Monthly Archives: March 2013

Wishful thinking for Spring


Spring! It’s coming.. despite what the weather may be thinking and I cannot wait. Over here in NZ it’s coming to the end of Summer and Autumn is peeking round the corner, so to know that I am coming back to the UK in a week just as the seasons are turning is a bit too good to be true. 

Being over here makes me miss the simple things over there.. and when I simple things, I don’t mean toast and jam. I mean going shopping for bras in John Lewis. I have found myself sitting in a cafe in Queenstown (one of the most beautiful spots in the world) browsing their website in a whimsical state.. slightly delirious. M will be gazing at the mountains, while I will be dreaming of a pink Magimix. I feel no guilt. The mountains are stunning, but what good are they really if you can’t get up them because you’re spending all your time chopping carrots for lunch? Everyone needs a pink Magimix. Surely.

I thought I’d share with you my secret (GUILT FREE) wish list, which I’ve been dreaming of as I’ve fished, hiked and rafted, (that’s today actually – if you don’t hear from me again you’ll know I didn’t make it back alive). (I should probably add a small note here for my mum and aunt who I know read this – I didn’t really mean that.) (For the rest of you , you know it’s slightly true.) (Mum, it’s not true.)

1. It’s a PINK MAGIMIX! Oh yes it is. £369.95

Get me those carrots and I’ll chop them and be up the mountain before you can say “I am OUTDOORS POPPY AND I LAUGH IN THE FACE OF LIPGLOSS! MUAH HA HA HA”

2. Mr Fox Cushion – £40
I love the colour and I love the zing! I’d love this in my home to brighten up the sofa and welcome in the Spring with a big ‘Well hello!’

This is the year I am going to get properly green fingered. I’ve always dabbled a bit on my balcony, but have never really gone for it. As soon as I have a little green patch to myself I’ll be potting and planting with the best of them… I can’t wait and I LOVE this very pretty range.
 
I’d love to brighten up one of the walls in my kitchen with this cheery wallpaper from the very clever Orla Kiely… lovely lovely.
 
A version of these sandals  have been a staple of Dune for a few years now and I would like to say that I was (one of) the FIRST to discover them. Super comfy and they go with anything. Mine are a bit tired now, so it’s time for a new pair…
 
 
So there you have it – this are the things of my dreams at the moment… and now I’m going to go and throw myself down the Shotover River. (Mum, don’t worry.)
 
(The rest of you – worry.)
 
 
 
 
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Chocolate Chunk Sour Cream Scones

 
Hello hello from me (Poppy) to you (you). I’m still upside down in NZ… having big fun but not having lots of time to blog it up, so once again I am saying a big thank you to another fellow blogger, who has let us in on one of her best kept cakey secrets… chocolate and sour cream? Yes indeedy and I intend to have a go at making these myself as soon as I can figure out how M’s oven works. Please do pop over to have a look at all the other delicious things Sian has on her blog – Fishfingers for tea, (love that name!)
 
I’ll be in touch again soon..
 
 
Hello! I’m Sian from Fishfingers for tea and I’m delighted to be sharing these chocolate chunk sour cream scones with you here at Poppy Loves today. I’m the first to admit that these aren’t the delicate scones that you may associate with afternoon tea; rather they’re chunky satisfying things that are perfect with a cuppa in your favourite mug and a sit down on the sofa.
It took me a while to decide what to bring with me today. I contemplated flapjack, cupcakes and biscuits but decided to stay true to my more rustic form with these. They’re soft inside with the richness of dark chocolate in each bite. There’s a slight tang from the sour cream and everything is contrasted by the not overly but just sweet enough crunchy top.
 
 

 

These aren’t scones that you cut in half and top with butter or jam, these are scones that you break apart in chunks and eat like cake. They don’t keep well and are at their best on the day that they are baked but to be honest it’s no hardship to make sure there’s no waste. 

I hope you all have a great weekend and that it’s full of cake, lovely things and (hopefully) a bit of sunshine. Thank you Poppy for letting me loose on your gorgeous blog whilst you’re off on your travels in New Zealand.
Chocolate chunk sour cream scones
Ingredients:
450g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
75g light brown soft sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
115g butter, cold and cut into cubes
200g dark chocolate, broken into chunks. A rolling pin comes in handy at this point.
300ml sour cream
Method:
Preheat the oven to 190c and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Rub in the butter using your fingertips, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Stir in the chocolate chunks and then add the sour cream. Mix until it forms a dough but working it as little as possible, scones benefit from a gentler touch.
Once the dough has formed and is holding together, tip out onto the baking tray and shape into a round, about 1 inch thick. Score the round into 8 wedges using a butter knife, making sure that you don’t cut all the way through. Sprinkle with extra light brown soft sugar and bake for 35-40 minutes. Cover the round with baking parchment if you feel that it is getting too brown towards the end of the baking time.
Once baked (it will still feel a little soft) transfer to a wire rack, using the greaseproof paper to slide it across from the baking tray. Leave to cool for 10 minutes and then separate out into the individual wedges. Serve still slightly warm or cold.
As with most scones, these are best eaten on the day that they are made. 
 

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Plum, Raspberry & Blackberry
Bakewell Slices

 
As you know, I am now upside-down in New Zealand and will be here for a couple of weeks. It’s so wonderful to be back and I look forward to showing you my pics when I’m home! While I’m away I won’t be writing as much, however I am very lucky to have a few wonderful baking bloggers babysitting my blog (alliteration alert) for me while I galavant around the South Island. Today’s post is from the super duper Kate, whose blog The Little Loaf gets my tastebuds tingling every time I nip over to have a peruse. Lucky me for having her here today!
 
Lots of love from me to all of you over there and I’ll bore you silly with my tales when I return.
 
 
Hello, I’m Kate aka The Little Loaf. 
As my nickname suggests, baking and bread are hugely important to me, so when Poppy asked me to come up with a recipe for this post, I agonized about what to make. Would it be boring to bake a loaf of bread? What about some simple biscuits? Was caramel too complicated, cupcakes too twee and chocolate too obvious?
 
In the end I plumped for exactly what I felt like eating this weekend, which is usually a pretty good place to start. These fruity Bakewell slices are a riff on the traditional British tart, layered with sticky jam and topped with toasted flaked nuts. The almond sponge is lovely and light, sitting on top of crisp, crumbly pastry and studded with pockets of sweet, juicy fruit.
 
As the evenings get lighter but there’s still a definite chill in the air, these little slices are both comforting and bright, providing the perfect transition from winter into spring.
Big thanks to Poppy for letting me post here and I hope you all have a great weekend, full of lovely things to eat! 
 
 
Plum, Raspberry & Blackberry Bakewell Slices
Ingredients:
For the pastry
60g unsalted butter, cold, diced
60g icing sugar, sifted
1 large free range egg yolk
120g plain flour, sifted
Pinch salt
For the filling
75g unsalted butter, room temperature, diced
110g golden caster sugar
3 medium free range eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract
Pinch salt
180g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder, sifted
200g plum jam, divided
Handful each fresh raspberries & blackberries
35g flaked almonds

Method:
To make the pastry, cream together the butter and icing sugar in a stand mixer or food processor. With the machine running, add the egg yolk then the flour and salt. As soon as the dough comes together in a ball, switch of the machine, wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for 2 hours (or overnight).
 
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease your baking tin with a little butter. Lightly flour the worksurface and roll your pastry into a thin square to line the base of your 23cm tin. Drape any excess pastry up the sides of the tin but don’t worry too much – you’ll be trimming this once baked anyway.
 
Line the case with baking paper, weight it down with baking beans (you can substitute rice or dried pulses if you don’t have any) and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes until lightly golden. Once cool, trim any excess pastry from the edges so that it just covers the base of your tin.
 
 

To make the filling, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly incorporate the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract and salt. Add the almonds and baking powder and continue to cream until combined.

 
Use 180g of jam to cover the pastry base, spreading evenly and into the corners. Scatter with your raspberries and blackberries then spoon over the almond sponge mixture, taking care not to mix it with the jam. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until golden and risen then remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin before removing.
 
While the sponge is cooling, place the flaked almonds on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Heat the remaining 20g jam in a small saucepan (or a little bowl in the microwave) then brush over the top of your cake. Scatter with toasted flaked almonds then cut into 12 thick bars or 24 bite-sized pieces.
 
Because of the almonds, these slices stay moist for several days in an airtight container, although the pastry is most crisp and delicious on the day of baking.
 

http://thelittleloaf.wordpress.com  

 
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Cherry Jam Muffins


I’m very excited to be sharing with you my very first guest post on my blog. Kaboom. Today’s recipe is brought to you by the ever so talented Sophie Hunter, creator and author of The Cake Hunter – please do pop over to her lovely site and take a peek at all her delicious wares…

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do – I know what I’ll be baking this weekend…

Thank you Sophie!



Hi! I’m Sophie from The Cake Hunter (www.thecakehunter.co.uk). I’m really excited to be writing my first guest post for Poppy. I’ve never done a guest post for another blog so I was super pleased when Poppy e-mailed me about this. I picked these cherry jam muffins because they are delicious, really easy to make and I wanted to share them with all of you for the weekend.

 

The basis of this recipe came from The Back in the Day Bakery cookbook. It’s a superb cookbook full of beautiful recipes. I’m pretty rubbish at reading fictional novels, there’s about a month every year when I can work through a couple of good books (the last one was The Hunger Games, not particularly high brow fiction but really good read) and the rest of the time I read cookbooks as though they are works of great fiction. The Back in the Day cookbook is one I return to time and time again.

I’m off work today and spending a lazy afternoon working through episodes of ER, drinking good coffee and (most probably) eating more than one of these muffins. I hope you have a great Friday and that you enjoy this recipe. Thanks again to Poppy for letting me take over her blog for the day.

Cherry Jam Muffins
(adapted from The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook)
Makes 15 muffins

125ml whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
340g plain flour + 2 tablespoons corn flour
200g caster sugar
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
pinch of salt
100g unsalted butter, cubed and room temperature
2 large eggs
170g morello cherry jam

1. Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F. Line a muffin tray with cases and set aside.
2. Mix the milk and vanilla together and put to one side. In a stand mixer, whisk the flour, cornflour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Add in the butter and mix until it looks like fine breadcrumbs.
3. On a medium speed, add the eggs one at a time. Turn the speed down to low and add the milk and vanilla mix. Mix for 1-2 minutes until well combined.
4. It’s quite a thick batter so you can use an ice cream scoop or a heaped dessert spoon to place the mixtures into each case – about two thirds full.
5. Place a heaped teaspoon of cherry jam on top of each muffin. Using a cocktail stick, swirl the jam through the batter.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes before removing from the tray and placing on a wire rack.

www.thecakehunter.co.uk

Poppy’s Friday Bake Off
If you would like to write a guest post for Poppy’s Friday Bake Off, please drop me a line at poppyloves1@gmail.com 

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Pretty up: Poppy gets primped at 10500

I wasn’t born with the beauty and maintenance gene that most girls are born with. That gene which pings every six weeks instinctively so you know to get a haircut.. or pings to remind you to shave your legs, (there’s a reason I’m wearing tights). 

With that in mind, I hope you understand that I am too embarrassed to show you the ‘before’ pictures… so please just use your imagination. It was very bad. I think I made someone cry when I walked past them it was so bad. (I actually just forgot to take any photos, but you get the idea.)


In I walked to my hairdresser on Westbourne Park Road – 10500 and it was Darrin to the rescue. He knows my hair (curly, crazy, fly-away, some bits a bit straighter than others, maddening in general) very well now, so I was in and out in a flash. However, the MAIN reason I am writing this post is to alert you to my new miracle product, which Darrin used on my hair today – I am talking about Marrakesh Oil Hair Styling Elixir


There’s always a moment just before Darrin finishes doing my hair.. when I think he has already finished doing my hair. And I stare at myself in the mirror thinking ‘he can’t have finished doing my hair? I look a bit like a Womble and a bit like Super Gran and a bit like I shouldn’t be allowed out of the house.’ 



But then, the magical oil appears ( he hadn’t finished doing my hair) and with one swoosh through the tresses, (it smells divine, by the way) my locks are full, BRILLIANTLY SHINY, luscious and bouncy, my swishy haircut looks like something out of a magazine and I am ready to be let loose on the world once more.

It really is a miracle product. But then, so is Darrin.





10500 Hair Salon
284 Westbourne Park Road
W11 1EH

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Pretty up: OPI’s Mermaid Tears


About 10 days ago, I was taken for a manicure by my friend Cristina, and it was so nice! It felt like even more of a treat coz it was a prezzie, and for some reason I was filled with a kind of reckless bravery when it came to choosing my colour. Pink? Pah. I went for DARKER THAN THE DARKEST YOU’VE EVER SEEN GREEN.  

I loved it and have been feeling like a very cool version of myself, but over the last few days it’s really started to chip and I have been feeling mostly more Grotbags than Garbo…


So today, after teaching piano, (I teach piano) I popped into Julie’s Nails on Notting Hill Gate and selected my colour from the OPI range. (OPI is definitely my favourite brand of nail polish – it’s the only one that doesn’t seem to chip… do you experience the same?) Having put it to the Facebook massive earlier in the day, we’d collectively decided that I should go for coral. Lovely.


But SOMETHING HAPPENED. (Can’t seem to stop using capital letters now. Sorry). The same courageous Poppy came bubbling to the surface and I, as Braveheart would have done had he been into manicures, roared with laughter at the pinks and corals and instead, picked out this beautiful minty green shade and held it high in the air, (like He-Man) and everybody cheered. Kind of.

This gorgeous OPI colour is called P18 Mermaid Tears and is perfect for welcoming in the Spring – I can’t wait for it, so maybe now that the weather fairies can see my nails, they’ll get a wriggle on.

One last thing – I’m always on the lookout for new colours and brands of nail polish – please share your secrets if you have some!

 

 

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Spring is springing…


This is just a little post, but I wanted to share with you my view as I walked down to Portobello Road this morning.. The weather recently has been so cold and grizzly that it has been making me, (and maybe you) feel like I want to hole myself up in my cosy flat, drink hot chocolate under piles of blankets and not come out until the Summer. 

But look! Today as I walked down the road to get a coffee, the sun shone on my face and everything around me sparkled with gold. Some late leaves had fallen, some new shrubs were starting to poke through and I was sure I could hear the bleating of new born lambs. (Although, that bit could have been my imagination. Not ruling it out though.)

Spring is most definitely on its way and with it, new dreams, new ideas, new projects and the feeling of excitement that bubbles up when you know that something magical is about to happen.

I wish you all the most sparkling of Springs and look forward to sharing my stories with you all along the way to Summer…

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Café Couture: Edible Lace

Edible Lace

Pic found over here…

I can’t quite believe this exists. But it does. SugarVeil edible lace. *Faints* Decorate your freshly baked cookies, (and then give them to me) or drop one in a cup of tea or coffee to make it extra twinkly special (And then give it to me) and admire your gorgeous handiwork.

Have you ever seen anything prettier? *Sigh*

I am completely in love with this and can no longer imagine tea (or cookies) without it.

Wondering what else I can decorate with this now… cakes, mini chocolate mousses.. (would that work?) I am feeling light headed..

Time for a sit down and breakfast at my favourite cafe…

www.sugarveil.com Buy from the UK here: www.emlems.co.uk

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