London Fashion Week

Tarts Times Two

Pesto Pin-Wheel

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Evening all! Looking back on 2014 I am so pleased with my bakes. 
I started off baking cupcakes and it just developed from there. 
My skills and knowledge have grown and I cannot stop baking! 
I shall keep going and will be documenting as I go. 
If you have not tried baking in the past then you should definitely give it ago, you do not have to try anything complicated. 
Just find a recipe and bake! You will be so satisfied with the result!

j. x

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Courtesy of instagram.

Happy New Year All!

I wish you all a beautiful & happy year. I hope all your dreams & wishes come true. I am looking forward to the year ahead & hope it is full of adventure & possibilities. 

j. xxx

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

So the big day is nearly upon us! There is not long to go now until Santa pops down all the chimneys!
I don't know about you but it is almost Christmas Eve and we have not yet planned our menu.
My father & I like to cook something a bit special on Christmas Day but this year we have not been as organised as we probably should of been.
One thing I do know is that I will preparing these tasty little creatures. 
I made these blinis last year and they were definitely a hit in our household! 
Perfect to enjoy with a glass of bucks fizz whilst opening some gifts.
They are fairly straight forward to make, I just like to take a little extra time with the presentation.

I just do two different types, one with smoked salmon and one with king prawns but it really depends on your own taste :)

For the salmon blinis you will need:
Pickled beetroot, smoked salmon, horseradish sauce, capers, blinis and a lemon!
You can make your own blinis if you have time; however there is already lots to prepare on Christmas Day so I opt for the ready made ones which are available at most large supermarkets.
These require a short time in the oven, check your packets for details! 
I then slice a very thin slither of beetroot and place this on the blini. 
Next I arrange some smoked salmon on top and pop a splodge of horseradish on the salmon. I only use a small amount as it has quite a strong flavour but again, alter to taste.
To finish I add a couple of capers, a squeeze of lemon juice and a little lemon zest for colour and voila! you are all done. So quick but so scrumptious.

For the prawn blinis you will need:
Cucumber, cherry tomatoes, prawns (larger ones are better), coriander spring onions, blinis, sweet chilli sauce, tomato puree and soy sauce.
As above, check cooking times for the blinis.
To start in a frying pan add the prawns, a tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce, a tablespoon of soy sauce and a little tomato puree. 
Put on a medium high heat until the prawns are cooked and the sauce starts to thicken and become sticky. Once cooked, leave aside to cool a little.
Whilst the prawns are cooling peel the skin from the cucumber and cut a thin slice, place this on the blini first.
Cut a thin slice of the cherry tomato and pop on top.
Next add a prawn with a little of the reduced sauce and place a couple of thinly slices spring onion on top. 
Finish off with a coriander leaf for flavour and colour and then enjoy!
This one is a little bit more technical but definitely worth the effort.

These would both be perfect for a little taster with the family on Christmas Day or for any festive party you may be hosting. Either way, enjoy and I hope you have a lovely Christmas!

J xxx

Thursday, 13 November 2014

This week I got a bit fruity & baked two yummy items.
The first was one of my own modified recipes for an apple & blackberry tart.
My parents went out picking for sloes for their annual Christmas sloe gin & came across lots of lovely blackberries too.
With these I paired some scrumptious apples & cinnamon and produced these little individual tarts.
These just remind me of autumn winter & would go well with a glass of mulled wine!

See the recipe below...

It was also pie week on the great british bake off & I thought I would try Luis' tropical fruit tart.
I thought this bake was actually not too hard to try, the hardest part was trying to cut the mango into lovely little slices! I'm not sure they are all that even but still looks fruity!

Please see Luis' recipe here!

Apple & Blackberry Individual Tarts
Makes about 8 small tarts.


For the pastry:
450g Plain Flour
220g Unsalted Butter
160g Caster Sugar
2 Large Eggs
50ml Semi-Skimmed Milk

For the filling:
1kg Bramley Apples, peeled, cored & diced.
400g Blackberries
140g Caster Sugar
1tsp Ground Cinnamon

1 Egg
2tbsp Semi-Skimmed Milk

1. In a large bowl, whisk the butter & sugar together until light and fluffy.

2. Sieve in the flour, then break in the egg and mix well. When it starts to come together, add in enough milk to make it into a ball that is smooth but not sticky in texture.

3. Tip out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and press out with your hands until it is around 1 inch thick. Then cover in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

4. Whilst your pastry is chilling, you can start to make the filling. Put the diced apples into a large heatproof bowl and microwave on the highest setting for 3 minutes. Mix in the blackberries, suagr, cinnamon, a pinch of salt & 2tbsp of flour. Mix well and set aside to cool.

5. Preheat your oven to 190°c.

6. Take your pastry out the fridge and lightly flour your work surface. Cut off  1 third of the pastry and set aside for later. Roll out the rest of the pastry until it is about 5mm thick.

7. Next line your tartlet cases with the pastry and make sure you leave some over hang. (Do not be tempted to neaten your edges before baking as the pastry will shrink.) Cut out squares of baking parchment the same size as your cases. Then screw the paper up into a ball and then pull open, this will help the baking beans get right into the corners. Pour in your baking beans and bake for 15 minutes.

8. Take your tray out the oven and remove the baking paper & beans. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes or until golden brown.

9. When baked, take out the cases, trim your edges with a sharp knife and leave to cool. When cool, fill the cases with your filling and you can be over generous with this as it shrinks during baking.

10. Next roll out the remaining pastry to the same depth as previous. You then need to cut 6 x 1 cm strips per tart, these will form the weaved top. Weave the strips, three horizontally & three vertically. Press down the ends into the cooked pastry and then brush the top with your beaten egg & milk.

11. Bake for 45minutes or until golden brown on top and the filling is bubbling. 
Leave to cool and then sprinkle with some more caster sugar.



Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Next up on my baking journey, I attempted a filled loaf. 
This didn't really go to plan, I had a massive issue with the use of yeast.
For some unknown reason, I just could not figure it out.
Then catching up on a bake off master class, I released I had done an ultimate baking no no.
I put the salt on top of the yeast, I believe this deactivates it? Which is why I got no rise!
Still with this set back, the final product actually looked quite good & was rather tasty.

This recipe is by Richard from The Great British Bake Off & after I tweeted a photo of my creation, the man himself tweeted back! Claim to baking fame!
I would give this recipe an 7 in terms of difficulty.
There are lots of different elements to get right, with the dough, structure & filling.
However if you follow all the instructions, he has made it fairly easy to follow & as I had never baked any bread before this, I think the outcome was okay!

For the recipe, please see this link.

Have a go & enjoy!

J. x

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Firstly, I would like to deeply apologise for my long term absence.
However they do say absence makes the heart grow fonder?
I have never been one to see the point in writing something just for the sake of writing. 
Not that I am making excuses; but that is obviously what I am doing! 
If I am being completely honest I have just been lazy, started a new job, with new hours & new pressure. Then when my beautiful days off came around, all I wanted to do was catch up on my favourite programs, eat & nap! 
It wasn't until late this summer when one of my favourite programs returned to our screens, the great british bake off. I finally started doing something constructive with my spare time & it turns out I rather quite enjoy making scrumptious items of joy.
Whilst watching the first episode, I made a silly agreement with my parents to bake something from each week. They would decide which item & I would decide on the flavours.
Now this seemed a rather silly deal to be making as I cannot really call myself a baker. Prior to this I had only really baked cupcakes & I could not tell the difference between a buttercream & a ganache. 
However I was totally ready for a new challenge in my life. Now I am around 10 weeks or so into my journey & even though the bake off finished some weeks ago, I am still going strong. 
It also turns out that I seem to be pretty good at this whole baking thing, (well at least that is what my friends & family have told me). 
I now have no idea what I would do on my days off if I wasn't baking. I started off following recipes, however as my confidence started to build I tweaked recipes that I had found & even created my own! I started writing & photographing everything I had baked & wanted to create some sort of scrapbook with my recipes. Then on a chilly morning in November, I wondered if perhaps anyone else would be interested in recreating anything I had baked. 
It was there & then that I decided to publish my kitchen adventures to the world.
So here I am, with my first baking post & I hope you enjoy.

I have started off fairly simply with a Raspberry Swiss Roll. This took two tries as the first time, my sponge cracked when rolling was attempted. 
The recipe is as below & comes from the delightful, The Hummingbird Bakery, Home Sweet Home cookbook.


For the Sponge:
4 Eggs, separated
180g Caster Sugar
1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
120g Plain Flour
3/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt

For the Filling:
160g Raspberry Jam (or flavour of choice)
Icing Sugar for dusting

1. Preheat your oven to 180°c & line your swiss roll tin with baking parchment.

2. With an electric whisk, whisk the egg whites until they are stiff & set aside. 

3. Using your whisk again, in another bowl mix the egg yolks until they turn pale. 
Gradually add the caster sugar & vanilla extract while still mixing, mix until pale & fluffy.

4. Sift together the flour, baking powder & salt. 
Add these ingredients to the beaten egg yolks & fold in until combined. 
Next, gently fold in the egg whites to the batter.

5. Pour the batter into your prepared tin & make sure it is an even thickness all over. 
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the sponge is a light golden-brown colour.

6. Next, prepare a sheet of baking parchment & dust with icing sugar. 
Loosen the edges of the cake & invert the sponge onto the paper.

7. With the cake in-between both layers of the baking parchment, begin to roll the sponge from the narrow end. Roll all the way up & then cool on a rack with the seam side down.

8. Once cooled, carefully unroll & then peel away the paper. 
Next, spread the raspberry jam over the inside of the sponge & re-roll without the paper.

9. Lastly you are free to decorate as you wish! 
I sprinkled with icing sugar & used fresh raspberries on my first attempt. 
On my second one I used some popping candy & gold edible glitter. 
The options are endless.

 Bon App├ętit!

J. x

Sunday, 3 March 2013

After what felt like months spent over in the beautiful state of Florida, which in reality was only just under two weeks, I have arrived back in glorious-freezing-cold-definitely-no-sunshine England. The flight back was less to be desired which has now left me holding on with all my energy not to collapse into a deep sleep and fall into the harsh depths of jet-lag. Ew. To distract myself I have equipped myself with diet pepsi and enough Swedish fish to feed a nation (god bless america). Now I plan to catch up with every possible program I may of missed out on the last couple of weeks until it turns a reasonable hour to retire to my bed, six o'clock should do it right? Please excuse the quality of photos, I will update when I have awoken in a day or two...


Thursday, 14 February 2013

I have been an avid subscriber to Glossybox for a while now. I love that it feels like Christmas every month when you receive that beautiful little box full of treats and surprises. I was upset when I received my January box and alas, this yummy smelling Jason lip balm was broken. I could not sample it....or attempt to eat it, as it smells a lot like after eights. Yum.
I left my review on the website, explaining that I loved the scent however it was broken so I could not use it. I thought nothing of it and a couple of weeks later I receive some mail and much to my surprise it was indeed a new working lip balm from the Glossybox team. I was thrilled and have been using it everyday since. It is now my go to lip balm. Sorry Carmex. My lips feel hydrated and delicious and I would honestly recommend this product to everyone.
I guess I'm trying to say thank you Glossybox.  

On my nails is Nail inc Porchester Square.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

New York Fashion Week is almost over, which means it's almost time for London! I am very excited to be able to go to the Felder Felder show this coming Friday. It will be a treat to be watching the show rather than working it! Normally I am backstage throwing clothes on models, pinning clothes to models and squeezing shoes on models! So I am excited to be able to experience it from a seat!
Felder Felder have been one of my favourite designers for a while now, they are still fresh to the fashion world but I believe there is more and more demand to get a seat at their show, so I feel very lucky. They started their label in 2006 after graduating from Central St Martins and already have many devoted fans.
I love how they bring a dark rocky vibe into their collections but still keeping the shapes and styles feminine. I love the clash of soft against hard, the chiffon printed fabrics and the gorgeous collection of jackets they always seem to have!
If you are not making it to the show, do not fear as this year it will be streamed live through the London Fashion Week website. 2pm. Friday 15th February.
If you are yet to gaze your eyes among their collections, please do, I am sure you will not regret.


Thursday, 7 February 2013

Photos 1, 11 & 12 are from On/Off
All others are my own.

I cannot begin to explain how amazing it was to get to meet the lady herself, let alone work personally with her on her first show in 30 years. Zandra Rhodes was pretty much the reason why I decided to go into fashion when I little. It was most definitely a once in a lifetime experience.
This show was a retrospective of her previous collections and it was an honour to be able to take part in a show like this. Zandra Rhodes herself even gave me a lesson on her secrets of ironing, she advised me to spit on the iron and if it sizzled, it was hot enough to start ironing. True story. However, I could not bring myself to do this with vintage Rhodes!
The show was packed, the queue was out the door, the clothes were beautiful and the shoes were insane.
Everything you would want from Paris.


Thursday, 31 January 2013

Over the next few posts I will be sharing my Paris Fashion Week experiences. 
For me, a small town English girl, this was rather exciting for me.
I have a kind of secret double fashion life and I rarely get to share this with people, until now that is.
I enjoy seeing the industry from behind the scenes, it's interesting to see what really goes on in comparison to what people think goes on.


Yang Du, Paris Fashion Week February 2012.

Okay, so I did mention how backdated these were, but as I haven't been blogging for a year I feel I have lots to share. 
Last February, I had the amazing opportunity to go to Paris and work at a number of shows the On/Off team were putting on during Fashion Week. This is one of four posts sharing my experiences with the world!
So, I did go there to work, however for the Yang Du show I got treated and asked if I would like to watch the show instead. Of course I said yes and had an amazing experience of a designer I am not so familiar with.
I wouldn't say I would personally wear these creations out of the house as my style is slightly more simplified but the show was inspiring. It was more like a theatre production than a fashion show. 
The theme, as you can see from the photos, was a interpretation of Noah's Arc. The models came down two by two in brightly coloured animal faced knits whilst in-between featured performances from Ryan Styles.
I have to say, it was the strangest most intriguing thing I had ever seen. The kind of thing you know you shouldn't be watching but you just can't keep your eyes off no matter how hard you try.
And to be honest, anything with an animal face on has my vote...


Saturday, 26 January 2013

Backstage at Lyle & Scott.

Had the wonderful opportunity to work at the Lyle & Scott show last year. The collection was full of bright sweaters and trousers combined with the unmistakable L&S edge. 
I especially liked that the main model looked identical to Penn Badgley....never a bad thing.
I mean, not that we look at the models, it's obviously all about the clothes ladies...right?


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