September 2014

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HANDMADE REVIEW: Wrapped For You

There’s no denying how much I love chocolate, especially for my birthday! Charlie got me some extra special chocolate from www.wrapped4you.co.uk this year.

Wrapped for You is a online based company who sell chocolate for all occasions. The website is easy to use, you just choose an occasion and personalise with a photograph and/or text.
In terms of size you can choose from Mini (5g), Midi (40g) and Maxi (100g). I chose maxi, of course!
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My bar well packaged in cardboard, and inside I found a bar wrapped in thick brown paper with a lovely ribbon and gift tag.
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Underneath the brown paper was my personalised bar! Good quality printing and lovely colours and fonts.

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The customisation was spot on to what I asked, and more.
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The chocolate inside was creamy and rich, not like cheap advent calendar chocolate! It was wrapped professionally in silver foil.
I was really impressed with the professional quality from www.wrapped4you.co.uk and I recommend for any occasion! The wrapper is definately something for the scrapbook! 🙂

HANDMADE REVIEW: Critter Pawtraits

Critter Pawtraits is a business run by a friend of mine, Lucy. She is a freelance artist who draws your pets, and 15% of the profits go to local animal charities. Lucy has been drawing for years and has received many awards in the past including a Creative Arts trophy in 2002 and an Arts Talent award in 2006 and 2007.

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I asked her to draw my bosses dog, so I could see her work in great detail. Her animal illustrations are drawn digitally and the prices range from £10-25. A deposit is required, and the donation goes to a charity that is relevant to the subject matter, so if you have a cat, she will donate the 15% to cats protection, etc.

The print i received came well packaged in 10″ x 8″ which was an impressive size for the price. It was printed on good quality paper and mounted beautifully, ready to frame.

The drawing was uncanny to the photograph I sent her which was so impressive. The detail of all the fur was perfect and the colours and shading just right. When I gave it to my boss she recognised her own dog without me having to explain anything!

I really recommend Lucy’s work, and if you would like a Critter Pawtrait of your own, check out the business Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Critter-Pawtraits/

Nutella and Rocky Road No Bake Cheesecake

If you can mix ingredients in a bowl, you can make this delicious cheesecake!

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All you’ll need is:
250g of Digestive Biscuits
75g of Butter
200g of Milk Chocolate
100g Mini Marshmallows
1 jar of Nutella (400g)
500g of Cream Cheese
60g Icing Sugar
First of all, you need to make the Rocky Road base.

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1. Crush your digestive biscuits either by hand with a rolling pin or in a food processor (food processor will be the fastest and you’ll get a great consistency. I have a mini one that was an engagement present from my mother in law to be!)

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2. Melt your chocolate and butter in a pan before adding your digestive biscuit mix. mix them together real fast and don’t overheat the pan, or you’ll burn the chocolate.
3. Add mini marshmallows to the mix and stir real good, if the mix is still warm the Marshmallows will melt into the biscuit mix, which is delicious.
4. Pour the mix into a springform tin and flatten with the back of a spoon. Put your tin the fridge to set while you make the topping.
Next, make the delicious Nutella cheesecake topping.

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5. In a bowl, mix the cream cheese, the jar of Nutella and the icing sugar. I mixed this in my mixer to get a great consistency, but you’ll still get a great result by hand.
MAMA’S TOP TIP: Wash out your Nutella jar, as this makes a great glass jar to decorate for the festive season or a celebration!

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6. Take your base out of the fridge, pour the Nutella cheesecake mix over the biscuit base and smooth it over so it’s even.
7. Last of all, top the cheesecake with chocolate chips and place into the fridge for at least 4 hours, or for best results, overnight!

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The thing I dislike about making cheesecakes is the wait, but it’s SO worth it!

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Enjoy!
Mama x

 

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Dreamy Chocolate Ganache Cake

With my birthday just around the corner, I thought I’d make a chocolate cake as it’s one of my colleagues birthdays on the same day!

But don’t feel like you need an excuse for this gorgeous dreamy chocolate ganache cake. Just make it because it’s ..Thursday!

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All you need is..
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 200g butter
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee granules
  • 85g self-raising flour
  • 85g plain flour
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 400g golden caster sugar
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 75ml milk (5 tbsp)
  • grated chocolate or curls, to decorate

For the ganache

  • 200g good quality dark chocolate, as above
  • 284ml carton double cream (pouring type)
  • 2 tbsp golden caster sugar
(I already had the basics, so I only had to buy the fresh bits.. It only cost £4!)
 
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  1. Butter a 20cm round cake tin (7.5cm deep) and line the base, or line two smaller trays so you don’t have the fiddly cutting when it’s cooled. Preheat the oven to fan 140C/conventional 160C/ gas 3. Break 200g good quality dark chocolate in pieces into a medium, heavy-based pan. Cut 200g butter into pieces and tip in with the chocolate, then mix 1 tbsp instant coffee granules into 125ml cold water and pour into the pan. Warm through over a low heat just until everything is melted – don’t overheat. Or melt in the microwave on Medium for about 5 minutes, stirring half way through.
  2. While the chocolate is melting, mix 85g self-raising flour, 85g plain flour, ¼ bicarbonate of soda, 400g golden caster sugar and 25g cocoa powder in a big bowl, mixing with your hands to get rid of any lumps. Beat 3 medium eggs in a bowl and stir in 75ml (5 tbsp) milk.
  3. Now pour the melted chocolate mixture and the egg mixture into the flour mixture, stirring just until everything is well blended and you have a smooth, quite runny consistency. Pour this into the tin and bake for 1 hour 25- 1 hour 30 minutes – if you push a skewer in the centre it should come out clean and the top should feel firm (don’t worry if it cracks a bit). Leave to cool in the tin (don’t worry if it dips slightly), then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. When the cake is cold, cut it horizontally into three, or if you make 2 seperate trays, don’t worry. Make the ganache: chop 200g good quality dark chocolate into small pieces and tip into a bowl. Pour a 284ml carton of double cream into a pan, add 2 tbsp golden caster sugar, and heat until it is about to boil. Take off the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
  5. Sandwich the layers together with just a little of the ganache. Pour the rest over the cake letting it fall down the sides and smoothing to cover with a palette knife. Decorate with grated chocolate or a pile of chocolate curls. Grated chocolate brings out all those delicious flavours. The cake keeps moist and gooey for 3-4 days.
  6. EAT EAT EAT!

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