Graduation Belfast Style

So as you will probably know last week I headed back up to Belfast to finally pack up the remnants of the past three years of my life, and probably more importantly to graduate university! I’m still waiting for it all to sink in and the possibilities that now lie ahead of me, but in the meantime I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite parts of the day.

After the ceremony (which went by in the blink of an eye) I finally got my piece of paper proving that those three years of hard work weren’t for nothing and left me severely needing a drink. With the family in tow we headed to the newly opened Miel et Moi which is Belfast’s first licensed patisserie for some cocktails and cakes (my favourite combination).

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And boy did we have plenty to choose from! From tarts and eclairs to cakes and gateaus they have everything you could dream of, and with them all freshly baked every morning it was hard to resist not getting one of everything.
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In the end we managed to cut it down to just four deciding that dividing and conquering was the best way to tackle the amazing treats on offer. Trying to tick every box we went for viennese whirls, lemon madelines, a strawberry and white chocolate eclair and a rosewater gateau.

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Note the problem of ‘resting bitch face’ (of which I am a chronic sufferer of), but I can assure you that faces actually translates into me having the time of my life haha.DSC02943 DSC02948

As you can see they were so good it was impossible to get pictures of them all before we’d sneaked a bite. I have to say as a girl who has tasted her fair share of cakes and pastries the bar was set pretty high, but I can honestly say these blew me away. I have never tasted a viennese whirl so buttery and crumbly with the lemon curd cream filling perfectly providing a balance of tartness to the sweet. The lemon madeline (which I had to order to channel my inner Sansa Stark, Game of Throne fans you’ll know what I’m talking about) was so incredibly moist and fresh I could’ve eaten hundreds of them. Now while eclairs aren’t exactly my bag, my eclair obsessed sister assures me that it was the best she’s ever eaten, but my favourite has to be the rosewater gateau. I have never experienced a sponge like it,, it had the texture of air while melting in your mouth and the delicateness of the rosewater can only be described as the taste of summer. Paired with a combination of teas and bellinis with freshly made coulis it was the perfect high tea to celebrate the end of my time at university. Not to mention the setting was pretty idyllic too.DSC02917DSC02972

After all that it’s probably not really a surprise that we couldn’t resist going home without picking up a couple for the road. But with pastries this delicious it’s just too hard to say no!  DSC02912

If any of you are in or around Belfast, or even visiting in the future I highly recommend you swing by for a visit as with breakfast, lunch or dinner menus it’s perfect for every sort of celebration or even for an everyday treat. I’m still coming to terms with the post graduation blues so I’d love to hear your graduation stories, or if you have any cute places you like to visit I am always on the lookout for new recommendations. And if you haven’t graduated yet, good luck!

Christmas Baking

WP_20141121_22_02_10_ProWP_20141121_22_09_29_Pro WP_20141121_22_02_37_ProWP_20141121_22_08_43_Pro  As a devotee of The Great British Bake Off and an aspirational baker myself, Christmas is my absolute favourite time of year to whip out that mixing bowl and get baking. There’s nothing I find more homely than a house that is full of the smell of baking and seeing as our student house celebrates Christmas a little earlier than usual, I thought it was the perfect time to share some of my favourite Christmas recipes with you to practise just in time for Santa.

My first is a chocolate chip cookie recipe which is a firm favourite for me as it’s what Santa received from our house every year when I was younger. My personal favourite are those gooey, chewy versions so I borrowed this recipe from Tanya Burr’s website,adapting it slightly for a little less chocolate as I didn’t want too much added sweetness. Not to mention it’s incredibly adaptable so you can include any of your favourite chocolates that you like!

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My second recipe had to of course be gingerbread, as what is Christmas without gingerbread?! Although I am a great favourite of the gingerbread house, I tend to cheat nowadays in favour of the ikea flatpack version but I am still a traditionalist when it comes to the original cookies themselves. Thanks to this cookie recipe from the good old BBC themselves and some cookie cutters from the oh so glamorous Poundland, I ended up with these beauties.WP_20141121_22_08_54_Pro

If you give either of these a go or have any of your own traditional Christmas bakes let me know as I’m always on the lookout for some new offerings to leave for Father Christmas under the tree!