Sunday, 19 February 2012

Home-made Valentines ❤

February seems to be the month of homemade treats - rum cake, a Valentines chocolates, a filet feast and some vanilla choc chip cookies. mmm mmmm! Stefan spoiled me this Valentines, and finished the day off with a beautiful, steak and red wine dinner.

At the minute, I am amidst law exams and baking appears to be the way to get through them all - a little rum in ya cake never hurt! It was my first time making rum cake, and yes, I did cheat and use cake mix...but why not, it was SUPER easy! And, not to mention a real hit with my critical 'taste tester' housemates.

To make the rum cake, you will need the following:
(Click to buy online if needs be)

Cake mix (vanilla/choc swirl)
3 Eggs
Rum (15cl)
2 tbs Sugar
knob of Butter

All you need to do is get some Betty Crocker (or the like) cake mix. Traditionally, you're meant to use just plain, vanilla sponge but I went 'wild' with some chocolate swirls and I think it only adds to the flavour. As the pre-packaged mix is more or less ready to go, you just add eggs and water - and replace half the water with rum. A cheap rum will do fine. Grease the tin, and let it bake at 190C for about 25 mins or until cooked through. Whilst that cooks, whip up your rum syrup - heat butter, chopped nuts, sugar and rum in a saucepan and let it caramelise. 

Once the cake is cooked, you will feed this syrup over it, a bit at a time, until the cake is completely saturated and deliciously moist - you could do this continually for a few days if you're after a knock out rum taste! I'd recommend making small holes (with a toothpick/skewer) before pouring the rum syrup over the cake as this will ensure it gets fully absorbed and doesn't just run off the top. Some bakers also dust the rum cake with powdered sugar just before serving. Give it a go! 

If you're really rum cake crazy, check out the Tortuga Rum Cake Factory, which is based in Cayman and produces the mother of all rum cakes! 

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The King of Markets

Last Saturday I took the day off (yes, exam revision has begun!) to stroll around Borough Market with Stefan, his Mum and sister. I'd been once before but had truly forgotten the extent of it - so many stalls full of delicious food, ready to eat or save as little goodies to treat yourself and others. 

We started with a much needed coffee at Monmouth - which is apparently 'the best coffee in London'. We queued in the cold (it was supposedly -4C!) and although I'm not a big coffee connoisseur, it was delicious and definitely worth the wait. Check out their website, Stefan bought some and it really is lovely; it would make a great present. The rest of the market was full of beautiful fresh veg, pungent cheeses and exotic condiments - as well as some pretty colourful pheasants! If you're looking for a restaurant whilst you're there, I'd really recommend Fish!. We needed a break from the cold, and this cool, clean cut restaurant situated bang in the centre of the market was just ideal - creamy mussles, lightly fried whitebait and grilled seabream were gobbled up. All in all a great day out. If you're planning a trip to London, or live here and just need a day out - make sure you go, check out the website if I still haven't convinced you! 

Click here