Wednesday 30 October 2013

Brit Decor: Midweek Bake

Photography / Mike Ahern

Oh my goodness, how intensely delicious are these biscuits!? The perfect sugary treat for midweek if you are in need of some culinary inspiration to get you through to the weekend. Actually, who am I kidding - these gorgeous chocolate treats are really good for any day of the week, not just Wednesdays! 

I made the batch above to take to my Sister & Brother-in-Law's house as a little 'thank you for having me' gift and they went down a treat after dinner. Equally, I think I may make these again next time somebody visits for a cuppa - the sweet baked smell in the kitchen is enough to make anyone feel welcome and they are so quick and easy to make.

25 g granulated sugar
50 g dark brown sugar
35 g unsalted butter
35 g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 egg
185 g dark chocolate
15 g cocoa powder
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to around 1750c or Gas Mark 3 and prepare two baking trays with greaseproof paper. Melt around 80 g of the dark chocolate together with the butter then separately mix the sugars, egg and vanilla until you have a smooth paste. Add this to the melted chocolate before sifting in the cocoa powder, flour, salt and baking powder. Roughly chop up the remaining chocolate into chunks and slowly add to the mixture but keep several pieces to one side.

Scoop the mixture onto the trays using a teaspoon and sprinkle the remaining choc chunks over the top (be as tidy or as freestyle as you like!). Pop into the oven for 8-10 minutes and then leave to cool before transferring to the fridge. The insides should be nice and soft, which makes the perfect contrast with the slightly harder choc chunks!

If you make these biscuits, I would love to hear (or see) how they turned out...

Tuesday 22 October 2013

Brit Decor: Pick-me-up

Image / Mike Ahern / 1/ Red Lace Chair by Jo Gibbs £250 The Mint List
2/ Havet Red Cushion Cover £22 Quince 3/ Kitchen Aid Artisan Mixer (Raspberry Ice) £389 Selfridges

I am having a 'foodie week' which I am firmly blaming on this very wet, windy and British weather. The week has only just begun and I am already in need of a sugary 'pick-me-up'! Isn't this alluring baked doughnut sweet with a capital 'S'? As if this wasn't tempting enough, adding this treat to a charming Peony Habitat plate (a past gift from two very dear friends) just made it look all the more delicious.

After polishing off this naughty doughy snack, I felt inspired to source some equally tantalising accessories to further brighten my mood and shun the gloomy weather outside. Take the very delectable Kitchen Aid with the rather cool name of Raspberry Ice - I would surely want to make cakes all day long if I owned this model! Equally, look at how the heartwarming mix of pinks and yellows on this re-styled vintage chair from The Mint List sings out, and I just want to sink into this vibrant freestyle design Havet Red cushion from Quince.

Just in case you are tempted to tuck into some fresh doughnuts, check out the fab book below by Rosie Reynolds, in which she gives the humble doughnut a mouthwatering makeover, including Maple Pumpkin flavour for Halloween!

Is it wrong to go for doughnut number two now...?

Doughnuts: A Classic Treat Reinvented by Rosie Reynolds
£9.00 Waterstones

Wednesday 2 October 2013

Brit Decor :: Things to like

My name is Mike and I am a shopaholic! I have been busy scouring the shops for new and inspirational buys and thought I would share some of my favourite buys with an Autumnal palette in mind. From the burning yellows and reds of the changing leaves to the moody grey skies, this scheme definitely has drama!

My ongoing fascination with the geometrics trend is seeing no end in sight, which is hardly surprising with bold and striking designs like the Rug Geometri(1) £155 from Idyll Home. If you are looking for striking floor detail, this is the rug for you. 

I am a huge fan of chocolate (2) but even more so when it's wrapped in a duck egg blue & gold geometric wrapping and all from far away Vietnam! The added bonus here is that dark chocolate is reportedly good for you too...right? Marou dark chocolate bar, £7.50 Harvey Nicholls.

I love the bold and vibrant fuschia pink of the OMG greetings card (3) from Big Jon £3.50 (have you checked out his quirky instagram page?). I like to keep a handy selection of eye catching cards and postcards to put up around the house for added interest and detail. 

I am a huge advocate of taking interior design outdoors and if you are looking for a striking statement in the garden, then look no further than this Zinc Provence planter (4) £65 from Idyll Home

Have you seen the gorgeous mustard yellow Locksmith print by James Brown? (5) £65, one of many fab, fun and colourful prints available from Bloomsbury Store. Try adding quirky artwork to a funky kitchen space for a relaxed feel and  prints bring personality to a space. There is also the line-tastic Great Seas & Oceans tea towel (6) £10 from Bold & Noble which is perfect if you want some urban styling. 

I recently stumbled across lampshade designer, Sweet Mei, on Twitter and her Flying White Crane lampshade (7) £34.99 is just so elegant - the cranes look stunning against the navy background and remind me of birds migrating for the winter. I hope this design flies into my home!

Also from Harvey Nicholls is Menu, a Norm Thermo Cup (8) - just what I need for those chilly Autumnal mornings and aptly in this beautiful frosty pastel blue. I love it when design meets functionality and this cup certainly has just that with its double isolating walls for added insulation, £12.95. 

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