphere are great and if are looking for something different then the typical restaurant, you know the places that rely on burgers and fries, I couldn't recommend this place more!


3. Pavlov's Dog - 21-23 St Mary's Butts, Reading RG1 2LN

The place for fun:
This was a bit of a surprise really, having walked past it a million times in the years I have lived here, but have never go in my friend and I had a great night here. The food was typical pub food, but we couldn't fault it. My favorites were the appetisers and cocktails which is exactly what you want from a pub! Also we agreed, after playing Mario Kart on a Nintendo Game Cube, that this was a fun place to go! 


4. The Botanist - 1-5 King St, Reading RG1 2HB

The cool place: 
It is so cool in here. It's like the big sibling of restaurants - you want to hang out here and just be a part of all the things that go on here! They have musical bingo and live music and hanging kebabs! Like the last three places I have been here more then once and have to say it's worth a visit! 


5. Cau - The Oracle, Bridge Street, Reading RG1 2AQ

The place for meat lovers: 
Not to say there isn't anything for vegetarians, but really this place is all about the meat... beef more specifically. I had the best steak sandwich I have ever had. Cau's menu is a mix of food inspired by Italy, Spain and Argentina and is overall a big win for me!


6. Wrap it Up! - Unit 1, 10-14 Duke St, Reading RG1 4RU

The place for lunch: 
I say that it is the place for lunch, but these wraps are full meal in themselves so could satisfy one for dinner as well! I have only been twice, but both times the flavor combinations blew me away! If you work in town they deliver to offices and if I worked in town I would have one too many of these! 


7. Franco Manco - The Oracle, Bridge St, Reading RG1 2AT

The pizza place:
Sometimes I feel very overwhelmed at restaurants when I have too much to choose from and I found it really refreshing that they have a small menu and a special menu that changes occasionally. The quality of the pizza's is on point and they really pay attention to the details. If you go in the summer try the pesto, it's the best thing I have ever tried.



8. Walkabout - Wiston Terrace, Reading RG1 1DG

The place for a night out: 
The food here was good, I tried a kangaroo burger it was a bit gamey, but it's not the first place I would think of for food. However, it's been revamped and looks great inside and I believe would be a great place for a good night out. The cocktails and atmosphere were spot on! 

A few other places I visited the past year and worth mentioning are:
7Bone Burger - 60 St Mary's Butts, Reading RG1 2LG
Bluegrass BBQ - 15 Gun St, Reading RG1 2JR
Revolución De Cuba - 138-141 Friar St, Reading RG1 1EX

I can't wait to see what 2018 will bring to Reading! Do you have a favorite local place? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!

* Each restaurant is linked to my review for more pictures and information!! -- I had been invited to review all of these places - I was not asked to give a positive review and all opinions are my own please see my contact/policy page above for more information. If you have a local place you'd like me to review email me at unitedcakedom@gmail.com and I will get back to you!

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