Salted Caramel Brownies from Tanya Bakes

Tanya Burr is a woman of many talents, but it’s her baking book that may be my favourite venture of hers so far. I can’t recall any other book where I have tried, tested and succeeded at so many recipes in such a short period of time – so I thought I would share one of them today.

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Rock ‘n’ Choc Bakes

Mondays call for cake. 

I remember baking rock cakes in primary school, and hating them. I’m not sure what it was that I disliked so much but for years I wouldn’t go near one. Today is a different story, but perhaps that’s because I have an awesome recipe that involves chocolate – and let’s face it, anything with chocolate is bound to be better!

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Bean, Couscous and Feta Salad

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Eating healthy can sometimes be difficult, especially after the holidays (chocolate, anyone?) but it’s a lot simpler than you may think. It’s all about balance. 

When I’m trying to fight the fat I try and choose healthy salads, especially now the weather is brighter and getting warmer, as they don’t take much time and effort but fill you up with nutrients you need. Salads to some people conjure up a boring and not so tasty image, but hopefully I will be able to convert you non-salad lovers to this recipe. I’m also cutting back on my bread intake, which if you’re anything like me would usually find difficult (I usually like a piece of bread and butter next to my salad) but 3 days in and I don’t miss it, hoorah!

Perusing the shelves of Waitrose a couple of days ago, I spotted the 2 for £3 salad pots. Now, I usually avoid these as they tend to be full of nuts and beans and ‘superfoods’ that don’t really appeal to my taste buds, but I decided to give them a try. I’m so glad I did because it’s become a firm, flavorsome favourite – here’s what I did…

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What you will need:

Edamame Bean Salad*  (Adzuki and edamame beans with fresh peppers & coriander)

Roasted Vegetable Couscous *

A handful of baby spinach

2 tomatoes, cut in half

Feta cheese

Balsamic Vinegar

I used a third of each salad pot as I wanted to make a couple of lunches from it (and in case I didn’t like it, it wouldn’t be a waste of food), tossing the two together in the oriental soy dressing that comes with the bean salad and placed it on the bed of spinach. I cut up some feta and crumbled it over the salad, drizzling over a teaspoon of balsamic.

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Edamame beans are low in fat and calories and high in protein and fibre – as well as other essential vitamins and nutrients you need – so just having a handful of these in your salad will do you plenty of good. Couscous also has several health benefits, as the potassium helps to regulate blood pressure.

I can’t begin to tell you how delicious this is and how quick it was to throw together. Even my mum enjoyed this (hold the couscous for her), and this says a lot.

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If this doesn’t take your fancy then perhaps this beetroot and cream cheese salad may entice you more.

Baby spinach, cucumber, tomato, baby beetroot and two Laughing Cow cream cheese triangles thrown in – quick and easy, and most importantly very tasty!

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Let me know if you like these recipes and link me to any healthy recipe posts you think I should try next.

Have a lovely weekend 🙂

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*Available in other supermarkets, but the Waitrose ones are delicious!

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How To Make the Best Hot Chocolate

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When it comes to Christmas time, there is only one thing on my mind.

Hot Chocolate.

Whether it’s a festive cup from your favourite coffee chain or you like to make your own at home, there is something festive about a hot chocolate that tastes so much better around this time of year.

Whenever I have friends or family over I always offer to make my favourite hot chocolate, extremely simple and quick to do and tastes so good!

All you need:

  • A bar of your favourite chocolate. I use my favourite Green & Black’s – this one I chose their ‘Burnt Toffee’ bar, it tastes like honeycomb!
  • Milk. I use skimmed milk and measure the amount by pouring it into the number of mugs required.
  • Whipped cream. I just used the Anchor cream in a can, it does the job perfectly!
  • Marshmallows. I used these mini ones I picked up in Waitrose.

Heat up your pan of milk, adding in the chunks of chocolate once the milk is starting to warm through.

As you are cooking the chocolate milk through, it’s important to taste test – checking the temperature of the milk and if you require any more chocolate. Some like theirs super chocolaty while others prefer a more subtle taste.

Once the chocolate has melted in and the milk is hot (not burnt!) then it is time to pour the hot chocolate into the mugs. I do this over the sink to prevent any mess.

Shake up the whipped cream and squirt a generous amount on top of your drink.

Sprinkle with marshmallows.

And you should end up with something like this! 

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Let me know if you try this and tweet me your attempts.

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Lemon Drizzle Loaf | The Recipe

Spontaneous baking is my favourite. The kind where you search through your kitchen cupboards and grab the necessities for most cake bakes – flour, sugar, eggs…

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After a quick Google, I came across Good Food’s ‘lemon drizzle cake’ – a recipe by Tana Ramsay that I have tried before and is super simple to follow. Please click here for the method.

What you need:

225g unsalted butter, softened

225g caster sugar

4 eggs

Finely grated zest 1 lemon

225g self-raising flour

For the drizzle topping:

Juice of 1½ lemons

85g caster sugar

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It will take around 15 minutes to prepare the mixture and you will need to bake or 45-50 minutes – 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.

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While you wait for the cake to bake make yourself a cup of tea, sit down and enjoy an episode of your favourite TV series (I’m currently obsessed with Suits!)

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Ta-da! Leave it to cool before drizzling the lemon icing on top and serve once the icing has set.

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Let me know if you try this recipe and how it turns out – Happy Baking! 

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Milk and White Chocolate Cookies | The Recipe

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Wednesday’s are all about the Great British Bake Off in my house, and no doubt most homes around Britain too.

I grew up helping my mum bake cakes, so I tend to gravitate towards the classic recipes that the likes of Mary Berry probably made up all those years ago! I find baking a really therapeutic and relaxing hobby, and after a long day at work it’s fun to be a little bit creative in the kitchen (blasting out some of your favourite tunes – Destiny’s Child is my baking soundtrack at the moment).

I have to give beauty blogger and YouTube sensation Tanya Burr full credit for this recipe, and if you would like to try this recipe go and check out her video here. In previous experience, I have found cookies to be a difficult bake to make – but this one is super easy, even for those who can’t cook/won’t cook.

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1. Mix 300g of caster sugar with 200g of butter

2. Add 1 egg, and mix

3. Add 325g of self raising flour and sift in stages, mixing inbetween

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4. Add the 200g of milk chocolate (I used Cadbury’s Giant Chocolate Buttons) and 200g of white chocolate (I used Milky Bar Giant Buttons) – I like to do a ‘taste test’ whilst adding these in, it’s important to make sure the chocolate tastes good 😉

5. Using your hands (if you don’t mind getting messy) or two spoons, separate the mixture into blobs. I found this recipe made enough for 12 cookies.

6. And now you wait…

…Until the 10-12 minutes is up.

 I left the first batch in a few minutes longer than I should have, and found that they weren’t gooey enough in the middle. The second batch I took out and left to cool for 20 minutes, and they were delicious!

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They are the perfect, indulgent treat – best served with a cup of tea.

Have you tried Tanya’s recipe?

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Avo & Bacon Toasts | The Recipe

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When you’re not a breakfast person it can be difficult to find options that are healthy and appetising without being totally boring – porridge anyone?

Most mornings I don’t have time to potter about the kitchen making breakfast so I usually take crumpets or teacakes to toast when I get into work, but on weekends I relish in spending time cooking up a hearty brunch after a much-needed lie in. I tried avocado for the first time a couple of months ago, and now like most people I’m obsessed. Avocado with prawns, avocado with chicken, avocado with eggs – the list goes on!

I looked in my fridge this morning to find something tasty to rustle up, and there it was – avocados that had to be eaten up today and an unopened pack of unsmoked streaky bacon. A quick and simple breakfast that anyone can put together – no butter necessary. (You can adapt this to feed more people)…

1 avocado

4 pieces of streaky bacon

1 slice of bread (I used wholemeal)

Just cut up the avocado and distribute on the toast, sprinkle a tiny amount of salt and pepper, use a fork to mash it up and then place the crispy bacon on top – & voilà!

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Nutritious and delicious.

What do you eat in the morning?

I’m interested to find out more ways to make breakfast exciting 🙂

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