Monday, 3 August 2015

Culture and Cocktails

 One of my favourite things to do is to show friends new places to go in London. Even I stumbled upon hidden treasures during my time in the city. If you are following me on Instagram, I am sure you have noticed my frequent time at Bookmarc in Mayfair, or private events on The Strand.

It is a beautiful sight to recollect my admiration for gallery visits and new eateries. I am slowly balancing out the neglect I had bought upon myself by falling in love one street at a time in the heart of London.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Blackberry, Almond and Saffron Cake.

(remember to not accidentally tip in the vanilla pod in the sugar bowl)

What do you do when you grab the blackberries before the birds get to them? You bake a cake!
I find that these are a difficult currant to grow without a greenhouse, and I can honestly say that these beautiful berries were in fact from the grocery market. The very few blackberries that we were able to pick went straight into a pot on the stove to make a concentrated juice.

What I love about this recipe is the slight density of the sponge, it brings out the almond and saffron flavours in every bite. I would recommend to not be so generous with the almond extract if you are not the biggest lover of almonds. However, I adore the burst of flavour mixed with the blackberries that delightfully rest on top!

- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour 
- ¼ cup almond meal
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

- A pinch of crushed sea salt 
- ¾ cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 1 cup golden caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon saffron threads 
- ¼ cup whole milk
- Grated zest of 1 whole lemon
- 2 teaspoons pure almond extract
- A large bowl (300 grams) blackberries

1. Preheat the oven to 180ª and line a 22cm springform cake tin with a little spot of butter and greaseproof paper.

2. Using an electric whisk, mix together the softened butter and sugar together for around 3 minutes until creamy and pale. Crack in the eggs one at a time until combined into a fluffy mix.

3. Pour the milk into a saucepan (or a microwavable bowl) and saffron threads, heat this up just until the milk starts to bubble. The saffron changes the colour of the milk into a deep saffron yellow. Set aside for a few minutes to allow to cool.

4. While the milk is cooling, finely grate the zest of a lemon along with the almond extract. Add the milk and gently mix in with a spatula. Finishing off combining these ingredients with the electric whisk, using the spatula first is a simple way to avoid any splashes while whisking.

5. Pour the dry ingredients: flour, almond, baking powder and a pinch of salt into the mixing bowl. On lowest speed whisk this altogether until a delicious cake mixture has formed.

6. Dollop the mixture into the cake tin and smooth over with a spatula. After rinsing and patting the blackberries dry, arrange neatly on top of the cake. It will be likely that they won't all fit, so try to squeeze them into any small spaces remaining. Overall, the blackberries will sink slightly into the cake, so perfection isn't key. (sob)

7. Pop the cake into the oven for 50 - 55 minutes, test the cake with a skewer making sure that the centre has cooked through. Allow to cool for a few minutes before unlatching the sides of the tin off.

Let the cake cool completely until serving with a delicious cup of Lady Grey.... Or a bowl of blueberries? I am encouraging the summer fruits!

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Reinvention through style.

reinvention (verb)
Line breaks: re|invent
Pronunciation: riːɪnˈvɛnt
1. Change (something) so much that it appears to be entirely new
2. (reinvent oneself) Take up a radically new job or way of life

Admitting something to yourself is one thing, but to hear from the two most stylish people I have known yet to confirm this, it does upset me on how much I have changed my taste in fashion. I no longer need to dress to impress anyone, to match up or dress like a mum. 
If I could reinvent myself over night then life would be too easy, I am ready for a long journey that awaits ahead. I have already come this far from black drainpipes, studded belts bought in camden market and homemade tutus. I have lost a lot of colour in my wardrobe, sticking to safety with blues and greys. But why? I am young and slim, I have this chance to wear anything I desire. (except for those Miu Miu heels, I have been told I have to wear them out soon for an ultimate ego boost... help)

It has been difficult going into a store without grabbing the first striped garment I could lay my eyes on. I must detach myself from that. Some words that I have heard repeatedly is changing my hair or get a piercing. I don't think I have the urge for any of those variations, but I will determine myself to add more colour into my style.
Heck, on the current topic of 'reinvention', I haven't said no to a single thing yet (except for going to a club, sweaty horny teenagers? no thankyou). Some incredible exciting opportunities have popped up in my life and I cannot wait to document and share my adventures on my blog.
I feel like I am having a mid life crisis, in the words of Johann Strauss II I have taken the words yolo literally. Just you wait for the next upcoming months.

If you want to keep more up to date and admire my wonderful expertise at taking photographs through an iPhone, I am on Instagram.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Rhabarber, Almond and Orange Cake.

String from Labour and Wait.

One of the things I love about summer is picking rhubarb stems from the garden, their leaves always seem to indulge the surface around them and hide the bidden beauties underneath!
With the second batch that we've picked, we decided to savour our bellies by making a light and fluffy cake for the summer. Before we made a rhubarb syrup that went down a treat with a glass of prosecco. 

- 150 grams of unsalted butter at room temperature
- 150 grams of golden caster sugar plus extra for topping
- 2 medium eggs
- 200 grams of ground almonds
- Zest of one orange
- 100 grams of self-raising flour
- 1 Teaspoon baking powder
- 300 grams of rhubarb, trimmed and cut into small skinny fingers.
- A handful of flaked almonds

1. Heat up the oven to 180º and line a 22cm springform cake tin with a little spot of butter and greaseproof paper. 

2. Weighing out the butter and the sugar, whisk together (with the power of electricity) to create a pale and fluffy creamed butter. Adding one egg at a time, whisk together until combined. Add the ground almonds and finely grate the zest of orange, followed by mixing in the flour and baking powder. Mix these floured ingredients through carefully with a spatula, to allow the air to keep hold inside the mixture!

3. Dollop half of the mixture into the baking tin, spreading it out to the edges as a flat layer. With the rhubarb pieces, place half of the rhubarb into the tin making sure they are not too close to the side. Sprinkle over a tablespoon of sugar.

4. With the remaining mixture, spoon over carefully in the tin to create the top layer. After smoothing this out to the sides, pop the remaining rhubarb on top to create a lovely decoration! Sprinkle over a final tablespoon of sugar and a generous topping of flaked almonds.

5. As the cake contains an incredible amount of rhubarb, it will take an hour to cook followed by an extra 10 - 15 minutes with a sheet of tin foil on top to stop the almonds from toasting!

Et Voila, Serve with a delightful cup of lady grey to infuse the orange scent or a doppio to balance the sweetness.

Sorry not sorry José Mourinho.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Savage Beauty

Recently I visited the Victoria and Albert Museum to see Savage Beauty exhibition, containing the works of the beloved Alexander Lee Mcqueen.
This exhibition was first shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2011, I desperately wanted to indulge in this collection. I admit I was disappointed that his own work wasn't shown in his homeland, until this year.

Slowly browsing through different eras of fashion, each room contained a dedicated decor to fit with each collection. One of my favourites being Spring 2005, containing a Romantic Exoticism of silk kimonos inspired by authentic Japanese style.

I remember not long after Lee took his own life, that I made my own dress to replicate one of his own creations. Styled through an old bed sheet and blue sequinned fabric: not the most exquisite.
Viewing the collection of his best works shows that Lee had made a lifetime of work, having only died at 40 years of age. 
There is so much life and beauty in his work that will continue to inspire art, an iconic designer that will not be forgotten.