Apple and Blackberry Crumble

Apple and Blackberry Crumble

I cannot believe that it’s already December. This year seems to have gone even faster than the one before, and it has been just as crazy and fun and, more recently, exhausting. Yet I’ve always found that life is always better when the temperature drops, you’re surrounded by friends and family, and you have a crumble for dessert.

I guess some of you might say this isn’t a crumble, it’s a crisp or maybe even a cobbler, but I guess it depends your geographical loyalties. According to The Kitchn, a cobbler has a biscuit-like topping while the lines between crisps and crumbles are more blurred. Some purists may say that if the topping has oats in it, it’s a crisp, but I like oats, and I call this a crumble.

Apple and Blackberry Crumble

This Apple and Blackberry Crumble is perfectly suited for chilly winter nights. Warm, cinnamon scented apples and juicy blackberries topped with with a crispy, crunchy streusel topping makes the perfect combination of calm inducing comfort and full on flavor. The best part: smothering it all with warm, vanilla speckled custard. This dessert is reason enough to gladly wave goodbye to the summer months. Apple and Blackberry Crumble

Doesn’t that look good? Just try not to have it all in one sitting. Continue reading

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

Years ago, in the midst of the Autumn holiday season, my mom used to always buy a box of puffy, cake-like pumpkin chocolate chip cookies from the supermarket bakery close to our house. I still remember the first time I tried one. I hated it. I thought it was weird. I didn’t even finish it! But our tastebuds are strange things, as the next day I found myself wanting to try this innovative fusion of pumpkin pie and chocolate chip cookie again. The second experience was a much better one, as I embraced the interesting texture that the pumpkin creates and the dark chocolate chips dotted throughout that gave a great richness and childhood familiarity. Nowadays, we eat pumpkin everything, so pumpkin cookies are far from the wacky idea I once thought they were.

These bars are everything great about a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie and improved by being baked into squidgy, moist bars rather than puffy, cake-like cookies. They’re also great because they’re not too sweet, which means you can eat more than one without getting a toothache! I always love a recipe that improves with age, like these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars, because the next day they are even better than they are are freshly baked. Just be sure to keep in an airtight container! I think I might go grab one now…
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

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Classic French Toast

Classic French Toast

Hello everyone! Today is a great day for so many reasons: it’s the first day of my half term holiday (I get a whole week off from work!), the hubby and I leave for Riga, Latvia in two days and this is my 100th blog post! Yippee!100th PostWhat better way to celebrate than with my favorite meal of the day? That’s right folks, you know I can’t resist making a delicious homemade breakfast to mark a special occasion! I love French Toast, especially this Classic French Toast because it’s so darn simple. All you need to do is whisk up some eggs and milk, dip in some Brioche or French bread, fry in some butter and voila! Breakfast is served.

This French toast is great because there’s plenty of custard (the egg and milk mixture) to make sure that the bread is completely soaked. There’s nothing worse than having French toast which hasn’t been allowed enough time to soak up the vanilla and cinnamon scented custard! Also, you can throw it together incredibly quickly! The whole process can take no more than 20 minutes. Don’t you just love the sound of it already?

I love to eat this Classic French Toast with fresh fruit and lashings of maple syrup. There really is no better way to start a special day! Any way, I’ve got to get packing and ready to take lots and lots of photos of our trip to Latvia! Have a lovely weekend! xxx

Classic French Toast

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Beef Wellington Tarts

Beef Wellington TartsBeef Wellington is a traditional English dish that consists of a beef filet smothered in mushroom duxelles and foie gras pate and wrapped in pastry, then baked until golden and rare in the middle. If you ever watch any of the Gordon Ramsay shows it’s a dish you would know well, as it’s so easily destroyed by contestants trying to win the next big chef prize thing. So you see this dish a lot on menus in traditional fancy restaurants with a high price tag to match!

But sometimes you just don’t want to go out for dinner. Every so often I like to have a nice meal in the comfort of our own home. So I wanted to make something special for my husband for date night, and while this is such a ‘wow’ dish, it’s actually quite simple to make. Beef, mushrooms, foie gras, thyme, puff pastry. Simple ingredients that come together to make something unbelievably delicious. Slices of rare filet atop white wine mushrooms and fois gras, all laying on a bed of puffy, buttery pastry. Let’s just say, it was gobbled up happily and washed down with a gorgeous red Cotes du Rhone. Looking for a way to fancy up your Friday night? These Beef Wellington Tarts will make you feel like you’re at a top restaurant, without the hefty bill at the end!

Beef Wellington Tarts*Now I know the ethical issues with foie gras, so please feel free to use chicken liver or mushroom pate instead.  Continue reading

Mini Pumpkin Spice Doughnut Muffins

Mini Pumpkin Spice Doughnut MuffinsIt’s October folks! Leaves are changing color, the temperature is dropping and the sun sets earlier and earlier each night. But to most of us food bloggery people out there, that means just one thing: our Pinterest feeds are completely pumpkin-fied. I mean, it’s pretty much all pumpkin from August to December isn’t it? I’ve been thinking about which pumpkin based delights to make this year, and it’s really tricky living in the UK as NO ONE eats pumpkin in a sweet way. My husband still thinks pumpkin pie is weird (how I married him I’ll never know!). What better way to fulfill my American autumnal cravings than spiced, super moist bite size muffins that just scream Fall?Mini Pumpkin Spice Doughnut MuffinsThese muffins are great. Quick to mix together, bake in less than 15 minutes and are oh so satisfying. I love the way that the cinnamon sugar creates this kind of crust that encapsulates the spicy pumpkin sponge inside. These Mini Pumpkin Spice Doughnut Muffins truly are a treat for any occasion, not just breakfast! If they last longer than a day in your house, they can keep in an airtight container for a few days however the moisture can melt the coating. Just toss again in cinnamon sugar to freshen them up a bit!
Mini Pumpkin Spice Doughnut Muffins

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Portugal in an Instagram: Porto Edition

Bridge

Here’s Part Two of our beautiful summer vacation, in the picturesque Porto, Portugal. The bridges are absolutely stunning! Also, the whole city is in layers as it’s on a hill. Makes for amazing views and tired legs!PortoWe were lucky to have 3 beautiful days in this amazing city.Cathedral

The cathedral. I love this photo because of the sky. I mean, have you ever seen a sky more blue?Super BockSuper Bock is one of the major beer companies in Portugal. Refreshing and very light, so drinkable! FrancesinhaA dish that needs a bit of explanation: The Francesinha. It is a Portuguese sandwich made from bread, ham, sausage, steak and roasted pork covered with melted cheese and a tomato based beer sauce. Sometimes also topped with a fried egg. Sounds strange, but I wish they had this in San Diego for those mornings after a few too many drinks!

FrancesinhaThe inside of the Francesinha! We had this meal down by the Douro river at a Francesinha festival. There were muiltple restaurants, famous for serving this Portuguese delight, with pop ups open. It was an amazing way to introduce ourselves to Porto! Continue reading

Portugal in an Instagram: Lisbon Edition

Lisbon

Our summer vacation was in beautiful, sunny Portugal this year! As a country I have never been to before, I was SUPER excited to explore the picturesque sights and the delicious food. Here are some snaps from half of our trip, in the lovely Lisbon!

Arriving in Portugal

Arriving in Lisbon!

I Love Lisboa

I think I love this place already…

Metro

One of the simplest Metro systems I have ever used. Helps that the map is so pretty!The Tram

The famous Tram! Also useful as a canvas for street artists.Tour de Portugal

We were lucky enough to be walking by when the Tour de Portugal was coming through the square. They go properly fast!Bairro Alto

The Bairro Alto! The streets that lie atop the hill that burst with life at night. This is where all the bars are and where you can go see the sorrowful Fado singers.

There’s lots more photos after the jump! Continue reading