Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Italian Banana Bread

Hey Guys! I have another banana bread recipe for you today (can you tell I really love it)! This recipe was requested by my husband as he has recently started a new job and he wanted this to have in his morning break! This recipe is the grown up version of my Nutella banana bread recipe. This bread would be perfect served at a brunch, breakfast or for a tasty midnight snack (it's slightly healthy too!). The recipe comes from one of my favourite recipe books Nigellisima! The woman is amazing, she produces truly fail-safe recipes full of yummy flavour! Unfortunately I don't have a picture of the bread, it usually doesn't last long enough to snap a picture.

Nigella's Italian Breakfast Banana Bread

150ml vegetable oil
3 ripe bananas
2tsps vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
2 eggs
150g caster sugar
175g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 teaspoons instant espresso powder


1. Preheat oven and baking sheet to 170 degrees Celsius. Lightly oil a loaf tin.

2. Blend bananas with vanilla extract and salt, then beat in the oil. Beat in the eggs one by one and then beat in sugar.

3. Mix flour, bicarb and espresso powder. Beat these into batter.

4.Put batter in loaf tin and put in oven for 50-60 mins or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

5. Try and leave it to cool before digging in, if you can wait that long :).

This is such a yummy recipe and the addition of the coffee gives it an almost chocolately taste. Yum Yum! I hope you give this a wee try and if you know of any other yummy Nigella baking recipes please let me know :). I will leave you today with another picture of my wedding (last one, I promise!). Can't believe it was a whole 2 months ago...
(This is me and my two sisters, this photo is courtesy of our lovely florist, Ma Fleur!)

Love Rachael xx.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

A Wee Update + Pimm's Cupcakes!

Hello friends! It has been such a long time since I visited my little blog but the past few months have been a whirlwind with so much happening, so as well as a lovely yummy recipe for Pimm's cupcakes today, I though I would give you an update on how much my life has changed in the last few months. First and Foremost, I am now married, aaah still can't really believe it, but i'm definitely loving married life :). Here's a wee photo of my lovely husband and I on our wedding day...
It was such a happy day and everything went smoothly and beautifully, I wish I could do it all over again!! (I will maybe do a blog post on my wedding with the details of the day, if you guys would like to see it??).

I also graduated from university during my spell away from the blog (woohooo finally!) and I even did very well and managed to come out of it still smiling with a good degree. Here's a photo of myself in my lovely Queen's robes....
 As well as these big things I have moved house and started living with Sean (my hubby!), been on honeymoon and baked a lot of yummy buns (recipes to follow). So i'm sorry for neglecting this space but I really haven't had time to breathe let alone type haha! But I'm back( hopefully for good this time) with recipes galore!
To kick things off I have a lovely cupcake recipe for you guys. I found this recipe in a recipe magazine called Recipes (haha orginal!)Here's a wee picture of how they should turn out...

Pimm's Cupcakes
For the cakes-115g salted butter
-160g caster sugar
-2 eggs
-grated zest of 2 oranges
-100ml of orange juice
-200g self-raising flour
-120ml buttermilk
For the Filling-200g strawberries
-1tbsp sugar
-3tbsp Pimm's
-1tbsp cornflour
For the icing- 250g cream cheese
-250ml whipping cream
-100g icing sugar
-1tsp vanilla paste
-Strawberries, orange slices, cucumber and mint leaves to decorate.
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a cupcake tray with paper cases.
2.Cream butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs, orange zest and juice. Gradually add the flour and buttermilk. Beating between each addition (careful not to overbeat).
3. Fill paper cases with batter, making sure they are all equal in size. Bake in oven for 30mins and allow to cool in the tin.
4. Make the filling. Blend and sieve the strawberries. Add the Pimm's, cornflour and sugar and heat gently. Keep stirring until it becomes a thick jelly-like liquid. Leave to cool in the fridge.
5. Then make the icing, beat the whipping cream, icing sugar and vanilla into the cream cheese until it is fluffy and will be easy to pipe unto the cupcakes.
6. Core a hole in the middle of each cake and fill with the strawberry Pimm's jelly (this is yummy stuff, lick the bowl once you are done).
7. Pipe the icing unto the cupcakes and decorate with strawberries, orange and cucumber. Then munch away!!
These are delicious cupcakes and the delicate taste of Pimm's is just wonderful in these! Give them a go and let me know what you think?? Happy Baking Guys!!
Love Mrs Rachael (haha!) xo


Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Carrot Cake Cupcakes!

Hey guys! Long time no speak! I've been attempting to work quite hard lately haha (not like me!). I've had a mountain of essays that have just been getting bigger and stressing me out. I'm currently in the library with Sean, I've just written 1000 words on a very boring topic so I thought I had earned a little break, but sssshhh! I've just got to do this for another 5 weeks and then I'm done with university FOREVER!! And then it's on to bigger and better things (not sure what yet :S any ideas??. So today I've got a quick recipe for some yummy carrot cake cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting, yum yum! I found this recipe on my old favourite website, BBC Good Food! So here it is..

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

175g soft brown sugar
200g self-raising flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
2tsp cinnamon
zest of 1 orange
2 eggs
150ml groundnut oil
200g carrots grated
1tsp vanilla essence

200g soft cream cheese
100g icing sugar
250ml whipping cream
zest and juice of 1 lemon


  1. Preheat oven to 180C and line a 12-hole muffin tin with cases.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix the sugar, flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and orange zest. Whisk together the eggs and oil, then stir into the dry ingredients with the grated carrot.
  3.  Divide the mixture between cases and bake for 20-22 mins.
  4.  Cool  before icing.
  5. For the icing, beat the soft cheese, add the whipping cream lemon and icing sugar, then beat until icing consistency. Pipe unto cupcakes and decorate how you wish ( I used cute little jelly carrots and bunnies for Easter!).
  6. Chow down :).
These little buns were perfect to have around the house for Easter visitors :). Seriously good! I hope you give them a go and I hope everyone had a lovely Easter! I better get back to work :( yuck! Have a nice day! Happy Baking!

Rachael xx.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Nutella and Banana Bread!

Hello! While the snow is falling outside (again!), Where are you spring? I have a yummy, comforting recipe to share with you guys. This is my first bake of my baking bucket list and it was a success, Yay! It is super sweet and not that unhealthy (due to the lack of butter)! I've wanted to try banana bread for a while now, I think it's the perfect thing to start your day and what doesn't Nutella make better? Haha..so here goes!

The recipe is from AllRecipes UK. Here is the linky >.(http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/31482/nutella-reg--banana-bread.aspx)
Nutella Banana Bread
 2 dessertspoons Nutella
200g  plain flour
140g  caster sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarb
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
4 mashed over-ripe bananas

How to make...

1.Preheat oven to fan 180 C.
2.Place the Nutella in a bowl and microwave until it becomes workable.


Wednesday, 13 March 2013

My Favourite Recipe books...

Hey guys just a quick post for you for today! I realise that I often refer to recipe books many of you have never heard of before, so I thought today I would give you a tiny glimpse onto my recipe book shelf (believe me I have a problem, these are just five of about a million!). These books have loads of my favourite recipes which I have tried and tested. So if you are searching for a new inspirational recipe book, look no further than my mouth watering top 5....

 1. Nigellissima by Nigella Lawson.
This is my most recent find and I have mentioned it a few times on the blog. Such an inspirational Italian recipe book from a true domestic goddess :). My favourites are the Italian Traybake, Chocolate Hazlenut Chessecake, Chocolate and Orange Mousse and the Pepper and Bean dish. Truly scrumptious.

2. The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo
I must confess I haven't cooked anything out of this yet but I want to try nearly everything. This book is beautifully put together with gorgeous illustrations and interesting facts. (Her tv show was divine too). This is perfect for fancy looking French food.

3. The Great British Bake-Off: How to Bake by Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.
( Just a wee side note, my copy is signed haha, Mary Berry is my idol!).  This has a wide range of baking recipes from breads to cakes and pastry. It includes all the favourites from the hit tv show too. My favourites are the Banana Fudge layer Cake, Strawberry and White Chocolate Cream cake, chocolate chunk cookies and the Limoncello and White chocolate Croquembouche ( I made this for Sean's birthday, he was such a happy boy, he ate the whole thing haha!).

4.Home Baking by Meg Rivers.
I'm not sure who Meg Rivers is but boy can she bake, she has some wonderful recipes in this cookbook. Apparently she is Cath Kidston's favourite cake maker, that says a lot, she must be great!
This book is great for some great alternative or artisan bakes. My favourites are the Chocolate and Pecan muffins, Blueberry and Raspberry mini megs, Chocolate cookies and carrot cake. This book also has some amazing food photography!

5. Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child.
Last but by no means least this little number. An amazing woman and an amazing story (you should also read her autobiography, absolutely divine!). It can be a little difficult to follow but boy are these recipes tasty. Julia ( we are on affectionate first name terms hehe!) also includes a lot of information about why we cook the way we do, you can almost here her teaching you! My favourite recipes are the cakes especially the butter spongecake, this is a great base which you can feel free to experiment with flavour wise. Also, the risotto is pretty good, Sean made this a few times, yum yum!

As I said these are only a few of my books and this list constantly changes. I might do a regular feature on the blog where I review recipe books that I have bought too. If you would like that? I love recipe books and magazines, I continuously read through them looking for inspiration (they also make me hungry!). I would also like to know what your favourite recipe books are, so comment down below :). Also any recommendations are absolutely welcome :).

Lots of love,

Rachael xxx.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Mother's Day Raspberry Red Velvet Cake

hey guys! So it was mother's day yesterday here in the UK. So my little sister and I treated our lovely mummy to some home baked goodness :). We are rather proud of this showstopper cake....

Such a yummy cake, vanilla cream cheese frosting, raspberries and a light chocolatey flavour, simply scrumptious...Our mum enjoyed it too haha! I even tried some fancy piping to make it look a lot more professional, our mother deserves the best don't you know :). This recipe is taken from the April issue of BBC Good Food but you could also find it on their website. SO here goes and I hope you also treated your mummy well this mother's day!

Raspberry Red Velvet Cake

280g caster sugar
175g softened butter
3 large eggs
280g self-raising flour
2tsp vanilla essence
75g cocoa powder
150 ml butter milk
1tsp white wine vinegar
85g full-fat cream cheese
75g pureed raspberries
150g punnet raspberries

For the frosting...
200g icing sugar
140g cream cheese
2tsp vanilla essence
140ml whipping cream

1. Heat oven to 160 degrees fan oven. Grease and line two cake tins.
2. Use electric whisk beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating in between.
3.Sieve flour and cocoa powder into a separate bowl. Add half to the egg mixture and fold carefully.
4. Mix buttermilk, vinegar, cream cheese, raspberry puree and fold have of this into cake batter. followed by the rest of the flour mix and then the rest of this wet mix.
5.Spoon into cake tins and cook for 25-30mins until done.
6. leave to cool and make frosting by mixing cream cheese, vanilla and icing sugar and beating in whipping cream.
7. When cake is cooled assemble with frosting and raspberries. Decorate and present to your mother :) .

I hope you enjoy giving this cake a go. It really looks and tastes beautiful. Give me a wee comment if you do give it a go and let me know what you think! I hope everyone is having a lovely Tuesday. I'm going to go thrifting this afternoon (one of my favourite things to do), I might share my finds with you if you would like that??

Lots of love,

Rachael xx.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Chocolate and Hazlenut Cheesecake Cups!

Hi guys! I've got a quick, easy and very yummy dessert to share with you today! As you know, yesterday was my engagiversary, so Sean and I had a romantic little dinner for two :). We decided to try another Nigella Lawson creation for dessert and boy was it delicious! A perfect end to a perfect meal :). Here's a wee picture to get you drooling....

The recipe is roughly taken from Nigella's new Italian cookbook, Nigellisima! (thoroughly recommend this, everything looks gorgeous, gives you real cooking inspiration!).

Chocolate and Hazelnut Cheesecake Cups

Makes 2 cups

200g cream cheese
250g Nutella
Icing sugar to taste
4 chocolate biscuits
1 tbsp butter
chopped hazelnuts to top it off


1. Mix cream cheese, Nutella and as much icing sugar as you like until smooth.

2.Crush chocolate biscuits and mix with butter and place in the bottom of your chosen cups.

3. Top the base with your cream cheese mix and then scatter your hazelnuts on top.

4. Refrigerate until you can't wait any longer. (For us, about 2 hours!)

A yummy, easy recipe that would be perfect for showing off to your friends at a dinner party. The only problem is you always want more :). Hope you give this a go and let me know how you get on! Next up on the old blog, I should have my first fashion post, aaaah! Happy desserting,

Rachael xx.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Baking Bucket List 2013!

Hey Guys! Hope you all had a fantastic weekend! Mine was crazy busy from my car breaking down to bridesmaids dress shopping (no success, ggrrr!), I don't think my bum hit a chair all weekend :). So I'm here today with a wee list of ten treats that I am looking forward to baking in 2013. Such a big year for me so I though I would mark it with some exciting new bakes to try. So here they are, I'm really looking forward to giving these bad boys a go....

1. Red Velvet Cupcakes
2. Lemon drizzle cupcakes
3. Lemon meringue pie
4. Macaroons
5. Banoffie Cupcakes
6. Baked Alaska
7. Chocolate Eclairs
8. Banana Bread
9. Make my own chocolates
10. Black Forest Gateaux ( Sean's input, he's been begging me to make this for years!)

(This is just a wee pic of my fiancé, Sean and I when we first got engaged, a year ago today! Can't believe it's only  5 months until we are hubby and wife! Eeep I'm excited!).

So there you go! What do you think? I think the macaroons will be difficult, I've heard they can be notoriously tricky to get right. But it's all about trying new things and expanding my baking repertoire! If you want to have a list along with me, leave me a wee comment with your baked treats which you want to try, I would love to know what you guys like baking :)! I have some different posts coming up in the next few weeks, so stay tuned :), including a fashion-related post which is new for me, but hopefully you guys like it :). Happy Baking,

Love Rachael xx.

P.S. What do you think of the blog revamp? I think it's much more me :).

Monday, 18 February 2013

Crafty Project: Cute Tea Light Candle Holder

Hey lovely people! So my valentine's themed bake didn't go as planned with a lot of family illness occurring and distracting me, they turned out not so pleasant to eat! So I thought I would share my first crafty project. It is very simple and looks really cute on a mantelpiece on a chilly wintery night (every night in Northern Ireland). Here's a wee pic...

You will need....
an empty clean soup can
something sharp (knife, nail, skewer etc)
a tea light candle
How to make....
1. Fill can with water and put in the freezer.
2. When the water has frozen, get your sharp object and punch small holes in any pattern you would like. I used hearts for the valentines day theme.
3. Melt the ice inside. Insert a tea light candle, light it and enjoy a soft and pretty glow.
Hope you like this crafty project! It's a good way to recycle something that would otherwise be considered rubbish. Hope everyone had a nice valentine's day. Were you spoiled? I was but I had to work that evening which was a bit of disappointment. I will be back soon with another bake for you soon :) Much love,
Rachael xx.


Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Chocolate Guinness Cake = Yum!

Hey guys, second recipe of the day for you (I'm doing well today, It's my get things done and accomplished day!). So, I've heard people singing the praises of this cake but I was never too sure on the combination of chocolate and Guinness, I just thought that it can not possibly work, can it? Well let me tell you IT CAN!! This cake is my most favourite cake that I have EVER made, It is PERFECT!!! Sorry about all the capitals I'm just so excited and in love with it. I used the original Nigella Lawson recipe and didn't really change anything (for once ha!). Just imagine it, dark, chocolatey, moist and soft cake with a creamy vanilla cream cheese frosting, it's basically heaven right there :)! Here's a wee picture to wet your appetite for this recipe...

Nigella's Chocolate Guinness Cake!!!
  • 250 ml Guinness
  • 250 g unsalted butter
  • 75 g cocoa powder
  • 400 g caster sugar
  • 142 ml sour cream
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 275 Plain flour
  • 2.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
For the Frosting...
  • 300 cream cheese
  • 150 Icing sugar
  • 125 ml double cream (or whipping cream)


Preheat the oven to 180°C, and butter and line a 23cm cake tin.

Pour the Guinness into a large saucepan, heat Guinness whilst melting in butter, when butter has  melted  whisk in the cocoa and sugar.

Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the pan and finally whisk in the flour and bicarb.

Pour the cake mix into the greased and lined tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack.

When the cake's cold, sit it on a cake stand.  Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve over the icing sugar and then beat them both together. Add the cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency. Spread this on the cake and dust with chocolate curls. Eat and eat some more, so you don't have to share it...hehe!

And there you go, one gorgeous cake done and ready to devour. I seriously recommend trying this beast of cake and also checking out some more of Nigella's recipes, she is pretty talented in the kitchen and is one of my favourite tv chefs :). I hope you give this a go and let me know what you think of it :). Next up I will have a lovely Valentine's themed bake to share with you but shhhh!! I don't want my fiancé finding out. Until then, Happy baking and much love,

Rachael xx.

Chocolate Orange Scones!

Hello friends! Sorry for the wee break again, ha! I'm not very reliable when it comes to this old blogging thing! Well, I have some delicious recipes for you today to make up for it. Firstly some chocolate orange scones. Here's a wee picture for you to drool over for a wee while :)....

These little baked beauties come to you courtesy of a very yummy recipe by the amazing Ellie Simmons. She won the comic relief bake off with these bad boys, don't you know, so they must be sensational! I haven't made very many scones before, just the white chocolate and strawberry scones which you can also read about on this blog! But I will definitely make these again, they were perfectly orangey with BIG dark chocolate chunks throughout, so scrummy. I also had some help with these from my lovely fiancé, he loved telling me not to knead the dough, haha! So here goes, give these wee boys a go and you won't be disappointed, Thank you Ellie!
Chocolate Orange Scones
700g self-raising flour
150g butter
150g caster sugar
2 large oranges, finely grated zest of both and juice of one orange
150g chocolate chunks ( I probably added a lot more than this!)
200ml milk, plus extra for brushing
1tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 210C. Lightly butter two baking trays.
Sift the flour into a bowl. Rub in the butter using your hands until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, chocolate chunks and orange zest.
In a measuring jug, mix the milk with the juice of one orange. Add to the flour mixture gradually until the dough just comes together. Be careful not to overwork the scone dough.
Roll out the dough to approximately 2cm/1in thickness and cut out scones.
Transfer the scones to the buttered baking trays, brush the tops with milk and bake in the centre of the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until risen and golden-brown.
Remove from the oven and cool on wire rack.
These scones could be served with cream and clementines. My favourite way of serving would have to be with a big thick spreading of chocolate spread, just because I have serious chocolate addiction and I can never have too much :). Hope you are all having a nice week and baking lots of yummy treats! Please let me know if you have baked any of my goodies, I would love to know how they turned out! Next up I have a test run of Nigella's Chocolate Guinness cake.....watch this space!
Lots of Love,
Rachael xx.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Chocolatey Courgette Cupcakes!

Hey baking people,

Here is the recipe, as promised, for the Chocolate courgette cupcakes. They are wonderfully sweet and gooey, perfect for getting some veggies in picky eaters :). You wouldn't even know you were eating a whopping big green vegetable ;P.  Again I alternated a few things, so if you would like the original it can be found on allrecipes.com. HAPPY BAKING!

Chocolate and Courgette Cupcakes

Serves 12.

2 small eggs
175g dark brown soft sugar
110ml ground nut oil
25g plain melted chocolate
125g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp salt
110g grated courgette
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 180 Degrees Celsius and line a cupcake tin with 12 cases.
2. Mix in a large bowl, the eggs and sugar. Mixing till fluffy and pale.
3. To this mixture add the melted chocolate, oil and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.
4. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
5. Add this mix to the egg mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in the courgette.
6. Spoon into baking cases and bake for 16-20mins!( Mine only needed 17 mins in the oven!).
7. Remove when done, cool and top with melted dark chocolate and decorate how you wish. Then gobble up quickly because they won't last long.

Hope you love these as much as I did!

Rachael xx.

I'm Back!!

Hi friends!

Sorry for my massive absence from the old blog. I can't even believe it's been nearly 6 months since I have a posted a yummy recipe. Let me tell you, that will certainly change :). The past 6 months have been a whirlwind for me and not a good sweep-you-of-your-feet, happy, romantic type whirlwind. I have had quite a tough time with different personal issues and let a lot of  difficult stuff pile up and drag me down. But it's hopefully all sorted now and I will be back here more often with delicious treats. I thought I start with a few updates on what I've been up to lately:

1. I got a job!!! It's just a wee shop assistant job in a fancy shop but it gets me by. It's really enjoyable and demanding at the same time.

2. I found THE wedding dress! After months of searching, many bad experiences and lots of beautiful dresses I found the dress that I will marry my man in! It's so exciting, I love it and can't wait to wear it.

3. Plans are underway for my marital home, eeeeep! By far my most exciting news :) It's so perfect but I'm trying not to get too excited :0 but I have developed an unhealthy obsession with pinterest and scented candles.

4. I'm in my last semester at uni! I can't believe I'm nearly finished with University, it's been such a long, stressful but amazing few years of my life. I'm just hoping I graduate with a good degree and discover what I want to do with my life :).

5. I've just had my three year anniversary with the boy, we didn't do anything as he has exams, but it is still amazing that my first relationship lasted this long. Ha! that sounds really pessimistic, It's amazing it will be the only relationship and will last a lifetime.

6. I visited Glasgow to take my sister back to University. We had a weekend of good food, shopping and wine with the mother, it was so much fun :).

So that's a few of the major things that have been occurring in the last while. Again sorry for my absence :) but stay tuned, I've got a scrummy cupcake recipe coming up next :). Here's a few wee pictures of my good times:

What have you guys been up to? have you baked anything wonderful you could share with me :)?
Happy baking friends,

Rachael xx.