Sunday, 29 December 2013

Review: Graze Box


Today, I am coming to you with a slightly unusual post from my norm. A few weeks ago, I received a delicious Graze Nibble Box,  from the very generous company Graze. I have ordered from Graze in the past and was delighted to receive another box of goodies.

Graze is a subscription service that, once signed up, deliver a delicious box of nibbles to your door once a week. 



Graze are a company based in the UK. The snacks they provide all contain a health benefit and are all under 150 calories. The snacks are ideal for travel as they are contained in a sealed plastic box, and are perfect fro in between meals.

I was first struck by its wonderful, eye-catching appearance. It was beautifully decorated for the festive season, with pretty trees and reindeer's. Each box contain four goodies.

When ordering, you have the option of rating over 100 snacks, You can rate them 'Love' 'Like' 'Try' or 'Bin'. These options will filter your preferences and therefore you will receive the products which are interested in. This is a great feature Graze have, as it avoids waste and you are guaranteed to enjoy all your snacks!




For those of you who skip breakfast, you now have no excuses! They are perfect for travel and can be easily popped into a school bag for inbetween classes!

What I love about the box, is it is really personalised. A little leaflet comes with the box. Not only does it say 'Hi Siobhan' on the cover but inside it has the nutritive values of the specific food I received. It is really conversational writing and it is so nice to read! The box is full of lovely cute notes!


For those of you who wish to try Graze, they have given me a code for a free 1st, 5th and 10th box for all my readers! On the website, enter this promotional code, LTKFTL7DB. And then you are ready to roll!

Below are the snacks I received. These were truly delicious!

These pistachios were yummy and so unique! I wish I could buy these in the shops!


This banana bread was so moist. I'm not a fan of dates though!


The summer pudding was a nice addition. I am a cranberry-lover, so I was only delighted to continue my love affair!!

These were real cheesy! I brought these with me in my bag one day while I was out. They were a super yummy snack. I wish the packet was bigger!



I hope you enjoyed my review of the Graze nibble box. Don't forget if you want to try it out, use my code!

LTKFTL7DB


* This box was given to me for free to review. However all opinions are, as always, my own.

Siobhán
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Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas!



A very merry merry Christmas to all my readers! Hope ye all have a day that's filled with love and joy.









Cherish your time with your families and enjoy the festivities! :)

Check out some of my Christmas Recipes:

Christmas Cupcake Wreath

Siobhán
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Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Its Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...

Recently, my mother and I headed to Cork city. We wanted to do some Christmas shopping!

I decided it would be a nice day to head to the Cork English market. Because it was a Saturday, it was super dooper busy. But I liked it

Everyone was admiring the food, buying gifts and in the festive spirit! The market itself was done up for the season, with lights on the ceiling and decorations in the stands.


I browsed amongst all the food, picking out herbs and staples for cooking and baking. I love the market because all the produce is of good quality and some even organic.

If you ever go there, ensure to visit the baking and bread stalls. To get there.. just follow your nose! The smell of these stands are amazing with breads form all over the world and sweet treats that would leave you licking your lips!


Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year. I love decorations and Cork city didn't fail to disappoint! The shopping centres and streets were covers in decor, with sleighs and trees around every corner. There is no doubt that you wouldn't be smiling if you looked at the sights to be seen!



After a long day of shopping, we decided to hit up a late lunch at a local cafe. I opted for the Tuna melt wrap. My mother decided to get even more into the festive season and go for the Christmas special; a sandwich with cranberry sauce, turkey and stuffing. Could you get anymore Christmassy?


That brought an end to my day! I love shopping and even more when you can wrap up in a coat and scarf and hit the shops. 

For now, the countdown to Christmas is well and truly on its way! Hurry on Santa :)


Siobhán
x

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Christmas Cupcake Wreath..


This wreath is soo cute! I love it. Its like an edible circle of festive joy!!

This idea will surely surprise and wow your guests and family this season. It is an impressive centre piece at a Christmas party or even fun to watch it disappear) amongst your own family.

Either way this is a delicious, simple idea for the festive season. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

18 Queen Cakes (Depending in the size of tray)

Icing:
300g Icing Sugar
80g Butter
1-2 tsp Green Food Colouring

Red Tube Icing
Red bow

Method:

Icing:

1. Place the butter and icing sugar in a medium bowl and beat until smooth.

2. Gradually add the food colouring. Depending on the pigmentation of your brand, you may need to add more or less. Add it gradually, beating after each addition, until the correct colour is reached.

3. Ice the buns with a palette knife, until nice and green.


Assembly:

4. Place the buns in two circles, one inside the other.


5. Place the bow on the top. Then using the red icing, make three dots randomly on some of the buns.



And now, were finished! It is simple to make but looks, oh so impressive! Enjoy!

Siobhán
x





Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Simple and Easy Queen Cakes..



These are exactly what they say on the tin! They are super easy and simple to make. And of course delicious :)

This is my go-to recipe for buns. The truth is i don't even know where this recipe came from! Infact, it was the first ever thing I made in the kitchen with my own mother. she made them for every birthday party and celebration in our house (which is alot with our big family) and they never failed to impress.


They are perfectly moist, light and airy and give the most amazing smell in the kitchen. They can be iced in a million ways and you can add absolutely anything to them- be it sultanas, chocolate chips, cherries or even just vanilla extract.

They are perfect birthdays, holidays and even just with a cup of tea :) Enjoy!

 
Makes 24 Queen Cakes

Ingredients:

200g Butter/Margarine
200g Caster Sugar
350g Self-Raising Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
4 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tbls Milk

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line two bun trays with paper cases.

2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together for 2-3 minutes until pale and creamy.

3. Sieve in half the flour, baking powder and eggs and mix, on high speed until all the flour is incorporated. 


4. Scrape down the side of the bowl with a spatula. Then, sieve in the remaining flour and add the eggs and vanilla. Mix again on high speed until fully combined.

5. Use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure all the mixture is combined together. Depending on the flour used, the mix may be too stiff. If so, add the milk and mix thoroughly again.

6. Use and ice-cream scoop or two spoons, to put an even amount of mixture into each of the bun cases. Then place in the oven for 15- 18 minutes or until evenly browned and risen.

These are amazing with a cup of tea! Enjoy :)


Variations:

Sultana Buns: Add 50g of sultanas/Raisins at step 4.
Chocolate Chip Buns: Add 50g of Chocolate chips at step 4.
Cherry Buns: Add 50g of Glace Cherries of step 4.

Sultana Buns

Siobhán
x


Thursday, 5 December 2013

Tis' the season...

Whoooo!! Its time for CHIRSTMAS! I am over the moon!!




I really love Christmas. I mean what could you want more than sipping on a hot chocolate, infront of the fire watching a Christmas movie. Honestly? Its the best season of all!


For the coming season, I hope to share lots of exciting recipes and ideas which will inspire your Christmas baking, food gifts for friends and families and even food for your table at Christmas.


To me, good food plays an important roll this season. I feel its important to celebrate the season with goodies for family and friends and to enjoy them in each others company! (As I write this hundreds of ideas are running through my head!)


I cannot wait to share my recipes for festive baking with you all!


Stay tuned!

Siobhán
x

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Potato and Leek Soup..


Whats not to love about soup! I for one adore it. Its so so simple to make and very nutritious.

Aswell as that, you can literally throw anything int it. Leftover vegetables and half used onions and peppers are perfect for soups! As a result, the combinations for different tastes and textures are endless.

Today, I am sharing my simple and basic recipe for Potato and Leek soup. This is a very Irish soup as we are crazy for potatoes! However, it will be enjoyed all over the world. 

Recently, I've been trying to make healthier choices when it comes to preparing lunches and dinners for college. It is often very hard to buy a variety of ingredients aswell as judge portion size. It is impossible to have alot of flavourings, such as spices and herbs in the press, so simple, naturally tasty food is key.

In this recipe, I 'sweat' the vegetables. This step adds to the flavour, however it is not necessary.

                                          


Serves 2 large portions

Ingredients:

1/2 tbls Butter
1 Large Leek (Or 2 medium)
4 Medium Potato
1 clove of Garlic
1 Onion
1 litre Vegetable stock

Method:

1. On a low heat, add the butter to a saucepan. Prepare all vegetables by peeling and chopping into chunks.
2. When the butter is melted, add the vegetables to the pan and stir, until all are coated in the butter. Using a circle of parchment paper, place this onto the vegetables and cover with the lid. Allow to 'Sweat' for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. (This is an optional step. If desired, cook the veg on a high heat in the butter for 2-3 minutes before adding the stock.)

3. Remove the paper and change to a high heat. Add the stock. Add enough water to cover all vegetables. (Around 1 litre.)

4. Boil the mixture for 25-30 minutes until the vegetables become soft and break apart. Using a handheld blender, blend the soup until smooth. Taste and season if required.
Serve the soup with some bread or croutons and garnish with a sprig of parsley. Enjoy :)



Siobhán
x


Friday, 22 November 2013

Battenberg with a twist!


This Battenberg certainly has a twist! With no marzipan and an extra layer of colour, it certainly draws attention to itself! 

Imagine delving into a bit of chocolate, vanilla and a pretty pink cake all at the same time? Now you can!

It is a very pretty cake to look at. When people first looked at it, they were taken back. They thought I had spent hours making it, when infact, it does not take long at all! I used three layers in my cake, by adding a chocolate layer. This is optional, but I certainly think it gives it an extra wow-factor!

Give this recipe a go! It won't disappoint! 

Ingredients:

Cakes:
200g Butter
180g Caster Sugar
4 Eggs
250g Self-Raising Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder

Chocolate Cake:
30g Cocoa Powder
1 tbls Milk

Pink Cake:
1/2 tsp Red food Colouring

Vanilla Cake:
1/2 tsp Vanilla

Icing:
25g Hot Chocolate Powder
65g Butter
150g Icing Sugar

200g Roll Out Icing

Method:

Cake:

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line three loaf tins. In a medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar together.

2. Gradually beat in the eggs, one by one. Ensure to beat well after each addition.

3. Then, using a sieve, sieve in the flour and baking powder. Beat well, until it is incorporated.

4. Then, divide the mixture amongst three bowls. Weigh the bowls to ensure the mixture is distributed equally.

5. Add the vanilla to one bowl, cocoa and milk to another and the food colouring to the last. Using three separate spoons, mix each bowl well.

6. Pour each mixture into the three prepared tins. Smoothen and place into the oven for 15-18 minutes.

Icing:

7. For this, add all the ingredients into the bowl and mix until the consistency is smooth.



Assembly:


8. Once cooled, cut the edges of each cake, so that all four edges are straight. Then, slice off the risen part horizontally, so that the surface is flat. Each cake should now have six straight sides and represent a cuboid.

9. Then, cut each cake into three narrow strips.

10. Align one strip of each cake in a row. Thinly, ice the sides of the cakes and sandwich them together. Then, ice the top. Repeat with each layer, adding the trio of iced  strips on top. Ensure the different colours are distributed evenly.

11. Once formed, thinly ice around three sides of the cake.

12. Roll out the icing in a rectangular shape. Ensure it the long enough to cover all four sides. Gently lift the cake onto the icing. Begin to roll, so that all four sides are covered. Trim off excess at ends.

13. To create a more attractive cake, any design can be done. I pressed an edge between my thumb and forefinger to create an impression. I also used a knife to form diagonals and placed a sugar bead at each angle.


That's it! It may be alot of steps but its sure to leave your guests gobsmacked!! Enjoy, and feel free to ask any questions.

Siobhán
x




Sunday, 17 November 2013

Carrot cake squares..



I'll admit, before making these slices, I wasn't a fan of carrot cake. I had tasted it several times before. It was either to nutty, too carrot-ty, had sultanas (which I dislike with a passion!), or the icing was too sour.

However, I managed to create slices that not only I like, but the family managed to gobble down the tray in a few hours. Always a good sign.

Another bonus is the fact its so simple to make! Simply add the dry ingredients to a bowl. Then throw in the carrots. Make sure to mix it up so the carrots are coated in flour. This will ensure they don't sink to the bottom.


Also, ensure you add the lemon to the icing. Otherwise it won't thicken and it will be too runny! 

This is definitely something ill be serving up for visitors over Christmas and may even make a staple in our house!


Ingredients:
Cake:
250g Self-Raising Flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Cinnamon 
1/8 tsp Ground Ginger
1/8 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Salt
140g Brown Sugar
Zest 1/2 Orange Zest
170g Carrots-grated
4 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
160g Vegetable Oil

Icing:
120g Cream Cheese
30g Butter
juice 1/2 lemon
390g Icing Sugar

Method:

Cake:
1. Preheat oven to 190C. Line a Swiss roll tin with greaseproof paper. Sieve the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger. nutmeg and salt in a bowl. Mix in the sugar, zest and carrots. Stir until the carrots are distributed evenly. 

2. Then, add in the eggs, oil and vanilla and mix until fully combined. 

3. Then pour it into a tin and spread out evenly. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until risen and golden brown.

Icing:
4. Mix together all the ingredients and beat until smooth and thick.

5. When the cake is cool, spread the icing evenly over the top. 

6. In addition you can add fondant carrots. Shape orange icing into carrot shape and mark with a knife. Shape the green icing into a small rectangle and cut with a knife to make leaves. Stick the carrots and leaves together. Then place the carrots on the squares.

Cut into squares and serve. Enjoy!


Siobhán
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