STRAWBERRY LEMONADE

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Summer has arrived in Doha and unlike most of the world this is not necessarily a great thing. Whenever you step outside you feel like you have walked in to an oven (i’m seriously not kidding). While most of the world is enjoy picnics, drinks and lounging in the great outdoors here in Doha your counting down the minutes until your back in the cooling arms of an Air Conditioned car, shopping mall, restaurant or house. During these hot moments I have been finding myself craving a refreshing summery drink and in my search for the perfect one I head to my favorite place for inspiration PINTEREST. I have found so many that I am dying to try and eventually share with you. Strawberry Lemonade is the first I have tried and so far it has ticked all the boxes for me, it’s sweet but tangy at the same time, fruity, refreshing, easy to make and delicious. I will definitely be making it again and I suggest you start making this ASAP because you won’t regret it.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb/450g-500g of Strawberries, Washed and cut in to small pieces
  • 6 Lemons, Juiced and set aside
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1 Cup of sugar (you can alter this depending on taste)
  • 6 Cups of Water
  • Ice (to serve)

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METHOD

1. Zest your lemon and set aside, then juice your 6 lemons and set this aside to.

2. Chop up all your strawberries and place them in a small saucepan with your sugar, 1 cup of water and the lemon zest.

3. Stirring constantly, cook on a medium/high heat until it starts to boil, then remove from the stove.

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4. If you want your strawberries to be a smoother consistency with not many chunks of strawberries I would suggest blending the mixture with a hand held blender; this is what I done.

5. Pour the strawberry mixture in to a pitcher, add 5 cups of water and the lemon juice. Stir until combined. Taste and add more sugar, water or lemon juice if needed.

6. Cool in the fridge and serve with ice.

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TIPS

  • I had too much strawberry lemonade to fit comfortable in to my pitcher so I turned the leftover strawberry lemonade in to ice lollies and they tasted just as fab.
  • If you want a naughty version of this drink try adding some vodka 😛

Recipe Taken From: Pinterest  – http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2014/05/rainforest-cafe-copycat-strawberry-lemonade.html

 

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DARK CHOCOLATE YOGURT CAKE

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Whenever I tell anybody I LOVE baking and cooking I always get the same comment; “your husband must love you for making all those cakes”, and my reply is “If only he would eat them”. I love to bake and I bake all the time but the downside is I always get stuck with loads of cakes and sweet treats so I love to give them to my friends :), because my husband doesn’t eat them; he doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth. However he does have a weakness for chocolate and dark chocolate especially so I thought I would bake something for him, and I found the perfect recipe for a dark chocolate yogurt cake. The cake is required to be baked in a bundt pan which is a tin that shapes a cake in to a ring, however I don’t have one, but it is definitely on my shopping list now. I found a normal cake tin didn’t do this cake justice; it took longer to bake particularly in the middle. Another problem I had was the cake cracked quite a lot on the top. I think I had these problems because I used the wrong shape and size of tin so the cake rose and baked funny. Forgetting these little problems this cake tastes amazing. It’s so decadent and rich, it is a chocolate lovers dream cake and my husband loved it. I forgot to sieve my cocoa powder when making the glaze so it wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked it, however that didn’t stop my husband licking the pot clean in which I made the glaze. Happy Baking!!!

SERVES: 16             PREP: 20Mins           BAKE: 35-40 Mins

INGREDIENTS

  • 85g Butter, Softened
  • 300g Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 190g Plain Flour
  • 120g Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 285g Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 4 tbsp Milk
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • FOR THE GLAZE
  • 100g Dark Chocolate, chopped
  • 40g Butter, softened
  • 4 tbsp Milk
  • 60g Icing Sugar

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180c/160c Fan and Grease a Bundt pan. I didn’t have a bundt pan so I used a round springform pan.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the sugar and the butter together until light and creamy. Add the eggs and mix until combined.

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3. Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt, mix on medium-high speed until incorporated.

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4. Next add the yogurt, milk and vanilla extract and mix on medium until incorporated then beat on high for 1 min.

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5. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40mins or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool completely inside the pan. Once cool put on to a serving plate and set aside.

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6. Meanwhile make the glaze. Combine the chocolate, butter and milk in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Stir the mixture until the chocolate has melted, then remove from the heat and stir in the icing sugar until the glaze us smooth. Pour the glaze over the cake, let it drizzle down the side for a nice homemade look.

Serve and Enjoy!!!

Recipe Inspired by: Good to Know Magazine

ORANGE DRIZZLE LOAF

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You have heard of the traditional Lemon Drizzle Loaf, but now I’m going to show you an alternative; an Orange Drizzle Loaf. This one is just as sweet, moist and delicious.  I however have a disclaimer to make, when I first started this blog I said I would show you all my foodie successes and foodie failures and as embarrassing as it is I intend to keep that promise. So to the point, my first failure has kind of happened, I say kind of because it’s not something to severe or that couldn’t be salvaged. Since moving to my new house I have a new oven to get used to and when your not used to an oven it can be a very fickle and frustrating thing, therefore this resulted in me slightly burning the sides of my cake (as you can probably tell from the pictures). All was not lost as I just had to scrape the sides a little and it still tasted great and was still moist.  I hope you have a little bit more luck with your oven when making this cake. Happy Baking!!!

MAKES: 1 Loaf               PREP: 10Mins           BAKE: 1 Hour

INGREDIENTS                                                                                                               

  • 175g Self-Raising Flour
  • 175g Caster Sugar
  • 60g Ground Almonds (if you don’t have any use an additional 60g of Self-Raising flour instead)
  • 125g Butter, Softened
  • 2 Medium eggs
  • 4 Tbsp Milk
  • Finely grated zest of 1 Orange
  • For the Syrup Glaze; – Juice of 1 Orange – 90g Granulated Sugar.

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180c/160c Fan, prepare a loaf tin with some baking paper.
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl (except the ones for the syrup glaze).blog 1
  3. Pour in to a tin and smooth the top, make an indentation in the middle of the cake mixture to stop a peak forming when baking. Bake for 1hr.

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4.Meanwhile make the glaze, this can be made two ways. You can put the orange juice and sugar in a pan and heat up until the sugar dissolves for a more syrup based glaze OR you can just mix the ingredients together for a more crunchy glaze. I went with the syrup based glazed as I feel it makes the cake more moist.

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5. Pour over you chosen glaze as soon as the cake comes out the oven. I find it helps to pierce the cake all over to doubly make sure the glaze seeps in to the cake for that delicious moistness. After you have poured the glaze all over the cake use a teaspoon or pastry brush (I used a pastry brush) to keep covering the cake as the glaze can gather in the corners of the cake tin. Just keep doing this till all the glaze has seeped in to the cake and there is none left in the corners.

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6.Leave the cake in the tin to cool, when cool take it out, serve and enjoy.

Recipe sourced from: Goodtoknow.co.uk

BANANA BREAD

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One of my favourite cakes to bake is banana bread. Its so easy, simple and delicious; what more could you ask for in a cake. The best type of bananas to use in a banana bread are the ones that have gone slightly black in colour as they are the sweetest and make the cake even more moist. I have found myself putting my bananas in the freezer if they have started to change colour and I don’t have the time or the inclination to bake. I would advise taking the skin off and slicing them roughly before freezing, and then let me them defrost fully before using them. As freezing them can add extra moisture to the bananas, something to keep in mind would be your cake might need extra time in the oven, an extra 5 to 10mins should be sufficient.

MAKES: 1 Loaf               PREP: 20Mins           BAKE: 40-50Mins

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 Large or 4 Medium, ripe bananas – Roughly mashed
  • 250g Caster Sugar
  • 125g Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Medium Eggs
  • 250g Plain Flour
  • 2 Tsp Baking powder
  • 120g Walnut pieces ( I hate walnuts so I leave them out) OR 120g of Chocolate chips (The walnuts/Choco chips are optional so they can be left out)

METHOD

  1. Preheat your oven to 190C. Line a kg loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. Using an electric handmixer or do it by hand if you have muscles, I however don’t so it’s the hand mixer for me; cream the bananas and sugar together until fluffy. Add the butter and beat until evenly combined.
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a spoonful of flour with each. This helps prevent the mixture from curdling.

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4. Now sift the remaining flour and baking powder over the mixture and carefully fold in. If you are adding the walnuts or Choco chips fold them in now as well.

5. Spoon the mixture in to the loaf tin and spread evenly. Bake for 40Mins, I have found this sometimes is not enough and the cake needs a further 5-10Mins so just keep checking with a screwer. Don’t worry your cake will have cooked enough that it won’t sink if you keep opening the door, it’s only in the early stages of baking this will happen. Also if the cake starts to get to dark on top which I have found can happen cover it with some tin foil and it will stop the top of your cake burning.

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6. Remove from the tin, cool on a wire rack and enjoy!!! 🙂

NOTE: If you find the cake too sweet I have found reducing the sugar to about 200g-190g can help, this will also make the cake a bit more healthier.

Recipe Adapted from: ‘How to Bake’ by Paul Hollywood.

GRANOLA

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I am definitely not a morning person and as a result of this I tend to skip breakfast either cause I am not in the mood to whip something up or because I don’t have the time. However since moving back to Doha I have been pushing myself to wake up early, be more productive with my days and try and bask in the glorious sunshine even if it does feel hotter than the sun at the moment, because living in England for 4 years I definitely missed it. To help me on my path to productiveness I have found having breakfast is essential, yes yes I know it’s common knowledge that Breakfast is the most important meal of the day however I am one of those difficult people that never listens to anybody and has to learn things for myself.

Over the past month or so I have been trying out quick and easy breakfast recipes and I would love to share them with you, most of them are very popular and there are tonnes of recipes on the internet for them, however I would like to show you my take and thoughts on them.

As you can probably tell from the title I am going to start with GRANOLA. I am really loving this delicious breakfast snack, it is so filling and gives me loads of energy to start my day. Homemade granola is so easy to make and inexpensive which is why I don’t understand why it is so expensive to buy. The recipe I am going to give you is very basic which I think is a good thing because granola is one of those foods that can be customized to suit your tastes; for example 99.9% of recipes include some form of nuts however I hate nuts so I just add extra dried fruit. Now enough of me going on (I swear I didn’t mean to turn this in to a short novel) time to get to the recipe.

INGREDIENTS

  • 200g clear honey
  • 4 tbsp of Sunflower oil
  • 300g rolled oats
  • 100g whole unblanched almonds (if you like nuts)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100g dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 40g-80g of any other dried fruit you like, the amount of fruit you like in your granola is also a preference. I used raisins and sultanas.

METHOD

  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan.
  2. In a large pan heat the honey and oil together until bubbling, then tip in the oats, almonds (or whatever nut your using) and cinnamon. Stir well until the oats are coated in the honey oil mixture.

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3. Tip the mixture on to 1-2 baking trays, spread the mixture out and place on a low shelf in the oven. Bake for approx 20 mins, stirring halfway through, until golden.blog11

4. Remove from the oven, while still hot stir in the dried fruit and press down with a spatula to help it clump together, this will help you get those deliciously sweet golden clusters.

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5. Once cool store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

NOTE: I love to eat granola sprinkled on top of yogurt with a drizzle of honey. You can also eat it with milk, it is entirely up to you. Being adventurous is the best thing about granola.

Recipe adapted from: Good Food Website.