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
RevoluciĆ³n 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!

Nutella Brownies

There is a hashtag that exists in the social media world that allows people to express their unpopular opinion. The hashtag is #unpopularopinion - surprise!

And once a blue moon ago I used this hashtag to express my unpopular opinion on Nutella. I don't like it. I don't like praline either or hazelnuts in general. There were others who agreed with me, but mostly I had distain! How could I not like Nutella? And I get it I mean I don't understand how people can't like peanut butter. But those people do exist! 

Then why have I made Nutella Brownies I can see you asking!! Because I have a 7 year-old who loves the stuff and if I let her would eat it every day for breakfast lunch and dinner. And since I love her so much I obliged. 

Sometimes when a new year starts I think of one word I would like to sort of vaguely define my year to come and I think oblige should be that word. Not in the binding legal way, but in the do someone a favor or assist them or meet the wants/needs of someone else. And also not in a compromising my own beliefs and values and stuff way ya know.... spreading more love one disgusting Nutella Brownie at a time!

(Note, I am only one of few who didn't like these. The said seven year old loved them, my neighbors,  and Santa enjoyed them too. And if you like Nutella then you will probably love them as well.)

Nutella Brownies

300g semi-sweet chocolate chips (or 300g mixed milk/dark chocolate)
250g salted butter
400g light brown sugar
4 large eggs
140g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
200g Nutella

Preheat oven to 180C/gas4 and line a brownie pan or an 8in square pan with parchment paper.
Very gently melt the chocolate with the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan. Just before the chocolate is completely melted, take off the heat and gently stir until it’s completely melted.
Then add the eggs one at a time to the melted chocolate mixture. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the pot and stir until just combined.
Pour into the prepared pan and dot the Nutella over the top of the brownie batter. Use a knife to swirl the Nutella through the batter. Bake in the pre-heated oven for a minimum of 35 minutes. Depending on your pan size and oven add an extra five minutes if need be. Cool before cutting into squares and sharing with loved ones or if you are a Nutella lover keeping them all for yourself!

 Just like this! 

Brownie batter is so shiny and pretty.
Then after baking they look like this: brown squares that are hard to photograph. I try.