Pretty (and) delicious

Confession never heard before: I don’t really have much of a sweet tooth. Too much sugar does make me sick quite quickly and I don’t tend to crave sweets very often. Not even chocolate. There, I said it.

However, how could one even consider resisting these amazingly pretty cupcakes from boutique cake studio The Pink Kitchen?

Especially when they come hand delivered by baking extraordinaire Aline Wickens, the mega talented cake designer behind the bakery? No way!

They came in time for my birthday celebration and I must say they were a hit with the guests and a feast for the eyes.

The new collection has some cupcakes with pipettes filled with a special sauces that gives them that extra oomph.

After much doubt (as they all sound amazing), I picked the chocolate and Bailey’s, raspberry and mascarpone and lemon and blueberry flavours for my birthday.

To start with, the cupcake dough is fluffy, ever so light, moist and not overly sweet, which I love.

The icing is smooth (and quite dreamy like a sugary cloud), flavoured to perfection.

All the elements (be it with a pipette or not) are beautifully balanced to create a cupcake that is enjoyable from beginning to end – in all the flavours I tried!

And I even got a bonus: amazing Brazilian truffles – brigadeiros – and coconut beijinhos <3, so fresh, with perfect texture and flavour.

More than a small bite

But if those babies are impressive, wait until you see their real business: the cakes. The Pink Kitchen specialises in impeccably elegant cakes for all occasions.

Aline’s sugar skills are amazing, as are her creations, which frankly look like works of art; all custom designed, freshly baked and beautifully decorated.

On top of it all, The Pink Kitchen also specialises in dairy free, eggless and vegan cakes, and cater for many dietary restrictions.

There are cakes, cupcakes, pop cakes and mini cupcakes. The Pink Kitchen also creates personalised cupcakes for businesses, as well as catering for events and photo shoots on top of the usual birthdays, weddings and other celebratory occasions.

I am also told she creates gorgeous dessert tables! All delicious, of course!

Cake wonders aside, Aline is very sweet (see what I did here?), very talented, creative, hard working and strives to meet your taste, brief and budget!

You can check out everything The Pink Kitchen has to on their website and you can contact the super friendly Aline to talk about you requirements.

Yum!

written by Dani

 

So I did *some* cooking…

By the headline you’d think I cannot cook to save my life. That is not entirely true. I might not be the most enthusiastic cook but when I am feeling it I can really deliver. Fact.

I had never tried Flora Freedom before, and when I received my hamper and found out about the new flavours – avocado & lime, coconut & almond and walnut –  and the recipes created by Benjamina Ebuehi using the spreads, I was ready to give a go.

Flora Freedom is a dairy free range of spreads, also free from artificial preservatives, colours and flavours and certified by the Vegan Society. The spreads can be used for cooking, baking and of course, spreading. They have 45-60% less fat than butter and 100% of the oils used come from plants.

Obviously, I was immediately drawn to the Avocado oil and Lime flavour and it quickly became my go to bread spread for my usual breakfast of avocados and boiled egg.

Also great for cooking omelettes or adding garlic, chopped herbs or black pepper for a special spread. I like with coriander.

I also used it to make one of the recipes, the avocado and lime buckwheat pancakes, which I really liked as they have two options – one vegetarian and one for the meat eaters.

I went for the veggie one and if you want, you can try them using the recipe below – it’s pretty easy!

Avocado & Lime Buckwheat Pancakes

  • Servings: 4 (2 pancakes each)
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

300ml semi skimmed milk, 55g wholemeal flour, 55g buckwheat flour, 1 egg, 25 g Flora Freedom Avocado & Lime, melted

Filling

Cooked beetroot (diced), 50g goats cheese (sliced), 1 avocado (sliced).

Or

2 avocados (sliced), 4 rashers bacon, 175g cherry tomatoes (halved), handful coriander (chopped).

Preparation

  1. For the batter: place flours in a mixing bowl, add egg and gradually whisk in milk, beating well. Stir in a teaspoon of the melted Flora.
  2. Heat a little of the remaining Flora in a frying pan and pour in a little batter, tip pan to spread. Cook until underside is golden brown and then cook other side.  Repeat until all batter is used.
  3. Divide your chosen filling between the pancakes and fold or roll.

I was, actually, very surprised at the coconut & almond one, it’s delicious on toast! It is the perfect spread for sweeter breads, and Benjamina suggests it on shortbread, in the topping of fruit crumble or – my favourite option – melted to make homemade granola.

The walnut flavour is nutty and great for shortcrust pastry, cheese biscuits and cake icing!

I have to say that overall, I was quite impressed with the flavours in the range, even alone as spreads. I don’t have any dietary requirements, but feel they are not a “tasteless” options to satisfy a special diet, but tasty for every day use.

You might find the coconut one very pale, but it is some proof that no artificial colours have been used!

Each 225g Flora Freeedom Dairy Free tub retails for £1.50 (RRP). There are tons of free recipes on flora.com

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

For your pleasure

Oh to have a Magnum ice cream…. for years now I’ve been feasting on the most indulgent flavours and every summer Magnum does not disappoint.

Their fabulous pleasure store is back in London for another year, this time located on Seven Dials.

Dare I say it’s the best edition yet; decorated in collaboration with Moschino, it is colourful and bold and it even has special edition totes (£212) you can buy.

Now, the opening was, of course, star-studded. The store was opened by Jeremy Scott Moschino’s and Magnum creative director, with the soundtrack provided by the fabulous Jodie Harsh.

And I got to rub shoulder with Erin O’Connor, Alice Dellal, Talia Storm, Vanessa White, Oliver Proudlock and many others.

But the highlight was really the ice cream!

The Moschino collaboration cements this year’s Dare to Go Double attitude, which sees the amazing Magnum Double Coconut and Double Raspberry as the new flavours for the summer.

I could not resist them on holidays!

Of course, at the pleasure store you can, for £5.50 make your own bespoke freshly dipped Magnum with three toppings of your choice – and they are something special.

I had pistachio, cherry and gold flakes (because why not?) on mine, dipped in dark chocolate, white chocolate sauce and a pink Magnum coin. It was delicious – and gorgeous: it’s my very own at the top of the post.

As they say, a day without pleasure is a day lost. Hurry up!

The pleasure store is located in London Seven Dials (21-23 Earlham Street, WC2H 9LL) until the 10th September 2017, and the opening times are:

  • Sunday: 10am – 6pm
  • Monday/Tuesday/Wed:  10am – 7pm
  • Thursday: 10am – 10pm
  • Friday: 10am – 9pm
  • Saturday: 10am – 10pm

You can get all the info on the store at the Magnum UK website.

written by Dani

I was invited to this experience by Magnum; opinions are my own.

I like piña colada…

Who knew today was National Piña Colada day? I’m well into my cocktails, however, it is not totally acceptable to have them any time, everywhere… so…

Let’s say I was happy Oykos launched this little taste of the tropics, the Piña Coco Paradise, a deliciously indulgent Oykos silky Greek yoghurt with a flavoursome layer of pineapples and coconut at the bottom, that gives you a nice reminder of our not-working-hours-friendly Piña Colada.

The official drink of Puerto Rico is also (really) the UK’s fave cocktail (according to a 2015 survey) and it’s dead easy to make: 50ml rum, 25ml coconut milk and 200ml pineapple juice.

Shake vigourously for that creamy smooth texture and voila. Cherries and pineapple wedge for decor optional (but highly recommended) but umbrellas are almost compulsory!

Now, I arrived from holidays a few hours ago and have to say it kept that beach vibe going for a bit longer… plus I do love a yoghurt with a layer of fruit (and I’ll say again, I love coconuts!).

The yoghurt itself is lush! The chunks of fruit are a delightful surprise but do not spoil the creaminess of the yoghurt. And it is full of flavour. Yum.

And the best thing? Oykos comes in more than 10 flavours and costs only £2.39 for 4 and you can get it from major retailers nationwide (including Tesco, Ocado, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s).

Also, at the moment there is a great promo going on. By buying an Oykos multipack, you can enter a competition to win a fabulous island escape. It’s a 3-day luxurious Greek getaway, all inclusive, with spa treatments and hunky helpers.

And I assume all Oykos you can eat?! Peter Andre is also included! Head to oykos.co.uk/islandescape for more info.

written by Dani

 

The London festival experience

GALA Brixton

As spring is firmly underway – or so we hope… c’mon, it’s still around 13°C most days here in London!– and daylight gets one extra minute each day, we get closer and closer to the wonderful stream of festivals that sweep across the UK. However, it seems like long gone are the weekends of mud, sweat and tears…

It seems that, as years have gone by, people are less interested in what some still love to call *the festival experience*. By that they mean camping for three/four days, often braving horrible weather conditions, large quantities of mud, bad toilet facilities, with little or no possibility of freshening up, let alone having a shower.

GALA Brixton

For someone who loves freshly washed hair (although I thank the Gods every day for dry shampoo!), clean and crisp clothing and the comfort of my own bed, this reads as my description of HELL.

I was never into this idea of ‘festival experience’, and I remember going to V Festival in 2006 and saying “oh my word, I cannot BELIEVE I’m home”. Don’t get me wrong, the festival was incredible! And it was even more so because in 55 minutes I was at my door, skipping happily to my warm shower.

I’m so glad to know that I’m not alone in this. The new festival experience involves VIP bracelets, a “sweat only if you want to” attitude, gourmet food trucks, drinks from independent producers and –the best of it all – a short tube/bus/Uber ride home.

LOVEBOX

It is no wonder that inner London festivals are becoming big players in the music scene. Field Day (Victoria Park), South West Four (Clapham Common), British Summer Time (Hyde Park), Wireless (Finsbury Park), Lovebox (Victoria Park) and GALA (Brixton) are some of the main festivals happening within London this spring and summer, taking advantage of the appeal of being at home after a long day (and sometimes night) of partying.

And let’s not forget that 2017 will be the first year where we’ll be able to use the night tube during summer! This is something I’m really looking forward to, in order to reduce my late night post-partying Uber addiction…

So, if you ever thought that you wanted to experience festivals but wouldn’t be happy applying your makeup in a muddy compact mirror, after cleansing your face with just a baby wipe for the third day straight… I HEAR YOU. Have a thorough look on all events happening within London and I’m sure you’ll find something that tickles your fancy – and with travelling time possibly shorter than your daily work commute!

written by Carol

Right, you know the drill… this is a bit of a PR post.