Recipe: Black Pepper, Caramelised Onion & Parmesan Pastries

Pepper Pastries

These were some little pastries I whipped up during a Mother’s Day brunch we had at our parents’ house a couple of weeks ago – and they were just lovely. The heat from the pepper was perfectly offset with the sweetness from the onions and the parmesan was just the right thing to top it off. They are so easy to make and are the perfect finger food, so give them a go next time you’re entertaining a crowd, they’re sure to be a hit. The only tip I have is to chill the caramelised onions, so they keep their consistency better and don’t end up dripping all over the place. This recipe is from Afternoon Tea.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 115g plain flour
  • 60g butter, chilled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • A few teaspoons of caramelized onions
  • 15g parmesan cheese, grated
  • 4.5-5cm cookie cutter
  1. Crush the peppercorns with a pestle and mortar, then put in a food processor with the flour and a large pinch of salt. Pulse to combine, then add the butter and process for about 20 seconds, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. With the motor running, gradually add the water until the mixture comes together into a dough. If necessary, add a drizzle more water. Press the pastry into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and chill for about 15 minutes.
  2. Roll out the pastry onto a lightly floured surface to about 5mm thick. Cut out rounds with a biscuit cutter, using all of the excess. Arrange on the baking sheet, prick with a fork and bake at 190 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  3. Spoon caramelized onion onto the pastry discs, then top with parmesan.

Pepper Pastries 2

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Latest Project Life Pages

Project Life 2014 - 1

I’ve just finished my 2014 Project Life pages and, once again, I adore them. My style of scrapbooking using PL has been pretty consistent from the beginning – the best photos get in, there is only a small amount of journalling and it must be colourful. I’m all for those beautifully simple layouts, where photos are muted and there are few colours other than black, white and shades in between, but I’m from the colour camp, where the brighter things are, the happier they are. I also only scrapbook the best of my pictures, as I like them to be more of an overview of a great year, than a daily journal of life. With having physical photos in albums, as well as Instagram albums, I don’t feel it necessary to add all photos here, and I’m glad for that. I love looking at all the pages I’ve done and all the memories I’ve captured – 2014 was a good one!

Project Life 2014 - 2

Project Life 2014 - 3

Project Life 2014 - 4

Project Life 2014 - 5

Project Life 2014 - 6

Project Life 2014 - 7

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Project Life 2014 - 9

Project Life 2014 - 10

Project Life 2014 - 11

Project Life 2014 - 12

Wedding Make-Up Ideas

It can be so overwhelming when looking at hair and make-up ideas for the big day – do you go bold and make a statement, or do you go with a more demure and understated look? There will always be a few different things to take into consideration when you’re trying to make decisions like this, such as the style of your dress, the setting, time of year, etc. but it’s mostly just about you feeling confident, comfortable and beautiful. I’m wearing my hair up for our special day, partly due to my gorgeous dress and partly because I know that’s how my boy likes it best, but I haven’t quite decided on my make-up look yet. I have a trial with a make-up artist later this month, so I’ve been busily collecting photos on my Pinterest boards ready to show her. Here are a few of the looks that have been catching my eye – it appears I’m gravitating towards smoky eyes, blush and pink lips – which is pretty close to what I’d wear when dressing myself up for a big event anyway. Take a look.

Wedding Make-Up Ideas

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Pastel Bridesmaid Dresses

Now that I’ve got a couple of appointments booked for me to try on some wedding dresses, I’ve started to think about what dresses I would like to see my bridesmaids wearing. With 6 girls in total, it means there’s quite a few shapes and sizes to take into account so I’m thinking carefully about what style will suit them all, as I want them to look beautiful but also feel comfortable on the day. I haven’t decided on a definite colour scheme yet, but I love the muted pastel tones that seem to be popular at the moment, my particular favourite being a dusky lilac/taupe sort of shade. Here’s a selection of dresses I’ve liked while I’ve been looking around, all of which are from ASOS, which I’ve found a particularly useful source because it stocks so many different brands.

bridesmaids

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Marriage & Changing Your Name

Changing Names

The closer I get to my wedding day, the more I think about the things that are going to change after we say ‘I do’. I’m not expecting something major to shift in me and for me to start acting in new and strange ways, but I do expect my attitude towards my other half to change slightly given that we’ve made such a massive commitment to each other. One of the things that has been on my mind a fair bit recently is the change in my name. I have no problem with it being assumed that a woman who is entering into marriage will automatically change her name to match that of her new husband’s, however, I do think about the fact that I will miss my current surname terribly. I have an unusual surname, which I love and which, I believe, is so much a part of who I am – the fact that I feel like my whole identity will change once I take on a new one makes me kinda sad. Yes, it will be lovely to be a Mrs to my guy’s Mr and for us to share the same name as our future children, but I also feel like it’s a bummer that I’ll never be known by my previous name again. It’s especially defining in our family, where there are three daughters – our family surname will go no further than our generation once we’re all married – and that’s such a shame. I have massive respect for those ladies who choose to keep their birth name even after they get married, and can really see how it can be a positive thing tied to your identity as a person. Whatever each woman decides to do with her name once she ties the knot, it’s a big deal and something that should be thought about as being an individual decision, rather than something that is simply assumed to be correct one way or the other. I know it’s definitely a big one for me.

Recipe: Chocolate Brownies

chocolate_brownies

Ingredients

Makes 12 squares

  • 225g (8oz) butter (room temperature), plus extra for greasing
  • 350g (12oz) light muscovado sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 50g (1¾oz)cocoa powder, sifted
  • 250g (9oz) self-raising flour
  • 100g (3½oz)white chocolate, melted (for topping)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C/350°F/Gas 4). Grease a large traybake tin and line with baking parchment.
  2. Place the butter, sugar, eggs, cocoa powder and flour in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on a low speed for approximately 3 minutes, or with a wooden spoon for a little longer, until smooth.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the tin, spreading evenly, and bake for approximately 40 minutes, covering with foil for the final 10 minutes.
  4. Test to see if they are cooked by inserting a knife into the brownie, and if it comes out clean, the brownies are ready. Leave to cool slightly before turning the brownie onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Once cool, melt the white chocolate and zig-zag over the top of the brownie. Once dry, cut into 12 squares.

Adapted from a recipe in Mary Berry’s Cookery Course.

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