Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Mini chocolate fudge cakes

Winter seems to be approaching and there are very few scarier things for a Spanish student living in London... You know, the idea of being cold, rainy, cloudy and maybe even snowy... it's not really what you're used to. And when the idea of winter approaching comes to your mind, the only solution you can find is baking. Chocolate and sweet in general is the best solution to problems: a slice of cake will always cheer you up!

I therefore decided to experiment a little. I hadn't done chocolate fudge cake before (how could I not? It's amaaaazing) so I thought Thursday afternoon was a great time for it. I bought a pack of Devil's Food Cake Mix - I don't usually use these sorts of packs when baking but everyone recommends them so I thought I'd try it and I'd make the fudge myself (although I also bought the fudge, just in case my experiment didn't go as planned). Luckily, I got the perfect texture for the fudge, which made me very happy, I must admit.

I'll introduce you to Miss Amazingly-Delicious-Mini-Chocolate-Cake.

Now that you've seen it, it's probably time I tell you how I did it - yes, I know, I didn't do much but still... I want to tell you.

First of all, you buy the packet - kind of obvious but nevermind, if I didn't write these things I would have nothing to say because it really was very easy to make. Then, you preheat your oven to 180ÂșC. You have to mix the powder that comes in the box with:

-  90 ml vegetable oil (about 6 tbsp)
- 3 eggs
- 250 ml water

And since I felt like I had to do something, I added a tbsp of cocoa powder but you can do whatever you want. I feel like I should've added pecan nuts, but I'll leave that for next time.

The icing:

- 200g 85% chocolate bar
- 40g butter
- Lots of icing sugar (many many tsp)
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder

Now, to be perfectly honest with you, I didn't follow a recipe. Icing usually contains cocoa powder, butter, icing sugar and a very tiny little bit of milk. In this case, I used an 85% chocolate bar. I melted the chocolate together with the butter, then mixed this with the cocoa powder and slowly mixed it with the sugar (just put enought to get the right texture). You can add a tsp of milk if you see it's not mixing properly.

I used these cute little moulds to make my mini cakes.

So what you need to do is fill them to half their depth with batter and put them in the oven for about 15mins but this depends on the size of your mould. Mine were very shallow and as you can see, quite small. They are meant to be used for pie-baking but I haven't tried that yet.

Once they're done - which you should test by sticking a wooden stick in the middle and taking it out perfectly clean - you take them out of the oven and start with the icing.

You cover the batter that's in one of the moulds with icing (on the sides and on top) and then put the next part of the cake on top. Repeat the same procedure and you'll get something like the next picture. 

The batter was enough to make 3 small fudge cakes and a normal loaf of chocolate cake (no fudge in it,  for a change).

As you can see, it's really easy so you should try it if you feel like having some chocolate!

Hope you enjoy your cakes.

Regina xxx.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Sunday Brunch @ The Breakfast Club

I went to Julieta's last night for dinner and drinks... Diets, weight and all that was THE subject of the evening. To start off a healthy diet we decided we'd go for brunch at Le Pain Quotidien, which we both love. You know, it's tasty & healthy all at the same time. And we really were going to go but when we found out that the nearest one was pretty far away from her's, we decided to change our plans and go to The Breakfast Club.

For those who know the place, healthy is really not their thing. They have fruit salad and yoghurt with granola on their menu but who would order that with all the other yum stuff they offer?

We got there around 12, typical brunch hour. We hadn't thought of one little detail: EVERYONE who's in Shoreditch at that time wants to have brunch at The Breakfast Club. Result: 50 minutes waiting to be sat down. But it was worth it, believe me...

Julieta had a bannana, vanilla ice cream & peanut butter milkshake. I had a simple orange juice, nothing compared to her fabulous drink. I love the presentation of everything here: the milkshake came in a small aluminium glass with a very original and thick straw. It had a very special texture, never seen one like that before.

We shared a When Halloumi Met Salad wrap. It was very good, a bit too much Halloumi for my taste but the balsamic reduction made it very good & juicy. It also had sundried tomatoes and spinach.

And we finished off sharing these delicious pancakes with berries. I know, they look amazing, right? Well, they taste considerably better than they look! 

Yes, we liked them. Very much.

The place is very well decorated, paying attention to every detail and the food is perfect for a Sunday brunch. Their menu is extensive, so you'll always have something to eat. Only problem is if you don't eat pork, like Julieta & me, since most dishes have bacon.

Overall, I recommend it. You'll have a nice chat in a nice environment, ideal for some quality time with friends. I went to the one in Shoreditch but they have a few more around London. Check them out here.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Sunday in Portobello Market

We haven't started lectures yet so we're all pretty relaxed. So last Sunday we decided we would make use of our free time and pay a visit to the lovely Portobello Road Market.

There is an excellent Sicilian restaurant in Notting Hill, called Arancina because their specialty is arancini, deep fried balls stuffed with rice and different fillings. They also have thin, crusty, just taken out of the oven pizzas with some delicious looking toppings.

The 'pizzetas' (above, on the left) were filled with either peppers, ham or spinach & ricotta. There was pizza margherita, with assorted vegetables, prosciutto, pepperoni and more.

Their arancini, which you can see in the picture below, basically look a little like spanish croquetas, only a little bigger and rounder. They have a very good flavour; Riana had it filled with Ragu and Regina with ricotta and spinach.

They also have chicken, lasagna and various sorts of pasta - to take away, or to eat in.

The dining room is upstairs, and it's a really cosy place - not too big, with brick walls, decorated with cute little posters, and little antique knick-knacks all over the place.

The clientele was a whole range of different types of people, from South-American tourists to local Brits.

It also has nice views of those cute Notting Hill houses that we'd love to own one day (wishful thinking, as usual).

The houses even come in cute ice-cream flavour colours.

After a few minutes came the food (it really didn't come, you have to take it upstairs to the dining room). It tasted as yummy as it looked and has created some cravings for the oozy cheesy goodness again soon.

Julieta, who's a new Londoner, came with us, and so did our dear friend Tanisha.

Had to zoom in and show you the pizza more closely.

And we must show you the 'arancini' which, as I said, is their specialty.

As you can see we left no food.

Julieta having fun!

We then made our way to the vintage shops in the area. We saw vintage handbags, fur coats and clothing in general. Julieta even tried a black beaded Valentino dress which looked amazing on her. We visited the vintage jewellery boutiques which really are special, though it does take a long time to find one of their many hidden beautiful bargains.

And then there's the cheap street jewellery as well

We stopped at many different little shops throughout the afternoon, like the one you can see below.

We were presented with many temptations during the afternoon, including this one, The Hummingbird Bakery, for example. But guess what? We didn't give in to any of them! Our arancini balls carried us through the day.

If you liked the restaurant, you'll find it at 19 Pembridge Road. It is worth a visit!

More London posts soon.

Regina and Riana xxx.