Treat Petite February Round-up - Like 'em, Love 'em, Gotta Have 'em!

In the beginning of the month I asked you to share with me the things you like, love, and gotta have for the blogging challenge Treat Petite! I was covering for Cakeyboi this month as he took a bit of a break while he moved house and stuff!

Everyone linked up some great petite treats! Starting with these great pink peppercorn shortbread hearts and healthy carrot cake muffins from Tales from the Kitchen Shed.

Tales from the Kitchen Shed

Tales from the Kitchen Shed

Pancake day might be over, but pancakes are for life not just one day. So, I suggest you try these! 

Gluten Free Alchemist

Only Crumbs Remain
Valentine's Day Brownies

Chocolate is one of those things that I like, love, and just gotta have! You could go super indulgent with Only Crumbs Remain's Valentine's Day Brownies stuffed with Rolo's or with Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary 3 ingredients fudgsicle; still indulgent, but only 200 calories!

Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary

Still looking for more treats? You can't go wrong with these strawberry cupcakes topped with nutella buttercream. Nutella Buttercream!! I don't think I need to say any more - just follow the link below! 

The Baking Explorer

Family Friends Food

Sahib is a hot drink creamy drink that used to be used as an aphrodisiac and definitely worth a look! But not before you check out these amazing apple rose's from Only Crumbs Remain, check out how they were made by following the link below! 

Only Crumbs Remain
A Dozen Apple Roses

Sesame seeds are a super food or super seed? Anyway added to these super sweet Halva Biscuits it probably doesn't matter much! I would like to try these out one day!

Tin & Thyme

How to Cook Good Food
Valentine Mont Blanc Profiteroles

Choux pastry is something I have yet to try and these Mont Blanc ones by How to Cook Good Food are first on my list! Who ever thought you could or should make ice cream into truffles!?! Caroline Makes did and I'm glad she shared them with us this month! 

Caroline Makes

Foodie Quine

Tunnack's. Teacake. Rocky. Road. There are no other words. 

Cooking for Kishore

Shortbread is one of these bakes that is a great base for any flavours and strawberry is as good as any! Marmite is one of those things that you either like or don't, but Allotment Kitchen assures us that even the biggest marmite haters will love this... 

A Seasonal Veg Table: Allotment Kitchen

The more than Occasional Baker

Brownies and peanut butter cookies are two of my favourite thing! With only 3 ingredients these Nutella brownies are perfect for those days that you need a chocolate fix and not much in your cupboard! The peanut cookies are also perfect for those days and they are gluten free!! 

The Gluten Free Alchemist

These Double Chocolate Muesli Cookies look amazing! I can't wait to try them super easy, chocolatey and full of healthy muesli! 

Family Friends Food

Belleau Kitchen
olive oil lemon and ground almond traybake - gluten and dairy free

Last but not least the olive oil lemon and ground almond traybake from Belleau Kitchen! Also gluten and dairy free - you can tell that the world of baking is changing lots of new and tasty things made for so everyone can enjoy them! 

Just a quick thank you for linking up this month! I believe Kat - The Baking Explorer will be hosting again next month and that we will possibly see Stuart - Cakeyboi the following month! Thank you to you both for letting me guest host it was a lot of fun! I hope to do it again sometime!

Aduki Bean Brownie Bites from Superfoods 24/7 by Jessica Nadel {book review}

When I was offered to review Superfoods 24/7: Delicious Recipes for Superfoods at Every Meal I said "No thank you." Mainly because I was judging it by it's cover and didn't think it would be a good fit for my blog.

The lovely publisher's PR lady suggested I take a look anyway because she really felt it would be a good fit, especially if I liked Whole Food Energy. So, I agreed and I'm glad I did.

Starting with all the facts on the superfoods as well as giving some basic skill information, the author Jessica Nadel, gives us suggested meal plans consisting of breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, and dessert.

We are then given mouth watering recipes for Smoothies and Breakfasts, Salads and Soups, Sides and Small Bites, Main Meals, followed by Cakes and Desserts which I have to say has many tempting recipes! I'm not going to lie I went straight to that last chapter before reading the others. I knew pretty much right away I wanted to try the Adzuki Bean Brownies. 

There was a little research involved because I couldn't find adzuki beans and realised they are the same as aduki beans which I could find. The brownies turned out really fudgey and as it uses coconut oil and cinnamon taste of coconut and a hint of cinnamon. In my opinion that's a good thing. I was a little dubious using flaxseed "eggs," but I didn't need to worry. 

The only thing I had to adjust was the cooking time. It says to bake for 10-12 minutes, but after 12 minutes they were still very much a liquid. The edges had barely started to bake. So, I left them in for another 12 minutes before taking them out and leaving to cool. They were still so gooey they couldn't be put on a cooling rack, so I placed them on a plate and put it in the fridge to cool. Also you might want to make the Flax Egg before starting with everything else. 

Aduki Bean Brownie Bites

1x400g or 410g can of aduki beans, drained and rinsed
40g cocoa powder
25g ground walnuts
60ml coconut oil, melted
100g coconut sugar
1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 flax eggs (see below)

Heat the oven to 180C - very lightly grease a 24-hole mini cupcake pan. Place all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse for about 2 minutes until everything is combined and smooth. Scrape down the bowl when necessary. Each 'hole' will take a heaped tablespoon of batter. Bake for 12-24 minutes. Leave to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before transferring them to a plate and putting them in the fridge to cool. 

Flax Egg: for 2 eggs as there recipe calls for
2 tablespoons of ground or milled flaxseed
6 tablespoons of water

Mix together and leave to stand for a minimum of 10 minutes. The mixture should go gloopy like an egg. Give it a stir before adding to the food processor.  

Before I go here are 4 recipes I can't wait to try out:

Udon Soup with Broccoli, Kale, and Sweet Potato

Quinoa Sushi Hand Rolls

Sundried Tomato and Coconut Quinoa Burgers

Minty Matcha Nanaimo Bars

notes: Superfoods 24/7: Delicious Recipes for Superfoods at Every Meal by Jessica Nadel was sent to me to review by the UK publishers; Apple Press - Available online, from the publishers, and from all good booksellers now! No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own please see my contact/policy page for more information. 

Makeover! with Urban Decay & The Oracle

A couple of Friday's ago I was invited to The Oracle for a Valentine's event. I know it's been a couple of weeks, but the event is relevant Valentine's Day or not!

This particular night we went to House of Fraser and were greeted with a glass of prosecco and three very lovely makeup artists! They were friendly, bubbly, and know everything there is to know about Urban Decay.

There were four of us and we did a sort of speed dating makeover. So, one of us started with either face, eyes, or lips and the fourth wondered around taking photos!

What I learned: 

Lips - that lip liner isn't just for lining your lips! It's best to fill your whole lip(s) in with the liner before applying the lipstick. 
Eyes - if you wet an Urban Decay eyeshadow it gives you a bold and shinier color! Which can help create a different look. 
Face - it's better to match your foundation to the color of your neck then your face so it doesn't look like you're wearing a mask. 

Urban Decay was started in the mid-90's, when Wende Zomnir was tired of boring lipsticks and nail enamels and with her co-conspirators created their own! Influenced by the decaying urban landscape they filled a void that no one knew existed - products that gave beauty with an edge. The brand has exploded since the 90's and includes all sorts of high-performance cosmetics and skin products.

My Top 3 Urban Decay Products (that I use): 

  1. Naked Palette - Smokey
  2. Perversion Mascara
  3. B6 Vitamin-infused Complexion Prep Spray

3 Urban Decay Products I want in my life: 

  1. Revolution Lipstick 
  2. Naked Flushed - Bronze, Glow, Blush pressed powders
  3. Eyeshadow Primer Potions

If this blog post hasn't convinced you to check out more products by Urban Decay then I suggest you hit up the counter in House of Fraser and meet one of the lovely assistants and ask them anything! Maybe even get a little makeover while you're there!

What we got in our goodie bag to try at home: 
  • Little Perversions bag: 
  • perversion mascara - black
  • ink for eyes precision eye pen - black
  • all nighter eyeliner - black
  • subversion lash primer
  • 24/7 glide-on eye pencil -black 
  • Afterglow 8-hour powder blush - Quiver 
  • Eyeshadow - Bust 
  • 24/7 glide-on eye pencil - Deep End & Goldmine 
  • Browbeater (pencil and brush) - Taupe
  • Sheer Revolution Lipstick - Sheer Walk of Shame 

The Oracle Shopping Centre,

Oh and I forgot we also got a treat from Hotel Chocolate - also located in the Upper Mall at The Oracle!
Don't Forget to Check out Alyssia Rose's post over on her blog here! 

note: I was invited to the event by Frank PR - all opinions are my own and there was no other compensation besides the goodie bags. If you haven't noticed The Oracle is my "local" shopping mall and I love promoting local businesses and events - if you need an event covered in Berkshire please see my contact page and give me a shout! 

Clean Cakes by Henrietta Inman {book review}

A few years ago baking was all the rage with The Great British Bake Off reigning as king on the BBC, but things are changing as we are more aware, thanks to Jamie Oliver about the amount of sugar and other additives in our food.

Since I started baking at home it is the very rare occasion that I buy store bought cakes and treats, with the exceptions of my girls favorite biscuits here and there. When I bake at home I know exactly what is going into it and I do think it’s important that we start thinking about what it is we are putting into our bodies.

Henrietta Inman, author of Clean Cakes, felt similar when she started to question all the traditional sugary pastries and bakes she was trained to make. She then started her own business using her knowledge from being a pastry chef in many kitchens around London, but with a twist using nothing but natural ingredients. No refined sugar in this book.

This isn’t just a cookbook, but a text book of information on all sorts of alternative ingredients for the key baking ingredients: dairy, sugar, and gluten. Miss Inman teaches us how to stock our larders/shelfs full of all the ingredients we need to make any of her creations at any time.

So, now that we have the knowledge and ingredients we can start baking cakes, bread, cookies/bars, tarts and pies, raw desserts, and patisserie treats - mostly chocolate, including how to make your own chocolate.

After reading the book cover to cover I couldn’t help but bookmark a few recipes to try! It’s always good to try new things and here is a list of those bookmarked recipes:

  • Courgette, basil, lime and pistachio cake with avocado lime cream and raspberry jam (picture)
  • Baked banana, date, and pecan loaf with spiced caramel sauce (picture)

  • Dark chocolate dipped peanut butter and jelly dreams 
  • Chai-spiced oatmeal, raisin, sultana, and currant cookies
  • Sour cherry and macadamia butterscotch blondies
  • Blueberry Galettes
  • Gooseberry and almond tart
  • Maple Baked Apple Pies
  • Tiramisu mousse
  • Chocolate, banana, and passionfruit pie with sticky toffee sauce (picture)

  • Pristine Black Forest parfait 
  • Blueberry lemon mousse cake with scented geranium flowers (cake on cover)
  • Homemade chocolate
  • Dream coconut ice (picture)

Now all I need to do is stock up my cupboards! However, that doesn’t mean that I have given up on sugary, buttery, flour cakes and bakes for good. It means, for me, that there is alternative and I like living in a world where there is choice. Sometimes I will chose to make a cake with full fat milk, sugars, and plain flour and other times I will chose dairy, sugar, and gluten alternatives and when I do I will turn to this book.

It is truly a beautiful book. I have learned a lot, it really shows how much time and effort Miss Inman must have put into this book. I couldn’t recommend it more; especially to those with food intolerances.

The book is out today! Order your copy online or from your favorite retail seller!

note: I was sent a copy of clean cakes to review from the publishers Jacqui Small LLP; no other compensation was given. All opinions and views are my own. Please see my contact/policy page for further information. I have everything I need to make the blueberry galettes so, hopefully will be making and posting those soon!!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Cake (birthday)

My blog started out of my love for making birthday cakes for my loved ones. I still 10 years on still love making a birthday cake most of all!

Recently my girls have started watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and words cannot express how happy that makes me. I have been a fan of the Turtles since I can remember! When we moved house, back when I was 6, my dad made my sisters and I a turtle lair out of one of our moving boxes and we played in it until it fell apart! Or until that time our basement flooded.... that flood ruined all our original Batman movie trading cards. Stupid flood. 

Anyway, my littlest one is now 6 years old and she asked for a chocolate turtle cake, I was happy to oblige! 

I have tried baking and tasted many chocolate cakes and most of them are dry and only mildly taste of chocolate. But I found one that works every time and it's super chocolatey!

Ninja Turtle Birthday Cake: 

chocolate cake
110g dark chocolate, broken up 
240ml boiling water, boil then measure
225g granulated sugar
195g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt 
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
225g light brown sugar
120ml sunflower oil
110g sour cream
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract 

Heat the oven to 180C; line and grease two 8 inch or 9 inch cake pans - if using 8 inch there will be a little batter left over perfect for cupcakes or mini cake. 
Put the broken up chocolate in a large bowl and pour the boiling water over it, leave to the side and mix the sugar, flour, salt, and bicarb of soda in a separate bowl. Leave that to the side for a moment and go back to the chocolate/water. Whisk them together until smooth, then add the brown sugar, oil, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla one at a time whisking until smooth after each addition. Add a third of the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth repeating two more times until all the dry mixture is incorporated into the wet mixture. Pour into the prepared pans about 3/4 full and bake for 30-35 minutes. Do not over fill the cake tins as they will not bake properly and over flow, I know this from personal experience. 
Leave to cool in the tins for at least 5 minutes and leave to cool completely before icing and decorating.

250g icing sugar
80g unsalted butter, room temperature 
25ml milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Beat the butter until soft and fluffy - add the icing sugar, milk, and vanilla. Beat until it's smooth and creamy. Add icing sugar if it's too soft and milk if it's too stiff. 

constructing the cake - once the cake is cooled spread the bottom layer with buttercream and place the other on top and cover that with butter cream as well. Leave a little bit of butter cream to use as a "glue" for the fondant mask/eyes/mouth. 

turtle decor
green fondant, enough to cover a 2 layer cake
white fondant, enough to make eyes/teeth
red/blue/orange/purple fondant, enough to make face mask
*I use store bought fondant. 

Dust your work surface with icing sugar to keep the fondant from sticking, roll it out as thin/thick as you like, but enough to cover the cake. I roll it out pretty thin as we aren't fondant lovers in this house. Gently wrap the fondant over the rolling pin to lift it up and lay across the cake. Gently smooth over the cake and press down around the edges. 
Then re-dust with icing sugar and roll out the color fondant for the mask. I free handed it, but if you want go online and print out a turtle mask and use it to trace. 
Again re-dust and roll out the white for the eyes and mouth. For the eyes I used circle cutters and the mouth I free handed. Like above go online and print a turtle mouth out if you want it to be exact. 

notes: recipe adapted from bake! by Nick Malgieri and hummingbird bakery cookbook by Tarek Malouf and the hummingbird bakers

PB & J Power Bars from Whole Food Energy by Elise Museles {book review}

January has come and gone along with most people’s New Year’s resolutions. Making better choices when it comes to food is not something that should only be thought of in January, but all year long. I am a baking blog and I think sugar has it’s place in our lives. However, I also agree that with sugar and/or added sugar in a lot of processed foods is a bit excessive and it’s wise to start paying attention to what is in our food.

I was sent Whole Food Energy to read and review and to be honest I wasn’t 100% sure what I was getting myself into! It was a pleasant surprise just looking at the content page. Divided into 3 parts the book covers everything from what supplies you should keep on hand to drinks, breakfast, snacks, and energy packed treats like these PB & J Power Bars.

I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and I was curious to how these power bars would turn out. The author states that her son has asked for these over and over again and I have to say they have been a hit with my daughters as well!

Full of oats, dates, peanut butter, dried cherries, and almonds it really does taste like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. No lie! The best part is knowing they are full of whole natural food that’s great for everyone! I like that they are chewy too, but the almonds give it a bit of crunch!

PB & J Chewy Power Bars

50g rolled oats
200g Medjool dates, pitted
60g unsweetened peanut butter
1 tsp of vanilla
1/2 tsp of salt
100g dried cherries
75g almonds, roughly chopped

Line a 2lb loaf tin with greaseproof paper with the sides hanging out. In a food processor pulse the rolled oats until still a bit chunky, but chopped up. It shouldn't be a powder. Add the dates, peanut butter, vanilla, and salt and pulse/process until it starts to come together and clump up. Add the cherries and pulse several times to incorporate them into the mixture. Take out the blade and add the chopped almonds and use your hands, clean please, to mix everything together. 
Place in the prepared loaf tin and using the hang over paper, fold it on and top and press the mixture down to flatten, try to make it as even as possible. Leave in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour before cutting into bars. Easy peasy.

Elise Museles is the author of the popular blog Kale & Chocolate has given us a book packed full of recipes that will keep you energised through out the day! If you haven’t heard of her check out her website/blog and this book! I have learned a lot just from reading through it and I can’t wait to try more of the recipes, especially the smoothie ones!

note: Whole Food Energy: 200 all-natural recipes to prepare, refuel, and recover by Elise Museles (from Kale & Chocolate) was sent to me to review by the UK publishers; Apple Press - Available online, from the publishers, and from all good booksellers now! No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own and it was known that I sometimes adapt recipes to share with my readers to give them a feel for the book.