Sunday, April 20

London, Spring

 A few weekends ago I was in London to visit my brother 
The weather was glorious and while this was a family weekend 
I did manage to squeeze in a few shop visits 

Mini bouquets on Dalston High street


I finally got to visit 
in Islington 
a beautifully curated shop 
simplicity
honesty
integrity







folklore

folklore
as I made my way up Islington high street I popped in to 

ottolenghi
I didn't stay........
I love Ottolenghi,
but now that he is a "celebrity"
the place was rammed!
well, it was a saturday afternoon
bought some cookies to go and kept on moving

Next I popped in to 
abigail ahern



which was mostly full of beautiful faux flowers

Next was a trip to 



where it seemed like a really good idea to part with a large chunk of cash for some beautiful products 


Since I have been home Spring has well and truly landed 
Every year it feels like a full body stretch after being curled in a ball for 5 long cold months
Such a feeling of hope and optimism
projects, small and large vying for space in my brain 
and all seems possible


Friday, February 28

crispy and chewy chocolate chip cookie




 I am constantly searching for a perfect choc chip cookie 
I found an amazing one 
which i posted about here 
and i still think that is a keeper 
but a girl likes to explore and discover 
and my quest means I must constantly test, tweak and eat 
tough eh?
anyway today I lifted these ladies out and i knew i was on to something special 


crispy on the outside with a slight chew in centre 
very light and utterly more'ish
RECIPE
11ozs/320g flour
1 tspn baking soda
8ozs /220g butter melted and still warm
5ozs/140g sugar
5ozs/140g dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs
4ozs/100g semi sweet chocolate chopped into chunks
4ozs/100g milk chocolate chopped into chunks 

METHOD
makes 30-40 cookies
melt butter ( I always melt mine in the microwave, so easy, just keep an eye on it)
add sugars and stir to combine
add 2 eggs and stir well
add in dry ingredients flour, bak soda and salt, make sure you have combined them first (i just spoon bak sod and salt onto weighed flour and combine with a fork)
stir in dry ingredients until almost fully incoporated
add chocolate 
stir until combined but do not over mix 
chill for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hrs (or longer)

when you are ready to bake 
preheat oven to 375f/ 190c
place round cookie balls on lined cookie sheet each ball should be walnut size 
space 2-3" apart 
bake for 9-11 minutes 
allow to cool 

adapted from Alice Medrichs chocolate chip cookie recipe


Friday, February 14

Lemon drizzle cake with a twist


The thing is I have been so busy 
It's not that I am neglecting this blog 
It's just that I am working on a very exciting new project 
which really came about in many ways because of this blog
I can't tell you about it until September 
but it's VERY exciting
wish me luck 


Meanwhile Ireland is in the midst of storms 
windy, rainy, sleety wetness
when your window looks like this 
light the fires
snuggle up with something comforting like


Lemon drizzle cake - a classic 
why mess with it ?
well why not 
I added some Jasmine green tea 
and the resulting combination is quite delicious
The earthiness of the tea cuts through the sharp lemon and grounds it 
perfect with steaming hot tea on a day like today


JASMINE TEA LEMON DRIZZLE CAKE 

RECIPE
2 tablespoon jasmine tea 
5 tablespoon boiling water
125g butter
175g sugar
2 large eggs
zest of 1 lemon
175g self raising flour
pinch of salt

SYRUP
juice of 1 lemon
100g icing sugar
2 tablespoons jasmine tea

METHOD
place tea in a shallow dish and add 5 tablespoons of boiling water
set aside
cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
add eggs 1 at a time
add lemon zest and s.r. flour and combine
add salt
pour in jasmine tea and tealeaves fold into mixture

spoon into lined loaf tin

bake for 45mins or until cake skewer comes out clean 

while the cake is baking make your syrup 
add juice of 1 lemon to 2 tbspn jasmine tea and icing sugar in a small pan
heat slowly
leave to infuse

when cake is done remove from oven and skewer with holes 
pour syrup onto hot cake 
(you can strain the syrup or leave tea leaves to sit on top of cake I chose to strain it)

leave to cool slightly
eat

yum
x

Sunday, February 2

CHOCOLATE DIGESTIVES

 Homemade Chocolate Digestive biscuits
............no argument from me 
Who doesn't love a chocolate digestive



RECIPE
100g medium size oats*
50g wholewheat flour
50g plain flour
100g cold butter 
50g light muscovado sugar

pre heat oven to 190c 
If you have medium oats place in food processor along with flours
*if you only have jumbo oats (as I did) place them in the food processor
and blitz for a few minutes to reduce their size

add butter and blitz
add sugar
blitz until it comes together in a dough

turn out onto lightly floured surface
roll to 5mm thick and cut with 7cm cookie cutter
(makes 14-16 biscuits)

bake for 16-20 mins 

cover in chocolate if desired 
they are honestly nice either way 
 

recipe adapted from country homes and interiors

Sunday, December 22

unwind christmas time

Since we last spoke I have been in New York, Hong Kong, Bang Kok, Shanghai........
needless to say I am looking forward to some quiet family time over the holidays 
I predict I will be spending a lot of time here  
 
(image from pinterest source unknown)

 wearing something like this
image and pyjamas from Sleepy Jones

and well, if i must arise then maybe i will throw this on
lounge robe Zara 

I may even wander here 


and do a little of this 





whatever you are up to this Holiday season
I hope it is wonderful 
see you on the new year 

x Helen 

Friday, November 15

ROSE CUPCAKES

I bought my first piping bag last week 
While I have been an avid baker for more years than I would like to mention
For some reason piping bags intimidated me

But now I feel like we are going to become best friends 




What could be better than combining two of my favourite things 
Cakes and Flowers
 
Vanilla cupcakes with Vanilla icing


All photos by Helen James 
Copyright Helen James

Monday, October 28

LEMON POLENTA COOKIES

Lemony, Buttery, Sugary
............. no more explanation needed 

LEMON POLENTA SHORTBREAD COOKIES 

100g sugar
200g flour
100g fine polenta (cornmeal)
zest 1 lemon
pinch salt
200g cold butter


If you have a food processor
dump all ingredients and whizz for approx 5 minutes until mixture clumps
otherwise put all of the dry ingredients in to a bowl 
add butter and rub in until mixture clumps together

tip mixture out on to a sheet of cling film (seran wrap)
bring together into a large sausage shape
wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour

remove from fridge and slice into 1 cm discs
if the mixture crumbles you can just squidge it back together 
but a few more minutes in the fridge will make it easier 

bake for 30 minutes
until edges are just turning
turn oven off and allow cookies to cool in the oven with door ajar
(this makes them really crisp and crumbly)

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