Cookie Dough Sandwich Monster Cookies

“If you find it all too painful, then move all books and papers away from the desk and write from the heart. It may be messy and need lots of rewriting, but at least for a while, you will get something on paper as your creativity breaks through…” — Karen O’Reilly 

These great big friendly giants aren’t called cookie monsters for nothing…

Cookie Monster Cookies - Half Peanut butter, Half Triple Chocolate Chip with Cookie Dough Frosting Filling

I’ll admit, when I set out to make these I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to make. I vaguely remember feeling torn between cookie dough chocolate cupcakes, (something rich and simply fudgy), or just a good old, soft and chewy peanut butter cookie…But realistically, I also knew that all I really wanted was just one extra large bowl of frosting. I kind of figured out that anything I did make would end up with frosting slathered all over it anyway…

Indecision can be so tough, but what an amazing blur Project Frosting turned out to be…

Cookie Monster Cookies - Half Peanut butter, Half Triple Chocolate Chip with Cookie Dough Frosting Filling

I mean, is it ever possible to go OTT on cookies?

The answer = apparently so No. Never. 

Although, the final product was supremely decadent to say the least…Surely this must be what the end of the world looks like; crumbling towers of monster cookies? Cuz I’m sooooooo up for that.

Cookie Monster Cookies - Half Peanut butter, Half Triple Chocolate Chip with Cookie Dough Frosting Filling

They came out huge (Looks like I still haven’t mastered the art of cookie scooping) – but nonetheless warm and soft and fudgy and generally fan-tabulous  ajdakfjdkfj.

Truthfully, I was actually pretty sad about having to actually bake these! – Particularly the chocolate half – the cocoa chip cookie dough was INSANE; we’re talking like, a-knee-deep-bowl-of-pure-chocolate- fudge here. It was ridiculously thick, chocolaty, incredibly rich and super buttery…the density of it was simply out of this world. I am still day dreaming about it. Frankly, it’s worth ‘making’ a batch of these cookies just so you can witness (and devour) the incredibleness of this chocolate cookie dough for yourself! They were the best soft + chewy triple chocolate chip cookies EVER! I can’t even begin to imagine how divine these would taste with a scoop or three of vanilla or cookie dough ice cream?! *Lovestruck* jsdsjfsjkef

…I truly am my own worst enemy.

The cookie dough filling was also one of the best ideas of this year so far. It was dreamily thick and perfectly whippy; a spreadable heaven.

Cookie Monster Cookies - Half Peanut butter, Half Triple Chocolate Chip with Cookie Dough Frosting Filling

Join the dark side and master the art of monster cookies!

Warning:  Cravings may persist.

Peanut butter cookie

  • ½ C softened salted butter
  • ½ C brown sugar
  • ¼ C white sugar
  • ½ C flour
  • ¾ C peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp baking soda

Triple chocolate cocoa cookie

  • ½ C softened butter
  • ½ C white sugar
  • ½ C brown sugar
  • 1 C flour
  • ½ C + tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 L egg
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 x C white chocolate chunks.
  • 1 x C dark chocolate chips
  • ½ tsp baking soda.
  1. The method is the same for the each of the cookies, start by creaming together the softened butter (+ peanut butter), sugar, and vanilla. Add the egg last.
  2. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients together, before combining the wet with the dry, incorporating thoroughly. Add the milk. You should have 2 pretty thick cookie bowls of dough.
  3. Refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes before taking equal handfuls of each mix at a time, shaping into balls, and baking at 180*/350 * for 8-12 minutes.

Cookie dough frosting filler

  • ½ C butter
  • 3/4 C brown sugar
  • ½ C icing sugar
  • 1 C flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 x tbsp vanilla
  • ¼ C heavy cream (more as needed).
  • 1 C chocolate chips.

Using a whisker/hand held stand mixer, cream the butter with the brown sugar first, before adding the icing sugar gradually. Add the flour, vanilla + salt next; the dough will be very thick + heavy until you add the cream. You might want to chill the dough for a bit, but otherwise, spread the dough between the cookies and sandwich away!

Cookie Monster Cookies - Half Peanut butter, Half Triple Chocolate Chip with Cookie Dough Frosting Filling

It’s hard to believe that I actually made these monsters way back in September (muaha they’ve been hidden from you for that long, sorrrrry) …does anyone else have this ridiculously chaotic routine of making stuff/editing photos/putting it away to do *later* before darting to and from all of the responsibilities + items that have been lingering on the to-do list for way longer than they should have been? It would be nice to know that I’m not alone on this guilty little procrastination ritual; I can’t even remember the last time where I didn’t feel like I was constantly having to play catch up with everything that needs to get done round here…

The past week has been crazy – mentally draining as well as plain out tiring. I only wish I had more time to blog and bake! I totally under estimated how hard 2nd year of university would be. I am drowning in new responsibilities, books that need to be read and essays that haven’t been done…Don’t even go all dissertation and scary careers stuff on me. #sonotready.

The top quote is something I (ironically) read whilst scanning a library book for essay content ideas, but it seriously helped me to push myself and just get on with everything as best as possible when everything was beginning to pile up this week, considering that all I seem to want to do is just bake, photographs, edit, eat, and repeat.

If anything, it feels refreshingly weird being able to write freely on here. I keep driving myself crazy by checking the little word counter down on the bottom left, paranoid that some kind of cookie monster policeman will shout at me if I go over the maximum count. And then of course, I snap out of essay mode; landing softly back into the delightful world of chocolate chip, buttery goodness as I remember just how much I love writing about food and how cookie monsters will someday save the world…Hopefully I’ve cleared enough down this week to get back into the swing of sugar, spice and all things nice next week…The baking addiction has been tortured for long enough.

Have a fabulous weekend guys! Tash xo

 

A Beautiful Afternoon-Tea themed baby shower + Newborn cuddles!

Hey all! How is your weekend going?

Mine has been pretty lovely so far! I actually still have a huge grin lingering on my face from yesterday afternoon; I was so lucky to have been a part of the most beautiful baby shower ever thrown. It was a glowing day filled with melt-worthy newborn baby cuddles and plenty of pretty pictures….

Afternoon tea themed baby shower fun and games

On the 3rd October 2014 at 16:23pm my new, second baby cousin Lily was born to my big cousin Michelle + her husband. Having a new baby in the family is so exciting! Yet before baby Lily was even born, a bunch of Michelle’s closest friends pulled all of the family together and set out to organize a double, surprise baby shower to throw for her after the baby was born to celebrate the arrival of both Lily and Michelle’s toddler (who missed out on his own party 2 years ago)…

One of Michelle’s biggest weaknesses also happens to be traditional English Afternoon tea. Her amazing friends knew that this would be the perfect theme for planning a lavish afternoon filled with quizzes, champagne, and CAKE! Ahead went the secret planning…

Can you believe that this entire spread was handmade by my Aunty (The new Nana!!) and cousin?!

IMG_9166 IMG_9156

They are so, so talented. We still tell the new Nana that she quit her job and party plan for a living – everything was ridiculously perfect! There was so much delicious food to go around (we were packed off with at least 3 cakes worth of leftovers). It was the ultimate-baby-shower-cake heaven. I don’t think anyone will be forgetting this any time soon!

Afternoon tea themed baby shower fun and games Afternoon tea themed baby shower fun and games Afternoon tea themed baby shower fun and games

The salted caramel torte (first photo) was incredible. If you are a sucker for anything cheesecake, brownie-like and rich and infused with oodles of salted caramel…then this = what your dreams are made of. The recipe remains top secret however… (I tried). Then there was the chocolate-pops: white chocolate balls stuffed with thick, sugary Nutella! *Melts*.

Afternoon tea themed baby shower fun and games

Now, regarding the *surprise* theme of the party… These big plans had been kept pretty well under wraps + hidden from Michelle for an entire 2 months…Then guess what?

This happened: My mother (who was driving us to Michelle’s new house) gets quite lost after turning off the motorway. Mum freaks out, phones Michelle in a bit of a haste (we were stuck facing the wrong direction on the narrowest one-way street in the history of ever…) to say sorry, and that we were going to be a tad bit late + could she give us her address again please?! Michelle’s baffled response was along the lines of:

“But…why are you going to my house??”

“Oh. Sh*t Mich! Forget I ever said anything. In fact, forget I even rung you. See you soon!!”… *Hangs up*

It was definitely an applaud worthy moment. Naturally, my mum wanted to know why I didn’t say something before she hit dial…but I did! She just totally didn’t hear me. It’s already pretty hilarious to look back on! Oh, and then we got yelled at by an angry taxi driver who wanted to get down this one-way street but couldn’t. So he tried anyway and we both got stuck and then he yelled at us some more (that’s so helping us both out, bro…Not). We did get there, eventually.

She is beautiful. There is nothing more angelic than a cuddly, blue eyed bundle with soft, tufty hair and warm cheeks all wrapped up in white…

Afternoon tea themed baby shower fun and games Afternoon tea themed baby shower fun and games Afternoon tea themed baby shower fun and games

There is also nothing more peaceful than watching a newborn baby fall asleep in your arms. A new life is so fascinating…I mean, it’s crazy we have no idea who this little girl is going to be, or all of the amazing, beautiful things she will go on to achieve in her life?! Holding her was so amazing because it felt like I had her whole life-to-be right there condensed as a bundle in my arms; a story that only time will tell…

Beautiful baby Afternoon tea themed baby shower fun and games

It was the perfect way for the family to spend time together after a rather chaotic (and scary) week, before we all disperse back out into various other parts of the world again until Christmas! There were so many babies and another pregnant mummy expecting twins which only added to the excitement in the air! I also think it’s fair to say that newborn baby’s bring out the gushiest side of everyone. What a perfect day it was!

IMG_9182 Afternoon tea themed baby shower fun and games

I can’t believe it’s Sunday again already?! Recently, I feel as if I’ve been watching the days/weeks fly by just as quickly as I used to watch the hours tick by as a kid in classes all day. I’m pretty sure there is some external force out there having fun with the remote to life! Time is definitely on fast forward…

I have so many new recipes in my ‘post inventory’ that will be going up over the next couple of weeks. For a sneak peak, check out my IG (on the right sidebar)! I’ve had to stall the baking process for a few weeks and start to catch up with everything – there is so much going on right now, and I enjoy the creating + baking process so much that I just know it will just serve prevent productivity in the other areas of my life that need to be seen to. I have a feeling I will bake anyway though – a girl needs some sanity!

Also if you have a moment, then do check out my friend Jessie’s (genius!) amazing sweet potato and early grey loaf! Jessie is one of my best buddies from uni (the girl who captured my heart by sharing out her post-lecture chocolate cupcakes…says it all really ) – and she has just started out her own blog adventure, so I am super excited to see what more she has yet to surprise us with from her oven, so do check her out! I totally thrilled if you could visit her site and give Jessie her first few hits :)

On that note, I hope you all enjoy your Sunday afternoons, get to make something warm + soupy and have a chance to take a walk in some crunchy orange leaves in the breeze! Here is a London sunrise that I snapped a couple of days ago; #cloudporn. Yet another reason to justify why I LOVE AUTUMN!!

Sunrise Over London Cloudy Sky Landscape Photography Tashiana

Love Love,

Tash x

beautiful baby shower afternoon tea themed

Sweet Potato & Maple Whipped Honey Hummus

“Our destinies are the culmination of all the choices we’ve made along the way, which is why it’s imperative to listen hard to your inner voice when it speaks up. Don’t let anyone else’s noise drown it out…”
― Megan McCafferty, Second Helpings

Sweet potato and maple whipped honey hummus - super thick and creamy! Vegan and GF! This hummus is more like a DESSERT than a dip!

I almost cannot believe that this hummus came out of our kitchen. Quite simply:  it is utterly amazing…

Sweet potato and maple whipped honey hummus - super thick and creamy! Vegan and GF! This hummus is more like a DESSERT than a dip!

You can probably make out the texture from the photos already; this hummus was super thick and seriously creamy. It was so perfectly sweet, and the spices were so well balanced that it could have basically passed as a dessert. Given one large spoon, it would be way too easy (and enjoyable) to finish an entire bowl of this delicious stuff all on its own. It was pure indulgence. I felt as if I was wasting it by using it as a dip…

However, because it’s made with such healthy and wholesome ingredients (No iffy supermarket oils + additives), the consistency actually turns out to be incredibly light! Despite the thickness, the hummus turned out to be easily ‘whipp-able’ and spreadable. And so, if anything, what makes it so dangerously addictive is its sheer lightness - you could continue to eat this stuff forever without suffering from a sickly overload.

So, if you are a big fan of red pepper hummus (and hummus in general), or a sucker for all things sweet potato and fall…look no further, I have the hummus which you have been looking for all of your life. You will go to sleep dreaming of this stuff. (You think I’m joking right?)

Addiction, anyone…?! Someone hide the salted tortilla chips please, I repeat:  HIDE THE SALTY TORTILLA CHIPS FROM US ALL!!

Sweet potato and maple whipped honey hummus - super thick and creamy! Vegan and GF! This hummus is more like a DESSERT than a dip!

 

This hummus is basically the marriage of autumn and summer. What’s not to love about this in the middle of a rainy October? For you guys living over in the States, the sweet potato is prominent enough to make this the perfect (if not the best ever) Thanksgiving side dish!

Makes one hummus mountain! (serves 8-10)

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cooked, peeled, and diced.
  • 1 x can of chickpeas (keep the water)
  • ½ tsp powdered garlic
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tahini sesame seed paste
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • Sprinkle of nutmeg + cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • Sprinkle of cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  1. Put all of the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until you have a thick, smooth paste.
  2. That is all. Easy right?!
  3. Remember to reserve the chickpea water. You will likely need to add more water as you are processing the hummus (up to ¼ C depending on how you like it/how thick your mixture happens to be) but don’t be afraid to, since the hummus will thicken with time.
  4. Try not to eat the whole bowl by itself. It goes seriously well with a large bag handful of tortilla chips…Enjoy!

Sweet potato and maple whipped honey hummus - super thick and creamy! Vegan and GF! This hummus is more like a DESSERT than a dip!

The reason why my photos are so obsessed with water crackers is because we didn’t have any salty tortilla chips in at the same. We bought some later (after it had gotten dark outside) and relished in them then. Boy, were they good; a match made in heaven if you like…a little like the way that sweet potato and hummus are.

I genuinely feel as if I could never buy another hummus again. My loyalty is with all things sweet potato and homemade now…

The end.

What’s your favourite hummus recipe?! Share, share!

“It may be the wrong decision… but fuck it; it’s mine.”
― Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves

No-bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars

“It’s just a cookie, sweetheart.”
― J. Lynn, Wait for You

Tell me, does anybody ever manage to grow out of their 5-year old urge to consume the entire bowl of raw cookie dough before the cookies have even been baked…? Surely anyone who says that they have must be lying…

No-bake chocolate chip cookie dough bars (the real thing!) These bars are so dense, thick, and creamy – They are dangerously addictive!

When it comes to actually baking cookies, I often have to talk myself out of reserving all of the beautifully thick cookie dough as a snack/dip. Cookie dough = temptation heaven. Raw eggs are pretty much the only deal breaker; and so the cooked cookies end up getting their way…and they all lived happily ever after.

But what if the ending was different?  What if the cookie dough was never baked…? What happens in a world where cookie dough is the final product…?

Happiness, I assure you. Happiness…

The sweetened condensed milk here in this recipe for *real* cookie dough is perfect. An otherwise stiff and strongly buttery bowl of cookie-flavoured deliciousness becomes transformed into a dense and thick, addictive, creamy decadence…

These bars are so dense, thick, and creamy – They are dangerously addictive!

Makes 12-16 bars

  • ½ C butter
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 C flour
  • ¾ can sweetened condensed milk (add the whole can if you think the texture is too thick)
  • 2 C chocolate chips.
  1. Cream the butter, sugar + vanilla as if you were making cookies. Add the flour and mix thoroughly.
  2. Next, add the condensed milk, followed by the chocolate chips.
  3. You can put the cookie dough into a baking dish and leave it to refrigerate before cutting into bars, or you can shape it into small balls to make cookie dough bites. Either is fine, just make sure they have a few hours to cool + harden sufficiently (else they will get messy – use the freezer if you’re desperate) There is no raw egg to stop you eating the bowl with the biggest spoon that you can find there and then though!
  4. This is real cookie dough. And it is addictive. Enjoy.

As much as I would like to, I still can’t handle those cookie dough recipes that which call for flaxseed, cashews, coconut oil and the latest nature syrup…I mean, these things are all GREAT etc, and I’m sure that the final products are totally delicious and (most certainly) more guilt free + good for you than these dangerously addictive little bars of crack…but they just aren’t cookie dough! Nothing can beat the real thing IMO. Maybe one day I will find myself in some kitchen somewhere, pureeing nuts and shaping seeds into bars, but until then…Cookie dough means business; cookie dough means butter. Anything else is merely granola.

No-bake chocolate chip cookie dough bars (the real thing!) These bars are so dense, thick, and creamy – They are dangerously addictive!

Happy Sunday! xox

Super Stringy: Stovetop Pumpkin Gnocchi ‘n’ Cheese.

“Pumpkin, I am always serious when it comes to you”. — Kylie Scott, Play

It’s autumn. You currently have THE ultimate excuse to eat yourself stupidly orange. Do it.

Super Stringy: Stovetop Pumpkin Gnocchi and Cheese. Quick, easy, and cheesy! Perfect for fall.

Read on and allow me to help you OD on beta-carotene and mozzarella… (You probably thought this was vegan, right? Look away now)

Let me just quickly reveal an awkward confession about myself…posting up my own savoury dishes always makes me cringe on the inside.

Unlike the world of baked goods and brownies galore; savoury stuff is so dauntingly vast, – there are a million and one different ways to prepare a particular dish…and everybody else likes it differently to you. Although the exact same could be said for the baked world too, the feeling isn’t quite the same. When it comes to all things sugar and spice, I feel so much more in tune with the ingredients. I have so much more confidence in the final product because I can actually *feel* the wholeness of the cake/brownie/buttery-sugary creation, which means that I generally can’t wait to show them off and share them on here. After all, I perfected those recipes myself – they are born from my world and I know them inside and out – what’s not to feel confident about? I anticipate every streak of flavour and every crumb of their texture. I wait patiently for the oven to be finished with them so that I can claim their perfection. I am in control.

On the other hand, when it comes to actually *cooking* I usually find myself lost in a sea of spices, hoping for the best as I chuck teaspoon after teaspoon of mystery herbs into the dinner-to-be. Suddenly, I am not in control. To be quite frank, I don’t really know what I’m doing at all. However I do know that if I stir the pot enough then something edible usually happens…I never follow my plans through. I like hacks. I like fast-food…like who doesn’t? I cook to my own/my family’s tastes and we enjoy the warped ingredient ratios that we invent for ourselves…all to the detriment of a well dusted recipe. But what can we say? Corner cutting is great, and ignorance is bliss…

Quick, easy, and cheesy! Perfect for fall.

The only downside to this however, is that the finished dishes that can’t really be classified as much more than a big scramble of our favourite things cooked-up together in such a way that *mildly* resembles last week’s delectable pin…This for example, *should* have been vegan. But we had so much cheese to use up. So we used it anyway and pretty much undermined the purpose of pumpkin-pasta as a dairy alternative. Dinners seem to be a constant battle between expectations vs reality. Needless to say, they don’t really get snapped and posted up here since I can’t really bring myself to believe in what they *are*…

Yet with that said, sometimes, something very special actually does end up being thrown together. In these instances, it becomes sort-of post worthy, even if it has broken all of the rules and feels cringe-y and way too over-personalized to share.

I sure hope that you guys you can appreciate a super cheesy, cheats “macaroni and pumpkin cheese”, as improvised and gnocchi (rather than macaroni) based as it may be… ;) I love potato deeply.

Quick, easy, and cheesy! Perfect for fall.

Serves 2

  • 1 X 500g pack of gnocchi, cooked + salted (should = 2 servings)
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 x can of pumpkin
  • ¼ C cream cheese (any kind is fine really)
  • ¼ parmesan
  • ¼ C mozzarella (or cheddar, whatever you have at hand)
  • 1 tbsp English mustard
  • ½ C milk
  • ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder. Salt and pepper to taste.
  • 3-4 handfuls of spinach to stir in.
  1. Add the butter to a saucepan heated on medium-high heat. Wait for it to melt. Swoosh it around a little.
  2. Add the cream cheese, pumpkin, spices, mustard, and milk stirring until smooth and thickened.
  3. Add the cheeses after the first load of ingredients has heated enough. You may need to add more milk if the sauce becomes too thick and stringy – but thicker sauce = richer and tastier!
  4. Add the spinach a few minutes before you are ready to remove the sauce, wait for it to wilt. Stir.
  5. Combine the cooked + drained pasta with the sauce. If you want you can bake it from here with some extra cheese + sage infused breadcrumbs on top…or you can just serve it as it is. It is perfect like so (and ridiculously easy). Lazy person approved. So long as you have a can of pumpkin and a decent amount of butter and cheese, you can’t go wrong. Just trust your cheese-tuition and make some freaking sauce (that was cheesy, I know).

Super Stringy: Stovetop Pumpkin Gnocchi and Cheese. Quick, easy, and cheesy! Perfect for fall.

So…What’s next?

You can ogle + OD on my (rather superb) pumpkin pancakes here!

Or, if you’d like to see pumpkin blondies more your kind of thing, then double check those beauties out here!

And also, this amazing recipe for pumpkin spice cookies shall be making their debut onto TLS soon too! (After my chronic procrastination has been overcome)

But until then…

Have a great weekend! X

 “The multicolored leaves were softly glowing against the black sky, creating an untimely nocturnal rainbow which scattered its spectral tints everywhere and dyed the night with a harvest of hues: peach gold and pumpkin orange, honey yellow and winy amber, apple red and plum violet. Luminous within their leafy shapes, the colors cast themselves across the darkness and were splattered upon our streets and our fields and our faces. Everything was resplendent with the pyrotechnics of a new autumn.”
― Thomas Ligotti, The Nightmare Factory

Cinnamon & Banana Greek Yogurt bars with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

“My soul is impatient with itself. Like some bothersome child; its restlessness keeps growing and is forever the same. Everything interests me, but nothing holds me. I attend to everything, dreaming all the while. I am two, and both keep their distance — Siamese twins that aren’t attached…”― Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

Banana and Cinnamon Greek Yogurt bars

These banana bars are kind of like a cross between banana bread and banana pancakes… Thanks to one special ingredient, they have a firm texture which makes them airy and perfect for a quick breakfast. Meanwhile, the richness of the cream cheese topping also makes them perfect as a (semi-healthy) lunchbox or after dinner treat…

Banana and Cinnamon Greek Yogurt bars with cream cheese frosting

The clue was in the name… ;)

Banana and Cinnamon Greek Yogurt bars with cream cheese frosting

Greek yogurt is the greatest baking hack ever – it makes for moist cake which you can sink your teeth into and yet still feel great about doing so. Other recipes might call for sour cream – but with yogurt, the final product ends up less as a dessert than it does an all-round treat. The yogurt is only very subtle, yet still gives these bars a fresh ‘tang’ and some extra density without allowing the bars to become too sickly. These bars themselves also do not contain any butter (only the cream cheese frosting contains butter), a small amount of vegetable oil works wonders!

Banana and Cinnamon Greek Yogurt bars with cream cheese frosting

I only frosted half of the batch so that the other 50% could be served with yogurt and ‘frosted’ with peanut butter or Nutella for a healthy (ish) breakfast…<3

Banana and Cinnamon Greek Yogurt bars with cream cheese frosting Banana and Cinnamon Greek Yogurt bars with cream cheese frosting

Ingredients:

  • ½ C vegetable oil (or ¾ C butter)
  • 1 C white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 C mashed banana (3 large)
  • 2 C white flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 C Greek style yogurt or sour cream.

For the frosting:

  • 1 x package of cream cheese (8 oz/226g)
  • ½ C salted butter
  • 3-4 C icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Banana and Cinnamon Greek Yogurt bars with cream cheese frosting

My trivial problem of the week is this: I found an extremely lovely plain black A5 notebook that I bought a while ago (stationery is like, uh, my greatest weak spot after peanut butter and dessert). The pages are spacious and thin and they feel all loose and free…the cover is svelte and smooth. It’s nothing fancy, just a really humble notebook with those super small lines that make your handwriting turn all compact and cute as you write. And it’s killing me that I can’t think of anything to ruin do with it. The diary has already been allocated, and it’s not really to do list-y appropriate. So it’s currently my new desk ornament, sitting right up there with the pencil pot, study lamp, and the sharing bag of magic stars my bro thought would look good there too (thankyou, ily). Does anyone else have a special affection reserved for stationery? Is it a girly thing, or only me? Just curious ;)

I should also probably warn you that this batch will leave you with a helluva lot of banana bars. I cut mine quite small so there was about 20-24 of them. I hope you love banana because unless you have friends or huge brothers, your breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be sorted for a long while. They will keep in the fridge for just over a week.

Banana and Cinnamon Greek Yogurt bars with cream cheese frosting

IT’S THE WEEKEND AGAIN. What a busy week that was! I swear, the days and weeks nowadays pass as quickly as the minutes and hours did when I was a kid. Where is time?! With that said, I hope you all have something lovely to bake/make too!

Banana and Cinnamon Greek Yogurt bars with cream cheese frosting

Tash x

 

“I find myself searching the crowds for your face – I know it’s an impossibility, but I cannot help myself.” ― Nicholas Sparks, Message in a Bottle

Iced Soft Apple Spice Peanut Butter & Cinnamon Oat Cookies

“We cannot choose everything simultaneously. We live in danger of becoming paralysed by indecision, terrified that every choice we make might be the wrong one…”
― Elizabeth Gilbert

Iced Apple Spice Peanut Butter & Cinnamon Cookies

When life gives you apples…make apple spice cookies!

It’s autumn, and cinnamon is in the air – there is zero excuse to not.

No apples on hand? Then that’s actually perfect – These apple spice soft cookies only require apple sauce. The result is a batch of chunky soft, cookies infused with hints of Bramley apple – and balanced out with the unmistakable nuttiness of crunchy peanut butter (which knows no seasons). The sweet icing then drapes the final touches of spice over these hot-from-the-oven, freshly baked beauties…

Iced Apple Spice Peanut Butter & Cinnamon Cookies

And they will smell so good…So, soo good…

Iced Apple Spice Peanut Butter & Cinnamon Cookies

Apple cookies + milky (CHAI!!) tea = pure heaven.

I wrapped these up for my friends and handed them out while they were working on their welcome fair stands at Uni. (You know I love you if I share my cookies with you…) And they all sent me a bunch of text messages soon after, just to say what a blissful break they provided during this one helluva one crazy day. The peanut butter makes them pretty filling; so they make a pretty good breakfast as well as a snack! (Try them with a spoonful of yogurt and you will never want anything else for breakfast again).

Iced Apple Spice Peanut Butter & Cinnamon Cookies

Recipe:

  • 1 C flour
  • 1 C quick cook rolled oats
  • ½ C soda
  • 1/2 C softened salted butter
  • 1/2 C peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ C sugar
  • ½ C brown sugar
  • ½ C apple sauce
  • 1 tbsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste/extract
  • Optional: butterscotch chips?!

Icing:

  • ½ C brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 C icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste/extract
  1. For the cookies: Start by creaming the sugars + butter. Add the vanilla, apple sauce and the peanut butter. Combine well, adding the egg last. Do not overbeat: you will end up with cakey cookies if you do.
  2. Combine these wet ingredients with the flour, soda, and spices.
  3. Refrigerate for 1 hour before shaping into balls and baking in a pre-heated oven at 350/180* for 8-12 minutes, or until the edges have turned golden brown. Cool for a few minutes in the oven, transfer to a wire rack and wait until they are completely cooled before icing (contrary to what I said at the beginning of this post).
  4. For the icing: pour the sugars into a mixing bowl. Add the butter, melted and mix with a fork. Add the milk and vanilla – using more milk if necessary. Use a spoon to drizzle over the cookies. This might get messy…

Iced Apple Spice Peanut Butter & Cinnamon Cookies Iced Apple Spice Peanut Butter & Cinnamon Cookies

Enjoy the weekend lovely people! <3

Tash x

Muriel’s Kitchen – Soho: The best coconut frosting in London?

“Seize the moment. Think about all of those women on the ‘Titanic’ who waved off the dessert cart…”
― Erma Bombeck

Is there a better way to enjoy the final few days of London summertime than with a spot of lunch at Muriel’s Kitchen?

Featuring a superbly nutty, sweet potato-infused platter of Goats cheese pizza (AKA: combo WIN!) in the sunlit terrace of Muriel’s Kitchen; which was totally followed by a slab of delicious (swirly frosted!) coconut cake and some soft serve vanilla ice cream…

Muriel's Kitchen Soho Leiecester Square Pizza goats cheese coconut frosting cake caramel sweet potato fries lunch menu london brunch

…The answer is no!

Muriel's Kitchen Soho Leiecester Square Pizza goats cheese coconut frosting cake caramel sweet potato fries lunch menu london brunch

And why so?

Because “Home cooking” in London seldom gets better than this:

Muriel's Kitchen Soho Leiecester Square Pizza goats cheese coconut frosting cake caramel sweet potato fries lunch menu london brunch

You wish you were there…

Should you be lucky enough to stumble across this home-comfort filled gem that overlooks Leicester square, then you will be thoroughly treated to Grandmas cooking a la Muriel; Muriel’s kitchen is a classy cafe, brunch spot, and the perfect ideal dinner date all in one. With a menu that emphasizes wholesome ingredients that are both ‘locally sourced’ and ‘authentic’ – Muriel’s promises real, honest food that has been perfected by generations of family filled kitchen adventures. And better yet, these values today are gifted to Londoners by a granddaughter + her husband who are determined to keep this legacy running throughout Muriel’s’ ever changing monthly menu’s/seasonal specials…

You will also be served by wonderful waiting staff who are completely okay with annoyingly indecisive customers (I am so guilty) who hover around over the home-made cake selection for  extended periods of time, before going on to change their mind, re-deliberate, and repeat – *just to be sure* that they’ve chose the best possible option (guilty again). With that said, here goes a big shout-out to Vlad (our waiter), and to the tanned Asian waiter who somehow remembered me from the last cake-choosing episode) – Sorry about forgetting the second name, but you guys were so lovely!

muriels kitchen coconut cake slice frosting swirls

Warning: If you come here and finally manage to choose something off of the menu, you will most likely change your mind as soon as you see the food arriving for the table next door…Everything just looks so fresh, huge, and tempting! Food envy is likely.

Muriel's Kitchen Soho Leiecester Square Pizza goats cheese coconut frosting cake caramel sweet potato fries lunch menu london brunch custard tarts

And the cakes…oh, the cakes…

muriels kitchen caramel cake muriels kitchen lemon cake

Or more specifically: the frosting

Muriel's Kitchen Soho Leiecester Square Pizza goats cheese coconut frosting cake caramel sweet potato fries lunch menu london brunch swirly frosting

I highly recommend taking out a couple of afternoons and lots of tea. You don’t just come here once. You can’t. There are just too many options. So visit twice, even if it means ordering the same fluffy coconut thing again and falling into the same sugar coma you took home with you the first time… I haven’t even begun to mention the giant scones, bread/butter pudding with custard, and the Dulce de Leche brownies (you heard right) yet! I blame beautiful swirls and a dauntingly delicious display counter…

Muriel's Kitchen Soho Leiecester Square Pizza goats cheese coconut frosting cake caramel sweet potato fries lunch menu london brunch Muriel's Kitchen Soho Leiecester Square Pizza goats cheese coconut frosting cake caramel sweet potato fries lunch menu london brunch Muriel's Kitchen Soho Leiecester Square Pizza goats cheese coconut frosting cake caramel sweet potato fries lunch menu london brunchSo, the next time you are around South Kensington, Leicester Square, or Soho then definitely consider a stop off at Muriel’s for something affordable and comforting! You will be quickly welcomed, well fed and…Addicted.

http://www.murielskitchen.co.uk/home

(I’d like to mention to you guys that I wasn’t paid to advertise anything in this post, all purposes + opinions are my own!)

Tash x

Gooey Pumpkin Fudge Blondies

“I’d be smiling and chatting away, and my mind would be floating around somewhere else, just like a balloon with a broken string…” — Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

You know what’s sad? I feel really upset for all of the future blondies which I haven’t yet met. None of them will ever compare to these amazingly fudgy and moist white chocolate pumpkin spice blondies that TOTALLY HAPPENED today:

Pumpkin Fudge Blondies

I kid you not, they (almost) outshine fall itself…

Gooey Pumpkin Fudge Blondies

Going back to something that the amazing Alex wrote the other week on “The fear that everyone else already has it figured out” – something which affects young people a lot, and I’ve been thinking recently how, isn’t it so great that we are born with this choice to believe in ourselves? That’s actually quite an empowering realization. Like, hello?! Why do we as humans tend to not reap this as much as we should? There’s not any particular age group that I’m about to address here, but I’m sure it will strike a chord with many…

Take a passion, for example. Sometimes we may feel guilty about activities we enjoy or choose to invest a lot of time in if we are surrounded by people who don’t appreciate quite the same things as us. It can be hard when we can’t immediately share some of our favourite things that bring us joy because we aren’t surrounded by like minded people.

Confusion is inevitable; you may often find yourself wondering where all of your interests are ever going to get you? It’s all too easy to feel irrelevant in a world filled with alien agendas. All of your dreams might seem like light years away. Everybody is doing something that you aren’t, or simply can’t bring yourself to do. Everyone else seems to be content and decisive enough about with whatever it is they’re doing – but you can’t shake that feeling of restlessness; as if you’re just floating around with nobody to talk to in an otherwise organized world that everyone else has already blended into…

But going back to ‘the fear’, it can be all too tempting to fall into the arms of social convention when we don’t have enough confidence about what we simply want to do now – sacrificing time that we could otherwise have spent getting to know ourselves in the process. After all, SOCIETY taught you that you will always miss something amazing if you choose a night in over a night out – even if you perhaps did have some (probably irrelevant) stuff which you’d actually enjoy getting done.  But you know what you should do? Believe in yourself. If you really, really don’t feel like going to that event or whatever it was, it’s not the end of the world -you’ll just arrange another day. You always do. Oh, and don’t feel pressured to be busy either – the sun rises again tomorrow, and people only care about themselves anyway. Trust your decisions. Time is completely relative – so ultimately, quality is only added by you. It is impossible for time to be “better spent” elsewhere unless YOU were the one to place that value on it yourself with a good reason. Nobody has it sussed. There is quite simply: nothing for you to “miss out” on. There’s no need to get neurotic over stuff, just remember that life is soooo much easier when you don’t give a crap over what other people think about you…You can be you, and never worry about there being an opportunity cost to it: there is none.

“You don’t need to have it figured out this year, this month, by Friday, at this moment…You just need to be in the moment” (Alex)

So, you know what I say? Relish this independence and do whatever you want. Albeit baking pumpkin blondies solo and then photographing them for the rest of the afternoon because you like to blog about food (hehe, loser).

Gooey Pumpkin Fudge Blondies

Pumpkin blondies: 

  • ½ C white sugar
  • 1 C dark brown sugar
  • 1 C softened salted butter
  • 2 large/3 small eggs
  • 2 1/2 C flour
  • 200g white chocolate chips
  • 1 x can pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tbsp mixed spice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ C milk/cream/evaporated milk (add more if batter is still too thick)

Gooey Pumpkin Fudge Blondies

Frosting:

  • ½ C salted butter, softened
  • ½ C brown sugar
  • 1 C icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1-2 tbsp Greek yogurt (stop when you like the consistency).
  1. Cream the butter and sugars, and then add the vanilla, spices + egg.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl before folding together.
  3. Add the chocolate chips.
  4. Bake in a 9×13 tray (16 bars) on 180/350* for 35-40 mins. The blondies will brown, and should be fudgy but firm when removed from the oven.
  5. Frosting: Cream the butter and sugars and add the vanilla, but the yogurt last.
  6. Refrigerate while the blondies cool, as it will be thicker and nicer to spread over the tray.

Gooey Pumpkin Fudge Blondies

For some reason I really wanted to include Greek yogurt (?!) in the brown sugar frosting. I had visions of a super thick and whippy swirly white vanilla frosting (something like cookie dough) that created a Neapolitan-like layering over these buttery pumpkin beauties. As it happens, the frosting does indeed include Greek yogurt – only, err – a little too much. My dream of fluffy, whipped frosting turned to pourable, drippy icing when I thought it was a good idea to stray from my original yogurt amount and triple it instead (1 heaped tbsp to 3 heaped tbsp) Oops.  Although it hardens in the fridge, it can’t handle room temp that well. However, I actually really like it! The recipe above is the identical to the one that I used. However, if you’d like the thicker ‘cookie dough’ kind of frosting – then add 1/4C of flour in addition, and perhaps replace the yogurt with heavy whipping cream. Just experiment! Frosting is great because you can see it as you make it, and it’s pretty hard for it to go horrendously wrong. Adjustments to meet your preferences are easy!

Gooey Pumpkin Fudge Blondies Gooey Pumpkin Fudge Blondies Gooey Pumpkin Fudge Blondies Gooey Pumpkin Fudge Blondies

 

“Be in the moment enough to receive some guidance about what is more aligned with your deepest, truest, and highest self,

Be in the moment enough to give yourself what you need.

Be in the moment enough to hear where you are called to next.

Figure out how to listen to those whispers of desire coming from somewhere magical within you…

Those whispers become your guides.

..Now watch your life unfold into everything you never knew you wanted” (Alex)

Pumpkin Pancakes with Peanut Butter & Cinnamon Maple Syrup

“There’s no clarity. There was never meant to be clarity” — Charles Bukowski, You Get So Alone At Times That It Just Makes Sense
“That’s all we do – endlessly take the wrong way around…” — Haruki Murakami, Yesterday

Pumpkin, pumpkin, PUMPKIN is all over the food blogosphere right now, and everyone seems to be inhaling it!

IMG_7327

From pumpkin cannolis, to these pumpkin cinnamon rolls – as well as S’MORES pumpkin pie (!!!) to pumpkin scones and Greek yogurt bars.  And yes, salted caramel pumpkin cake is 100% a thing too. Pumpkin is being utterly (and rightly) exploited by lovers of all things fall, cinnamon, and… breakfast.

I simply had to join the pumpkin party too – these particular pumpkin pancakes are perfectly moist and beautifully thick. They are gently spicy and incredibly warming. They will bring such wonderful autumn warmth to any hazy, September morning. The saddest part of your day will inevitably be coming face to face with the final bite of your last pumpkin pancake…

Pumpkin Pancakes with Peanut Butter & Cinnamon Maple Syrup

They also happen to drizzled with oodles of a very special peanut butter and maple syrup drizzle! Secret ingredient: Low fat cream cheese. Amazing!

Pumpkin Pancakes with Peanut Butter & Cinnamon Maple Syrup

So here is my contribution to autumn, and all of these weird and wonderful things made from this blissful, orange, pumpkin-stuff floating about everywhere <3

Pumpkin Pancakes with Peanut Butter & Cinnamon Maple Syrup

Pumpkin Pancakes (my life is complete):

Makes 6-8 large pancakes for 2-3 people:

  • 1 ¼ C flour
  • ½ can pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 small eggs/1 large egg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • Extra cinnamon?!
  • ½ C Greek yogurt (low fat is fine)
  • Splash or two of milk (depending on the consistency of your batter)
  1. Mix the flour with the puree, salt, spices, vanilla, soda and yogurt.
  2. Add the egg, stir well for a fluffy pancake.
  3. Add milk until you have the batter consistency that you’d like – the thicker batter = a thicker pancake.
  4. Fry on a lightly greased skillet/pan on medium-high heat. The pancakes will be ready to turn once bubbles have started appearing on the un-flipped side.

Pumpkin Pancakes with Peanut Butter & Cinnamon Maple Syrup

Peanut butter-maple syrup drizzle:

  • 1/3 C peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/3 C maple syrup (adjust ratios as you’d like, thicker = more peanut butter, sweeter = more maple)
  • ¼ C low fat cream cheese
  • Cinnamon to taste.
  • Optional vanilla.
  1. Start by mixing the peanut butter with the icing sugar and maple syrup. Add the cream cheese and desired amount of maple syrup, followed by the milk. Keep whipping with a fork and adding milk/maple until you have the consistency you’d like – there is no need for strict ratios, it’s preference!
  2. Douse the stack!

Pumpkin Pancakes with Peanut Butter & Cinnamon Maple Syrup

And speaking of the seasons, I can’t help but love autumn because everything begins to wind down and settle – a little like the leaves. The darkening evenings are quite mellowing.  People begin to stay inside, the streets become quiet, and walks in the crispy night air in the glow of the streetlights become a daily treat. Everyone kind of knows that the year is getting ready to finish off; anything that is withering will soon be renewed. We have permission to mentally hibernate and bury our unsettled thoughts in heaps of scattered red leaves, and watch them become a thing of ‘yester-year’. Autumn is such a reflective time, I cherish it every year!

Sunrise Autumn London Orange Sky

Sunrise over London on the morning of the pumpkin pancakes! <3

Do you have a favourite season?

And what’s your favourite use for pumpkin this year? I really do adore canned pumpkin but it’s SO expensive to buy in England (£2 +/tin!), but the effort of carving out a real pumpkin is not even worth thinking about (lazy bones), but I guess that this time of year is an exceptionally perfect excuse to splurge on it a little!

With that said, definitely do try these pumpkin pancakes wherever you are! Leftovers can be made into cream cheese sweet chilli pumpkin pancake sandwiches (highly recommended).

Enjoy the rest of the week!

Tash x

Note to self ; 
He doesn’t care anymore.” 
― Lyla Tyela Belikov