Oreo Cookie Cupcakes

Last week was my sisters birthday, which meant for me, I had an excuse to get out my baking gloves once again.

The cake recipe was taken from an incredible cook book, The Great British Bake Off - How to Bake and the icing was my own invention. I cannot recommend this book more! Every recipe works perfectly and I've made a fair few.

I started by making the cupcake itself, following the recipe for chocolate velvet cupcakes. You need: 175ml milk
100g dark chocolate
125g of caster sugar
60g of unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 large egg - pre beaten
150g of self raising flour

Get all your ingredients together and your ready to begin

Start by preheating your oven to 180 degrees and then melt your chocolate in your milk on a low heat - stir it every so often to speed up the process.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add your egg and vanilla extract(I like to add a tablespoon of flour at this point to prevent any curdling from happening).

Next slowly mix in a third of your chocolate, then a third of your flour, then a third of your chocolate (I'm sure you get the gist) until it's all mixed in.

Once it's all mixed in, spoon your mixture into cupcake cases and pop in your oven to bake for 15-20 minutes (mine came out perfect at 17 minutes exactly). They came out, beautiful and domed, smelling delicious. 

Next comes the fun part, or the not so fun part depending on how you view it. I actually mixed up a batch of icing and spend a good two hours practicing to be able to create a swirl I was happy with. It's still not perfect, and I definitely need more practice. 

To make your Oreo icing, you need:
600g of icing sugar
300g of butter
a dash of vanilla extract
12 oreos - middle removed
Put your oreo cookies in a bag and bash them till they're crumbed, then pop all the ingredients into a bowl and cream it until its all light and fluffy. Spoon into your piping bag, and ice away. 

Finally I added half an Oreo to each one and stuck a candle in the middle. My sister loved them and we took them to a friends house where they were promptly devoured, but those photos will be kept to myself. 

Let me know if you make these, I'd love to know how you got on!


The Butterfly House

Although the weathers taken a funny turn the past couple of days, I'm trying to soak up as much of London as I possibly can before I move again. This time, my travels led me to a large tent at the Natural History Museum. Back for it's 6th year, the tropical greenhouse was in full swing. 

Buy your tickets, walk through a set of heavy doors and enter into an indoor woodland. Filled with hundreds of beautiful, fluttering butterflies that are truly captivating to look at. The greenhouse contains nearly 50 different species of moths and butterflies, but depending on how far into the summer you are, you'll see an abundance of some more than others.  All the photos here were taken on the boyfriends incredible camera. He just bought a macro lens and had a wonderful time testing it out. Also, I'm getting a little tired from calling him the boyfriend, from henceforth he shall also be known as P.

You can watch the butterflies in their natural habitat, and if your patient enough you can even watch them clamber out of their cocoons. Curly haired girls be warned, its incredibly humid in there! Be prepared for frizz.

 And some very pretty flowers too.

It's not all butterflies though. Check out some of these creepy crawlies. We managed to get talking to some of the volunteers working that day. Wonderfully knowledgable and helpful, they showed us where to find eggs and caterpillars, and even lifted up leaves so P could get some photos.  I learnt that I was very lucky to have a butterfly land on me; only 2 breeds will, as the food receptors(incredibly technical term there) can be found in the feet of many, and can be damaged by the oils in your skin. 

I think the second one was a very hungry caterpillar 

The Butterfly House is open from 10am to 5pm until mid 
September. It's a photographers heaven, the perfect place for little kids or even to go for a date. 


Birthday Bumf!

Apologies for the lack of posts recently, but I've been having far too much fun to sit down at the laptop ( I know, I know, I'm a terrible blogger)

A couple of weeks ago the boyfriend planned a surprise birthday for me. He told me to get dressed up and I ran around hunting for the perfect dress like a maniac the morning of the party! I found it in topshop, the beyonce dress! However mine had green stripes instead of black ones. 

For the first part of the surprise we headed to Urban Golf where I was met by some of my closest friends for an hour of golf. I've been telling the boyfriend that I wanted to play golf for ages, and didn't he do well! 

The super clever screen tracks your swing and shows you where the ball would end up on the green if it was real life! The boyfriend had never played golf before, but luckily one of my closest friends is a bit of a golf master and gave him a mini lesson. 

After dinner we headed to my favourite burger joint! Carnaby Burger Co. The boy and I found this place one day last year and figured we'd give it a go, and since then we've been back so many times. They really don't disappoint with utterly scrumptious burgers, but my favourite part is the multitude of veggie options. I've recently become a pescetarian, and truthfully I think soon enough I'll be veggie, however finding decent burgers for those of you who don't eat meat, can be pretty tricky. 

As there were so many of us, I got to try 3 fantastic burgers. I started with a Southern Style Quorn Bruschetta Burger. You bite in and get a delicious mouthful of a brioche bun, a Quorn escalope, tomatoes, basil,  pesto and swiss cheese. Not to mention the perfect pesto mayo dip that accompanied the chips; just heavenly! 

Next I moved onto the Falafel burger. Again a brioche bun, cucumber raita, melted cheese and a giant falafel all sandwiched together to make my taste buds tingle. The best part however is the peppercorn gravy. Ultimate win in my books.

Finally I made room for a bite of a cheese and aubergine burger with a red pepper relish. It looked fantastic, and tasted even better. I finished up feeling stuffed. Seriously, look at that cheese!

So just when I thought there would be no more food, this beauty came out of the kitchen

A gold cake, made by my fantastic boyfriend. Like I said, he definitely did well.  I had an incredible birthday made all the better by the staff at Carnaby Burger Co. who were amazing at accommodating all of us, especially when we had a few unexpected guests turn up late!

Find them at here or at 4 Newburgh St. London. Pop in if you've been shopping around oxford circus and I promise you you wont be disappointed. They deliver too!