Thursday, December 22, 2011

Let it snow!


Garance Dore

Basic Label Sweden

And YES, exactly this cheesy! :)) Ho-ho-ho! :))

Thursday, December 15, 2011

French Chocolate Cake

For my birthday I baked two delicious cakes - French chocolate cake and raspberry cheesecake. The recipe of the cheesecake will have to wait until I bake one more as I did not manage to capture any image before it got eaten :)

French Chocolate Cake
it is:

  • 200 g of dark chocolate
  • 200 g of butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 200 g of sugar
  • 200 g wheat flour
for icing:
25 g of butter
100 g of sweet cream
150 g of dark chocolate (with orange flavour)

Melt the chocolate and the butter (I fit a bowl in a pot with water and put it on a stove, like that the heat melts it gradually without burning it). Whip the eggs and sugar into hard foam. Mix it into the wheat flour. Add the melted chocolate and butter. Stir the mixture until it becomes homogenous. Pour it in a greased form. Preheat the oven at 175°C. Bake the cake for 30 min. It should be a little bit moist. Cool it afterwards. Take it out of the form.
Prepare the icing: melt the butter and chocolate and add the sweet cream stirring it while the mixture becomes homogenous. Cool it afterwards. Then pour it on the top of the cake, spreading the icing on the sides as well. Put it somewhere cool. You can serve it with whipped cream adding some liqueur or cognac. I chose berries. 

Voilà et bon appétit!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

London revisited

Previous weekend me and my friends went to London - my city of all the cities. Besides long strolls by Thames, mulled wine in the Christmas market near Waterloo bridge, wondering around Covent garden, once again I had many new discoveries. One of them was Angel area in Islington as it was the first time we stayed there and enjoyed the scenery with the beautiful Victorian houses, all the lovely boutiques, little vintage shops, restaurants and coffee places, like Keston Lodge which was hosting the Wonder Hill Market last Sunday where we got the chance to taste delicious cupcakes of Arthur & Aleksandra - my personal favourite out of those I tasted was chocolate & orange cupcake. Didn't find the picture of it on their blog but here is a couple of teasers just to show you the beauty of those creations :)
arthur & aleksandra
As Arthur&Aleksandra state themselves this is what happens when an architect turns their hand to a spot of baking...

arthur & aleksandra
So hopefully by the next time I am in London they will have their shop opened some place.

Then we were happy to discover that just on the corner of the street where we had our hotel we also had Jamie Oliver's restaurant "Jamie's Italian" which  quickly changed our mindset from a choice of going for a musical in favour of  a gastronomic feast. Even though we didn't have high hopes entering on a busy Saturday evening it surprised us with the accessibility as the system there is that you don't necessarily need to make a reservation, you come over, ask for a table, the receptionist tells you the approximate waiting time and if you are ok with that you are given a beeper and welcomed to wait in the bar area until you get the table (that's when the beeper comes in :)). For us it took nearly 1h30 and two yummy cocktails each :) I loved the food, the atmosphere and friendliness of the staff, the prices were very democratic and the interior - industrial/rustic/retro mixture. So YES - thumbs up!

Jamie's Italian
For now this is all I wanted to share hoping to go to London soon enough to get inspired by that magnificent city again. Sweet dreams and have a great w-end! Be inspired and become an inspiration yourselves!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Prepping for Christmas

As I've probably mentioned before I am a TOTAL Christmas freak - I just LOVE everything about it! I love the time of waiting and preparation, I love getting and making presents for my family, friends and beloved ones, I love decorating the house for the occasion while listening to the Christmas songs, in a nutshell - it is the most heartwarming time of the year for me as it fills my being with sweet and nostalgic sensation and I do believe and see that people are trying to be more kind and caring for each other over this time of the year. 

This year it seemed that preparation for Christmas had started much earlier than usual. Christmas trees were on sale already before the First Advent. Christmas period always passes so quickly therefore I don't mind stretching it a bit longer even though I do realise that it is done for the sake of better marketing. But as I said - it seems that this festivity makes people willing to be better so whatever works and the longer it works the better.

I've decorated my house already two weeks ago. This would be my improvised Christmas tree :) as the real one we will decorate in Latvia on Christmas Eve. Yes, it is really bizarre living like this having those two worlds miles apart from each other but trying to live in both. It is  true that this festivity makes one realise either how lonely or how rich you are in terms of lacking or having  your people around you. And this is quite a topic for expatriates. I will always remember the story one of my acquaintances shared with me after last year's Christmas when there was a lot of snow and many flights were cancelled, his as well, so he ended up coming back to an empty apartment, eating baguette (as there was nothing else he could get in the local petrol station) and crying - this big, strong guy, but I can totally picture that. And he was not crying because of baguette :) This is the time of the year when we have to be around those we love.

I am praying for snow this year around as well but so that we are able to go to the places we want to go as Christmas without snow is not real Christmas. And one more important thing to get into Christmas mood is of course to watch Christmas movies :) And the list is as follows:

An absolute classic
It's A Wonderful Life

Movies to watch together with kids or remembering yourself as one
Home Alone

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

And then some very good ones and very cheesy ones (but it is allowed for Christmas) for all of us

Love Actually

The Family Stone

The Holiday

So wishing you a merry time preparing!