Chocolate Orange Stripey Cakey Extravaganza!

This cake was made for a friend from work who is moving on to greener pastures. Take the recipe Basic Cake Mix and double it. Make it all in one bowl with added orange zest up until you are ready to add the flour.

Split the mix in two and add 200g of flour to the one mix (the plain) and 175g flour and 25g cocoa powder to the other. Fill two piping bags with the respective mixtures and pipe into 3 greased cake tins in circles, one inside the next etc until the mixture is used.

Put in the oven at 160-180c for around 20 minutes. Make up the butter icing with a good dollop of stork or butter and cream until soft. Add the juice of half an orange and cocoa powder in the icing sugar until stiff.

Once the cakes have cooled, sparingly use the buttercream to construct the three sponges together. Next cover the entire cake in the buttercream until smooth and then decorate with your choice of decorations -I used orange coloured choc buttons and chocolate orange segments.

When you slice into it it will have a beautiful marbly stripy effect of sponge and a wonderful flavour!

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The Versatile Blogger Award

My lovely friend Nic (http://givemestories.wordpress.com) has given me the honour of nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award! Yay! Apparently, this is something that bloggers pass on between themselves and once you are nominated you then in turn nominate some other blogs you find scrum-diddly-umptious. But first, it is tradition that I impart some interesting bits and bobs about myself. Hmm, where to start?

1. I have lived in a rural county called Shropshire, in the West Midlands, England, most of my life but no one outside the Midlands (or even inside it) has ever heard of it so usually I describe my location as either near Wales or an hour away from Birmingham. However as I have just moved in with my boyfriend of 3 years in Gloucestershire, it seems no longer a problem!

2. I am absolutely avid reader, I ALWAYS have a book on the go, currently I am rereading the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer (an fantastic teen series) to distract from the heavy workload of final year; and I have just finished Jilly Cooper’s Jump!  which opened my eyes to the world of horse racing.

3. I’m not sure I like horse racing, I think it may be a bit cruel, therefore when I had an invitation to go to Cheltenham Festival Ladies Day this year, I decided to leave it until I have formed a more concerete opinion.

4. I am a big sop, I am perhaps one of the most empathetic people I know. I cannot stand cruelty or violence in films, tv, real life, books. I winced all the way through the fight scenes in Scott Pilgrim Vs The World and couldn’t even stand watching Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

5. I have just been diagnosed as Coeliac, which kind of explains the lack of posts, but also will explain the new direction this blog will be taking when I continue adding recipes over my Easter Holidays in a few weeks. Being a Coeliac is hard work, and I’m only two weeks in, but more about that another day.

6. I am a very proud member of the Women’s Network at the University of Nottingham (a kind of support network/feminist network working towards equal rights for women students and in the wider community). I recently produced a performance of The Vagina Monologues in aid of V-Day 2012 and our significant proceeds went to the local Women’s Centre.

I think that is enough to whet the appetite for now, if you’d like to know more please ask away in the comments below. My nominates to the VBA will be posted soon.

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Yo Ho, a Bottle of Rum

If you want a change from the customary vodka, try mixing up these rum cocktails.

  1. Christmas Coffee – pour 2 tbsp white rum in a coffee cup, top up with black coffee and stir in 2 tsp of brown sugar, floating a little double cream on top.
  2. Rumba – blend 2 tbsp white rum, 2 tbsp coconut cream, 2 tbsp milk and 4 tbsp pineapple juice. Serve in into an iced tumbler and garnish with pineapple slices.
  3. Mojito – crush mint leaves and add 2 tsp caster sugar, 4 tbsp white rum, a slice of lime and top up with soda water. Serve in tall glass with straw.
  4. Winter Orange – 4 tbsp dark rum, dash of grenadine, freshly squeezed blood orange and dash of lemon juice. Serve in Martini glass.
  5. Frozen Daiquiri – Whizz 3 tbsp white rum, juice of 1 lime, 1 tsp caster, and handful of crushed ice in blender. Put in Martini glass and top up with 1 tsp of a fruit liqueur of your choosing.
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5 Champagne Cocktails

If you’re cracking open the bubbly, let your drinks do the talking!

  1. Champagne Cocktails – place a brown suger cube in the bottom of six Champagne glasses and soak each with a drop of Angostura bitters. Top with Champagne and garnish with orange peel twists.
  2. Apple fizz pour 1 tbsp apple schnapps and 1 tbsp cranberry juice in a champagne flute and top up with bubbly and stir. Garnish with julienned apple slices.
  3. Pear Bellini – puree 3 ripe pears and divide between 6 flute. Top up with champers and garnish with a fan of sliced pear.
  4. Black Velvet – half fill a flute with chilled Guinness and top up with champagne.
  5. Kir Royale – add 1 tsp crème de cassis into a champagne flute.
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A Gigantic Smile!

This is just a quick post to say a huge thank you to my, wait for it, 26 followers! I just saw this stat on my blog and it has genuinely touched me, earlier in the year I had a mere 5 followers including two very goods friends and my Dad! So thanks for coming along for the ride, if you want any recipes covering or have any questions, ask ask ask away! Big love.

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5 Ways With Vodka

Wow your guests with tip top cocktails!

  1. Bloody Mary – fill long glasses with ice then add into each: 4tbsp vodka, 150ml tomato,  2 tbsp of lemon juice, 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce and a splash of Tabasco, add a sprinkle of black pepper and garnish with celery sticks.
  2. Cranberry Twist – in a shaker, mix 2 tbsp vodka, 1 tbsp Cointreau, a splash of cranberry juice, 2 tbsp fresh lime juice and a handful of ice cubes. Serve in a martini glass with wedge of lime.
  3. Chocolate Martini – 3 tbsp vodka, 1 tbsp crème de cacao and 2 tbsp milk into a shaker with ice, lightly shake and serve into a Martini glass with grate dark chocolate.
  4. Christmas Collins – 4tbsp vodka, 2tbsp lemon juice and 1tbsp caster sugar. Pop into a tall glass half filled with ice, stir and mix with soda water and a dash of Angostura.
  5. Iced Berry – Mix a thin wedge of lime with 6 blackberries, 1tbsp caster sugar and 3 tbsp vodka. Pop in margarita glass and top with crush ice and pour over 1 tbsp crème de mure.
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5 Quick Canapé Ideas

Entertaining can be a nightmare, so here are 20 quick canapé ideas which will help you on your way to flawless entertaining!!

  1. Salt beef on rye bread with mustard sauce – Cut out 18 small squares of rye bread (about 3 slices), mix 2tbsp of mayo with 2 tbsp of dijon mustard and spread on each square before topping a small square of salt beef and a halved cornichon.
  2. Cranberry and ginger sausages – cook 24 mini chipolatas for 15mins, then drizzle a mixture of 3tbsp of cranberry sauce, 1/2 tsp ground ginger and 1tbsp of water. Roast for a further minutes and serve with cocktail sticks.
  3. Crab and avocado sesame seed toasts – divide 100g gucamole between 16 shop bought mini crostini and top with crab meat (200g approx). Toast seeds in a pan and sprinkle over crostini.
  4. Spicy lamb skewers – mix 300g lamb min with 1/2 tsp of ground cumin, coriander, garam marsala and cinnamon. Mix 200g greek yoghurt, 1 chopped shallot, 1 chopped garlic, chopped mint, diced cucumber and honey to make the tzatziki. Shape the lamb into 16 balls and cook before threading onto cocktail sticks and adding pomegranate seeds to finish.
  5. Pepper, walnut and cheese palmiers – roll out one pack of readymade puff pastry and spread with 100g soft goats cheese before sprinkling with 50g chopped walnuts and 200g diced roasted peppers. Roll up one edge to the middle and repeat ont he opposite side to meet in the centre. Slice into 20 pieces and cook for 10 mins until golden.
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