Tuesday, 31 December 2013


This is what my 2013 looked like...

January blues happened. Ginger doughnuts made it better.

We got all boozy fruity with this Damson Gin Ice Cream.

I was struggling with tasty sounding paint names. Rum and Raisin Buns.

We pondered what could you get on a stick. Coconut Baked Alaska Pops.

Jelly Bowls for ice cream.

Father's Day Pickles are an alternative to giant chocolate covered everything.

Probably one of my favourite posts of the year. Ice Cream Tacos

We cooled down with Pink Lemonade.

I had indigestion for A WEEK. Find out why here.

Little larger than your average Walnut Whip...

Homemade Fig Rolls for your face. 

Some of my self indulgent holiday snaps. Iceland.

Saturday, 28 December 2013


In July, three sheets to the wind, in a very hot beer garden, the phrase "We should go to Iceland" was uttered. Bit outlandish. Unsure whether it was going to be taken seriously. But then five months later, a group of us find ourselves standing by the sea, looking at this mountain and I can't decide whether there are faces in it or whether the cube of fermented shark I had eaten a few hours earlier had hallucinogenic properties.

There is no way of describing what fermented shark tastes like that truly gets across the horror. My tips are: go for the smallest piece and don't sniff it before putting it into your mouth. Ammonia is the first wave, Stilton-esque tang sans the creaminess will follow, and then you try not to retch at the chewy dead flesh mouthfeel you have going on in there.  A further tip, is not to wash your mouth out with tea. Hot tea will make it worse.  Am I glad I ate it? Yes. Will I eat it again. Heck no. 

Iceland is insanely beautiful. Take a wander up to Hallgrímskirkja, the largest church in Iceland. Tickets to the top are 700kr (roughly about £3.50).  The above photo was taken at around midday, the sun doesn't really rise much and sets super early in December. 

Opposite the church is an innocuous looking little cafe called Cafe Loki (Lokastigur 28, Reykjavik 101). Whilst here the ill-fated shark incident took place it is reasonably well priced and offers traditional Icelandic food, a bit of a breather from all of the burgers in the city centre. 

They serve "Icelandic plates" which have cured herring and rich rye bread on them as well as rye bread ice cream which was delicious. Also, a bowl of their meat soup will defrost away all of your chilly bits. 

Talking of burgers, there are a lot of burgers. The Scandi burger at the Scandinavian (Laugavegur 22, Reykjavik 101) was good but if the seafood soup is on the menu, get one. Amazing soup. Our hotel, Hotel Fron, was attached to it and you get a complimentary 20% of drinks there. The buffet breakfast for the hotel is also served in the restaurant. 

Other stuff I ate includes the melt in the mouth cod from Restaurant 73. (Laugavegur 73, Reykjavik 101). The waiter was great too. He pointed out where we should watch for the snow sliding off the roof opposite and onto the people walking below. 

And after that cod, we found a bakery. Sandholt Bakery (Bakari Sandholt, Laugavegur 36, Reykjavik 101). Eat the macarons. All of the macarons. 

 Hot dogs are a thing. People say this is the best place to get hot dogs in Europe. (Also, prepare yourself for a photo of me rubbing a hot dog in my face).

I ate two. What you can't see is the magic hiding underneath. The crispy onions. The cronions. Get one with the full works. (Get ready for hot dog face). 

(Warned you)

But the best bit of the whole trip was this. The Northern Lights. I can't wait to go back.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

We Should Cocoa: Chocolate Port Sauce

This month's We Should Cocoa is hosted by Choclette at the Chocolate Log Blog who has challenged us to dive head first into our alcohol cabinet and come up with a boozy creation. Last month's cookie challenge round up can be found here.  

It's always nice to come back from holiday, and still fit into your jeans.  

I thought I had done some serious damage. Like scoffing two hotdogs in one go. Hobbit style second breakfasts. Beer. Dark, Christmas beer. We found a bakery. Midnight snacks.  Iceland was amazing. 

I feel like I have started early so I'll continue as I mean to go on with this rich, boozy chocolate port sauce.  Perfect for pouring on desserts and puds all over the festive period. 

300ml double cream
200gr chocolate (mine was around 45%, nothing too strong or it'll be a bit too bitter), chopped or broken into squares
4tbsp ruby port

1, First, bring the cream up to a gentle simmer in a small milk pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the port. 
2, With the pan still off the heat, add in the chocolate and stir a couple of times.

3, Leave this to sit for a couple of minutes before stirring into a smooth chocolatey sauce. Give it a quick taste. Some port might not be as strong and everyone's preference is different. I like having a super boozy kick to this so I added in an extra couple of tablespoons. Preference is king in cooking. 
4, Sterilise some jars, tiny ones if you're doing gifts would be perfect, and pour in the warm sauce. Seal and keep in the fridge when cool. 
5, Reheat gently before use. 

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Review: Cheese and Wine

Aldi recently sent me these goodies to try together. A garlic and herb cheddar with a light crisp chardonnay and a crumbly Wensleydale with cranberries with a rich port.  These pairing were put together by Master of Wine, Sarah Jane Evans. 

Flavoured cheeses hold a special place in my heart but I can't stand insipid tasting "flavoured cheeses" that taste like air. You won't find that here with this cheddar. Smooth and creamy, with a strong, solid flavour of garlic and herb. 

Chardonnay has had a bad rep in the past. I even worked somewhere that full on forbade me for buying chardonnay for events as it "simply wouldn't be drunk".  However, this was a great pairing. Clean and crisp. Lovely job.

Wensleydale can be left behind Stilton on the Christmas cheese board. You might not want to leave this one behind though. Rich and crumbly, everything a good Wensleydale should be but studded with cranberries which pair up perfectly with the Port. 

You can find The Exquisite Collection Limoux Chardonnay, Garlic & Herb Cheddar, Fletchers Ruby Port and Wensleydale with Cranberries in Aldi now. 

Thank you to Aldi for sending me these items for review purposes.  The views represented in this review are my own.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Dear Santa...

There are probably going to be a 101 of these posts popping up across food blogs and guaranteed you will get sick of the sight of cutesy measuring cups. I went for an alternative, not necessarily "foodie" list this year.  Sorry* (*not sorry). Here are ten things that I wouldn't mind seeing under my Christmas tree. 

1. Leggings from Galaxy Leggings 
Who does not want Hobbit leggings? Tell me who does not want Gandalf chilling out on your thigh? TELL ME.  These are so perfectly majestic for Christmas, I almost can't speak. 

2. Bobble Travel Mug
The handle on my Thermos travel mug is on the wrong side. It's not really on the wrong side, but it never has looked right to me.  Also the handle sticks out way too much so you can't stash it into your handbag and it is not spill proof so if you do have to do a little walk-jog to get to the station on time, you are going to splash tea down yourself.  It's also a proven fact that if you are awake at the crack of sparrow's fart, you need portable tea and this travel mug makes you look like you're cooler than you can normally muster at such a disgusting hour. No makeup. No shame. 

3. I Like Big Balls Tote
Heh. Balls. But to be honest, any type of canvas tote would be nice. Extra points if it is Game of Thrones themed. 

4. Box Picture Frame
I have an aversion to scrap booking.  I tried once to put things in a scrapbook and ended up with a beautiful untouched scrapbook and a pile of tickets and things I had accumulated from our holidays.  I ended up dumping them into a shadow box frame and hanging it up.  It looks awesome. But it's full and now I need more box frames.  This one from Ikea looks good.  

5. Zombie Garden Gnome
Zombie. Gnome. Zombie Gnome. Amazing. 

Aww. You thought I was going to do a whole list without a unicorn shaped item on here? WRONG. Unicorns for life. 

Champagne is great. Prosecco is totally lovely. But you know what isnt? That face I pull when trying to drink the last bit out of a champagne flute. I kind of scrunch my neck up because I'm worried someone is going to accidentally bump into me and I'll lose my teeth, it's not sexy.  It is an irrational fear though.  So, really, I am only down with champagne flutes if they are going to be topped up continually so you don't get into that "drinking the last bit dilemma" and I am firmly of the "no champagne left behind" camp so this isn't going to work for me.  Is £30 for two champagne saucers excessive? Yes. Will I use them though? Yes. They are beautiful.

What's better than a cup and saucer? You're right, one that say's Skank on. Fusing vintage and some of my favourite swear words. Probably not a good idea if you have a "delicate" family member over.

What? I think we could be best friends. 

The spare room has morphed into some sort of techy man-cave. Whilst I'm not averse to this, per se, I think it needs a feminine touch.  

Friday, 6 December 2013

Reindeer Cinnamon Shortbreads

I've been hunting* for a deer head for my dining room for a long time now and if I am blaming this on anyone, then it is going to be Katie from Hook, Line and Sink HerHer beautiful post filled with these antlered wonders has made me want something that I didn't realise that I wanted.  And the last time that happened was with a taxidermy monkey (I will probably tell you about this at some point... But for now, let's just say that he was majestic and I am kick myself daily for not buying him)

 The dining room is the most sensible option. But, as I often struggle with simple decisions such as what I want for breakfast, I am struggling to decide on which wall. I did the sensible thing of making these reindeer Ruldolf-esque shortbread cookies and then wandering around the room and holding them up in front of each wall to figure out positioning and scale.  And then eating them. 

(*not literally. 2013 hunting - MacBook, sofa, cup of tea, lapful of cat)

I saw this icing idea on Pinterest and they are perfect for Christmassing up a round shortbread disc. 

125gr butter
65gr caster sugar
190gr plain flour, sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Small pinch of cinnamon

Red and black writing icing tubes

1, Make the shortbread dough first by creaming the butter and sugar together.  Beat in the vanilla extract and cinnamon. It is up to you how much cinnamon you put in these as it depends on preference and also what type of cinnamon you have, some can be quite bitter. A little does go a long way.
2, Add in the flour and bring it together to form a ball of dough.  You might need a couple of extra tablespoons of flour.
3, Wrap this in clingfilm and pop in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
4, When you're ready to bake, line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and preheat your oven to 180o/c. 
5, Roll out the dough until it is roughly half a cm a thick and cut out rounds.  It doesn't matter how big or small you make these.  I managed to make around 16.
6, Place them onto your baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes or until just starting to turn golden brown.  They will be soft when you take them out of the over but will firm up when cooling so leave them to cool on the baking sheet or slide the cookies on the greaseproof paper off the baking sheet and onto a heatproof surface.
7, When they are completely cold, ice them by adding a large dot of red, and then piping eyes and antlers in black. Leave to set before storing them in an airtight container.