The Country Candle Company are based in Wiltshire, England where they create beautifully scented and packaged candles. I have two of their candles from the Celebrations collection. The Tonka Bean and Vanilla one is my favourite – it also has hints of cinnamon and clove so is a gorgeous Christmas candle without being overly Christmassy, if you know what I mean! The Black Pomegrannate scent is also lovely – it is fruity and reminds me of summer. I think the packaging is really cute and am suprised at how good these candles are as they are so reasonably priced – just £5.99 for a candle that burns for around 20 hours. The Country Candle Company have lots of collections on their website, all well priced and with pretty packaging – I have a long list of ones I want to try next!
I wanted to show you some photos of a recent batch of cupcakes I made. These were just plain vanilla cakes but I experimented a bit with the icing and was really happy with the result.To get the pink and blue swirls, I just put alternate spoonfuls of pink and blue icing into the piping bag and then piped as usual onto the cakes. You can see that some worked better than others but this is definitely a technique I am going to try again!
A few weeks ago I was sent a couple of packs of Kallo rice cakes to try. One pack was caramel and the other blueberry and vanilla. I wasn’t really sure when I would eat these as they aren’t really all that easy to take into work for lunch without them falling apart but I’ve found the perfect time to munch on them! I recently signed up to run 10k with work (which I am seriously regretting – I hate running!) and these are a great snack between getting home from work and going for a practice run. They are really tasty and the blueberry ones are a pretty purple colour! The rice cakes cost £1.79 per pack and you can find them in Tesco.
I’ve been super busy over Christmas and can’t believe it’s been a week since my last post! I hope you have all had a lovely Christmas! I haven’t had time to write anything new so here is a recipe I have been meaning to post for a while now….
115g caster sugar
85g self raising flour
25g cocoa powder
55g peanut butter
2 eggs, beaten
Vanilla Buttercream Ingredients
250g icing sugar
75g unsalted butter
1tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4 and put 12 cupcake cases in a tray.
2. Cream the margarine, peanut butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until fluffy.
3. Gradually add the eggs to the mixture, beating after each addition.
4. Fold in the flour and cocoa powder gently.
5. Share out the mixture evenly into the cases and then bake for around 20 minutes.
6. To make the buttercream cream the butter and then gradually add the icing sugar. I usually use an electric whisk once most of the icing sugar is mixed it to mae the buttercream nice and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract at the end. For ages I’ve used the Nielsen Massey Vanilla Extract which tastes so much better than other vanilla extracts I’ve tried but here I used the Nielsen Massey Pure Vanilla Bean Paste which I love! It tastes pretty much the same as the vanilla extract but you can see little dots of vanilla in the buttercream which makes it a little different.
I also used my new Vanilla Bean Paste to make some Pecan Tarts from this recipe. They tasted really good even if they didn’t look perfect!
You might remember my review a few weeks ago of a candle from Zing Organics? Well here’s another one! This is the clove, patchouli and vanilla scented candle from the Nude Collection and it’s just perfect for winter. It’s not too Christmassy that you have to wait until December to use it but it does remind you that Christmas is on its way! I’ve always loved vanilla scented candles and this is no exception. I also love that you can see the little beads of vanilla used to make it. Like all of the candles from Zing Organics, it is free from artificial colourings, preservatives and fragrances and it doesn’t give off lots of soot like cheaper candles. I like that all of the candles in the range are cream coloured as it means that you don’t end up choosing a scent which is the best colour to suit your living room! You can actually just pick your favourite one. This size candle, 180ml, from the Nude Collection costs £30 but there are other sizes available.
These chocolate cupcakes are made using beetroot which gives them a really rich flavour. I found the recipe in my latest cookbook Prepped! I usually love using buttercream icing so I was a bit unsure about using cream instead but it actually made a nice change and tasted delicious.
This recipe makes 12 muffin sized cakes
For the cakes……
150g self raising flour
50g cocoa powder
190g caster sugar
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
100ml rapeseed oil
200g cooked beetroot
For the topping……
300ml double cream
3 tbsp icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Black pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 170°C (Gas mark 3) and put 12 muffin cases in a tray
2. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl. Grate the beetroot and try and drain as much of the liquid as possible. In another bowl whisk the eggs and then add the oil and beetroot.
3. Mix both bowls together.
4. Add mixture to the muffin cases and bake for 25 minutes.
5. Once the muffins have cooked, leave them on a wire rack to cool while you make the topping.
6. Whip the double cream with the icing sugar and vanilla extract until thick. Also grind in some black pepper – the amount will depend on your tastes so just keep adding until you think it tastes ok.
7. The book suggests cutting the top of the cakes off, filling the hold with cream, cutting the detached cake in half and sticking the halves on top of the cream as wings. That is what I tried to do but my wings don’t look as good as the book! You could just use the cream as a topping but obviously that’s up to you.
8. Your cupcakes are ready to eat – I’m a little bit obsessed with edible glitter so I did add some red glitter before serving!
For my latest batch of cupcakes I thought I’d be a bit more inventive so went for a slightly out there flavour combination. It sounds weird but does taste good, I promise!
This recipe makes 6 large muffin size cupcakes.
For the cakes…..
115g self raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
115g caster sugar
grated rind of 1 orange
6 cardamom pods
For the icing…..
175g icing sugar
few drops of vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4 and put 6 muffin cases in a muffin tray.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl.
3. Whisk the eggs together in a mug using a fork and then add gradually to the mixing bowl. Beat each time you add more egg.
4. Add the orange rind. Squash the cardamom pods with the flat of a knife to get all of the seeds out and then add these to the mixture.
5. Sift the flour if needed and then fold gently into the mixture along with the baking powder.
6. Share out the mixture evenly into the muffin cases and then bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
7. To make the icing, cream the butter with the vanilla extract and then gradually mix in the icing sugar. It’s best to add the icing sugar gradually, otherwise it takes forever to mix!
8. I used an icing bag for applying the icing but you don’t need to do that. I also topped them with Shimmer Sugar from Dr Oetker and, of course, some edible glitter!
These cupcakes are made using a recipe I’ve posted before only without the chocolate chips. I made a few batches so I could make some different size cupcakes – the little cupcakes hardly need any mixture so I ended up with loads of them!