Blood Orange Loaf Cake

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As you will have seen from my last post I couldn’t help but pick up a few blood oranges while I was at Borough Market the other week and as they’re in prime season right now I thought I’d share with you all my version of the classic lemon loaf but with a blood orange twist.

It’s super simple and easy so let’s get started!

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You will need:

  • A standard loaf tin
  • 220g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 115g unsalted butter (preferably at room temperature)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • Grated zest of 2 blood oranges
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 120ml buttermilk
  • 60ml (about 2/3 oranges worth) fresh blood orange juice

For the Icing:

  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) fresh blood orange juice
  • 1/2 cup (60g) icing sugar
  • Extra sugar for caramelising the orange slices.

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Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 160°C for fan ovens. Grease or line your loaf tin.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt until everything’s mixed well.
  3. In a seperate bowl beat together the butter, sugar and blood orange zest until light and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time until well mixed.
  4. Add about a 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Add the buttermilk and blood orange juice and mix then fold in the remaining flour.
  5. Pour the mixture into the loaf tray then bake for about 1 hour or until golden and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center. I found an hour of cooking then covering the top with foil and cooking for another half hour was perfect. Once removed let the cake cool until chill to the touch.
  6. Remove it from the tin and stab with toothpick or skewer repeatedly all over the cake.
  7. While the cake is cooling, whisk together the blood orange juice and icing sugar until smooth. Pour over the holes in the cake until it has absorbed it all.
  8. Then heat the sugar in the pan, between 50g-100g depending on how many slices you want to caramelise and add an equal amount of water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved then don’t touch it until it turns golden. Slice an orange thinly then lay the slices in the pan, turning once thoroughly coated. Place them on a drying rack and leave for 10-15 minutes until completely cool then place on top of the cake.

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Then enjoy! Whether you serve it cold or still slightly warm it’s perfect with a cup of tea or whip up some cream with some leftover zest for an indulgent yet refreshing pudding. Not to mention you can swap it for what ever citrus fruit takes your fancy from lime to lemon to grapefruit!

DSC06265DSC06279I hope you give this recipe a go as it’s perfect for even the most novice of bakers and a certified big hit if my family’s anything to go by, as it didn’t even last the night! If you do make it I’d love to know your reaction or see any pictures, and as always please let me know what you’re baking this month as I’m always on the lookout for something new to try!DSC06281

 

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A Trip To The Market

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Borough Market is one of those places that has long been on my wish list to visit as it is the ultimate treasure trove of different and fresh produce, the Aladdins cave of wonders of food if you will. Since the 13th Century it’s been bringing lovers of food from all around the world to share in the best of British and international produce. So with one of my best friends by my side who happens to be a chef and highly experienced in traversing food markets, I was ready and willing to be led on a culinary journey (and to eat my own body weight in food along the way).DSC06095DSC06096

Walking through the market I was overwhelmed, as it’s truly a sensory experience like no other where you are encouraged to touch and smell everything so you can truly immerse yourself in the fresh produce.
DSC06098DSC06103DSC06105DSC06094 On our travels we couldn’t help but swing by the Ginger Pig to get something to take away for later, as a massive fan of their cook books I couldn’t miss the chance to try their sausage rolls straight from the source! We tried a sweet chilli as well as a pork and stilton  one, which was my favourite thanks to the quality of the meat as well as the richness of the stilton, topped off with the buttery flakyness of the pastry. Needless to say it’s a stall that I’ll definitely be revisiting again!DSC06106

The best part of going anywhere like this with someone who works with food everyday is the sheer amount of knowledge they bring to the table. It truly richens your experience as she was able to tell me what to go for depending on what was in season and the signs to picking the best produce, not to mention answering all my questions about things I didn’t recognise. For example those longer, grey looking carrots? They’re called salsify which can be cooked similarly to any root vegetable but have a kind of oystery taste. See, learn something new everyday!

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Not to mention the sheer quality and beauty of the produce makes it a beautiful experience in itself, I mean just look at the colours! This is something that you definitely won’t see at any supermarket. It makes for a foodie’s paradise, strolling through the stalls imagining and dreaming of everything you could make.DSC06109DSC06110DSC06116

But finally came the time to stop dreaming and start eating and my friend promised me we had saved the best till last, and judging by the 30 people strong queue I was inclined to believe her. We went for the salt beef sandwich by The Northfield Kitchin, which I was assured was one of the best stops in the market. The smell of the freshest local beef combined with pickle and just enough spicy English mustard to provide a bit of a kick meant I was drooling at the mouth before we’d even got close.
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Each one loving prepared in respect owed to the excellent quality of product means that you can taste the care and devotion in every mouthful, which combined produces one hell of a sandwich and one that was worth every second of waiting.

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From the look on our faces you can tell it was pretty much love at first sight bite.

DSC06136Thoroughly stuffed and satisfied we took a moment to revel in the magic of what we had eaten until we decided it was finally time to move on to see what the rest of the market had to offer, and you never know, potentially pick up a couple more snacks along the way.DSC06140

The best part of the market is that for those of you that aren’t quite so carniverous there’s still plenty of treats to tempt you, from fresh scallops to fallafal and haloumi burgers that would make even the most devout meat-eater go weak at the knees. Unfortunately due to my fixation on sandwiches and sausage rolls I didn’t take any photos of these treats (bad blogger award I know) but be sure to check out @boroughmarket’s instagram for more drool worth photos.DSC06142DSC06144

I couldn’t help but pick up a few of my all time favourite blood oranges along the way, which might be making their way to a recipe soon…DSC06151DSC06156DSC06157DSC06161DSC06162One last look around the treasure trove and I had finally literally had my fill of Aladdin’s cave of wonders. But of course we couldn’t leave without taking a jewel or two for the road…

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I would love to know if you’ve been to Borough Market and what your favourite stalls are or if there’s any other markets around the UK that you love to visit please let me know! In the meanwhile I’ll just be dreaming about those doughnuts for a little while longer…

Lush Treats From Oxford Street

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The other week I was lucky enough to not only see my best friend from university, but to spend the weekend with her in London. We are both compulsive beauty addicts so of course one of our first ports of call was the flagship Lush store, and boy it didn’t disappoint! With three stores of pure Lush goodness and that heavenly smell that no matter where you are tells you there’s a Lush nearby, it was pretty much every beauty fan’s dream. Not to mention that there are new and special versions of Lush products that are available only in that store! Although I could’ve happily spent hours (and hundreds of pounds) there, I managed to limit myself to just the four of the newest and prettiest products that they had to offer so I thought I’d tell you guys what I thought in case you need some inspiration next time you’re over.
DSC05277On the shopping list: Melting Marshmallow Moment Bath Oil,

                                 Shark Infested Custard Bath Oil,

                                 Intergalactic Bath Bomb (yes that one),

                                 Milky Bath Bubble Bar.

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First up the Milky Bath Bubble Bar which is literally the bath version of a milk bottle sweet. It’s actually got milk in it, which mixed with a little orange oil and cocoa butter makes it perfect for a calming, relaxing and moisturising bath. Not to mention it makes loads of bubbles and the silky moisturising layer it gives to the bath makes it the perfect cure for dry Winter skin.22

When talking to the lovely lady in the store she noticed I’d already picked up the Milky Bar and suggested pairing it with this Shark Infested Custard Bath Oil (which fyi is one of the twenty of these oils exclusive to Oxford Street). The smell of the two of them combined is like some magical dessert of my childhood  with the milk bottle and custard smells combining to create a deliciously creamy, sweet scent. Not to mention the bath oils melt beautifully into the bath while the custard smell is so completely and brilliantly English, and the vanilla strip representing a shark fin is perfectly whimsical.

DSC05294Although I initially picked the Mmmelting Marshmallow Moment because of its remarkable likeness to a real life sweet, as soon as I realised it was the Snow Fairy scent (which is my all-time favourite) it went straight into my basket.  Although I’ve had pretty much every Lush product ever with this scent this is by far my favourite as the bath oil formula creates a really strongly scented bath, while the cocoa butter and shea butter means it’s a lot more moisturising as well.
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And finally it’s the big one, possibly the most famous Lush product to be released in recent years, the explosion of colour that is the Intergalactic bath bomb. With peppermint, cedarwood and vetivert oil it’s hard to pinpoint the scent amongst the heady scents of the shop, but once you get it home the freshness of the scent really hits you. Its invigorating scent is reflected in the multitude of colours that spread across the water leaving you with a bath that truly looks like a snapshot of a galaxy. Not to mention the popping candy and glitter enveloped in the bath bomb made it one of the prettiest and most enjoyable baths I’ve ever taken.DSC052832

I hope you enjoyed this post and it gave you an idea of some of the amazing products available from the new store and I highly recommend you give it a visit and try something new. Or if you’ve already been please let me know your recomendations!

Summer-Proof Makeup

When it comes to Summer you seem to only have two choices makeup wise, either go completely bare-faced or strip it down as best you can so as to avoid the dreaded smudge when you inevitably wipe your face. I … Continue reading

The Perfect Sunday

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WP_20141116_10_31_32_ProLike the majority of people I am a BIG fan of Sundays. With the combination of me being a full time student Monday to Friday, and work taking care of any Friday or Saturday fun, Sunday is my one day a week where I can completely chill out without feeling guilty. Luckily for me Belfast is home to one of the best markets I’ve ever been to, St George’s market, and to make it even better Sunday is devoted entirely to food!

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As well as a smorgasborg of delicious treats there’s a range of other stalls with everything from art to adorable homewares, and some awesome vintage clothes. It’s the perfect place to do some potential Christmas shopping as well as some adorable trinkets like these cards, which are definitely going to be given to some lucky friends soon.

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You have to make sure you head there early to get your pick of the produce, but you can always play the maverick and wait until the end to get some of the best deals. But my incredible FOMO tendencies meant I dragged my unwilling flatmate up at the crack of dawn to get my hands on the goodies before the masses flocked in. Boy it was worth it. If you live in the area or are planning on visiting Belfast I highly recommend you swing by, especially on an empty stomach as there are some delicious food stalls (four of which are mentioned in this Buzzfeed article). Me being the piggy I am opted for not one but four cupcakes from the amazing Lily Pink Bakery. Although I am completely over the cupcake fad these are the exception to the rule with the Dulce du Leche being the best of the bunch.

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After picking up some fruit and veg and resisting the urge to grab yet another tasty treat, I regretfully headed home but at least with that contented feeling of a Sunday well spent and many tasty treats to last. Well at least till next week……