Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Apple Crumble Cupcakes

 One of the first things I learnt to make in food tech in middle school (aside from how to put milk and milkshake powder together - although I'm not really sure how that's 'cooking'?) was an apple crumble and this was something I would make for my parents and grandparents. This was also a dessert that wasn't chocolate that I actually enjoyed!
 That being said I haven't made a crumble in years, but when I saw a recipe for apple crumble cupcakes I just knew I had to try them, especially as we are fully into autumn. I'll be honest, these do take quite a while to make as there's lots of bits to it that you need to do, and to make this recipe quicker I'd actually leave out the crumble bit and have them as apple cupcakes - for me the autumnal taste comes from the mix of cinnamon and apple together and the crumble is an added extra.

2 eggs
230g self raising flour
155g sugar
125g butter
1tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
Apples (this depends on how many you want but I used two)

75g golden caster sugar
100g butter
140g self raising flour
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
75 g soft brown sugar
150g butter
300g icing sugar
2 tbsp milk

<<To make>>

Peel, core and chop apples into small cubes.
Place in a saucepan and cover with hot water, simmer for 5 - 7 minutes until soft and leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 180-200C (the recipe said 170 but I baked them on gas mark 6 as I knew they wouldn't cook quickly any lower and apparently this is equivalent to 200C - go with what you know your oven works best on)
For the cupcakes, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy; then add the eggs and vanilla and mix together.
Add the flour, baking powder and cinnamon and gently mix together until combined.
Fold in the apple mix and spoon into cupcake cases.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until the mixture springs back (in my oven they actually took about 25)

Whilst the cupcakes are baking, you can make the crumble mix and then put this in the oven with the cupcakes.
Rub together the butter, flour, cinnamon, vanilla to a breadcrumb consistency, and then stir in the sugar.
Bake on a lined baking tray for 5 - 10 minutes until golden.

Leave the cupcakes and crumble mixture to cool.

Once they have both cooled, it's time to make the icing. The recipe I followed put some icing on the cupcakes, then a crumble layer and then they piped on some more icing but I am not gifted in the piped icing skill and so another time I would make less icing and miss out the top icing layer.

Beat together the butter, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla.
Add in the icing sugar a bit at a time and add some milk if necessary.

Put a small amount of icing on top of each cupcake, and then add some crumble to the top. I found it was easiest to do this by putting the crumble mix in a bowl, and dunking the cupcake in to make them stick to the icing. You can then add an extra swirl of icing (if you have the skill to) and sprinkle a few more crumble bits on and they're ready to eat!

Jess x

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

23 Things

Tomorrow I will be turning 23, and to mark the occasion I thought I would round up 23 things that I have learnt before turning 23. Now obviously I've learnt a lot more than this but I thought this would be a fun post to make and to see if you agree with me!

1. I love to travel and to have trips planned to look forward to - Tom and I will never be out backpacking around Thailand, but we love exploring new places.

2. To make the perfect cup of tea, put in the teabag and hot water before the milk. Can't go amiss with a biscuit either.

3. Your bedroom should be a safe haven and there's nothing better than fresh sheets and fresh jammies.

4. Christmas is my favourite time of the year and I hope that the excitement I feel every year never leaves me.

5. I like to spend time with people, but I also enjoy my own company and sometimes need an evening by myself to recharge by watching YouTube, having a bath and chilling out.

6.You can fall in love at a young age. At the age of 15 I doubt many people really believed that I loved Tom, and would have put it down to hormones or something, but I can't imagine what the last 7 years would have been like without him by my side.

7. At school you think that you need loads and loads of friends, but it's so much better having a group of bestest friends that you know you can always rely on to make you cry with laughter.

8. I LOVE having a dog in the house and I thoroughly like to spoil Tilly.

9. I really enjoy 'trashy' TV - I even got Tom into watching Coach Trip to Zante and I really enjoyed Made in Chelsea until all of the original cast left. Sometime it's good to be able to watch something that doesn't take much thought and just zone out for half an hour.

10. Family means a lot to me. I love watching old home videos and I've taken the time to make my own of different trips Tom and I make together.

11. I can keep house plants alive but plants in the garden are a bit hit and miss.

12. I go through phases of eating something all the time and become obsessed with it, but I then reach the point where I've had too much of it and don't eat it for months.

13. I love eating berries but I cannot stand anything that's berry scented.

14. I've been a victim of fads - why was it in fashion to have thin eyebrows? I'm still trying to grow mine back.

15. You should be proud of what you like and don't change or pretend to like something just to impress someone else.

16. I don't think I'll ever be able to over watch Harry Potter.

17. How good is it when you buy a dress or skirt and then finding out it has pockets.

18. When people ask the question, 'what one food could you not live without?' my answer will always be cake.

19. You can never have too many jumpers or blankets.

20. FRIENDS will never not make me laugh out loud.

21. Take the time to find out what you enjoy doing, and ensure that you make time to do something you enjoy during the week.

22. You should always try out new things, whether that be food, an activity or a new TV programme.

23. You should look after your skin, because as skincare guru Caroline Hirons says, you only get one face in life.

All gifs are sourced from Giphy.

I've enjoyed being 22 and I'm looking forward to seeing what 23 brings.

Jess x

Thursday, 19 October 2017

The Perfect Autumn Coat

*FYI this is not a sponsored post I just really love this coat. 

I had been on the hunt for a coat that was warm but not a full on winter coat and would see me through the autumn weather.  I decided I wanted a knitted looking coat with a faux fur collar, but after searching for absolutely ages, do you think I could find one that I liked? 

Eventually I managed to find this coat from Pull & Bear, which was a company I had heard of but I had never bought anything from before. There was the dark grey one that I went for, or they had a lighter grey version. When I found it I thought all my coat dreams had come true. It was only then that I discovered they didn't have my size in stock for this colour and I didn't want to settle for the lighter version. After days of checking to see if it had come back into stock in my size, it eventually did! I was then worried that because I had been after it for so long that it would be a disappointment when I received it but I was anything but disappointed. 

After picking it up from the post office and opening it when I got home, I knew instantly that I was going to keep it. Oh my it's literally like putting a dressing gown on but being able to get away with wearing it outside. The collar and the cuffs of the sleeves are super soft and cosy, and I like that you can fold the cuffs over to show the fleecey bit if you want, or you can fold them down and keep your hands nice and toasty. The actual coat is a lot thinner than the fleecey bit so it's not overwhelmingly warm and is great to wear with jumpers.

My go to outfit with this coat has been a pair of Topshop Jamie Jeans, a burnt orange/copper jumper from M&S, my big blanket scarf from amazon, and my Nike trainers. You know that I love autumn and I especially love those days where the sun is shining, you can wrap up warm and go for a walk in the countryside, and this coat is a fab addition.

Jess x 

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Pumpkin Garland

 Halloween is a mere three weeks away, and I wanted to do something a bit different for a Halloween-related post this year. For the last couple of years Tom and I have bought a pumpkin each and spent an evening carving it, but you know what? [Don't hate me here] I find carving pumpkins tiresome, icky, and what is up with that smell? It's great if you love it and if you're like Picasso with the knife, but I think because it was never really a big thing that I did as a child, I don't have that nostalgia surrounding carving pumpkins. I thought I'd make this pumpkin garland as a way to still honour the Halloween pumpkin, but without the ickiness. 

You will need:
Orange wool/yarn
Green pipe cleaners

Start by wrapping the wool around three fingers repeatedly to create a ball until you're happy with the amount of wool - obviously the more you wrap the bigger the pumpkin will be! As a rough amount you would want it wrapped round at least 100 times but when you've made a couple you'll be able to tell when it's enough. I found it easier to wrap the wool straight from the original ball rather than try to cut off a specific amount and then get it all tangled.

When you've wrapped it around enough times cut the wool from the original ball. Cut a separate piece of wool - about 10 inches - and put this through the centre of the ball that you've made (it's easier if you can put this through whilst it's still wrapped round your fingers) and then tie this in a loose knot before pulling the ball off your fingers and tightening the knot. I would then tie another knot to ensure that it's secure. 

Once you've tied your knot your wool ball will have started to resemble a pumpkin. Taking a piece of pipe cleaner, thread this under the knot you've made, twist the cleaner together so that you have a stalk, and cut to size. You will now have a pumpkin! If you find that the ball is too oblong, you can play about with pushing bits of wool into the middle until you are happy with the shape.

Using the strands of wool from the knot you made previously, you can tie this around the twine and cut off the excess wool to create the garland. Repeat this process until it is the length you want!

I enjoyed making these pumpkins a lot more than trying to carve out a real pumpkin, and as always let me know if you recreate this. I hope that you have a fab time however you choose to celebrate Halloween, whether that's just having one of those Smarties pumpkins, or if you go all out with the decorations, the costume, and the face paint!

Jess x


Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Month in Photos | September

Woweeee! September has been and gone, October is here, my birthday is coming up and autumn has well and truly arrived. The end of a month can only mean one thing; a month in photos post!

1.// Tom started a new job which means I can see him at lunchtimes! 2.// We made our first roast of autumn and I'm very glad roast season is here 3.// After a slug invasion Tilly has moved to sleeping under our bed but one night she tried to claim my pillow 4.// The weather has been all over the place but it made a nice rainbow on Tilly's walk 5.// Autumn has well and truly arrived and that's fine with me as it's my favourite season, but if my cold could leave that would be grand 6.// The Student's Union has got a Krispy Kreme stand which could be my downfall 7.// Tom, Adam and I went mini golfing and I won both courses and made it onto the leaderboard as Jessica 'Kean' 8.// Tilly had her haircut so she's all schnauzery again although it made her grumpy for a while 9.// I popped that IKEA cherry and finally got to go to one - it's quite a unique place isn't it?

What did you get up to in September?

Jess x
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