Buy your Cake and Eat it!

Cake
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cake 3
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Bride Blogger Part 5

 

Hi brides-to-be, bloggers, readers and any other wedding goers! The wedding prep has died down a little, as with over a year to go still, there isn’t a lot to do in the present. We have the venue and the registrar. So the WHERE and the WHO bits of our wedding are taken care of – what else could you need? A lot it seems. One of those things being a cake. Cakes are used as part of a lot of English celebrations – and it seems at a wedding, not only is it a tasty treat for your guests, but it has to be a fantastic, wowing centre piece!

The wedding cake is traditionally cut by the bride and groom and eaten by the guests at the wedding reception. I have many memories of taking pieces home though – as you are usually full up of yummy wedding food. And with the price of the Wedding Breakfast food and evening food, people best be full!!!

I’ve also read that wedding cake used to be broken over/thrown at the bride as a symbol of fertility. Wasting a few hundred pound cake by throwing it about is like throwing money down a drain: who could ever afford a child?! Crazy ideas – again to me, it could be eaten not thrown about like a ball. Plus it could get on my lovely dress!

Wedding cakes are supposed to signify good luck and happiness for the happy couple and the guests. To me, it is important it is one thing: delicious! It  is a cake after all! No matter how pretty or magnificent it is, if it tastes horrible, there will be some disappointed guests.  And it isn’t good luck if you choke on some hard, dry sponge! So, yes I want it look good but it is equally important that it tastes good – and I feel I should be able to get both of these at a non-ridiculous price! Honestly, some of them can cost £1000 or more – for sponge! Crazy industry! I know, I know – you’re paying for their time and labour – but still. I was thinking a nice, simple one that fits with the colour scheme – with maybe a funny cake-topper on the top (funnily enough!) of maybe me reading/ Kenny rowing! Haha. Even though, that hasn’t stopped me looking at more elaborate ones:

1.) The first pic is hilarious and would be very fitting for our clumsiness! Love it! I imagine a lot of effort would have to go into that though.

2.) The one on the left is really cool. Pictures printed around each side of the couple. Kenny has an idea to get photos on a supermarket cake as a cheaper way of doing it! Mmmm…. will see about that!

3.) I’m not sure we would need this many layers, but I love how each one tells a story of the love between the couple! Love the colours too.

So, there are some cake ideas – will need to look at lots more and do plenty of testing I imagine too 😉 Any tips or ideas – please comment below!

XSXS

 

Losing It

Just a quick one tonight, to discuss the fact that I’ve lost ten pounds. Ten whole pounds. But I didn’t need them. I have plenty more to spare 😉 Because… looming up to holiday and that dreaded bikini time, of course, I am talking about weight and not money 😉

Don’t click off the page just yet! I am not one of these diet obsessed women or someone who puts on weight, gets depressed, moans about it and then comforts herself with chocolate 😉 No, I know that it is simple mathematics (my favourite kind of maths 🙂 ) and that if you put more into your mouth than you burn off from your body – then you gain the pounds!

More food + No movement = Over weight

I’m not saying it’s easy though. Most days, I feel I need chocolate and/or wine! But I have tried to get out of the habit of using these things as a treat. I have also started using an app called My fitness pal. It is great. You type in (or scan bar codes if you have a fancy iPhone!) what you eat and it tells you how many calories you  have eaten. Before this, you put in all your details and it tells you how many calories you (not the woman who is the same clothes size or height as you – but you personally) can eat in order to lose weight. You then put in exercise and gain some calories back. This is my favourite part because I am aware of what calories are in the foods I want, so I make sure I get off my ass for half an hour first!

1/2 hour of walking = a glass of white wine (perfect!)

My exercise mantra!
My exercise mantra!

So, I’m not a  saint  – I am just more aware of what I eat and burn off now! Some days, I’m over on my calories and I must admit, I had a 2 week break when I was off work at Easter. In those days, I tried to count what I ate, but I just wasn’t fast enough 😉 haha!

Good luck if you are trying to shift some pounds before our (one day of) Summer! Remember, you don’t have to lose pounds of money in the process – walking running, making your own meals etc – all free 😀

Happy calorie counting!

Oh and if all else fails……

cup cakes

XSXS

 

More Cheese Please!

I don’t know if any of you out there have heard of raclette? I only ask because I never had until we moved into our house and were given a Raclette grill. Raclette is the type of cheese. The grill and way of eating it seems to come from Germany/France/Austria. My boyfriend first had it when he was snowboarding in France and Austria and when we were offered this grill he was most excited! It is quite good actually and a very social way of eating.

Ours is like a teflon, round grill plate (some are made of marble/stone) – this is where you cook meat. Raw chicken, beef, pork etc. I know it is a bit weird to have raw meat on the table but the idea is to cook it together. Then underneath you have these heat elements and you put in little triangle trays full of the hard cheese and it melts. You then serve the melted cheese with your meat and we usually have cooked meats like salami, chorizo, parma ham etc with small, salad potatoes, salad and french stick. Yummy. If you break it down, I guess it is just potatoes, meat salad and melted cheese! But is the idea of cooking together and keep eating little bits. My boyfriend has boy’s nights and they get through nearly a wheel of cheese and have various rounds. They claim to get the cheese sweats! My boyfriend also claimed to have cheese ‘giggles’ once and he came to bed giggling uncontrollably…. it was the cheese, no not the beer of course 😉

This is the picture I found that is most similar to ours. Meat on top and cheese below!

 

You can be more adventurous too. I actually bought my boyfriend a Raclette book, which has ideas for social gatherings and different ways to use your grill. You can prepare vegetables/mushrooms/prawns and cook certain things in a pan before so they are a little cooked and finish them off with the cheese in the little trays after. Last night, I put some potatoes onto the grill to brown them and also peppers. So you can do what you like really.

We had Raclette on our French holiday in the summer. It was a little different though. you get a stand that holds the cheese (below) and then you scrape the cheese of either side. You get the cooked meats, potatoes, salad and bread but don’t cook raw meat. So not sure if that was something they added when they made these grills or what. It was still good though and nice to try it in a restaurant.

The raclette in France…. the cheese comes off either side….

The reason we had one last night, just us two, was that my workmate’s husband had been to France and bought us a pack of Raclette cheese back. So we thought it would be nice for a Friday evening. Sounds like we are getting old….. having a cheese evening! Haha. The cheese can actually be quite difficult to get. We have arranged to have 8 people come for a raclette evening before and then not been able to buy the cheese! Once, I was running round Lidl (who only seem to have it certain times of year), Sainsbury’s (who seemed to suddenly stop selling) and Aldi who didn’t have it at all! This may have been the time my friend bought some back that evening from a bigger Sainsbury’s in Conventry so the party could go ahead! At times. my boyfriend has gone to a cheese shop in a town 40 minutes away and then to Waitrose in another city! We are dedicated to our cheese!

You can actually use different cheeses in the grill and the book I bought shows this. But we just think that for how often you use it, you might as well use the proper stuff!

Hope, I’ve given you some new ideas for your Saturday tea. A tip: if you have a teflon one like ours, make sure you use plastic cutlery to put the meat on/take it off.. (my girl mates love making fun of my boyfriend who is the ‘fun police’ with his plastic on teflon!) Haha

Have a good day,

XSXS

British with extras….

Do we all consider ourselves to be ‘born and bred British’? (If we are British to begin with that is). What makes us British? I received a text recently; a  joke one. Some can be great but I hate those ones that you have to send to twenty people before midnight or you will die a painful death. Luckily, this was one of the funny ones. It goes:

‘Being British is about driving a German car to an Irish pub for a Belgian beer, then on the way home grabbing an Indian curry or a Turkish Kebab to sit and eat on a Swedish sofa whilst watching USA shows on a Japanese TV.’

definitely something to think about! We think of ourselves as pure British and moan about people ‘coming into the country’, yet we don’t moan about all these things we use, eat and watch every day from other cultures and countries. Also makes you think, what actually is made in Britain?! Well we do get British cars and other made items and another take away could be fish and chips to be fair… and British TV wins over American a lot of the time. Whats makes you think of Britain though? I think of red letter boxes, Buckingham palace (and the queen inside!), good Cadbury’s chocolate (they have it in other countries but it just doesn’t taste the same), certain writers and books, roast dinners, amazing countryside and of course the unpredictable weather! It is important to embrace other cultures though. So the above things that we do are fine yeh, but we can’t complain about other people being over here. I don’t have a problem with it to be honest. There is no physical barrier or rule saying people have to stay living in their own countries. As long as people work, give to economy, pay their way and respect the people they are with, then that is just fine.

I work in a school where being a white and British is the minority. There are black Caribbean, Indian, African, Polish, japanese, Pakistani and lots more. I love it. It is great to learn about their cultures and religions. The names were very tricky to learn though, since I was used to being in a White British based school previously. Since January, I have learnt the names and noticed certain patterns of cultures and religions and the names they have. Hussain seems to be the British equivalent of ‘Smith’ I think. Two Japanese pupils have told me this week though that they are going back to Japan at Christmas and not coming back. This is the effect I have on the kids you see! It seems some come over for work and then go back after a certain period.

Oh to tell you the rest of the text by the way, it says: ‘Only in Britain can you get a pizza to your home faster than an ambulance. Only in Britain do banks leave both doors open but chain their pens to the counter. Supermarkets make  ill people walk to the back to get their prescriptions, yet ‘healthy’ people can get fags at the door. We might be British but we’re funny.’ So it seems we are excused from these things because they are amusing! Does seem daft, especially the bank one. My pizza always takes a while to come and luckily I haven’t had to ring for an ambulance so I can’t say about that one!

We may get some things a bit wrong but as I said above, we do roast dinner riiight! This weekend ,on Sunday, My mum is making Christmas dinner. No, don’t worry it isn’t Dec 25th already… we still have what? Ten weeks? Don’t panic. My mum wants to do this for the Aussie relatives to give them a proper ‘British’ Christmas dinner before they go back. And they need showing, since when we went there in 2005, we had a BBQ for Christmas dinner. Plain weird. So that will be nice.. and we will bask in our Britishness.

Tonight though… we are being oh so tongue in cheek British and going out for an Indian curry 😉 It is the most popular take away in Britain funnily enough, so it’s important the Aussies experience this too!

Have a good evening drinking Belgian beer, eating Swiss chocolate on your Swedish furniture 😉

XSXS

No Woman is an Island

 

Today has been a good day. It began in a solo way, which I like sometimes. I went swimming on my own at 8.30 and when I say alone, I was pretty much the only one in the pool, except one family and about 6 kids on a swimming lesson in a separate lane. It was nice to have so much room. It used to be packed at that time so I can only think that is the looming cold weather that has kept people in bed and away from the water.

With such few people, it didn’t mean there couldn’t be any drama though. It seems to follow be around. I was on length 16 I think when an alarm went off. I thought ‘noooo a fire alarm… does this mean I have to go out onto the street wearing one of those tin foil cloaks?!’ That was my initial thought as I got out the pool. I was so engrossed in this that I hadn’t realised that a girl had ‘nearly’ drowned and that was what the alarm was for. One of the life guards was wet but I thought he was just pulling the girl out for our ‘fire’. Haha. It didn’t occur to me why we stood still by the pool for the 5 min and why they kept asking this girl if she was OK! I felt bad that I didn’t ask because I didn’t realise until they walked off to fill out paper work. I blame it on being 8.30 am on a Sunday! Turns out anyway that the girl had just gone slightly too deep and panicked but she was fine. I continued my swim anyway after as normal.

That was my workout for the day and meant I could pig out guilt free at the family party later… including my cheesecake (see my post from yesterday, A Cake of Cheese (Part 2) ).

From being alone at swimming, I spent the rest of the day surrounded by people. All of my close family was there today except from two aunties and and uncle. So close. But it’s hard to get everyone together at the same time and place isn’t it? So this was the closest we had come so I insisted that we took a huge group photo. I sensed it would be more trouble than it was worth with trying to get my Grandad out there from falling asleep in his chair, to get my aunties out there and my uncle who hates photos. People kept offering to take it and I was like ‘Nooo, I want you to be in it!’ God bless the timer function on cameras. We had two cameras balanced on plastic garden chair at the top of the garden steps as we all gathered around the patio area. You know when it’s pressed and you only have 10 sec to get ready? Well we did that and actually managed to all get together. The tall, broad men at the back and the shorter ones at the front. But being quite a tall family, some ducked. But it all worked and we got some nice group piccys. My gran also took one of all her children, a grandchildren one etc. It was really nice to get some recent pics.

It is important to get together with family and it got me thinking about we all need each other, hence my title ‘No woman is an island’. We all need people to be happy and the more family members there are, the better. The quote, ‘No man is an island’ is used in the film About a Boy where the young lad says at the end that there was lots of them now and it was good, always someone to fall back on. Extra support. And that is what family should be; a support network.

Anyway, the family party was good and my cheese cake went down well….. hope some of you have had a go at making it today! We have lots of things planned for next weekend with the Aussies…. just wish that I didn’t have to go to work in between. Their holiday attitude is starting to rub off and I have to keep reminding myself that I have to go to work tomorrow. Oh well, as I say, I am not an island and all my family will be there when I return!

See you tomorrow,

XSXS

A Cake of Cheese (Part 2)

Afternoon everyone. You may remember a while ago that I posted a recipe for a cheese cake in A Cake of Cheese. I have also shared with you, my love of chocolate in Sweet like Chocolate. I mentioned that I have a recipe for a dark chocolate cheesecake too….. one to take you to the dark side. 😉

It’s been a busy week with the Aussies. Tomorrow, we are having a huge family party and me and my Mum are sorting the food. This is where my cheesecake comes in. I am making one for tomorrow. The white chocolate cheese cake that I posted about previously is a recipe off my Aussie aunty, so it’s only right that I share my recipe in return right?

In the last few years, I have made this cheesecake probably ten times. I got the recipe from a Sunday magazine and it is a recipe of Tana Ramsey (Gordon’s wife). It requires a bit of messing and a lot of different bowls but it is so worth it! After making it so many times though, i still haven’t learnt that my cake tin is smaller than the one in the recipe so I always end up with too much! Hence, I make two mini ones too 😉 A happy mistake then really.

So without further ado… here is the recipe:

Chocolate Cheesecake

Preparation time: 15 minutes (though I swear it always takes me longer… must be the licking out the bowl!)

Cooking time: 45 min to 1 hour.

  • 300g of sweetened oat biscuits (they work well but I also use digestives a lot as some prefer them.)
  • 75g butter
  • 150g of good quality dark chocolate
  • 750g of mascarpone or cream cheese (Philadelphia or supermarket alternatives work well.)
  • 125g light brown sugar
  • 3 beaten medium eggs
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4 (160C if fan oven). Line a 23cm nonstick springform tin with greaseproof paper (I just grease my tin with butter and it comes out fine.)
  2. Put your biscuits into a food processor until they are crumbs (or if you are unlucky like me, put them into a plastic bag and bash with a rolling-pin – another reason it takes me longer!) Then melt your butter, mix with the crumbs and press firmly into your tin to create the base. Put in the fridge for 10-15 min.
  3. Meanwhile, melt your chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water and set aside to cool (but not too much because i find it separates otherwise.)
  4. Beat you soft cheese and add the sugar and beat again. The stir in the beaten eggs and the chocolate and pour onto the chilled biscuit base.
  5. Put the cheesecake in the oven for 45min – 60 min (I find mine always needs the full hour.)
  6. When it is ready it will still have a wobble to it if you shake it slightly. It will continue to cook as it cools.
  7. Let it cool and refrigerate until ready to serve! Yummy.

You can add grated chocolate to the top too to make it really calorific! I put white chocolate onto mine once when it went wrong. This was when the dark chocolate separated from the cheese and it went speckly! So it was a hiding aid… but it makes it look pretty as an added extra.

My next challenge is to get the cheesecake to my Gran’s house without dropping it! 😉

Enjoy your chocolately treat this weekend!

XSXS

Life Up Over

Sorry, it’s been a few days folks. I’ve been very busy with mu Aussie relatives and fixing that damn car wiper blade arm (see Driving me to Despair). My Aussie relatives have had a good stay so far and it got me thinking that if we call Australia ‘Down Under’ then when they visit here, do we call it ‘Up Over’? Well they are enjoying their time up over anyway.

I saw them last night for the first time in 7 years. I met them at the Bed and Breakfast they are staying at. I went to meet them in the pub so I could then drive them back to my house for dinner. It was about 6.15 pm when I got there. I couldn’t open the bar door. Typical, I thought. I haven’t seen them in 7 years and I can’t get to them! I can’t even open a door when they have travelled half way across the world! Turns out the pub was closed to the public so that was why. I discovered this when I said to the barman ‘Woah, it’s quiet in here!’ He said, ‘it isn’t quite; we just aren’t open yet!’ Haha. Anyway, seeing my relatives was weird but for only a second. They looked the same as the most recent pics on Facebook and it was like I was talking to my aunty on Facebook chat but without the two screens, oh and thousands of miles, separating us.

You soon start to spot the cultural differences, as subtle as they are. My aunty said she thought I was very brave for driving round the small, hilly, villages with a manual car. Quite frankly, I don’t know any different. I know we have some automatic cars over here but in Oz they all are pretty much. My Dad gave his ‘clutch’ foot a huge rest when he drove over there in 2005. The thing was, I actually used to want an automatic because I struggled so much with the clutch when I was learning to drive (it took me 18 months worth of lessons to pass… that is many other stories for another time!) So for her to say I was brave for driving round in a manual car was quite nice. I had finally for there!!

I cooked dinner for them plus my Mum, Dad, sister and her boyfriend. It was nice to catch up. My aunty actually had some sad news yesterday, which she told us about. Her step father died rather suddenly that morning and her Mum told her that day. Typical that something like that happens when she is on the other side of the earth. Not a lot she could do and her Mum didn’t want them to cut the holiday short and go home. Very sad news though.

We had many topics of conversation through the evening. One was how to pronounce the city of ‘Derby’ as they were visiting there the next day. We say ‘dar-by’ don’t we? My uncle pointed out that it should be said like ‘der’ as in ‘der, how stupid are you!’ It makes sense if you think about it. i was just trying to find some examples to prove this point. ‘Deranged’ sort of is but it seems that we say ‘de-ranged’ so we pronounce the ‘de’ separately. Like in ‘derisive’ or ‘derail’.Even more complicated! And the query came from an Aussie who also speak English! God knows what second language English speakers. I think we make things more complicated on purpose.

Another thing my Aussie relatives find funny is thhe fact we have a meat product called ‘faggots’. This comes up every time! It also means gay. We have that meaning too but they only know it as that. So if we say we are having faggots for dinner, then it is highly hilarious to them. Just as when I mentioned that they call flip-flops ‘thongs’. Meaning can definitly be misconstrued there too!

They also find the names of beers and pubs funny. My aunty was telling me that when she was over here years ago with a friend, they found a pub called ‘The Nun’s Passage’ and then they started to drink a beer called ‘Bishop’s finger’. So they would say ‘Let’s go for a Bishop’s finger in the Nun’s Passage!’ Gotta love the English for puns and sexual innuendos.

Our town is tiny so when they said they had been there yesterday, me and the pub owner laughed when I went to meet them. We joked that had they seen all the charity shops (Aussie’s call them ‘Op’ shops) and the card shops! I then had recommendations that they go to Ann Summers (our fun and slightly rude shop) and also look out for the blue building that is the rowing club where my boyfriend rows. Those are some sights to see! Our little town doesn’t have a lot to offer but we are lucky because we aren’t far away from a lot of pretty places. I would love to take them to Lincoln. I lived there for three years when I was at Uni and would love to show them the Uni, the castle, the cathedral and even more historic, the places I used to live! Working in a school though, as huge number of weeks off we get, we can’t choose when to have a week off. So, I’ll have to wait til they return when I am off school and can go out with them in the day too.

But they have the rest of my family to go out with and I hope they enjoy the rest of their visit Up Over!

XSXS

Trip to the Orient

Afternoon people,

I went for a Chinese last night. That phrase always makes me laugh when people say that or: ‘I’m having an Indian tonight.’ An Indian or Chinese what? Obviously, with the restaurants and takeaways so popular, we mean a meal. But I still think it sounds like you had a Chinese/Indian man or woman in another way 😉 Probably my rude mind!

We went to one of those Chinese buffet ‘all you can eat’ restaurants, which quite frankly are more like canteens. Me and my boyfriend went with some of his rowing buddies to celebrate two of their birthdays. It surprised me as we ate that a few of them said that they didn’t even like Chinese food. It made me think that actually you didn’t need to in a place like that.  As I looked at the trays of food I saw that there was chips, chicken nuggets, a BBQ section (who knew the Chinese were good BBQers?) and also samosas, which I swear are Indian?! So yes, you can easily get by and not eat Chinese! I, myself, had some of the starter foods like spring rolls, satay chicken, crab claws – but you find it is all deep fried! I also had sushi, which I love, but again I thought that was not Chinese but Japanese?! I normally, for my main, visit the Teppanyaki section, where they cook to order for you. As much as I love food that has sat there for hours, I thought I would have some freshly cooked! I chose raw prawns, chicken, beef, veg and noodles and they cooked whilst I watched. One man asked them what their secret was and the big, Chinese chef joked that he couldn’t tell. It made me laugh because all the ingredients they were using to cook it with seemed to be labelled anyway. So I think I cracked the secret code – he used some onion water (whatever that is!), something labelled as ‘spring’, which I am assuming is also water… some wine and some oyster sauce. Right, I’m off to set up a Teppanyaki bar now…..

The meal was nice but not amazing. A highlight for me was the chocolate fountain, but again not very traditionally Chinese! Very nice over some ice-cream and other tasty bits though. I drank water with me meal, mainly because Chinese food always seems salty and I get quite thirsty. It reminded me when I went to the same restaurant with friends a few years ago. They didn’t seem to understand the concept of a ‘jug’ of water and kept bringing it by the glass. We ended up with ’22’ glasses of water on our bill, which were free because it was from the tap but it still showed up. 22 glasses for them to wash up… which I guess they wtill would have had to be fair and they saved on the jug 😉

 

I like Chinese in my house and not just the kitchen. I love all the symbols and any decor relating to it. When I lived with my parents, I had a chinese bedroom. Now it is our dining room!! I have pictures on the wall, candle holders, cushions, dinner sets etc. Love it. It always makes me wonder why I am so obsessed with it all. I have a secret thought… which I have only ever shared with certain people when drunk or feeling particularly honest…. but I think I may have been chinese in a previous life 😉 Yeh, yeh go on laugh!! Do any of you believe in that? I just seem to have some stong feelings towards the Chinese culture and I have never even been. Very weird. Shame I can’t remember how to use chop sticks though 😉

I’ll leave you with that thought as you enjoy your Chinese takeaway tonight 😉

See you tomorrow,

XSXS

Mixing your drink… with more drink!

Hello everyone, I must start off with an apology. I didn’t post anything new yesterday! I know, shameful. And on a saturday when I had no work to do. I was annoyed at myself because I had managed to post something everyday up til then and every day of my first week back at work – even the day I had my pounding headache! Ok, my excuse is this. We went to a BBQ in the afternoon, at like 3pm. I figured that we would be back mid-evening since we were going so early… Mmmm turns out we got in at 11ish and I wasn’t in a suitable state to do most things, especially blog! So apologies for that. I will fill you in on all the gossip from last night to make up for it. 😉

I am pleased to say that I started the afternoon on water… see I was sensible – to begin with! I soon began the pouring of the wine though as the food sizzled on the BBQ. Mmmm a nice chilled, crisp white wine contrasted with a hot, juicy burger. Yum. Went down very nicely I can tell you. We also had hot dogs, salmon, potatoes and salad. There is something special about eating outside isn’t there? Especially in September, like we are living on borrowed summer time. Or it is a reward for the mainly rainy summer we did have. We chatted as we ate the al fresco food and soon a fly zapper was brought out that seemed the entertain the males for quite a while. It was tennis racket shaped and zapped and insect that it hit. The lads, naturally, tried to get each other with it… on the face, head, arms, legs etc… boys will be boys! My boyfriend soon tired of this though and then tried to kill spiders with it. I think we could do with one at home since I hate the eight legged monsters! We heard little bangs as the poor spiders fried against the zapper, causing much laughter. Things get funnier… the more you drink right?

Well things got hilarious later on! We were asked if we wanted a blow job. No.. don’t worry, it’s not one of those blogs. I don’t mean that sort. I mean the cocktail! I had never tried it before and my boyfriend’s twin brother wanted to make us all one. Here’s the recipe for those who would like to experience a blow job at a party 😉

Blow Job

  1. Pour one measure of Creme de Menthe into a small glass (we also used Blue Curacao and Cointreau but they may have different, just as rude names)
  2. Use a tea-spoon (someone recommended to turn it over) to allow one measure of Baileys to be poured slowly into the glass. So hold the spoon in the glass over the creme de menthe and pour the Baileys over it slowly. This is so it settles on top.
  3. You should have a two-layered drink and then down it in one – and make sure you swallow, not spit 😉
Get your tongue round that 😉

Since we had gone into ‘mixing’ mode of drinks.. we decided to play a drinking game with a ‘dirty pint’ in the middle. For those of you who do not know what this is, it’s basically a mixture of what everyone is drinking. Unfortunately, we all have different tastes so there was all sorts in there! Gin, wine, champagne, beer, cider, martini and Baileys. Bleurgh. We played Ring of Fire. You have a circle of cards, the full pack, in the middle of the table. Everyone takes it in turn to pick a card – and you mustn’t break the circle, which naturally gets harder as you go on. Every number and picture card means something different. For example ‘six’ means ‘dicks’ so all the men drink. ‘Fours’ means ‘whores’ (another form of positive terms for women I see!) so all the women drink. I am quite impressed I have remembered as much as I have actually for saying how full of blow jobs and martinis I was by this point! Occasionally, someone has to take punishments and drink from the ‘dirty pint’ in the middle and the last person has to finish it  – which surprise, surprise was me!! It was very curdled by that point, disgusting! Another rule was to not say the word ‘drink’. Being a drinking game and all, I tended to say it a lot – the more I drank, the more I said it! Also another rule when you pick an ‘eight’ is to choose a ‘mate’, who has to drink whenever you do. My poor friend, had to drink whenever I did, haha! Very much fun.

Yes, mixing drinks is always my downfall and I have paid for it today. Even in my 26th year and after three years of university drinking culture, I have not learnt this valuable lesson. I get bored and change my drink and I bow to peer pressure and ‘down it’ when told to! And of course the drinking games you cannot survive without consuming many different alcohols – well at least I can’t!

So learn from my mistakes and avoid mixing blow jobs with wine – and you can tell your boyfriends and husbands my advice too 😉

Have a good evening!

XSXS

Sweet like Chocolate

Since it is the weekend and we are all in the mood for a treat, I just had to share with you a highlight of our holiday. Visiting a chocolate factory in Switzerland! Mmmmmm…..

We drove over to Switzerland from Evian one day and paid 10 euros to get into to the Nestle factory. It turns out Nestle, a French guy and also Cailler, a Swiss guy (maybe?) joined forces to make a company. Of course over here, we have Nestle and I seem to recognise Cailler too? What you think?

We learnt all about the history of the company and how chocolate was made. We even got to try the ingredients, like the cocoa butter, nuts, almonds and cocoa beans…

Me trying a very bitter cocoa bean!

We got to see the chocolates being made.. as the chocolate gets mixed and then made into sizeable chunks….

My kind of machinery!

If you have ever been to Cadbury’s World you will know that you also learn about the history of the chocolate and how it is made. You also get to take some chocolates away with you to eat – but that’s just like having free bars as is from a shop. Even though I must admit, they also had a room where you got a free pot of melted chocolate and could choose you own sweet/crumble/biscuit topping – that was pretty cool. But at this chocolate factory there was an actual tasting room to try every type of chocolate that they make. A way for me to easily get my 10 euros back haha. I felt a bit like I was at Willy Wonka’s factory without the shrinking or blowing up like a blueberry part. It was great, there was a whole row of just milk, dark, white and nutty solid chocolates. That was to ease you in because you went round the other side and there was all the fancy pants stuff like truffles, caramels and lovely soft centred ones. That was my lunch that day – it was soooo good!

The Tasting Room. Remember if you recognise any of these lucky choc munchers, like I mentioned in my post Photographic Memories on Friday, then let me know!

Yummy, oh just one more then!

So yes it was a great day and I fully recommend this if you are over that part of the world. It is definitely worth the ten euros. In comparison to Cadbury’s World (which I also fully recommend and one that I would definitely go to again since I live in that part of the country) it is cheaper but the tour isn’t as long and there isn’t quite as much to see. But the tasting room, as I say, is definitely worth it and you can spend as long as you want int there. There is also advice on how to taste and saviour the chocolate properly haha… I tried that ‘advice’ for like two chocolates and then gobbled the rest. To me chocolate is best in chunks, dipped into a hot mug of tea so that it melts… Mmmmmm….

The best question that came up that day was:

As you can see the translation underneath… For you, when is it time for chocolate? This was a room with a writing shelf so that you could write your answer and then fasten it to a display board. I answered… ‘anytime, anywhere!’  What would you say?

I have used lots of photos today, as you can see. That is because I can describe the gorgeous, velvety chocolate in thousands of words but I think you need to see it to fully appreciate its glory!

Enjoy a nice evening with a chocolate or two… or what am I kidding, five at least!

See you tomorrow,

XSXS

 

A Cake of Cheese

Evening folks….

My bank holiday startedwith a walk this morning and then, with a worry that I had minus calories for the day,  I decided to make a cheese cake! It is my favourite thing to make and I like to think of it as my ‘signature’ dish. I always make a chocolate cheesecake for special occasions…or just a Friday night haha…. I actually ripped the recipe off Gordon Ramsey’s Wife as it was in a magazine. It is made with the best dark chocolate and is ooh so calorific and gooood! But that is not what today’s blog is about. Oh no. Today… I decided to go over to the not so dark side and make a white chocolate cheesecake, which is in fact a recipe off my aunty in australia…or whereoever she ripped the recipe from 😉

It got me thinking why is it called cheese cake? I used to think the whole ‘cheese’ thing was a myth but yes it does in fact have cheese in it of the soft variety. But why cake?! To me cakes are spongy and I have never met a cheesecake like that. The reason I tend to make cheesecakes is because they can rarely go wrong. Cakes can fail to rise, be too dry, taste too eggy etc. Cheesecakes may not set that well but this will not take away from the taste. A few of mine have decided to combine base with mixture when the base hasn’t set (this was the time I used Oreos) or they have been all gloopy or sometimes patches have chocolates have shown when the chocolate had started to set before the cheese part. But it still always tastes amazing. So yeh why is it called ‘cake’ when it is so different? If anyone knows then do tell. I started thinking about Jaffa Cakes and how even though the name they have always been debated to be either cakes or biscuits. I can understand this as they are dunkable like biscuits and a similar size and shape yet they are spongy like cake. But no, cheesecake I just don’t get.

So this afternoon I set to work on my cheesecake. The trouble is that there are always extra biscuits and chocolate that I tend to munch my way through as I cook; meaning the last thing I want to do with the end result is eat it!!! Sure I’ll have a go though later 😉 I love melting chocolate and mixing the soft cheese, condensed milk and cream… oh so good. All these lovely sweet liquids. Anyway before you dehydrate from dribbling too much, I’ll share the recipe with you and a pic from today’s attempt. (Hopefully my aunty won’t tell me after this that the recipe is a family secret and one I was meant to take to my grave 😉 )

White Chocolate Cheesecake

Ingredients

185 g of crushed plain chocolate digestives (or any you prefer – I don’t recommend Oreos!)

90g butter, melted

500g cream cheese, softened

400g condensed milk

200g white chocolate, melted

300ml single cream

1 tablespoon of gelatine (you can get sachets)

1/4 cup of boiling water

100g dark chocolate, melted

Method

  1. Crush the biscuits (in a food processor if you are lucky or I just bash with a rolling pin for 20 min!)
  2. Add the melted butter to the biscuit crumbs and mix. Press into a 23cm springform tin and refrigerate.
  3. Beat cream cheese with the condensed milk (put white choc to melt as you do this)
  4. Add melted white chocolate and then beat in to the mixture with the cream.
  5. Mix the gelatine with the boiling water and stir until dissolved. Mix it to the cheesecake mixture.
  6. Take the base out of the fridge, which should now be firm. Pour the cheesecake mixture onto it.
  7. Melt the dark chocolate and with a table spoon, mix it through your cheese cake to create dark chocolate swirls.
  8. Put into the fridge to set for a few hours
  9. Eat… after a healthy dinner… because it all balances out then right and you can eat guilt free?
Mmmmmmm….

 

So, I hope you enjoy and maybe another day I’ll take you over to the dark side and share my other chocolate cheesecake recipe with you 😉

Have a good evening, hopefully with some form of cake – preferably the cheese variety!

See you tomorrow,

XSXS